Journalistic Integrity? July 17, 2007Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics, The Press.
COO COO CA CHOO, MRS. ROBINSON
FITSNews – July 17, 2007 – We’ve always wondered about La Socialista education reporter Bill Robinson. It’s not that his coverage is “a little bit” partial toward the education establishment, the fact is the articles he writes have more slant to them than the Pyramids at Giza.
For example, Robinson wrote a Tolstoy-esque novel the day State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex visited a local education career fair (complete with fawning descriptions of Rex’s suit and tie choices), yet when a report was released ranking South Carolina last in the nation in graduation rates (again), Robinson didn’t write a single word. Nor did any of his colleagues. Apparently, La Socialista‘s corporate commitment to “public service journalism” and telling “truth to power” only applies when they’re not pushing somebody’s agenda.
We’ve written about Robinson’s unique ability to put the “BS” in “bias” in his education coverage here and here, but for the longest time we couldn’t put our finger on the reason why. Well, grab your socks and hose and pull, people, because it turns out there’s a pretty good reason …
After ignoring our initial request for information, FITSNews received the following e-mail from Robinson yesterday:
My wife is employed as a middle school teacher in Lexington District 2 (Cayce-West Columbia schools). My beat-coverage responsibilities are Lexington districts 1, 3, Lexington-Richland 5 and statewide education issues, which include the state Department of Education, Education Oversight Committee and some legislative coverage. Aside from big-picture articles that include all Midlands districts, I do not cover Lexington District 2’s activities.
Well, that explains a lot. At least Herculean efforts have been undertaken by La Socialista to avoid a possible conflict of interest. You know, kind of like the time the paper hired the former Communications Director for longtime Democratic Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum and promptly assigned him to cover higher education issues.
Interestingly enough, the first person we spoke with at Lexington 2 refused to provide us with any information concerning its employees, but eventually we got on the phone with Human Resources Director Dr. Angie Cooper, who acknowledged it was public information and promised to get back with us.
Assuming she does respond, we’re not going to publish Mrs. Robinson’s name, title and salary information, mind you. It’s all public record, of course, but frankly we don’t have an interest in making her life miserable, especially when we’ve already made our point.
We also don’t necessarily think Mr. Robinson should be forced to resign, although we think what little shred of credibility his paper has left on education issues would be well served by reassigning him to another beat.