1) THE SOUND OF WHITENESS?
Edward Schumacher Matos, the NPR ombudsman, has delivered a smackdown to allegations from some conservatives that NPR overhyped coverage of the phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's UK news tabloid. You may recall that reporters for News Corp., hacked into the voicemails of a missing woman, and deleted some of them, giving hope to one family that their daughter was still alive. She wasn't.
Schumacher Matos, in an incredibly lengthy post for a blog, answered charges yesterday that the depth of NPR's coverage was payback to Fox (another Murdoch operation), which is not traditionally friendly with NPR:
NPR has rightly given a lot of coverage to the scandal, but not more so than other major news organizations or even The Wall Street Journal itself. With the glaring exception of one online headline, NPR's coverage has been professional, sound and calm. There has been no underlying tone of smacking lips, and certainly no liberal bias.
At the height of the coverage, the 15 days between July 7 and July 22, when new revelations and events rolled out almost daily, NPR aired 49 stories, not counting hourly Newscast briefs. This is an average of roughly 3 stories a day across seven hours of news programming on weekdays and roughly half that on weekends. Some listeners complained that this was too much, but the story count paralleled that of other news organizations, including the Wall Street Journal.
The Wall St. Journal is owned by Murdoch.
Schumacher Matos doesn't stop there. He takes on the entire "is NPR liberal?" question and its alleged lack of diversity. Those are two separate issues, rolled into one.
My focus is on whether conservative or minority voices are editorially being frozen out. I am Latino and it does seem to me that NPR needs more minority voices of all sorts on air. But I also recognize that minorities are working their way up and haven't fully arrived yet. I am a testament to NPR's openness, but will follow how many more come.
The timing of the column is noteworthy, coming as it does several days after an open letter to the new NPR boss Gary Knell, urging him to "root out liberal myopia." It came from Joel Dreyfuss is The Root's managing editor and a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists.
I imagine a news show that doesn't treat the occasional story involving downtrodden African Americans, Hispanic Americans or poor people like a dutiful piece of foreign reporting before reverting to its dulcet-toned narrative of all things white and comfortable. I imagine an NPR that includes black and brown and female experts on the economy, ecology, energy, foreign affairs and everything else, instead of your standard bland diet of the same old tired voices that already pollute mainstream media.
Mr. Knell, those of us from the news media who have struggled for decades to diversify the storytelling stream could give you many examples of bosses who didn't have the breadth of imagination -- or courage -- to embrace the model of America we saw, and that we lived every day. That hasn't shaken my belief that no one group, gender, ethnicity, religion -- or, yes, race -- has a monopoly on the truth, insight or analysis.
Schumacher Matos didn't mention Root's letter in Monday's post, but he promises a second installment later today.
2) THE LOVE FOR RACHEL
At the hockey tournaments last spring, the kids from Duluth East High School waved signs and wore blue "The Love is on for Rachel" T-shirts. They were supporting a classmate fighting liver cancer. Many people started following her Facebook page and her Caring Bridge site, where she last wrote the week before last:
you people need not be concerned about my mental and emotional well being. Trust me. I feel totally accepting of all of this. Like really. What happens, happens, and it will when it will. I am living this beautiful life until im not anymore, just like all of us.There were dozens of fundraisers in the Duluth area to help her and her family pay for her fight. She died Sunday at age 18.
3) THIS DAY IN OCCUPY
Sure, it's just a joke, but it sounds plausible. That's what makes the Borowitz Report's "Letter from Goldman Sachs" funny in the first place (h/t: Tim Roesler):
The answer is the newly launched Goldman Sachs Global Rage Fund, whose investment objective is to monetize the Occupy Wall Street protests as they spread around the world. At Goldman, we recognize that the capitalist system as we know it is circling the drain - but there's plenty of money to be made on the way down.
The Rage Fund will seek out opportunities to invest in products that are poised to benefit from the spreading protests, from police batons and barricades to stun guns and forehead bandages. Furthermore, as clashes between police and protesters turn ever more violent, we are making significant bets on companies that manufacture replacements for broken windows and overturned cars, as well as the raw materials necessary for the construction and incineration of effigies.
But seriously, folks: Goldman reported its quarterly earnings this morning. It lost money for only the second time in its history. This will tank the stock market today. Bank of America, on the other hand, reported a more than $6 billion profit, but it had to sell the fine china to make it.
If you don't laugh, you'll cry. Civil protest is gold for comedy...
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Occupy Wall Street Spreads|
"When I saw that it was growing and there was Occupying Portland and Occupying New Hampshire, I thought, for goodness' sake, what can I occupy? How can I get on this?" Diane McEachern said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times. "And I thought, well, what's my context? What's important to me?"
McEachern is occupying the Tundra.
And now she's a big hit on the Internet.
Wired.com today has published a guide to protest, including how to legally record things and estimate crowd sizes.
4) THE BREATHTAKING WORLD OF THE iPHONE CAMERA
It's only a matter of time before a major feature-length movie is filmed with a cellphone camera. We've come to expect a lot from these devices and it's easy to forget how far they've come in a very short period of time. Take this video, shot last week on the new iPhone 4S...
Today, the Droid RAZR is unveiled.
What's the effect of all of this on babies? In the Boston area a mother noticed her infant is trying to swipe pages of books. She's worried the critter will grow up not appreciating books for what they are -- non interactive.
5) CAN WOMEN IN TV NEWS GROW OLD?
The debate started in 1983, when Christine Craft sued her Kansas City TV station for age discrimination. The debate, however, has never really gone away, but erupts in public from time to time. This is that time in Fargo where longtime anchor Robin Huebner reportedly filed an age discrimination complaint against KVLY last week, tried to resign this week and instead was told to leave immediately, according to the Fargo Forum.
Huebner, 50, was bumped from the flagship newscast in favor of a 26-year-old woman.
"Twenty-five years after the Christine Craft case, it seems local television stations may be more worried about their survival than their reputations," former network reporter Deborah Potter wrote on the subject last year after noticing a rising number of age discrimination suits at TV stations. "Viewers already are tuning them out. Revenue is down. What do they really have to lose in a public fight against a discrimination claim?"
Bonus: Some communities are bound by a state fair, some by a whale hunt.
Bonus II: At the World Scrabble Championship in Poland, a player from Thailand demanded his opponent be strip searched. It seems a "G" disappeared.
Gov. Mark Dayton on has set a Nov. 23 deadline for the Legislature to pass a Vikings stadium plan, but has not yet endorsed a specific proposal. Today's Question: Do you expect a Vikings deal to get done, and should it?
THE BIG STORY
The Big Story blog follows the day's developments in the Vikings stadium debate.
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Excerpts of conversations with Chan Polling, the Jayhawks, Adam Levy, Dessa and Chris Koza
Second hour: From Prince to Husker Du to Brother Ali, the Twin Cities music scene has been fluorishing now for more than three decades. Midmorning looks at the elements that have made the Twin Cities such a vibrant music scene.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - Both hours: Dr. Jon Hallberg on health and medical issues in the news.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: the politics of immigration
Second hour: When a health crisis involves mental health, most people have no clue. A new program hopes to change that.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - As they redesigned a property tax relief program for homeowners, state lawmakers aimed to make it progressive. People who own lower value homes may even see their taxes go down next year. Businesses and the owners of expensive homes will tend to pay more under the new system, but so will rental properties. And that means renters, who tend to be lower income, will likely see their rents go up. MPR's Curtis Gilbert will look at the new system.
Russell Banks' latest novel, "Lost Memory of Skin," explores the world of a young sex offender living under a bridge in Florida. As he has done in his previous works Banks reveals the humanity within a character reviled by the community around him. When he meets a college professor who wants to make him a part of a sociological study, the Kid as he is known, finds his life is taking a turn towards the even stranger. Banks reads Tuesday night at Magers and Quinn in Minneapolis. MPR's Euan Kerr talks with him.
One can get a pretty good feel for the political will to build a football stadium for Zygi Wilf and his Minnesota Vikings by noting the opinions of some of the not-connected-to-the-Vikings-nor-politicians people who a reasonable person might expect would support the notion.
Rick Prescott, writer of the BallPark Magic blog, for example, makes clear he's not anti-stadium -- far from it, he says -- but he thinks the notion of a stadium in Arden Hills is "delusional."
But let's be clear about one thing. It's not hard to understand why that tract in Arden Hills would be Zygi's first choice. It's a ton of vacant land, at the intersection of two major interstates, which somebody else would buy and clean up for him and yet which he would control completely. It's a developer's wet dream.
If the stadium were built there, Zygi would be able to extract money from the fan base to his heart's content. Lots of money. For every little thing. Forever. $100 for a tailgating spot on game day? Count on it. $400 for a room at his hotel? Without a doubt. Just bear that in mind if you ever feel the urge to drool over the current proposal.
But don't worry. It's not going to happen. If you've followed the stadium saga even a little bit, it's also quite easy to spot why this plan has been dead in the water from day one. And there are a whole lot of reasons:
Where will the stadium end up? Probably the Farmer's Market site, Prescott figures.(5 Comments)
Which one of these images is more newsworthy?
Or this one?
They were both taken by Associated Press photographer Andrew Burton at an Occupy Wall Street protest last week, a protest that has been largely non-violent.
But it was the top photo that was splashed on the front page of newspapers over the weekend.
You are the editor: Which photo do you use?
"We've written several articles and run numerous photographs in the paper and online from Occupy Wall Street protests, Washington Post Managing Editor Liz Spayd told Salon.com. "The vast majority portrayed the animated but generally peaceful demonstrations you describe. The one we ran last Saturday was a powerful, vivid image of a protester clashing with a policeman. Of all the photographs we looked at that day, it was the most original and the most newsy. The cutline made clear there were only 15 protesters arrested, a small number given the total crowd. We remain highly interested in this movement and its potential political power in the future."
There's some speculation, apparently, that maybe the "tackling protester" was just falling. The photographer told Salon he doesn't know. He said he didn't see the moment he'd captured with his camera and doesn't know what happened.(5 Comments)
Someone -- well, these two kids, actually -- stole Kathy Anderson's son's bike a few months ago, the Inver Grover Heights Patch reports. They didn't know she had rigged up a a surveillance camera outside her home and got video of the perps.
The model citizens left their half bottle of brandy on her neighbor's patio before riding off on the bike, which hasn't been recovered, she says.
"I'm sure we will never see the bike again, but I can only hope the parents of these 2 morons see this," she wrote.
(h/t: Randy Greenly)(2 Comments)
At a time when 99% and 1% are feuding, this might not be the best time to make a big splash out of extravagant and wasteful wealth.
No matter, if you're Neiman Marcus, which unveiled its annual Christmas "catalog" today in Dallas.
John E. Koryl, president of Neiman Marcus Direct, tried to put a working class spin on the unveiling, pointing out half of the 600 items are under $250.
These are not among them:
His and her dancing fountains: When you spend $1 million on these, the store will done $10,000 to an organization that works to provide safe drinking water to people in developing countries.
For the job creator who has everything, this $20,000 weekend for two at a farm in upstate New York will help you plot your own garden. Too busy for a weekend. Just spend the day for only $9,500.
You and nine friends can jet -- of course it's a private jet -- to the International Flower Show. Cost: $420,000.
Apparently, this tent's interior is designed to look like the inside of the genie's bottle in the TV series, I Dream of Jeannie. Cost: $75,000.(1 Comments)
There's a compelling video circulating today, responding to a Rush Limbaugh monologue that he delivered Friday, criticizing U.S. intentions to send soldiers to Uganda to help fight the rebel group, Lord's Resistance Army (NPR story here).
This was part of Limbaugh's statement:
Lord's Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. "To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people." Now, again Lord's Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord's Resistance Army, what they're trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: "To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology." Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield.
Limbaugh's statement said President Obama was sending troops to "kill Christians."
Today, however, Evelyn Apoko, a survivor of atrocities at the hands of the LRA, told her story.
You can find more of her story here.
(h/t: Boing Boing)(1 Comments)
The last time I wrote a post about the failure of young people to wear seat belts, it brought rain in the form of angry e-mail suggesting it was "piling on" the grief of those the young people left behind when they were killed. So this disclaimer: Your loss is painful, of course and nobody is blaming anybody. But parents shouldn't be getting phone calls late at night that their children are dead in a crash they might have survived.
Today, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced a contest for Minnesota teenagers in grades 9-12 to produce a 30-second PSA promoting seat belt use.
Why? Because of this: In Minnesota during 2008-2010, 100 teen vehicle occupants (ages 13-19), were killed and only 39 were belted. Another 483 teens were seriously injured in crashes and only 229 were belted.
So far this year, there have been 268 traffic deaths and there's no reason to think that the statistics are going to be any different -- the younger the driver, the less likely to wear a seat belt. Why not?
Sheri Klemow, an ER doc who posts at the Type A Parent website, wondered the same thing last week when her son's soccer practice was canceled because his coach's teenage daughter was killed in a crash. She wasn't wearing a seat belt.
I have sutured and put back together the faces of countless non-seat belt wearing patients who were lucky to just have facial injuries. Each time, as I am suturing their faces, I have a conversation about why they didn't have their seat belt on. I am always quick to point out that they are very lucky this time, and that G-d has given them a small warning. Do they heed my advice? I am not sure. I can only continue on my campaign to promote seat belt use. That is why I am writing this blog.
Today's email saddened me even more. The coach's niece's name was the same as my teenage daughter(just spelled a little different). My 19-year-old daughter is named after my sister, who was 17 and killed in 1961 in a car accident. She wasn't wearing her seat belt. My sister was the front seat passenger, in a car with a teenage driver and 2 rear seat passengers. They were only going out for a quick bite to eat, so she told my father. "Be right back," she told my father.
In those days, they called you on the phone and told you that your daughter was dead and that you should go to the ER to identify her body. After ripping the phone from the wall, my father drove up to the hospital, entered the morgue all alone, to see his beautiful daughter's body lying on the stretcher. Something that he talked about until the day he died at age 92. A long life time for "what ifs."(15 Comments)