cnn

Reality Check

It’s getting so I hate to turn on the news.  I physically cringe.  Bear with me here.

Here’s a quick recap:  There was a shooting yesterday, a man I think can best be described as a domestic terrorist plinking away at a Congressional charity baseball team at practice.  There was a horrific fire at a London apartment highrise where, apparently, the sprinklers malfunctioned and dozens of people were killed.  (It’s been called “corporate manslaughter”.)  Congress approved a multibillion dollar arms sale to Qatar, a nation presently (more…)

It’s Official: We’re Fake Now

Google made headlines recently when they announced an adjustment to their search algorithm to reduce the spread of “Fake News”.  Apparently, The Not Fake News has made their list.  I’m annoyed, but on the other hand — that’s life in a nation of free speech, free expression, and a free press.

Or not. (more…)

The Fake News Doesn’t Tell The Truth

“The Fake News doesn’t tell the truth.”
-President Donald Trump, CPAC speech, 24 Feb 2017

Once again, President Trump spoke out against the Fake News, this time at the CPAC conference at National Harbor.  To be fair, it sounded a lot more powerful when he was talking.  It sounded impressive, deeply meaningful, profound even.  And then I read the words.

Trump sounds great in person.  When you’re watching him with an open mind, he’s an incredibly powerful speaker — but he doesn’t say much.  He’s a skilled orator who uses a third-grade vocabulary to convey simple ideas and make them seem powerful.

The comparison has been made (more…)

Requiem For An Unbiased Press

“Objective journalism is one of the main reasons American politics has been allowed to be so corrupt for so long. You can’t be objective about Nixon.”
– Hunter S. Thompson, interview, Atlantic Monthly 09/97

“So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here — not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.”
(from “On The Campaign Trail”)

Once again, the Press has become the story. (more…)

I Am Not Spider Jerusalem

Those who know Spider Jerusalem already know this, and those who don’t know him could care less.  And, let’s face it:  Too many of you don’t know him.

Fifteen, twenty years ago there was a new comic book out under one of DC’s fringe labels — Vertigo or something.  “Transmetropolitan”.  Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson.  I stole their art.  (This is by way of being proper credit.  Besides, I don’t get paid for this; they can sue me.  Whether they do or not, though — read it.  Read it now.  Go out and buy it and read it.)

It was some serious brain-twisting, a mess, a work of paranoid comic genius that showed a horrifyingly plausible (more…)

On Ruling The Cycle

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a candidate for president who was doing daily interviews and talk shows, doing his level best to get his message out and to snag any publicity he could manage.  His numbers were rising after a long slump, and he’d just gotten some good press from an over-the-top (more…)

This Just In: “The Onion” Is Reliable News

Since their recent semi-acquisition by communications giant Univision, “The Onion” has begun putting out some surprisingly reasonable stuff in their Politics section.  The present edition features a useful infographic entitled “How To Stay Politically Active After The Election”, and there’s another interesting piece on Justice Ginsburg’s plans for the winter break.

…OK; I admit it.  My headline is a complete fabrication.  I made it up.  Much like The Onion did this.

This is how clickbait works:  You see something that’s shocking; you say to yourself, “This can’t possibly be true!”  And then you click on it, and someone makes money from their sponsors.

(News alert:  I don’t actually have any sponsors.  Too bad, too; I could use the money.) (more…)

Did Russia Hack The Election?

The Washington Post broke a story on the 9th to the effect that Russia hacked the American presidential elections this year.

As is becoming the new normal in modern journalistic practice, the story has several different headlines, each fine-tuned to appeal to the target audience.  The main print version was released as “Obama Orders Review Of Russian Hacking During Presidential Campaign”, but the regional headlines differ slightly.  The online version was titled the eminently clickable “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House”. (more…)

But What Can I Do?

It used to be that our exposure to the horrible things in the world was limited to the paper in the morning and Uncle Walter’s broadcast in the evening.  Now that we’ve got 24-hour news channels, though, we’re inundated.  Awful things are happening all the time and the whole universe is eager to tell us.  It’s coming from our speakers, our car radio, even social media.  There’s fear and terror and horror everywhere, and there’s no escape. (more…)

Who Won The Debate?

Some of us just finished watching the first Presidential debate, and we’re probably all still shell-shocked.  The commentators are still lobbing rounds at each other, but I’ll emerge from my foxhole long enough to shoot a bulletin back from the trenches, for the benefit of those wiser souls who spent time watching Monday Night Football.

Well, it was entertaining; I’ll grant that. (more…)