Archive for journalism

Tell the whole story about Fort Hood shooter, okay "journalists"?


Fort Hood shooting

The Fort Hood shooter gets no sympathy from me for gunning down soldiers and ending lives, but the reporting about his motives deserves some attention. I have heard at least two MSNBC anchors briefly (and very generally) refer to "paperwork" issues as a possible reason for Ivan Lopez's shooting spree. Alex Witt literally brushed it off as "some paperwork" during one interview. her tone and demeanor unmistakeably dismissive as she quickly moved on to her next point.

But that paperwork wasn't just about filling out routine Army forms at Fort Hood, it was a prerequisite for Lopez before he could go home when his mother died, and again to take care of family business following her death.

In no way does this excuse him for murdering three people and wounding sixteen others, obviously. But the responsible thing to do would be to provide context and depth when describing what happened. It's imperative to tell the whole story, because... journalism.

That brings me to today's Los Angeles Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Shooter said to be furious," April 5

The article states that investigators may never have a motive for Fort Hood shooter Army Spc. Ivan Lopez. Really? A soldier who was being treated for depression and anxiety was granted less than two days to go home to Puerto Rico for his mother's funeral five months ago; more recently, he was denied another temporary leave to return home to deal with family matters related to his mother's death.

This man was sent into harm's way to protect our country, and we can't give him compassionate leaves of duty during such a tragic time in his life? This is unconscionable.

Lopez wanted to go home to Puerto Rico; we sent him a lot farther away than that to defend our country.

Moira Niblo Obermeyer

Laguna Niguel


How to practice honest journalism, in 26 seconds: VIDEO



there is no news missing plane tweet media coverage


Journalism, are you out there? Hello? There is no news any more. It's become commercialized, packaged, and infotained. It's all about ratings, not facts or investigative reporting.

So when someone comes along and makes a refreshingly honest statement about an ongoing news story, one that's been over-saturating the airwaves the way the GOP over-saturates its speeches with religious references, it's time to pause, blink, and applaud:

applause gif

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

On Friday, Rachel Maddow did something we rarely see these days. She practiced honest journalism. Oh wait, she does that a lot. But this time she was so honest, so clearly and succinctly honest, that for those few seconds, I felt pure relief.

Relief from the constant bombardment of shoddy, desperate journalism by networks in search of an audience.

Relief from relentless speculation and painful reports after which the headlines are reversed within hours.

Relief from recap after recap of grasping at straws, straws that are breaking the spirits of loved ones who hang on every word.

So thank you, Rachel, for being responsible and sensitive:

"There is no news on the missing plane...

"There are NO developments to report...

"We will not try to turn the lack of news in this very sad story into something that sounds like news when it isn't."

"We will not try to turn the lack of news in this very sad story into something that sounds like news when it isn't."

Thank you.

Now back to our regularly scheduled 24/7 coverage of nothing already in progress.


Video- Glenn Greenwald to MSNBC Anchor: I Defend Snowden Like You Defend Obama '24 Hours a Day'


Glenn, Glenn, Glenn. Via.


Read this if you think "60 Minutes" Benghazi Exec. Producer should be dismissed


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If you think the "60 Minutes" Benghazi executive producer should leave or get the boot, please go here to sign a petition.

Excerpts from the petition page:

Jeff Fager must step down immediately because of his role in the 60 Minutes Benghazi debacle. If he doesn't step down voluntarily, he must be dismissed.

Why is this important?

The CBS news program 60 Minutes recently produced and aired a critically flawed and wildly inaccurate "news" segment on the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya that killed four people including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

Jeff Fager, the Chairman of CBS News and the Executive Producer of 60 Minutes, made a decision to broadcast this factually flawed "news" report based solely on the potential monetary benefits provided by sensationalist ratings and book sales. [...]

After stonewalling for days, 60 Minutes finally offered an insufficient apology for its factually incorrect report on Sunday, November 10. However, the so-called apology didn't give a full account of what went wrong, what would be done to make sure it doesn't happen again, or how those responsible would be held accountable...

For more information:


Video- The Daily Show: 60 Minutes- Meh Culpa


Video- The Daily Show: Good/BadFellas - Good Thing or Bad Thing?


A New Sexual Level In Journalism


The Daily Texan

There are various institutions that are well known for their journalism programs. Among the most prestigious top five are Columbia University School of Journalism, Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia (home of the Peabody Award), NYU's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and Harvard University. A fifth member of this quintet of top schools is the the only one outside of the Eastern seaboard. It's the University of Texas, Austin, home of the Longhorns.

U of T puts out a daily newspaper called the Daily Texan (the largest student newspaper in the country) and it's got a lot more to it than cattle prices and home remedies for for saddle sores. Those kind of breaking stories aren't going to get you too much notice in Austin. For that you should go to Texas A & M -- become a Texas Aggie.

U of T, where you're as likely to give the Hook 'em horns hand gesture as you are a fist bump, publishes an award-winning newspaper. This rag has got a venerable history—

According to the paper's site:

The Texan has won more national, regional and state awards than any other college newspaper in America and counts 10 Pulitzer Prize winners among its former staff. Also among it's alums are Walter Cronkite, Lady Bird Johnson,  Bill Moyers, and Liz Smith.

Pretty heady group, wouldn't you say? Well, tradition is on hold this year. The editors decided to veer into brave new territory: sex columns.

Sex Love Texas

Move over Moyers, Smith and Cronkite. Make room for: Fabulous Frank, Sexy Sally, Virgin Veronica, and Committed Caroline.

Yup, that's right. The Red state which on one hand boasts their sexy Dallas Cheerleaders and on the other gives you misogynist Governor Rick Perry and his anti-women's rights laws has chosen to break new ground in the Daily Texan. Maybe they're ready to shed their conservative nature for a more balanced and enlightened look at the world. Maybe they're ready to take their heads out of their oil-well submerged thinking and join us in the 21st century. And like most things in Texas, when they do something, they do it BIGGER.


Safe sex should be something people should want to talk about openly and honestly,” says Kelsey McKinney, the associate managing editor of the Daily Texan. “It’s something that can be important—but also can be a little bit more fun than our breaking news.”

This semester, the paper welcomed four anonymous columnists to its Life & Arts section: Fabulous Frank, Sexy Sally, Virgin Veronica, and Committed Caroline (no relation to this author). They each have a gimmick:

Frank promises “a single gay man’s perspective on the issues that face us all”;

Sally is a “lady on the streets but a freak in the sheets”;

Veronica describes her adventures on how she wants a “UPS Rush Delivery on Sex”;

and Caroline is the one to champion for a steady partner and assure her readers that things don’t have to get boring just because you're in a committed relationship.

Man, reading my college newspaper at Columbia sure wasn't like that. I think we got more reviews of Chuck Berry or Jefferson Starship at the Filmore East and occasionally an anti-Viet Nam commentary. Then we might read about a professor who was nominated for a Nobel Prize. We rarely got a glimpse into human sexuality. And certainly not like this.

But the U of  T columnists take their "spreads" very seriously.

It certainly makes some people uncomfortable and those people have given us a little bit of backlash, but really we enjoy what we are doing and we know we’re not doing it just for fun—we’re doing it for a purpose,” says Sexy Sally. “We try not to pay attention to the haters. For the most part, people who grew up in Texas—we didn’t have a very good sex education and it’s not typically something parents are super open with their kids and I think that’s why it’s made some people feel kind of uncomfortable.”

And they do their research as all good journalists are taught to do. Take for instance Committed Caroline:

“I didn’t know my own body at all, so how could I be ready to share it,” wrote Committed Caroline in her column on masturbation. “So I learned. Girls in Texas aren’t taught how to pleasure themselves any better than they’re taught where to get birth control, so I learned with my hands under the covers by myself where to touch myself and how.”

Now before you accuse me of putting that quote in just for shock value, you're right. But shock for a different reason than you might think. I'm stunned that in any state in the US there isn't enough "sex education" or the program is so limited and clinical that kids are reaching college age and don't know their own bodies. What can the possible outcomes be? Not good ones.

The lack of proper sex education, whether at home or in the school, preferably both to maybe counter-act the lack of parents accurate information, is a must. Without it we're heading for more sexual assaults, unplanned pregnancies and yes, even communicable diseases.

What the Daily Texan is doing should be commended. When you draw attention and shed light where it usually don't shine, you're performing a service. All of that last statement can be taken as a bad joke or in the spirit in which it's meant. Let's educate. Let's not cut funding for programs or school papers. They're filling in many of the gaps that we, as parents, have overlooked or chosen to ignore.