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Biased Reporting Fails to Meet Standards of Journalism

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Special Report finds The Detroit Free Press Only Ten Percent Reliable on ‘State of Charter Schools’

CER Press Release
Washington, D.C.
October 20, 2014

Measuring the Reliability of the Detroit Free Press: State of Charter Schools, released today by The Media Bullpen©, found the major news outlet to be only ten percent reliable in its June 22-29, 2014 series on charter schools.

The Media Bullpen© – an entirely separate, editorially independent news arm of The Center for Education Reform (CER) – analyzed the 8-day, 42-article series based on its reliability, objectivity and whether the full context of the issues were presented. This special report found the Detroit Free Press failed to take “journalistic integrity and impartiality seriously.”

Through its own investigation, The Media Bullpen© also discovered that the Free Press reprinted the series, intentionally omitting any counter editorials from charter school operators, parents, authorizers, and supporters that originally ran over the summer. On September 18, 2014, every legislator in Michigan received the reprint from the Free Press, which happened to be the very same day legislators opposed to charter schools introduced legislation to place a moratorium on these innovative public schools.

“The fact that this series failed to present all sides of the story is troubling enough,” said Kara Kerwin, CER president. “But what’s even more concerning is that a news organization that is supposed to educate the public and lawmakers by presenting fair and balanced information unethically used this so-called ‘investigative’ series to engage in state politics in a really blatant way.”

“Contrary to the Free Press’ claims, Michigan spends $13 billion of taxpayers’ dollars on K-12 public education, yet not a single traditional public school has been closed by the Michigan Department of Education or a Michigan school district for academic reasons,” noted Kerwin. “Michigan’s charter school closure rate is twenty-two percent, while the national charter school closure rate is 15 percent. The fact that Michigan has one of the highest charter school closure rates in the nation shows that authorizers in the state take accountability and the public’s trust to educate students to their fullest potential very seriously.”

Measuring the Reliability of the Detroit Free Press: State of Charter Schools examines the most egregious statements from all articles in the Free Press series regarding achievement, authorizers and accountability, approvals, education service providers, funding and student demographics.

Download or access the Special Report from The Media Bullpen© here.