J$P Email to Salon Editor

Everybody makes mistakes. It is the dishonest and the unethical who refuse to correct them. With J$P Video!

On January 7 we posted "Boehlert's Bluff", detailing problems with Eric Boehlert's Salon article about Fox News. We immediately forwarded a link to Mr Boehlert in the hope that he might reply or take appropriate action to correct the factual errors we identified in his piece. The next day, we sent a lengthy email to Salon editor David Talbot and to Mr Boehlert laying out again our objections to the article and asking for a correction to be made.

We are sorry (but not surprised) to report that, seven days later, neither Mr Boehlert nor Mr Talbot has bothered to acknowledge, let alone reply to, our communication. It seems clear there will be no response, so at this time we reprint the email in its entirety here.

Following the email the reader will find a Quicktime video clip that substantiates our claims regarding the major falsehood in Mr Boehlert's article.
From: Johnny Dollar's Place
Date: January 8, 2005 5:59:35 PM EST
To: David Talbot, Salon.com
Cc: Eric Boehlert, Salon.com

I am writing regarding Eric Boehlert's article "Fox News Gets Blown Away", from the January 7 Salon.

When a feature article appears in Salon, one expects it to adhere to some journalistic standards. But in the instant case, Mr Boehlert seems to have abandoned that approach. Example: he cites something he never saw on Fox News, and credits the information to an internet blog (newshounds). Is it Salon's policy that an entry in a blog is sufficient documentation to make a factual claim? Mr Boehlert apparently did not think it necessary to request a transcript or a tape, or consult Lexis/Nexis--the mere fact that it appeared in a blog is enough to make it true.

This cavalier approach to fact-checking is rendered even more reckless when the blog in question has repeatedly been caught posting false information and fabricating quotations. Is this the level of journalism that Salon represents? (I note that the unsourced "quotes" from John Gibson, cited by Mr Boehlert, are word-for-word identical to the versions in the newshounds blog.)

In addition to using unreliable sources, Mr Boehlert furthers his agenda by employing rhetorical tricks (such as quoting Sean Hannity but not Alan Colmes) and fallacious argumentation (the point on the $35 million pledge I detail in my article).

But even if Salon finds such writing acceptable, I would hope you would draw the line at outright falsification. Mr Boehlert makes the statement:

"On Wednesday afternoon during "Studio B," Fox host Shepard Smith kicked off the latest relief updates and touted Fox News' "team coverage" -- which consisted of a single reporter in Phuket, Thailand, and a lone reporter in the network's Washington bureau."

Unfortunately, Mr Boehlert's "facts" are simply wrong. A review of Wednesday's Studio-B broadcast reveals the truth:

Adam Housley, live report from Thailand
Catherine Herridge, live report from DC
Trace Gallagher, live report from Thailand
Jamie Colby, live report from India
William La Jeunesse, live report from Los Angeles

Mr Boehlert's snide language ("single reporter", "lone reporter") aside, what accounts for his false information? Is this another item he lifted from the internet? If he actually saw this broadcast he wouldn't need me to tell him what it contained. Did he decide to report on the program without bothering to watch it?

When Mr Boehlert's article appeared, I wrote an entry detailing what my research and fact-checking found, and forwarded a link to Mr Boehlert. I assumed that he would, in the interests of accuracy, post a retraction and issue a correction for at least the factual errors in his piece. However, this has not been done, and in fact I received no acknowledgement, let alone a reply, to my email.

That Mr Boehlert does not like Fox News does not matter. Salon should at least require that its writers get their facts straight. And if they are conveying information from a source other than their own reporting, they ought to make that clear.

It is my hope that Salon will address the factual errors and other issues related to Mr Boehlert's questionable sense of his responsibilities as a writer for your magazine. A prominent retraction and correction of the false information in his article would assure the public that you will take whatever steps are necessary to preserve the reputation of Salon as a trusted source of news and commentary.

This email and any response to it are on the record.

Mark Koldys
Managing Editor, Johnny Dollar's Place (Member, Media Bloggers Association)
"Boehlert's Bluff": link

[QuickTime video clips of tsunami reports on Jan 5 Studio-B with Shepard Smith]:

posted: Sat - January 15, 2005 at 12:12 AM       j$p  send 

Paul Young
What in the world is with outfits like this? It seems like they do not even know the dictionary has words like 'truth', 'integrity' or 'honesty'.
Oh well. The ones I really feel sorry for are their readers that are lied to, misled, decieved and betrayed. May they see your post here and quit buying the rag...
January 15, 2005, 9:03:32 PM EST – Like – Reply

johnny dollar
That's not a bad suggestion. Thanks!
January 16, 2005, 12:27:36 AM EST – Like – Reply

W.C. Varones
Amazing. These a-holes don't feel the need to even reply when someone points out that they are lying. All we can do is publicize it and make people aware that their credibility is zero.
The same thing happened to me when I e-mailed San Francisco Chronicle editors about one of their columnists writing a blatant lie:
January 17, 2005, 2:28:59 PM EST – Like – Reply

Johnny, they're just better than us folks.....not
I've never had a letter published in the S.F. Comical, let alone a national mag. 
I canceled my subscription/Comical years ago and thankfully I never will subscribe for Salon.com.
I don't imagine the media elites know how often they made our blood boil.
BTW "Don't Play This!" I hope I don't break it!
January 18, 2005, 6:09:16 AM EST – Like – Reply