Saturday, March 20, 2010


Brad Blog shines, and the Lies of Our Times

by Larry Geller

Tonight I’d like to send you to another blog. First, I’m still trying not to undo my recent eye surgery (which went very well), so staring at a screen a few inches from my nose for very long is not a good thing to do. I also spent much of today doing some TV on the DOE’s cutbacks on special ed services. That should air on Olelo on Monday, and I’ll post the time when I have it.

So if you don’t mind, let me refer you to Brad Blog for a couple of quick articles.

The first is the curious situation of the New York Times refusing to correct its errors in reporting the ACORN hoax. Yes, that pimp video was an editing mix, it was fake. Most people have no idea what really happened because neither their local paper nor even the famous New York Times will tell them it was a hoax. It’s not that the Times reporters don’t know this, of course they do. Their editors know it also.

Well, finally today the NYT ombudsman took a baby step in the direction of setting the record straight.

From the Brad Blog article:

Even as the New York Times once again misreported the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax on its pages in a report on the community organization's possible declaration of bankruptcy in Saturday's paper, their Public Editor (ombudsman) Clark Hoyt finally admits in his column tonight, for tomorrow's paper, that both he and the paper were "wrong" in their reports about rightwing dirty trickster James O'Keefe's "pimp" costume, adding that "editors say they are considering a correction".

Considering?! What exactly would be the hold up?

Ok, check that out.

While you’re there, Brad has helpfully put together two Comedy Central videos from Thursday, in which both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert take apart Glenn Beck.

Isn’t it wonderful and curious that progressive political and media criticism comes to us via comedy?

There’s lots more to like on Brad Blog, so I don’t feel guilty about sending you over there at all. It’s also the number one blog to check on election, voting and voting machine issues.

Finally, a short rant instigated by the Times story. Why do they prefer to let their false reporting on ACORN stand? These days we in Honolulu are focused on journalism and the value of competition in newsgathering. As we slide rapidly towards a one-paper town, there’s concern about what kind of news we’ll be presented with after the layoffs and restructuring.

Will our news be complete and balanced, or strongly biased in the direction the new owner seems to prefer, judging by his current product?

We often reify a set of ethical standards that aren’t applied very consistently. Reporters usually do fine, but editors and advertisers are a bit too cozy for journalistic ideals to survive. Add to that a belief on the part of editors and publishers that they can and should, in fact have a duty to, push their readers in a particular political direction. Guess which direction an NRA-member publisher might choose to push his readers. Guess which direction the employers of the next editor would have him push.

So the Times wants to kill ACORN, which organizes the poor to vote. Back home, the Advertiser ran one of those political cartoons a couple of days ago falsely attacking social security. It’s the right-wing agenda in color. Today’s paper covers the illegal Israeli settlement issue in a short distortion headlined “U.S., Israel settle housing issue.” Housing issue?? Bulldozing Palestinian homes, building illegal settlements, desecrating Palestinian graves in occupied East Jerusalem is a housing issue?? So much for journalism school. That article didn’t just appear magically on page A-3 of your paper, it was chosen to be there.

Papers across the country have their agenda. And then there’s TV and Fox News. Forget the ideals of J-school, these are executives on a mission, a mission to convert readers and viewers.

I think we all expect more of the Advertiser, our local paper of record, and often they deliver. What will happen when there is no competition, though, I don’t know. On-line efforts are not necessarily better, they also have to prove themselves. One promising local website was happy to run a story about all the looting in Haiti right after the earthquake.. Reports on the ground were in direct contradiction, but it was probably convenient to run that wire story instead of checking into the facts. So independent isn’t automatically better, just independent.

Peer News is assembling a skilled and competent staff. If they avoid the distortions that advertising inevitably bring, and if there is no editorial crusade behind it, Honolulu might have its second “paper.” I think that’s the hope. Peer News needs to show it can avoid the lies of our Times. Tags: , , ,


New$ is now product, i.e., a vehicle for generating revenue. The $ituation will only get wor$e. There'$ no going back.

I'm glad your eye surgery went well, Larry, and I hope you're healing swiftly!

I'm already feeling a little let down and ambivalent about Peer with the "news" that our top flight reporter- an anomaly for our local newspaper- Mike Levine is being raided by Peer and instead of keeping him here to cover Kaua`i he's moving him to O`ahu.

The Honolulu-centric bent of the Hawai`i MSM is what has ensured the caricaturish, buffoonishly corrupt neighbor island politician will thrive and I thought maybe Peer might be different- Their promise of state-wide coverage is belied by their first action in hiring Levine away.

While I look forward to hard- or at least harder- state and city and county news apparently not only will they not be covering neighbor islands but are taking out best people to cover Honolulu where there are multiple news sources all-be-they corporate already.

I hope I'm wrong but the facts so far seem to be, at beast eyebrow raising.

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