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. Continue reading “Fun with headlines: the case of the dancing, backflipping, accidentally discharging FBI agent”

ESPN gargles Tiger Woods some more

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


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! Continue reading “ESPN gargles Tiger Woods some more”


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. Continue reading “Hey ESPN – WHO’S LEADING THE MASTERS?”


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.) Continue reading “Albuquerque Journal offers disingenuous apology for racist cartoon”


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


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. Continue reading “Michael Wolff’s Fire & Fury: is this the future of journalism?”

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.

Continue reading “Washington Post finally realizes “both sides” journalism is bad”

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: Continue reading “Bruce Bartlett and the faux-serious political person kabuki boogaloo”

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. Continue reading “Open letter to Reza Aslan: come write for Scholars & Rogues”

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. Continue reading “Tiger kills zookeeper because … the tiger had a set of keys?”

Examining Vanessa Otero's news source credibility chart

I’ve seen several of these attempts at categorizing sources lately and this, from Vanessa Otero, is probably the best so far. (It’s marginally better than the Reddit guide to fake news, which I discussed a few weeks back.)

Still, that the Wall Street Journal is only regarded as skewing a little conservative is a bad joke. Continue reading “Examining Vanessa Otero's news source credibility chart”

Trump's Mainstream Media Accountability Survey will leave you speechless

fauxnewsThis methodological tour de force is a triumph in honesty, objectivity and good faith. Bigly. You should reply in kind.

I’ll keep this brief. Donald has a poll up asking for your honest opinion on a series of  completely fair, unbiased and objective questions about “the media.” The Mainstream Media Accountability Survey asks questions like:

10: Do you believe that the mainstream media does not do their due diligence fact-checking before publishing stories on the Trump administration?


13: Do you believe that political correctness has created biased news coverage on both illegal immigration and radical Islamic terrorism?

Here’s the best one, though: Continue reading “Trump's Mainstream Media Accountability Survey will leave you speechless”

Examining the Reddit guide to fake news

The crew on the CoolGuides subReddit are to be commended for a noteworthy effort, but there are a few things we’d like to see adjusted.

There’s an interesting project under way over at Reddit. Interesting in that it tackles the increasingly pressing question of journalistic credibility here in the golden age of fake news (and how can you possibly not respect an effort called “Fight Fake News, updated and larger guide to repubility”? (“Reputability”?) Also interesting in that, this being Reddit, your mileage may vary. Have a look at where they are right now:

Reddit journalistic credibility chart

There’s plenty to like here, starting with the Left/Right and High Quality/Low Quality axes. Continue reading “Examining the Reddit guide to fake news”

If Trump gets to decide what's fake news, then journalism is dead – and so is the Republic

Today’s press conference makes clear why the American press must stand up and be reckoned with.

Have a quick look at today’s national disgrace.

No, not Trump, although he is certainly every inch a disgrace. Continue reading “If Trump gets to decide what's fake news, then journalism is dead – and so is the Republic”

Remembering 2016: the year when everyone died

No, famous people won’t stop dying on January 1. But we lost too many bright lights this year and we hope that 2017 will be better. Here’s a list of noteworthy people who died in 2016.

For the past several months a lot of us have been saying we can’t wait for this damned year to be over.

2016 gave us the worst election season I can remember, and every ten minutes or so another beloved artist would die, it seemed. Any year that gives us Donald Trump and takes Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Prince in return has done more damage than some decades.

No, people aren’t going to stop dying at the stroke of midnight tomorrow. Continue reading “Remembering 2016: the year when everyone died”