Tuesday, 29 January 2008

The Press

Attaboy: Las Vegas Sun

Rob Curley reviews the Sun's online coverage of last Friday's Monte Carlo Casino fire:

...what made this so impressive was that with the exception of the videos, which I thought were pretty dang good, all of this coverage came while the hotel was still burning.
...and posts some questions - and advice - for other newspapers.

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The Press

Well, now we know...

When this report came out, Teresa echoed my own thoughts:

This is the type of baseless, scaremongering claim that does far more to hurt than to help when talking about computer and industry security.
Unless the other countries are using the same systems we use, set up in the same way in regard to internet access, how can he begin to equate a supposed attack elsewhere in the world with a possible attack in this country?

The real annoyance is the lack of factual evidence. The statement itself has no content. There's nothing - not one single fact to back up what he's saying. It's the all powerful - super menacing (cue scary music) "we know this to be true, we just can't tell you why - it's a security issue"...(/scary music)
So why this story, right now? Here's why:
President Bush signed a directive this month that expands the intelligence community's role in monitoring Internet traffic to protect against a rising number of attacks on federal agencies' computer systems.

The directive, whose content is classified, authorizes the intelligence agencies, in particular the National Security Agency, to monitor the computer networks of all federal agencies -- including ones they have not previously monitored.
Supporters of cyber-security measures say the initiative falls short because it doesn't include the private sector -- power plants, refineries, banks -- where analysts say 90 percent of the threat exists.
 - Washington Post
First, proclaim there’s a threat (real or artificial, it doesn’t matter). Next, find some people to agitate for “doing something” to counter it. Third, get the press to promote the screams of the alarmists. Finally, create a new program that appears to “do something,” but actually just increases the reach of some unaccountable federal agency.[1]

In other words, Government 101.

Related: Just a coincidence
[1] The gang at Slashdot would add one last step: “5. Profit!”
When the government gets involved, the profits frequently go to the alarmists who agitated to “do something” in step #2. Note the affiliation of the source quoted in the Post article:
“If you don't include industry in the mix, you're keeping one of your eyes closed because the hacking techniques are likely the same across government and commercial organizations,” said Alan Paller, research director at the SANS Institute, a Bethesda-based cyber-security group that assists companies that face attacks. “If you're looking for needles in the haystack, you need as much data as you can get because these are really tiny needles, and bad guys are trying to hide the needles.”
Which just happens to be the organization that hosted the CIA speech reported in the original story. Q.E.D.

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 04:03:19 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Friday, 25 January 2008

The Press

So which is it?

Bill Quick reads the news:

"...the first annual decline in the median home price since 1999"
"...the first annual decline since reliable records began in 1968."
"...likely the first drop in median home prices since the Great Depression."
...and asks the obvious question.

In the comments, Lorenzo explains all.

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 15:08:07 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Thursday, 24 January 2008

The Press

Challenging USA Today

Jim Hopkins at Gannett Blog spots a different kind of story on the Times' front page.

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 06:23:01 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Tuesday, 22 January 2008

The Press

Just a coincidence

Spinning its coverage to support government policy? Check this out:

When I saw this article about Spanish organ donation I thought that it was a bit odd, coming out of the blue. What event brought that into focus? What’s the news value?

Well, now I think I know. Gordon Brown wants to add organ snatching to his list of accomplishments.
Update: 15.00 GMT. The Beeb really want this... badly. See here and here among others. This is quite clearly a coordinated assault on public opinion, which stems from No. 10's initiative.
Brown’s controversial prorposal (which would  “automatically presume” consent for organ donation, and rate hospitals by the number of donations they generate) certainly deserves in-depth coverage, so multiple related articles are unsurprising.  But then there’s the BBC’s unremittingly favorable slant toward organ donation.  Wouldn’t be taking guidance from the government, perhaps?

Nah, must be a coincidence.

Previously: Old Grouch's Assignment Desk

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 16:17:23 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Saturday, 19 January 2008

The Press

Old Grouch's assignment desk

Judicial Watch inventories the HillaryCare papers:

• A “Confidential” May 26, 1993 Memorandum from Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to Hillary Clinton... suggested news organizations “are anxious and willing to receive guidance [from the Clinton Administration] on how to time and shape their [news] coverage.”
“Anxious and willing,” hmmm? Somebody ought to ask Senator Rockefeller just who the “anxious and willing” newsies were that he had in mind. Looks like a job for Don Surber!

Via: Hot Air via Ace, who comments:
Did he just call the MSM the Democratic Party's bitch? Well I believe he did.

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 17:58:28 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Friday, 18 January 2008

The Press

"Hate-speech disguised as a public service"

Via: Instapundit

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Thursday, 17 January 2008

The Press

Crunch time

Two scary posts on the state of newspapers by Alan Mutter at Newsosaur:

Think the blood-letting is over?  With the economy going south, it'll be Back To the Chopping Block.

Then pile on increased newsprint costs.  Whoops, there go the earnings:  Pulp Friction.

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 02:45:05 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Thursday, 03 January 2008

The Press

"Hotel Journalism" and clearing the information battlefield

Complex Environments: Battle of Fallujah I, April 2004:

The absence of Western media in Fallujah allowed the insurgents greater control of information coming out of Fallujah. Because Western reporters were at risk of capture and beheading, they stayed out and were forced to pool video shot by Arab cameramen and played on Al Jazeera. This led to further reinforcement of anti-Coalition propaganda. For example, false allegations of up to 600 dead and 1000 wounded civilians could not be countered by Western reporters because they did not have access to the battlefield.

...In the absence of countervailing visual evidence... Al Jazeera shaped the world’s understanding of Fallujah
UPI's Shaun Waterman:
...the assessment stated that later in 2004, when U.S.-led forces successfully retook Fallujah, they brought with them 91 embedded reporters representing 60 press outlets, including Arabic ones. "False allegations of non-combatant casualties were made by Arab media in both campaigns, but in the second case embedded Western reporters offered a rebuttal," the authors said.
Belmont Club:
The key to counteracting disinformation campaigns like that mounted during the First Fallujah, was to break the stranglehold of "access journalism". As the Army report concluded, once there were a multiplicity of reportorial sources on-scene it became difficult to manipulate the message...
Karl at Protein Wisdom:
...Information Operations were not the only factor in the outcome of the first Battle of Fallujah, but they were a factor. “Hotel Journalism[1]” ceded the battlefield to “journalists” picked by the enemy, to the detriment of the US mission and, ultimately the Iraqi people.
timmiejoebob,” commenting at Belmont Club:
It is breathtaking how completely successful AQI was in clearing the information battlefield. It is also breathtaking how silent key media outlets have been about being manipulated in this way...
Just like CNN during the Saddam Hussein era.

[1] Coined by Robert Fisk, quoted in this story by Michael Fumento, in reference to reporters who do their “reporting” while staying within Baghdad's International Zone. Fumento:
Maggie O’Kane of the British newspaper The Guardian said: “We no longer know what is going on, but we are pretending we do.” Ultimately, they can’t even cover Baghdad yet they pretend they can cover Ramadi.

Posted by: Old Grouch in The Press at 19:04:13 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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