Category Archives: Politics

The good that will come out of the Journ-O-list scandal

I saw this post by Kenneth Anderson to non-JournoListers from Volokh by way of my daily Instapundit read and wanted to opine on the good that will come out of this mess.

Anderson writes that the J-List episode has made him question the motives of reporters, even those who he respects and may not even be part of the infamous list.   For these thoughts, Anderson feels a bit bad (yes, this is a paraphrase and if its not accurate, well, that’s how I read it).

As a long time reporter, I wanted to add a few points.

I think Anderson, and any person questioning the credibility of a “journalist,” shouldn’t feel one bit bad about doing so. Credibility is something a reporter must earn and must defend at every opportunity.

News gathering is the ultimate “what have you done for me lately” business.  It also serves one of the most important functions in society.  News gathering lets people know about, and give a window into, events going on around them that may effect them.  But it is a window and not a kaleidescope.  A reporter’s job is to as accurately as possible, describe the events they are sent to cover.  Will their biases color how they look at an event?  Certainly, but the reporter should take their biases into account when covering a story and put them aside.  It’s not that hard, really.

Good reporting comes down to this:  Report what you see, give everyone the benefit of the doubt until they give you reason not to, trust but verify, tell the audience everything, and let the chips fall where they may.  It’s not your job to affect an outcome.  It’s your job to report the outcome.

Any reporter who goes into a story thinking they can manipulate it, or not use due diligence should be exposed and run out of the news business.  I don’t care what you’ve done in the past, if you screw up a story, or worse collude to screw up a story, you should be raked across the coals and be made to grovel publicly to keep your job.  Reporters should be terrified to entertain the thought that they could manipulate the news.  It’s the only way to ensure that they don’t try.

It frankly saddens me that these hacks continue to have jobs, but I’m not the person hiring these folks and watching as their audience is running away.

This whole mess just underscores why I don’t like the term “journalist” in the first place.  Using the term journalist somehow makes people think that they are a  part of the stories they cover and that they know better than you or I what “the public” wants.  Yuck!  What the public wants is the facts, uncolored.

So I say to Mr. Anderson and everyone else, don’t be sorry about constantly questioning reporters.  Your diligent gaze is what makes them, and their product better.  Only by keeping the heat firmly on all reporter can we get the news media we want and deserve.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, What the F%$#!!!

Solving a problem Kevin Costner style

I’m a firm believer in conservation. However, I’m also a capitalist. I have always had disdain for the folks who carry on about “globalwarmingcoolingclimatechange” and then brag about driving their ’68 Volkswagon Bus cross-country, or those that fly privately to far off countries to complain about various climate issues.

You know the ones. The “Enviro-scolds.”

You want me to buy a cleaner car? Make one that takes me up the mountains at 75 like my car now. Make recycling easier and profitable. Incentives work way better than punishments.

This said, you can see why Kevin Costner is my newest idol.

British Petroleum – desperate for ideas – gave the okay to test six of (Kevin) Costner’s gizmos Wednesday, after the Army Corps of Engineers gave the machine a thumbs-up.

Costner’s $24 million centrifuge machine has a Los Angeles-perfect name, “Ocean Therapy.”

Placed on a barge, it sucks in oily water, separates out the oil and spits back clean water.

Awesome idea!  What makes it better is Costner’s quote about his new device.

“It’s prepared to go out and solve problems, not talk about them.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Just Cool, Politics, Uncategorized

A thought about the Super Bowl ads and the poor treatment of women

Some people are upset about this ad because of the violence against women.  O.K. I get it.  I wasn’t offended by it, but, well, I suppose some people could be.

But for all those who were offended by the violence of the “Tebow” ad, I have a question.

Shouldn’t you mention this ad too?  Or this one?  Or this one?  I guess those acts of violence against women don’t count.

If you’re gonna be against violence to women in ads, be against ALL violence against women in ads, not just one.  It’s almost if you have an agenda of some sort.

And that’s the problem with agendas, they end up making you look like a hypocrite.

Leave a comment

Filed under General Nonsense, Politics, What the F%$#!!!

Venezuela, a non-expert analysis

I just got back from Venezuela and had to make a few observations about how things are there.

First, I love Venezuela, but it definitely has some problems.  And it all stems from one person.  El Presidente, Hugo Chavez.

When you´re in Venezuela, it´s hard not to hear from, or about Chavez and his talking about the U.S.  In fact, there´s a great YouTube post (looking for the video, but can’t seem to find it) (It’s there now, in Spanish. thanks to Julia)from the OAS where the representative from Panama told the joke.

“When his wife cheats on him, a right wing fascist will beat her up.  A social conservative will plead with her “Why?” The communist will immediately collect all the stones around and start throwing them at the U.S. Embassy.”

In Venezuela, there is more than a little truth about that joke.

Throughout the whole country, there are rolling power outages and water shortages, all because Chavez long ago fired anyone capable of maintaining these infrastructures who was not Chavista.  So what does he do?  Does he try and fix the problems?

No.

Instead he throws rocks at the United States.  Chavez says U.S. planes are spying on him, that Obama is the same as Bush, and that a U.S. attack on Venezuela is coming anytime.

Listening to all this, there’s only one conclusion I can make.

He wishes the United States would invade.  It’s the only way he can get out of this complete fiasco he’s created for himself.

Think about this.  Ten years ago, Venezuela was exporting electricity to other countries.  Now there are shortages.  So much so that Christmas lights were forbidden in many areas.  Additionally, water is being rationed throughout the country.  In Caracas, the water is shut off so they can conserve.

Incredible.

Ask any Venezuelan about this.  They are tired.  Tired of lines 50 people deep waiting for the money machines with no power.  They are tired of shopping in dark malls because  whole cities lose power for hours on end.  They are tired of storing water so that they can use the toilet, or have a drink of water.  One woman said to me that if she had told people that Venezuelans were sitting in the dark”with no light and no water they would never believe us.”

It’s true.  And they know who’s to blame for it.

Oh yeah, elections are coming up this year, which could spell big trouble for Chavez.

If the elections are clean (a huge “if”, I know) there is a good chance that the congress could have a significant number of opposition members elected.  Why?  Opposition parties who have boycotted past elections in protest are instead organizing and winning.  There were several opposition wins last year for governor and mayors of major cities, including Caracas.  Of course, Chavez usurped the election and took away the winner’s powers, the police, etc.  That will be much harder to do if several opposition candidates gain seats in congress this year.

He will certainly try, but it may just backfire.

Many remember that when the first vote to change the Venezuelan Constitution, in order to let Chavez run indefinitely, failed Chavez tried to withhold the voting results until the military stepped in and said it would not support him if he didn’t acknowledge the results.

I can see a similar scenario unfolding again if Chavez, say, dissolves an opposition controlled congress.

His grip on the presidency is weak right now with many of his former supporters now turning against him.  He must tread carefully if he wants to remain president.

Chavez, of course, recognizes none of this.  He still grandstands, acts impulsively (devaluation anyone?), and still believes (and hopes) a U.S. invasion is coming.   It won’t of course.  And why would we?  Chavez is doing a fine job of losing his grip on Venezuela without our help.

So here’s to a hopefully happy, and Chavez free Venezuela in 2010.

4 Comments

Filed under Politics, Uncategorized, What the F%$#!!!

A thought about the Olympics pick

I found it pretty amazing that no South American country has ever hosted an Olympics and I think it’s about time that they got one.

Congratulations to Rio and Brazil!!!!

And thank goodness ol’ Chavez didn’t get them.  Could you just imagine?

Leave a comment

Filed under Just Sports, Politics, What the F%$#!!!

When racism isn’t

Just saw the transcript of the Gates 911 call and it seems pretty tame.  In fact, I think the thing that struck me most was a concerted lack of labeling Gates and his chauffeur as any type of race.

It won’t matter though as most everyone has already made up their minds about this regardless of what facts may come out.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, What the F%$#!!!

Better to ask forgiveness than permission

It is a motto in journalism that it’s always better to ask for forgiveness than permission because the only way you can find out what you can get away with is to really see how much you can get away with before you get push back.

You’d be surprised how much you can do without permission.  Likewise, you’d be surprised how limited you are when you always ask for it.

Oops!  I’m sorry I did everything I wanted to do and you couldn’t do anything to stop me.  I promise, PROMISE this will never happen again…until the next time.

That’s what’s so great about asking forgiveness.   You already have accomplished your goals.

It was in this context that I got a huge chuckle as I was listening to President Obama talk about the whole “let’s see how close we can get Air Force One to the Statue of Liberty” incident.

A very serious Obama got out in front of the camera and asked for forgiveness saying that he would “make certain that this wouldn’t happen again.”

Of course it won’t happen again.   They already have all the photos of Air Force One flying over the New York skyline they’ll need for the rest of Obama’s presidency.  You think their going to dump those photos just because they terrorized a bunch of New Yorkers?

No way!

In fact, I bet you see those beautiful photos featured in a fawning, glossy spread by a major media publication before the end of the year.

And if someone complains about the spread?

Oh, so, so sorry.  It definitely won’t happen again.  I promise.

I just hope that they airbrush out all those panicked people running through the streets of N.Y. in the background.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, What the F%$#!!!