Editing by click rate is stupid and unethical. Chasing traffic is an abyss. The hamsterization of journalism is degrading the work environment for news professionals. Expecting reporters to report, write, blog, tweet, shoot video, sift the web, raise their metabolism, and produce more without time and training is guaranteed to fail. Trading in print dollars for digital dimes has been an economic disaster for newsrooms that ran on those dollars. Online advertising will never replace what was lost. The editorial staff is the engine that makes the whole thing go. You cannot cut your way to the future. The term “content” is a barbarism that bit by bit devalues what journalists do. Pure aggregation is parasitic on original reporting. Untended, online comment sections have become sewers, protectorates for the deranged, depraved and deluded. That we have fewer eyes on power, fewer journalists at the statehouse or city hall watching what goes on, almost guarantees that there will be more corruption. Bloggers and citizen journalists cannot fill the gap. Experienced beat reporters are the community’s institutional memory. Everyone needs an editor. It’s absurd to claim that “anyone” can be a journalist if we mean by that someone who knows how to find the right sources and ask the right questions, dig for information, counter the spin, produce a fair, accurate and unflinching account without libeling anybody– and do it all on deadline.
Also (and especially) this:
A journalist is just a heightened case of an informed citizen, not a special class.
As they say, read the whole damn thing.
Ok, so I know IOKIYAR is (and has been for ages) SOP in DC. Still, the manner in which the Village took Rosengate oh-so seriously (and turned it up TO ELEVEN) but is now suddenly backpeddling re: The Nuge’s semi-coherent call for Obama’s assassination (gosh, campaign surrogates sure do say the darndest things!*) is especially galling.
Steve M. breaks it down:
[T]he press will shrug off Nugent because the press has been in denial for years about just how insane right-wingers are. No matter what angry, extreme, menacing, paranoid thing right-wingers are up to, the press is always looking for signs that it’s all just a silly phase, all just the work of a few outliers.
Mainstream journalists don’t want to admit that the vast majority of people in the right-wing base agree with every word Nugent said.
They certainly don’t want to believe that there’s any genuine connection between what Nugent said and Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney! Such an upstanding, responsible man! (Never mind that Romney has done the gang initiation and become one of the right-wing crazies. Never mind that his campaign actively sought out Nugent’s endorsement.)
The press acknowledged that Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke remarks were extreme, and mocked Santorum surrogate Foster Friess. But now it’s Romney we’re talking about — the guy who reassures the press that the GOP is perfectly safe and responsible. Unless Romney picks a Palinesque running mate, no one in the press is ever going to believe that any right-wing extremism has anything to do with him — or his voter base, even though what Nugent said precisely captures that base’s thinking.
I don’t believe the Beltway is starting to fall for Romney like it did McMaverick (tire swing!) But without question Village refs are far more easily worked by sharp-elbowed wingnuts than by progressive interests. Plus, Mittens’ rep as a flag twisting in the political winds perversely appeals to reflexively cynical Villager scorn for anything that resembles sincerity & passion (oh so savvy!)
Which is (sadly) good news for Mitt Romney and bad news for those who appreciate reality that is unobstructed by the fuzzy view from the bottom of some stenographic wanker’s highball.
*Politico may titter at wingnut incitement of violence towards members of the US Federal government — including POTUS — but the Secret Service sure doesn’t.
Ahem. Sorry ’bout that. Now, where were we?
When polls from the past federal election are closely analyzed, what shows up is that Mr. Harper’s Conservatives were elected by a lot of old people — people over the age of 45 whose electoral participation rate is between 60 and 80 per cent, climbing higher as they climb to meet their Maker. People under the age of 45 were powerfully anti-Conservative but at best only about 40 per cent of them voted. Andif they had voted in the same proportion as the over-45s, there would not have been a Conservative majority; there probably wouldn’t have been a Conservative minority. What likely we might have got is an NDP-led coalition.
So then let’s suppose that half, at least half, of the electorate are powerfully opposed to Mr. Harper’s neo-liberalism, which is what the polls suggest. Let’s suppose they’re more in tune with Canada’s historic Red Toryism, the political culture that led to, in the words of philosopher George Grant (Michael Ignatieff’s uncle, although Mr. Ignatieff didn’t like his thinking) “a country which had a strong sense of the common good … that was possible under the individualism of the capitalist dream.” We certainly know this is the case in Quebec. We certainly know that younger Canadians, and even a significant chunk of older Canadians, have a strong sense of the common good and don’t like the contemporary conservative ideology of the individual.
Without Mr. Layton — without Jack, le bon Jack — it does not mean Canadians opposed to Mr. Harper’s neo-liberalism are simply going to go elsewhere or become less engaged with their democracy. It doesn’t mean Quebeckers are going to abandon their fling with the NDP.
First, there is a culture war in Canada; it’s not going to disappear with Mr. Layton’s death. Second, as some of the most astute commentators of Quebec politics have pointed out, Quebeckers don’t take frivolous bon-bon steps in their politics. Their engagement with the NDP is more than a celebrity fling with Jack; it’s a new, sophisticated engagement with Canada.
Thus Mr. Layton can accurately be seen as the catalyst, not the seducer, both of Quebec’s re-engagement with the country and of a debate within the whole country about its political values.
As they say, read the whole damn thing. Valpy goes on to tackle Blatch’s “talented gracelessness” — and the Canadian public’s instant, somewhat overwhelming mythologizing of Layton — with keen insight.
h/t Stephen Wicary
Cole drops an Apocalypse Now reference, while The Artist Formerly Known as Tacitus thinks shitcanning is imperative if the republic is to survive the impact of McChrystal’s insta-infamous still-unpublished Rolling Stone interview [h/t Ben Smith].
One early thought: does [McChrystal] want to get fired for insubordination before his strategy is shown to fail?
But I also think Ed Morrissey might be illustrating ye olde canard about stopped clocks with this apt (if cynical) observation:
[T]o paraphrase Lyndon Johnson, Obama may prefer to keep McChrystal in the tent even if he’s pissing out, rather than outside the tent pissing into it. Once relieved of his command, McChrystal may have a lot more to say about the Obama administration than what will appear in Rolling Stone this month.
The good general is now walking backwards at quite the furious pace for someone supposedly trying to commit career seppuko. Plus, as Spackerman notes, thanks to the swift and overwhelmingly negative fallout from his comments, the White House may believe that ”a chastened McChrystal isn’t going to say anything else outside of his lane to any reporter.” We’ll have to see if the groveling, coupled with pragmatic political considerations, gives McChrystal a last-minute reprieve as he walks the Green Mile.
Last word, via the 140:
(Photo: Rockinon2009, Flickr)
First, contrary to what Coulter seems to suggest in a brief phone interview with Macleans.ca scribe Colby Cosh, it was not the police who “shut it down.” I spoke with Ottawa Police Services media relations officer Alain Boucher this morning, and he told me, in no uncertain terms, that it was her security team that made the decision to call off the event. “We gave her options” — including, he said, to “find a bigger venue” — but “they opted to cancel … It’s not up to the Ottawa police to make that decision.”Boucher’s statements are seemingly at odds with the account provided via twitter by Ezra Levant, who was supposed to appear on stage alongside Coulter. Several hours after the event had been called off, he tweeted that ”Cops advised that proceeding with Coulter event in face of protesters would be dangerous to her and crowd,” and quoted a Sgt. Dan Beauchamp as saying that shutting down the event was “a public safety issue,” as well as an unnamed “police officer” who allegedly said that the OPS “cannot guarantee her safety.” He also corrected an early report from Calgary radio host Rob Breakenridge, who tweeted that the speech was kiboshed because of a fire alarm, claiming that “it was the threat of violence, say cops.”[...]
Finally, an observation from a CBC reporter who was in the Foyer while Coulter was being interviewed by CTV’s Power Play: At approximately 5:15pm, he overheard a member of her security team tell a Conservative MP that her event “may be cancelled,” which would suggest that the decision to do so was already being considered before more than half the crowd had assembled outside the venue — hopeful speech-goers and protesters alike. Coulter herself, meanwhile, told Cosh that she never actually left the Rideau Club — where she was the guest of honour at a $250 per head private reception — for the university. Given the travel times involved, and the 7:30 pm start time, she would likely have had to do so by 7pm at the latest in order to make it in time.
To quote my favouritist bookstore eva:
Ann Coulter played y’all, Canada.
BTW y’all wanna get excised over an actual affront to free speech in Canada (as opposed to Ezra & Ann’s asinine [if largely successful] attempt to insult our collective intelligence for filthy lucre)? Say hello to the campaign to silence Israeli Apartheid Week. Don’t know what I’m talking about?
Related: More mythbusting, pith and fitfully delicious pique from BigCityLib and some sweet, sweet snark from my homegrrl pale (mmm, that’s the stuff).
Seriously — producing daily crypto-fascistic dispatches carefully crafted to rile up the rubes while scoring mega ad rev? Understandable.
h/t Krugman (who, speaking of unforgivable actions, hath besmirched teh honour of Marcy Wheeler!!11one)
While editors are hailing the ruling as a breakthrough for more aggressive journalism, it also makes it clear that these days, news organizations may be less able than ever to deliver on these expectations.
That’s because as layoffs continue at news organizations and as newsrooms are pared down to the editorial bone, the ability of news organizations to engage in deep, contextual investigative journalism is far from what it once was, or what it should be.
News organizations almost everywhere are dropping their investigative units as too expensive, too time-consuming and far too unable to deliver the requisite audience numbers. Instead, investigative reporting is being contracted out in the U.S. and other countries to “stand-alone” not-for-profits such as ProPublica, Global Post, and the Center for Public Integrity, among others. In Canada, we don’t even have that option.
My guess is that media law departments are now advising chief editors to restrain their journalists from doing more aggressive reporting unless they can prove that every effort (including a demonstrable commitment to editorial resources) has been made to get all sides of the story. It’s that commitment to shoe-leather reporting that is among the first things to be dropped in a downsizing news organization.
Dvorkin also addresses a matter that Jeff Jedras brought up the other day, the perceived lack of “professionalism” among us foul-mouthed Cheeto-eaters, and may finally have come up with a viable solution on how to effectively net-nanny teh ornery tubes:
The ruling addresses the issue of ethics, standards and practices among bloggers – those independent reporters and opinion-mongers whose power and influence are growing just as legacy media’s reach and heft are diminishing. The ruling brings the blogosphere under the same right, responsibilities and obligations as the mainstream media.
The challenge for the online community is to create a set of ethical standards that will give bloggers the same credibility with the public as valid as those espoused by the mainstream media. In effect, bloggers need an ombudsman.
Indeed. A ‘blogbudsman’, if you will. I nominate Canadian Cynic.
h/t Bill Doskoch
If “ethics” are the codification in rules of the practices that lead to trust on the platform where the users actually are—which is how I think of them—then journalists have their ethics and bloggers have theirs.
- Good bloggers observe the ethic of the link.
- They correct themselves early, easily and often.
- They don’t claim neutrality but they do practice transparency.
- They aren’t remote, they habitually converse.
- They give you their site, but also other sites as a proper frame of reference. (As with the blogroll.)
- When they grab on to something they don’t let go; they “track” it.
In all these ways, good bloggers build up trust with a base of users online. And over time, the practices that lead to trust on the platform where the users actually are… these become their ethic, their rules.
Those in journalism who want to bring ethics to blogging ought to start with why people trust (some) bloggers, not with an ethics template made for a prior platform that operated as a closed system in a one-to-many world.
That’s why I say: if bloggers had no ethics, blogging would have failed. Of course it didn’t. Now you have a clue.
Jesse Taylor explains why, contra aimai, the latest example of desperate hand wringing on the part of the traditional media over the scourge that is online incivility (fetch forth teh fainting couch!) misses the mark by honing in on the trees, rather than the forest:
I understand that us bloggers use cursewords and invective and sometimes call reporters mud-flinging slapfucks (or we do now!), but the entire point of the conservative anger is that it allows them to push forward complete and total lies and yell down anyone who debates against them.
The reason conservatives are so able to build up lies is because, by being nasty about it, they know that the dreaded MSM will only focus on the nastiness. Eventually, the entire thing turns into a series of op-eds by Davids Broder and Brooks excoriating both sides for lowering the discourse, asking where President Obama’s promise of postpartisanship went, and then endorsing the three elected Republican officials who haven’t accused Obama of flouridating our children’s water supply as a method of mind control as the new centrist way forward.
Precisely. I could give a flying rainbow butt monkey fuck about how ZOMG RUDE!11 wingnuts are; it’s the fucking lying, stupid. Alas, judging by the continued preponderance of lazy ‘he said, she said’ stenography, too many in the press apparently consider it far more important to fret about the term ‘bullshit’ than to, y’know, call it.
Priorities. They can totally has them.