Monday, September 22, 2008

CNN-TV: The Truth Squad is Out to Get You

by Christina London

“No bias and no bull.”

That’s just one of the many ways CNN has described its election coverage. Last Saturday, the channel set out to prove it. It devoted an hour-long time slot to the “Truth Squad”: reporters who examine if accusations one candidate makes about the other are true or false. Like we talked about in class, some local channels will perform “truth tests” on campaign advertising. They’ll pick a particular ad and dissect it, finding out if the statements are valid or not. Here, CNN does the same thing.

Let’s look at one story from Truth Squad member Alina Cho:

Barack Obama: The most liberal of the liberal?

Here, Cho examines a McCain ad comparing Sarah Palin to Barack Obama. It argues that Palin is a reformer who has stood up to Big Oil. It then accuses Obama of being the most liberal senator in Congress.

According to the National Journal, which claims to be a non-partisan magazine, Obama did rank as the most liberal senator last year. (He ranked 16th and 10th in previous years.) However, the liberal Americans for Democratic Action doesn’t buy it. It says if you look at Obama’s entire voting record, you’ll see that several other senators rank as more liberal.

Still, the only “non-biased” source Cho could find was the National Journal. So the verdict? TRUE.

Watch out, John McCain. The Truth Squad’s after you next…

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