Ebola and the Construction of Fear
by Karen Sternheimer (Everyday Sociology)
"Sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things, explains how misguided panics are not just benign opportunities to prevent something horrible, but can divert attention and public funds away from more likely threats. He notes:
Panic-driven public spending generates over the long term a pathology akin to one found in drug addicts. The money and attention we fritter away on our compulsions, the less we have available for our real needs, which consequently grow larger (p. xvii).
Five reasons why news outlets are even worse than you think.
Brett Arends describes five corrupting influences that keep the public from getting the facts. [more inside]
The Art Of Making Magazines
"By making what they call "not a how-to book, but… a how-to-think-about-it-book," they help us look at something we've probably been taking for granted: What is a magazine?"
After Forbes magazine declared Dayton, OH
, one of America's " fastest dying cities,
" a group of local media makers
created Reinvention Stories
. The interactive film/multimedia experience rolls out this month in three acts.
The Hemingway Papers:
The legendary writer’s reporting from the Toronto Star archives, featuring historical annotations by William McGeary, a former editor who researched Hemingway’s columns extensively for the newspaper, along with new insight and analysis from the Star’s team of Hemingway experts.
The poor in Ethiopia are often unable to buy newspapers, so they 'rent' papers for 20-30 minutes at a time
from local entrepreneurs.
Restoring Journalism Maureen Tkacik talks about her life as a journalist, the nothing-based economy, and the future of journalism. She suggests abandoning authority and productively channeling narcissism.
) [more inside]
"The symbiotic relationship between the press and the power elite worked for nearly a century. It worked as long as our power elite, no matter how ruthless or insensitive, was competent. But once our power elite became incompetent and morally bankrupt, the press, along with the power elite, lost its final vestige of credibility." "The Creed of Objectivity Killed the News" by Chris Hedges
Is there something you wish would be reported comprehensively by mainstream news media, even though they won't likely touch the topic? Try open-source reporting
. From the 2006 experiment NewAssignment
, professional journalists
, non-profits seeking crowdfunding
, and the Internet public
have collaborated to do in-depth investigation and reportage of whatever people were interested in. Jay Rosen, founder of ExplainThis
, the newest site in crowdsourced journalism, wants a way to answer questions that are too complicated for a Google search
. Will these things deliver well-researched thoughtful analysis, or will they be no match for the Green
Prisoners of their Bureaus--the Besieged Press of Baghdad
What it's like to be a journalist in Iraq now--and especially relevant given the current attacks on the media
for not reporting all the good that's happening in Iraq-- ...
an ever-widening gulf between official language and the reality of the actual situation in Baghdad. While official language is relentlessly upbeat, the already nightmarish reality has been getting worse with each passing day. ... the insurgent attacks on the US forces and Iraqi government and the sectarian fighting between Sunnis and Shiites have become destructive beyond what most journalists have been able to convey ...
(NY Review of Books)
:: Headlines for the rest of us
Video of Krugman on Media and Economics
If Bush said the earth is flat, of course Fox News would say "Yes, the earth is flat, and anyone who says different is unpatriotic." And mainstream media would have stories with the headline: "Shape of Earth: Views Differ; and would at most report that some Democrats say that it's round."
So said Paul Krugman during a recent interview in Boston with Chris Lydon, former host of NPR's 'The Connection.'
The dicey dynamics of exposing untruths.
An interesting bit in the Columbia Journalism Review
on why journalists tend to focus on politicians' small lies and let the big ones slide.
Search the New York Times website for any occurrence of the words "Valerie Plame" during the last week
...and you'll find nada, zilch, zip. The so-called "paper of record" has remained totally mum on what may be one of the biggest scandals of the Bush administration yet. You can read about it at Newsday
, and The Nation
, and it's been mentioned on NBC... but not a word from the New York Times (save for a reference to it last week
by syndicated columnist Paul Krugman, and a wire service story
today; neither of those pieces mentions Plame by name). The Times' news and editorial divisions are asleep at the switch on this story. Maybe the Jayson Blair scandal was a distraction from the deeper problem: a paper that is so concerned with being balanced and respectable, it refuses to cover any politically controversial stories. You can e-mail email@example.com
to ask why the Valerie Plame news blackout. Or just click this link
a few dozen times to send 'em a message.
Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception
The New York Times runs a
long article detailing its preliminary findings in the matter of Jayson Blair, The Times' young staff reporter who made up sources, facts, and anecdotes in potentially hundreds of stories. Does this investigation help the Times avoid permanent disgrace? Or does this just confirm what you've always thought about the Times?
Slate magazine is attributing part of the problem to affirmative action
(Blair is black). Is AA relevant here?
Superseding the mainstream media, or "quirky parasites"?
Less of interest here than the IraqFilter context itself - which amounts to the question "Is blogging to Gulf II what TV was to Vietnam and cable was to Gulf I?" - is an established medium caught in the act of visibly sizing up this comer, this new kid on the block, this parvenu we know as "blogging."
Is it a valid new medium of reportage, fit to take its place alongside print and broadcast? Or is it merely parasitic, interstitial, even marginal? Inquiring minds want to know. (Note O'Donnell's hedges and his final & bizarrely misplaced condescension: "Maybe Allbritton will start a trend - bloggers no longer dependent on the mainstream for their material." WTF?)
Not All Iraqis Dancing in the Streets.
To watch the
embedded reporters, you would think that every Iraqi is overjoyed to see America in his or her country. But the reality seems to be quite different: "Why are you here in this country? Are you trying to take over? Are you going to take our country forever? Are the Israelis coming next? Are you here to steal our oil? When are you going to get out?"
2002 media follies.
The most overhyped and underreported stories of the year.
some atrocious reporting from the usually responsible UK Guardian
Just an example of bad conclusions from little information. The sensationalist title of this story, reprinted from the Observer, is, "Anthrax attacks' 'work of neo-Nazis,'" (which seems like bad grammar to boot - why the apostrophe after "attacks"?) and then it begins, "Neo-Nazi extremists within the US are behind the deadly wave of anthrax attacks against America, according to latest briefings from the security services and Justice Department."
But if you read the actual article, here's the closest thing they have to a quote or face supporting this:
'We've been zeroing in on a number of hate groups, especially one on the West Coast,' a source at the Justice Department told The Observer yesterday. 'We've certainly not discounted the possibility that they may be involved.'
Is it just me, or is this drawing a lot out of a little, and just confusing the situation?
Is the NY Times ranking its stories
as they say, or as this writer suggests, what's "interesting"?