Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Elephants in the Bushes

 

“The very notion that on any given story all you have to do is report what both sides say and you’ve done a fine job of objective journalism debilitates the press. There is no such thing as objectivity, and the truth, that slippery little bugger, has the oddest habit of being way to hell off on one side or the other: it seldom nestles neatly halfway between any two opposing points of view. 

 

“The smug complacency of much of the press — I have heard many an editor say, ‘Well, we’re being attacked by both sides so we must be right’ — stems from the curious notion that if you get a quote from both sides, preferably in an official position, you’ve done the job. In the first place, most stories aren’t two-sided, they’re 17-sided at least. In the second place, it’s of no help to either the readers or the truth to quote one side saying, ‘Cat,’ and the other side saying ‘Dog,’ while the truth is there’s an elephant crashing around out there in the bushes.” 

 

—Molly Ivins (1944-2007), fearless and funny Texas newspaper columnist and buffoon skewerer, quoted in (among other places) Chris Hedges, writer, “The Creed of Objectivity Killed the News,” Truthdig, 2010

 

 

Editorial Comment: To bag the truth, you need an elephant gun. And a sense of humor.

 

 

 

PeezPIX

 

Elephants, in the Open*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*you can trust me. I’m a journalist.

 

 

Check out the September issue of Senior News, “Old Dogs, New Tricks.” Free everywhere. 

 

FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 

 

Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. (Be)Friend The WORD

 

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

 

 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Zuckerberg’s Mess

 

“[Zuckerberg] is right that our democracy can survive a pandemic. It is unclear, however, if it can survive a platform optimized for conspiratorial thinking. Like industrial-age steel companies dumping poisonous waste into waterways, Facebook pumps paranoia and disinformation into the body politic, the toxic byproduct of its relentless drive for profit. We eventually cleaned up the waste. It’s an open question whether we can clean up after Facebook.”  

 

—Jamelle Bouie, columnist, “Facebook Has Been a Disaster for the World,” NYTimes, Sept. 18, 2020. (Thanks to alert WORDster — and FB survivor — Christine Hills) Image: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at House hearings, 2019. Marovich/NYT.

 

 

 

Editorial Comment: Wash your Face.

 

 

 

PeezPIX

 

Moon Over Trinidad


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out the September issue of Senior News, “Old Dogs, New Tricks.” Free everywhere. 

 

FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 

 

Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. (Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Southern Editorialists

 

“These Southern editorialists — 11 White men and one White woman — would risk life, limb and livelihood to write what they believed. That the South must change, that legal barriers to equality must be torn down, that violence and hatred must give way to peace, tolerance and justice.”

 

—Kanika Jelks Tomalin, deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, discussing Civil Rights-era journalists, A century of Pulitzer winners call on journalists to shake up status quo,” Poynter Institute, April 1, 2016.

 

 

 

Editorial Comment: Truth is potent. 

 

 

 

PeezPIX

 


Irony Cards, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out the September issue of Senior News, “Old Dogs, New Tricks.” Free everywhere. 

 

FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 

 

Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. (Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

 

Friday, September 18, 2020

One at a Time


 

“In an interview in 1958 with Milt Machlin for the magazine Argosy, when asked if it were true that he took a pitcher of martinis with him every morning on his way to work, Hemingway replied, 

 

“‘Jeezus Christ! . . . Have you ever heard of anyone who drank while he worked? You’re thinking of Faulkner. He does sometimes, and I can tell right in the middle of a page when he’s had his first one. Besides, who in hell would mix more than one martini at a time?’” 

 

—Philip Greene, writer, “Drinking While Writing: Ernest Hemingway & F. Scott Fitzgerald,” The Daily Beast, July 20, 2020.

 

 

 

Editorial Comment: True, you want them fresh. 

 

 

 

PeezPIX

 

A Sliver Morning over Logan, Utah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

Check out the September issue of Senior News, “Old Dogs, New Tricks.” Free everywhere. 

 

FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 

 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. (Be)Friend The WORD

 

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

 

 

 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Early Adventures in Fact-Checking

 

NOTE: Writer, poet and alert WORDster Andrew Merton reports from New Hampshire, where he’s been reading Jill Lepore’s “These Truths: A History of the United States.” He writes, “Time Magazine was founded in 1923. Shortly thereafter, the editors invented the profession of fact-checking, for which they hired, mostly, young women just out of college. They published a fact-checker’s manual, which advised:”

 

“The most important thing to remember in checking is that the writer is your natural enemy. He is trying to see how much he can get away with. Remember that when people write letters about mistakes, it is you who will be screeched at. So protect yourself.” 

 

—TIME magazine manual for fact-checkers, ~1923, in Jill Lepore, These Truths: A History of the United States, 2018  (p. 413) Image: Desk Set, 1957. (Thanks to alert WORDster Andrew Merton)

  

 

 

Editorial Comment: Can’t be too careful. The writer's natural enemy, the editor, must’ve written that.

 

 

 

PeezPIX

 

Albacore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

Check out the September issue of Senior News, “Old Dogs, New Tricks.” Free everywhere. 

 

FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 

 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. (Be)Friend The WORD

 

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

 

 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Love Story

 

“In another age, when the newsrooms of metropolitan dailies pulsed to the rising thunder of typewriters on deadline, Mr. Hamill, a high school dropout who was searching for a future after years of academic frustration, Navy life and graphic design work, walked into the city room of The New York Post in 1960, as he told it, and fell in love with newspapering.

 

“‘The room was more exciting to me than any movie,’ he recalled in a memoir, ‘an organized chaos of editors shouting from desks, copy boys dashing through doors into the composing room, men and women typing at big manual typewriters, telephones ringing, the wire service tickers clattering, everyone smoking and putting butts out on the floor.’” 

 

 —Robert McFadden, writer, “Pete Hamill, Quintessential New York Journalist, Dies at 85,” NYTimes, April 5, 2020.

 

 

 

Editorial Comment: The days of bulldogs, dingbats, dummies, devils, screamers & sob sisters.

 

 

 

PeezPIX

 

Good Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out the September issue of Senior News, “Old Dogs, New Tricks.” Free everywhere. 

 

FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 

 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. (Be)Friend The WORD

 

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard