Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category

Oliver: The Rainbow

15 August 2014

Despite being a huge fan of both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, I find myself on the verge of subscribing to HBO simply so I can watch John Oliver’s superior Last Week Tonight. The topical segments posted to YouTube often stun me with their clarity and–dare I say it?–educational value. While amusing, Oliver’s topical monologues explicate America’s problems with a simple, powerful eloquence rarely seen.

When I talk about Oliver, my remarks iterate this theme: He ought to be cloned and installed in every classroom in the USA. That said, I’d never thought about exactly how and what he was doing until I read this article in Salon:

“John Oliver Won’t Be Your Therapist: How He Torpedoed the Reassuring Tropes of Fake News”

I am in debt to Steve Almond for his first rate analysis of Oliver’s work. Thanks to Almond, I understand a bit more why I find John Oliver as fascinating as a rainbow–and a lot more informative.



Old News about Journalism

12 June 2014

Within the last couple of years, I’ve heard a few out-of-touch folks talk about the liberal bias of the news. They need to read this essay from almost two decades ago: “The Rise of the Right-Wing Media Machine”

Thank goodness for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and John Oliver.


Context: One More Thing American News Sources Fail to Provide

9 May 2014

The Solyndra bankruptcy didn’t get much attention from me, but this story providing fuller context for the structure of the Solyndra loan sure did.

“Media Ignore Bloomberg Report Undermining Their Solyndra Hype: ‘The Focus on Solyndra Is Not Proportional to Its Impact”

I don’t even remember hearing or reading that it was tiny part of the Department of Energy’s 1705 loan guarantee program.

Not happy, getting less happy by the minute/


Rejecting Factual Inaccuracies–What a Concept!

10 October 2013

Paul Thornton, the letters editor of the Los Angeles Times announced that letters from climate change deniers will no longer be published on the op-ed page. “Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published,” said Thornton. “Saying ‘there’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.”

Here’s the full story:
“L.A. Times Cuts off Climate-change Deniers”

Now, other newspapers, cowboy up.


Fail: Word of the Week? Month? Millennium?

24 April 2013

America Reporting: Junk News

24 April 2013

I love Political Irony. This latest is good:
“CNN Fail”

After reading Iron Knee’s comment and then watching the John Stewart clip, I began to wonder exactly how much worse things will be should the Koch brothers succeed in buying the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other pivotal newspapers. How much worse can our “reporting” get? Do I really want to find out?

A confession: I watched way too much of CNN’s coverage of the Boston bombing and its aftermath. I find junk news addictive in the same way junk food with its heavy sugar and salt content is addictive. Empty but tasty in a bland sort of way.

The main difference between America’s current news coverage and Rome’s bread and circuses is that we get less action and we have to buy our own bread. Confession: I find American junk news quite fascinating in many ways. Of course I have a weakness for Twinkies too although I’ve been far more successful at restraining my appetite for junk food than for junk news. Worse yet, I suspect there’s more content in the Twinkies.


Say It Ain’t So!

14 March 2013

“Koch Brothers to Purchase Major American Newspapers–Truth Held Hostage?”

It’s going to take me a while before I can read this all the way through. Right now, I’m making Bill the Cat noises.


Ironic But True

4 December 2012

The Role of Court Jester Has

 Never Been More Important

Ironic But True

FAIR and Ballast

14 September 2012

In general, I like FAIR’s work.  This article brings out some of the general tenor of today’s MSM “reporting”:

“Brought to You by…Big Oil? Washington Post Hides Industry Sponsorship of Energy Debate”

The blurring of propaganda or news frightens me.  America sells everything, including information–and truth.  Of course, they sold out on truth a long time ago.  I fear this will sink us.


Al Jazeera English: Fair and Balanced

28 August 2012

Over the years, most of the people I know have stopped listening to American news media.  We now live in what I call the era of American Pravda(s).  The irony is that in Russian, the word “pravda” means “truth.” We aren’t getting that much of that for the mainstream media, and many of us don’t notice.  Most of those living under the old Soviet rule laughed at the original Pravda because they understood what it printed was so obviously untrue.  Pravda was a fake, a sham, a shill newspaper, pumping out party propaganda.  Unfortunately, too many of us in America lack the critical thinking skills to tell the difference between truth, partial truth, and outright lies.  We are used to being sold STUFF, information included.  We buy prepackaged opinions as fact.

Given that, it might be worth a look at an outfit that still practices serious journalism: Al Jazeera English. Just the facts. No smearing. No obvious bias. They usually just present the range of opinions and let the audience do the thinking.  In fact, their reporters pump out thought-provoking presentations with astonishing regularity.  Researched.  In-depth. Actual reporting.

Here’s just one of their stories.  It covers the flashpoint topic of abortion in America.  Their presentation is well worth watching.