Media posts

Sunday October 21, 2018

One Moment from the Seattle Times' coverage of the Schrier-Rossi Debate You Won't Hear More About

Here's another example of what's wrong with the mainstream media. Not to mention the Republicans. Not to mention the Democrats. 

It's from the Seattle Times' coverage of the recent debate between Republican Dino Rossi and Democrat Kim Schrier for the U.S. 8th congressional district seat in Washington state. It's an open seat after Republican Dave Reichert, who's held the seat since 2005, decided to step down. The district was created after the 1980 census and has never not been held by Republicans. 

Vote Democratic 2018Here's the coverage. It's from a piece by Jim Brunner entitled “4 moments from the Rossi-Schrier debate you may hear more about.” It's his second moment: “TWO: An insult to farmers?” It goes like this:

Asked about problems with the U.S. guest-worker program, Schrier said the system doesn't work well for farmers or immigrant workers. She said the system “can lead to sort of a pattern of indentured servitude, where a worker is sort of held hostage by a potentially abusive farmer, or farm owner.”

Rossi responded, “I don't believe our farmers are abusive” and that political posturing has prevented the kind of immigration reform the country needs.

I don't even need to know the details of the U.S. guest-worker program to see what just happened there. Schrier said the system can lead to abuses. She's raising a hypothetical with one possible farmer. Because farmers are human beings, with all the possibilities contained therein. Rossi twists her words so that her one hypothetical farmer becomes all farmers.

And does Brunner or the mainstream media clear this up? The opposite. 

On Thursday, Andrew Bell, Rossi's campaign manager, pointed to Schrier's comment as evidence she's out of touch with the 8th District. 

“Calling farmers abusive seems a strange way to court voters in a district that is rural,” he said, adding that the campaign already has heard from farmers offended by the comment who are considering how to respond.

And do the Dems fight back by pointing out what I just pointed out? The opposite. 

Schrier's campaign backed away some from the statement Thursday, with Rodihan saying, “that's not how she would normally word it.” Rodihan said the larger point is that the farmworker visa program “is broken and both workers and farmers believe the program should be fixed.”

Except Schrier didn't word it that way—Rossi did. He twisted her words, the media didn't clarify, the Dems backed down. Way of the world. Since fucking forever. 

The Republicans do this all the time—when it suits them. An immigrant commits a crime, all immigrants are bad. A Muslim commits a terrorist act, all Muslims are bad. A white guy goes into a black church and kills everyone in there, whoops, what a crazy, mixed-up kid. 

Yesterday, The Seattle Times editorial board officially endorsed Dino Rossi for the 8th district. Yesterday, I spent most of the day in the 8th canvassing for Dr. Kim Schrier. Because we need a check on the real abuses of the Trump administration, and Dino Rossi will most assuredly not be that. 

More than anything, though, I'm tired of this pattern: where language and logic is held hostage by abusive Republicans and remains unclarified by the hapless media. Sadly, that's not close to a hypothetical. 

Posted at 01:57 AM on Sunday October 21, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

Tuesday September 25, 2018

I Just Wasn't Made for These Times

Dark days. When I feel myself get down, I remind myself that's what Mitch McConnell wants. 

Last Friday, the New York Times ran a story about how, during other recent dark days, in the aftermath of Trump firing FBI director James Comey, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein suggested wearing a wire around Trump. Here's how it looked as the lede on their website:

 

How do they know this? Somebody said it. Who? They‘re not saying. Does he/she have an agenda? Who knows? All I can think of is Judith Miller in 2002. Her deep source on Iraq was Dick Cheney, she printed what he said without attribution, then he held up the Times and said, “Look, even the New York Times is saying so.” Was Miller obligated at that point to say, “Wait, that was you”? Obligated as a citizen, I mean. As someone who cares about truth, the country, where it’s going. 

It feels like the Times got played again. Feels like, instead of getting us deeper into war, they‘re getting us deeper into a constitutional crisis. What I particularly dislike is the certainty in the above. This happened. This way. Not: According to an unnamed source... who may have an agenda... “ No, they planted their feet; they went provocative. They went third-person omniscient. 

Rosenstein immediately denied the substance of the piece, and subsequent reports say that in the conversation Rosenstein was being sarcastic, joking. As in: ”What do you want me to do—wear a wire?“ But the above is the story. It will always be the story. I don’t know how you make it not the story.

Anyone who doesn't see where this is going didn't see Trump winning in the wake of Comey's 11th-hour reopening of the Hillary email case. The New York Times make it sound like there's partisan hackery in the DOJ. They make it sound like Rosenstein has an agenda, and that's why he hired Mueller. So it gives justification to fire Rosenstein, and for the new appointee to fire Mueller. And then where are we?

Read your David Simon. I like this graf in particular:

Given all this, I fear a good newspaper, and at times a great newspaper, has in this instance performed disastrously. The newspaper encountered a rational and inevitable process by which professionals, while balanced on a very real ethical precipice, are meeting and spitballing their status and options — as say a bunch of reporters or editors might contemplate all manner of option, express all possible concerns, evaluate all possible risk, and likely employ all forms of sarcasm or wit when addressing their ethical role and a complicated task at hand. And then, given some available shards of information about that process by interested parties — as all sources are interested parties — the Times foolishly made itself party to what amounts to a first-news-cycle justification for an authoritarian administration to fire a torpedo into the very idea that we are a nation of laws. Because this kind of journalistic malpractice isn't happening in a vacuum: These are perilous times. Much is no longer normal in our governance. The stakes are high.

No one mention ”liberal media" to me ever fucking again.

Posted at 02:54 AM on Tuesday September 25, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

Sunday July 22, 2018

Extraordinary! Really Wild Ride!

More NPR. I know. Apologies. You picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue. 

So here's Korva Coleman on “Weekend Edition: Sunday” this morning, explaining the week we just went through:

Last week, by almost any measure, was an extraordinary one for news. The meeting between Pres. Putin and Trump in Helsinki reverberated throughout the week and particularly on Capitol Hill:

  • Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA, 28): “This was a wholesale betrayal of the values and interests in this country.”
  • Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): “It made us look as a nation more like a pushover.”
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “I think the Russians need to know that there are a lot of us who fully understand what happened in 2016, and it better not happen again in 2018.” *

NPR's Mara Liasson is here to help us process the past week and prepare for the next one. Good morning, Mara. 

Hi, Corva.

Mara, the post-Helsinki week was a really wild ride, full of clarifications and walkbacks from the president, and meanwhile Putin and the Russians appear to be defining the post-summit narrative. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will go to the Hill this week to talk to members of Congress. What will they want to know?

* For more and how much Mitch knew about Russian interference in the 2016 election, please consult this Dec. 2016 Washington Post article. Please. 

Sigh. How horrifying does a week have to be before NPR will call it horrifying? How embarrassing before it's embarrassing? Instead, what adjectives do we get? “Extraordinary” and “a really wild ride.” They could be advertising the roller coaster at Six Flags. How would they describe Kristallnacht? Amazing? Astounding? A helluva party? 

Oh, and NPR is still saying Trump is clarifying when he's obfuscating. I guess that‘ll never go away. 

As for perspective, Mara doesn’t tell us much we don't already know. Putin and Trump met for an hour, alone, and what came out of that no one knows. Putin offered to let federal agents interrogate the 12 indicted Russians (currently safe in Russia) if we fly a former U.S. ambassador to him to interrogate, which is both shocking and, to Pres. Trump, “an incredible offer.” Trump also wants to meet Putin in the U.S. in September. I doubt Republicans up for re-election are enthused about that. 

For true perspective, I'd recommend Andrew Sullivan's most recent column (Trump actually believes what he says; i.e., he wants a zero-sum game where the powerful bully the weak, and NATO and western values are meaningless because they don't let us do that); and Adam Davidson's New Yorker piece, “A Theory of Trump Kompromat” (Putin isn't dictating to Trump; Trump simply believes the Russians have something on him—probably financial—and is acting accordingly).

See you next week. I'm sure by Friday NPR will be calling it “exceptional.”

Posted at 02:30 PM on Sunday July 22, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

Sunday July 22, 2018

‘Lulu Garcia Navarro is Away’

That's what NPR's “Weekend Edition: Sunday” broadcast mentioned this morning, but I would argue you can say that almost every weekend.

Last Sunday morning, for example, while making coffee, I was listening to her interview Misha Glenny, author of “McMafia,” and an expert on cybersecurity and global organized crime, who was brought on to talk about the recent indictments of 12 Russians in hacking the DNC and influencing the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

It was a good interview. Glenny reminds us of the weakness of the Russian economy, how cyberwarfare is a cost-effective way to undercut countries, and how Putin is essentially a mob boss: the gangster capitalism of 1990s Russia now being organized by, and subordinate to, him. Then Navarro asks him if the Russians are scared because of the 12 indictments.

GLENNY: I don't think that the Russians will be scared at all by this. I think that they‘re enjoying the whole spectacle. And I suspect that Donald Trump is going to basically accommodate Putin’s wishes at the meeting. There is something very, very fishy in the state of Denmark at the moment in the United States. And I think the Russians are making hay out of this.

I was practically on my toes in anticipation of the follow-up. What is fishy? What is he going to say? You‘ve got an expert in an area that is worrying millions of Americans, and billions of people across the globe. What are his thoughts? 

Navarro’s follow-up?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Misha Glenny, author of “McMafia,” thank you so much for joining us.

Yes, Lulu Garcia Navarro is away. 

Posted at 02:13 AM on Sunday July 22, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

Wednesday July 18, 2018

NPR Sees Clarification in Trump's Obfuscation

NPR continues to piss me off. They do a disservice to journalism and to the country. They are part of the problem. 

In the wake of Monday's Helsinki Summit, when Pres. Trump heaped praise on  Vladimir Putin and cast doubts on his own intelligence agencies, NPR, this morning, broadcast an interview between their reporter Noel King and U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). I made it about two minutes in.

First, they played a soundbite of Mitch McConnell warning Russia not to interfere in the midterms. It made him sound tough. The problem: No mention that McConnell was the one who torpedoed a bipartisan Sept. 2016 statement warning Russia about interfering in the 2016 presidential election, and warning U.S. citizens that this was in fact happening. So Mitch gets off. He puts party above country and he gets off. The relevant past is irrelevant on NPR.

Then King makes it all about politics. Trump's actions in Helsinki aren't near-treasonous ramblings that astonished everyone around the world; they‘re “possibly a political opening” for the Democrats.

But here’s the worst of it. In only her second question to Sen. Van Hollen, King says this:

The president then clarified yesterday. Did his clarification change anything for you?

Here's the clarification she meant. You probably already know all this but I'm going to write it down anyway for my own sake. Because it's kind of insane. 

During the Trump/Putin joint press conference, Jonathan Lemire of the Associated Press asked the following question of Pres. Trump:

Just now President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every US intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did. My first question for you, sir, is who do you believe? My second question is would you now with the whole world watching tell President Putin — would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?

Who do you believe—the murderous, lawless, Russian autocrat or the FBI? And will you warn Putin to not interfere again? Pretty straightforward. Sad, indeed, that it needed to be asked in the first place. 

And here is the beginning of Trump's two-part answer:

So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven't they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the democratic national committee? I‘ve been wondering that. I’ve been asking that for months and months and I‘ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know, where is the server and what is the server saying?

What is he talking about? Turns out it’s an obscure right-wing theory that has been debunked by everybody. Here's one such debunking.

Bad enough he deflects the question with these nutjob “we didn't land on the moon” conspiracies; then he gets to this:

With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others and said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server. But I have confidence in both parties. I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don't think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They‘re missing. Where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? 33,000 emails gone — just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn't be gone so easily. I think it's a disgrace that we can't get Hillary Clinton's 33,000 emails. So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that president Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators, with respect to the 12 people. I think that's an incredible offer. Okay, thank you.

There it is: the president of the United States, on foreign soil, siding with the Russian president over U.S. intelligence agencies. Then he delves into the conspiracy theory again. Then he compliments Putin on his “extremely strong and powerful” denial and more-or-less thanks him for offering Russian help to further investigate Russian interference. He thanks him for offering further interference into allegations of Russian interference.  

It's all insane. 

So what was the clarification that Noel King brought up? It's this: Trump claimed that he misspoke. He meant to say “wouldn‘t.” 

Huh?

Yes, in all that garbage, and all that praise heaped on Putin, yesterday the White House claimed that, in the part below, the “would” should’ve been a “wouldn‘t.”

My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others and said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server. 

Amid all the rest of that praise, those superlatives for Putin, he's now claiming he wanted to blame them. He returned to D.C., with Republicans in angry disarray, and, one assumes, they looked for options. The facts were against them; how could they muddy the waters? And they chose this. They saw this as their escape pod. Wouldn‘t.  

And NPR and Noel King happily let them escape. 

She called this change, this obfuscation, a clarificiation. “The president then clarified yesterday. Did his clarification change anything for you?” 

The Democrats really need to confront reporters who ask dumb-ass questions like this. They need to say things like: “How is that a clarification, Noel? The original statement is at least consistent. He’s praising Putin and doesn't blame Putin. He's siding with Putin over the FBI but at least he's consistent in how treasonous he's acting. The do-over he wants would mean that while he's heaping praise on Putin, while he's blaming the FBI out of some right-wing paranoid fantasy, he's also siding with the FBI. Do you think that's a clarification? If not, why did you state it as such? You‘re making it a statement. You’re making it a fact. You‘re doing their dirty work.”

And guess what? Today he backtracked again. “Is Russian trying to influence the midterms?” Naw. 

Seriously, how much further can NPR and other members of the so-called legitimate press get played? How much further to the right must they lean in a lame attempt to seem objective? And how much does the country—and the truth—suffer as a result?

Anyway, it was at this point, with the word “clarified” echoing all around me, that I turned off the radio; I was too furious to keep listening. NPR is so bad at what it does that it turns away people simply interested in hearing the news.

Trump questions U.S. intelligence

Monday’s New York Times headline. When the facts are against you, muddy the waters. 

Posted at 05:28 AM on Wednesday July 18, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

Thursday July 12, 2018

Wherever Trump is Pointing...

Trump NATO summit directionless

Can he do even one thing right? 

Here's a tweet from a Wall Street Journal reporter on Pres. Trump's recent trip to Europe and visit with NATO leaders:

Embarrassing, stupid, rude. He also said that Germany was “a captive of Russia,” which is even more embarrassing, stupid and rude—not to mention a form of projection. Trump is the more likely captive of Russia. One hopes someday the truth will out. 

So how does the New York Times sum up yet another buffoonish day in the life of this American president? As if it's Angela Merkel's fault. From last night:

Merkel Trump Times headline

This is from the news source that the GOP constantly howls is too “liberal.”

Note to the New York Times: Your headlines reveal your seeming reluctance to publicly stand up to Mr. Trump.  

Note to all members of the legitimate media: Wherever Trump is pointing, the real story is most likely in the exact opposite direction. 

Posted at 06:01 AM on Thursday July 12, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

Sunday July 08, 2018

NPR's Accountability Problem

Friday morning, I listened to NPR's Steve Inskeep interview Sue Mi Terry, an expert on Korea, about Mike Pompeo's trip to North Korea. This is the gist:

  • Nothing substantive came out of the Singapore summit
  • Pompeo needs something substantive
  • The current administration timeline toward denuclearization is unrealistic

Guess how often Pres. Trump's name comes up in this interview? Once. And it's in the passive voice. At the top of the segment, Inskeep says:

A U.S. official compares North Korea's denuclearization to going on a diet. To make progress, the official says, you first have to climb on a scale. In other words, North Korea must first clarify exactly what its nuclear program has so the U.S. can track its removal later. North Korea agreed to do none of that in the vague statement approved after its president met President Trump last month.

It's as if Trump is a vague bystander in all of this. It's as if the vague statement wasn't the direct result of his insane incompetence. Remember: “I don't have to study”? Remember: “I‘ll know immediately”? And remember this? 

Less than a month ago, our president essentially said “Problem solved.” Now NPR is doing a report on how the problem hasn’t begun to be solved ... and they don't even mention that? How much less can NPR hold Trump accountable for his words and actions?

Posted at 03:47 AM on Sunday July 08, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

Friday June 29, 2018

5 Shot Dead at The Capital

This happened yesterday.

5 Shot Dead at The Capital

They‘re starting to kill us now. Wasn’t bad enough to take away careers, to keep pay stagnant, to deny opportunity, to demand more for less. Now they‘re just starting to kill us. 

It was a crazy person with a grudge and a shotgun but the tone the president sets matters, and we know what tone Donald J. Trump has set from the get-go. Look at the list of insulting tweets he’s issued that the New York Times have gathered into one spot; look at all of the vituperation under “Mainstream media.” Look at ABC, CNN, CBS, The New York Times. 

Tone matters.

Fuckin' A, America. You know what's wrong. How many times do I have to tell you that shit is brown?

Posted at 11:20 AM on Friday June 29, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

Saturday May 26, 2018

The Media's Absurd Dance with Donald J. Trump

Donald Trump

“Trump has earned the presumption that everything he says on the topic of the Russia investigation is offered in bad faith.”

Paul Waldman, a writer for the Washington Post, The Week and the American Prospect, has cut to the chase in his latest Post column. It's entitled “Time to stop chasing Trump's lies down the rabbit hole” and it's required reading for everyone in the legit news media. Particularly you, “Morning Edition.”

Waldman sums up the absurd dance between the legit media and the 45th president of the United States:

It goes like this: President Trump makes a ridiculous accusation that almost everyone immediately understands to be false. Then we in the media, because it's the president, treat that accusation as though it's something that has to be taken seriously. Then governmental resources are mustered to deal with the accusation. Then Republicans try to twist the mobilization of those resources to give them the answer they‘re seeking. But because it’s all based on a lie, they fail once Democrats force some measure of truth to be revealed.

Worst of all, we‘re going to end up doing it again.

Glenn Kessler and Meg Kelly run through some of the iterations of this maddening pattern. Barack Obama tapped my phones! The Obama administration illegally “unmasked” Americans caught up in surveillance of Russian targets! The Democrats colluded with Russia! The whole Russia investigation happened because of the Steele dossier!

No matter what ludicrous charge Trump makes, the entire political system reacts as though it might be true. If tomorrow the president said that “Robert Mueller” never existed and the person claiming to be him is actually Nancy Pelosi in elaborate makeup, we’d all find ourselves debating whether Mueller is a real person while House Republicans angrily demand that he produce a DNA sample.

The latest example is the repeated charge Trump has made that the Obama administration put a “spy” in his campaign to undermine his campaign. Waldman breaks this down, too:

In this latest case, we learned that in 2016, the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation when it discovered that people associated with the Russian government had made contact with Trump campaign officials. The bureau went about its investigation in the most circumspect way possible: Instead of marching agents into Trump headquarters to interview people on the campaign, they used an experienced informant who quietly reached out to those officials to see what the nature of the Russian contacts was. Then they kept the results of their investigation quiet until after the election so as not to affect the outcome of the race.

Yet Trump took those facts and twisted them around to claim that the bureau, on the direction of the Obama White House, planted a spy in his campaign in order to help Hillary Clinton. This preposterous lie was dutifully repeated by Fox News and talk radio, ramping up pressure to the point where Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein felt it necessary to ask the department’s inspector general to take a look. Then the Trump White House instructed the Justice Department to brief two Republican committee chairs, including shameless Trump lickspittle Rep. Devin Nunes, on the department’s use of that informant. It was only later that they agreed to hold a second meeting to give the same information to the “Gang of 8,” the bipartisan group of congressional leaders who are regularly briefed on intelligence matters.

I like Waldman's solution, too:

At this point, Trump has earned the presumption that everything he says on the topic of the Russia investigation is offered in bad faith and is almost certainly false, until proved otherwise. So we should treat his statements the way we do press releases from the North Korean state news agency. They may be newsworthy in that they show what the regime would like people to believe, but we don't assume that they have any relationship to actual facts.

Here's the thing: Even after Trump, we‘ll still have the above absurd pattern, because we’ll still have Fox News and the current heads of the Republican party, who rely more and more on lies to justify the awful things they do. But yes, no one is better at it, and more dangerous to this country and to democracy, than Donald J. Trump. 

Posted at 08:58 AM on Saturday May 26, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

Wednesday May 23, 2018

Tweet of the Day

Posted at 08:54 PM on Wednesday May 23, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

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.

Posted at 09:20 AM on Sunday May 06, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

Monday April 30, 2018

Fiddling

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.

Posted at 10:25 PM on Monday April 30, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

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.

Posted at 06:34 AM on Friday April 06, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

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 Thursday March 01, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  

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. 

Christ. 

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.

Posted at 07:32 AM on Friday February 16, 2018 in category Media   |   Permalink  
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