For years the readership of many local newspapers has been in a decline. An increase in price coupled with decreased services in conjunction with the explosive growth of internet based news sources has mostly led to this decline. However there is another factor that is driving the newspaper industry toward the abyss of irrelevancy. Many of their readers no longer trust their honesty and integrity.
Just a few weeks ago I took Des Moines Register reporter Jennifer Jacobs to task for her sloppily biased reporting in an article in which she misrepresents the facts on a piece of legislation. Now I must point out either a mistake or intentional omission by Register reporter Tom Beaumont.
Monday evening former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee returned to West Des Moines for a book signing at the Borders on University Avenue. At about seven o’clock Governor Huckabee’s tour bus pulled in from Iowa City. There was a number of Governor Huckabee’s supporters on hand to visit with him on his bus. Just in front of the bus were several members of the media, including Mr. Beaumont. While the throng waited patiently to get on the bus to meet with Governor Huckabee former Gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats and Iowa Family Policy Center President Chuck Hurley arrive and began to speak with the assembled crowd.
The pair of Iowa activists mingled with the group by the bus long enough that the media should have noted their attendance. Then shortly after they arrived the pair boards the bus to meet with Huckabee. However when I return home Monday night I discover that not only did the Register’s Beaumont ignore that the pair were ever on the bus, he blatantly denies that it ever happened.
After discovering this I felt like I had stepped into an episode of the Twilight Zone. It made me doubt my memory and my sanity. It made me wonder if I really saw what I thought I saw. So to confirm what was going on I got in contact with one of my sources. He confirmed that yes Vander Plaats and Hurley were both at Borders on Monday night and that yes both of them got on the bus and spoke with Governor Huckabee at length in the back of the bus. He even went so far as to inform me that Governor Huckabee’s former campaign manager was also on the bus with him. Furthermore I have been advised that Vander Plaats even spoke with Mr. Beaumont after exiting the bus.
The question that we are now faced with is why Mr. Beaumont reported that a meeting did not take place when he knew it did? Has he been infected with the same disease that causes biased journalism that his colleague Jennifer Jacobs has? Was it simply a mistake on his side? Regardless of the answer the institution of journalism has once again taken a hit to its credibility. And we see once again one of the many reasons that the newspaper industry is in a downhill spiral.
Update: It was brought to my attention that I inadvertently linked the wrong story by Tom Beaumont. I have corrected this mistake and the link now directs you to the right article.