Tag: Journalism

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Each morning The New York Times “The Morning” email is delivered to my inbox. Each morning I scan the news the Old Gray Lady is willing to print. I realize going in that there will be a certain slant to the coverage. One event will be promoted for observation, another will be unobserved altogether. A further point […]

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As a researcher and writer, I care deeply for factual transparency and honesty in reportage. I read across a wide spectrum of viewpoints. Paid subscriptions from the following are sent to my inbox, all of which I scan (and often read in-depth) daily: The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic, National Public Radio, […]

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Плохие дни для Мр. Путина: A Week of Prize Winning Russians (Borscht Report #10)

 

As international recognition of Russia goes, this hasn’t been a fun week for Vladimir Putin. News that the Kremlin had decided to reimpose lockdowns and the President’s own admission that the country could be hurt by a gas crisis was overshadowed only by two things: Dmirty Muratov winning the Nobel Peace Prize and Alexei Navalny being awarded the Sakharov Prize. Neither man is a friend of the regime, to say the least, and winning such prominent awards bolsters Muratov’s international profile, keeps Navalny on Western minds, and gives much-needed succor to the pro-democracy opposition movement in the country.

Anyone that follows Russia will be familiar with Navalny, but I think it’s worth doing something of a deep (or at least not quite shallow) dive on Muratov, as he represents a branch of the opposition less recognized than political and movement leaders outside of the country. 

Essential to understanding Muratov is understanding the outfit he works for, Новая газета/Novaya Gazeta, lit. New Gazette. Founded in part with the monetary prize from Mikhail Gorbachev’s 1990 Nobel Prize win, the newspaper put out its first edition on the 1st of April, 1993. Many of the journalists were drawn from Komsomolskaya Pravda (one of the official news arms of the Komsomol, the youth wing of the Soviet Communist Party, which is now a tabloid), and were excited for the opportunity to do uncensored journalism for a non-state entity. The newspaper did everything but endear itself to Vladimir Putin from the start; in 2001, it became embroiled in a fierce legal battle for accusing a member of his inner circle, Sergei Pugachev, of corruption. Although the organization he represented was eventually forced to withdraw its claim for compensation because the extent of the corruption was revealed, by materials the organization’s own lawsuit, to be much worse than previously thought, the pattern repeated itself. 

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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.