Posts Tagged ‘media’

Wow, I agree with Ruben Navarrette for once!

July 13, 2012

I do, however, have to disagree with the headline (and yes, I am pretty sure Navarrette did not write it):

Univision anchor flubs interview with Rubio

Jorge Ramos (good grief, what it is with people named Ramos?) didn’t flub the interview by any means. I am absolutely certain it went exactly the way he wanted it to. And I don’t know what else Navarrette would expect from a network that caters exclusively to those who speak Spanish.  Of course they’re going to stand up for those who come to this country illegally and resist assimilation into American culture. Navarrette is right when he says the debate should be about what is best for the United States. And, of course, it should be clear that what is best for the United States is immigration by people who come here for a better life and want to be Americans. This isn’t to say they should leave their culture at home — but, for example, when you go somewhere and have to communicate with broken Spanish and hand gestures in a majority English-speaking country, that is absolutely unacceptable.

And immigrants speaking English isn’t just to our benefit, but for theirs as well. We all know the stories of Spanish-speaking illegal immigrants getting taken advantage of are legion; if those immigrants were here legally and spoke English they would have a much easier time going to the authorities to deal with those who would do that to them.

I guess Ramos and Univision think those shady characters’ dealings with illegals are just peachy.

This isn’t an argument at all.

June 24, 2012

Sigh. Leonard Pitts is at it again, although this time it’s not about the racial grievance-mongering.

I don’t understand why he and his kind try to paint journalism as some kind of dark art that only the chosen few can fully understand. The fact that a piece of writing appears on a bunch of folded sheets of newsprint on the doorstep every morning (or its online or TV equivalent) doesn’t by default make it any better than any other supposedly well-researched piece of writing. Sure, the big media outlets have more resources, but as anyone who’s paying attention knows, those resources aren’t always put to full use. How else would you explain the fact that Operation Fast and Furious was uncovered by, again, a couple of no-name bloggers?

And this, of course, goes to the whole credibility issue, which is why I find it so laughable that Pitts would imply that bloggers don’t have the credibility to replace journalists, painting Old Media journalists as some sort of expert:

And every day, thousands of their colleagues attend the council meetings, pore over the budgets, decipher the court rulings that help the rest of us understand our cities, nation and world.

It’s as if he’s never heard of the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect. Going back to a couple of focuses of this blog, the people who write for Hearst Newspapers don’t seem to know anything about guns or gun laws and the people who write for Rolling Stone don’t know anything about music — so why should anyone believe anything they write about any other topic? And that’s not even taking into account how journalists won’t even take the time to get elementary things like road names right!

As Kevin Baker said, if Leonard Pitts wonders why journalism is swirling the toilet, maybe he ought to take a look in the mirror.

Nick Anderson’s at it again…

June 23, 2012

here, in which he implies that the Republicans’ inquiry into Gunwalker is making a mountain out of a molehill.

One gets the idea that he doesn’t really care about the fact that no one really knows how many American guns are smuggled into Mexico. Previously discussed statistics and the methods by which those stats were obtained long ago called that into question. Yet he and his ilk still beat the “90 percent of cartel guns come from America” drum. As I’ve said before, I guess you cling to what you have, even after it’s proven to be a filthy lie.

But what about the very real possibility that it was a scheme engineered by the administration to gin up statistics for more gun control? Call it a partisan witch hunt if you want, but the fact remains that the whole thing wasn’t even uncovered by Congress, or even the media — but by two no-name bloggers operating out of their houses out of Ohio and Alabama. And anyone who reads David and Mike on a regular basis knows they take shots at the Republicans just as they do the Democrats. And what about the president’s invocation of executive privilege to withhold documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee? Does Nick Anderson honestly think there’s not anything incriminating in those documents? What about all the folks in the ATF who said flat-out that they were ordered to let guns go into Mexico in order to get the stats the administration wanted?

Nick Anderson apparently would say, “So what?”

I don’t see why Greta Van Susteren should have bothered.

April 29, 2012

With what? Responding to Meghan McCain, that is. No matter what Lindsay Lohan has done, at least she’s only harming herself as opposed to making vile jokes about people with whose politics she disagrees.

Why the hell would anyone care about what Meghan McCain thinks about anything, for that matter? It’s not as if she’s riding on her own accomplishments as opposed to just being the daughter of a famous politician. Let’s face it: if she was just Meghan Smith, some Jane Blow off the street, she’d just be some no-name blowhard writing for a Web publication to which no one who cares about real news gives any credibility anyway.

Before we can get to a solution…

April 8, 2012

…we’re going to have to dispense with the lies and false solutions:

…if President Calderón ever gets a bill from Texas, he should have his accountants go over it with a fine-tooth comb. And then maybe prepare an invoice of his own. Maybe bartering for mining rights in Texas just as Larson suggests it in Mexico for Texas.

Perhaps the cost that broad access to guns on this side of the border poses for Mexico should be on that bill. Not sure how one country can put a dollar amount for that much spilled blood, though.

And surely one billing item could be the cost for Mexico posed by this country’s seemingly insatiable appetite for drugs.

One wonders if O. Ricardo Pimentel has ever thought about the link between drugs’ illegality and the outrageous profits generated by Americans buying them. Wait. We know he has thought about this because he has mentioned it in at least one previous column. So why would he even bring this — or the same old lies about the guns — up if he’s interested in any real solutions to the problems posed by under-secured borders? The answer, of course, is that Pimentel is not interested in solving the problems posed by under-secured borders. He just wants to play the same old game of racial/ethnic demagoguery that he’s been playing since he was shown to his cubicle at the Express-News.

I agree with Alice Tripp…

April 4, 2012

…but not for the reason she cites.

Mission Del Lago’s suit against A Place to Shoot is indeed frivolous, but not because it hasn’t been determined that the bullets coming across the greens came from there. It’s frivolous because — if the website of APTS is to be believed — the range was there 20 years before the damn golf course. Which makes all the other arguments over little more than how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I’d believe it was there first, too, because in all the reporting over the issue, no one has mentioned which entity was there first. And this isn’t the first time a local range has gotten sued over stray bullets by people who moved into the area.

And as for columnist Brian Chasnoff, all I can say is that he has quite a tenuous grip on this issue in particular and reality in general, trying as he does to link the defense of the shooting range to the Trayvon Martin controversy. And if the Express-News’ standards are so low that they consider his caliber of writing good enough for a metro column, then maybe I should consider it a compliment that they wouldn’t hire someone like me.

Gonna have to go to the irony machine house.

March 21, 2012

Why? To get a new one, because mine just self-destructed.

To wit: one John R. MacArthur, the publisher of Harper’s Magazine, ranting and raving about the evils of the Internet — on a blog. And he touts this as an advantage:

At some point you’ve got to turn off your computer or your iPad, but the mail and the brochures and printed matter just keep coming.

Uh-huh. And they just get junked without a second look. A few paragraphs before, Mr. MacArthur says “I wouldn’t bet against print,” while a few paragraphs later he laments the state of the “freelance writer and mid list author.” Funny how he doesn’t say anything about the state of, say, newspaper journalism — nothing about, for example, certain newspaper chains (CNHI and Gannett are the two that come to mind) forcing their employees essentially to take four weeks of unpaid vacation every year via furloughs, or the fact that daily copies of certain newspapers belonging to certain chains cost double what they did this time four years ago. Four years ago today a copy of the Houston Chronicle or the San Antonio Express-News would cost you 50 cents, where today it’ll set you back twice that. And I know the Beaumont Enterprise was charging at least 75 cents for a daily copy when I left Southeast Texas; not long after I left it went up to a buck, too. And all of this, I would bet, has at least as much to do with the economy in general as it does the changing business model.

But if you’ll read on, you’ll see the true genesis of MacArthur’s complaint:

But I’m still offended by the whole Internet pretension of universality, freedom, and democracy. An even more radical critic than I, Patrick de St. Exupery, insists that the Internet, whether paid or unpaid, doesn’t just reduce the value of writing; it destroys value. This may stem from a whole generation growing up never learning to distinguish between a blog and an edited, thought-out piece of writing.

In other words, “Who the hell do these people think they are, expressing their opinions? They’re not Authorized Journalists!”

Keep in mind, again, that MacArthur wrote this on a blog. So he himself is implying that what he wrote is indeed neither edited nor thought out. No doubt he’d say he’s an Authorized Journalist and thus can say these sorts of things on a blog or whatever platform he wishes to express himself, but he still comes off as quite the elitist ass. And of course scribblers like O. Ricardo Pimentel and Rick Casey, almost on a daily basis, put the lie to the claim that journalists write better-thought-out pieces than bloggers.

If this piece of writing is any indication, though, those of us who don’t read Harper’s aren’t missing a thing.

(h/t Tamara)

A thousand words, as they say…

December 13, 2011

…or, What’s wrong with the San Antonio Express-News, more than anything else I’ve commented on, in a nutshell:


What’s wrong with this picture? This isn’t a picture of today’s Houston Chronicle, that’s what. Sabra says we don’t really have a local paper anymore, and the more I see things like this the more I believe it. The story did run in the Express-News, yes. And we don’t subscribe, but we do buy it off the stand at least 3-4 times a week. It’s not so much that they’re sharing stories that bugs me (and her); it’s the fact that so much Chronicle content runs in our paper. Sometimes it’s almost as if the E-N is, as Albatross put it, a Southwest Texas extension of the Chronicle — not only because of that, but also because of so much of the paper’s production being farmed out to Houston and the fact that they don’t even try to hide it. And I also remember at least one big Express-News Sunday story about the goings-on in the Eagle Ford formation — with a South Texas dateline — written by a Chronicle scribe. You’d think of the 100 journalists the Express-News has covering San Antonio and the surrounding area, they could have gotten one to write that story as opposed to farming it out to Houston.

As Sabra put it:

“The reason I no longer subscribe is the lack of local content. Running so much Houston content in the SA paper not only shows a distinct lack of respect for the second-largest city in Texas, it shows a deep lack of understanding of this city. See, here in SA we are raised on rivalry with Houston. Sublimating local news to our rival city is insulting, & ignoring local stories in favor of random things from southeast Texas–a region pretty much no one here other than my husband cares a flying rat’s ass about–is frankly inexcusable. In an ultra-connected world where newspapers are forced to publish day old news, to ignore the only strength a newspaper has is frankly ridiculous.”

I’ll admit the quality of the SAEN pisses me off on another level as well, though, albeit at Hearst on a more general level. I applied at another Hearst paper, the Beaumont Enterprise, right about the time I graduated from college. I was told that I needed more experience to qualify for the position they had open at the time. Yet the journalists at the San Antonio Express-News (a much bigger paper that would have required even MORE experience) routinely get elementary details, such as highway names, wrong in their stories. I have seen FM 78 referred to as “Highway 78” (more than once!) and Interstate 37 referred to as “U.S. 37.” What other details do they miss that I never would have missed even as a reporter at the newspaper for a small state school?

At this point I’d have to say things turned out better for me, though. I could be at the Express-News, waiting for the next ax to fall.

Shorter Bob Richter…

November 14, 2011

“Rick Perry’s a dipshit. Joe Paterno’s a good man who made a mistake.”

Good grief, the San Antonio Express-News is beginning to resemble an outhouse more and more every day. Why? Because it’s full of assholes.

The disintegration of the San Antonio Express-News?

September 25, 2011

It would seem that’s what we’re seeing, before our very eyes.

First up, there’s this:

For the second time in as many days, a top editor of the San Antonio Express-News announced he is leaving the newspaper.

Brett Thacker, a longtime journalist at the Express-News who started as a sports copy editor and rose through the ranks to become the No. 2 editor at the newspaper, sent an email to the newsroom Wednesday evening bidding his colleagues farewell.

You might be thinking, No big deal, editors leave for new positions all the time, right? Well,as you see if you read the story, it was just basic public-relations stuff — nothing about why things went down like that. And come on, two top editors leaving the paper in two days, well, that is a pretty big deal. One of the commenters asked why the story didn’t go any deeper than that — and in the first instance of this that I have ever seen, Express-News reporter John Tedesco, who got the byline here, had this to say:

In today’s newsroom meeting, we were told the newspaper is profitable and there were no lay offs planned. In their emails to the newsroom, Brett and Bob did not give their reasons for leaving.

At this point no one is answering the most important question about these resignations: Why?

And in a later comment, Tedesco said this:

We’ve asked the same questions you have, but the simply (sic) truth is only a handful of people know what really happened, and they’re not giving detailed answers. If I knew more, I’d write it.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? I’m betting it’s a lot worse than anyone’s letting on. As for the “this newspaper is profitable” bullshit…it strikes me that the head honchos always say something to that effect when the subject of layoffs and furloughs comes up.

And today, via Albatross, we have this:

In what has been a bizarre week for the San Antonio’s only major newspaper, Friday saw more shake-ups at the San Antonio Express-News.

Just days after Editor Bob Rivard and Managing Editor Brett Thacker left the newspaper, sources at the paper confirmed that two of San Antonio’s most recognized columnists are leaving.

Cary Clack has been with the newspaper for 17 years; Scott Stroud has been with the paper since 2004.

Add that to the departures of Jan Jarboe Russell and Veronica Flores-Paniagua earlier in the year, and it makes you wonder what the hell’s going on down at 301 East Third. Four metro columnists gone in the last year?! (And really, to be honest, I don’t see O. Ricardo Pimentel as a net addition.) Albatross again:

I’ve heard the Houston Chronicle has a hand in this, and that the Express-News will be reduced to a shell of itself, a Southwest Texas extension of the Houston paper. Perhaps that’s hyperbole, but these recent losses of major figures suggest that it’s not.
Yep. Not only that, but the way things have been going suggests as much also. As Sabra notes in comments, a lot of Chronicle content runs in the Express-News, and the S.A. Life and Taste sections are produced in Houston. You can even tell as much because most of the week the S.A. Life section is laid out using the same font as the Houston Chronicle. (I seem to remember reading that the new font the Chronicle uses was designed especially for it. In fact, the font is actually called Houston.) And I can’t speak for the production side of things in Beaumont (home of the Beaumont Enterprise, another Hearst paper), but I do know that they run a lot of Chronicle content as well — and that their website is updated from Houston. It’ll be interesting to see if all of that comes to pass — and how it’ll affect operations at Hearst’s other papers.