Tag Archives | Journalism

HOAX! The High School Investment Genius Lied, Didn’t Make $72 Million

Even though New York City’s Stuyvesant High School has more than its fair share of highly intelligent students, it did seem a stretch that one of them could have made $72 Million trading stocks, as was widely reported over the last few days. The New York Observer reveals it was a hoax:

It’s been a tough month for factchecking. After the Rolling Stone campus rape story unraveled, readers of all publications can be forgiven for questioning the process by which Americans get our news. And now it turns out that another blockbuster story is —to quote its subject in an exclusive Observer interview—”not true.”

Monday’s edition of New York magazine includes an irresistible story about a Stuyvesant High senior named Mohammed Islam who had made a fortune investing in the stock market. Reporter Jessica Pressler wrote regarding the precise number, “Though he is shy about the $72 million number, he confirmed his net worth is in the “’high eight figures.’” The New York Post followed up with a story of its own, with the fat figure playing a key role in the headline: “High school student scores $72M playing the stock market.”

Stuyvesant HS

And now it turns out, the real number is … zero.

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Michael Brown, Bill Cosby, and Our Disturbing Relationship with Power

Photo: Protesters demonstrate against the shooting of Michael Brown, by Flikr user LightBrigading (via I’mNotTheNanny, licensed under creative commons).

Photo: Protesters demonstrate against the shooting of Michael Brown, by Flickr user LightBrigading (via I’mNotTheNanny, licensed under creative commons).

[Warning: this essay ended up being really long. What can I say? These are deep-seated issues, and much as I wish I could address them adequately with a few GIFs and a listicle, that’s just not going to happen. If you are opposed to reading long articles, turn back now. And if you’re one of those people who likes to open long articles just to leave complaints about how long they are, like some commenters on the last long piece I wrote here, this is your cue to skip straight to the comments section and complain away. You’re welcome.]

It’s rare for breaking news events to line up in any way that is truly meaningful. Though we are increasingly bombarded with updates from TV screens, smartphones and social media, and the occasional printed word, none of it seems to add up to anything.… Read the rest

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TV News Station Creates Fake News Advertising Car Dealership

This is a summary podcast from the Indie Bohemians Morning Show. A morning show for people who hate morning shows based in Nashville, TN.

Ron Placone speaks with professor and activist John Anderson about a case in Las Vegas. A television station had been creating fake news stories that was advertising a car dealership. The dealership had paid for the “stories.” This is unethical journalism at its finest though tactics similar to this are perfectly legal. We talk sponsored content, details of this case, the FCC’s role, and then speak on the Media Reform Movement.

Also: Angie Dorin checks in with a Monkey Minute, Rob Haynes lets us know what’s going on in Sports and gives us a Vex on letters via mail. 

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The Government’s Single-Source Theory of Investigative Journalism

james-risen-300x214As reported by ExposeFacts last month, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling wants to show that several of the key witnesses against him (including his superior at CIA) have themselves mishandled classified information. A government filing released last month provides more details about Sterling’s claims, revealing that four witnesses who were cleared into the Merlin Program revealed in James Risen’s book have mishandled classified information, taking documents home improperly.

The government’s argument explaining why that doesn’t hurt its case is rather revealing. It explains that, because the four other people who had access to Merlin did not share all of a series of traits ascribed to Sterling by the government, they “did not face the same sort of scrutiny” as Sterling.

Similarly, the defendant says that the jury is entitled to know that four witnesses with access to Classified Program No. 1 “mishandled” classified material because this fact, standing alone, should make them suspects as potential sources for Risen.

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Dilma’s Reelection Proves “Citizen Kane” Style Media Still Alive and Well in Brazil

“They Knew About Everything”: the sensationalistic cover of Veja magazine intended to take down Dilma at a newsstand in Rio de Janeiro.
Photo: Veja

It’s a scene that’s just as famous among film scholars as it is among news junkies: Charles Foster Kane, owner of an influential news conglomerate in the early 20th century, is settling in to married life with his first wife, who becomes increasingly worried with the coverage in Kane’s newspapers. When she points out his outrageous headlines and begins to ask him what people will think, he cuts her off: “What I tell them to think”.

This depiction in Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, based on real life media baron William Randolph Hearst, was a fairly accurate assessment of the influence peddling typical of media outlets at the time. But the days of Hearst-style manipulation of the media are now long gone. Not to say there isn’t still yellow journalism in the states (perhaps it’s just turned a different shade of yellow).… Read the rest

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From Gary Webb to James Risen: The struggle for the soul of journalism

Gary Webb In His Own Words 623.jpg

Gary Webb

Andrew O’Hehir  has a nuanced view of ethics in journalism, reflected here in this essay for Salon:

In thinking about the cases of Gary Webb and James Risen, two famous investigative reporters aggressively persecuted for their explosive revelations (in very different situations, and with different results), we are drawn into the thorny question of journalism and its so-called professional ethics. How well do the supposed codes of journalism work, and whom do they serve and protect? Is the primary role of journalism as a social institution to discover the truth as best it can and raise the level of public discourse, or to preserve its own power and prestige and privilege? I don’t claim to know the answers with any certainty. If anything, the stories of Webb and Risen suggest that those questions yield different answers in different contexts.

I’ve been a working journalist for more than 25 years, across the demise of print and the rise of the Internet, and I’ve always viewed the idea of journalism as a profession as, at best, a double-edged sword.

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Risen’s New Book Exposes the ‘War on Terror’

pay priceNo single review or interview can do justice to Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War — the new book by James Risen that is the antithesis of what routinely passes for journalism about the “war on terror.” Instead of evasive tunnel vision, the book offers big-picture acuity: focusing on realities that are pervasive and vastly destructive.

Published this week, Pay Any Price throws down an urgent gauntlet. We should pick it up. After 13 years of militarized zealotry and fear-mongering in the name of fighting terrorism, the book — subtitled “Greed, Power, and Endless War” — zeros in on immense horrors being perpetrated in the name of national security.

As an investigative reporter for the New York Times, Risen has been battling dominant power structures for a long time. His new book is an instant landmark in the best of post-9/11 journalism. It’s also a wise response to repressive moves against him by the Bush and Obama administrations.… Read the rest

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Pursuing Justice Through Filmmaking, Why we Create Beauty, Hot Dog Related Altercations

Via Midwest Real

Filmmakers Spencer Chumbley and Erik Ljung have shot for organizations like VICE and Al Jazeera. I caught up with the guys just before they debuted their film, The Death of Cory Stingley a the Milwaukee Film Festival. 

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Humans make things, we always have. But, we don’t just make, we create beauty. We pay attention to symmetry, form and detail. Why is that? Darwinian theory says it’s simply a form of “peacocking.” More specifically, our creative predispositions are merely “fitness signals.” For example, if you write a novel, create a moving peace of art, or compose a great song, it’s just a uniquely human way of showing off your intellect in hopes of attracting a mate, like a peacock with it’s innately douchey bouquet of feathers.

I fucking hate this idea.  

But, let’s be fair. It’s totally undeniable that ego and social elevation are often intertwined with creative accomplishments.Read the rest

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Body Counts Rise As Chaos Deepens: Is There A Way Out?

Logo of Boko HaramAs a journalist, I became something of a body count expert. It started with the Vietnam War, where I soon learned to distrust the exaggerated counts of enemy dead made by our self-styled “intelligence” agencies.

That didn’t mean that people, alas, weren’t dying in droves, but not quite the people they were claiming to have killed, even if the sheer number was desensitizing and hard to relate to.

It’s still like that, what with the daily drone victims, collateral damage estimates and killings on battlefields and villages from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq.

Now we can add Nigeria to the countries in pain with massacres by the Boko Haram, and their own military goons, and, with the collapse of a mega church in Lagos that looked like the ‘planned demolition’ fall of Building 7, claiming the lives of 67 visiting South Africans and we still don’t know how many Nigerians. That House of God, known as a Synagogue Church, could not protect praying parishioners from the slaughter.… Read the rest

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Perpetual War Is Fine With the New York Times After All

The editorial board of the New York Times has an Orwellian knack for war. Sixteen months ago, when President Obama gave oratorical lip service to ending “perpetual war,” the newspaper quickly touted that end as a democratic necessity. But now — in response to Obama’s speech Wednesday night announcing escalation of war without plausible end — the Times editorial voice is with the endless war program.

Under the headline “The End of the Perpetual War,” published on May 23, 2013, the Times was vehement, calling a new Obama speech “the most important statement on counterterrorism policy since the 2001 attacks, a momentous turning point in post-9/11 America.” The editorial added: “For the first time, a president stated clearly and unequivocally that the state of perpetual warfare that began nearly 12 years ago is unsustainable for a democracy and must come to an end in the not-too-distant future.”

Obama Malaysia Airlines

The Times editorial board was sweeping in its conclusion: “Mr.… Read the rest

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