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Row, Row, Row Your Back...
Today, for the first time, TVNewser has hinted, however cryptically, at his newfound reliance on Live Plus ratings data. The "scoreboard" post for July 18 includes the notation "(L+SD)". Yet, nowhere does TVN explain to readers what "L + SD" means, why has elected to use Live Plus Same Day ratings (according to an email he sent to Olbermann Watch, it is because Live Plus Same Day is what MSNBC uses to evaluate Keith Olbermann's "success"), when he first began to use Live Plus ratings and why he has chosen to use "L+SD" instead of the more common "L + SW" (Live Plus Same Week).
There is no right or wrong answer as to which ratings are better. Our concern at Olbermann Watch has never been whether Live or Live Plus ratings more accurately gauge audience size. We are far more interested in TVN's well-documented habit of playing fast and loose with information published on the Media Bistro site, his lack of credibility among those who pay close attention to his shenanigans and his absence of journalistic standards. The Live/Live Plus switcheroo is just the latest in a long line of such hijinks at TVN including back-dating of posts, manipulating time-stamps, sereptious editing and wholesale deletion of posts that his "handlers" find offensive.
Today's bit of journalistic trickery is known as a "rowback". Former New York Times Public Editor Dan Okrent explained "Rowback" this way:
The one definition I could find for this ancient technique, from journalism educator Melvin Mencher, describes a rowback as ''a story that attempts to correct a previous story without indicating that the prior story had been in error or without taking responsibility for the error.'' A less charitable definition might read, ''a way that a newspaper can cover its butt without admitting it was ever exposed.''
In the case of TVN's most recent "scoreboard" post, he has quietly added the "L + SD" notation in response to recent criticism here on Olbermann Watch without explaining why it is there or what it means. He has not taken responsibility for his previous failure to disclose his switch from Live to Live Plus nor he has gone back and edited his previous posts in which he published Live Plus data. In other words, the "L + SD" notation is not for the benefit of TVN readers but a ploy to silently respond to valid criticism while setting the stage for later being able to rebut future criticism by pointing out that he does disclose his use of Live Plus without acknowledging that for some undefined period he was not and that there may be many posts that present Live Plus data as if it is Live data.
There IS a simple, forthright way out of this mess but for some reason Brian refuses to run a "mea culpa" post, specify where and for how long he has been passing off Live Plus data as Live data and taking his lumps.