Yes, Virginia, there is something fishy about media coverage of the debates, but it’s deeper than you think. As was reported here on Friday, the New York Times elided Paul Ryan’s terrific line “And we will not blame others for the next four years” in their “complete” transcript of the vice-presidential debate.
Guess who else cut the line out of their transcript? National Public Radio (NPR). And here’s where it gets truly nefarious; the New York Times, NPR, the Chicago Sun Times and other news outlets used the same news source for the transcript: the Federal News Service (FNS). How many media outlets did the FNS use to mislead readers around the nation?
The Federal News Service was bought in 2010 by the Dolan Company, which published business journals, court and commercial newspapers and other publications, and then bought FNS, which, among other things, publishes transcripts of events like the debates.
Would a supposedly reputable company like FNS try to twist the truth in order to help one political party? You decide.
The CEO of the Dolan Company is James P. Dolan. Here is a list of his political contributions for 2009- 2010.
$10,000 for the Follow the North Star Fund, a Minnesota Democratic PAC
$2400 for Tim Walz for Congress. Walz is a Democrat.
$10,000 Follow the North Star Fund
$5000 Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party
$2400 Friends for Harry Reid
$1400 Tim Walz for Congress
$1000 Klobachar for Minnesota. Klobachar is a Democrat.
$1000 Giffords for Congress. Giffords is a Democrat.
When Dolan bought FNS in 2010, he uttered these deathless words:
“Fed News plays an important role in public affairs, reporting exactly what was said, rather than official transcripts that often show only what was supposed to have been said.”
Why is it hard to believe him now?
UPDATE: The Federal news Service has corrected itself, but few of the outlets have, including the New York Times. The damage has been done.