erik lundegaard

Media posts

Sunday May 06, 2018

NPR Asks Gun Rights Kid About His Feelings

This morning, NPR's “Weekend Edition” host Lulu Garcia-Navarro interviewed Will Riley, a high school senior in New Mexico who organized a school walkout for gun rights last week. That's right: gun rights. So the opposite of the Parkland kids. It was called “Stand for the Second.” 

Why did he do it? Is he a gun owner? Was he helped by the NRA? No and no, according to him. He just believes in the Constitution. He says:

As far as depriving our fellow citizens of their natural rights, there is no compromise there. ... I am someone who is a strong believer in the Constitution and the founding principles of our country, and that's why I am so passionate about this issue. 

Here are some of Lulu's follow-ups:

  • Do you feel out of step with your peers? 
  • What has been the reaction to your stance [on social media]?

What she might have asked? Since the kid cares so much about the Second Amendment and the U.S. Constitution? Maybe...

  • Do you think the Second Amendment guarantees a collective right or individual right to gun ownership? 
  • What is the point of the first clause of the Second Amendment (“A well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state...”)? Was it simply throat-clearing? Were the founders bad writers? 
  • Are you an originalist on the Constitution like Justice Scalia? If so, what did the words in the Second Amendment mean to the founding fathers? How is that meaning reflected in modern discussions?

I'm not saying these are the best questions to ask, but they might have moved the debate forward a little more than questions about his feelings.

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Posted at 09:20 AM on May 06, 2018 in category Media
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Monday April 30, 2018


I don't really have time to get into the whole Michelle Wolf WHCD non-controvery but this pretty much sums it up:

Or this: 

Or this

Cf., criticism of Stephen Colbert in 2006.

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Posted at 10:25 PM on Apr 30, 2018 in category Media
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Friday April 06, 2018

Reddit, Midflight

Recommended: Andrew Marantz's New Yorker portrait of Reddit, midflight, as it tries to figure out where to draw a line it didn't think it had to: between free speech and hate speech; between acceptable and un. Full title: “Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet: How do we fix life online without limiting free speech?”

No easy answers. Well, there are. One is to say it's all free speech, but then you run into the problem of us. You wind up with subreddits on revenge porn or Jewhating or worse. You wind up with Donald Trump as president.

A recurring bit is when Marantz describes some awful subreddits, then adds a parenthetical, “(Yes, it gets worse.)” As here:

In September of 2011, Anderson Cooper discussed the [jailbait] subreddit on CNN. “It's pretty amazing that a big corporation would have something like this, which reflects badly on it,” he said. Traffic to Jailbait quadrupled overnight. Twelve days later, after someone in the group apparently shared a nude photo of a fourteen-year-old girl, the community was banned. And yet the founder of Jailbait, an infamous troll who went by u/Violentacrez, was allowed to stay on Reddit, as were some four hundred other communities he'd created—r/Jewmerica, r/ChokeABitch, and worse. (Yes, it gets worse.)

Despite the dive into the worst of humanity, the piece isn't without its laugh-out-loud absurdities. In 2014, Ellen Pao became CEO of the often-misogynistic site. She lasted eight months:

Early in her tenure, Reddit announced a crackdown on involuntary pornography. If you found a compromising photo of yourself circulating on Reddit without your consent, you could report it and the company would remove it. In retrospect, this seems like a straightforward business decision, but some redditors treated it as the first in an inevitable parade of horrors. “This rule is stupid and suppresses our rights,” u/penisfuckermcgee commented.

I'd like the audio version read by Jason Bateman.

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Posted at 06:34 AM on Apr 06, 2018 in category Media
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Thursday March 01, 2018

The Times: Poking, Chortling

Writer-editor Tom Scocca (Gawker, Deadspin, The Baltimore City Paper, New York Observer and Slate) is starting a new website called the “Hmm Daily,” and for once, and despite the title, it doesn't sound like something that makes me want to take a shower. It sounds smart. He sounds smart—someone I could learn from.

Here's the portion of his interview with Columbia Journalism Review that made me perk up and all but shout, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” while pumping my fist in the air:

In this new project, what is it that you are working in opposition to?

There’s a quick answer that I feel is a woefully incomplete one. I think in my pitch [for the site] I outright said that this is going to be against everything The New York Times opinion section stands for. There’s a whole style of argumentation out there that’s grounded in bad intellectual faith. People are trying to do provocations based on partisan self-positioning. The way James Bennet keeps describing the Times opinion operation is great; it’s great to challenge your readers, but that’s not what they’re doing. They’re just poking their readers in the eye and then chortling about it. If there is one thing I try to get across to people in editing them, it’s that somebody is going to find the weakest part of your argument, and it might as well be you. That kind of taking responsibility for what you say, and making sure that it will seem meaningful and defensible to other people, is the thing they just are categorically not doing there. There’s just so much room for a higher level of honest discussion and argumentation.

The line after the highlighted is great, too. Need to remember that one. 

It is a shame how bad the Times Op-Ed page is. Not sure which is worse, that or NPR's “Morning Edition.”

Posted at 10:48 AM on Mar 01, 2018 in category Media
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Friday February 16, 2018

NPR Thought It Thaw a Thaw

The mainstream media still bends over backwards to appease the right-wing in this country. Even The Washington Post, which normally does better, ran this headline over a post-Parkland piece about the grades given to U.S. Senators by the NRA:

52 senators have an A-minus NRA rating or higher — including four Democrats

“Including four Democrats.” Republicans don't even make the cut. They don't get the blame unless you do the obvious math: Ninety-two percent of the politicians who back the NRA's agenda are Republicans. In what world does the 8% become the headline rather than the 92%?

You can argue the headline is pushing back against the conventional wisdom that says it's all the Republicans' fault—except they never run that headline. They run headlines blaming “Washington” or “Congress” or “politicians.” So the above pushes back against a conventional wisdom that is never aired. 


On NPR this morning, as part of their top-of-the-hour news rundown, they mentioned that Mitt Romney officially declared his run for U.S. Senate in Utah, then talked about his icy relationship with Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign. This icy relationship, NPR said, thawed after the election. 

Thawed? This is that thaw:

Trump Romney meeting

These small things add up. You can't keep describing a reality that doesn't exist without losing readers and listeners.

Thufferin' thuccotash.

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Posted at 07:32 AM on Feb 16, 2018 in category Media
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard