Tag Archives | Journalism

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

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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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New Email Release Shows: Peter King Demanded an Investigation To Find Journalist’s Sources Like Peter King

By Marcy Wheeler

On May 7, 2012, then Associated Press reporters Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo broke the story of a thwarted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) underwear bomb plot. Within a day, several news outlets — including ABC NewsLos Angeles Times, and New York Times – reported that the culprit was actually a Saudi agent.

On May 9, 2012, Representative Peter King called for an FBI investigation to determine who leaked details of the plot to the AP.

I’m calling on the FBI to do a full of investigation of how this was leaked, who’s leaking it. And also the CIA to do an internal investigation.

[snip]

This came from such a small circle.  Nobody in Congress knew about it. My understanding is very few of anyone in the FBI even knew about it. And yet so much of it was leaked to the Associated Press a week ago, and now someone’s leaking like a sieve.

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How Misinformation Goes Viral

The subheading of this story on “misinformation” from Columbia Journalism Review is “a Truthy story,” in which David Alberti explains how “conservative media’s reaction to an Indiana University project shows how shoddy information can quickly become an online narrative”:

On August 26, Fox’s Megyn Kelly aired a four-minute segment on an Indiana University project called Truthy, declaring sarcastically, “Some bureaucrat deciding whether you are being hateful or misinforming people — what could possibly go wrong?” Fox & Friends jumped onto the bandwagon two days later. During its four-minute segment, legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. managed to squeeze in not only a comparison to Joseph McCarthy, but also a reference to George Orwell’s 1984. “Is the First Amendment going into the dumper?” he asks.

The segments can be traced to a story published on a right-wing news site the previous Monday, which spawned a conspiratorial narrative that soon metastasized throughout social media and the conservative blogosphere.

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Threats to a Free Press, from Ferguson to the White House

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A strong appeal for the importance of the beleaguered Fourth Estate from a key member, Katrina vanden Heuvel, in the Washington Post:

This is a terrible time for journalists.

Just last week, the world watched in horror as James Foley, a freelance photojournalist for GlobalPost and Agence France-Presse, was beheaded by a jihadist from the Islamic State. The disturbing video suggests that the perpetrators intend to target more journalists if their demands are not met.

There is something particularly chilling about murdering those seeking only to inform, about reporters around the world having to fear for their lives. But right here at home, we’re seeing a less lethal, yet still deeply troubling threat to journalism.

In recent days, all eyes have been on Ferguson, Mo., where the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9 touched off citywide protests and a national debate over racism, equal justice and police brutality.

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Why is the New York Times Pushing Pot?

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One has to consider that the source of this op-ed by Liz Peek is Republican Party mouthpiece Fox News, but still it’s a question worth asking given the Times’ near-maniacal support of the marijuana legalization movement:

The legalize-pot bandwagon has a new conductor. With the single-mindedness of Hillary Clinton seeking the Oval Office, the New York Times is pushing for legalization of marijuana. The paper has published no fewer than eight editorials or op-eds approving speedy decriminalization of pot in just the past few weeks. What’s it all about?

Let us dismiss conjecture that the Times is gunning for a Public Service Pulitzer, which they have not won for a decade. Instead, two thoughts occur.

First, the Times may view decriminalizing marijuana as the next great progressive wave, following on the heels of same-sex marriage and, in earlier years, abortion rights. A smaller wave, to be sure, but one that liberals (and libertarians) can ride with enthusiasm.

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