Tag: Journalism

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It’s not news that traditional newsrooms are shrinking across America. Some local newspapers have gone from daily to biweekly or less, if not out of business altogether. This, despite the rise of new digital news organizations in recent years. You’ve probably seen them, from a national network of local “Patch” outlets, left-leaning Axios and its […]

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I was reminded again this weekend that background to a situation should superintend journalistic reporting on a matter. Many may have read or read about the NYTs Harvard chaplain story circulating late this past week. Jordan Gandhi has done us a great service by providing the background to the situation from Harvard Christian Alumni; I […]

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I Was a Student Journalist – For a Day, At Least

 

On April 28th, 1976, I arrived at school and heard very disturbing news: Our school principal, Mr. Tauzer, had just died of a heart attack. I was a ninth-grader at Comstock Junior High School (a 7th – 9th-grade school) and was co-editor of the school newspaper, the Premier ’70. My journalism teacher, Mr. Stockman, told us that he wanted us to put a paper that covered the principal’s death and life.

Usually, the news of our paper was reporting on sports, student council meetings, paper drives, dances, and I would write snarky satirical articles about the faculty (usually greatly reined in by our advisor) but for this paper, we would be writing about something that actually mattered.  Over several days our staff went to work reporting and writing. But on May 7, 1976, we had to put the paper out. Along with my co-editor, Rene Sanchez, I was excused from all other classes for the day as we worked to put the paper out. Our staff had interviewed staff and students and even some of the principal’s neighbors to put the stories together. But that day we had to edit those stories, do the layout, print up the paper, and distribute the paper to the sixth-period classes.

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I’m convinced that American media coverage and narratives are designed to accomplish a set of key goals: Fuel outrage against designated cultural, political, religious, and racial disfavored groups that are often over and unfairly generalized (e.g.: police officers, white people, Republicans, Christians) and/or purposely amorphous in their definition and characteristics (e.g.: white supremacists) by interpreting […]

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Media Exploited Anonymous Sources to Lie About Trump’s Georgia Call

 

Journalists Are Duty Bound To Pursue Objective Truth, Not To Become A Tool

After a 40+ year relationship, I ended my Washington Post subscription last year. Their (and the New York Timeswholly undeserved Pulitzer Prize over breathless and largely discredited reporting of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax and overreliance on anonymous sources for an endless stream of anti-Trump stories lost me. I knew I could no longer trust the Washington Post – owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos – as a credible journalistic enterprise.

Oh man, it’s media day in our year-end Three Martini Lunch awards and Jim and Greg are holding nothing back.  Specifically, they look at the stories the mainstream media covered far too much, the ones they conveniently ignored because they didn’t fit their narrative, and what they saw as the best stories of 2020.

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer the first supplies of the new Pfizer coronavirus vaccine being shipped out to inoculate medical personnel and vulnerable citizens. They also get a kick out of CNN and American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan being horrified that someone secretly recorded and leaked a conversation with Joe Biden and then seriously agreeing with another reporter who mockingly suggested that the media should only report things that come from the Biden team. And they discuss the sexual harassment allegations made against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo by his former aide and how the media are instantly demanding proof when the accused is a Democrat.

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Just once, when one of the ‘journalists’ like Jake Tapper, Chuck Todd or Chris Wallace demands from someone like Sidney Powell why they aren’t giving them the detailed evidence they want, I would like to hear the response: “Well, Jake/Chuck/Chris – you are the supposed journalist.  What evidence is there that you are looking for […]

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The Cost of Information, Good and Bad

 

Is there something about the decreasing price of information that makes it harder to sift the chaff from the wheat? I have investigated this phenomenon before with respect to poetry. The barriers to entry for writing and publishing poetry have come down significantly over the centuries, and especially over the last few decades. There is much more poetry, but not necessarily any more good poetry. Thus, it becomes more of a chore to find good new poems. (Trust me, I once published and edited a poetry magazine.) The same seems to be happening with “news” and other information sources. There seem to be more outlets serving fewer real facts. Finding these facts becomes more and more difficult.

What are you seeing out there, Ricochet?

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As a young trade association communications director in 1980, I was not long removed from being a newspaper editor and reporter. Then a flack of sorts for the National Restaurant Association, I remember picking up my Washington Post and reading an incredible, 2,200-word story about an 8-year-old heroin addict in the Washington Post by a […]

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InStyle Magazine’s latest cover model is that cool cat, Dr. Anthony Fauci! If you’re not familiar with InStyle Magazine from your local hairdresser, the magazine is described on Amazon, InStyle magazine is a fun and style-inspiring publication that gives the reader an opportunity to see the personal side of famous stars and trendsetters. This magazine offers motivational articles and […]

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I’ve been alarmed at a boycott of Facebook by big companies trying to pressure it into doing MORE heavy-handed content policing. This is in the background of street demonstrations but could be sinister and we should be vigilant that the louder statue removal and street action story doesn’t overwhelm attention needed on other spinoffs and […]

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Why it is Important to Practice Stoicism.

 

This point got buried in a semi-related thread, but I think it deserves it’s own.

Last week, 75-year-old Martin Gugino was shoved by a member of Buffalo New York’s emergency response unit. I live in upstate New York and this story has almost surpassed the George Floyd murder as the number one topic that every idiot on social media has to give their opinion on. I was pretty disgusted by the video when I first saw it. It’s pretty graphic. Then I started approaching the issue from the perspective of logic and reason. Stoicism is important because emotions tend to blur the truth. Be like Mr. Spock when approaching these situations. Reason. Logic. Stoicism.

Conspiracy Theories and Flawed Journalism

 

In case you haven’t been paying attention, Donald Trump has once again stirred up a hornet’s nest with one of his tweets, this time concerning the death of Lori Klausutis, an employee of then-Congressman Joe Scarborough. The story in a nutshell is that Klausutis, an otherwise fit young woman of 28, died in Scarborough’s Fort Walton Beach office from a head injury she sustained when passing out due to an undiagnosed heart condition. It has been a favorite topic among conspiracy theorists for almost 20 years.

The medical examiner’s report should have been the end of it. After all, the outcome of the autopsy was perfectly reasonable. But then several things got in the way. One, the medical examiner that made the ruling turned out to be a bit of a crackpot, arrested a decade later for illegally keeping stolen body parts in a South Florida storage facility. Secondly, Scarborough himself hasn’t helped. Here he is joking about the incident on Don Imus’ nationally syndicated radio show while pushing the launch of a show on MSNBC:

That was in 2003. Laughter is a strange reaction from someone who said it was outrageous rumors that caused him to resign his seat in Congress.

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Over at the Bulwark, Jonathan V. Last, seemingly suffering Stage 4 Trump Derangement Syndrome, has shared a new entry from his dream journal. The COVID-19 pandemic is his generation’s Vietnam. Want to know why? Okay, see if you can follow this: 58K Americans have died of coronavirus and 58K Americans died in the Vietnam War. […]

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CNN Should Change Its Format Back to News

 

America could use a news network, especially in times like these. Most basic cable packages offer CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, but these aren’t news channels. Not really. They are politics channels. Politics has always been part of the coverage, of course, but it was treated as just one part of a much broader whole.

Flip back the calendar a few decades. The nightly news would feature a flood in Bangladesh, the latest on a budget deal from DC, a grisly crime in the Heartland, cross-border conflict in Israel, and a heartwarming closer on a centenarian skydiver. Switch to the only cable news channel and CNN would add an interview with a world leader, NBA playoff predictions, the marriage/divorce of a Hollywood power couple, and an exposé of a corrupt congressman.

Turn on CNN today: Trump screwed up the Coronavirus response, then a Coronavirus death toll, 14 talking heads yelling about Republicans, why Trump’s use of “Chinese virus” is racist, and a heartwarming closer on a centenarian who hates Trump.

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For my third year of college, I lived in the dorms with a fifth-year senior. Some of his friends planned to run for student body president and vice-president as a joke party, the Bloom County Party and they registered as Bill and Opus. They asked him to join them and he recruited me for one […]

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A front page headline, above the fold, on today’s (electronic) Wall Street Journal: “Democrats Prepare to Make Case for Removing Trump from Office” That is indeed important, breaking news of the kind that justifies the existence of newspapers. Otherwise, people might get the idea that that’s what the impeachment hearings in the House were all […]

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The Multi-Front Attack on Free Speech

 

Free speech…free expression generally…is under attack in America and throughout the Western world to a degree not seen in a long time. I think there are specific phenomena and (partially-overlapping) categories of people which are largely driving this attack, to wit:

The Thugs. As I pointed out in my post The United States of Weimar?, illegal actions against political opponents, ranging from theft of newspapers to direct assault and battery, have in recent decades become increasingly common on university campuses, and now are well on track to being normalized as aspects of American politics. Incidents of political thuggery are reported almost daily: just the other day, pro-Trump women at an upscale DC hotel were verbally attacked and apparently physically assaulted by members of a wedding party that was heavy on Democrat attendees; including, reportedly, some top officials from the DNC. A pro-free-speech film was reportedly interrupted by two men wearing masks. Interruption of movies they didn’t like was a tactic used by the Nazis prior to their obtaining official censorship powers. The film “All Quiet on the Western Front” was plagued by Nazi disruptions when released in Germany in 1930. And attempts to shut down dissident speakers on college campuses, such as this, have become so common as to now be almost the default expectation.