A 40-year-old prediction of doom is 'on track,' opening day, hockey's shame, a tale of two Marines, and it's time to crack down on mascot abuse.
Long-time readers of NewsCut and its predecessor, Polinaut, know that I'm conflicted when the subject of the political activities of journalists comes up. I've long considered the claim of "objectivity" to be fraudulent. Humans aren't objective. Rather, journalists should strive for fairness. No need to go over it again. You can watch the whole argument here.
All that said, we have to acknowledge that trust is the real currency of journalism and if people think you have a horse in the race, that currency is devalued. I admit to being troubled by all of the journalists who've fled to a few "news" websites in town and declared their political allegiances. Maybe they're fair, but I don't trust what they're writing. I don't know what they're holding back. So I stop reading them.
That's why the situation in Wisconsin is troubling -- more and more journalists don't "get" that point and more and more journalists aren't conflicted by it.
Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's media critic reports that all of that city's TV stations have staffers who signed petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker. The revelation comes on the heels of the one that staffers at Gannett news operations in the state -- 25 staffers -- signed the petition.
There's no question that many journalists have political leanings of one kind or another. But having them and actively participating in political activities are two different ethical standards.
The Journal Sentinel defines the differing opinions:
Objectivity is in the DNA of veteran journalists whose ethical guidelines prohibit everything from yard signs and bumper stickers to signing petitions. A political reporter once told me this was the reason he didn't vote.
But in a digital age where biased information is commonplace and reporters are also bloggers and commentators, such "extraordinary measures may seem a bit quaint" to them and the audience, said Erik Ugland, associate professor of broadcast and electronic communications at Marquette University, who teaches media law and ethics.
Does it matter anymore? We presume it's easy to forgive active political participation by a journalist if it's on the side of the politics of the people judging. But what if it's not?
Among the government crowd, this video is the talker of the day...
The video, which surfaced this week, was the winner in a talent contest among 300 employees of the General Services Administration at an October 2010 "training and team-building" conference in Las Vegas.
GSA Administrator Martha Johnson resigned and two of her top deputies who attended the conference were fired this week.
The GSA employee who made the lampooning video refused to comment when the Washington Post contacted him at his Honolulu office.(2 Comments)
An F-18 jet crashed into an apartment building in Virginia this afternoon. The two-pilots ejected, so let's deal with the obvious question that few people will actually want to ask: Why would a pilot eject from his jet if there was a chance it was going to kill people on the ground?
The answer likely can be found in this map. The icon shows the location of the crash:
If the jet was merely crippled, the pilots could've steered it toward the ocean, then bailed. But note what lies to the lower left of the icon -- the airport. It's not known yet whether the jet was taking off or landing at the airport when the crash occurred, but in either case the close proximity of both runway and ocean indicates the pilots didn't have the ability to steer the plane to an area where it wouldn't hurt someone. And they likely only had a second or two to decide what to do.
These sorts of accidents, though few, lead many people in military aviation to think of this:
(Photo: Wiki Commons)
This is the "hero tree" in Houston, which honors Capt. Gary Herod, who crashed his jet trainer on the site in 1961. His plane was crippled and air traffic controllers were advising him to bail out.
"Not yet," he said. And those were his last words. There were too many houses below, so he steered his jet to an open area. He died in the crash.
A similar problem faced Don Hinz of Woodbury in 2004. The former Navy pilot was flying a red-tail P-51 near the airport in Red Wing when his engine stopped. He steered it away from people on the ground, power lines, and landed between nearby houses. It all happened within 30 seconds, and he died of his injuries.(7 Comments)