AGAIN: Associated Press awards Cleveland Plain Dealer for anti-CCW reporting

by Chad D. Baus

For the second time in as many months, a liberal national media entity has patted the Cleveland Plain Dealer on the back for its anti-concealed carry coverage in Ohio.

In April, ultra-liberal Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for commentary that, among other things, bashed Ohio CHL-holders in 2004 as "Dirty Harry wannabe's".

Yesterday, the Associated Press Society of Ohio announced that The Plain Dealer won the First Amendment Award “for outstanding accomplishment in pursuing freedom of information on behalf of the public for its reporting on Ohio's concealed gun permits law.”

The Plain Dealer got more specific when bragging about the award, saying the AP specifically gave this award to the newspaper because it had abused the Media Access Loophole by publishing the private information of concealed handgun license-holders.

From the story:

    The Plain Dealer won the First Amendment Award for its continuing effort to publish the names of Ohioans who obtain permits to carry concealed weapons. A 2004 law gave journalists but not the general public access to permit holder lists. Some news organizations, including The Plain Dealer, have published the lists in print or online.

    "We did it because we felt the public had a right to know who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon," Plain Dealer Editor Doug Clifton said in an interview. "The legislature denied the public that right, so the newspaper wound up being the only source for that information.

    "This award is affirmation that it was the right thing to do. I'm pleased that the judges recognized that."

The liberal media elite in this country can pat itself on the back all it wants about its biased coverage of important social issues, but as Editor & Publisher has reported once again, the general public is about as far away from giving awards to them for their coverage as can be these days.

From E&P:

    A survey to be released Monday reveals a wide gap on many media issues between a group of journalists and the general public. In one finding, 43% of the public says the press has too much freedom, while only 3% of journalists agree. And just 14% of the public can name "freedom of the press" as a guarantee in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in the major poll conducted by the University of Connecticut Department of Public Policy.

    Six in ten among the public feel the media show bias in reporting the news, and 22% say the government should be allowed to censor the press. More than 7 in 10 journalists believe the media does a good or excellent job on accuracy -- but only 4 in 10 among the public feel that way. And a solid 53% of the public thinks stories with unnamed sources should not be published at all.

    Perhaps the widest gap of all: 8 in 10 journalists said they read blogs, while less than 1 in 10 others do so. Still, a majority of the news pros do not believe bloggers deserve to be called journalists.

It will come as no surprise, given the type of coverage the candidates received in the last Presidential election, that the journalists reported picking Kerry over Bush by 68% to 25%. According to E&P, “in this sample of 300 journalists, from both newspapers and TV, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 3 to 1...”

Another survey recently, conducted by the Missouri School of Journalism's Center for Advanced Social Research, found that about two-thirds of Americans say journalists invade people's privacy too often. 85 percent say they detect a bias in reporting. 74 percent say reporters tend to favor one side over the other when covering political and social issues.

Last year, the Zogby International 2004 Values poll found that voters overwhelmingly favor Right-to-Carry by a margin of 79% to 18%. These self-defense laws drew better than 70% support in every demographic group, with even non-gun owners indicating their backing by 73% to 23%.

Doug Clifton can look at awards he wins from other biased media entities all he wants as evidence he is "doing the right thing", but when viewed in light of the opinions of the public he convinces himself he serves, his actions are clearly anything but "right".

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In Ohio, a ''maintenance engineer" is a journalist; an online News Mgr. isn't

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