One of the pet peeves of my friend Robert Stacy McCain is sloppy journalism.
Having been a reporter for decades long before anyone knew what a blog was he knows how journalism is done, and has done it on the local and national level.
Now this month he has taken on two different journalists that are normally not on his radar. Ginger Gorman of the Australian Broadcasting Company and Monica Hesse of the Washington Post. I find these two critiques interesting. Let’s compare the two. Let’s start with Ms. Gorman
Stacy McCain told us about Ms. Gorman’s piece concerning two men named Mark & Peter 3 years ago Sunday for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation called
Why two dads are better than one Becoming parents was hard work for gay couple … but they’d do it all over again if they had to
You might note the link above doesn’t go to that site, why? Well they took it down when the reason this couple would do it all again was published in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Police believe the pair had adopted the boy ‘‘for the sole purpose of exploitation’’. The abuse began just days after his birth and over six years the couple travelled the world, offering him up for sex with at least eight men, recording the abuse and uploading the footage to an international syndicate known as the Boy Lovers Network. …
When Stacy McCain became aware of the stories he had some tough questions: emphasis mine
By the time they were featured in that 2010 article by Ginger Gorman of the Australian Broadcasting Company, Truong and Newton had been molesting that boy on video — and pimping out the boy to their friends in the “Boy Lovers Network” — for five years. The fact that these two men were key figures in an international sex-trafficking ring . . . when did the Australian Broadcasting Company learn this information? And how long did they hide from their viewers the fact that these child pornographers were the men Ginger Gorman celebrated in her 2010 feature?
and objected to the promotion of a meme:
Journalists today cannot report about homosexuality, they must only advocate, endorse, praise and celebrate homosexuality. This paradigm reduces reporters to the role of propagandists, whose job is to parrot the publicity of radical gay-rights activists.
So far has this disastrous trend gone, that it never even occurred to Ginger Gorham that there was anything . . . odd about Truong and Newton’s extraordinary efforts to secure custody of an infant boy whom, we now know, they trained to perform as a gay sex toy:
But while Stacy McCain quite rightly takes the Australian Broadcasting Company for not noting they were the couple in their previous piece (I object to them pulling it, they should have updated it instead) and notes Ginger Gorman in the pushing of a meme, didn’t question the motives of these men, there is one thing he does not and indeed CAN not critique her for.
He can’t blame her for knowing they were trouble at the time of the piece,
Indeed he quotes Ms. Gorman directly saying the following:
I felt no sense anything was wrong. For all intents and purposes this appeared to be a loving family and a loving household, and I’ve gone over and over about it in my brain and I did not feel anything was wrong. … I’m profoundly shocked and disgusted by what’s happened. Since then, I just am revolted and I find myself quite despairing about the turn of events.”
Ms. Gorman was likely sent there to do a puff piece on a adopted gay couple. She had no reason to have any inkling that she was in the midst of a major international crime ring.
It would not surprise me if Ms Gorman goes over her visit over and over again in her mind asking herself if there is anything she could have seen, anything that she might have missed that could have given her a clue, that could have started her on a story that might have broken instead of abetting these men and their ring in their crimes. It must be a hard thing for her and I do sympathize.
Why, because when it comes down to it her mistakes were of perception and ignorance, the fact that she was visiting a house of horror presided over by two evil men was not in evidence and she had absolutely no way to know otherwise when she did the piece highlighting the young child and his parents.
Monica Hesse that’s a different story:
Let’s start with the current news, Tetyana Kimberlin and her current boyfriend went to court to seek protective orders from her estranged husband Brett Kimberlin
The estranged wife of progressive activist Brett Kimberlin says he has been “mentally abusive” to her, claiming in a Maryland court that Kimberlin has been “threatening” her and trying to get her fired from her job at a Montgomery County daycare center.
Tetyana Kimberlin, 32, sought a domestic protective order this week, saying her husband had “been going by my work and telling my employer I am going to be arrested,” and that Kimberlin, 59, “had me arrested before on false charges.”
Now certainly a dispute between exes doesn’t come anywhere near the relevance of an international pedophilia ring but there is a bit of a reason why this came might be a tad more newsworthy:
Brett Kimberlin was convicted in 1981 for a weeklong series of Indiana bombings and sentenced to 50 years in federal prison, but served only 17 years.
Hmmm weeklong series of bombing? That being the case when a woman says something like this
“He told me if I will try to take my kids with me he will hurt me and I will see what will happen to me,” Kimberlin’s Russian-born wife wrote in her petition for a protection order, a case that was heard Tuesday in Silver Spring, Maryland. “He tells my 14-year-old about his plans about me and what he is going to do with me.”
A person just might take notice. Interestingly enough these seem to be the same tactics used against bloggers by the Kimberlin crowd
But the subject of this piece is about Monica Hesse not Brett Kinberlin and his alleged threats on his ex-wife (although Stacy has a different post on this subject) this is about Monica Hesse’s 2007 piece on Brett Kimberlin and his daughter in the post. and Stacy McCain’s critique of her.
Let’s compare Ms. Hesse’s situation to Ginger Gorman:
Like Ginger Gorman, Monica Hesse was assigned a feel good story about a child, in this case Kelsie Kimberlin,
Bethesda’s Kelsie Kimberlin, 8, got the nod. The judges of Lego’s first annual Creativity Awards got more than they bargained for.
Like Ginger Gorman some of the newsworthiness of Monica Hesse’s story comes from pushing a major liberal media meme of the time, namely “Bush Bad War Bad”:
So, a synopsis: “Happy Springtime (Bush Is Over)” is more than five minutes of John ‘n’ Yoko footage, of birds fluttering past a billboard reading “Imagine Peace” and of beautiful children singing, cherubically, “Buuush is ooover!” which, incidentally, is also what their T-shirts say. “Bush Is Over. If You Want It.”
and the promotion of a meme that liberalism loves is always king
there is even a tiny Russian connection in both stories, the child Ginger Gorman reported on was adopted from Russia and Monica’s mother Tetyana is from Russia although that fact about Kelsie’s mother is not a part of the piece.
Finally like Ginger Gorman. Monica Hesse has many positive things to say about this child’s dad, like this:
The credit for “Springtime” goes to Kelsie’s dad, musician-activist Brett Kimberlin.
“Springtime” is not the Kimberlins’ only father-daughter collaboration. Brett also enlisted the Harmonic Angels to sing in an antiwar reworking of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.” (Kelsie and the Angels do not appear in “Exile,” a music video in which Brett underwent waterboarding as an “it’s definitely torture” argument.)
“All of the kids in the choir are very liberal,” says Brett Kimberlin. “They wouldn’t do this if they weren’t in the cause.”
and even when she mentioned that Brett Kimberlin was convicted of a bombing that crippled a Vietnam vet, she spins it
His Quayle revelation came from the clink, where he was serving time for a series of Indiana bombings, one of which wounded a Vietnam veteran. Kimberlin always contended he wasn’t guilty of the bombings and would have been paroled earlier, except for the government machine trying to keep him quiet about Quayle, who said he never had met the man. Championed by “Doonesbury’s” Garry Trudeau and the New Yorker’s Mark Singer, who wrote a 22,000-word article on him, Kimberlin was released in 1993
Well YEAH he was convicted of some bombing but he says he’s innocent and look Doonsbury’s creator likes him so that’s OK
Seriously Monica, SERIOUSLY?
Unlike Ginger Gorman who could have googled Mark Newton & Peter Truong till the cows came home without result, who, if she did a Lexis/Nexis search on Newton & Truong would have come up empty, if however Monica Hesse did the same search on Brett Kimberlin she have seen this from the Indianapolis Star?
“When Mrs. Scyphers went outside to the garage to show him the items, he slipped a .25-caliber pistol from his black briefcase and shot her once in the back of her head. . . .
“Speedway police were puzzled by the murder. ‘She had no enemies,’ they said.
“But she did. Investigators learned her daughter, Sandra Barton, was a close — very close — friend of Brett C. Kimberlin. The relationship between the pair was complicated by his strange affection for Mrs. Barton’s pre-teen daughter, Debbie.”
“Kimberlin seemed to be the only one with a possible motive — to distract police attention from the Scyphers murder and delay or halt their quiet investigation of him.”
And maybe she might have dug a little deeper inMark Singer book on Kimberlin
‘We’d see a girl, who was pubescent or prepubescent, and Brett would get this smile and say, “Hey, what do you think? Isn’t she great?” It made me very uncomfortable.’ Another recalled Kimberlin introducing Jessica as ‘my girlfriend,’ and if irony was intended, it was too subtle to register.
or perhaps the reviews of it:
Reviewers of Singer’s book describe Kimberlin as “a top-flight con man” (Publisher’s Weekly), “a fairly typical hustler” (Library Journal) and “a man whose idea of the truth is utterly malleable . . . a dangerous smooth talker” (Kirkus Reviews).
Maybe she might have found this article that Stacy McCain did at the city paper
Not all the songs on his album … have political overtones … others, like “Waiting to Meet” and “Teen Dream” (both about having sex with teenage girls) are lacking in subtlety and tend to make one squirm. But this is exactly what Kimberlin wants.
“I say things a lot of people are afraid to say. Yeah, ‘Teen Dream’ is about f–king a teenage girl. Every guy who’s seen a good-looking teenage girl has thought about it. I’m talking about that lecherous quality that every man, though he won’t act on it, has.”
Stacy McCain Bottom lines it:
Brett Kimberlin was a 41-year-old convict on parole when he recorded those songs “about having sex with teenage girls.” But Washington Post staff writer Monica Hesse evidently could not be bothered to read that, just like she apparently never read the Indianapolis Star account of Kimberlin’s crimes or Mark Singer’s book about “a man whose idea of the truth is utterly malleable” or that 1999 Slate article that called Kimberlin an “all-around sociopath.”
And remember all of this doesn’t even include the stuff from the last few years that Stacy calls the Kimberlin files
Maybe it’s just me but considering that feature from the past wouldn’t the current stuff involving Kimberlin, his ex-wife, and what he did or did not say to his daughter be I don’t know, Newsworthy?
Progressive Activist Brett Kimberlin‘Abusive … Threatening,’ Wife Claims
That headline today is not from the Washington Post, although these shocking claims against a famous activist were made in a Maryland court in the Montgomery County suburbs of our nation’s capital. Any reporter can click here to read the relevant document. Two or three phone calls, an hour or two of background research — a 500-word story for the Metro section would be an easy day’s work. And yet Brett Kimberlin is now apparently so insignificant and obscure that this case doesn’t even merit a 150-word item in the briefs column.
But that shouldn’t be a surprise, if Brett Kimberlin’s past was not relevant to Ms. Hesse and the Washington Post in 2007 I can’t see why his present would be relevant to them in 2013.
Stacy McCain is a veteran reporter. He likes to see journalism done right. He has critiqued both Ginger Gorman and Monica Hesse’s reporting on those standards, but this piece, my piece, is titled: Ginger Gorman, Mark Newton & Peter Truong vs Monica Hesse & Brett Kimberlin is about comparing the two.
I think there is no comparison.
Why, because I’d bet real money that if Ginger Gorman had done a cursory search of Newton & Truong and saw that kind of stuff, that Monica Hesse could have found on Kimberlin, alarm bells would have been going off in her head and I get the feeling she might have said to her boss at the ABC: Maybe we don’t want to use these guys for this piece on Gay Adoption.
Hesse not only didn’t use the available info on Kimberlin’s past, she had alternatives available.
Could Hess have done a piece of the same length without talking Brett Kimberlin perhaps focusing more on the YouTube angle or on the contests to fill up that piece? Yes, but she did not.
Could Hesse have done a small piece on young Kelsie Kimberlin’s contest win without the hagiography of her father? Yes, but she did not.
Could Ms Hesse have done a smaller story to celebrate Kelsie’s accomplishment without spoiling her rightfully proud moment with events that she had absolutely no responsibility for? Yes, but she did not.
Could Ms. Hesse’s had done a follow-up piece noting not only Mr. Kimberlin’s past but that his foundation just the year before, had been given grants from such liberal giants as the Tides Foundation , the Heinz Family Foundation and the Barbara Streisand Foundation and others to the tune of over $150,000 dollars. Yes, but she did not.
Ms Hesse did not, Ms Gorman could not and that makes all the difference.