Friday, December 10, 2010

HoHoHo

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Final WORDS for Final Exams

Note: Today is the last day of classes at USU, so we pause to let students and professors focus, if possible, on final exams and projects. The WORD will spend a couple of weeks looking for lumps of coal at St. Mumbles Holiday Home for the Terminally Verbose, returning in a New Year with New Hope. In parting, we humbly offer a few morsels to tide you over. HoHoHo!
“Being a reporter is as much a diagnosis as a job description.”
—Anna Quindlen,
columnist

“A word to the wise ain't necessary. It's the stupid ones who need the advice.” —Bill Cosby, doctor of education

“If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?” —Will Rogers (1876-1935), philosopher

“The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between Jerry Lewis and Jerry Lee Lewis.”
—Paul Lester, photojournalism educator, 2010 (with apologies to Mark Twain)

“Whenever I finish a good book I eat the last page.”—Anon

Editorial Comment: Dog bless us, every one! —Tiny Ted

PeezPix: HoHoHo! Here's to happy, safe, sane and restful holidays, everyone!

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wikiness

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Press Atrophy

“There is a very simple reason WikiLeaks has sent a furious storm of outrage across the globe and it has very little to do with diplomatic impropriety. It is this: The public is uninformed because of inadequate journalism. Consumers of information have little more to digest than Kim Kardashian’s latest paramour or the size of Mark Zuckerberg’s jet. Very few publishers or broadcasters post reporters to foreign datelines and give them time to develop relationships that lead to information. Consequently, journalism is atrophying from the extremities inward and the small heart it has will soon become even more endangered. So, long live WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. And if Pfc. Bradley Manning is the leaker, he deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

—James Moore, former TV journalist, author, columnist, “Wikileaks and the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity,” Huffington Post, Dec. 3, 2010

Editorial Comment: Bad watchdog!

PeezPix: Winter ReflectionsA wintry Bear River Range reflected in Cutler Marsh, northern Utah
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Unimaginable

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NOTE: John Lennon died 30 years ago today, but he's still going strong. One Imagine video here.

Imagine

“Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one”

—John Lennon (1940-1980), singer/songwriter/philosopher. Video
Image: The gates of Strawberry Field in Liverpool where John Lennon used to play as a child Christopher Furlong

LENNONYC: New PBS documentary.
Image: Bob Gruen

Editorial Comment: 30 years? Can’t imagine.










PeezPix: Humboldt Moon SettingOver the Pacific, northern California





More Lennon pix, just because I found them....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wikileaking

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NOTE:
WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange was arrested at New Scotland Yard this morning on Swedish sex-assault charges. Meanwhile, his editorial in The Australian: Don’t Shoot the Messenger.

Informed Society?

“According to a three-part investigative series by Dana Priest and William Arkin published earlier this year in The Washington Post, an estimated 854,000 people now hold top secret clearance—more than 1.5 times the population of Washington, D.C. ‘The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.’

“The result of this classification mania is the division of the public into two distinct groups: those who are privy to the actual conduct of American policy, but are forbidden to write or talk about it, and the uninformed public, which becomes easy prey for the official lies exposed in the Wikileaks documents . . .

“It is a fact of the current media landscape that the chilling effect of threatened legal action routinely stops reporters and editors from pursuing stories that might serve the public interest—and anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or lying.”

—David Samuels, writer, “The Shameful Attack on Julian Assange,”
The Atlantic, Dec. 3, 2010

Editorial Comment: Hear no evil?

PeezPix: Whooo? Great Horned Owl





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Monday, December 6, 2010

Crazy

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Sense-Making

“The rise of the Internet and the coming of broadband do not mean . . . that the concept of applying judgment to the news—of trying to decide what people need and want to know to self-govern—is obsolete. They make the need all the greater. John Seeley Brown, the former director of Xerox PARC, the legendary think tank in Silicon Valley, suggests that rather than rendering the democratic public service notion of journalism moot, technology has instead changed how journalists fulfill it. ‘What we need in the new economy and the new communications culture is sense making. We have a desperate need to get some stable points in an increasingly crazy world.’”
—Bill Kovach & Tom Rosensteil, journalists and authors, The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect, 2001

Editorial Comment: When does that start, exactly?

PeezPix: Frigid Roads . . . Happy Dogs. The change of seasons is complete below Mendon Peak, northern Utah.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Weekend Edition

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Special Weekend Edition

Liberals Flee Tea Party, Flock North;
Wall Proposed for Canadian Border

Editor’s Note: What’s amusing about this reprise of a piece that circulated widely among frightened and pissed-off Democrats when Dubya and the Supreme Court stole the 2000 election from Al Gore, is that it illustrates how liberals are always disorganized and fleeing. Like the flocks of wild turkeys that our dogs have been flushing all around the yard here. And, of course, there’s the fact that the Manitoba Herald persisted for less than seven months in 1977, from Jan. 11, 1877, to Aug. 2, 1877. “Its intention was to defend the interests of Manitoba and to keep an eye on the behaviour of the province’s representatives.”

• • •

From The Manitoba Herald, Canada R20; “Reported” by Clive Runnels

Canadians: Build a Damn Fence!

MANITOBA—The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration.

The recent actions of the Tea Party are prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Canadian border farmers say it’s not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.

“I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn,” said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. “The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn’t have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?”

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields.

“Not real effective,” he said. “The liberals still got through and Rush annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn’t give any milk.”

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons and drive them across the border, where they are simply left to fend for themselves.

“A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions,” an Ontario border patrolman said. “I found one carload without a single bottle of imported drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley Cabernet, though.”

When liberals are caught, they’re sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans in powdered wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the ’50s.

“If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age,” an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies. “I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them,” an Ottawa resident said. “How many art-history majors does one country need?”

Want baby seal fritters with that?
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Cheater

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Term-Paper Trauma

Note:
It’s not about journalism, per se, (unless you think Stephen Glass or Jayson Blair...). But this being the end of the semester, when students and faculty alike are increasingly frantic and even desperate, I offer this chilling cautionary tell-all from The Chronicle of Higher Education. I miss Cliff Notes.


“The request came in by e-mail around 2 in the afternoon. It was from a previous customer, and she had urgent business. I quote her message here verbatim (if I had to put up with it, so should you): ‘You did me business ethics propsal for me I need propsal got approved pls can you will write me paper?’

“I’ve gotten pretty good at interpreting this kind of correspondence. The client had attached a document from her professor with details about the paper. She needed the first section in a week. Seventy-five pages.

“I told her no problem. It truly was no problem. In the past year, I’ve written roughly 5,000 pages of scholarly literature, most on very tight deadlines. But you won’t find my name on a single paper....”

“You’ve never heard of me, but there’s a good chance that you’ve read some of my work. I’m a hired gun, a doctor of everything, an academic mercenary. My customers are your students. I promise you that. Somebody in your classroom uses a service that you can’t detect, that you can’t defend against, that you may not even know exists.”

—Ed Dante,The Shadow Scholar: The man who writes your students’ papers tells his story,The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 12, 2010
(Thanks to alert WORDster and skeptical professor Sean Michael)
Image: “Fitzroy Back Alley,” by Aaron

Editorial Comment: Prof, the dog ate my homework. And barfed. Sheesh.

PeezPix: Happiness is a Warm Sprinkler
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Historical Perspective

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Rush to Judgment

“Nowhere are the differences between journalism and history more evident than in assessments of the presidency of the United States. If journalism is generally described as ‘history in a hurry,’ so is it shortsighted and sloppy as it lurches forward, gathering news in bits and pieces, coming to conclusions based on short-term accomplishments and the court of public opinion.

“There has hardly been an instance in U.S. history when the immediacy of the news did not bypass its larger truths, whether positive or negative. Washington and Lincoln suffered more than their share of bad press, as did Wilson and Truman. On the other hand, McKinley and Harding got enthusiastic appraisals, only to be downgraded later by historians. Journalists and their associates, the pollsters, treated Harry Truman with ridicule and contempt, while historians later judged him great or near-great.

“Thus, any review of the relationship between the presidency and the media’s court of public opinion is necessarily precarious.”

—Everette E. Dennis & Edward C. Pease, editors,
“The Presidency in the New Media Age,” Media Studies Journal, 1994.

Editorial Comment: Wait for the movie...













PeezPix: Snowbunnies
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Frost

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Raw Material

“The poet's material is words that, for all we may say and feel against them, are more manageable than men. Get a few words alone in a study and with plenty of time on your hands you can make them say anything you please.”
—Robert Frost (1874-1963) poet

Editorial Comment: Like water-boarding?

PeezPix: Speaking of Frost, Wintry Skies.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Slippery

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Truth

“Philosophers have long disputed the nature of truth [which] . . . lies at the very center of journalism. So it’s essential to examine it, if only to discover that it differs from what many of us were taught—that truth is self-evident and unchanging. . . . In most ancient tribal societies, shamans and elders held the authority to say what was true and what was false. Later, religious authorities, kings, queens, and the nobility would claim it. In our day, scientists, political and religious leaders, and news media are the most powerful truth-tellers.”
—John H. McManus, journalist, educator and author
of Detecting Bull: How to Identify Bias and Junk Journalism
in Print, Broadcast and on the Wild Web
, 2009 URL
Image: Jules Joseph Lefebvre’s 19th century portrait of Truth

Editorial Comment: I can’t handle the truth.

PeezPix: December Sunrise

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ooops

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Typoes

“Look closer and you’ll see that typos are a symptom of a larger problem. Taken as a whole, they can point to widespread misunderstanding about spelling and grammar, not to mention lagging education in language. Thirty million Americans are functionally illiterate; clearly our educational system has some catching up to do. Typos also have a negative impact on how people perceive you, making you seem careless or even incompetent.”
—Benjamin D. Herson,
co-author with Jeff Deck of The Great American Typo Hunt:
Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time
, 2010
(NPR story)
Photo captured by alert typo hunter Ashley Stolworthy.


Editorial Comment: Doesn’t he mean “incompatent”?

PeezPix: Snowhound below Mendon Peak.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Treats

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Note: The WORD takes the rest of the week off. Be thankful for favors small and large. TP

Thankful for Language



“For me, it is a cause of some upset that more Anglophones don’t enjoy language. . . . People seem to be able to find sensual and sensuous pleasure in almost everything but words these days. Words, it seems, belong to other people. Anyone who expresses themselves with originality, delight and verbal freshness is more likely to be mocked, distrusted or disliked than welcomed. The free and happy use of words appears to be considered elitist or pretentious. Sadly, desperately sadly, the only people who seem to bother with language in public today bother with it in quite the wrong way. They write letters to broadcasters and newspapers in which they are rude and haughty about other people’s language and in which they show their own superior ‘knowledge’ of how the language should be. I hate that.”
—Stephen Fry, whose exposition on language is made into “kinetic typography” by 18-year-old graphic artist Matt Rogers of Perth, Australia. Great stuff. Click here.
(Thanks to alert WORDster Mark Larson)

Editorial Comment: Where the hell does he get off?

For Thanksgiving: Instead of Peezpix, I offer this xtranormal video for all professors who have thought this, and for all students who have, too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snark

Cheap Shots in 140-Character Bites

“Twitter’s 140-character blasts aren’t bringing down the newspapers. They’re just turning journalists into sniggering cheap-shot artists. Ever since reporters started using Twitter, an old guard of newspaper hands has complained that the micro-blogging site is undermining the art of journalism, 140 characters at a time. But Twitter is actually more of a threat to a particular strain of journalism, a mostly noble one: press criticism. On Twitter, every journalist is a press critic. This may sound like a good thing: Journalism, more than most institutions, would seem to benefit from self-scrutiny. But, trust me, it isn’t. Twitter opens a window into journalists’ minds and, often times, the view ain’t pretty.”
—Ben Crair, deputy news editor of The Daily Beast,
Twitter Killed Media Criticism,” Nov. 21, 2010
(Thanks to alert WORDster Brenda Cooper)

Editorial Comment: ROFL . . . or crying.

PeezPix: Sunrise


Friday, November 19, 2010

(No) Old-Timey Religion

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The Atheists’ Hymnal

WORDmeister sez: For the run-up to Holiday Season, Steve Martin feels sorry for atheists and offers this as a remedy.

“Religious people have such beautiful music and art. And atheists really have nothing. Until now.”
—Steve Martin, comedian, writer, musician and songwriter, with the Steep Canyon Ramblers, “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs.” 3:51 YouTube ****four thumbs up.
(Thanks to alert WORDster Sydney Larson)

Editorial Comment: Damnation you can clap to.




PeezPix: Autumn Tree

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hot Air

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Overinflated

“We have discovered that writing allows even a stupid person to seem halfway intelligent, if only that person will write the same thought over and over again, improving it just a little bit each time. It is a lot like inflating a blimp with a bicycle pump. Anybody can do it. All it takes is time.”
—Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1922-2007), a writer who was rarely overinflated, from Palm Sunday (1981)
(Thanks to alert WORDster Steve Marston)

Editorial Comment: Well, that can backfire for many writers.

PeezPix: Sadieface

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Emptiness

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Vacancy

“Newspapers are the public’s referees as to which information is credible. You can go online and read no end of fiction and smear about public figures. But when you read content in a newspaper, you consistently can rely on it. . . . When a newspaper dies, you don’t get a comprehensive periodical to fill the void. You get an informational vacant lot into which passers-by can throw their junk.”
—Debra J. Saunders, columnist, “Cutting off your news to spite your face,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 26, 2009. (Thanks to alert WORDster Steve Nash)

Editorial Comment: Maybe a community garden in that lot?

PeezPix: Beam Me Up! .

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gramagical

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Do You Believe in Magic?

“The word grammar has taken a bit of a nosedive since the days when some tipsy scholar north of Hadrian’s Wall mixed up his r’s with his l’s. Today grammar connotes everything unglamorous: absentminded professors; fussy schoolteachers; British grammazons with binding names like Lynne Truss; nagging perfectionists; pedantic correctionists; high school students asleep at their desks, stalactites of drool hanging from their lips. Long lost from grammar are associations with power, magic, enchantment and mystical energy.”
—Roy Peter Clark, writer, writing coach and vice president of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, from his new book, The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English (2010)

Editorial Comment: You’ve cast a spell on me….

Photo of the Day: PeezPix defers today to The National Geo
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Facts

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Koppel’s ‘Nonpartisan Sadness’

“The commercial success of both Fox News and MSNBC is a source of nonpartisan sadness for me. While I can appreciate the financial logic of drowning television viewers in a flood of opinions designed to confirm their own biases, the trend is not good for the republic. It is, though, the natural outcome of a growing sense of national entitlement. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s oft-quoted observation that ‘everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,’ seems almost quaint in an environment that flaunts opinions as though they were facts.

“And so, among the many benefits we have come to believe the founding fathers intended for us, the latest is news we can choose. Beginning, perhaps, from the reasonable perspective that absolute objectivity is unattainable, Fox News and MSNBC no longer even attempt it. They show us the world not as it is, but as partisans (and loyal viewers) at either end of the political spectrum would like it to be.”
—Ted Koppel, veteran newsman and columnist,
Olbermann, O’Reilly and the Death of Real News,
The Washington Post, Nov. 14, 2010.

(Koppel was managing editor of ABC’s “Nightline” from 1980 to 2005,
and is a contributing analyst for “BBC World News America.”)
Cartoon: Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune

Editorial Comment: Facts? We don’t need no stinkin’ facts!

PeezPix: Water Lily—Thoughts of warmer days...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Butterfly

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Write Now

“It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.”
—Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962), English author and poet; Virginia Woolf’s partner

Editorial Comment: Butterfly net? I need a bazooka.

PeezPix: November Frosting

WRITING PROF WANTED! JCOM @ USU is hiring. A search for a new tenure-track faculty member to focus on the teaching of writing. Revolutionary! See job posting at Utah State University HR or email ted.pease@usu.edu.
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Antisocial

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Unreal

“Socializing on the Internet is to socializing what reality TV is to reality.”
—Aaron Sorkin, sceenwriter of “The Social Network,” on why he’s not on Facebook. The Colbert Report, Sept. 30, 2010.
(Thanks to alert WORDster Ross Martin)

Editorial Comment: C’mon. What about WWF?

PeezPix: Shell Still-life

WRITING PROF WANTED! JCOM @ USU is hiring. A search for a new tenure-track faculty member to focus on the teaching of writing. Revolutionary! See job posting at Utah State University HR or email ted.pease@usu.edu.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chips, Anyone?

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Googlebrain

“If you’ll walk around with a Bluetooth headset hanging from your ear, you’ll probably walk around with a Google chip in your brain.”
—Nicholas Carr, technology writer and author of books and articles on new technology, including The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (2010) and “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic (2008). From Computing the Cost, The Sun, March, 2009

Editorial Comment: Let me Google an idea

PeezPix: Horsenose

WRITING PROF WANTED! JCOM @ USU is hiring. A search for a new tenure-track faculty member to focus on the teaching of writing. Revolutionary! See job posting at Utah State University HR or email ted.pease@usu.edu. .

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Russian Journalist Beaten

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‘I think they wanted to kill him’

“The thing that bothers me is that at the moment of the beating, they broke his fingers. It is completely obvious that the people who did this did not like what he was saying and what he was writing. I don't know what specifically they did not like, but I firmly connect this with his professional activities.”
—Mikhail Mikhailin, editor of Moscow’s daily Kommersant, on the brutal beating of his reporter, Oleg Kashin (New York Times, 11/06/10)

(“Kashin . . . is in a medically induced coma in a Moscow hospital with a concussion, a broken jaw, fractures in both legs and broken fingers, the newspaper reported Saturday. At least one finger was severed at the joint.”—Ellen Barry, NYTimes, 11/6/10)

Oleg Kashin Photo: Svetlana Privalova/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images

Editorial Comment: Silencing the Russian watchdog

PeezPix: Plymouth Peak

ANNE GARRELS: Two stories and a radio interview from NPR foreign correspondent Anne Garrels’ visit to USU last week: Garrels’ conversations with students and her Morris Lecture, “Bearing Witness: One journalist’s take on covering the worldHard News Cafe

WRITING PROF WANTED! JCOM @ USU is hiring. A search for a new tenure-track faculty member to focus on the teaching of writing. Revolutionary! See job posting at Utah State University HR or email ted.pease@usu.edu. .
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Gullible

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They’ll Believe Any Darn Thing . . .

“Ask how to live? Write, write, write, anything. The world’s a fine believing world, write news.”
—Francis Beaumont (1584-1616) and John Fletcher (1579-1625),
English dramatists during the reign of King James I.
(from Wit without Money, act II, 1614)


Editorial Comment: Early truthiness...

THE NEWS CYCLE—The Salt Lake Tribune’s editorial cartoonist Pat Bagley
illustrates Beaumont & Fletcher’s point. (Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 7, 2010)


PeezPix: Lulu in October

ANNE GARRELS: Two stories and a radio interview from NPR foreign correspondent Anne Garrels’ visit to USU last week: Garrels’ conversations with students and her Morris Lecture, “Bearing Witness: One journalist’s take on covering the worldHard News Cafe

WRITING PROF WANTED! JCOM @ USU is hiring. A search for a new tenure-track faculty member to focus on the teaching of writing. Revolutionary! See job posting at Utah State University HR or email ted.pease@usu.edu. .

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Disagreement

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On Partisanship

“Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world—and never will. . . . If a man doesn't believe as we do, we say he’s a crank, and that settles it. I mean, it does nowadays, because now we can’t burn him.”
—Mark Twain (1835-1910), writer

Editorial Comment: Although a good bonfire can be a cracklin’ good thing....

PeezPix:
Waiting Room

WRITING PROF WANTED! JCOM @ USU is hiring. A search for a new tenure-track faculty member to focus on the teaching of writing. Revolutionary! See job posting at Utah State University HR or email ted.pease@usu.edu. .

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Snowshoes

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Word Things

Report from a Far Place

Making these word things to

step on across the world, I
could call them snowshoes.


They creak, sag, bend, but
hold, over the great deep cold,
and they turn up at the toes.

In war or city or camp
they could save your life;
you can muse them by the fire.

Be careful, though: they
burn, or don't burn, in their own
strange way, when you say them.

—William Stafford
(1914-1993), poet and professor
(Thanks to alert WORDster Peter Y. Sussman)

Editorial Comment: The power of the storyteller

PeezPix: October StubbleMown fall field below the Wellsvilles, Northern Utah. JCOM News Note: NPR foreign correspondent ANNE GARRELS comes to Utah State TODAY! to deliver a Morris Media & Society Lecture: “Bearing Witness—One journalist’s take on covering the world.” Garrels comes to USU fresh from several weeks in Russia. HEAR her interview with Tom Williams on Utah Public Radio. And READ preview of today's appearance in the Logan Herald-Journal by JCOM alum Matthew Jensen. Public speech TODAY, 2-3:15 p.m., USU Performance Hall. Free & open to everyone.

WRITING PROF WANTED! JCOM @ USU is hiring. A search for a new tenure-track faculty member to focus on the teaching of writing. Revolutionary! See job posting at Utah State University HR or email ted.pease@usu.edu.
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Morning After . . .urp!

Columbia Journalism Review watches the election returns

Joel Meares: “So, my election night was spent flicking between MSNBC and Fox News; my surf along the Republican wave guided by the blustery Keith Olbermann and his panel of MSNBC big names for some returns, and by Fox’s Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier for others. As you might expect, it was like dinner with the Montagues and Capulets; two households alike in indignity with very different takes on the dishes being served. . . .

“Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R), . . . wide-eyed and wrapped in what looked like a coppery prom dress, refused to answer [Chris] Matthews’s question about her suggestion that members of Congress should be investigated for being anti-American. A sign behind her, waved about by a supporter, read, ‘How’s the tingle Chris?’ As off-camera laughs could be heard, and Bachmann evaded the question with rote Tea Party patriotisms, Matthews asked, ‘Has someone hypnotized you? Has someone put you under a trance tonight?’”

“Fox portrayed every GOP victory as a repudiation of Obama, and the overall wave . . . as history-making. Conveniently, they didn’t cut to O’Donnell’s ready-for-SNL concession speech. The central Fox panel was made up of [Roger] Ailes’s tamer brood . . . as well as Karl ‘this is the most historic election in the history of foreverdom’ Rove, who, as you would expect, talked over anyone who suggested the results didn’t show a tidal wave spewed out of a volcano set off by an earthquake.”

Liz Cox Barrett: “CNN clearly wants to wow viewers with the whiz-bang: the ‘data wall,’ the ‘election matrix,’ the ‘sentiment analysis’ of the ‘Twittersphere,’ the exit poll 3-D doodads that from time to time crowd Ali Velshi out of the shot entirely. Early in the evening, [Wolf] Blitzer was on it. . . ‘Everyone remembers Christine O’Donnell, the candidate who said she was not a witch. She is not going to be a United States senator, at least for now, either.’ Zing!”

Lauren Kirchner: “NPR is a great choice for following the election if you want your poll updates punctuated by stories about the BP settlement, the S&P 500, and a Modigliani painting now up for auction in Manhattan.”

• For more almost-instant analysis of the analysis—Election Night Coverage Roundup: What was said on CNN, NPR, the BBC, the NYT, and elsewhere, visit Columbia Journalism Review.

Editorial Comment: I need a morning-after pill....

PeezPix: Chilly DayAutumn snow on the Bear River Range

JCOM News Note: NPR foreign correspondent ANNE GARRELS comes to Utah State TODAY! for class meetings and to deliver a Morris Media & Society Lecture: “Bearing Witness—One journalist’s take on covering the world.” Garrels comes to USU fresh from several weeks in Russia. When the U.S. “shock and awe” bombing started in Baghdad, Garrels was one of 16 U.S. journalists who stayed to cover the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. Her 2003 book, Naked in Baghdad, tells that story. Over three decades, Garrels has been in Russia, China, the Middle East and elsewhere in war and peace to bear witness and tell the rest of us what she has seen. JCOM student session Wednesday 11/3, 2:30 p.m. AnSc 303. Public speech Thursday, 11/4, 2-3:15 p.m., USU Performance Hall. Free & open to everyone.

WRITING PROF WANTED!
JCOM @ USU is hiring. A search for a new tenure-track faculty member to focus on the teaching of writing. Revolutionary! See job posting at Utah State University HR or email ted.pease@usu.edu.


NOTE: Today’s WORD on Journalism is now on Facebook! Join up and rant daily! And join USU JCOM Alumni & Friends on FB.

• • •

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Political Discourse 2010

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Shooting the Messenger?

“This year will likely go down in the history books as the year of the angry voter. But 2010 will also be an election year notable for another kind of ire: when politicians let their contempt for the news media boil over. From New York to Alaska, the 2010 campaign season has been rife with hostile and downright bizarre encounters between candidates and the news media.”
—Jeremy Peters, “Politicians Are Fighting Mad, at the News Media,”
The New York Times, Oct. 31, 2010

And . . . “As politicians use social networks to connect directly with voters, some have turned ‘bypassing the filter’ into a cause, openly criticizing the news media and journalists. Of course, tensions between reporters and politicians is nothing new, but this year, ‘the civility that has generally kept relations from breaking into outright feuding has been shattered,’ writes The New York Times. There were several strange run-ins between candidates and journalists, including when a reporter was arrested by security guards for [Alaska] Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller or when [New York] Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino held a shouting match with a reporter that included the words ‘I’ll take you out, buddy.’ This seems to be a natural progression from the broad attack against the news media as an institution that many politicians have launched this year. As a political strategy, it might very well make sense. After all, Republicans have long held the news media in low esteem, but that sentiment is growing within Democrats as well.”
—Slate, Oct. 31, 2010 URL

Meanwhile, “WASHINGTON—Former Governor Sarah Palin launched a broadside attack on the news media Sunday, charging the industry with wholesale corruption in support of liberals and insisting that a local CBS affiliate was staffed with ‘corrupt bastards.’”
—Sam Stein, Huffington Post, Oct. 31, 2010 URL

Photo (above): Reporter Tony Hopfinger, far right, after being handcuffed by the security detail for Joe Miller, a Senate candidate. Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News, via Associated Press

Editorial Comment: Shoot, beat, shred and mangle the messenger?

PeezPix: Golden Fall MorningOn Election Day 2010, we can only hope for better days now the campaigns are over....

JCOM News Note: NPR foreign correspondent ANNE GARRELS comes to Utah State TOMORROW! for class meetings and to deliver a Morris Media & Society Lecture: “Bearing Witness—One journalist’s take on covering the world.” Garrels comes to USU fresh from several weeks in Russia. When the U.S. “shock and awe” bombing started in Baghdad, Garrels was one of 16 U.S. journalists who stayed to cover the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. Her 2003 book, Naked in Baghdad, tells that story. Over three decades, Garrels has been in Russia, China, the Middle East and elsewhere in war and peace to bear witness and tell the rest of us what she has seen. JCOM student session Wednesday 11/3, 2:30 p.m. AnSc 303. Public speech Thursday, 11/4, 2-3:15 p.m., USU Performance Hall. Free & open to everyone.

WRITING PROF WANTED!
JCOM @ USU is hiring. A search for a new tenure-track faculty member to focus on the teaching of writing. Revolutionary! See job posting at Utah State University HR or email ted.pease@usu.edu.

NOTE: Today’s WORD on Journalism is now on Facebook! Join up and rant daily! And join USU JCOM Alumni & Friends on FB.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Insane Fear

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Rally for Fearful Sanity

“This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith, or people of activism, or look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument, or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear—they are, and we do.

“But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus, and not be enemies. But unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two broke.

“The country’s 24-hour, political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen. Or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the dangerous, unexpected flaming ants epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.”
—Jon Stewart, comedian/commentator,
concluding the Stewart/Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear,
Washington Mall, Oct. 30, 2010
video link

Editorial Comment: Comedy in defense of liberty is no vice.

Rally attracts 215,000+, say U.S. Park Service, others. CBS

PeezPix: Mendon Peak in OctoberThe Wellsvilles reflected in Cutler Marsh here in Northern Utah, last week, as winter arrives

JCOM News Note: NPR foreign correspondent ANNE GARRELS comes to Utah State this week for class meetings and to deliver a Morris Media & Society Lecture: “Bearing Witness—One journalist’s take on covering the world.” Garrels comes to USU fresh from several weeks in Russia. When the U.S. “shock and awe” bombing started in Baghdad, Garrels was one of 16 U.S. journalists who stayed to cover the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. Her 2003 book, Naked in Baghdad, tells that story. Over three decades, Garrels has been in Russia, China, the Middle East and elsewhere in war and peace to bear witness and tell the rest of us what she has seen. JCOM student session Wednesday 11/3, 2:30 p.m. AnSc 303. Public speech Thursday, 11/4, 2-3:15 p.m., USU Performance Hall. Free & open to everyone.

WRITING PROF WANTED!
JCOM @ USU is hiring. A search for a new tenure-track faculty member to focus on the teaching of writing. Revolutionary! See job posting at Utah State University HR or email ted.pease@usu.edu.

NOTE: Today’s WORD on Journalism is now on Facebook! Join up and rant daily! And join USU JCOM Alumni & Friends on FB.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Not-so-Superman

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More Homework Needed

WORDmeister sez: Waiting for Superman, the new movie about public education by David Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth), has many people wailing over the "school crisis." But how much substance behind the breast-beating?

“[Waiting for Superman] has captured the credulous attention of veteran broadcast anchors and national columnists. These are not pundits often found wandering among the tangled weeds of education policy. Some appear to be using Superman as their crash course in the subject, emerging from the theatre with a story line in hand and a fire in their belly—no questions asked. . . .

“[T]he media’s coverage of education issues remains less than inspiring. In a Wall Street Journal article, Rupert Murdoch actually suggested that we might turn to American Idol for inspiration. It has higher performance standards for pop stars, he said, than educators do for public-school children.

“To be honest, nobody has zeroed in more sharply on the emptiness of such coverage than comedian Lewis Black on The Daily Show. ‘Ah, fall,’ he intoned in a recent segment. ‘That magical time when we spend one or two weeks pretending we’re actually going to do something about the condition of our schools.’ He then cut to a clip of David Gregory, host of NBC’s Meet the Press, providing his own DIY recipe for school reform: ‘If you drive by a public school, even if your kids don't go there, walk in, and ask what you can do to help.’

“It’s enough to make me cry.”

—LynNell Hancock, journalist, author and professor, “Waiting for Substance: A high-profile documentary shortchanges the education debate,” Columbia Journalism Review, Oct. 27, 2010.

Editorial Comment: Too much dodge-ball at recess?

Today’s Extra: Follow-up: See The Logan Herald Journal for a debriefing on last week's screening of 8: The Mormon Proposition by filmmaker Reed Cowan .

PeezPix: Dog Beach—Sadie says, Wish we were here. Woof.

JCOM News Note:
NPR foreign correspondent ANNE GARRELS comes to Utah State next week for class meetings and to deliver a Morris Media & Society Lecture: “Bearing Witness—One journalist’s take on covering the world.” Garrels comes to USU fresh from several weeks in Russia. When the U.S. “shock and awe” bombing started in Baghdad, Garrels was one of 16 U.S. journalists who stayed to cover the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. Her 2003 book, Naked in Baghdad, tells that story. Over three decades, Garrels has been in Russia, China, the Middle East and elsewhere in war and peace to bear witness and tell the rest of us what she has seen. JCOM student session Wednesday 11/3, 2:30 p.m. AnSc 303. Public speech Thursday, 11/4, 2-3:15 p.m., USU Performance Hall. Free & open to everyone.

WRITING PROF WANTED!
JCOM @ USU is hiring. A search for a new tenure-track faculty member to focus on the teaching of writing. Revolutionary! See job posting at Utah State University HR or email ted.pease@usu.edu.

NOTE: Today’s WORD on Journalism is now on Facebook! Join up and rant daily! And join USU JCOM Alumni & Friends on FB.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

‘Restoring History’

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Professor Beck

“A few months ago, the cable-television and radio host Glenn Beck began his Fox News show with one of his favorite props: a pipe clenched between his teeth. ‘I’ve got my pipe,’ he told his audience, his speech slightly muddled by the stem, ‘because we’re going to speak about schoolish kind of things.’ The theme of the day was “Restoring History,’ and Beck, looking professorial in a neat dark blazer and a pink button-down shirt, began the lesson by peering at a stack of history textbooks and pronouncing them full of falsehoods, produced by ‘malicious progressive intent.’ ... For the next hour, Beck earnestly explained some of the history that ‘is being stolen from us’ ... For the fractious Tea Party movement, Beck—a former drive-time radio jockey, a recovering alcoholic, and a Mormon convert—has emerged as both a unifying figure and an intellectual guide. One opinion poll, released in July by Democracy Corps, showed that he is ‘the most highly regarded individual among Tea Party supporters,’ seen not merely as an entertainer, like Rush Limbaugh, but as an “educator.’”
Sean Wilentz, writer, “Confounding Fathers: The Tea Party’s Cold War Roots,
The New Yorker, Oct. 18, 2010.


Editorial Comment: Professor Beck, the dog wouldn’t eat my homework.





Today’s Extra:
Miniature Earth (video)

PeezPix:
Burnished Fall Field

JCOM News Note: NPR foreign correspondent ANNE GARRELS comes to Utah State next week for class meetings and to deliver a Morris Media & Society Lecture: “Bearing Witness—One journalist’s take on covering the world.” Garrels comes to USU fresh from several weeks in Russia. When the U.S. “shock and awe” bombing started in Baghdad, Garrels was one of 16 U.S. journalists who stayed to cover the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. Her 2003 book, Naked in Baghdad, tells that story. Over three decades, Garrels has been in Russia, China, the Middle East and elsewhere in war and peace to bear witness and tell the rest of us what she has seen. JCOM student session Wednesday 11/3, 2:30 p.m. AnSc 303. Public speech Thursday, 11/4, 2-3:15 p.m., USU Performance Hall. Free & open to everyone.

WRITING PROF WANTED! JCOM @ USU is hiring. A search for a new tenure-track faculty member to focus on the teaching of writing. Revolutionary! See job posting at Utah State University HR or email ted.pease@usu.edu.

NOTE: Today’s WORD on Journalism is now on Facebook! Join up and rant daily! And join USU JCOM Alumni & Friends on FB.

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