I was covering the story of a dog stabbing incident, in which Princess, then an 8 month old Staffordshire Terrier mix, was allegedly stabbed by her owner 29 times near their Hamden, CT home and has since recuperated and as of today’s Meriden court appearance by the defendant, she will be able to be legally released to the Hamden Animal Control personnel and given a new home with a new and loving family. : ) I’ve been covering this case as the reporter I am, with my admitted liberal bias and pro-Princess stance, and at today’s court appearance one of the Animal Rights activists gave me one of the bright red t-shirts they wear which read in big white letters:
ABUSE AN ANIMAL…
GO TO JAIL!
It Should Be That Simple!
I’ve been covering the case at http://joltleft.com/government-in-hartford/steven-alexander and at unabashedleft.blogspot.com (My articles on this case and notes have also been published by Patch.com, and used by several other outlets). since the defendant’s July 12thappearance at the GA 7 Meriden Superior Court. See articles elsewhere and to follow in order to see the strange details of this case involving a whacked out defendant, judge, prosecutor and courthouse. But this article is about Journalistic Integrity and Honesty.
I Unabashedly state my opinions and offer interviews and op-eds from an acknowledged and clearly stated liberal Democratic perspective. I’m honest in all my writings about my mission and goals. Please see my profile at Examiner or my mission statement at Unabashed Left to verify this indisputable fact. I try to gather facts to the best of my ability and use those facts and source them in order to present an argument once I’ve arrived at an opinion on an issue. If I determine there’s nothing to comment upon I don’t publish anything, if I see something contrary to my own personal perspective I will also publish that (for example, see today’s article praising the Municipal Wallingford Electric utility’s handling of Hurricane Irene, despite the municipality being administered by a Republican Mayor I vehemently object to under most circumstances, William Dickinson).”
Unabashed Definition: Spin—Anybody’s report on anything. For example, get yourself a Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup can. Get 5 people. Have all 5 people write a description of the can without using the words Campbell’s, chicken, noodle, soup or can. You’ll get 5 totally different descriptions. Or invite 5 people into your living room. Have all 5 write a description of your living room, and you’ll see a diversity of views. One may report about the artwork on the wall and the furniture. Another may emphasize building construction, heating vents, windows, carpentry, etc. No two even remotely alike. You get the picture. SPIN. IT’S IN ALL REPORTING.
Most get their news from TV and folks from my generation and prior bemoan the Liberal bias in the news or the right wing extremism of the slanderous and felonious Rupert Murdoch products like the Faux News channel. The talk about the ‘good old days of Walter Cronkite’ when the news was unbiased. Even Cronkite admits that he and his staff at CBS made conscious editorial choices to publish video of the bloodbath that was the U.S. aggression in S.E. Asia and he’s admitted to pumping NASA and the moonshots. He, Edward R. Murrow and others knew that we all filter everything and just need to acknowledge that in order to be journalistically honest and to maintain any degree of intellectual honesty. You search for truth, but that truth is always funneled through personal and organizational filters and an honest journalist, including hard news reporters acknowledge this. If the Washington Post employers of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were not biased in an acknowledged manner in the liberal and Democratic direction, they would not have had the opportunity to chase down the facts of the Watergate scandal, and it’s likely that the felon Nixon would have succeeded in finishing his term of office without his resignation. The NY Times has had a liberal bias. The NY Post and Daily News are historically conservative. We all know this.
MSNBC: left, liberal Democratic bias in prime time. Faux: right wing Tea bagging nuts. CNN: Right wing and faking it. CBS, ABC, the same. NBC: Opportunistic depending on which of the misogynist family of networks you’re watching at the time (ranging from MSNBC to CNBC).
I’ve been sharing my information, notes, and sources even offering rides to local journalists with other organizations in this particular case involving Princess, since I feel so strongly about it. I’ve been in close contact with one New Haven Register reporter covering this case in particular. The second time I went to an appearance, her car broke down, and she called and I spoke with her by phone offering her a ride should she need to get there in the future, and bemoaned her calling when she did since it was 10am and the appearance was scheduled for then and I was already outside the courthouse. From her reporting and our conversations, her feelings on the case were evident. She was sympathetic to the cause of the animal rights protesters, Princess and appreciative of the wonderful canine’s caregivers. She was instrumental in setting up a fund to offset the costs of Princess’ medical care and housing and this was confirmed by her animal rights friends, now mine as well, and by the Animal Hospital staff.
When I gave her credit in one of my articles for the “Princess Fund” I received an angry email from this ‘reporter’ suggesting that I should not report this, and I dutifully removed the reference from the article. I was not happy with this remote editing of a fact-based and confirmed detail of the story worth reporting, but I deferred assuming she was simply humble about her involvement.
Outside the courthouse today after the appearance I asked the Register ‘reporter’ to confirm whether she had reported that the defendant had been deemed competent at a courtroom appearance on July 1st , and her response was evasive, and when she finally answered all she would say was that if it was reported than it must have been. Classic political stonewalling language, to be honest. From a journalist, and I’ve never heard that kind of response from a reporter on this or any case. She clearly did not want to confirm her report which preceded my coverage of the case. Her article when I arrived home and checked back confirmed this determination and was headlined with her byline in the New Haven Register: “New Haven man accused of stabbing dog found competent to stand trial” and was published July 1st , 2011. I was confused by this ‘reporter’s’ sudden evasiveness, and her new and evident stand-offishness.
While the protesters and this Register reporter were still chatting at the courthouse steps I removed myself a bit to call the Animal Hospital caring for Princess, the veterinarian himself and the Hamden Animal Control department on my cell phone a few feet away. One of the activists and a friend came and joined me as I made the calls, and the Register ‘reporter’ came along after I had made the calls. I told them both about the calls, and the ‘reporter’ said to me that as a reporter “I shouldn’t be calling them.” I asked her why; she said she was “Questioning my journalistic integrity.” Awkward! Tension. Yes. Weird? Yup. You bet.
I maintained my cool as best I could in her presence, and told her that I was an acknowledged advocacy journalist, that I am Unabashed Left and that I acknowledge my perspective. I suggested that I acknowledge that my stories are usually op-ed pieces and that this is the goal of my writing projects unequivocally. She went to her car, and as I and my animal rights friend walked to our cars, I vented angrily with her expressing exactly what I am in this article.
Spin is spin. Animal abuse is animal abuse. This guy stabbed his dog 29 times and is getting off light and the courtroom nonsense is ridiculous. Hard copy competitor the Hartford Courant has editorialized calling the defendant’s treatment “lenient” and headlining their take on it “Nothing wrong with lawmakers criticizing judge” in the case in an article linked here: http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-judge-lawmakers-animal-cruelty-20110811,0,7145460.story.
The New Haven Register has a long tradition as a right-wing daily paper in a liberal town, both on and off the editorial page. This reporter spins her articles as we all do, just as did Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. I acknowledge my bias. I trade notes and seek no credit on cases that I feel strongly about. I will use my gas and cash for causes I believe in. So will this reporter. Unbiased, no I’m not. Is the Register? NO! The Courant? No? Unabashed Left? DEFINITELY NOT! Do I acknowledge it? YES! Does the Register? NO? Does this reporter? I ask her that question as I email this to her.
Do I have journalistic integrity? She questioned it. My answer, YES! Does this Register ‘reporter’ if she does not acknowledge her ‘spin?’ NO is my answer. What’s yours?
I proudly reproduce my Purpose Statement found at the top of my moon logo profile page of Unabashed Left, your one-stop-shop for all your military affairs and comedy needs (and invite your attention to my unabashedly liberal self description on my joltleft.com/government-in-hartford profile):
Purpose Statements: 1) To advance the principle that Pacifism, Liberalism, Environmentalism, Progressivism and membership in the Democratic Party are, in fact, not sins nor characteristics of which one need be ashamed. 2) To move us in the direction of a political culture which would enable public persons[office holders, media personalities, journalists, etc.] to proudly proclaim their true and admirable leftist tendencies, just as those on the right may do at present. :)