Tag Archives: news

The Komen “reversal”: a crushing failure of America’s newsrooms

Yesterday I attempted to shed a little light on the PR crisis strategy behind the Komen Foundation’s sudden Planned Parenthood “backtracking.”

Contrary to what Komen’s highly-paid PR crisis hacks and gullible headline writers at newsdesks around the nation would ask you to believe, The Susan G. Komen Foundation does NOT promise to fund Planned Parenthood in the future. They promise to let PP APPLY for grants in the future. Applying and receiving are different things, as anyone who ever applied and got rejected for a job ought to know. Read more

EXCLUSIVE: S&R obtains copy of Rupert Murdoch’s original, unedited apology

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch has issued a public apology for the News of the World scandal, which appears in several British national newspapers this weekend. The final text is available here.

For those unfamiliar with the exciting world of public relations, these kinds of official statements often go through a rigorous process of draft, revision, review, more revision, show it to legal, start over, and finally approval by the person whose name appears at the bottom. S&R has obtained a copy of Murdoch’s original draft and the redline revision produced by Edelman, the PR agency handling the crisis. Edelman, whose client list doesn’t include Charles Manson, Hitler, Simon Cowell or NAMBLA, but would if they showed up with a suitcase full of cash, is very highly regarded when it comes to the task of lipsticking rabid pigs. Read more

Why American media has such a signal-to-noise problem, pt. 2

Part 2 of a series; Previously: What Bell Labs and French Intellectuals Can Tell Us About Cronkite and Couric

The Signal-to-Noise Journey of American Media

The 20th Century represented a Golden Age of Institutional Journalism. The Yellow Journalism wars of the late 19th Century gave way to a more responsible mode of reporting built on ethical and professional codes that encouraged fairness and “objectivity.” (Granted, these concepts, like their bastard cousin “balance,” are not wholly unproblematic. Still, they represented a far better way of conducting journalism than we had seen before.) It’s probably not idealizing too much to assert that reporting in the Cronkite Era, for instance, was characterized by a commitment to rise above partisanship and manipulation. The journalist was expected to hold him/herself to a higher standard and to serve the public interest. These professionals – and I have met a few who are more than worthy of the title – believed they had a duty to search for the facts and to present them in a fashion that was as free of bias as possible.

In other words, their careers, like that of Claude Shannon, were devoted to maximizing the signal in the system – the system here being the “marketplace of ideas.” Read more

Why American media has such a signal-to-noise problem, part 1

Part one of a two-part series.

From Cronkite to Couric: the Kingdom of Signal is swallowed by the Empire of Noise

The recent death of Walter Cronkite spurred the predictable outpouring of tributes, each reverencing in its own way a man who was the face and voice of journalism in America for a generation or more. The irony of all these accolades is that we live in an age where “broadcast journalist” is such a cruel oxymoron, and we seem to speeding headlong into an era where the word “journalist” itself threatens to become a freestanding joke. Why, against this backdrop, would so many people who are so involved in the daily repudiation of everything that Cronkite stood for make such a show memorializing the standard by which they so abjectly fail?

As I read what people had to say about Cronkite, I realized that something I studied and wrote about over a decade ago helps explain why our contemporary media has gone so deeply, tragically wrong. Read more

Jon Stewart, Jim Cramer and the rampaging cowards of journalism

First, just in case you haven’t seen it, please review the video (in three parts).

Read more

Making innovate and profit for survive journalism

When readership began dropping among younger demographics, they didn’t innovate. When new media technologies began emerging in the early ’90s, they didn’t innovate. When Craigslist began eating their lunch and fucking their trophy wives on the dinner table, they didn’t innovate – not unless “hey, if we fired all the employees, we’d theoretically be infinitely profitable” counts as innovation.

But now, now they’re innovating. Like lemmings on rocket skates they’re innovating. Check out the brains on these geniuses, would ya? Read more

Stop lying to the public: some notes on the faux-ethics of the press

CountyFair had an important and much-needed lesson in journalistic ethics for us this morning. The key points:

First: it should never, ever be considered acceptable to quote a candidate or official making a false claim without noting its falsity. Reporters do this all the time, justifying it by saying they’re just presenting both sides, or that they aren’t making the false claim, they’re just reporting it, or saying they corrected three other false claims in the article. That is not sufficient: if a journalist includes a false or misleading claim in their news report — in any form — without indicating that is false, they are actively helping to spread misinformation.

Second: the way in which news reports debunk misinformation matters a great deal. Read more

Ike coverage: index page

We’ve been asked if we can pull together an index page with links to all of our Hurricane Ike coverage. If you want, bookmark this and we’ll add everything we do in here as the story develops.

Audio with Edmundo: “I’m okay” but “the worst is yet to come”

I spoke with Edmundo about an hour ago. He’s fine, but Ike is all that was advertised and then some. Power is out for 99% of those in the area and they’re being told it will be weeks before it’s fully restored. As of 8:30 Houston time he was reporting that the worst of the storm – the back side – was still to come.

Here’s audio of the interview. We apologize for the sound quality – as you can imagine, we’re not dealing with ideal circumstances here.


edmundo_houston_730_2 Read more

Ike updates: evacuation traffic and Edmundo tweeting Ike on S&R channel

Post Updated at 4:35 PM MDT. Click on “Full Story” to read the update.

First, Ann Ivins reports that “traffic is starting to pick up along Interstate 10 coming in from Houston. They haven’t created evacuation lanes yet. Gas prices have jumped in the last two hours by a few cents.”

Second, Edmundo Rocha will be tweeting on Ike from a shelter in Houston. We’re still in the process of reloading our Twitter widget, which got zapped during our host move a few days ago. We hope to have it up this evening.

In the meantime, you can follow his coverage on the S&R channel here. Read more

Ike: Galveston is in deep trouble

A couple disparate pieces of information have come together in a way that’s potentially a little scary. Earlier, Ann Ivins noted that:

Even with the terrible planning and deadly highway gridlock, San Antonio was full by the time Rita hit – and she was headed further north. Galveston’s already flooding. There’s no one here. The hotels and motels along 37 and 35 have tons of rooms available; I called three just now to check. Why haven’t people been leaving?

That is, there ought to be more evidence in the way of hotel bookings that Galveston has been abandoned. Read more

Ike: More from Edmundo Rocha in Houston

As Edmundo Rocha noted earlier today, things are looking pretty dire for those in Ike’s path. For those interested in what it looks like on the ground, he’s liveblogging as best he can over at ¡Para Justicia y Libertad!

Meanwhile, we’ve gotten a few more e-mails from him. Here are the relevant parts:

  • Most of Surfside Beach was submerged by mid-morning, with waters topping mailboxes and stop signs. Read more

Ike bears down on Houston: “Whatever reports you’re hearing are lies”

Editor’s Note: The S&R team just received the following e-mail from our friend and colleague Edmundo Rocha, who lives in Houston. The city has had time to prepare, but it sounds as though significant errors have placed people in greater danger. Fingers crossed for Edmundo and everybody else down there – we’ll keep you posted as we hear more.

UPDATE: More here.

In the city’s attempt not to repeat the steps Mayor Ray Nagin took with Gustav, Houston has created a major clusterfuck. In trying to maintain order and avoiding mass panic, I can tell you, it has failed. Read more

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