Monday, September 20, 2010


“Post Mortem” by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge

My previous post about the stories the Denver Post carries in its printed version versus its online version needs an update. I had attributed the difference in content to a nefarious weekend editor. As it turns out, that was my own fantasy.

Associated Press writers will release a story and then update it over time. What appeared in the printed version of the Denver Post was associated with this version of the AP story. Here is what was printed:

Beck, Palin draw crowds
Some paid to see the Tea Party favorites as others protested in Anchorage
By Rachel D’Oro
The Associated Press

Anchorage, Alaska
An event featuring former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and conservative commentator Glenn Beck on Saturday night brought out two very different crowds.

Thousands of fans who paid $73.75 to $225 for tickets gathered inside the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center to see Beck introduced by Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee and a potential 2012 presidential candidate. The two are Tea Party favorites.

Outside the downtown center, about 60 protesters waved signs and denounced Palin and Beck as intolerant fearmongers spreading divisiveness across the country.

"We feel that they are inciting racism in what they do and what they say and how they go about it," said Lynette Moreno-Hinz, an Alaska Native who helped organize the protest.

Holding a sign that said "Freedom isn't just for zealots," Brian MacMillan of Anchorage wondered where all the passion from the right was during George W. Bush's presidency, when the U.S. economy began its downward slide.

MacMillan also urged Palin and Beck supporters to ease up on President Barack Obama.

“Give the man in charge his due,” he said. “He’s doing the best he can.”

Beck, a Fox News personality, will donate his speaking fee from the event, and Palin is not being paid for her appearance, according to Christopher Balfe, president of Beck’s media company. The amount of the fee is not being disclosed, and will go to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides scholarships and services to families of military members.

The event initially featured only Beck, according to Christopher Cox of Northern Stage Co. in Anchorage. Only later did Cox think of adding Palin, and she agreed to participate.

Earlier this week, Palin promoted the event on her Facebook page, saying Beck could be counted on to make for an interesting and inspiring night.

“I can think of no better way to commemorate 9/11 than to gather with patriots who will ‘never forget,’” Palin wrote.

The date of the event is a coincidence Cox said. He didn’t know what Beck planned to talk about during the show.

All but 700 of 4,500 tickets have been sold, said Therin Ferrin, with a private contractor that operates the city’s convention centers.

Other than the differences in the headline and subhead, the AP story and the Denver Post print version are quite similar.

So what is the lesson? When sourcing a newspaper article, you’ve got to reference whether it comes from the printed version or the online version. But that’s not all…

In The Cat in the Bag, I talk about the anti-Republican themes that appear in our news coverage, and make the point that you’ve got to catch the earlier reports if you want to see the themes portrayed in the greatest relief. In the case of the Rachel D’oro story, we see that evolution: the prominence of the anti-Republican coverage in the first version, and the softening of the theme in the later version.

To research the various versions, we can turn to Google (or Bing) and search for distinctive strings of text that appear only in the desired version. As an example, to find the earlier version of this story, I searched for “Therin Ferrin”, a name that appeared only in the print version of the story.

Of course, if the story no longer exists, you can try the Wayback Machine and search for prior deleted content.

Isn’t the Internet great?

Well, Maybe.

I also received this note from a person in Woodland Hills, California in response to my post…

You forgot one important thing.... you're an idiot!

You are one of those human beings that has a defective brain gene and you believe all the nonsense someone else tells you!

You believe in organized religion, you are a racist because... well why not?, you are unable to think for yourself and come to a logical conclusion, you believe the country was founded by white men for white men and the constitution only applies to white men. You believe america is the supreme voice in the world and somehow for some reason every other country is trying to destroy our way of life when in fact it is the year 2010 and nothing could possibly be expected to be the same as it was in 1776!

You don't like that! And yes, you probably are secretly gay because you protest WAY too much!

Typical republican hypocrisy. You believe the lucky rich should be able to keep all their hard earned investment money because after all they worked hard for it! or At least they were smart enough to find a good accountant who worked hard FOR them. There's no way a rich person works any harder than me or any other average american! The lazy rich can afford to pay FAR more taxes than they are currently paying and I personally do not understand why they would not welcome increased taxes as their civic duty!?? Raising taxes on the poor is certainly not the answer, but as a republican asshole you feel it's the only answer.

Some people on this planet have evolved (that's right... the earth is actually 4.56 billion years old!!) to survive by listening to others. Just because some idiot at FOX Snooze lies to you about Obama or about taxes, or about destroying the country or says shit like " thing you know" or "...pretty soon we'll all be..." or "...kenyan anti-colonialism..." or some other nonsensical bullshit, why not look at that idiot with a little skepticism? Remeber "the emperor's new clothes"?

Sheep need a leader.... and you sir a fucking sheep for sure!!!!!!!!!

In the words of my favorite FOX Snooze asshole..... "...I'm just sayin'!"

Our anti-Republican culture emboldens people in ways that almost make you want to weep.

UPDATE 6/4/2011:
Jay Nordlinger at National Review Online highlights the same issue in a lighthearted fashion.  News agencies modify their stories, and represent that doing so is without malice.  The "assumption of intent" of the news agencies is what makes analysis of their modifications so interesting.

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