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.

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You know its bad at USC when…

You decide to return one of your school’s Heisman Trophies, and its not even the one won by a player who allegedly killed his wife and another guy, and is currently doing a long stint in prison.

Yikes.

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Drew Litton Rox!

The “I never doubted the Rox for a minute except for when Holliday hit that huge home run and I turned the channel until the bottom of the ninth” edition. I’ve never been so happy to be so tired.

See more Drew Litton cartoons here.

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Why the U.S. win against Algeria is the most important moment in American soccer history

I’ve needed to settle down for awhile after that riveting soccer game that saw Landon Donovan score the game winner in stoppage time before writing this post.  I’ve done that, now let me tell why this game (and win) were so important to the popularity of soccer in the U.S.A.

There’s basically three camps in the United States when it comes to soccer.

1.  There’s the “soccer sucks and the only way I’m watching is if I’m being tortured” camp.

2.  The “I’m not a soccer fan, but I watch the World Cup and I’ll go to an MLS game if I get a ticket” group.

3.  The “I have three fantasy league soccer teams with players from the leagues in Brazil, Greece, and Russia” camp.

In the past, the second and third groups have watched the U.S. soccer team with high hopes.  The team has been alleged to be good but in reality have flamed out far below expectations.  Moreover, there have been plenty of opportunities for the U.S. team to get that signature win which makes Americans take notice.  A 1-0 loss to Germany in 2002, A tie to Italy in 2006, and the 2009 Confederation loss to Brazil after leading 2-0.  In each case, the fans were told, the team played well but just was unlucky to win.  We’ll get ’em next time.

Hogwash!

It’s been obvious for years that the only way soccer gets any credibility is to get results and do some damage on Soccer’s biggest stage.  This World Cup gave the U.S. the perfect chance.  No overinflated expectations as in 2006, when the U.S. was ranked 5th in the world, nor any “just happy to be here” sentiments.  Win or failure.  An ideal most Americans, even the non-soccer fans, understand.

Then there’s been the way they played so far.  See, the only way Americans are gonna watch a sport they normally wouldn’t is if there is drama and excitement.   They need riveting theater.  This World Cup has given it to them.

First, they come back against England, yes with the help of an atrocious goal, but they came back nonetheless.

Theater.  They showed some true “American” grit.

Then they suck against Slovenia, but come back late to score two goals and the winner, only to be screwed by “the call.”

Theater.  There was action, drama, and outrage.

Everything led up to the game with Algeria, and the stakes were right where any red blooded American wants them.  Back against the wall.  Win or die.

For 90 minutes they let the drama simmer.  Lost chances?   Check.  More villainy?  Check.  The specter of those “unlucky soccer kids who played well but can’t win” hanging in the air?  Definitely check.  Add to that England’s goal that cemented the “win or die” storyline and you have the perfect set up.

And as the seconds kept ticking away, the tension built and built.  We’re talking “will they find the bomb in the schoolyard in time’ tension.

Then….as “official time” ended and all hope was lost, Tim Howard, goalkeeper, saves the day, keeping the ball out of the net and throwing (throwing?) the ball some 60 yards to a streaking Donovan…..

Hope.

Donovan pass the ball to Altidore…….

Hope.

Altidore gets the ball in to Dempsey who HAS THE SHOT SAVED!

Nooooooooooooooo!

BUT THE GOALIE CAN’T HOLD IT AND…..

long pause to hold breath.

DONOVAN SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!  OH MY GOD!!!!!!!

Bars, offices, schools, my couch, erupted in cheers.  The only people not happy were the Hollywood writers who wished they’d thought of this moment for a script.

Even more important was that millions of Americans saw a soccer game, a 1-0 soccer game, that was the total opposite of the “boring, unwatchable tripe” memo that sports talk hosts had been feeding them for years.

Now they understand what the world has known for years.  Soccer can be pretty darn exciting.

So do all the Americans who cheered Donovan’s late heroics start following the MLS?  Of course not, but some will.  And do all those fans leave, if and when the U.S. loses against Ghana, or Uruguay, or South Korea?  Some, but that really doesn’t matter very much because now U.S. Soccer has produced a split second where all Americans, soccer fans and detractors experienced what the game of soccer could give them.  Drama, excitement, exhilaration.

U.S. soccer now has its moment, and nothing or no one can take that away.

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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.”

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Why I’m glad I’m not living in Iceland at the moment

Volcano?  What Volcano?

It’s amazing how the most dangerous things can also be the most beautiful.

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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.

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