Tag Archives | Journalism

Academic’s Research Shows NY Times, Wash. Post Don’t Do Follow-up Reporting to See if Civilians Killed in U.S. Drone Strikes

By now you know the drill: The CIA or U.S. military forces unleash a drone strike or other aerial bombardment in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia or any other country that the United States claims the right to attack.

drone strikes, drones,

A U.S. government spokesperson reports 5 or 7 or 17 or 25 or whatever number of “militants” killed — Taliban, or al Qaeda or ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State fighters — according to its fill-in-the-blanks press release. Wire services, mainstream newspapers, television newscasters dutifully report in brief fashion on another successful drone or missile strike, fulfilling minimal journalistic standards by attributing it to the Pentagon, or intelligence or U.S. government sources — sometimes even naming the spokesperson who issued the news release.

And then — usually nothing. Yes, sometimes someone with a little clout raises a stink — say the Afghan president, or some prominent local official who was an eyewitness to the attack, or Doctors without Borders after the U.S.

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The media did cover attacks on *insert country here*. You just weren’t reading it.

Ahmad Hammoud (CC BY 2.0)

Ahmad Hammoud (CC BY 2.0)

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, social media users took to their keyboards to complain about Western’s society disregard for attacks in other, non-Western countries.

“Where was the media outrage for the attacks in Kenya or Beirut?” Well, it turns out the media did cover these attacks. We just weren’t paying attention.

Emma Kelly via Medium:

But in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, many people have taken to Twitter and Facebook to complain about why 147 people being killed by militant gunmen at Garissa University College in Kenya didn’t get as much coverage as Paris.

“Why isn’t the media covering this?” I saw several Facebook posts exclaim, while sharing a link to a BBC News story on the tragedy.

a) The media did cover this. You are sharing a BBC News link to the story.

b) A quick Google search will show that it wasn’t just the BBC who covered it.

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Copyright Terms And How Historical Journalism Is Disappearing

EP Journalism Prize 2011 winners are from France, Italy, Finland and Germany

Parker Higgins writes at Techdirt:

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced last Wednesday the “Chronicling America” contest to create projects out of historical newspaper data. The contest is supposed to showcase the history of the United States through the lens of a popular (and somewhat ephemeral) news format. But looking at the limits of the archival data, another story emerges: the dark cloud of copyright’s legal uncertainty is threatening the ability of amateur and even professional historians to explore the last century as they might explore the ones before it.

Consider that the National Digital Newspaper Program holds the history of American newspapers only up until 1922. (It originally focused on material from 1900-1910 and gradually expanded outwards to cover material from as early as 1836.) Those years may seem arbitrary—and it makes sense that there would be some cut-off date for a historical archive—but for copyright nerds 1922 rings some bells: it’s the latest date from which people can confidently declare a published work is in the public domain.

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Will Potter on Communications Management Units (CMU’s) and Daniel McGowan

Will Potter, investigative journalist and author of “Green is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement Under Siege” recently gave a TED Talk outlining his work on Communication Management Units, (CMU’s) which are special units in the US prison system designed to contain and monitor those labeled as “domestic terrorists.” He was able to contact and meet with environmental activist and former CMU prisoner Daniel McGowan, and he discusses this and other CMU-related information here:

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Why isn’t America outraged over the burning of 5 black churches near Ferguson?


Five predominantly black churches around St. Louis have been attacked by arsons — but you wouldn’t know it if you only follow the mainstream media.

Cory Doctorow via BoingBoing:

St. Louis Fire Department captain Garon Mosby calls the fires “arson,” but despite the shocking string of racist attacks, major media have hardly breathed a word about the fires.

It’s a stark contrast with the orgy of media coverage that attended last year’s burning of a CVS in Baltimore by protesters, which was a major news lead for several days, and was used to characterize the whole anti-racist movement as violent and out-of-control.

The attacks follow on from last summer’s wave of torchings of black churches across the south after the terrorist slaughter at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Black church burnings and bombings have been a favored tactic of white terrorists since the civil war era, a tactic for racists who call for pogroms, genocide or deportation of their fellow citizens.

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Conspiracy Theory and the Failure of Certainty


In the culture wars that are being waged to define our communal values, the rhetorical arms race has generated a healthy stockpile of words and phrases that are often deployed in linguistic combat. Amongst this arsenal, few terms weave together so many cultural threads as “Conspiracy Theory.”

From such seemingly disparate threads as the philosophy of language, epistemology, political philosophy, history, journalism, psychology, and sociology, a Gordian tangle emerges that tie all of these subjects together.

This writing will endeavor to briefly:

  • contextualize the epistemological difficulties of attaining certainty
  • examine the tenuous nature of news and history with a focus on its manipulation
  • enumerate a truncated list of historical conspiracies with the purpose of underscoring their unexceptional nature
  • examine the historical and contemporary usage of the term “conspiracy theory”
  • leave the reader with a general approach to sidestepping the pitfalls of rhetorical obfuscation and semantic misunderstanding

I: “Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position.

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AP Tells Journalists Not To Use Term ‘Climate Change Deniers’

The Associated Press, or AP, not so subtly told journalists that they should no longer use the term “climate change deniers” earlier this year. Gizmodo questions motives:

On the last day of the hottest summer in recorded history, the Associated Press made a rather timely announcement: We are no longer supposed to use the terms “climate change skeptics” or “climate change deniers” to label people who disagree the Earth is warming due to human activity.

Dirty Dozen - Caricatures

Instead, the AP Stylebook will now recommend that journalists use “climate change doubters” or “those who reject mainstream climate science.” That last one is a mouthful that’s certainly going to eat up my Twitter character count. So why the change?

According to the AP Definitive Source, which reports on edits to the AP Stylebook, it’s because some scientists consider themselves skeptics:

Scientists who consider themselves real skeptics – who debunk mysticism, ESP and other pseudoscience, such as those who are part of the Center for Skeptical Inquiry – complain that non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic.

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Vice News Crew Facing Terrorism Charges in Turkey

While the terrorism charges against two Vice News journalists may sound trumped up and Vice Media is pooh-poohing them, consider that Egypt has just sentenced three Al-Jazeera journalists to three years in (a not very nice) prison. The Wrap reports on the situation in Turkey:

Two Vice News reporters and their two colleagues will appear in court on Monday in Turkey to face terrorism charges after being detained on Thursday.

credit: Darwinek (CC)

credit: Darwinek (CC)


Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury, two British journalists for Vice, were taken into custody with their driver and fixer in the city of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey, initially detained for filming without accreditation; the charges have now evolved to supporting ISIS.

Authorities seized their cameras and raided their hotel rooms. The journalists “face unsubstantiated charges of terrorism” in court, a VICE News spokesperson said. “VICE News continues to work vigorously with all relevant authorities to secure the safe release of our four colleagues,” the spokesperson said.

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