November 6, 2009

COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW BLOWS IT: “Some obscure tea-bagging operation”?

Columbia Journalism Review goes after a fellow non-profit news organization, ProPublica, for a ProPublica article on wasteful stimulus spending. Columbia Journalism Review criticizes ProPublica for using a quotation from a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste, which Columbia Journalism Review sneeringly and condescendingly and dismissively and, well, offensively, characterizes as “some obscure tea-bagging operation.” Citizens Against Government Waste has been around since 1984, and its 2007 IRS Form 990 indicates it had revenue and expenses of about $4.4 million, more if you include an affiliated 501(c)4 group. It claims “more than one million members and supporters.” Its directors as of the 2007 Form 990 included Vin Weber, who is a big deal. Its annual “pig book” report is widely covered.

I’m on the CJR spam list, and it seems to me that the quality of work there has fallen notably over the past several years, while the CJR has grown progressively more politicized. That they’ve reached the point of attacking ProPublica — hardly a right-leaning organization itself — is indicative.

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