Posts filed under ‘Media – General’

Oh, No! Michael Hastings Killed in Car Crash

I was out most of the early evening today but when I got home I learned that Michael Hastings was killed in a car crash today.  Oh. My.  God.  Say it ain’t so already.  This is awful:

Michael Hastings via Mediabistro.com

Michael Hastings — January 28, 1980 – June 18, 2013 — (Image via MediaBistro.com)

Michael Hastings, the fearless journalist whose reporting brought down the career of General Stanley McChrystal, has died in a car accident in Los Angeles, Rolling Stone has learned. He was 33.

[...]
Hastings’ hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power. While other embedded reporters were charmed by McChrystal’s bad-boy bravado and might have excused his insubordination as a joke, Hastings was determined to expose the recklessness of a man leading what Hastings believed to be a reckless war. “Runaway General” was was a finalist for a National Magazine Award, won the 2010 Polk award for magazine reporting, and was the basis for Hastings’ book, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.

For Hastings, there was no romance to America’s misbegotten wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had felt the horror of war first-hand: While covering the Iraq war for Newsweek in early 2007, his then-fianceé, an aide worker, was killed in a Baghdad car bombing. Hastings memorialized that relationship in his first book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story.

A contributing editor to Rolling Stone, Hastings leaves behind a remarkable legacy of reporting, including an exposé of America’s drone war, an exclusive interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at his hideout in the English countryside, an investigation into the Army’s illicit use of “psychological operations” to influence sitting Senators and a profile of Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl, “America’s Last Prisoner of War.”

[...]

Hard-charging, unabashedly opinionated, Hastings was original and at times abrasive. He had little patience for flacks and spinmeisters and will be remembered for his enthusiastic breaches of the conventions of access journalism. In a memorable exchange with Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines in the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks, Hastings’ aggressive line of questioning angered Reines. “Why do you bother to ask questions you’ve already decided you know the answers to?” Reines asked. “Why don’t you give answers that aren’t bullshit for a change?” Hastings replied.

More…

We needed Michael Hastings.  He was a hard-charging, take-no-bullshit journalist, so few of which we have.  And he was only 33-years-old.  So much potential, gone.

My condolences to his family and friends.

We lost a great one today.  This is a thing that will change the course of history, and probably not in a good way.

June 18, 2013 at 7:35 PM 1 comment

Sally Quinn Pens the Most Inane Washington Post Column Ever Written

OMG.  Check out this WaPo column by Sally Quinn in which she criticizes Hillary Clinton’s first tweet. Quinn apparently has waaay too much time on her hands.

Hillary Clinton on Twitter: A Loss of Faith

 

June 15, 2013 at 9:48 AM Leave a comment

I Think I’ll Watch Some TV

It’s 7:12 p.m. MDT where I am. I’ve had a day.  The hubby’s in bed already so maybe I’ll watch some TV while I eat dinner. Let’s see what’s on:

Boob tube via jezebel.com

(Image via Jezebel.com)

Hillbilly Blood is on Discovery

America’s Worst Tattoos is on TLC

Swamp People is on the History Channel

Rehab Addicts is on HGTV

Wife Swap is on ABC

Big Bang Theory (and no, it isn’t a science show) is on CBS

WTF!

Never mind.  I think I’ll take Al (the lover puppy above) for a walk.

Geezus H. Christo.

My cable bill is 95.00+ a month? For what — I ask — every time I pay the f**king bill.

 

May 2, 2013 at 8:28 PM 1 comment

Al Jazeera to Open 12 U.S. News Bureaus

I subscribe to Al Jazeera on Twitter and I can tell you, the things they tweet about and cover are far and above more interesting and informative than what the U.S. corporate media spends its time on.  I hope when Al Jazeera/English gets up and running later this year, it will push our existing media to do a better job actually covering news, instead of latching onto two or three items a day and repeating them over and over.

Al Jazeera Logo

The network is planning 12 bureaus in all, with plans to add more after the launch. The network has yet to disclose the full list of bureaus — “We don’t comment on rumors. No leases have been signed anywhere,” Stan Collender, an Al Jazeera spokesperson told POLITICO — but a source at the network was kind enough to share it with POLITICO, on background.

New York
Washington
Miami
Nashville
Chicago
New Orleans
Detroit
Dallas
Denver
Los Angeles
San Francisco
Seattle

More…

 

 

May 2, 2013 at 12:38 PM 1 comment

Boston Bombing Suspects Did NOT Rob a 7-11 Store

 

Breaking News plain

Sheesh.  For the last 12 hours the cables have been telling us that the two brothers who are suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings did not rob a 7-11 store last night in the wild spree during which one of them was killed.

Goes to show us:  We should take everything our crack news readers tell us with a grain of salt or sand or whatever.

April 19, 2013 at 4:15 PM 1 comment

New York Post: 12 Dead in Boston, Suspect is a “Saudi National”

Time will tell how much of this hysterical headline from the New York Post is true:

NYPost Headline 4-15-13

And then there’s this sentence which is included in the body of the article:

Authorities have a identified a suspect, a Saudi national, who is currently being guarded in a Boston hospital with shrapnel wounds.

Let’s check back in a day or two regarding these ahem, “facts.”

April 15, 2013 at 4:57 PM Leave a comment

ExxonMobil Said, ExxonMobil Said, ExxonMobil Said…

Read this article from the WashingtonPost about that ExxonMobil oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas. It’s based entirely on what Karen Tyrone, ExxonMobil’s “on-scene coordinator” tells the reporter:

Exxon-Mobil

MAYFLOWER, Ark. — Some people whose homes were evacuated when an oil pipeline ruptured in central Arkansas could go home as early as Thursday, officials said.

Authorities evacuated more than 20 homes in Mayflower, about 25 miles northwest of Little Rock, after an ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured March 29, spilling thousands of barrels of oil.

The residents of four of those homes could be allowed back on Thursday, federal on-scene coordinator Nick Brescia said Thursday. The residents of eight or nine more homes could return in the coming days, Brescia said.

It’s not clear when the rest could come back, but some people may not want to return as cleanup crews and their heavy equipment are still trying to get rid of what’s left of the spill.

“We have not had a strong interest to get back into homes,” Karen Tyrone, ExxonMobil’s on-scene coordinator, told reporters.

So far, crews have recovered about 28,200 barrels of oily water and about 2,000 cubic yards of oiled soil and debris, according to a statement from ExxonMobil and local officials. Officials estimate that about 5,000 barrels of oil spilled, though a final number isn’t expected until the pipeline has been repaired and refilled.

Officials hope to remove the ruptured part of the Pegasus pipeline in the next few days, Tyrone said. Then, investigators may be able to piece together why it burst.

“You cannot know what happened until you get this piece of pipe out and you get it to a lab,” she said.

ExxonMobil said the spill has not affected Mayflower’s drinking water supply, which comes from a lake about 65 miles northeast of the city. But that hasn’t put a stop to concerns about drinking water in other parts of the region.

Officials with another water system — Central Arkansas Water — are slated to meet Thursday afternoon to discuss asking ExxonMobil to move the Pegasus pipeline away from an area that drains into a drinking water source.

“We understand their concerns,” Tyrone said. “We have spoken with them. They understand that we’re in a recovery effort right now and our focus right now is the Mayflower community.”

More…

Geezus. Why send a reporter down there at all?  Just print ExxonMobil press releases under the banner of a so-called news article.

 

 

April 11, 2013 at 2:52 PM Leave a comment

AP Stylebook Drops Use of “Illegal Immigrant”

It’s at a glacial pace but slowly and surely we’re evolving:

AP Logo

Associated Press Rethinks ‘Illegal Immigrant’

The Associated Press announced this Stylebook change on Tuesday afternoon:

“Illegal immigrant” No More

The AP Stylebook today is making some changes in how we describe people living in a country illegally.

Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains the thinking behind the decision:
The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.

More…

What?  A human being can’t be illegal?  Only an action?  Hallelujah!  It’s about time.

Wondering how many years it’ll take Faux to follow.

April 2, 2013 at 2:29 PM Leave a comment

Headline of the Day

Here’s my headline of the day.  Sadly it’s par for the course for our crappy corporate media:  Sunday Shows Respond to the Popularity of Same Sex Marriage By Hosting Anti-Gay Bigots.

Gay Flag - Best One

According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, 58% of Americans support same sex marriage. Only 36% of those surveyed oppose it. Among those age 18-29, 81% support same sex marriage. However, on the Sunday shows [this morning] the anti-marriage position [was] treated as being equal.

The Sunday shows really did it up, hosting two rabidly anti-gay, right-wing religious zealots:  Ralph Reed and Tony Perkins.

[F]aith shouldn’t trump facts. Opposition based on faith should not be treated by the media as being equal to facts. When that faith based position is out of touch with nearly 2/3 of America, the mainstream media should not be treating it as holding equal footing in a public policy debate.

Instead of challenging these bigots, the mainstream media has chosen to give them an equal platform. Instead of acknowledging that country is changing, Meet The Press and State of the Union catered to right wing fantasy of deep divisions. None of these shows questioned the validity of the opposition, and they all gave untrue statements about the impact of same sex marriage on families a free pass.

Until the media stops catering to the white conservative minority and starts talking to a majority of this country, they will continue to fail to fulfill their duties as the fourth estate.

And they will continue to lose viewers.

Read the whole article at the link above.

March 24, 2013 at 1:15 PM Leave a comment

Why We Should Applaud Whistleblowers

My friend (I worked with him on Outfoxed), the intrepid Robert Greenwald, is out with a new documentary called:  War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and The National Security State:

The corporate media tells us whistleblowers are troublemakers and/or attention-seekers who should be shunned, or worse — jailed or even executed.

Hardly.  As a matter of fact, we need them:

In a Democracy, citizens are entitled to the freedom of information and the freedom of the press, but what happens when that democratic government turns its back on the truth and begins to punish those who stand up to falsehood, secrecy, and deception? In Robert Greenwald’s latest film for Brave New Foundation, we reveal the war targeted at the people who put the US constitution before everything. We reveal the War on Whistleblowers.

Here’s the trailer:

March 21, 2013 at 8:24 AM 2 comments

The U.S. Invasion of Iraq, Ten Years On

Mission Accomplished

I don’t know what to say on this, the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.  I was against the war before it began and I’ve been against it ever since.  I thought we were being lied to all along and it turns out, that’s exactly what was happening.

So much misery.

In my opinion the invasion was one of the greatest tragedies the world has ever seen.

(It’s indicative of the fantasyland George Bush lived in when we’re reminded that Bush gave his “mission accomplished” speech six weeksSIX WEEKS — after the March 19, 2003 invasion.  (The war officially ended on December 15, 2011).)

March 19, 2013 at 9:45 AM Leave a comment

“Some People Say…”

What “journalists” are doing when they say, “Some people say…”  (The examples here are all from Fox “News” but it has spread and lots of so-called journalists are using the phrase now.)

March 18, 2013 at 4:14 PM Leave a comment

When the Head of the CIA Doesn’t Believe in Freedom of the Press

It’s pretty unsettling that our new CIA Director, John Brennan, has so little respect for freedom of the press:

John Brennan via wikipedia

(Image via Wikileaks)

In 1980, a 25-year old graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin wrote a master’s thesis called “Human rights, a case study of Egypt.” In it, he argued that the aim of achieving and maintaining political stability justifies human rights violations by apprehensive governments— including crackdowns on unbridled journalists:

Since the press can play such an influential role in determining the perceptions of the masses, I am in favor of some degree of government censorship. Inflamatory [sic] articles can provoke mass opposition and possible violence.

More…

Government censorship usually means not telling the citizenry about the nasty things it’s doing.  “Inflamatory” [sic] articles” are usually ones that expose those things.  If a government doesn’t want what it’s doing to be exposed, it shouldn’t do whatever it fears exposure of.

Freedom of the press is essential to a democracy.  No one should head the CIA – or be a leader in our government — who doesn’t believe that in their heart and soul.

March 17, 2013 at 5:37 PM Leave a comment

2,590 U.S. Gun Deaths Since Sandy Hook

26 children and adults were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting.  We were all outraged.

Here’s what’s happened in the 87 days since:

Since Sandy Hook 3-11-13

(Image via TheWarRoomCTV on Twitter)

America would be outraged about this too, if only the “liberal media” would devote as much time and attention (as in 24/7 coverage) to it as it did Sandy Hook.

March 11, 2013 at 7:04 PM Leave a comment

Republicans Were Against Medicare Cuts Before They Were For Them Before They Were Against Them Before They Were For Them

That title is no joke.  Read on:

Paul Ryan Looking Smug via Politico

(Image via Politico)

What Do You do When One Party is This Dishonest?

We’re still waiting for a full rollout of House Budget Chair Paul Ryan’s Republican budget, but there’s confirmation now that it will once again rely heavily on retaining the Medicare cuts passed in the Affordable Care Act (even as Ryan’s budget repeals the rest of the law).

[E]veryone is under-appreciating just how outrageous this is. For the second time in a row, Paul Ryan and the Republicans have run a national election campaign (the 2012 presidential election) in which the main theme was bashing the Democrats … for a policy which Republicans support — and indeed are making a key part of the most important policy blueprint that they will roll out this year.

This is no garden-variety flip-flop. It’s a fundamental decision to govern one way and campaign the exact opposite way.

This is one of those cases where it’s so audacious that reporters just don’t want to believe it.

I really can’t think of any comparably dishonest episode in recent American political history. To base not one but two campaigns on attacking the other party for a policy which, between elections, they support…it’s well beyond chutzpah. Oh, and that’s without even beginning to reckon with the fact that the House GOP’s larger Medicare plans call for much bigger long-term cuts than Obamacare made.

More…

1)  This wouldn’t happen if Republicans knew, for sure, without a doubt, that the media would report this kind of bait and switch clearly and repeatedly.

2)  We’ve got to invent a new word.  Outrageous, audacious, dishonest and chutzpah don’t describe what the Republicans are doing now, and have been doing for years.  I guess the big takeway is that they’re willing to lie to the American people and tell them during campaigns they’ll do the exact opposite of what they intend to do if elected.

Way to corrode the democratic process guys.

Geezus.

They’re disgusting.

March 11, 2013 at 4:31 PM Leave a comment

Hyping Fear

Checkout this chart Information is Beautiful put together showing the media’s biggest hyped fear-based stories over the last decade.  It’s telling that most of them totally fizzled.

Hyped Fear

(Image via InformationisBeautiful.net)

I know this screenshot is small.  See the original here.

 

March 1, 2013 at 10:20 AM Leave a comment

About That “Threat” the White House Made to Bob Woodward

The kids of the beltway punditocracy are all atwitter this morning over a supposed “threat” the White House made to Bob Woodward:

Bob Woodward via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Bob Woodward said [last night] on CNN that a “very senior person” at the White House warned him in an email that he would “regret doing this,” the same day he has continued to slam President Barack Obama over the looming forced cuts known as the sequester.

CNN host Wolf Blitzer said that the network invited a White House official to debate Woodward on-air, but the White House declined.

“It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, ‘You’re going to regret doing something that you believe in,’” Woodward said.

“I think they’re confused,” Woodward said of the White House’s pushback on his reporting.

More…

What’s with Bob Woodward?  The guy is a media whore who apparently can’t get enough attention because when you read the actual email he’s talking about, it isn’t threatening — in the way he implied — at all:

From Gene Sperling to Bob Woodward on Feb. 22, 2013

Bob:

I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.

But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying [sic] that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)

I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is diffferent. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.

My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.

Gene

(Via.)
Go to the Via link and read Woodward’s no problem reply.
Now kids, can we get back to the stuff that really matters?  And can we remember to take Bob Woodward’s bratty whines with a grain of salt next time?

February 28, 2013 at 9:03 AM Leave a comment

Politico Reporters Cry About Not Being Allowed to See Obama and Tiger Woods Together in Florida

Geezus.  President Obama takes a three day weekend which, understandably, includes not having any contact with reporters, and Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen over at Politico throw a temper tantrum:

Obama, the Puppet Master

The frustrated Obama press corps neared rebellion this past holiday weekend when reporters and photographers were not even allowed onto the Floridian National GolfClub, where Obama was golfing. That breached the tradition of the pool “holding” in the clubhouse and often covering — and even questioning — the president on the first and last holes.

More…

Gee.  I didn’t hear anything about the Bush press corps “nearing rebellion” after they realized the Bush administration lied to their face about WMD in Iraq but Obama not letting the kids into a golf club in Florida?  That pushes them over the edge.

Crybaby

February 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM 1 comment

Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, John Bolton, Lindsay Graham and Erick Erickson Praise Obama’s Drone Plan/Kill list

They’re all warmongers so if they love it, I don’t!

Sheeple via Wearhere.eu

(Image via WeAreHere.eu)

This:

GOP and TP on Obama’s Foreign Policy “Successes”

To wild GOP crowd cheers, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachman vehemently defend Obama’s assassination policy.

And this:

John Bolton Praises Obama’s Drone Program As ‘Sensible’ And ‘Consistent’ Extension Of Bush-Era Policies

—-

Graham Defends Obama on Drones

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will offer a resolution next week commending President Barack Obama’s use of drones and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.

—-

Skip the Drone Debate, Just Kill the Terrorists Before They Kill Us

We no longer have to transport ourselves to a magical alternate reality to ponder what a love child between Richard Nixon and Dick Cheney would look like.  Given a Justice Department memo obtained by NBC News, we can conclude that child would look like none other than President Barack Obama.

“Just kill the terrorists before they kill us.”  Land of the free and home of the brave? No.  When I saw folks tearing up at the Super Bowl over those words I gagged.

We’re a scared bunch of sheeple.  We stood by while almost 60,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam because our leaders told us the commies were coming to get us.  Ten years ago yesterday, Colin Powell lied his face off in front of the United Nations Security Council and as a result, we invaded Iraq because they (I’m gagging again) supposedly had WMD and were ready to send a mushroom cloud over the U.S.

None of that was true.

Yet, again, we’re so scared of the lies we’ve told ourselves, all in the name of kill them before they kill us.

Defense spending — our tax dollars! — has doubled since 2001.

Ten years ago there was no such thing as the Department of Homeland Security but now we’re dumping untold billions dollars into that agency because it’s supposedly keeping us “safe.

And now we have drones — millions going to defense contractors for their new toys that we’re paying for — AGAIN, out of our tax dollars that  — and President Obama’s kill list predicated on his supposed authority to kill Americans without their Constitutional right to be charged and tried by a jury of their piers.

They tell us these drone strikes are keeping us safe.  But they aren’t:  “Drone attacks are doing nothing but inciting more hatred” say Pakistani protesters.  Google it yourself. There’s a whole bunch of info out there about how drone attacks are actually making us less after

So when will be again become the land of the free and the HOME OF THE BRAVE and when will we stop being scared little people who sacrifice their future for defense contractors and politicians who want to enrich them?

February 6, 2013 at 8:18 PM 1 comment

Australia Braces for “Catastrophic” Heat Wave

Of course we don’t hear about this in the U.S. because it’s well, outside the U.S.:

Australia is bracing for days of “catastrophic” fire and heatwave conditions.

Fires are already burning in five states as a search continued for people missing after devastating wildfires in the island state of Tasmania.

[...]

Bushfires were ablaze in five of Australia’s six states, with 90 fires in the most populous state New South Wales, and in mountain forests around the national capital Canberra.

Severe fire conditions were forecast for tomorrow (local time), replicating those of 2009, when “Black Saturday” wildfires in Victoria state killed 173 people and caused $4.4 billion worth of damage.

A record heatwave, which began in Western Australia on 27 December and lasted eight days, was the fiercest in more than 80 years in that state and has spread east across the nation, making it the widest-ranging heatwave in more than a decade, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

The highest “catastrophic” bushfire temperature conditions are expected tomorrow, said fire officials, under which people are advised to flee if fire threatens, as the blaze is likely to be too fierce for fire crews to easily extinguish.

In the Australian capital Canberra, hit by a firestorm in 2003 that destroyed hundreds of homes, authorities said they were expecting the worst conditions in the decade since, with a fifth day of searing temperatures and strong winds.

More…

Imagine being told “to flee if fire threatens” because strong winds make any potential fire “too fierce for fire crews to easily extinguish.”

I can relate.  This was the view from my living room last June:

Boulder Fire my Pic June 2012

(Image via SayItAintSoAlready.com)

The wind wasn’t blowing when I took this photo but it did before the fire was put out.  We were all thinking embers.  What if flying embers started a fire closer in.

My thoughts are with the folks in Australia tonight because it’s tomorrow there now.  Wind, fire and drought are an awful, terrifying mix.

Good luck Australia.  And h/t to the U.S. media for their total failure at ah, delivering news.  Not to mention mentioning that thing called CLIMATE CHANGE.

January 7, 2013 at 8:16 PM Leave a comment

The Corporate Media Kills Gun Control Discussion

The corporatocracy (this time as in the NRA and its buddies, the corporate media) win again:

Gu Control Debate Tanks in edia via Politico.com

(Image via Politico.com)

On the day of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., we published a chart showing the Sisyphean nature of the national gun control discussion. In the immediate aftermath of a shooting, such as the one that took place in Aurora, Colo., mentions of the term “gun control” spike in the news media. In a matter of days, that discussion all but disappears.

This time was supposed to be different. “It is hard to believe this will not be a watershed moment when we start to talk about, deal with and even perhaps legislate on guns,” ABC News’s Z. Byron Wolf wrote. He was one among many in the media who believed the momentum for gun control legislation was strong enough to turn the tide on a familiar pattern.

Blame it on the fiscal cliff, blame it on Christmas, blame it on our ability to forget, but the national discussion about gun control has once again ebbed. Mentions of the term “gun control” on television, in newspapers, and in online media are down to pre-Sandy Hook levels, according to the Nexis database.

More…

So, on to the next massacre.

January 2, 2013 at 8:55 PM Leave a comment

The Society of Environmental Journalists Accepts Koch Money to Help Sponsor Their Annual Convention

The Koch brothers think of everything in their attempt to influence coverage of environmental issues and to buy people off.  What I wonder is, why would the Society of Environmental Journalists accept their money?

Matador Ranch Logo

Notorious Polluters Sponsor a Conference for Environmental Journalists

In October, while finishing up my story “Kochworld” on oil refineries in Corpus Christi owned by billionaires Charles and David Koch I received an invitation to participate in a journalism conference in Lubbock, held by the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), the nation’s oldest and most venerable journalism organization for reporters who cover the environment.

I was happy to have been invited. Hundreds of environmental journalists were attending the conference which would be hosted by Texas Tech University. Some reporters had come from as far away as Europe and Latin America.

But first I’d have to finish my story. All I needed were the comments I was waiting on from Koch Industries. Imagine my surprise when I get an email back from Koch Industries’ spokesperson Katie Stavinoha: “I am working on it. Have been at a SEJ deal.”

My first thought was, “What’s Koch Industries doing at a conference filled with environmental reporters?”

Turns out Koch Industries was a sponsor. The SEJ and Koch struck me as an odd match. Not only are the Koch brothers top spenders on global-warming-denial organizations and Washington lobbyists, they also publicly attack reporters, on their web site KochFacts.com, who criticize their environmental record and business practices, and publish Internet ads on high traffic sites attacking reporters. (I would soon be subjected to this treatment.)

I probably wouldn’t have ever known the Kochs were sponsoring the conference if I hadn’t gotten that email from their public information officer. You’d be hard pressed to figure it out in the SEJ program. On page 33 of the 34-page conference booklet was a list of “generous contributors that made it possible for Texas Tech University to host the conference.”

Toward the end of that sponsor list was Matador Ranch. But no mention that the 130,000-acre ranch is owned and operated by Koch Agriculture Company, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. The ranch has hunting and deer breeding operations, as well as commercial and registered cattle, and Quarter horses.

Read more here about the “Devil’s bargain” the SEJ made with Texas Tech and the Koch brothers.

I see the problem but this kind of thing has got to stop.  If I were a member of the SEJ, I’d be repulsed by this.

Maybe they could have their conferences online.

December 11, 2012 at 2:49 PM Leave a comment

The Media’s Hype Over the “Fiscal Cliff” is a Desperate Effort to Keep Ratings Up

I apologize but I have to break my vow not to put up another post about the faux life-as-we-know-it-could-come-to-an-end crisis known as the “fiscal cliff.” These two short paragraphs from the wonderful Frank Rich are, well, too rich to pass up:

Frank Rich

The fiscal cliff talks are (surprise, surprise) at an impasse. President Obama has now rejected the GOP’s latest uncompromising compromise and insisted that he won’t make a deal unless tax rates on the top 2 percent rise. How do you see this standoff playing out?

 
The breathless and phony countdown to the fiscal cliff — What if they can’t agree? What if we fall off? Can America possibly survive? — is media hype, a desperate effort to drum up a drama to keep viewers and readers tuned in now that the election is over. It’s a Road Runner cartoon, Beltway-edition. And it’s going to end with a whimper like the similarly apocalyptic, now long-forgotten Y2K scare of the turn of the millennium.

More…

The thing is, all this faux drama on the part of the media is having the opposite effect on me.  I can’t stand it anymore. I’m turning the TV off and I hope other people are too.  It’d be nice to send them a message — via their ratings — that we aren’t THAT stupid.

December 6, 2012 at 9:21 AM Leave a comment

Erin Burnett Gets a Tingle Up Her Leg Over General Petraeus

My Tweet of the Day:

From what I’ve read, Petraeus spent a lot — a LOT — of time schmoozing with reporters which, when you think about it, was a brilliant move on his part given the relationship “journalists” have with the Washington power base these days.  They’re in awe.  They’ve forgotten that if someone they’re supposed to be objectively watching/reporting on makes them “feel special,” a huge warning sign should go off in their head.

Burnett has been seduced but apparently she doesn’t know it, even now, in retrospect.

She’s a groupie, not a journalist.

Read the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics here.

November 12, 2012 at 8:08 PM 2 comments

Romney-Leaning Seniors What to Preserve Their Benefits? WTF?

My Tweet of the Day, if not of this election:

Here’s a link to the people-press.org poll cited.

So, Romney-leaning seniors are keen on preserving their benefits but not on cutting the deficit, yet they’re leaning Romney because why exactly?  Romney’s VP has risen to the top of the GOP heap on his supposed miracle budget that slashes  $700 billion in Medicare benefits in order to cut the deficit.

So, I’m trying to wrap my head around this. Why are Romney-leaning seniors leaning Romney if they want to preserve their benefits?  Because all they’re seeing are propagandistic campaign ads (thanks to the Republicans on the Supreme Court and the Citizens United ruling) and the fact that so-called-news organizations don’t do news — as in facts –  as inform us — anymore.

October 21, 2012 at 7:32 PM 3 comments

Oy, The Second Presidential Debate

Heading into this new week I’m already exhausted because all the attention in the US media is on Wednesday night’s second presidential debate.  Nobody knows what will happen of course. It’s all about speculation.  Predictions.  What ifs.  Could be.  This or that.

We’re watching talking heads justify their own existence and their own paychecks.

A friend of mine had some simple advice for me last week:  Don’t watch any of the debates so you can…sleep.

I’m thinking she’s right.

And another thing:  So much is going on in the world but in order to save/make money, the MSM has laid off their foreign correspondents and the campaign is all they’ve got.

So, here we are.  The Debates.  That’s it.

If only we could train them to to think we care about real news.

October 14, 2012 at 7:52 PM Leave a comment

3,000 Journalists Credentialed for the Presidential Debates

This from Michael Calderone, Senior Media Reporter for the Huffington Post:

We hear endless reports about how news organizations are “scaling back” and cutting their budgets (the excuse for why we get almost no international news around here anymore).  Yet these same organizations have the money to send 3,000 journalists to the debates, which they could cover just as well if they watched them on TV?

Makes no sense to me.

October 1, 2012 at 2:01 PM Leave a comment

60 Percent of Americans Distrust “The Media”

Seems to me the results of this annual Gallup poll get worse and worse for the MSM ever year:

Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Distrust is up from the past few years, when Americans were already more negative about the media than they had been in years prior to 2004.

The record distrust in the media, based on a survey conducted Sept. 6-9, 2012, also means that negativity toward the media is at an all-time high for a presidential election year. This reflects the continuation of a pattern in which negativity increases every election year compared with the year prior. The current gap between negative and positive views — 20 percentage points — is by far the highest Gallup has recorded since it began regularly asking the question in the 1990s. Trust in the media was much higher, and more positive than negative, in the years prior to 2004 — as high as 72% when Gallup asked this question three times in the 1970s.

View a larger version of this graph and get more info and see more graphs here.

It drives me nuts that Gallup doesn’t stipulate what it means by “the media.”  I presume it’s the mainstream media as defined by ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, MSNBC and print media but it might not be.  A lot of people don’t think of cable as “the media” and a lot of people think only of television news (as in the “big three”) as “the media.”  Are they including, say, Internet news sites? Who knows.

So in a way, it’s hard to know what to make of this other than people think “the media,” however they define it, stinks.

September 21, 2012 at 5:15 PM Leave a comment

19 People Shot Overnight in Chicago

All three cable news channels are live right now, covering a shooting near the Empire State building in NYC where “several people” have been shot.  I’m hoping nobody has been killed and that the victims recover.

But I wonder why this isn’t BREAKING NEWS:

Nineteen people were shot across the South and West sides from Thursday evening through early Friday morning — 13 of them wounded over a 30-minute period, authorities say.

The overnight shootings peaked between 9:15 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. That’s when eight people, many of them teens, were shot at 79th Street and Essex Avenue about 9:30 p.m.

Then two men were wounded in the Ida B. Wells / Darrow Homes complex at about 9:25 p.m., police said. The men, 27 and 33, were shot in the 600 block of East 37th Street and taken to the University of Chicago Hospitals, police said. The younger man was shot in the head and the other in the right arm, Gaines said.

Around the same time, two other men were wounded in the arms in a drive-by shooting in the 2900 block of West 39th Place in the Brighton Park neighborhood.

More…

Oh, wait.  I know why the Chicago shootings aren’t breaking news.  Because chances are good the victims there are African-American.

 

August 24, 2012 at 9:00 AM 1 comment

A Tribute to Journalist Mika Yamamoto

Mika Yamamoto was a reporter for Japan Press.  She was killed yesterday while covering the — what to call it — conflict in Syria.

Japanese news agency Japan Press releases the footage shot by journalist Mika Yamamoto in the hours before she was shot dead in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Via TelegraphTV.

Yamamoto gave her life to bring news of what’s happening in Syria to the world.

 

August 22, 2012 at 6:36 PM Leave a comment

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