The segment, in general, didn’t do CNN any favors. While they’re not necessarily rooting for the rapists, even the slightest bit of sympathy didn’t go over well, especially once it was lumped together with all of the outrageously offensive reactions of true Steubenville rapist sympathizers. Sarcastic example tweet: “The Steubenville story is all too familiar. Be responsible for your actions ladies before your drunken decisions ruin innocent lives.” Sincere example tweet: “So you got drunk at a party and two people take advantage of you,that’s not rape you’re just a loose drunk slut.” Of course, cases like the Steubenville rape trial can be polarizing, and we’ve long known how distorted some notions of justice can be.
Read more. [Image: CNN]
From CBC’s The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti
An excellent interview with Peter Bergen:
One of the very few journalists to have ever interviewed Bin Laden or seen the inside of the Pakistan compound where he lived and hid for six years, takes us through those final moments … from Bin Laden’s last words to the painstaking intelligence work that still left the Obama administration at odds over whether to even okay the mission.
Meanwhile in Iceland:
Protests and riots continued, eventually forcing the government to resign. Elections were brought forward to April 2009, resulting in a left-wing coalition which condemned the neoliberal economic system, but immediately gave in to its demands that Iceland pay off a total of three and a half million Euros. This required each Icelandic citizen to pay 100 Euros a month (or about $130) for fifteen years, at 5.5% interest, to pay off a debt incurred by private parties vis a vis other private parties. It was the straw that broke the reindeer’s back.
What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents.
From Why Iceland Should Be in the News, But is Not by Deena Stryker
The front page of the New York Times on May 4, 1970, reporting the killing of four students at Kent State by members of the Ohio National Guard.
Accusations of media bias are nothing new. Both sides of the political spectrum complain that mainstream journalists misrepresent them. Occupy Wall Street is no exception. The right says the media’s “liberal bias” makes its coverage too sympathetic; the left says the media undermines and underreports the protests.
Let’s look at the lede from the New York Times’ top national story on Thursday, “Cities Begin Cracking Down on ‘Occupy’ Protests.”OAKLAND, Calif. — After weeks of cautiously accepting the teeming round-the-clock protests spawned by Occupy Wall Street, several cities have come to the end of their patience and others appear to be not far behind.
This is an excellent example of how journalists, in an effort to appear neutral, can dilute their reporting to the point of incoherence. Cities cannot “come to the end of their patience” because they’re not people. Mayors and local officials can come to the end of their patience. So can cops. But cities?
43% of Americans agree with the views of Occupy Wall Street, as reported by the latest CBS/New York Times poll. In Oakland, a progressive city, that percentage is likely higher. But the lede above suggests that a significant majority of Oakland residents are losing patience with the protest.
This fake-neutral language pervades the article. The protests “resulted” in a “life-threatening injury,” “violence broke out.” Throughout are passive constructions, missing subjects. It reminds one of the purposely vague answers people give on exams they didn’t study for.
The article’s biggest flaw is that it buries its most newsworthy fact. The “life-threatening injury” mentioned above was suffered by Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran. He doesn’t appear until the 24th paragraph:In Oakland, where one protester — Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran — was in critical condition at a local hospital after being struck in the head with a projectile during the chaotic street battle on Tuesday, city officials defended their actions, saying that the police used tear gas after being pelted with rocks.
Apart from being some pretty gruesome prose, this paragraph is misleading. It doesn’t quote testimony from protesters who claim that a police projectile hit Olsen, or refer to video that appears to show that the police attacked first. Instead, the reader is left to assume that Olsen was the victim of “a chaotic street battle.” How the chaos began, and who its instigators were, isn’t discussed.
It’s worth noting that forty-one years ago, the New York Times held its reporters to a higher standard. In their front page coverage of the Kent State killings in 1970, the journalist provides a remarkably evenhanded account. After giving the National Guard’s side of the story—“the guardsmen had been forced to shoot after a sniper opened fire against the troops”—the article continues:This reporter, who was with the group of students, did not see any indication of sniper fire, nor was the sound of any gunfire audible before the Guard volley. Students, conceding that rocks had been thrown, heatedly denied that there was any sniper.
In other words: it’s a journalist’s responsibility to verify official claims, not merely to repeat them. Imagine a reporter contradicting the Oakland police department’s version of events with his own testimony, and the testimony of the people he took the time to interview.
As Walter Lippmann put it, “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and shame the devil.”
hahaha the NYT is soooo librul.
corporatocracy approaching full strength, nothing to see here…
From “America Needs its own “Spring’”, by David Talbot
I founded Salon 16 years ago because I thought the country needed a strong, independent news operation. The Web gave my collaborators and me a platform for free and spirited journalism, and we took full advantage of it. For the first time in my life as a journalist, we — editors, reporters, critics and designers — were in sole control of our work, not managers and corporate sponsors…
Americans are deeply worried and dispirited. Three years ago, as the country slid into a bottomless recession, we rallied around a presidential candidate who promised real change, only to see him fall captive to the same forces of greed and endless war that have brought us to ruin. The alternatives presented by the Republican Party would only accelerate this national decline. We’re faced on the one side by a well-meaning but ineffectual leader who has waited far too late in his presidency to rally the people around the powerful themes of jobs and economic justice — and on the other side by GOP leaders who are competing to see how quickly they can dismantle the last decent vestiges of public life in America.
We can no longer wait for the country’s corporate-dominated political system to solve our problems. All of us know friends and family members who are in dire straits; many of us are barely clinging on, struggling to pay the bills and raise our children, while trying to give them a sense of hope for the future. The richest get even richer, the rest of us get poorer. The gap between the powerful and the powerless in America grows wider than ever…
Last week I visited the young people who were camped out near the New York Stock Exchange, in protest against Wall Street’s reign of greed. They told me they had little to look forward to in today’s America. No jobs, a crushing load of student debt, and a political system that seems completely rigged against people like themselves. But they had not given up hope. Inspired by the social upheavals in the Arab world and the protests in Europe against rapacious financial elites, these young Americans are calling for their own “American Spring.”
Salon wholeheartedly embraces this process of national renewal…