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Friday, July 24, 2009

Asheville Citizen-Times Reporter Leslie Boyd Charged by Bloggers with Web of Ethics Violations

Screenshot taken of AC-T Website

Asheville bloggers have taken on the lefty bias of local media outlets, including the Asheville Citizen-Times and WLOS-TV in Asheville. I was alerted to this story via Twitter by @LiberT who also has a blog called Fr33 Asheville.

Previously, Freedom Works held a Health Care protest in front of Blue Dog Democrat Congress Heath Shuler's office in Asheville, and the Asheville Citizen-Times did not send a reporter to cover the event (despite giving copious amounts of coverage to lefty rallies & protests), and the WLOS story focused more attention to the opposing side, and most of the coverage they gave the protest was focused on advocating FOR Government-run health care. Witness the video below:

A new Asheville blogger [since October 2008], Jane Q Republican, has noted the activism of one of the Asheville Citizen-Times reporters, Leslie Boyd. Here is an excerpt:

For evidence of whether Ms. Boyd’s involvement has influenced the news, I refer you to last week’s rally in opposition to Nationalized Healthcare. On Friday, July 17, over 250 area citizens gathered at the Asheville office of Heath Shuler (D-NC11) in opposition to the proposed government takeover of healthcare. The Asheville Citizen-Times did not send a single reporter or photographer. To date, not a single word in Asheville’s only daily newspaper has been devoted to this event.

When Ms. Boyd became a journalist, she made the choice to be an impartial observer and reporter of the news. She promised to uphold a code of ethics which prohibits her from entering into public politics and activism. This was a career choice that she made and, judging by the name she has made for herself at the Asheville Citizen-Times, it was a good one. If she has now changed her mind and wishes to enter the political activism arena, that is indeed her prerogative. What she may not do, however, is straddle the fence between the two occupations. She may not make the news and report it too.

At least, not if she is held to the standards of her employment contract . That remains to be seen.

Source: Jane Q Republican (read the whole article, which includes email exchanges between the blogger and the newspaper)

Another blogger covering this is Tim Peck. This is a portion of what he has to contribute:

Asheville Citizen-Times reporter Leslie Boyd has violated the code of journalistic ethics by participating in partisan political events as an advocate while also covering the story for her employer. Boyd is pictured on the WNC for Change website as the keynote speaker at the recent Healthcare Reform Rally held at Pritchard Park in Asheville on June 20, 2009.

Source: Tim Peck (he goes on to provide links and photos of the Moveon Rally...which Boyd was unable to attend at the last moment).

I'll add my two cents worth to the kitty by noting what Leslie Boyd has posted herself online regarding how she sees her job and her advocacy for the nationalization of healthcare.

From her Ning Network blog (created by the Asheville Citizen-Times):

Things here have been pretty bleak. We had layoffs yesterday. Rob and I escaped, but we had friends who worked here a long time who got cut. I feel like I'm watching the demise of an entire industry.
But it's more than just an industry, and being a reporter is more than just a job. We felt like we had a higher calling: to be watchdogs of government and big business, to dig out the truth and to inform the public. We have been the children of the First Amendment.
Now most papers have too few people in the newsroom to do any investigative reporting. We can report on government meetings, but we can't dig any deeper. We can write about the new office building being put up, but not on the dealings that helped it get permits in spite of height restrictions or zoning laws.
In the end, government and big business will be able to do what they want, unfettered by the press looking over them. Actually, they pretty much do already.

Source: WNC Mom I lifted the whole post in case it gets tossed down the memory hole.

And another, on her advocacy:

WNC for Change had a health care rally in Asheville this morning and 300 people came out. That's almost twice as many as came out last fall. People are getting worried that this won't get fixed after all, and they want to tell Congress that's not acceptable.
I was the keynote speaker, telling Mike's story and noting that he was one of about 30,000 who died last year.
Rep. Heath Shuler met with about 50 of us this afternoon and assured us he wants to fix it too, but the law says it has to be defecit neutral. I can think of a few ways to raise the money, but none of them will happen because corporations are more important than people in America.
I'm not sure how we'll take it back, but I'm working on it.
If you want to see photos of the rally and of Heath Shuler, visit here:

Source: WNC Mom Again, I lifted the entire post for the same reason as the last.

As Jane Q Republican and Tim Peck have pointed out, she covered the rallies for the Asheville Citizen-Times events at which she herself was a speaker and organizer.

A lefty blog had this to say about Leslie Boyd's keynote address at the rally, which the War Resister's League billed as "Asheville Calls for Health Care Revolution":

By far the most powerful speaker was local reporter and health care advocate Leslie Boyd who spoke with “righteous indignation” about her son’s death due to denial of critical health care. She founded the group Life o’ Mike to commemorate her son and to advocate for health care for all.

I have, so far, been unable to locate online video of Boyd speaking at any of these events. If you know of an example, please let me know in the comments, and if you are in possession of such video, let me know in the comments, and I will help you get it posted online.

It is time we held "journalists" accountable. And they wonder why they are held in in low regard by their fellow Americans. I would tell them that their lefty bias has turned a significant portion of their audience off. I quit buying papers from the AC-T over two years ago because I couldn't just take it anymore. Due to the recent cutbacks at the paper, as reported by AshVegas, I have not been the only one.

It would be more acceptable to me if they would come right out and admit that they are lefties instead of pretending they are unbiased.

Let this incident serve notice to the various news media outlets of western North Carolina that they can no longer serve as Gate Keepers of the news, nor can they set the agenda as they have in the past. They should come clean about their biases, as most bloggers do.

When bloggers report on events or news stories, they usually aren't afraid to come right out and tell you what side they are on, and then they proceed to tell you why they believe as they do.

**Note...I have preserved the original spellings in the posts I excerpted for use here.

As an example of a lefty paper, I give you the Mountain Xpress. Everyone knows they are lefties, and they don't hide it. And the thing is, they often provide better coverage of Asheville in a weekly free paper than the Citizen-Times does with a daily paper.