Michele Bachmann's Keith Ellison comments: Media criticized for "unconscionable" headlines
How can journos write about the crazy things coming out of Bachmann's mouth without doing her bidding?
It's one thing to report that "Bachmann alleges Ellison has ties to Muslim Brotherhood." It's quite another to go with "Bachmann ties Ellison to Muslim Brotherhood."
Two respected elders of the Twin Cities media scene -- MPR's Bob Collins and MinnPost's David Brauer -- have spent part of their respective mornings criticizing major Minnesota news sources for writing sloppy headlines about Michele Bachmann's sensational, unsubstantiated claim that Keith Ellison "has a long record of being associated... with the Muslim Brotherhood."
Collins framed the issue nicely in a series of tweets: "For those who think journos should just 'report the facts,' the Bachmann story challenges that ill-considered advice... Because a 'fact' can be 'Bachmann says Ellison member of Muslim Brotherhood,' an allegation w/o substantiated facts."
Here's a sampling of some of the blurring-the-line-between-fact-and-allegation Bachmann-Ellison headlines published by the local media today:
From the Star Tribune:
From the St. Cloud Times:
And finally, from us (though we expect regular readers of our Bachmann coverage fully understand that we take everything Our Favorite Congresswoman says with two crazy-sized grains of salt):
In response to the blurry distinction between facts and allegations apparent in the above headlines, Brauer wrote: "[H]eadlines that state 'Bachmann ties Ellison to Muslim Brotherhood' are just unconscionable, and just what she wants."
Apparently, the Star Tribune took Brauer's criticism to heart:
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.