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Saturday, August 07, 2010

Just did a Google Trends analysis on 'trival' v. 'important'. You know this has got to be revealing. Turns out that 'important' consistently ranks higher than 'trivial'. This is certainly true in the US. In Spain and Portugal we see notable exceptions to the trend and I have nothing to say about that except, "Good for them." Generally speaking, 'important' is trending upward and 'trivial' downward, but despite the increasing divergence it is worth nothing that the two search terms seem to meet up every year around New Years Day, though not so much in recent times. Are we becoming more serious? A Google Trends analysis suggests we are (except in Spain).

important v trivial

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dear Gwen Ifill,

I watch "Washington Week" but I try to see it for what it is, which is just what Jay Rosen describes, insiders reporting on insiders. You can still learn something from this kind of journalism, so I don't know why Rosen would just toss it out. Still, he has a point, and I wish you, Gwen, could have offered more critical commentary on the state of journalism and the place of "Washington Week" (an honest assessment of its limitations included) rather than just assume a defensive posture. To boil his position down to a plea for more yelling is disingenuous; I want some of your reasoned analysis.

UPDATE: They never did post the abbreviated version of this comment on Ifill's blog site. Only a bunch of "Thank you, Gwen, you're great" comments (and one "Jay Rosen does good stuff" comment). So much for integrity.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Heartland Institute wants to scare you about people who want to scare you. HI is a 'think tank' funded by tobacco and fossil fuel companies and they're quite frightened by global warming 'alarmists'. I'm not sure why we continue to call these groups 'think tanks' but I do think they are scary in their own right.

Corporations wanting help in advancing their agendas often turn to think tanks. In addition to providing the appearance of independent support for corporate policies, think tanks combine a scholarly image with expertise at how to play the media and policymakers alike.

To give just one example, the Chicago-based Heartland Institute is holding a conference in New York this week, featuring a persistent if increasingly-isolated group of global warming skeptics. Heartland has a long history of being well-funded by the tobacco industry and fossil fuel companies. Not that Heartland discloses which corporations and foundations fund its operations; it, like many think tanks, prefers secrecy. Heartland president James L. Bast recently claimed that 'by not disclosing our donors, we keep the focus on the issue.' His benefactors presumably appreciate Bast's discretion, but it should give others pause.

Many global warming skeptics directly or indirectly receive funding from the oil, coal or other industries with a stake in the dangerous status quo. Of course, revelations of such funding torpedo the skeptics' credibility. Perhaps that's why Heartland, in describing its skeptics conference, insists that "no corporate sponsorships or dollars earmarked for the event were solicited or accepted." The claim may sound reassuring, but we should take it with a grain of salt, especially since Heartland is not disclosing which foundations are funding the conference.
Here's a promotional video for their 2009 conference.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I often feel as though most talk show hosts are interviewing themselves. Charlie Rose is no exception. Perhaps that's all conversation comes to in the end.

This is too funny.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Not getting enough advertising on the web? Hulu is now open for business, offering up TV shows and clips for the web. I went right for the SNL clips.

hulu: 3am Phone Call: Saturday Night Live

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ben Kaufman at Citybeat lays into The Enquirer for its (typical) shoddy reporting on the Creation Museum.
The Enquirer's naive anticipation of the opening of Answers in Genesis' Creation Museum is disappointing but not surprising. For months Answers in Genesis has played The Enquirer like a Jew's harp.

In three pages in the May 20 Sunday Community Forum and most of page 1, The Enquirer exhibits the credulous coverage it usually awards to zoo babies, new rides at Kings Island or the glitzy makeover of a snake-bitten shopping mall. Missing is recognition that Answers in Genesis isn't a new challenge to evolutionary theory; it's the latest reaction to attacks on the literal truth and inerrancy of the Bible that began in the mid-19th century.

Missing is an explanation of evolutionary theory, the scientific method, why religious faith isn't science and why this battle over Hebrew Scripture is waged only by some Christians.

Missing is evidence of intelligent design in the planning and editing of this journalistic fiasco.

I know Enquirer editors smart enough to have produced a balanced preview of the Creation Museum. They must have been touring the new Slavery Museum, dedicated to biblical passages approving human bondage, when this project was planned and executed.

Too bad The Enquirer lacks science and religion reporters who might have explained why its approach is bogus. WVXU-FM and The Cincinnati Post produced much smarter stories.
The science and religion reporters missed the boat, but so did the crime reporters, who should be writing about the scam that took millions of dollars from gullible Christians and the child abuse that occurs whenever a parent subjects a child to this sort of nonsense in place of a solid education in science and critical thinking.

City Beat: Media, Myself & I: 'Enquirer' Lays a Dinosaur Egg

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

3QuarksDaily alerted me to this interesting film blog Daily Film Dose. He reviews a different film each day and generates some discussion. The post on long tracking takes is what initially caught my eye.
The difficulty arises when the camera is forced to move which complicates the logistics ie. Focus changes, lighting changes and hiding production equipment. And so perhaps the first true, universally-accepted ?long tracking shot? is Orson Welles? opening shot in ?Touch of Evil? (1958). This shot was a large step up from Hitchcock?s experiment because of the extensive movement of the camera.
Check this out from "Touch of Evil."

DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog

Sunday, May 08, 2005

From the NYT Editorial Page: As bloggers become more influential, they need to become more accountable. With the ascent of blogging there exist no established guidelines for reporting, though bloggers have repeatedly and successfully called attention to the mainstream media's failures to follow its own standards.
Bloggers may need to institutionalize ethics policies to avoid charges of hypocrisy. But the real reason for an ethical upgrade is that it is the right way to do journalism, online or offline. As blogs grow in readers and influence, bloggers should realize that if they want to reform the American media, that is going to have to include reforming themselves.
I think first we need to recognize that anyone who puts out information for public consumption is accountable for what they say. Whether engaged in personal conversation, writing in a public journal, distributing a pamphlet, or reporting on a newscast, we all have a responsibility to be fair, honest, and accurate. It is, of course, easier to institutionalize ethical policies when working in an organized environment, as we have with the MSM, but lack of organization does excuse individuals from responsibilities.

The Editorial calls for organization amongst bloggers and the plea for institutionalized ethical policies. No doubt the NYT would like to include bloggers in the MSM so that they have better defined adversaries who must play by the same rules and face the same economic and social pressures. But the real advantage of the bloggers is that they are not organized and are thus free to explore stories and offer opinions that are not subject to the same pressures of the MSM. The diversity within the blogosphere and the independence of the bloggers is an asset and should be encouraged. Of course, we might find convergence to conformity over time, especially because becoming larger and more organized provides more resources for covering and analysing news information. But, until then, within the sphere there remain responsibilities to be fair, honest, and accurate. There is no reason why individual bloggers or blog communities could not acknowledge and articulate these responsibilities and post them for readers. But I would resist the call to institutionalize.

And, of course, I have still a responsibility to be a critical consumer of information.

New York Times | The Latest Rumbling in the Blogosphere: Questions About Ethics

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A NYT editorial this morning argues that "it is time to acknowledge that the nation's news organizations have played a large and unappetizing role in deceiving the public." This follows an article in last week's paper about how Government agencies have created fake news clips to inform/indoctrinate the public about their activities and interests. No surprise from an administration that runs townhall meetings like infomercials. The Radio-Television News Directors Association does have a code of ethics. Clearly news agencies have violated it. But does a fake news agency have to follow such a code? Or do they only have to pretend to follow it? Oh well, that's entertainment.

The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial: And Now, the Counterfeit News

Thursday, March 10, 2005

ABC Nightline's show on bloggers (talking with the Berkman Bloggers) and journalism was scooped by video blogger Steve Garfield. Watch the video, and if you saw the Nightline piece, you'll see how much more interesting the blogger's piece is. The video as edited by Garfield reveals a much more insightful discussion about blogging and journalism than does the Nightline show.

Steve Garfield's Video Blog: On the Record: Berkman Bloggers