I have a minor cameo in a Palm Beach Post article today, Ethical debates intensify as Guantanamo Bay detention center turns 10 by John Lantigua.
Category Archives: The Media
I’ll be on the radio today talking about the ‘Internet Kill Switch’ for an hour as part of the Hearsay Culture series on KZSU — in California. The show streams live online at 12 noon PST, which is 3pm on the East Coast. I’m told there will be a podcast available in about a week.
Hearsay Culture has had an amazing list of great guests in the past, and I’m honored to join the list. The interviewer is Prof. David Levine of Elon University School of Law, who is also an affiliate scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, which I presume explains the KZSU connection.
Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:
The University of Miami sent letters to boosters informing them of a strict new policy severely curtailing their interactions with student-athletes. From what I hear, henceforth, the yacht parties must be limited to two hours and the hookers to one per yacht.
How did that get past the editors?
I kid you not.
Apparently, the Times does not believe, as a matter of its DNA, that if a person in a suit says something, it has any duty to check it out and report on whether that statement is factual.
Writes the Public Editor:
I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.
….on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney often says President Obama has made speeches “apologizing for America,” a phrase to which Paul Krugman objected in a December 23 column arguing that politics has advanced to the “post-truth” stage.
As an Op-Ed columnist, Mr. Krugman clearly has the freedom to call out what he thinks is a lie. My question for readers is: should news reporters do the same?
If so, then perhaps the next time Mr. Romney says the president has a habit of apologizing for his country, the reporter should insert a paragraph saying, more or less:
“The president has never used the word ‘apologize’ in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on a misleading interpretation of the president’s words.”
Actually, a better form of that paragraph would be
“The president has never used the word ‘apologize’ in a speech about U.S. policy or history. When asked, the Romney Campaign was unable to substantiate Romney’s claim with any examples.”
Brisbane’s column is a head-scratcher. I have never seen such a succinct example of the Stenography Theory of journalism. I do not know how on earth any news organization intends to get money from me on an on-going basis if all it does is an aggregation that my RSS reader can do plus some ordering of importance — which some content-recognition AI will do for me within a decade.
Fact-checking or ruin, people.
This was my strangest polling experience yet. First, the call was to my office rather than to my home. I don’t think I’ve ever been called with a poll at work before.
Then there was how it went (this is a very close paraphrase, probably not verbatim):
- Hello, says the nice voice, I am calling from Harris Interactive and was wondering if you could answer some questions about China and its relation to the US.
- How long will this take? I ask nervously, looking at the pile of exams.
- It could take as long as 15-20 minutes depending on your answers, says the voice.
- Oh, OK, I say, thinking the exams will have to wait. China is important. Too much giving in to scary mercantilism out there.
- To begin, what is your job title?
- Let me look that one up … wait a minute… well, that’s all the questions we have for you today, thank you very much.
How about that?
I pick on the Miami Herald a fair bit, although not as much as it deserves given how far it has fallen from its glory days. But I guess that means I should also toss the occasional laurel.
Today’s paper has as its major above-the-fold story an item about how Miami leads the nation in ‘vanity’ — a trait measured in a not-very-serious-manner as follows:
Miami recently ranked as the most vain city in America, based on residents’ responses to a poll conducted by Mandala Research and released by LivingSocial.
The survey found that half of Miami respondents consider themselves an 8, 9 or 10 in looks.
Miami also topped the nation in such procedures as laser hair removal, tummy tucks, liposuction and collagen injections, according to the poll, based on the perhaps-unscientific percentage of respondents who know someone who had the work done.
You might think I would object to such pseudo-science dominating my front page. But in fact, the headline was perfect: “We’re so vain: We probably think this story is about us”. Not what I want to see every day in my paper, but it made me smile. And I imagine it will be talked about. Which actually makes it better than a lot of the dull stuff in that paper.
That said, I might mention two other somewhat bright spots: The Local section has degraded much less than front. There’s still real news there, just not enough of it. And as the news staff of the Herald shrinks, it is running more content from Bloomberg and from the political reporters at its partner newspapers in the state, some of whom are quite good.
As to the looks, I will say that it is often a shock to go back to the North East, especially in winter. Everyone is so pale and unhealthy-looking…
In a report released today, the Pentagon claims its self-investigation shows that its Bush-era attempt to manipulate news coverage by military analysts on TV was all legal and proper. Yeah, right.
Friday after 5pm is when you release stuff you want to get minimal media. The runup to Christmas is when you release the stuff you really really want to bury.
The poor Pentagon investigators were stymied by the absence of a smoking gun in the official records. (Surprise! The people running the media manipulation campaign didn’t write down their strategic objective. Maybe because they knew it was illegal?) They got nothing useful from interviews of the participants. (Amazingly not one Bush neocon, not to mention not a single retired General or Admiral, including combat veterans, broke down under gentle and long-delayed questioning from the Inspector General’s office.) It was all such a long time ago, can’t we just be friends.
This deadpan NYT report, Pentagon Finds no Fault In Its Ties to TV Analysts, just gives you such a good feeling about it all:
The report found that at least 43 of the military analysts were affiliated with defense contractors. The inspector general’s office said it asked 35 of these analysts whether their participation in the program benefited their business interests. Almost all said no. Based on these answers, the report said, investigators were unable to identify any analysts who “profited financially” from their participation in the program.
The report, however, said that these analysts may have gained “many other tangible and intangible benefits” from their special access. (Eight analysts said they believed their participation gave them better access to top Defense Department officials, for example.) The report said that a lack of clear “internal operating procedures” may have contributed to “the perception” that participation by military analysts with ties to defense contractors “provided a financial benefit.”
Not even a wrist slap.