Media Mondays: The Daily Caller refuses to get it right

Last week, Roll Call reported that Lisa Simeone, host of the public-radio shows World of Opera and Soundprint, is a spokeswoman for October 2011 — the group, also known as Stop the Machine, that's occupying Freedom Plaza. This caused a minor controversy, not least because the first show, produced by WDAV in North Carolina, is distributed by NPR, while the latter airs on NPR affiliates, including WAMU in D.C. Any whiff of ethical improprieties involving NPR, after the Juan Williams scandal, was sure to be of interest to other journalists — if not the general public — and media outlets jumped on the story. Among them was the Daily Caller, which, true to form, put a damning spin on the news. Matthew Boyle wrote that Simeone "appears to be breaking the taxpayer-subsidized network’s ethics rules" by acting as a spokeswoman for the "left-wing anti-capitalists protests."

Comment

The Daily Caller's Matt Boyle, looking supremely confident. (Twitter/@mboyle1)

The protests are not "anti-capitalist," but rather "anti–corporate greed" — and anti- many other things — though I would expect no less a mischaracterization from the Caller. Boyle was also wrong about the organization whom Simeone is representing. Ignoring the facts of Roll Call's report, the Caller headline read, "NPR host is Occupy DC spokeswoman," and said Simeone is "acting as a spokeswoman for Occupy D.C. group 'October 2011'..." But Occupy DC, as most local journalists know by now, is the group occupying McPherson Square. October 2011 is a separate group in a separate location. Some protesters are splitting time between the two sites, but that is all.

As other outlets picked up the story, the Caller's inaccuracy was repeated. On Twitter, I blamed Boyle for the confusion. Here's his astounding reply:

 
mboyle1Matthew Boyle
 
 
rkearneyRyan Kearney
 
in reply to @rkearney

@rkearney She speaks for the group that's Occupying DC right now. Therefore, she speaks for Occupy DC.
Oct 20 via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply

Boyle was probably not in the best of moods, as FishbowlDC had just posted this report about firings at the Caller, which read:

Newsroom sources say [Executive Editor David Martosko's] profound defense of reporter Matthew Boyle and his recent EPA piece troubled reporters who believed the story was false. They feared their reputations would be sullied by the widespread negative attention the ordeal received in publications such as Politico and parts of the right-wing media. And they couldn’t conceive why their editor was defending a story many considered pointedly bogus.

As the Caller stood by that piece, which was widely derided, it's no surprise the outlet hasn't corrected Boyle's Simeone article. And, in fact, he has continued to report that Simeone, who was fired from Soundprint but not World of Opera (which NPR will stop distributing), was a spokeswoman for Occupy DC. Some people never learn, I guess.

Also see:

"Lisa Simeone fires back at NPR for questioning her role in Occupy D.C. movement" [Sun]

"Fired NPR host sees 'McCarthyism'" [Salon]

"NPR, Lisa Simeone and opera: Plenty of opportunity for bias!" [WaPo]

After the jump: The Post's tricky attempt to poach Politico readers, FishbowlDC gets no respect, and Glittarazzi's co-founder gets "drunkkkk lol" (with photographic evidence).

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