Writing in USA Today, Richard Benedetto and David Jackson refused comment on allegations that Gannett's flagship newspaper runs "memes" instead of news stories, and that the two reporters were engaged in an effort to "shape public opinion" by mislabeling "news" stories that minimize facts while concentrating on speculation.
Bendetto and Jackson were caught fashioning a meme insertion device intended to create fabricated "links" between President Bush and convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The device was activated Thursday by editors at USA Today.
After covering a White House news conference that lasted nearly an hour and covered a wide range of subjects, Benedetto and Jackson gave the most prominence to something they called "White House links" to Abramoff. They were not able to produce any White House links to Abramoff, but apparently still felt that the most important event at the news conference was that President Bush "fended off questions" about them. Neither commented on whether this amounted to covering the behavior of other reporters at the conference, rather than the conference itself.
Critics have charged that Benedetto and Jackson devoted fully one-half of their report on the news conference to chimerical "links to Abramoff," even going so far as to include what Senate Democrats were "calling for" and including a quotation from Democratic Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado, even though Salazar was not present at the news conference and the President of the United States — who was — was trying to answer questions about the NSA surveillance program, the 2006 elections, the crisis in Iran, and other issues.
Neither Benedetto nor Jackson explained why they spent more column-inches on the Senate Democrats and Salazar's allegations than they did on the President's response to a question about Iran.
Leonidas believes this practice will be discontinued upon the reassension of a true collectivist to the white house.