Tag Archives | News
New York Times writer (and former editor) Bill Keller printed a series of letters exchanged between him and muckraking journalist Glenn Greenwald. It’s a little long, but well worth reading.
… Read the rest
I don’t think of it as reporters pretending they have no opinions. I think of it as reporters, as an occupational discipline, suspending their opinions and letting the evidence speak for itself. And it matters that this is not just an individual exercise, but an institutional discipline, with editors who are tasked to challenge writers if they have given short shrift to contrary facts or arguments readers might want to know.
The thing is, once you have publicly declared your “subjective assumptions and political values,” it’s human nature to want to defend them, and it becomes tempting to omit or minimize facts, or frame the argument, in ways that support your declared viewpoint.
How does the news keep your attention? With negativity, shock, and sensationalism.
Warren Francke, a journalism professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, designed a study that revealed just how essential negative storylines were to editors of newspapers. That study was described in the book Sensationalism, where the authors wrote:
Francke’s study found sensational content was printed for entertainment and in order to sell newspapers, but editors rarely admitted that these were the reasons for including sensational content. An interesting finding in Francke’s study was that if crime news came in without grotesque details, the editors often would add them. Most criminal cases were not seen firsthand, so the editors would imagine the crime scene and would add in “the rotting body” or “brains thrown throughout the room.”
In addition to Francke’s research, I have also heard a popular tale about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.… Read the rest
Don’t worry, loyal citizens: The NSA is still here to stalk love interests, read your mail, listen in on your conversations and otherwise keep acting like a psycho ex-girlfriend/boyfriend.
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The so-called “government shut down” and the furloughing of thousands of non-essential federal employees has not prevented the opening of a $2 billion dollar NSA spy center in Utah which will snoop on Americans’ private emails, Google searches and phone calls.
As we highlighted yesterday, the shut down will only affect the tiny amount of services government provides that Americans actually like.
Rest assured, TSA grope downs, VIPR checkpoints, drone attacks, SWAT team raids, tax collection, torturing terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, arming jihadists in Syria and running guns to Mexican drug dealers will all continue unimpeded – as will NSA domestic spying.
Although the NSA itself refuses to confirm it, to all intents and purposes the agency’s mammoth new spy center in Bluffdale, Utah “may be open already,” according to the Denver Post.
I’m an organ donor, but stories like this one (and that one) sure give me the creeps. I’m happy if my spare parts can help other people, but I’d like to think that I’ll be done with them before they come to take them out.
An intriguing new study out of Montreal might redefine our concept of being “brain dead.” Researchers for the first time think that the brain remains active even in patients whose EEG lines have gone flat, reports the Los Angeles Times. The study sprang from an unusual case in Romania in which a patient lapsed into a coma, then got put into a deeper coma by doctors. Much to their surprise, doctors then detected cerebral activity in his hippocampus, never before seen in such a deep coma. The University of Montreal study replicated the feat with cats under heavy anesthesia.
Priceless? Apparently these newscasters haven’t been in Toys R Us in a few years.
The truth is out. We are living in a time when a shocking four out of 5 U.S. adults will struggle with joblessness or poverty. This revelation not only flies directly in the face of another drop in unemployment, but reconfirms what many of us had already known, we’re in trouble.
If you find yourself looking for a job, you’re in an over-crowded market where the young and educated are relegated to jobs well below their intellectual station. This is due in part to the heavy competition at the of the top of the job market among the highly-skilled. Basically, those left out of the jobs they really want are knocked down a peg, creating what Economist Paul Beaudry calls “cascading.” The top pushes down on the middle and the middle pushes down on the bottom, burying those who are most vulnerable and under-qualified.… Read the rest
Hungry for more news? Here are a few more items of interest that caught the attention of our all-seeing eye.
As they say, the medium is the message, and the 24-hour breaking news cycle may be degrading your mind and your life. Via the Guardian, Rolf Dobelli argues thus:
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News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply.
News misleads. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated.
News works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus. The physical structure of the brain changes.
News makes us passive.
A few days ago, I had heard that there were riots going on in Brooklyn. I had no idea what was going on or why and didn’t feel like waiting for the evening news to tell me what was going on. I knew that people were taking pictures on Instagram and tweeting under the hashtag #brooklynriot and #brooklynprotest, so I used a new website to get the big picture in one fell swoop.
Tagboard.com is a hashtag aggregation website that searches all social media for the hashtag that you plug in. In the case of the Brooklyn riot meme, I was able to see moment to moment what was occurring.
Of course, Tagboard was not created as a site to help protestors organize, but to keep the increasingly media savvy public well organized. But one has to consider the power that a site like this can wield; across the board, from site to site, you have an eye in the sky. … Read the rest