July 22, 2014
Pressing Issues: Tuesday Updates on Gaza-Israel Tragedy

I’m old and I think being on Tumblr helps me notice that. And there really are lots of downsides, feeling crusty and musty. But some older folk have perspective and are usefully reflective. Greg Mitchell is one. If you click the link, you might notice some of his books on the right column. He’s a smart fellow and has a real talent for directing attention to perspectives that increase understanding.

July 21, 2014
Too often I pay attention to the wrong thing

In my feed today there was a clip from a piece from May this year at BBC Africa: Kenya’s hidden sex tourism in Malindi. I used Google to find the article because having seen reporting on this issue previously, I wondered if something had happen, a new development.

The piece is by BBC producer Charlotte Atwood and was billed as an investigative piece. And heavens knows I’m not a qualified press critic, just someone who reads the news. The article disturbed me from a journalistic stand point. 

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July 20, 2014
"Israel is not in any way responsible for injury or damage that may occur as a result of field reporting."

Peter Beaumont The Guardian’s reporter in Gaza:

Message to journalists in Gaza from the Israeli Government Press Office which I reproduce without comment 

Subject: GPO Advisory to Journalists Covering Operation Protective Edge from the Gaza Strip

GPO Advisory to Journalists Covering Operation Protective Edge from the Gaza Strip
(Communicated by the GPO)

July 10, 2014

One thing that all journalists could and should do is just to ask some really basic questions up front from anyone who’s presenting themselves as an expert.

That is to say “what’s your PHD in?” “What have you published on this particular topic under discussion right now?” “Are you receiving funds from a third party with a vested interest?


Naomi Oreske at Transition Culture.  Naomi Oreskes on the roots of climate change denial

Merchants of Doubt

June 29, 2014
"The problem now is government has more PR people and public relations firms than journalists. And we actually have 1/3 fewer professional reporters. That’s a really rotten combination there. No wonder we’re easily bamboozled."

Charles Lewis at Moyers & Company. The Lies That Lead to War

June 16, 2014
"Not all schlock is terrible; only some is transcendent. For me, the great stuff is defined by an alchemical blend of beauty and brazenness — ideally, by vast quantities of both."

Jody Rosen at Vulture. In Defense of Schlock Music: Why Journey, Billy Joel, and Lionel Richie Are Better Than You Think

June 16, 2014
Wherein I Make a Muddle

I’m old enough that pre-Internet memories are still vivid. The Internet is strange and wonderful and raises a host of new issues, challenges, problems and dilemmas. I don’t have much of a clue. And really part of it is we’re all sort of stumbling around trying to figure out and to invent and create.

I want to mash together some links. I’ll probably make a muddle.

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June 11, 2014

Amidst the voluminous praise that Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald have received for revealing the inner workings of the NSA, perhaps the most negative impact resulting from this is the fact that nowadays most people seem to think that secrets are concealed truths.

In reality, secrets are very often rumors, pieces of speculation, or information whose factual basis or significance has yet to be verified.


Paul Woodward at War in Context. Bergdahl must tell his own story

I collected a bunch of links about Bowe Bergdahl’s release from Taliban captivity and never posted any of them. I get most of my news online. “Filter bubbles” are a real thing, but part of getting news online is seeing different sources. Anyhow, I was unprepared for how this story would get told to me by people I know because it was so different from how I reacted to the news.

That difference made me go searching for the sources of the narratives I was hearing.  With other matters, for example when I’ve tried to talk about the religious organization The Family it feels like I’m a conspiracy theorist. Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s is tough in conversation. Anyhow suffice it to say that while Fox News is influential in the promulgation of the narratives I found startling about Bergdahl, they aren’t the source, or the only source.

I think looking for sources of the stories we tell each other about the news of the day is a good thing for ordinary people like me to do. But that sort of media criticism requires better scholarship than I can muster.

I’d read Peter Beinart’s piece in The Atlantic, Bowe Bergdahl and the Resurgence of Conservative Islamophobia before I’d gotten an earful of anti-Muslim bigotry in re Begdahl’s release from people who really know better. Beinart’s level-headded tone is appropriate whereas the rants I’ve heard made me less-than-level-headded.

I don’t know how to get some leverage to lift alternative views when issues in the news turn into such hot button topics?

June 7, 2014
"But beyond surveillance and privacy, one of the goals of this NSA reporting (at least from my perspective) was to trigger a desperately needed debate about journalism itself, and the proper relationship of journalists to those who wield political and economic power."

Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept. Encouraging Words of Regret From Dean Baquet and Weasel Words From James Clapper

June 4, 2014
Photos: Tiananmen protesters were heartbreakingly young, earnest, and happy

Great article by Mark Murrmann and James West. As a bonus Mother Jones served up an ad for Bentley Motor Cars. Seeing the ad made me laugh. What in the world is the thinking behind that ad buy? Maybe the pleasure of the ruling class sticking out their tongue :)

"the Bentley Continental GT provides you with a feeling of limitless power ” Oh what a feeling!

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