Tag Archives | Journalism

NSA College Recruitment Drive Goes Quite Wrong

NSA college recruitmentWhen the National Security Agency visited the University of Wisconsin last week to recruit language students to be the next generation of intelligence workers, events didn’t go smoothly as planned.

Journalist Madiha Tahir, currently taking a language course at the university, posted an audio recording of the NSA officials’ presentation to the student body going off the rails, as she and others tear the presenters to pieces with questions about Edward Snowden, the legality and ethics of their work, and if being a good liar is an asset for getting a job at the NSA. She has also posted a rough transcript on her blog.

Her comment that sums up the whole debacle: “I’m just surprised that for language analysts, you’re incredibly imprecise with your language. And it just doesn’t seem to be clear.”

Continue Reading

Conspiracy Theories Surrounding Journalist Michael Hastings’s Death Grow

michael hastingsAcclaimed reporter Michael Hastings died tragically when his car crashed and burst into flames over a week ago. The mysterious accident has already led to talk of the conspiracy theory variety, as Hastings had been investigating stories related to the CIA and NSA prior to his death. Now WikiLeaks has revealed that Hastings contacted them hours before he died, and KTLA Los Angeles adds that on that day Hastings sent a mass email to associates saying that he was being investigated by the “Feds”, was “onto a big story”, would be going “off the radar for a bit”:

The crash that killed journalist Michael Hastings was ruled an accident by police, but conspiracy theories continued to circulate on Friday. Hastings, 33, was killed in a fiery solo-vehicle crash in Hancock Park early Tuesday morning.

He was best known for a 2010 Rolling Stone article that led to the resignation of Gen.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Does Making Films Help Make Change?

President Obama on The Daily Show closeThere has been a major shift in media culture as most TV networks have abandoned long-form information programming. In these times, with Twitter playing a big part in disseminating news, TV has to be punchy, quick and visual. The age of media mergers has seen showbiz merging with news biz, and soundbites have become shorter as the newscast story count rises.

Significantly, the best TV criticism of these trends in the US appears in a nightly program on the Comedy Central channel. But ultimately, there is nothing funny about the way a media system – intended to bolster a democratic discourse – contributes to its decline.

News is increasingly becoming more about the image than the information – an approach to “coverage” that is at its core tabloid in its sensibilities, often intended for a memorable emotional impact that will boost media ratings and revenues. The race for “breaking news” is breaking our ability to understand the context of events.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

How “Israel Bombs Syria” becomes “Israel Is Only Defending Itself”

Syria-from-Golan-Heights

Photos8.com (CC)

An Israeli plane bombs a target in Syria. The news is passed along first to Fox News, (huh?) by someone in the Administration.. It happened on a Thursday, but we find out about it  late on Friday. The New York Times assigns three reporter to cover the story that goes up on the website in the middle of the morning on Saturday.

Earlier that day, President Obama, speaking in Costa Rica, said there will be no US ground troops on the ground in Syria.  Now, the Administration says it is considering “military options.”

Saturday’s New York Times choses this story for the first page:

ISRAEL TIGHTENS BORDER DEFENSE AS SYRIA ERUPTS.”

And so, the story is reframed with Israel the defender, not the aggressor. The bombing makes it into the third paragraph  on page 1 but refers only to the bombing of  “a target.”

The earlier story has now ben moved  by the Times to the bottom of page 10:

“ISRAEL BOMBS SYRIA as the UNS Considers Its Own Military Options.”

“American officials did not provide details on the target but, instead, referenced an earlier attack attacking a Syrian military supply effort to Hezbollah.”

Unmentioned is that the original report understated the extent of the damage caused by the bombing.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

“Yahoo! Education” Declares Reporting a Dying Career, Suggests Becoming a PR Specialist Instead

800px-Anna_reporterFirst, consider how the name “Yahoo! Education” could be interpreted.

With that in mind, consider whether Terence Loose had a straight face when he wrote in the recent article Dying Careers You Should Avoid for “Yahoo! Education:”

Dying Career #2: Reporter

They say a species must adapt or die, and with the trend of the Internet replacing print journalism (you are reading this on the computer, after all), media folks who don’t adjust might not survive too much longer. In short, many reporters could be going the way of their typewriters soon.

Projected Decline: Reporter and correspondent positions are expected to decline by 8 percent from 51,900 jobs in 2010 to 48,000 in 2020, for a total of nearly 4,000 jobs lost, says the U.S. Department of Labor

Why It’s Dying: The Department of Labor says that because of the trend of consolidation of media companies and the decline in readership of newspapers, reporters will find there are fewer available jobs.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Orwellian Warfare State of Carnage and Doublethink

George OrwellAfter the bombings that killed and maimed so horribly at the Boston Marathon, our country’s politics and mass media are awash in heartfelt compassion — and reflexive “doublethink,” which George Orwell described as willingness “to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.”

In sync with media outlets across the country, the New York Times put a chilling headline on Wednesday’s front page: “Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim, Officials Say.” The story reported that nails and ball bearings were stuffed into pressure cookers, “rigged to shoot sharp bits of shrapnel into anyone within reach of their blast.”

Much less crude and weighing in at 1,000 pounds, CBU-87/B warheads were in the category of “combined effects munitions” when put to use 14 years ago by a bomber named Uncle Sam. The U.S. media coverage was brief and fleeting.

One Friday, at noontime, U.S.-led NATO forces dropped cluster bombs on the city of Nis, in the vicinity of a vegetable market.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

New York Times Caves To Twitter Pressure

Writing at PandoDaily, disinformation author Paul Carr castigates the New York Times for changing its biography of Yvonne Brill after the Twitterverse ganged up on the Gray Lady:

Another victory for the (fictional) Internet Community! Today the New York Times was forced to edit Douglas Martin’s obituary of rocket scientist Yvonne Brill (pictured left, played by Alastair Sim) after twitterers and bloggers took offense at the lede:

“She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. “The world’s best mom,” her son Matthew said.”

The outrage was pretty well summed up in a post on i09, titled “The New York Times fails miserably in its obituary for rocket scientist Yvonne Brill”…

“The blowback has been considerable. Since its publication yesterday, the obituary has attracted a firestorm of remonstration on Twitter. A small sampling of tweets captures the air of incredulity:”

Blowback!

Read the rest

Continue Reading

How Mass Media Manipulates Public Opinion

Newspapers-20080928Exposing the bias inherent in all media is always a priority for disinformation editors, so we really enjoyed this roundup of examples of media manipulation by Fred Burks at Examiner.com :

“Media manipulation currently shapes everything you read, hear and watch online. Everything.”
– Forbes magazine article on mass media influence, 7/16/2012

The influence of the mass media on public perception is widely acknowledged, yet few know the incredible degree to which this occurs. Key excerpts from the rare, revealing mass media news articles below show how blatantly the media sometimes distort critical facts, omit vital stories, and work hand in hand with the military-industrial complex to keep their secrets safe and promote greedy and manipulative corporate agendas.

Once acclaimed as the watchdog of democracy and the political process, these riveting articles clearly show that the major media can no longer be trusted to side with the people over business and military interests.

Read the rest

Continue Reading