Friday, May 16, 2008

It Lives

Through the miracle of Google Cache, I bring to you, straight back from the dead, CDT Watch.


The mission: to hold the Centre Daily Times accountable. The journey begins May 4, 2008. Let's start the insanity.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
A mission begins

Some blogs are really good at the whole bashing thing.

We're not here to bash, though. Not so much, at least.

Welcome to CDT WATCH, a new blog being launched with one mission: to hold the Centre Daily Times accountable for its actions -- or lack thereof.

This mission sprouts from a few basic beliefs and observations:

1) The press, including the local press, has a deep moral obligation to take full advantage of its First Amendment rights; to challenge authority; to be thorough and precise in its news reporting; and to be dogged, fearless and thoughtful in choosing targets for news coverage.

And while the CDT news department offers several bright spots (including Mike Joseph, Dena Pauling and now Lauren Boyer, as well), the institution overall appears to have drifted from its public-service mission, especially in recent years.

2) The region needs an effective watchdog -- a watchdog that monitors local government, the business community, state and national politicians, even the nonprofits. We at CDT WATCH worry that the CDT has become more of a local, uncritical cheerleader and less of a truth-teller.

Witness the mindless regurgitation of press releases in the newspaper. The "business coverage" amounts to drive-by reporting, free advertising and the transcription of well-spun statements from corporate PR flaks. Likewise, too often, the CDT reprints Penn State press releases without asking any effective questions of the university -- if the paper asks any questions at all.

Meanwhile, the CDT also acts as a cheerleader for the United Way -- a cause that many folks consider noble. But does the United Way not merit a critical, objective review, even if only every once in a while? Corruption can fester in philanthropic organizations, too.

On a similar front: The CDT, winning praise for its coverage of affordable-housing issues, has accepted an award from a group that advocates for affordable housing. It's hard to argue against affordable housing, but here's the thing: Why is the CDT accepting a formal award from this advocacy group? Why would the CDT accept an award -- lauding its news coverage -- from any group that advocates for a cause, on any side of any issue?

In short, the paper's independence and reputation have been compromised.

These are just a few small examples. CDT WATCH wonders how the CDT expects to maintain credibility and an independent streak when it so willingly turns over its news pages to propaganda, including shameless self-promotion. (Check the Sunday opinion page for more on that score.)

3) McClatchy should be ashamed.

It's been well more than a year since the Sacramento, Calif.-based newspaper company took over the CDT, after the demise of longtime owner Knight Ridder Inc. Since then, it seems to CDT WATCH, the paper has gotten thinner -- and its news coverage weaker.

Where is the corporate oversight? Is the demand for profit so strong -- or the threat of financial ruin so overwhelming -- that McClatchy has lost any will to stand guard over this newspaper's journalism? Does McClatchy hold its newsrooms to any semblance of standards?

For instance: Why is a story about the Walker-owned gardens in Clearfield County allowed to hit the paper with nary a mention of the newest family politico, Derek Walker? And why is the police reporter allowed to make borderline racist remarks in his blog? Does anyone in Sacramento read this stuff?

OK -- so maybe we're perilously close to the bashing category now.

But who can blame us?

Anyway, welcome to CDT WATCH, where the mission is simple:

Hold the CDT accountable.

In a market where the CDT holds something of a monopoly, the "watchdog" (That should be the CDT) needs a watchdog.

Also, we would be remiss without offering nods and mad props to Safeguard Old State, Penn State Off the Record, and Veblen over at Left of Centre. All have done solid work in recent months to hold the CDT accountable, too. CDT WATCH hopes to have friendly relationships with all three.

We'll be updating here as often as possible.

And your comments are always welcome. (Or e-mail us at

Let the journey begin.
Posted by CDT Watch at 12:52 PM 0 comments Links to this post
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