Archive for the 'Media' Category

19
Jul
11

Tuesday Misc.

Via The Agitator, we learn that the Koch Brothers are responsible for the Casey Anthony verdict. No, really:

But, more than an inability to understand complex legal theories, I think the reason the jury was unable to convict Anthony was that it just didn’t buy the prosecution premise that a woman who enters a hot-body contest while her child is lost has both the motive and propensity to kill her. In a society where people have the fundamental right to enjoy themselves – others be damned – an immature and self-obsessed mother is no more likely to murder an innocent baby than your run-of-the-mill reality-show hausfrau. And anyone who criticizes her for those acts of carefree self-expression is a judgmental prude.

That’s where individualism of the libertarian model has taken us. The idea that no one has the right to tell us how to live our lives (Legalize drugs! Ban motorcycle helmets! Don’t ban violent videos! Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!) has led us to a place where caring about No. 1 has become a secular religion, and turned all of those who preach restraint into heretics.


The Koch Brothers could not be reached for comment.

—–

Why does President Obama hate Mexicans?

Administration apologists claim that these tactics are meant to create the political space for comprehensive immigration reform. But the president has made literally no effort to advance that objective. What he has advanced is a labor agenda under the guise of immigration policy.

The great hope from President Obama when he took office was that, having spent his formative years abroad, he’d understand—and use his bully pulpit to help the American public understand, too—that immigration is not a zero-sum game: Immigrants seeking a better life make America better off, just as his family made the countries where they lived better off. Instead, he has pandered to Republicans’ parochialism and labor’s protectionism to advance his own political prospects.

—–

Remember that neo-Nazi group Prussian Blue (you know, the one with the Aryan Olsen Twins)? Sounds like Lamb and Lynx (these are their real names…) are still kicking around, though it sounds like their drug of choice these days is cannabis, rather than Zyklon-B:

In college, Lynx was diagnosed with cancer, and suffered from other serious health problems. Lamb suffers from chronic back pain. In connection with these two conditions, they have begun to smoke cannabis, which is permitted in parts of the USA for medicinal purposes…

““I’m not a white nationalist anymore,” Lamb told The Daily in an exclusive interview, the twins’ first in five years. “My sister and I are pretty liberal now.”

“Personally, I love diversity,” Lynx seconded. “I’m stoked that we have so many different cultures. I think it’s amazing and it makes me proud of humanity every day that we have so many different places and people.”

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29
Jun
11

The Progressive Problem With Race

Over the past several years, since Barack Obama was elected to the Presidency — and indeed even before that, during his candidacy — we have seen a lot of hand-wringing, particularly among progressives and in the press, about race. Early hopes of a fanciful and long-heralded “national conversation” about race quickly gave way to dark accusations that, in the words of former President Jimmy Carter himself, “… an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American.

Continue reading ‘The Progressive Problem With Race’

24
Jun
11

Is This What They’re Teaching Them Over in the Journalism School?

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken pot shots at the poor old Oregon Daily Emerald. Hell, it’s been awhile since I’ve even bothered to pick up an issue. Sitting in the storied old Cafe Siena this afternoon, however, I made the mistake of taking a glance at the “opinion” page for this week’s issue.

Now, it’s no secret that the quality of the ODE’s opinion writers, never stellar to begin with, has witnessed in the last half-decade or so a steady decline into what can only be called “pedestrian sub-mediocrity.” Each year, one subjects oneself to another round of banal “first post!” essays by the new pack of commentators in the vain hope that — just maybe! — one of them will claw their way out of the scum and the muck, take a few gasping breaths, and say something moderately interesting. Or at least hilariously stupid. Each year, alas, one is inevitably disappointed.

So it was today, reading Ian McKivor’s “inaugural column” — a rather lofty way of referring to what is is essence a fairly uninteresting blog post, which is ironic, since the gist of his piece is that blogs are like… bad, and stuff. And not just bad, but dangerous. No, really:

People are idiots, and people who read blogs and take their word for it are dangerous idiots. They aren’t just a danger to themselves, but to those around them and society at large. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that they are a major source of societal regression.

“Societal regression.” Got that?

Unfortunately, after dropping that bombshell on his readers, the esteemed author has nowhere left to go but straight back to 1995, making the staggeringly fresh case that you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet:

Any schmuck with an opinion can get on the web, set up a WordPress account and go to town spewing out whatever vapid crap happens to get into his head. [“Vapid crap” you say? Perish the thought. -ed] A blogger doesn’t have to have any experience in the field in which they write, nor do they have to adhere to the most basic tenants [sic] of journalistic professionalism or integrity.

So, in effect, they can pass off filth as fact while remaining anonymous. And oh, by the way, people will believe them en masse for the same reasons people believe everything they see on TV. Brilliant.

“Brilliant.” Took the words right out of my mouth, he did. Ahem.

McKivor then launches into a clumsy philippic against Tom Macmaster, the cybernetic crossdresser who got his thrills masquerading as a Syrian lesbian on websites before it came out (no pun intended) that he was neither Syrian nor a woman, to say nothing of a lesbian. While it’s hard to take issue with the spirit of his condemnation of Macmaster, McKivor’s amateurish prose effectively blunts whatever power the one and only example backing up his thesis might’ve had. Example:

MacMaster never had to face the looming threat of imprisonment, intense torture and eventual death at the hands of some demented regime. He was safe in Scotland, probably writing at a Starbucks with an Exxon Valdez-sized Latte [sic] in hand without even contemplating the harm he was doing.

“Probably writing at a Starbucks with an Exxon Valdez-sized latte?” From whence does our intrepid reporter come by these details? Or maybe he’s just engaging in a sly performative joke intended to illustrate why we can’t believe everything we read. Yeah… maybe that’s it.

One could go on, of course — the expected, sneering reference to “blind sheep” (what, no “sheeple?”) comes in toward the end, as does an unintentionally funny suggestion to go watch a documentary called “Talhotblond” if you’re not already convinced by McKivor’s dazzling  rhetoric about how dangerous online anonymity can be. Finally, we’re assured that we can trust the things we read in the mainstream media — because it’s fact checked, you see.

The problem is that, as monumentally hollow and paralyzingly routine as McKivor’s piece is, it nevertheless serves as a powerful example of how far standards have fallen. Is the sort of err.. “incisive criticism” and “sterling prose” — to say nothing of the lunk-headed Luddism — that they’re peddling over in the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism these days? Why would anyone pay for such a self-evidently worthless degree? And is this drooling scribbler really the best the Emerald  could dredge up for next year?

Alas, McKivor himself gives away the answer in his very first sentence:

Because this is my inaugural column for the Oregon Daily Emerald, I feel I should start things off by making my stance clear, just so all of you know what to expect from my weekly opinion column.

Ah. So puerile rubbish, then. Wonderful.

Glad I won’t be around to read it.

19
Mar
11

Libyan citizen journalist killed

From The Guardian:

The death has been announced of Mohammad Nabbous, described as the “face of citizen journalism in Libya“.

Nabbous was apparently shot dead by Gaddafi forces in Benghazi on Saturday.

Known as “Mo”, Nabbous set up Libya al-Hurra TV, which broadcast raw feeds and commentary from Benghazi, on Livestream.

Andy Carvin, social media strategist at NPR, said on Twitter: “Mohammad Nabbous was my primary contact in Libya, and the face of Libyan citizen journalism. And now he’s dead, killed in a firefight.”

Sharon Lynch, TV station representative, said: “He touched the hearts of many with his bravery and indomnitable spirit. He will be dearly missed and leaves behind his young wife and unborn child.”

It’s easy to forget amid all the preening Anderson Coopers and self-aggrandizing reporters, but people like Nabbous are what journalism is all about. Here’s the audio from his last report:

08
Mar
11

Shameless Self-Promotion

I’ve been bored. So I made a few cartoons. You can watch all three of the current episodes here. I probably be adding more of these over time, whenever I feel inspired (or bored enough) to spend the time.

Enjoy!

09
Feb
11

In Praise of Whomever Writes BBC Headlines

A few random selections from my RSS feed. I especially love the placement of the quotation marks:

Giffords ‘speaks, asks for toast’

Met finds phone hacking ‘victims’

‘Serious’ cases hit by rights ruling

Butt investigated before spot-fixing affair

Howell ‘dropped cable’ into bath

Bangladesh girl ‘bled to death’

Cancer deaths in Europe ‘to fall’

Level crossing ‘madness’ warning

Jail for E. coli takeaway manager

‘Super head’ Dame honour revoked

Woman quizzed on ‘buttocks’ death

British comedy at its best.

30
Jan
11

This Month in Statism [update]

So far, 2011 hasn’t been a great year for individual rights.

What is clear is that the officers are harassing a man who is legally recording the incident from a distance that in no way physically interferes with what the police are doing. One officer threatens to destroy his camera if he doesn’t put it away. Toward the end, several more officers confront the man again. One of them then tells him he’ll be “locked up” for disobeying an order unless he stops recording.

  • Apparently taking a few cues from Egypt’s criminal dictatorship, a Republican Senator is once again proposing a bill to implement an “internet kill switch.” This is yet another attempt to give the government the power to stop the Internet from penetrating US borders, following similar attempts by Independent Joe Lieberman and Democrat Jay Rockefeller. Control has tripartisan support!
  • The US Transportation Secretary has lauded a new device that checks to make sure you’re not drunk before you’re allowed to drive a car. They claim, of course, that the new devices will not be mandatory. Color me unconvinced. In any case, the device does nothing to address the gaping holes in current drunk driving laws.
  • But if drunk driving weren’t bad enough, we’re now being told that it’s necessary to regulate away the perils of jogging. Oregon is going one step further, seeking to outlaw “kid trailers” that cyclist commuters use safely every single day:

House Bill 2228 introduced by Rep. Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland), would amend an Oregon statute that bans unlawful passengers on a bike by making it illegal to carry a child younger than 6 either on the bike or in a trailer. The bill includes a fine of $90.

[…]

A former director of public health at Oregon Health & Science University, Greenlick said the bill was prompted by an OHSU study on injuries among bike commuters in the Portland area.

The study indicated that about 20 percent of them had a traumatic injury in a year and about 5 percent had one serious enough to get medical attention. “It  really got me thinking about what happens if there’s a 4-year-old on the back of that bike when a biker goes down,” Greenlick said.

He knows of no studies about the risks of carrying children in cargo trailers or on the back of a bike. But he said he wants to fire up a conversation in the Legislature. [emphasis added]

How come whenever some politician wants to have a “conversation” about something — whether it’s guns, free speech, or bike trailers — they’re always actually trying to give the government more power to dictate the way people live their lives? Oh, they don’t want you to listen to your iPod while biking, either.

  • And, of course, there’re always the ever-present Guardianista telling Americans they need to give up their First Amendment rights… you know… for their own good:

Freedom of speech, like freedom of traffic, can only be defined by the curbs and regulations that make it real.

[…]

Free speech is a Hobbesian jungle. It requires a marketplace where the trade in information, ideas and opinion has a framework of rules, including rules that maintain fair and open competition. Most will be voluntary, but others need enforcement.

That’s right. For free speech to be “real,” it needs to be… un-free.

Sadly, this mentality is far from non-existent among large swaths of the American political class. Whenever you hear someone solemnly intoning “hate speech is NOT free speech,” you’re actually listening to someone who is objectively pro-censorship.

And just who do you think it is that they have in mind for the job of censor? Ahh, but if we only had better people in the government…

[update]

Here’s one more that I hadn’t read about before I posted this:

Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the free-market Cato Institute, says the push for legislation is an example of pro-regulatory Republicans. “Republicans were put in power to limit the size and scope of the federal government,” Harper said. “And they’re working to grow the federal government, increase its intrusiveness, and I fail to see where the Fourth Amendment permits the government to require dragnet surveillance of Internet users.”