Showing posts with label The media (sigh). Show all posts
Showing posts with label The media (sigh). Show all posts

Feb 13, 2015

We do the news

From my friend John, via email:

From comments at The Bleat:

"When I was (briefly) at The AP in N'Awlins, the New York desk came back and came back and came back at the sportswriter prior to the Super Bowl. over and over. "what is the temperature and winds on the field?" finally got the copy accepted with "68 degrees, half-mile winds, variable." this is, of course, about the Superdome."


I am of the opinion that that selfsame New York editor is also assigned to supervise all reports dealing with firearms.

Dec 24, 2014

Another Shot in the Dark (or) Fleet Street Explains All

One event.  Two headlines and two ledes:


Tense scenes in Missouri after police shoot another black teen 


(Reuters) - An 18-year-old black man was shot and killed by police late on Tuesday at a gas station in a St. Louis suburb near where unarmed teen Michael Brown was killed by a white officer in August, police and local media said.



BERKELEY, Mo. (AP) -- A suburban St. Louis police officer shot and killed a man who pointed a gun at him at a gas station, police said.

Well done, Reporter  Suhr, with a nod to your editors on the St. Louis bureau night desk.


Each version appeared about the same time, shortly before 7 a.m. Each reporter  had access to the same information.

It took Reuters five paragraphs to get to the second most important point: The dead man had pointed a pistol at the cop.   Reporter Johnson and his editors decided Ferguson and  its protests were more important than the apparent facts in their spot news report. What's a little incitement to riot  when you are reaching for headline drama?

Jan 3, 2012

Caucus morn on my electric teevee

They're all here. The cameras are on. I am siamesed to my new flat screen, listening to Them tell Me what I am like.

I am beginning to feel like one of Margaret Mead's Ta'u village girls.


Dec 17, 2011

Yep, Romney

That didn't take long. Romney is The One.  Smart, experienced, moderate, and all that.

The Register (correctly, I think)  dismisses Gingrich as a flake. It rejects Ron Paul because:

"Ron Paul’s libertarian ideology would lead to economic chaos and isolationism, neither of which this nation can afford."

That would be as opposed to the current economic chaos accompanied by shooting all the Arabaic speakers who piss us off?  Bearing in mind, of course, that this  sometimes motivates the Arabs shoot back. 

Nov 16, 2011

The Wednesday morning authoritarian

I'm breaking libertarian principles here by saying you did  wrong this morning if you watched MSNBC instead of CNBC. You must mount your De Lorean and return in order to rectify your lives.

The Morning Joe gang was stunned by yesterday's poll reporting the four-way dead heat  in the Iowa caucus race. So  they naturally brought in Chris Mathews to help them regain their composure. He led them through a therapeutic session based on the novel ideas that (1)  Republicans don't much like Romney (2) Gingrich has a lot of personal baggage and (3) potential voters can be a pretty flighty bunch early in the election cycle. Thanks, Chris. We didn't know.

Just when I thought it was over, Mika -- of all people --  said some viewers might think their reporting was merely blasting Republicans rather than addressing what is "good for the country."  Heads nodded and we got a nice little coda emphasizing that the good of the country requires policies sort of splitting the difference between  Obama and Romney.  Good idea -- averaging out pi and 3.15.

Need I mention that the name of Ron Paul, second in the poll, went unmentioned?


Clicking my magic wormhole over to CNBC, I found the the financial talkies letting Darell Issa speak his piece -- giving him time to complete his sentences and even short paragraphs.

I discovered  myself almost admiring a misdemeanant (at least)  and Patriot Act backer  who, here in 2011, is capable of talking about the right things,  structuring government for efficiency and a good chance of freeing people to succeed or fail on their own merits.  I suppose a lot of the Left will call him a sorehead for mentioning Solyndra.

(I totally forgot to check Fox News for thigh reveals. Must be getting old.)

Nov 4, 2011


You and I and all our neighbors have, at huge expense, dispatched our president to "The South of France"  for purposes of advising Europe on its debt problems. It's his second day there, and we have yet to receive one token of thanks from the Old World -- not a wedge of brie, nary a Black Forest cuckoo clock nor a jug of olive oil.

I believe I speak on behalf of the entire nation in expressing shock at this slight.

It is no comfort to side with the sorehead who remarks that having Barack Obama as a financial advisor is much like having Lindsay Lohan as your substance abuse counsellor.


Note to the editors of America: Do you really believe referring to it as "The South of France" make you seem all cosmopolitan and jet-setty?  Okay, then the next time His Obamaness flies into Ardmore, we want to hear you report that he arrived in the South of Oklahoma.

Jun 24, 2011

No, it's probably not a conspiracy of silence

I think the AP report on its own hot poll just reflects a headline mindset that that only the most fashionable candidates rate a mention. In this case that excluded Ron Paul from newsthink.

A fresh AP/GfK poll attempted to measure the favorability/unfavorability ratings of the "top" ten  GOP candidates, and Paul was included. The writer assigned to turn the poll into publishable words didn't think Paul's showing was newsworthy. The good doctor didn't rate even a nod.

The more detailed report -- unpublishable in general news files -- tells a different story. In total favorability ratings, Paul beats everyone in the field except Romney.  He beats Bachmann, Palin, Gingrich and the rest of the headliners.

Not surprisingly, he fares more poorly in the unfavorable category -- beating "only" Gingrich, Palin, and, err, Romney.  Twenty-one years of being snickered at folks who talk on the electric teevee channels will do that to a guy.

Caution: Polling geekery alert:

The news report in the first cite above uses numbers different from the raw poll results. The narrative story deals with favorability ratings among Republicans only, while the data  in the second covers opinions of all people polled.  The number-crunching methodology to get from one to the other isn't reported.  There's nothing necessarily sinister in that, and it doesn't alter the point that the news story contains a large black hole.

Jun 22, 2011

It's nice to be nice, but sometimes it's nicer to have a gun

The lady at the Kum and Go counter in Humboldt tried to be pleasant to the robber that night. He wanted smokes and cash. She handed them over. So he shot her dead.

He was in practice. An hour earlier he killed a another nice lady at an Algona convenience store. 

Of course this makes me think of a fellow luckier than the two unarmed convenience store clerks. That good citizen forgot to obey his employer's (Walgreen's) Compromise Policy. His punishment was less permanent.  

'course, the Humboldt/Algona killer kid (17) had a pretty good excuse. Earlier in his recent adventures he had swiped a pack of ramen noodles and feared getting caught. So he stole a family gun and his mom's SUV and took off for Mexico, or maybe Amsterdam, via my neighborhood.

And a technical note if you please: The first version of the Register story had the young man armed with a 40 mm handgun.  Bofor long, multiple layers of fact checking and editorial oversight  (which is to say a wry  reader comment) prompted a correction to .40 caliber. 

Oct 22, 2010

The Obama on Mythbusters

The subject has been well-covered except for an historical note. Mind you, I am not chastising  His Obamaness for his little joke; I am merely amused by differing standards of what constitutes horror.


Ronald Reagan's unaired  joke while recording his weekly radio address: "We begin bombing in five minutes."

Media reaction: "Oh my God. Cowboy. Cowboy. Paranoid warmonger.  Bonzo at the Button. We are doomed!"


Barack Obama on his Mythbusters cameo:  "I didn't get to blow anything up. I am a little frustrated with that."

Media reaction. (1) How cute. (2) Shrug.

Jul 15, 2010

The Funny Papers

Hey, wanna read the funnies with me and Roberta X? 

The Indianapolis Star may or may not  have been a  "great" newspaper, but a little more than a generation back Eugene C.Pulliam made it a  highly respected one, a professional journal controlled by professional editors.

Pulliam is spinning in his grave.  He considered his opinion and editorial pages centerpieces of the great national debates among literate people interested in public policy.  His commentary was cheerfully  nonpartisan, attached to but not in bed with the kind of conservatism represented by men like Barry Goldwater.

Roberta keys on the primary sadness here. The media have only the lowest  opinion of your intelligence and mine. Gannett controllers seem convinced you and I have never read a book cover-to-cover. Or perhaps they concede we may be part of the small, strange cult of word readers but  understand that the big money is made in pandering to the comic-book class.

Jun 14, 2010

President Ronald Wilson Dontmatter

"Kennedy docs show death threats as late as 1985"

That is the AP headline this morning over a story on newly released documents dealing with the life of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of the House of Hyannisport.

Now please read carefully from the second AP paragraph,   to which the headline refers:

"The documents showed that on May 23, 1985, the U.S. Capitol Police passed onto the FBI a copy of a letter sent to the Secret Service, ostensibly by a Warren, Mich., resident. The sender, whose name was redacted, declared: 'Brass tacks, I'm gonna kill Kennedy and (President Ronald) Reagan, and I really mean it'."

The crazy Michigan woman didn't kill anyone, but this morning an AP writer and at least one AP editor murdered a fair segment of the media's remaining credibility. 

Call it a stupid mistake by two so-called professionals who know full well that many, many readers never go further than the headline and that fewer still go beyond the first paragraph. The quoted paragraph follows  a lede also  mentioning  the threat to Teddy but not the president.

Or perhaps they were aware of the readership studies but somehow secured employment with the world's largest (and once great) wire service with news judgment which holds that a threat to assassinate a senator is highly significant while an identical threat against a sitting president is worth just a throwaway line. 


There's also some fresh documentation that we are quite correct in despising the youngest Kennedy for his cowardice and calculated lies and actions  while Mary Jo sucked in that last horrid lungful of  sea water.  But it is buried deep in the usually  unread sentences which, like as not, would be on the dead-tree jump page if not cut altogether.

For instance, the FBI helped Ted  buy time to get his story arranged for the fawning reporters who aspired,  above all,  to be favored Kennedy courtiers.

Jun 8, 2010

Top Shot

I just deleted a long and not very complimentary review. The shooting segments are fine, and, for the rest, it is simply television doing what television does most devotedly -- scrambling for audience.

Closely paraphrasing our buddy Travis McGee: "Anything several million people like, aside from their more private functions,  can not be very good."

The forced emotionalism and strained introspective ramblings of the vote-off segments can probably be attributed to a film school lecture on the need to give your characters depth and texture.

May 28, 2010

Dynamic cultural illiteracy

Because I watch little electrical teevee I'm in debt  to my friend Alan of  one of the New England commissariats for word that Lt. John W. Finn, USN, (ret.)  died yesterday. On Dec. 7, 1941, he left his wife's bed in Kanoehe to rush to the sound of guns at  the  Naval Air station.

Then-CPO Finn picked up a machine gun (presumably a Browning .30), carried it to an exposed spot on the air strip, and blazed away at Jap raiders. He was wounded several times over the course of a long battle, He survived hospitalization, and, on Sept. 15, 1942, Admiral Chester Nimitz pinned the Medal of Honor on him.

Last night, on ABC teevee, John tells me,   George Stephanopolis (I'm too intellectual to be in politics.) reported that he was cited   for "fighting back at the Kamikazes attacking Pearl Harbor."

EDIT:  Adding that Lt. Finn was the last surviving MOH winner from Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.

May 20, 2010

Montana needs an English-only law.

A newspaper there reports:

"Members of the Missoula County Search and Rescue Team had their hands full Sunday as a half-dozen hikers reported route-finding issues in the Mormon Peak area."

Having route-finding issues is more respectable than being lost?

(H/T to Friend John in the GMA)

Apr 19, 2010

Dunkirk II

The Admiralty steams to the rescue, 70 years after Dunkirk I. Hail Britannia.


The dust is supposed to damage jet engines, and I have seen everyone from the likes of Chuck Schumer to Elton John quoted on the matter. Maybe the world's great wire services and newspapers could set up an interview with an actual aeronautical engineer. Just for a little journalistic balance, y'know.

Apr 11, 2010

The Daily Iowan (or Brahm's Gullaby)

The DI (in my opinion a one-time grace to university journalism) decided it needed to whack us gun creeps up 'longside the haid. It assigned the honor to a Lisa Brahm. Clearly en route to a stellar career in modern newspapering, Lisa decided the lede should be:

"Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulrabek said he’s worried about the implications of a gun-permit bill awaiting Gov. Chet Culver’s signature."

So, we have here a measure of considerable Constitutional importance, and a communicant of the University of Iowa journalism school thinks the nexus of concern is whether a local elected creature is worried about its requirement that "sheriffs in Iowa’s 99 counties follow certain criteria when issuing gun permits."

Oh my Gawd! Criteria trumping the sherf's best guess?

And maybe Lisa hasn't actually read the bill. She writes; "If signed, the bill would also allow Iowa gun owners to openly carry their weapons, carry long guns...

Which just isn't true. Open carry is a different subject in Iowa, covered under a different code section.

Also: "The National Rifle Association proposed the bill in an effort to have Iowa join the roughly 20* other states with “shall issue” laws.

No, Lisa. The NRA favored the bill, but many like it have been proposed for years. Your best reference here is probably Rep. Clel Baudler.

Back to the sheriff: “All sheriffs support people’s right to own and bear arms,” Pulkrabek said. “But what we don’t support is the right for everyone to carry them out in public.”

Parse that one for logic if you dare. Sheriff Pulkrabek, claiming to speak for all his colleagues, endorses the right to bear arms except that you can't actually bear them. Well, in your bedroom, maybe.

"Pulkrabek said he’s worried the new law would take away sheriffs’ discretion in issuing permits."

Yes sir. It would. That is precisely the point.

You might like to read the article and savor some other oddities of linear logic and the approach to reporting which is deemed acceptable at major universities these days.


EDIT: The actual number of shall-issue states, Lisa, is about 37, not 20. Let's hear it for multiple layers of fact checking and editorial oversight.

Apr 3, 2010

Terror in the Heartland

I have no explanation for it other than that we are being infiltrated by semi-sentient vertebrates deemed too kooky for San Francisco.

You'll recall that a few months ago a minor panic made big Iowa news when someone reported a suspicious bomb-like device in the road. It turned out to be a roadkill muffler.

Now come the media to report that the cops went full anti-terror tactical when a man in uniform and carrying a rifle was seen running through a field a couple of days ago.

The massed forces of law and order converged and discovered he was a National Guardsman on a training run. The AP says the cops "determined the rifle he was carrying was a training model and loaded."

You go ahead and figure that out. A loaded rubber duck?

Policeman Kelly Fitzpatrick said the soldier, "didn't use the amount of moxie and common sense that should be expected in the present day." If so, I personally assign the blame less to the soldier and more to the "present day."

If the terrorists' objective was to turn us into an a diapered nation with 911 tattooed on the backs of our hands and all the courage of Uncle Wiggly, they're succeeding admirably.

Mar 30, 2010

Quote of the Day

Tamara, after noting teevee news sneering at the intellectual rusticity of Tea Partiers:

And while you're in Broad Ripple you should peek at Roberta's take on the Hutaree bust. I tell ya, the Roseholme girls are on a tear. It would be a bad day to be canvassing their neighborhood for the DNC or PETA or something like that.

Mar 28, 2010

Controversially speaking

My newspaper, companion of my childhood, once upon a time an outlet for my words, always a source of bemusement, reports this morning:

"The Senate passed a controversial bill that would allow sheriffs less discretion in granting permits to carry concealed weapons."

I wonder if the meaning of the word "controversial" even cracked the consciousness of the writer and editor.

The shall-issue bill cleared the upper house 44-4, raising a certain objection to the sentence quoted above. To wit: "Holy pschitt you freeken moron, how the freek controversial can the damned thing be if it pleases pleases almost everyone in a fractured Senate -- Democrats, Republicans, drunks, sleepers, and the confused statist dudes who got elected last cycle only because their counties were pissed off at George W. Bush?"

(That was unforgivably vulgar, but it made me feel better.)

Actually, I doubt "controversial" was the product of any cognitive/analytical process at all. It was just a series of reflexive keystrokes hardwired into the brain of journalists who are required to mention firearms.

Mar 4, 2010

Bulletin: Faulty Political Pitch Identified!

MSNBC is leading the leftist hounds baying after a new GOP fund raising document which, gasp, portrays the Democrats as the "enemy" and embodies a "simplistic" appeal to rank and file donors {the Proles, Tam :) }

I , too, would be appalled at the gall of those Republicans if I could just manage to forget a well-known 1964 nuclear explosion and a famous little daisy-shredding girl:

So the left can wipe the drool from the sides of its mouths, as far as I'm concerned. It's wasted on anyone with even a high-school civics understanding of American political tradition.