Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:07 pm

A journalism major from USC? Ah, now I understand. I bet USC taught you things about journalism that are just not true, since journalism classes teach subordination to power. My view is that anybody can be a journalist. Credentials do not mean much.

Objectivism is another stone in the gut. Journalists think the government has the same free speech as you and me--not true--the noted journalist I.F. Stone basically got it right: "all governments lie." But we take the government at face value, not realizing that states are corrupt and they lie for the sake of their own power.

Case in point: Obama goes to India, clucks about how damned democratic they are, not mentioning the fact that India is slowly turning into a fascist state. The right wing tortures, murders, rapes Muslims, there is massive starvation, scores of farmers are committing suicide, because of the trade policies Obama says make India so democratic. Arundhati Roy has no free speech and there is this massive war against the Maoist rebels. But as long as Obama gets a trade deal and a hug from their head thug, all is well. We can put them on the security council and give them a veto. How convenient.

Government should be watched at all time. They are our bitches.

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby RocRizzo » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:46 pm

Damn Frank,
First you mention Chomsky, then Arundhati Roy?! You already know that I met Chomsky at the Left Forum last spring. Well, Arundhati Roy was there. She signed a book for me too! She and Chomsky did the closing keynotes.

And they told me to "watch out for Frank." I think, perhaps I could become good friends.
"Understanding is a three-edged sword."

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:22 pm

As long as you have zero racial problems and you aren't a serial killer, then we could become bosom chums.

These other mooks have denegrated Noam ever since I first posted, even though he is the leading left academic in world history and the eight most quoted human in the humanities.

Something called Mark Goldberg even used a kill sheet from the far right. The sane, warm bubblebath of truth exists within the mainstream of the enlightenment traditions, namely progressive realism. But, we love them, because we love human rights.

I really do adore Steven Barber and Ezra, ah, Ezra. Steve Evil is a good friend, even though he has moved far from my loving embrace.

Duane is my buddy, even though he can be too moderate for my tastes. Rob and I have a love/hate relationship. He does have a strong mind and a decent wit.

Lori is a sweetie, she just doesn't understand me.

Diane Bartels is cool. The rest amuse me.

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Steve Evil » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:33 am

FrankChurch wrote: journalism classes teach subordination to power.


Funny. Mine didn't. Maybe they were wierd. Did yours Barber?

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Moderator » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:23 am

Steve Evil wrote:
FrankChurch wrote: journalism classes teach subordination to power.


Funny. Mine didn't. Maybe they were wierd. Did yours Barber?


Boy, I'm glad you noted that first Steve. I was about ready to splutter bagel all over Frank for that foolishness.

Frank, "even at USC" they taught just the opposite. There was an earnest push to write well, think on your own and defend your conclusions. The only intimidating authority was your editor, and only if you did a crap job on the story. We were taught writing styles, the dedication to honesty and fairness in your reporting.

Frank Church wrote:My view is that anybody can be a journalist. Credentials do not mean much.


Which is precisely the problem with the media today -- crap journalists/journalism because too many people believe as you do. It's utter nonsense to assert that an untrained observer can write or produce video just as effective and articulate as a trained one. You don't get Edward R Murrow, you get Youtube. (I've heard the same basic concept regarding photography. Yeah, an amateur might grab a couple of good pictures -- but if you're trained you can produce good pictures with regularity.)

The truth is that while everybody can cook, being a good cook requires time and effort to learn. Being a good journalist requires that you understand some basics, and can effectively articulate the story. Otherwise it's just trash -- which is what journalism has devolved into, IMHO. Your problem seems to be that, like the consumer masses, you accept mediocrity.

Finally,
Frank Church wrote:Objectivism is another stone in the gut. Journalists think the government has the same free speech as you and me--not true--the noted journalist I.F. Stone basically got it right: "all governments lie." But we take the government at face value, not realizing that states are corrupt and they lie for the sake of their own power.

Case in point: Obama goes to India, clucks about how damned democratic they are, not mentioning the fact that India is slowly turning into a fascist state. The right wing tortures, murders, rapes Muslims, there is massive starvation, scores of farmers are committing suicide, because of the trade policies Obama says make India so democratic. Arundhati Roy has no free speech and there is this massive war against the Maoist rebels. But as long as Obama gets a trade deal and a hug from their head thug, all is well. We can put them on the security council and give them a veto. How convenient.


Boy you're really mixing your comments there -- with a little training you might be able to stop throwing twenty topics into a single response. This is not a commentary on journalism, but one on politics (a trained journalist would have separated the two topics). But I'll respond.

Objectivity is the goal, but doesn't always happen. What a trained journalist does is to try to get the story from more than one side -- to do any less would be bad reporting. Lopsided reports, those from one side only, aren't reporting, they're propaganda. Most journalists -- the real kind -- know the government is lying. Mistrust of politicians is a basic instinct. No decent journalist takes the government at face value.

Secondly, this may stun you to your very core, but India is the world's largest democracy. They enjoy a far larger participation rate in their elections than we do here, in fact. In case you hadn't noticed, fascist-like tendencies seem to be creeping into almost every democracy these days. Your beloved Hugo Chavez has done some extremely fascist things in his day, as well as some very anti-democratic ones.

This is why you think everyone can be a journalist. You don't seem to try to frame a story, nor do you try to be objective. You distrust objectivity (read my note above regarding propaganda), which is the downfall of your argument. You want slanted reports, as long as they slant your way. You happily condemn the slant when it goes the other way, but aren't objective enough to criticize it when it's in your favor. This is what the viewers of Fox News do. The Tea Party don't care if Glenn Beck lies, as long as they are lies the Tea Partiers agree with. They like being fed propaganda that reinforces their views and doesn't challenge their beliefs. But if he lies in the opposite direction, he's a traitor, etc, blah, blah, blah.

Slanted reporting, of any kind, is to be condemned. It does me no more good to hear propaganda I agree with than it does for me to hear propaganda I disagree with.

Give me the straight scoop and let me make up my own damned mind.
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FrankChurch » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:49 pm

Ah, Barber:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYlyb1Bx ... re=related

I hope you know that I.F. Stone was a trained journalist? He didn't like what he was forced to report so he left the farm and did his own reporting. No surprise that the Red Scare tried to stop him, some of it being obvious, crass anti-semitism. There are many trained journalists who I respect and quote here all the time, I'm saying that you don't have to be professional to do good journalism; case in point, Amy Goodman, Rachel Maddow, David Sorota, David Cay Johnston, etc.

Good journalism, at least to me, means you look at all sides, all available angles, are willing and free to look at all sources and alternative ideas. It is beyond obvious that the media is controlled by corporate forces, as Justin Lewis said in the video.

This is why we have organizations like FAIR and Project Censored. Speaking of Project Censored, did you know they put out the 25 censored news stories of the year every year for about 25 years and no major newspaper covers them?

Then there is the exclusion of Greg Palast, the blacklisting of Vincent Bugliosi. You won't see Bob McChesney on tv talking about media censorship, but you will see someone from the right clucking about the liberal bias issue.

The newsmedia does what power wants. This is why you have a business page but not a labor page.

Barber, name one newspaper here that mentioned the killings and rapes in Guggerat?

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FrankChurch » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:52 pm

If our newspapers were free this is what the front page would have looked like after that last election:

"Low Voter Turnout Proves Democracy Loses In Yesterday's Election."

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Moderator » Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:03 pm

Frank, you're moving the debate in another direction and not sticking to the bsic disagreement. The ownership of news sources and the reporting on any particular story has nothing to do with the vlaue of a trained journaist versus an untrained reporter. Stick to your original topic, if you would be so kind.

I.F. Stone is certainly a trained journalist, and has every right to leave a publication with a viewpoint with which he disagrees. Not sure why you find this an example of the value of a trained journalist versus an untrained one. It seems self-evident that as a trained journalist he made the ethical decision to move on. You prove my point that the trained are inherrently superior to untrained.

I'm saying that you don't have to be professional to do good journalism; case in point, Amy Goodman, Rachel Maddow, David Sorota, David Cay Johnston, etc.


Your mixing up your descriptors. Amy Goodman, Rachel Maddow, Sorota and others are commentators, not journalists. They are all professionals, BTW.

Good journalism, at least to me, means you look at all sides, all available angles, are willing and free to look at all sources and alternative ideas.


Not necessarily. I would change your wording to "looks at all pertinent sides. All pertinent angles". A good journalist will weed through the unnecessary articles and pre-edit them without creating a huge muddy mess by trying to include everything, regardless of significance. The objective of good journalism is to explain what is happening in a way people can understand.

Speaking of Project Censored, did you know they put out the 25 censored news stories of the year every year for about 25 years and no major newspaper covers them?


If the articles are censored, how can they publish them? "Censored" is an inflammatory word, but in reality the word ought to be "under-reported".
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Lori Koonce » Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:18 pm

Hey Barber

Just a question: Do you consider redaction censorship or a necessary means of protection?

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby RocRizzo » Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:53 pm

FrankChurch wrote:If our newspapers were free this is what the front page would have looked like after that last election:

"Low Voter Turnout Proves Democracy Loses In Yesterday's Election."


You might even see an editorial headline like "Capitalism Has Failed, So Why Not Try Socialism?"

We will never see this in the mainstream. I believe that it was the embedding of reporters in the Iraq war that caused them to censor themselves even more. They don't want to be out of the good graces with any administration, lest they not be able to cover the real bloody wars that we seem to be in all the time.

You gotta love Amy Goodman, when she introduces Democracy Now! and calls it "unembedded."


I also do not see where one has to have a journalism degree to be able to speak truth to power. I believe that many "journalists" from the 30s through the current day are not trained as journalists. Many don't even have a college degree. It's all about informing people, in language that the public can understand, in a way that they will want to continue reading, thus educating said public. I know of trained writers, English majors even, who can't write to save their life. Their writing is uninteresting, and just bores the hell out of you. I think even Harlan Ellison is a College dropout, and he was a journalist for a while.

Kudos to Frank for bringing up Palast, and Pugliosi. They are da bomb!

More and more today, I have to look at alternative sites on the 'Net to get a several takes on what is being reported as "news." Faux tells us one thing, MSNBC another, and CBS, NBC, ABC and NPR all parrot Faux. Yeah, NPR gets into minutiae about stuff, but it's still a right wing point of view. I want to hear the right and the left points of view, then make my own conclusions. Better yet, get me the raw data, so that I can go over it, and REALLY form my own viewpoint.

There is no left wing media on TV or radio. If there was, they might call for an end to this capitalism crap.

Check out Alternet, OpEd News, Truth Out, Common Dreams and other 'Net resources for a better perspective. The list is long, but once you have a handful, you will be able to find others. Heck, check out http://activistnewsletter.blogspot.com/ and see some of my nifty calendar editing, as well as Jack Smith's articles that lean waaaaaay to the Left. You will never see this on any mainstream media.

I think that even Google news is starting to censor their sources. I swear that there were a lot more sources from different places a few years ago, but WTF do I know.


So wtf is this about freedom of the press? Whoever owns the press owns the freedom. They can hire and fire anyone they want to write for them. As long as the views represented are acceptable to the "owner" of the press, freedom can be expressed. Well now we have these little inventions called "the Internet," and the World Wide Web, and all of a sudden, the price of a "press" has hit rock bottom! ANYONE can own a press, and can present any views under the sun. Sure, there will be bad ones, and good ones, but such is life. You have to make your own decisions about what is believable, and what is not, and sometimes that is going to require you to do some research on your own. Research that is a hell of a lot easier than it used to be without the Internet. You can even file FOIA requests on the 'Net, in some instances.

So there you go. But what it REALLY boils down to is what the Supreme Court says, because they have the FINAL say in what rights the US Constitution grants WE THE PEOPLE, and what rights it does not. With the current crop of justices, corporations are acquiring more and more of the rights that actual living people have. Things like this ebb and flow, but I am fearful that our country has become a Plutarchy, where only a few select rich people make the rules for the rest of us 21st century serfs to follow.

So if one rates Amy Goodman as a commentator, they also have to rate the entire entity of "Fox News," as not news, but commentary, because though they may see it as objective reporting, it is actually right wing propaganda.

OK, I'll get off the soap box now... I just had some time to kill here at work, because I have to cover for the later shift.

TTFN

(I hope they aren't getting sick of me here, he ponders)
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Moderator » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:00 pm

Lori Koonce wrote:Just a question: Do you consider redaction censorship or a necessary means of protection?


It's a difficult call, but since the redaction is usually carried out by the owner of a document, it's not strictly censorship. If I show a company document but am instructed to remove company proprietary information from that document it's not censorship. That would fall under your second definition.

The question of redaction in a public document is a diferent story. It depends upon who is redacting what whether I'd consider it censorship. If, for example, a document is demanded for a court case, but the owner of a doc blanks out pertinent parts of the document which might be bad for his side of the case, that's censorship (and obstruction of justice to boot).

In some cases censorship is an acceptable act if there is a measurable risk. If, for example, a reporter in WW2 had discovered that the UK had broken German secret code Ultra and wanted to publlish it the action might have saved the city of Coventry friom a devastating strike. But it also would have deprived the Allies from a very beneficial source of information about the German war machine. That in turn may have saved many thousands more lives than were lost in Coventry. Censorhip is never pretty, but justification for it can be made. Unfortunately nobody has been prescient enough to designate me as the sole arbiter in these cases, so...
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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Lori Koonce » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:48 pm

Barber

Didn't mean to make you think that I took your word for gospel on this subject. You are one of a few around here who can speak rationally on subjects like this, so I asked. You are also one of the rational who post often.

You are spot on where this is concerned. IMO if the redaction is meant to keep needed information from persons like judges or others with a serious need to know it's a problem. But, then again, who gets to decide who needs to know? It's not as black and white as some would lead us to believe!

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby Steve Evil » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:57 pm

RocRizzo wrote:I also do not see where one has to have a journalism degree to be able to speak truth to power.


It's not about having a degree, but it is about being a professional. A professional has strict standards, is accountable, and hones his craft through years of work. He doesn't just post on a blog, which I think is one fo the great misconceptions of the internet era.

There are many ways in which my own journalism degree was a waste of time, but I was never ever taught to fear or revere power.

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FrankChurch » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:28 pm

I have no idea whatsoever what professional means. If you tell someone what's going on you are a journalist.

This is the punk ethic writ large. Anybody can be a good journalist, if they understand the ethics behind it. I can name a billion "professional" Journalists who are complete hacks--Thomas Friedman for one.

Bob Dylan is a journalist, even Ozzy with War Pigs. Michael Moore is a slanted journalist, but he is one.

As John Stewart Mill said, you have to have all sides included in looking at facts. Disagreeable opinions and agreeable, because you never know when an agreeable opinion will become disagreeable and the inverse. Slavery used to be agreeable, now it is verboten. Forced sterilization is still agreeable in China. I do think there should be editorial standards, but that doesn't mean you can decide Noam Chomsky is a kook but Richard Haas is wonderful.

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Re: Frank Church's news corner, the sequel.

Postby FrankChurch » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:28 pm

Steve Evil, name some of these outstanding journalists? hehe.


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