Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Remember Billy Beer?

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Skeletons in the Presidential Closet


“We've uncovered some embarrassing ancestors in the not-too-distant past. Some horse thieves, and some people killed on Saturday nights. One of my relatives, unfortunately, was even in the newspaper business.”

—Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. president



Editorial Comment: Oh, the ignominy.



PeezPix by Ted Pease


Mill Creek Dashes to the Sea













Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 2,000,000 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever 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. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) #tedsword
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Career Decisions

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‘Ignorance Is Power’

“[A]gnosis, [from] the neoclassical Greek word for ignorance or ‘not knowing,’ and ontology, the branch of metaphysics which deals with the nature of being. Agnotology is the study of willful acts to spread confusion and deceit, usually to sell a product or win favour. 

“I was exploring how powerful industries could promote ignorance to sell their wares. Ignorance is power . . . and agnotology is about the deliberate creation of ignorance.” 

—Robert Proctor, Stanford science historian who coined the term agnotology, “the deliberate propagation of ignorance,” in Georgina Kenyon, The man who studies the spread of ignorance,” BBC, Jan. 6, 2016.



Editorial Comment: I guess there’s money in it. Why the heck did I go into higher education?


PeezPix by Ted Pease


Dark Days














Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 2,000,000 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever 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. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) #tedsword
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Monday, February 20, 2017

‘Polluted Vehicles’ to ‘Fake News’

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The WORDmeister’s Note: It is difficult for some to celebrate Presidents’ Day today, given our current occupant. It is instructive to recall that many — if not most — U.S. chief executives had their problems with the press, starting with George Washington. No one, however, has treated the press, either as individuals or as a small-d democratic institution like President Trump has. This is longer than the usual WORD. But what the heck — it’s a federal holiday. Kick back.

For Presidents’ Day 2017: Reflecting on Presidents and the Press

“Thomas Jefferson railed against newspapers as ‘polluted vehicles.’ . . . Richard Nixon tangled with reporters in the toxic atmosphere of Watergate . . . Bill Clinton publicly condemned ‘purveyors of hatred and division’ on the public airwaves.” . . . 

“There has never been a kind of holistic jihad against the news media like Trump is executing,” said Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley. “Trump is determined to beat and bloody the press whenever he finds himself in a hole, and that’s unique.” . . .

“‘The press is your enemy,‘ [Nixon told aides]. ‘Enemies. Understand that? ... Because they’re trying to stick the knife right in our groin.’” . . . 

“Jefferson wrote to a newspaper editor in 1807: ‘Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.’” . . .

“Brinkley said Trump’s tactics reflect a broad cultural shift away from news to entertainment, as the former reality TV star tries to keep his supporters engaged. ‘He’s trying to show that he’s King Kong and the press are little gnats,’ says Brinkley. ‘That has box office appeal to a certain segment of the population.’”

Nancy Benac, reporter, “Remember Nixon? There's history behind Trump's press attacks,” Associated Press, Feb. 17, 2017
 
Then, on Friday, Trump tweeted this: 



Whew.

John McCain (who was almost a president) disagrees: “If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free — and many times adversarial — press. And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time — that’s how dictators get started.”

—Chuck Todd, Phil Helsel and Matt Rivera, “McCain Warns Suppressing Press ‘Is How Dictators Get Started,’” Meet the Press, Feb. 19, 2017

Editorial Comment: Heavy sigh.

PeezPix by Ted Pease


Skunky











Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 2,000,000 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever 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. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) #tedsword
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. (Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard


Friday, February 17, 2017

Abstinence

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Un-wise

“There is not a noun in the language to which -wise cannot be added if the spirit moves one to add it. The sober writer will abstain from the use of this wild additive.” 

—E.B. White, writer, in Strunk & White, The Elements of Style, 3rd edition, 1979




Editorial Comment: As in wondering how the president was feeling, psychotic-wise.



PeezPix by Ted Pease


Shirley












Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 2,000,000 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever 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. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) #tedsword
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Thursday, February 16, 2017

History’s Lens

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Rehabilitation

“In 2003, President Bush, then two years into his tenure, was asked by journalist Bob Woodward about his place in history. ‘History,’ he replied. ‘We don’t know. We’ll all be dead.’” 
—Robert W. Merry, former WSJ reporter and executive editor, Congressional Quarterly. Excerpted from his book Where They Stand, 2012.


Editorial Comment: History is looking more kindly on Dubya these days.



PeezPix by Ted Pease


Winter Sports








Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 2,000,000 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever 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. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) #tedsword
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Proud Know-Nothings

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The Ignorant Class

“Public ignorance in the U.S. . . . is now so severe that the democratic ideal of an informed citizenry seems quaint. Some argue that certain industries and many politicians prefer an ignorant public. . . . 

“We have now developed a culture in which ignorance is celebrated, perversely flaunted as a badge of pride.” 

—Daniel R. DeNicola, philosophy professor, Gettysburg College, “Flaunting our ignorance: We’re looking at you, GOP candidates,” Salon.com, Jan. 10, 2015



Editorial Comment: Is ignorance a right in a participatory democracy?



PeezPix by Ted Pease

Sad Pup











Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 2,000,000 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever 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. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) #tedsword
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Matter of Fact

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Oxygen-Based

Fact-based journalism is a ridiculous, tautological phrase. It’s like talking about oxygen-based human life. There is no other kind. Facts are journalism’s foundation; the pursuit of them, without fear or favor, is its main objective.” 

—Roger Cohen, columnist, “Am I Imagining This?” The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2017.










Editorial Comment: Or water-based fish.




PeezPix by Ted Pease

Cormorant Morning








Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 2,000,000 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever 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. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) #tedsword
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Monday, February 13, 2017

Life’s Basics

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Breathe Deep

“I care about facts the way I care about oxygen and imbibing enough water a day to live. Everybody should care about facts. That is something all of us should agree on.”  



—John Oliver, comedian and host, “This Week Tonight,” in David Folkenflik, media reporter, “John Oliver on Facts, Donald Trump and the Supreme Court for Dogs,” NPR’s Morning Edition, Feb. 10, 2017


Editorial Comment: Our essential natural resources smell kind of funny these days.



PeezPix by Ted Pease

Fog lifting












Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email every weekday morning during WORD season. This is a free “service” sent to the 2,000,000 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever 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. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) #tedsword
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard