Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Contra Costa Times "watchdog" reporting

Here's how the editor of the CC Times, Chris Lopez, characterized an article which simply enumerated the dollars spent by each Bay Area politico for privately funded travel and stated this was a Congressional reform topic.
[The article is] an excellent example of the Times' commitment to watchdog reporting on public officials.

The article served its stated purpose and was clearly well sourced, well written, and thouroughly researched. But "watchdog" reporting? C'mon.

Cast your attention to the San Diego Union Tribune for an example of watchdog reporting. Duke Cunningham and John Doolittle have bite-marks on their trousers from these guys and in Cunningham's case, they replaced his trousers with an orange jumpsuit.

Indeed, there may be no "there, there" with Pombo but it sure seems like a target rich environment for journalists given Pombo's associates, his powerful committee, and the current state of play in Congress.

I think the McClatchey deal serves as a helpful reminder about the fundamental mission of these organizations. A mission which, in many ways, runs contrary to the pursuit of public official watchdoggery. I would be the first to applaud the CC Times for any progress in this area but if this is their standard of excellence for watchdogging, I fear I'll be waiting quite a while to congratulate them.


At 5:01 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Good point.


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