Tag Archives | Journalism

No More Top Billing for Violence, Tragedy, Dysfunction & Corruption

Ahmad Hammoud (CC BY 2.0)

Ahmad Hammoud (CC BY 2.0)

Or so says Arianna Huffington at Huffington Post:

There’s an old saying in the news business, one that’s guided editorial thinking for decades: “If it bleeds, it leads.” That is, stories of violence, tragedy, dysfunction and corruption get top billing — at the top of the hour, at the top of the computer or phone screen or above the newspaper fold — driven by the assumption that these are the stories the public will be most drawn to watch or read.

This ethos is wrong, both factually and ethically. And it’s lousy journalism. As journalists, our job is to give our audience an accurate picture — and that means the full picture — of what’s going on in the world. Just showing tragedy, violence, mayhem — focusing on what’s broken and what’s not working — misses too much of what is happening all around us.

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The Origin of Modern Terror and Crumbling Western Values

Peter (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Peter (CC BY-SA 2.0)

John Chuckman writes at CounterPunch:

Do you ever solve problems by ignoring them? Most of us would say that is not possible, yet that is precisely what western governments do in their efforts to counteract what is called “Islamic terror.” Yes, there are vast and costly efforts to suppress the symptoms of what western governments regard as a modern plague, including killing many people presumed to be infected with it, fomenting rebellion and destruction in places presumed to be prone to it, secretly returning to barbaric practices such as torture, things we thought had been left behind centuries ago, to fight it, and violating rights of their own citizens we thought were as firmly established as the need for food and shelter. Governments ignore, in all these destructive efforts, what in private they know very well is the origin of the problem.

Have Islamic radicals always existed?

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“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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