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Beware of Yahoo "News" stories

By       Message Jim Stinson     Permalink
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Tuesday September second, Yahoo News included among its five most popular news stories, a piece from Real Clear Politics titled "Obama Offers a Beautifully Packaged Lie."- Clicking the link revealed that the piece was by one Robert Tracinski. It's a vicious (and very well-written) smear of Obama's acceptance speech, asserting that each and every one of his major points is an out-and-out flat lie.

Okay, the man's got a right to his opinion. The trouble is that Yahoo News lists his tirade not as opinion but as a news story (though once you've clicked through to it, you do find it labeled opinion). This is the kind of subtle swiftboating that is hardest to counteract. Labeling the piece news seems harmless enough, but how many people will click to it thinking it's a factual report?

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As for the bias of the writer, a consultation with Google turned up the news that Tracinski is the owner and publisher of a site called The Intellectual Activist. TIA, for short, announces that, quote,

The Intellectual Activist is especially dedicated to understanding and promoting the revolutionary ideas of the 20th-century novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand, ...earning Ayn Rand's recommendation as "an antidote to the cultural irrationality of our age." In the 1980s, [TIA] began to expand beyond politics, becoming a forum for applying Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy to art, literature, and culture.


So readers' responses to
brother Tracinski should be informed by their knowledge and opinion of Ayn Rand, the Kahlil Gibran of social philosophers--if, at this late date, many readers still have any knowledge, or even memory, of her or her loopy philosophy.

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But regardless of Tracinski's intellectual origins, such as they are, his piece is opinion, and loud, vehement, scathing opinion at that. For Yahoo to label this rant a top "News"- story is itself irresponsibly biased, and we all need to let them know it.

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A career writer and media maven, Jim Stinson is the author of four mystery novels and a college textbook, Video: Digital Communication and Production. His newest novel, Tassy Morgan's Bluff, will be out from Penguin Books in June 2011. He lives with (more...)

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