Posts Tagged ‘media’

Malcolm says it’s time for the speculation about Peter Costello’s future to stop because the public want to hear about something else. Shouldn’t he be saying that to someone other than the public? I don’t believe we’re responsible for the stupidity of the political/media discourse.

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This is not politics

Sticking a photographer outside the home of a former PM’s daughter, all so you can document her “marriage misery” with pictures of her living alone and leaving her child with the nanny? That’s really sad tabloid journalism. At least save it for those who choose to be celebrities.

Just sayin’.

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Gaza news sources

Although global media attention is focused on the rising death toll in Gaza, it is difficult to know about the accuracy and quality of the reporting. The closure of access to the area means that journalists are often relying on reports from others. Reporters Without Borders is a good place to get information about the restrictions being placed on journalists in the region.

But this might be a good time to share our resources, so here’s a question for people to answer in the comments. Where are you going to get your news about the situation in Gaza?

If you’ve found a good source to get timely and reliable updates, let the rest of us know. Maybe it’s a media site, or maybe it’s a place where reports are coming directly from citizens in the region. Share whatever you’ve got.

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Warmaholic” – that is the new term coined by a virologist who was attempting to argue against the evidence for global warming in today’s Australian.

When I read the column this morning, I found myself asking what evidence Jon Jenkins had to support any of his assertions. He didn’t cite it, and I didn’t have the time or inclination to go looking.

Fortunately, Graham Readfearn did – including talking to the BoM’s acting chief climatologist. This quote from Michael Coughlan sums up The Australian’s status as an outlet for science journalism:

The Australian clearly has an editorial policy. No matter how many times the scientific community refutes these arguments, they persist in putting them out – to the point where we believe there’s little to be gained in the use of our time in responding.

Not unlike their position with respect to political commentary, for that matter. And it seems that this week’s topic du jour is why it is absolutely essential (and morally right) for Israel to do what it has done in Gaza, and whatever else it ends up doing. Sheridan has a column, and there have been plenty of guest op-eds as well.

I wonder what The Australian expects to survive on once it has destroyed its credibility with respect to every issue its journalists are expected to report on?

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As we saw the Liberal Party do last year, the Republicans begin the process of apportioning blame. And suddenly, Andrew is willing to listen to bad words spoken about Sarah Palin – even from anonymous sources.

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That Guy

When I grow up, I want to be a senior political analysis campaign advisory consultant:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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  • It is better to have one million page impressions than the respect of your peers.
  • Barack Obama is to blame for the media’s fixation on Joe the Plumber – apparently, he should have known how attracted they are to trivialities over substance and should have stopped John McCain from making Joe the focus of the final debate.
  • Teh Left would not be able to respond to an Andrew Bolt Challenge (what’s more, a “Name One” edition) to find anyone who advocates unrestrained capitalism – but his comments are full of people who do just that. By the way: Congressman Ron Paul.
  • Unconstitutional action is required to rescue the voters of New South Wales. Storm the Bastille!
  • The fact that Arctic sea ice reached the second-lowest level on record this summer (one year after the lowest) was not worth mentioning; the fact that the freeze appears to be ahead of the typical pace this autumn most definitely is.


  • Writing an ugly, pointless, prying article about my preferred Presidential candidate’s spouse is an obvious sign of media bias. The notion that it is just plain shitty journalism can be dismissed without consideration. Consequently, I denounce the New York Times as a conservative mouthpiece for writing this vile smear article in 2006 (NB: Link to that story, along with legitimate commentary on the Cindy McCain story from Glenn Greenwald; further comment from Atrios).

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Over at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism, Dan Froomkin has written a good analysis of what is missing from the “the surge has worked” perspective on Iraq. Froomkin discusses the argument about the surge made by Peter Galbraith. Some of the key points in Froomkin’s piece:

Certainly the surge has been accompanied by a dramatic and welcome reduction in violence. But Galbraith argues that it wasn’t the surge as much as other factors that led to the reduction in violence; that the main factor was the Sunni Awakening; and that the U.S.’s de facto creation of a Sunni army — led in some cases by the same Baathists the U.S. invaded Iraq to overthrow – has in fact contributed to Iraq’s breakup and set the stage for an intensified civil war between Sunnis and Shiites once the U.S gets out of the way. Whenever that is.

Galbraith thinks journalists are under-reporting certain key aspects of the current Iraqi political situation. Among them:

  • The character of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s  government, which Galbraith says is profoundly anti-Sunni and not likely to make accommodations, regardless of the occasional PR blitz to the contrary. Reporters should also talk to Sunnis and Kurds in the government and ask them how much influence they feel they have. Reporters in Washington should be asking their sources: Do you really see Maliki as someone who is committed to secular democracy?
  • The character of the Sunni Awakening. A hundred thousand Sunni fighters – used to getting paid $300 a month by the United States – are in fact not going to be easily accommodated by the Shiite government. And who knows what they’ll do when the U.S. stops paying them?

The linking of reduced fatalities to the coalition’s prospects for withdrawal is flawed. At least some of the proponents of the surge seem to know that – the Bush administration has committed itself to maintaining troop levels pretty much constant to the end of its term.

What is most important is attempting to ensure conditions that will foster lasting peace – which requires political, social and economic stability. That still hasn’t happened. For four years it seemed like there was little in the way of a coalition strategy toward peace in and withdrawal from Iraq. The surge then became the strategy, when it could only ever serve as one plank in a larger platform.

The debate itself still hasn’t moved. Many of the mouthpieces of the surge talk about Victory! without defining it. What everyone needs to be talking about is how to leave a stable Iraq.

UPDATE: And then there is the argument that the surge is not even responsible for the reduction in violence – such as this analysis, which suggests sectarian violence cleared out the hotspots for conflict.

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Shankar Vedantam has written for the Washington Post about psychological research on the effects of misinformation and how it applies to politics. Media Matters has a nice summary of some of the implications:

If Candidate A lies about Candidate B, for example, the fact that Candidate A is lying should be the lede – otherwise the news report just drills the false claim into readers’ and viewers’ minds, allowing the misinformation to take hold before it is corrected.  As I wrote in my column on Friday, the news media too often privileges lies rather than punishing them.

Lies need to be debunked in the right way, or there can end up being a boomerang effect.

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Lies become the narrative

Tell enough lies and it appears that the media will manage to find a narrative about it – which is exactly the magical ingredient that is needed to kickstart the journalistic process. At the same time, Paul Abrams notes that the Obama campaign can’t just leave the lies sitting there. But as Digby notes, the Republicans are likely to try to flip the narrative into one about how the campaign, rather than the campaigners, are what has been corrupted. The Democrats have to find a way to cut through the lies without reinforcing them, hit back without being seen to be equally immoral, and to keep the media from being derailed by any more distractions.

Meanwhile, Timmeh saves himself and his followers from having to read a lengthy report on Sarah Palin’s history in the evil New York Times by quoting from another pithy conservative blogger.

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