The New York Times and London Guardian both published stories yesterday (4/25/11) examining the WikiLeaks documents about the Guantanamo prison. While obviously just a snapshot, it is interesting to see how the papers have headlined their findings. The Guardian: The New York Times: And today the Times stresses the potential danger allegedly posed by those imprisoned there: This is not to suggest that the Times' pieces are particularly bad. But the difference in emphasis is striking–and reminiscent of how differently the papers treated previous WikiLeaks disclosures.
A Drudge Report headline today (4/6/11) representsthe tip of the rotten iceberg: RACE BASE: Obama looks to Rev. Al Sharpton for help in re-election…
USA Today has a long piece (3/17/11) by Martha Moore about video hoax artist James O'Keefe's NPR project. The article does a pretty good job ofrunning down thedeceptions inO'Keefe's video. That's good. This, however, is not: The video follows a long, if not always honorable, tradition of muckraking exposés. It also is a stepchild to the political tactic of tracking an opponent with video until a gaffe occurs, then capitalizing on it. The sting's impact was magnified by the quick dissemination-without-scrutiny that is a hallmark of Internet-driven media. O'Keefe's video has nothing to do with muckraking. And please don't blame [...]
Drudge Report headline, right now: CLAIM: Iran Arranging to Buy Yellowcake in Africa… Is my computer a time machine, traveling back to 2002-03?
WikiLeaks' Julian Assange believes people are out to smear him and his organization. That much seems clear. Today the New York Times' Ravi Somaiya writes a piece that would seem to confirm those suspicions. Theheadline today: Assange Complains of Jewish Smear Campaign The issue hereis what an editor at theBritish magazine Private Eye says Assange told him–that there is, in the Times' words, "a Jewish-led conspiracy to smear his organization." There's no way for the Times to verify this information, as Glenn Greenwald points out at Salon. So why the definitive-sounding headline? And the background to Assange's "rambling phone call"raises [...]
The long 60 Minutes segment on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange from last night (1/30/11) is definitely worth a look. But this set-up from correspondent Steve Kroft was certainly odd: Julian Assange is not your average journalist or publisher, and some have argued that he is not really a journalist at all. He is an anti-establishment ideologue with conspiratorial views. He believes large government institutions use secrecy to suppress the truth and he distrusts the mainstream media for playing along. Assange believes the government keeps important secrets? And that mainstream media play along? That is kooky.
Joe Biden on Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak (PBS NewsHour, 1/27/11): I would not refer to him as a dictator. On WikiLeaks' Julian Assange (NBC's Meet the Press, 12/19/10) DAVID GREGORY: Mitch McConnell says he's a high-tech terrorist, others say this is akin to the Pentagon Papers. Where do you come down? JOE BIDEN: I would argue that it's closer to being a high-tech terrorist than the Pentagon Papers. For the record, neither journalist pushed Biden to explain his opinions.
The New York Times: Cables Show Delicate U.S. Dealings With Egypt's Leaders The Guardian: WikiLeaks Cables Show Close U.S. Relationship With Egyptian President That reminds me of something Times executive editor wrote in a forthcoming piece on WikiLeaks, where he explains the difference between The Newspaper of Record and the Guardian in handling theAfghanistan documents: If anyone doubted that the three publications operated independently, the articles we posted that day made it clear that we followed our separate muses. The Guardian, which is an openly left-leaning newspaper, used the first War Logs to emphasize civilian casualties in Afghanistan, claiming the [...]
In AlterNet's article "Is Amazon Evil?" (12/8/10)–reprinted from the Boston Review (11-12/10)–the description of the economics of e-books is seriously dubious. Reporter Onnesha Roychoudhuri writes: If Amazon had asked publishers what they thought about locking in e-book prices at $9.99, it would have been subjected to a chorus of outrage. ThatÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s because the math behind publishing is seldom in a publishersÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢ favor. The sale of a $20 hardcover nets a large publisher about $10. Royalties run the publisher about $3, and the costs of printing, binding, and paper are a further $2 (more for low-volume titles). Take $1.20 for distribution, [...]
Newsweek's Evan Thomas visited Germany recently, and came away thinking the United States is headed for some serious trouble. The country is falling apart–polarized, susceptible to populist demagoguery and so on. Forces on both sides are to blame;they're not all bad ("I think the Tea Partiers, despite their contradictions, are not all wrong about Big Government," he writes), but some should be singled out for criticism: Cable-TV and talk-radio personalities and bloggers have risen up to speak for the people. But as they pander for clicks and ratings, their standards of factual accuracy are often low. This is not by [...]
"Julian Assange and his cronies, in their effort to hinder our war efforts, are creating a hit list for our enemies by publishing the names of our human intelligence sources…. I simply will not stand idly by as they become death targets because of Julian Assange. Let me be very clear, WikiLeaks is not a whistleblower website and Assange is not a journalist." – Sen. John Ensign (R.-Nevada) introducing an anti-WikiLeaks bill that would forbid the disclosure of the names of intelligence agents and informants Funny, I thought our legal traditions generally frowned on the notion that powerful government officials, [...]
In the era of social media, the audience itself has a big say in how big the audience is. If you'd like FAIR's messages to reach more people, there's a number of simple things you can do to help. 1. Comment on the blog. A lively comment section draws readers to a blog. If you want an interesting conversation about media criticism, post the kinds of comments you think are interesting. 2. E-mail links to your friends. The simplest way to share content on the Internet–just copy and paste the url and send it to interested parties. 3. Post links [...]
There's been a discussion (some of it neatly summarized on the Daily Show) of elite journalists' reaction to the explosive comments made by Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staffers to Rolling Stone freelancer Michael Hastings. One admission came via a Politico story, captured by NYU's Jay Rosen (6/24/10): And as a freelance reporter, Hastings would be considered a bigger risk to be given unfettered access, compared with a beat reporter, who would not risk burning bridges by publishing many of McChrystal's remarks. Rosen notes that this line in the Politico piece was subsequently removed, perhaps because it revealed too much: [...]