Thursday, 26 July 2007

The Press

The BBC starts an honesty school

And Captain Ed is not impressed:

Speaking as a former mid-level manager, the best course in honesty is a good and public firing for dishonesty. If an employee lies and perpetrates frauds, immediate termination usually sends a pretty clear message to the rest of the organization. If, as in this case, an entire business unit conspired to act dishonestly, lopping off the first level of management sends an even clearer message.

Believe me, a few people getting their desks cleared out by Security has an impact on the rest of the staff, especially when the people fired are rather high-level managers and executives. Word gets around.
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Background:

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Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The Press

Newspaper death watch continues

Scripps-Howard to shutter Cincinnati Post and Kentucky Post. This after Gannett, owner of the rival Inquirer, decided not to renew the papers' joint operating agreement, which has been in effect since 1977. (How things change: Almost exactly 43 years ago Scripps owned both the Inquirer and the Post, and the Justice Department was suing to break up the ownership on monopoly grounds. Time story: Apartness in Cincinnati.)

80 employees apply for 20 buy-out slots at the Indianapolis Star.

In the Twin Cities, the St.Paul Pioneer Press wants to shed 30 more employees, after cutting 30 in December. Across town, the Star-Tribune's union has called for the paper's publisher to resign. [Minnesota Public Radio story.] And James Lileks asks:

Is there room for two newspapers in this town? What can newspapers do to stop the slump - or are they doomed to shrink until they collapse like guttered-out stars?
In slightly less than 3 hours, his 2:09pm (CDT) post has received only five comments.

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 21:54:21 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Monday, 16 July 2007

The Press

Tribal rule

The [UK] Telegraph prints an excerpt from Antony Jay's just-published Confessions of a Reformed BBC Producer. Jay's article is an interesting examination of the media (specifically, the BBC) and its role in social change over the last half-century. It provides much insight into the mindset of the people who create "news," although much of what he has to say is obvious to anyone who has been paying attention.

Jay introduces the idea of "tribes":

That our species has evolved a genetic predisposition to form tribal groups is generally accepted as an evolutionary fact. This grouping - of not more than about five or six hundred - supplies us with our identity, status system, territorial instinct, behavioural discipline and moral code. It survived the transition from hunting to agriculture... It even survived the early days of the industrial revolution... But the evolution of cities, of commuter and dormitory suburbs, has deprived millions of people of tribal living,... [and] fewer and fewer of us are now brought up in villages, even urban villages. The enormous popularity of television soap operas is because they provide detribalised viewers with vicarious membership of a fictional, surrogate tribe.
then goes on to say "...we in the BBC were acutely detribalised; we were in a tribal institution, but we were not of it."

But in his next paragraph, Jay proceeds to contradict himself[1]:
We saw ourselves as part of the intellectual élite, full of ideas about how the country should be run, and yet with no involvement in the process or power to do anything about it. Being naïve in the way institutions actually work, yet having good arts degrees from reputable universities, we were convinced that Britain's problems were the result of the stupidity of the people in charge. We ignored the tedious practicalities of getting institutions to adopt and implement ideas.

This ignorance of the realities of government and management enabled us to occupy the moral high ground. We saw ourselves as clever people in a stupid world, upright people in a corrupt world, compassionate people in a brutal world, libertarian people in an authoritarian world...
Surely, a "tribe," defined not by geography, race, or social standing, but by common beliefs and attitudes. And what did this tribe do?
[W]e were anti-industry, anti-capitalism, anti-advertising, anti-selling, anti-profit, anti-patriotism, anti-monarchy, anti-Empire, anti-police, anti-armed forces, anti-bomb, anti-authority. Almost anything that made the world a freer, safer and more prosperous place, you name it, we were anti it... From our point of view, the view from below, they were all potential threats to human freedom...

The topics we chose and the questions we asked were slanted against institutions and towards oppressed individuals, just as we achieved political balance by pitting the most plausible critics of government against its most bigoted supporters. And when in 1963 John Profumo was revealed as having slept with a call girl and lied to Parliament about it, the emotion that gripped us all was sheer uncontrollable glee. It was a wonderful vindication of all we believed. It proved the essential rottenness...
...
It would have been more than reasonable for us to have opposed specific abuses... But the focus of our hostility was the institutions themselves.

more...

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Sunday, 15 July 2007

The Press

Say, did'ja hear about...


Addressing a gathering of atheists in his home state of Minnesota, [Rep.] Keith Ellison [D-MN]... compared the 9/11 atrocities to the destruction of the Reichstag, the German parliament, in 1933. This was probably burned down by the Nazis in order to justify Hitler’s later seizure of emergency powers.

“It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that,” Mr Ellison said. “After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and it put the leader [Hitler] of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted.”

To applause from his audience of 300 members of Atheists for Human Rights, Mr Ellison said he would not accuse the Bush administration of planning 9/11 because “you know, that’s how they put you in the nut-ball box - dismiss you”. -- The [UK] Telegraph
Gee, I didn't, either. Wonder why?

UPDATE 070718 22:50: After a almost a week[1] the national MSM finally noticed, and now he's made a non-apology apology:
“In hindsight, I wouldn’t have used that reference point,” Ellison told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday. “It was probably inappropriate to use that example, because it’s a unique historical event, without really any clear parallels.” -- Associated Press story via Yahoo! news [bolding mine - o.g.]


[1] First (local) coverage of the event was on July 8th.
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Original and update via LGF.

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Thursday, 12 July 2007

The Press

You know, I believe they've detected a pattern here

Lawhawk[1]:

Sharpe James, Democrat political boss and the former Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and a fixture in New Jersey politics may be facing his toughest fight yet...

It's official. He's indicted on 33 counts... What's missing [from the linked AP story]? How about his party affiliation! He's a life long Democrat. How'd that miss being included in the report? Will wonders ever cease?
UPDATE 070713 15:05: "nemo paradise" at Daily Pundit:
Today’s [July 13th] NYT ran a front-page story expanding to 4/5ths of a further page, including a sidebar. At no time in any of these articles was Mr. James identified as a Democrat.

Don Surber[2]:
When federal agents found $90,000 in cold cash in the freezer of Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana, the AP waited until Paragraph 5 to identify him as a D.

This week, AP led its story on a sex scandal: Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana …

But hey, there is no bias in the news media.

But wait! There's more:
The Miami Herald did a 3-part series called “Poverty Peddler,” about a politically connected land developer. Today’s follow-up is “Rep. Meek defends role in land project.”

The follow-up does not mention the congressman’s party. The related story does not mention his party.

The call-for-action editorial does not mention his party.

In fact, I cannot find any mention of the congressman’s party affiliation in this series.

So is Rep. Meek a Democrat or a Democrat?

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Via: [1]Instapundit [2]Bill Quick All links in originals.
Previously: What party did you say that was?

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 23:44:38 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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