Tag Archives | Journalism

“Superstition sets the whole world in flames” – Voltaire

J.D. Falk (CC BY-SA 2.0)

J.D. Falk (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via BBC

Historian Tom Holland was one of those who tweeted Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in the wake of the deadly attack on the magazine’s office. Here he explains the ramifications of defending free speech.

Religions are not alone in having their martyrs. On 1 July, 1766, in Abbeville in northern France, a young nobleman named Lefebvre de la Barre was found guilty of blasphemy. The charges against him were numerous – that he had defecated on a crucifix, spat on religious images, and refused to remove his hat as a Church procession went past.

These crimes, together with the vandalising of a wooden cross on the main bridge of Abbeville, were sufficient to see him sentenced to death. Once La Barre’s tongue had been cut out and his head chopped off, his mortal remains were burned by the public executioner, and dumped into the river Somme.

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Car bomb kills 30 in Yemen. No protests held.

goldcore_bloomberg_chart4_08-01-15

 

Russia Today reports that a car bomb attack against a police college in Yemen killed 30 people and injured 50 more on January 7th. This is the same day as the now-infamous Paris shooting at the magazine, Charlie Hebdo. A quick Google search of news stories for both of these appalling incidents reveals 78,800 results for the Yemen car bombing and 26 million for the Charlie Hebdo shooting.

If we could attach a moderately objective standard to evaluate the exposure level of these two incidents—say loss of human life; then, obviously the Yemen car bombing deserves our attention more.  So what’s the difference?

I’ll brave a guess: we, as Westerners, assume we know what the Paris shooting was about; whereas, we have no idea what the car bombing in Yemen was about. The narrative for the Paris shooting we are provided is cut-and-dry: it was about narrow-minded religious intolerance of ‘free speech’.… Read the rest

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The Charlie Hebdo Cartoon Covers

By now everyone is aware of the Paris assassinations of the Charlie Hebdo journalists. We feel sure that Charb and his team would want their work to go far and wide in response to the acts of the murderous Islamists who carried out France’s worst terrorist incident since the 1960s, so here are a couple of the cartoon covers that, in the eyes of some, required the death of the people who created them:

charlie hebdo

For those interested in supporting what’s left of Charlie Hebdo, its lawyer, Richard Malka, has confirmed that next week’s edition of the magazine will be published on Wednesday and will have a print run of one million, instead of the normal 60,000 copies.

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White Man Publishes Book! USA Today Mistakes This for News

"Our most finely tuned instruments were unable to detect even trace amounts of irony in this USA Today headline."

“Our most finely tuned instruments were unable to detect even trace amounts of irony in this USA Today headline.”

Jim Naureckas writes at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting:

A collection of short stories published by entertainment lawyer Kevin Morris makes the front page of USA Today‘s Money section (1/4/15). Why? The startling thing about the book, according to USA Today media writer Michael Wolff, is that it deals with “one of the least-popular media subjects, middle-aged white men.”

Yes, “White Men Have Stories to Tell, Too,” as the headline of Wolff’s column declares.

You might think that if you wrote about media for a living, you would notice that publishers mostly publish, and newspapers mostly review, books written by white men. A few years back, Ruth Franklin of the New Republic (2/7/11) found that the authors at eight out of 13 book publishers she surveyed were 75 percent or more male, and 11 were at least two-thirds men; at none of the houses were most of the writers female.

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Colonialism of the Mind, Part I

Dady Chery writes at CounterPunch:

“Les intellectuels ont toujours été des courtisans. Ils ont toujours vécu dans le palais.”

“Intellectuals have always been courtesans. They have always lived in the palace.” – Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975)

Western journalists increasingly assume the voices of subjugated countries’ natives while muzzling them by denying them access to the press. In the United States, the more visible venues of the alternative press, such as online news sites Truthout, Common Dreams, and Huffington Post are essentially closed to native writers. This colonialism of the mind is rampant when it comes to Haiti.

Inspect the US alternative press for news of Haiti. You will find articles there by Beverly Bell, Mark Weisbrot, Robert Naiman, Jane Regan, Noam Chomsky, Stephen Lendman and others, but you will be hard put to find a Haitian name. Westerners, whatever their political leaning, do reserve their right to rule the world, and the right to pontificate to the ignorant natives is very much a part of it.

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Twelve Murders at Paris Offices of Satirical Magazine Charlie Hebdo

charlie

This is a breaking story so expect news to change throughout the day. Needless to say, everyone at disinformation believes in free speech and freedom of the press, so this terrorist attack on a controversial publisher is horrific to all of us and we massively sympathize with everyone at Charlie Hebdo and their families.

Here’s a link to The Guardian‘s “What We Know So Far” article. :

 Two gunmen entered the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and opened fire. Witnesses reported seeing hooded men shouting “Allahu Akbar” carrying pump-action Kalashnikovs going into the magazine’s offices and then hearing heavy gunfire. Police said three attackers were involved, including one who drove a car to the scene.

So far, 12 people have been confirmed dead – 10 Charlie Hebdo staff and two police officers. Video footage showed one of the officers being shot at close range as he lay injured on the street.

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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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