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TRIB FLUB? Nation's top journalism review scolds CoMo newspaper over campaign story

Columbia Daily Tribune should "have known better"

COLUMBIA, 9/24/12 (Beat Byte) -- Simply repeating the company, party, or establishment line without questions or critical thinking has the Columbia Daily Tribune in hot water with the nation's most prestigious journalism publication.

"What did Columbia, Missouri readers get?  Misleading information about Medicare cuts," writes Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) columnist Trudy Lieberman in a harshly-worded Sept. 21 critique of an Akin-McCaskill U.S. Senate campaign story written by Tribune reporter Rudi Keller.  
 
Lieberman scolded the newspaper for "dragging out that canard about Obama and the Democrats cutting billions from Medicare," a GOP talking point suggesting basic benefits to seniors are on the chopping block.
 
The Affordable Care Act -- aka Obamacare -- "calls for cuts in future reimbursements...but not in basic benefits to seniors, as the GOP has repeatedly suggested," Lieberman writes.  "That news apparently has not reached the Daily Tribune."
 
The flap started when Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill said she wants higher income folks to pay more for Medicare, which she suggested "buys too many power chairs for seniors and disabled people with mobility problems."
 
The Trib's Keller asked her Republican challenger, Todd Akin, to respond.  "I hardly see how reducing the number of motorized wheelchairs can balance out her vote to strip $700 billion from Medicare," Akin campaign aide Ryan Hite explained, referencing McCaskill's yes vote for Obamacare.
 
But McCaskill's vote meant no such Medicare cuts and "the paper should have known better than to repeat [GOP talking points] without pushing back," Lieberman writes.  "A good campaign story would have given an honest explanation of the cuts and more meat about [VP candidate Paul] Ryan’s proposal."
 
CJR is based at Columbia University in New York City.


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