Voice of San Diego lavishly uses “fact checks,” a trendy journalistic device often used to disguise opinions as factual reporting.
SD CityBeat’s Dave Maass has given VoSD a taste of its own medicine with his own fact-check of a VoSD claim that it gets no government support. He labels the statement “huckster propaganda,” VoSD’s category for the most egregious falsehoods.
Maass found that VoSD has taken advertising from several government agencies. He also gives evidence that advertising is equated to support in VoSD’s own materials.
“If we apply VoSD‘s standards to its own statement, we find:
— VoSD repeatedly claimed advertising as a form of support, received advertising from several government agencies, then denied it in solicitations for donations likely seen by hundreds, if not thousands of readers.
— The language implies that readers are looking for an organization that does not receive government support, that Voice is somehow unique or elite in not receiving government support. It seems VoSD cast itself in a better light in order to attract donors.
— Since VoSD serves as its own fundraising agent, it is reasonable to expect it knows who its donors are.
— VoSD is regularly cited in the national press and in media journals as a visionary new model for journalism because of its non-profit model and innovative funding scheme, based largely on philanthropic support.
— As a journalistic organization that is passionate about the truth—perhaps best evidenced by its Fact Check blog—it is logical to expect the organization would check its facts before posting them online.
For these reasons, we cannot declare the claim anything short of Huckster Propaganda.”
Good work, Dave!
Time to practice what you preach, Voice of San Diego.
(DISCLAIMER: This post represents my opinion, and not necessarily that of my employer, the North County Times).
Ha! Nice headline. Thanks, Brad.