Mike Pitts, a Republican state legislator in South Carolina, last week proposed a law that would require journalists in the state to sign on to a “responsible journalism registry." For anyone who understands the issues at the heart of recent gun control debates, it was obvious the law was more of a satirical "modest proposal" than a serious one. Aside from a flurry of angry and confused tweets by journalists denouncing Pitts's proposal, one Washington Post reporter even went so far as to write a column denouncing the proposed law. And indeed, if you swap a few key terms, the Post op-ed is a persuasive argument against gun registries. Pitts couldn't have asked for better.Read more
A big part of liberal media bias is the insatiable need to create drama about any intra-party Republican disagreements, while downplaying or ignoring Democratic divisions.Read more
The New York Times may still be known as the “paper of record,” but the paper’s unresponsiveness in correcting the record is not something that is going to burnish its reputation. On July 20, the Times published a story about the first of a recent spate of undercover videos showing affiliates of abortion provider Planned Parenthood unethically and possibly illegally negotiating the sale of fetal parts to medical researchers. The videos are produced by a pro-life activist group, the Center for Medical Progress.Read more
I live out in Real Virginia, which is to say the part of Virginia that is technically a D.C. exurb, but is populated almost entirely by normal people. My neighbors are teachers and plumbers and soldiers and engineers. Plenty of the folks out here work for the federal government, but none of them work in politics.Read more
Last week, there was yet another news frenzy over something that happened on social media. A Muslim Northwestern University chaplain, Tahera Ahmad, wrote on her Facebook page that she was in "tears of humiliation from discrimination" because a flight attendant refused to give her an unopened can of soda. Ahmad claimed that she was told that this was so she couldn't use the can of soda as a weapon, and that another passenger told her, "You Moslem, you need to shut the f— up.”Read more
The U.S. State Department is looking to design and facilitate a media ethics course for journalists in India, and has even proposed appropriating the name of Robin Thicke's 2013 hit "Blurred Lines" as a title for the course. The U.S.Read more
Today, Doonesbury's Garry Trudeau became the first cartoonist to ever receieve a George Polk Award. During the festivities*, he remarked that the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo -- the satirical Parisian magazine that was recently the site of a terror attack -- "wandered into the realm of hate speech.” He also added that “free speech... becomes its own kind of fanaticism.”Read more
If anyone was unsure of the veracity of Rolling Stone's account of an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity, the final nail is now in the story's coffin. Sunday night, the Columbia School of Journalism released its much anticipated blistering report on the magazine's November feature.Read more
I don't think very much of Vox.com and its journalistic standards. I've made the case against them before in detail, but the evidence of their general lack of professionalism is still piling up. Vox has a daily email newsletter written by Matthew Yglesias, and today's missive contains the following gem:
Obama's pretty successful Middle East strategyRead more
This is how to interview a politician. Leigh Sales of Australia's ABC interview Prime Minister Tony Abbott after he barely survived the spill motion (61-39):
The interview is great from the get go. "Prime minister, welcome to the program," Sales begins.
Abbott returns her warm welcome, "Thank you, Leigh. It's lovely to be here."
"Are you a dead man walking?"Read more
In a five year span, the William J Clinton Foundation gave five grants totaling $851,250 to the University of Virginia's Miller Center.Read more
Someone I'm related to by marriage has written a superb column on the problem of media ignorance. The fact I'm not a disinterested observer shouldn't stop me from noting that the column and the event that prompted it has attracted some attention. The piece is pegged to a much discussed interview talk radio star Hugh Hewitt conducted with Zach Carter, the Huffington Post’s “senior political economy reporter.” Hewitt asked Carter why he was spouting off various critical opinions related to Dick Cheney and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Certainly, Carter's not alone here -- the rise of ISIS has had liberal journalists queuing up to insist President Obama bears minimal responsibility for the disintegration of the situation in Iraq. Joe Biden bet his vice presidency Iraq would extend the Status of Forces Agreement, and had they not failed, it might well have prevented the current mess. But here we are.Read more
Another reporter is joining the Obama administration. Emily Pierce, the deputy editor of Roll Call, will be joining the office of public affairs at the Department of Justice, the federal agency headed by Attorney General Eric Holder.
Pierce was welcomed to her new position by Brian Fallon, who works in that DOJ office and who used to be Chuck Schumer's spokesman in the Senate.
"Can't wait to welcome @emilyprollcall to @TheJusticeDept Office of Public Affairs later this month. She is a true pro," Fallon said on Twitter.
Like Diogenes in search of an honest man, The Scrapbook has been on an extended quest to find the Golden Age of American journalism. That was the era, not so long ago, when a literate public was downright serious about the news, and America’s newspapers, magazines, and television networks paid close, detailed attention to current events, foreign affairs, and national politics—which, of course, were civil in tone, bipartisan in nature, and concerned with finding solutions rather than exploiting problems.Read more
The Scrapbook has previously commented on the “new breed of pundit/political scientist who seems to think that a pie chart is a substitute for argument.” Whether it’s the fault of an education system and corporate sector saturated with PowerPoint presentations, the increasing desperation of polemicists, reporters, and poli-sci types to cast their work as hard “science,” or just the rising tide of philistinism, it seems an ever-growing number of writers and thinkers have taken to substituting the siren song of the computer-generated chart for the hard work of written argument.Read more
With the death of Jack Germond at 85, the great triumvirate of political reporting is now gone. Germond, Robert Novak, and David Broder were the Clay, Calhoun, and Webster of political journalism with their columns and TV commentary, but mostly with their dogged reporting.Read more
In light of the ongoing, slow-motion collapse of the mainstream media, at least one major journalism school has decided to reassess its priorities. Last week, Inside Higher Ed reported that the prestigious Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California is revamping its master’s degree program.Read more
A year at Columbia University's journalism school will set you back nearly $84,000.Read more
An old journalistic axiom holds, “If it bleeds, it leads.” This means that stories of violence—of murder and arson, tornadoes and hurricanes, floods and carnage—always get primary attention in newspapers and on radio and television news. They still do, but coming up fast on the outside, especially on television news, are stories of deep personal sadness. So regular a feature of nightly television news has the spectacle of heartbroken people become that a new axiom is needed: “If it weeps, it keeps.”Read more
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