Tag: Journalism

Media Narrative Chart


I created a chart to ensure that budding journalists understand how to properly frame a story involving any type of shooting, terror attack, or other violent crime. Remember that the job of the Objective Journalist™ is not to tell the audience what happened, but to expand the event into an indictment of Western culture.


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These protests in Beirut caught my attention: Protesters and police clashed in Beirut over the weekend in one of the biggest shows of civil disobedience in Lebanon in 10 years, sparked by anger at piles of steaming rubbish on the streets and the political inaction that has led to the situation. Preview Open

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Controlling The Narrative: Climate Change


It’s always interesting to watch how the media tailor news to support their favored agenda, and The Washington Post provided an excellent example just last week. Written by Chris Mooney, “Alaska’s scorched summer” carried the subtitle “A state already affected by climate change has seen 5 million acres – an area larger than Connecticut – burned by wildfires.” The article continued on to the last page of the front section, where it took up the entire page.

Mooney is an environment and energy reporter for the Post. He is also author of the best-selling The Republican War on Science, writes frequently on the importance of the proper framing for narratives in support of his views on environmental issues, and is a prime example of what Instapundit refers to as “Democratic operatives with bylines.” He is a man with a mission to convince you to take action.

My views on politics and environmental issues have been shaped by my experience in the field since the mid-1970s. It’s pretty simple actually: no one has a monopoly on “the war on science” and partisans across the political spectrum mold their approach to specific scientific issues to fit their political starting points (and don’t get me started on the difference between regulatory science and actual science).

Journalism and Non-Literal Communication


Pseud’s recent post about Sharyl Attkisson fact-checking Trump’s passing remarks about McCain raises an interesting dilemma for journalists. How do you report on non-literal statements?

As I said in my comment there, I believe Trump was clearly being sarcastic when he said, ”[McCain] is a war hero because he was captured.” The implication, as evidenced by surrounding remarks, was that McCain is not a war hero because accidental suffering does not make one a hero. (That’s not to say Trump is correct or that he shouldn’t have followed the comment by acknowledging that McCain served with honor, at least. But that’s a discussion for other threads.)

Obama Scolds Journalist for Committing Journalism


There was a bizarre event at the President’s press conference Wednesday, one rarely seen in the past six-plus years. A member of the White House press corps asked Obama a difficult question. Major Garrett of CBS News cast a skeptical eye on the administration’s “historic” deal with the genocidal Iranian regime.

Journalism and its Discontents, Part I


Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.06.17Over the weekend, we had an interesting discussion on the Member Feed about journalism as a profession. Southern Pessimist asked me this question: “Give me some ideas,” he wrote, “of what you think needs to be reported that is not being reported.”

My answer to this is so long that I’ll break it into a few parts. What should perhaps precede this post is a detailed historical account of what’s happened to the news industry since the end of the Cold War. I’ll come back to that, though, because the first point I want to make is that these changes have had significant consequences — largely, and surprisingly, bad ones.

So let’s in fact call this Part II. Let me begin by talking about foreign news coverage, since this is what I know best. I wrote this piece a few years ago: How to Read Today’s Unbelievably Bad News. Please do read the whole thing, but these are the key points:

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Related to the Snowden dilemma, there is the question of news media profiting off illegally obtained information. Perhaps Snowden’s case is a poor example. So here’s another:  Michelle Duggar said her family trusted the police department [which illegally leaked juvenile records]: “Our children poured out their hearts. They shared everything. And then to have their […]

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Is There a Mole at the Washington Post?


“Man is not a rational animal. He is a rationalizing animal.” – Robert Heinlein

shutterstock_132280742What to make of the resolutely pro-choice Washington Post’s lengthy Style section travelogue following a woman who drove 407 miles to obtain a second trimester abortion? Is this part of the campaign to destigmatize abortion? If so, they’ve chosen a very odd way to do it. Or perhaps Monica Hesse, the Post writer, is a pro-life mole?

The First Amendment for Dummies


Most of us have some ritual to help bring us to full alertness in the morning. Since it is not socially acceptable to run an IV drip of caffeine directly into your blood stream, most people settle on coffee as their delivery method. I prefer a shot of adrenaline in the morning courtesy of the rage induced by reading the left-wing commentariat.

Take this morning as an example. The left has never been particularly fond of the Bill of Rights, but usually avoids blatant calls to abridge First Amendment protections on speech. Not today. The LA Times, for example, is wondering where free speech ends and hate speech begins. For the Time’s edification, I have included a handy Venn diagram. The yellow circle represents hate speech, and the blue circle represents the applicability of free speech protections.

National Guard Withdraws… From Kent State


I was 10 years old in 1970. I was vaguely aware of the unrest that had gripped the nation for most of the previous decade. I was baffled by black power salutes at the Olympics, riots at the conventions, and the Vietnam war. I was not all that interested in what was going on in Kent State in May of that year, though it was a mere 30 miles away.

In time, though, I certainly got my fill. For decades afterwards, “anniversary journalism” filled the airwaves and print, both nationally and in northeast Ohio. (I mean, really now, why go looking for news when you can repeat the same stuff based on a quick glance at the calendar?)

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We news consumers sometimes hear reference to “gate keepers” in the media industry. The implication is that we tend to learn only about what news major media managers want us to hear. Or perhaps those managers only tell us only what they believe they can profit from financially. To what extent is this notion of […]

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Andy Ferguson Narrows the Field


In all the hoo-hah about them over the last 10 or so days, one of the things I found most annoying was that Brian Williams and Jon Stewart kept being described as journalists. Performers, yes, but journalists? Either of them? Not even close.

That was my reaction, anyway, but then I got to wondering: Does journalism, real journalism, even exist anymore? Original research and reporting, good, accessible writing, all presented with freshness and energy and intelligence? Is it still around? Or has journalism become so debased that we might as well concede the collapse of another corner of what used to be called Western Civilization and go ahead and grant that, by current standards, Williams and Stewart really sort of were journalists?

How the News Gets Totally Distorted–Without any Conspiracy or Journalistic Malfeasance


As you can imagine, my Twitter feed is selected — like most peoples’ — to keep up with news that matters to me. Since I’ve moved a lot, I see news from many countries, and also see how people react to that news in many places. So this item caught my eye. Just a bit of context, first: Agence France-Presse is an international news agency headquartered in Paris. They claim — I have not verified this — to be the oldest news agency in the world; they also claim to be one of the largest, which I reckon is true.

Two days ago, they did what they usually do. They, or one of their photographers, took a photo. They also did what they also usually do: They captioned it correctly. Here’s the photo:

Newsweek Wants To Tell You About Those Rotten Evangelicals


explorerIt’s Christmastide, so it’s time once again for Newsweek to flex its theological muscles and slam Christians for their intolerable reading of the Bible. It’s a cheap trick. It’s easy to throw bombs at Christians. They’ll refute your claims, but they are not going to strap on a vest of explosives.
I’ve read the article, “The Bible: So Misunderstood it’s a Sin,” and — as a favor to you, and to help you preserve time to prepare your New Year’s Eve — I’m offering up time that would otherwise have been completely wasted (as opposed to mostly wasted) to fill you in on what you already know.

In 2013, Newsweek’s balance sheet showed the magazine in fiscal bankruptcy, so it’s little surprise that the magazine now demonstrates its moral bankruptcy by publishing an article bashing Evangelical Christians for their alleged Biblical ignorance and — naturally — for their refusal to stand with the current zeitgeist. No sensible person will pay attention to, or pay for, the magazine. However, plenty of senseless readers will glom onto the end-of-the-year edition, eager to read something that bucks up what they are sure they already know. Newsweek needs those readers and will fill them full of what they need just to stay afloat.

The writer, Kurt Eichenwald, writes for Vanity Fair, the New York Times, and a few other fish wraps. He’s written some books. Read all about him here. But when I Googled his name I couldn’t find anything that established his bona fides as a Biblical scholar. But I didn’t really need to research Eichenwald credentials. The article fully reveals the depth of his scholarship. He must have spent minutes actually trying to understand the history and theology of Sacred Scripture.

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Courtesy of Ricochet’s smoking monkey, proof that TV reporters sometimes don’t even bother to read the stories they report before going on the air. On a related note, I recently heard a Baby Boomer complain that his local TV news repeatedly “reported” on NASA’s launch of Orion without offering even a basic description of Orion’s mission. It […]

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You Always Hurt the One You Love


In my somewhat brief time upon this Earth, I have never seen a more obsequious D.C. press corps than the one covering President Barack Obama. There was bias during the early Clinton era, but reporters were still quick to joke about his love of fast food and faster women. They were said to fawn over JFK, but that was before my time and we were in a seemingly life-or-death struggle with the Red Menace.

But today’s press goes beyond simple bias or affection. “Obsequious” might not be the right word. I could have used “brown-nosing,” “unctuous” or “deferential.” Maybe “throne-sniffing.” Or “sycophantic.” “Obeisant,” “parasitical,” “compliant,” “worshipful,” “ingratiating,” “servile,” “prostrate,” or “toadying?” Look, the precise word isn’t the point. Let’s just say if any president should be pleased with the fourth estate, it’s Mr. Barack H. Obama of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

15 Fresh Holiday Story Ideas for TV News


As we enter the holiday season, news organizations deal with a distracted audience, staff vacations and expectations of a slow news cycle. But the show must go on!

Eager to assist my broadcast brethren, I have compiled a list of innovative story ideas to help local and cable news networks get through the Thanksgiving-to-New Year’s gauntlet.