Newsweek on Ripping Online Poker: “No Bias For or Against Online Gambling”

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In response to a letter to the editor, Newsweek writer Leah McGrath Goodman (pictured) explained the rationale for and background to the cover story in the magazine’s August 22 edition espousing the societal ills of online gambling. Despite not conveying any reaction from pro-gambling forces, Goodman asserted, “No view was unwelcome and there was no bias for or against online gambling. The focus was simply on getting the best information possible.”

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Goodman detailed, “In my interviews for Newsweek, I spoke with a wide range of experts, some named in the story and others not. These sources represented all sides of the discussion and included the White House, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, gaming regulators, industry advocates, youth-gambling experts, gaming companies, politicians, lawyers, and scientists.”

Despite her comments, Goodman’s article reeks of a biased piece. The Poker Players Alliance, the main lobbying voice for poker players on Capitol Hill in the US, is mentioned exactly once, and that’s without a quote. Instead, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz, a Republican, uses the article as a personal platform to promote his bill that would clarify that the Wire Act applies to all forms of online gambling, including poker, flipping the switch to “Off” for the three regulated markets in the US.

A sad-looking kid with an iPad with playing cards on it graces the cover and Goodman, in her follow-up, charged that Caesars offers “kid-themed gaming” online. She lamented that online sites are “not better policed to stop targeting children” and called her research of geo-location “exhaustive.”

To that end, Goodman claimed, “According to gaming regulators, the technology does not always stop online gambling from creeping into neighboring states and there have been cases where this has happened. States do try to measure the area of failure and create buffers, but the science is inexact and will take time to perfect.”

Blasting Goodman and Newsweek for allowing the seemingly biased story to take center stage has been the PPA, whose Vice President, Rich TheEngineer Muny (pictured), wrote on Facebook, “Your statement that your ‘research’ shows sites are geared to children is ridiculous, as children cannot access real money sites. You admit you’re conflating social gaming and wagering, but have not proven any real link. You’ve simply said that’s your opinion and included some cherry-picked quotes.”

On Friday, PokerNews published an “open letter” to Goodman and Newsweek about the piece, which it called “downright lopsided, bad journalism.”

In this author’s opinion, the lack of any pro-online gambling comments is alarming, which would seem to indicate that Goodman was strongly urged (read: paid) to write this piece, but how it managed to get through Newsweek’s editing staff is beyond me, especially with such a slanted picture on the cover. It’s the ultimate example of sensationalizing the news.

Goodman, whom you can contact at @truth_eater on Twitter, commented on the social media site:

Moreover, Goodman’s piece fails to mention anything about the pro-internet gambling legislation currently circulating on Capitol Hill and fails to mention the names of any champions of the industry like Joe Barton (R-TX). Instead, it trumpets the heroics of Chaffetz and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as if they had just coached the Cubs to a World Series title.

For an article that bashes sites like PokerStars, it has exactly one quote from the world’s largest online poker site. It also has zero quotes and no data from regulated markets like France and Spain.

As PokerNews’ Matt Parviseloquently wrote in the comments section of Goodman’s piece, “Newsweek editors should be ashamed for allowing this to be published.” 2+2’s Matt Sklansky added, “It is actually quite disturbing to see Newsweek looking like a tabloid, complete with sordid pictures of a cute little kid. Shame on you, pseudo journalists.”

Instead of Newsweek, this author is now dubbing it “News”week.

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5 COMMENTS

    • Just another brainwashed member of Focus on the Family. Just imagine gambling via a weekly 10% of your gross pay tithe to a cultist/religious organization all your life on the promise that you’ll enjoy an afterlife/gateway to a non-existent “heaven” when you cease to respire. Talk about a suckers bet! Beautiful excerpt from an email I had received from Planned Parenthood today: “…more important than a bunch of people with nothing better to do than pass judgment on strangers.”. P.S. – You don’t qualify as a stranger… when you’re an author for a compromised international media conglomerate.

    • A friend of mine found her personal website. She has a complete section for “Haters”. lol http://leahmcgrathgoodman.com/