Category Archives: Journalism

CNN: We false equivalence, you decide.

Yes, goddammit, THIS.

Stimulus talks on the brink of collapse as two sides trade blame and get no closer to a deal

BOTH sides are to blame. The people who want to keep us alive are as much at fault as the people who lock kids in cages and think Nazis are very fine people and who don’t care if we live or die. The people who want to give us enough to survive are just as bad as the ones who want to give us nothing.

Brought to you by CNN. We false equivalence, you decide.

What was it Hunter said?

Some people will say that words like “scum” and “rotten” are wrong for Objective Journalism — which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful.

🤬

Minneapolis Riot: Hey Google, Fix Your Fucking News Algorithm

Why do I follow “radical” sources like The Left Fist? This is why.

Last night thousands of people took to the streets of Minneapolis to protest the murder of an unarmed black man by white city police officers.

Minneapolis-riot

There was chaos and destruction in Minneapolis Tuesday night as police officers and protesters clashed over the death of George Floyd.

The outrage began with a video showing police arresting the 46-year-old in south Minneapolis Monday night.

“I can’t breathe! Please, the knee on my neck,” Floyd is heard saying in the video.

The video shows an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck, pinning him to the ground outside Cup Foods on Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street for more than seven minutes. Floyd died a short time later at Hennepin Healthcare.

Thousands flooded the streets at that same intersection Tuesday afternoon to protest Floyd’s death. They packed the area, but were also spread out to try to be socially distant.

This ought to be, if not the top story this morning, certainly a top story. The Left Fist told me about it, but there was nothing in my Google News feed when I logged in. About an hour later, a small item finally popped up below a story about LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick speaking out on the subject.

I use G News because it aggregates thousands of sources. Some are good, some are bad, but once you block the worst of it what’s left is a pretty decent window onto what’s happening in the world. Pair that with some basic research skills and a willingness to think critically and you can stay fairly well informed.

But … thousands of people in the streets, tear gas, a general riot against racially-inflected police brutality and it’s not a lead story, top of the feed, etc.? Really?

Maybe I need to be more aggressively cultivating some alternative news sources.

ESPN: All Tiger, all the time

Oh, look. It’s US Open week. Let the fluffing begin.

ESPN.com - the all-Tiger-all-the-time network

And away we go.

Today the top story is that Tiger won the tournament a long time ago.

If Tiger wins this week, that will be the top story. If he finishes 30th, the story will be that he’s the reason the winner won. If we nuke Canada, the story will be how he played in Canada once.

If Jesus returns, the story will be that he came back to watch Tiger.

And now, the daily wagering proposition: if Tiger isn’t in first after the third round, how many paragraphs into the ESPN recap will you have to read to find out who’s leading?

Official S&R over/under: 3½.

Fun with headlines: the case of the dancing, backflipping, accidentally discharging FBI agent

Wanted: copy desk editor. No experience required.

By now you’ve probably seen the story. An off-duty FBI agent was dancing – and I use that term in its loosest possible sense – at a club up in RiNo (that’s the River North district in Denver for you non-5280ers). He tried a backflip. He failed. His gun fell out. He tried to pick it up. It went off. Shot a guy in the leg. Viral video hilarity ensued. Read more

ESPN gargles Tiger Woods some more

Ladies and gentlemen, the deepest throat in the history of sports journalism.

[sigh]

Read yesterday’s rant. Then check this.

ESPN sucks Tiger Woods' dick

Tiger is tied for 40th, 18 shots back, but that’s okay. He’s still the story. The only story. We’re assured, further down the screen, that [f]or Tiger, par 72 in Round 3 ranks as progress. Even better, if Patrick Reed wins, it will be because he wants to be like Tiger so it will be almost the same as if Tiger won himself! Read more

Hey ESPN – WHO’S LEADING THE MASTERS?

As long as Tiger Woods is drawing breath, ESPN is going to have Patrick Reed in witness protection.

Patrick Reed can’t catch a break with the Morthership, no matter how good he is. Here’s a screenshot of this morning’s ESPN above-the-fold malpractice:

Tiger Woods Patrick Reed

Reed leads at 9-under, but the real story is Tiger Woods, who barely made the cut. Look – there is accomplishment in his struggles. Pimping ain’t easy for a hustler having to squeak by on $740M. Read more

Albuquerque Journal offers disingenuous apology for racist cartoon

Albuquerque Journal racist cartoon

Racism much?

The Delonas cartoon isn’t journalism. It’s the opposite of journalism. People who green-light overtly racist stereotyping may not be suited for important editorial positions.

So, the Albuquerque Journal has apologized. Kinda.

I’ve been known for wicked sarcasm and mockery, for double-reverse satire and out and out provocation. I’m used to being misunderstood and have long known better than to calibrate my gauges by the passions of those who may not be bright enough to get the subtleties of informed discourse. (Yes, I’m an elitist, sort of – read all about it.) Read more

Michael Wolff’s Fire & Fury: is this the future of journalism?

Murrow-Cronkite-Thompson-Wolff

As corrupt politicians evolve, so also must journalism. It may be ugly, but perhaps it’s necessary.

Scrogue Emeritus Russ Wellen forwarded along Drew Magary’s recent GQ piece on Michael Wolff this morning, and it touched off a bit of reflection on how journalism adapts in the face of an evolving landscape of social, political and economic corruption. Magary says, in part:

Everyone around Donald Trump is too polite to Donald Trump. Democrats, foreign dignitaries, underlings… all of them. And the White House press is perhaps the worst offender. From the media pool playing along with Sarah Sanders during press conferences—conferences where Sanders openly lies and pisses on democracy—to access merchants like Maggie Haberman doling out Trump gossip like so many bread crumbs, too many reporters have been far too deferential to an administration that is brazenly racist, dysfunctional, and corrupt. And for what purpose? It’s clear to me that Haberman and the like aren’t saving up their chits for just the EXACT right time to bring this Administration down. No, the only end goal of their access is continued access, to preserve it indefinitely so that the copy spigot never gets shut off. They are abiding by traditional wink-wink understandings that have long existed between the government and the press covering it.

But Wolff didn’t do that. He did not engage in some endless bullshit access tango. No, Wolff actually USED his access, and extended zero courtesy to Trump on the process, and it’s going to pay off for him not just from a book sales standpoint, but from a real journalistic impact. I am utterly sick to death of hearing anonymous reports about people inside the White House “concerned” about the madman currently in charge of everything. These people don’t deserve the courtesy of discretion. They don’t deserve to dictate the terms of coverage to people. They deserve to be torched.

Magary’s take recalled a fascinating Facebook thread from last week, initiated by Tom Yulsman. Tom is Professor of Journalism in the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado and director of the Center for Environmental Journalism. He’s also creator of the ImaGeo blog at Discover. So he might be fairly viewed as having an informed opinion on matters of journalism. Read more

Washington Post finally realizes “both sides” journalism is bad

It only took them 50 years to catch up with Hunter Thompson.

Earlier Dr. Denny sent around an email. It linked toWaPo article by Margaret Sullivan entitled “This week should put the nail in the coffin for ‘both sides’ journalism.”

His comment: “She’s a little late to the party. Sam said this to me 13 years ago.”

It’s true that Denny and I talked about this way back when, and it’s true that I said things echoed here. You really owe the piece a read. She begins:

He’s the false-equivalency president.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, the national news media’s misguided sense of fairness helped equate the serious flaws of Hillary Clinton with the disqualifying evils of Donald Trump.

“But her emails . . .” goes the ironic line that aptly summarizes too much of the media’s coverage of the candidates. In short: Clinton’s misuse of a private email server was inflated to keep up with Trump’s racism, sexism and unbalanced narcissism — all in the name of seeming evenhanded.

In a devastating post-election report, Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center concluded that media treatment was rife with false equivalency: “On topics relating to the candidates’ fitness for office, Clinton and Trump’s coverage was virtually identical in terms of its negative tone.”

That was a factor — one of many — that helped to put Trump in the Oval Office.

Elected with the help of false equivalency, Trump is now creating some of his own.

Read more

Bruce Bartlett and the faux-serious political person kabuki boogaloo

Bartlett, long a fluffer for those who helped make America suck again, has now rebranded himself as a principled serious person who can be counted on to criticize both sides. You know, seriously. All he’s doing, though, is proving that us non-serious wackadoodles are right. Dear Bruce: please do fuck off.

Bob Burnett has posted a crisp analysis of what’s gone wrong with the two parties, and he focuses mainly on the Democrats’ struggle to deal with our little oligarchy problem. The thrust of his argument is that the Dems have lost their soul. Well, yes. And I do know a thing or two about that.

A little fluffy, maybe, but most of what he says is on the money. He concludes thusly: Read more

Open letter to Reza Aslan: come write for Scholars & Rogues

We can offer you one thing CNN can’t.

CNN has parted ways with Reza Aslan, whose “profane” anti-Trump tweets were widely criticized earlier this week.

In case you missed it, Aslan called Donald a “piece of shit” in a tweet reacting to Trump’s cynical travel ban grandstanding after the recent Manchester bombing.

At Scholars & Rogues, we’re not big fans of CNN, and this little dustup doesn’t change our minds.

So Reza, if you’re reading this, we’d like to invite you to come work with us at S&R. Read more

Tiger kills zookeeper because … the tiger had a set of keys?

Information wants to be free. Hamerton Zoo Park officials really fucked up the public statement.

You probably noted the story about the zookeeper killed by a tiger in England the other day. This is a tragic story in every way.

It’s also a maddening example of inept cover-your-ass PR language by the Hamerton Zoo Park’s spokespeople. By now we should all be getting used to the fact that every official agency of any sort on the planet spins us, from governments to Fortune 500s to sports agents to the local school board. If you’re frustrated by the fact that you have take a magnifying glass to every official pronouncement you come across, join the club.

This story features an unusually ham-handed example of what I’m talking about. Read more

« Older Entries