Posts tagged “journalism”

Rhetoric over gunshot

A big news story today deals with the Crawford, TX guy who fired a shotgun in the air, presumably in protest over the Sheehan gathering near both his and GWB’s place. I was surprised by the rhetoric used by the SF Chronicle to describe the incident (story not available online).

Larry Mattlage hopped into his pickup truck, barreled across his pasture and pulled up to the fence within a few hundred feet of the protests. He then climbed out of the cab, retrieved a a shotgun from the back and fired at least one blast into the air.

Don’t you just get the picture of some angry redneck, hopping and barreling so? Seems like some sloppy journalism; I guess having a point of view is a “good” thing, but it seems rather manipulative to me.


I thought the Drudge Report was some sort of new vanguard of journalism. Isn’t the ability to craft sentences or edit copy some part of the practice of journalism? I’ve honestly never seen any of the Drudge Report stuff, so I was shocked to see this sentence appear in a recent article about a “controversial” new Stones song that takes aim at Bush/Rice.

“It is direct,” Mick Jagger says with a laugh to fresh editions of NEWSWEEK.

Is English not the first language to speak of that would be chosen by Mr. Drudge in is articulatedness of words?

So much for fact checking

So much for fact checking. A review from the SF Chron

CD REVIEWS: “In a time of austerity in the music business, ‘Weird Tales of the Ramones‘ is a behemoth, containing 85 songs on three CDs and every single video the band filmed from 1981 to their retirement in 1996. In this unsentimental but nonetheless fascinating document of rock endurance, fans visually and audibly experience the Ramones in their sullen glory, all deadpan pasty faces, ripped skin-tight jeans and off-the-rack leather jackets. They go from snarling through three-minute blasts of rage and irony on songs like ‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue,’ ‘Cretin Hop’ and ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ to having most of their raw edges rubbed down as they become the benign cartoonish elder punk statesmen of their later years, wading through a myriad of age-related songs like ‘When I Was Young,’ Tom Waits’ far too revealing ‘I Don’t Wanna Grow Up’ and the painfully brilliant ‘I Want To Live,’ from Joey Ramone’s posthumously released solo album. This is a fascinating but hardly weird tale, unless you consider it weird how undervalued these pre-eminent architects of the American punk juggernaut were during their lifetime.

— Jaan Uhelszki.

But I Want To Live isn’t from Don’t Worry About Me (the above-referenced posthumous Joey album), it’s from 1987’s Halfway to Sanity (and it seems to be called I Wanna Live, in fact).

How hard would it be to get that right? I haven’t seen the new box set, but don’t you imagine it includes liner notes that indicate where the songs were from?


Wired immune to PR

In this Wired piece on Beck Steve Silberman writes “If you feel like you’ve been hearing about Beck’s new album everywhere lately, you probably have. Like most major-label hits, Guero’s ubiquity is the result of a carefully calibrated PR campaign that began long before the CD’s street date. But Beck and his label, Interscope, went way beyond the norm, supplementing the usual onslaught of TV, radio, and print marketing with a cross-platform blitz of iTunes exclusives, downloadable videos, and releases catering to digital consumers. This includes a deluxe CD/DVD-Audio package featuring a 5.1-surround mix and visuals you can control with your DVD player’s remote.”

Seems like he’s confusing PR with marketing and with product. PR is what got this piece written. We’re hearing about Beck right as we read the article. In a print publication. There’ll probably be a piece in the New Yorker, next weekend’s Sunday NYT, something on NPR, and of course Rolling Stone magazine and beyond. That doesn’t happen because of marketing – marketing helps create consumer awareness. The articles appear not because the journos are savvy and are tracking what’s hot, but because PR flack calls or emails or faxes to the right people at the publication and “sells” them on the idea of writing about it.

And Silberman knows that; he’s a professional journalist (ipso facto; he’s being published in Wired), so why this disingenous reporting on the technological innovation in product delivery and marketing under the label of PR? I guess it positions Wired as being immune to the machincations of the companies for whom they (and all of the media, including the “public” or “indie” media) willingly shills; rather we imagine Wired as investigative and cutting-edge. Which is of course, bullshit.

And it was all yellow

The SFChron reports on the man who provided the chili fingertip. The whole affair has been handled by the press about as lamely as you’d expect (hype, sensationalization, etc.) – probably not as bad as Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson, et. al, but still pretty bad. But the Chron takes it way into yellow journalism, like something out of 40s-era scandal sheets about Hollywood starts caught in love-nests, etc. Here’s some of the story that seemed most egregious (and let’s start with the photo, above), making the dude out to be as much of a low-life as they can. For no reason, except, hey, it sells papers. This was a front-page story today, BTW.

Las Vegas — After days of hiding, the man whose infamous fingertip ended up in the middle of the Wendy’s chili scandal said Thursday night that his life had been thrown into a tailspin by the case.

“It’s been hell — you don’t even know!” Brian Rossiter, 36, bellowed from behind the door to his apartment at Thrift Suites, where residents pay by the week. He slammed his fists on the door and yelled obscenities as two reporters stood outside.

Rossiter said he had done nothing wrong but refused to discuss the case. He also said he was tired of the media attention and at one point shoved a television reporter before retreating behind the door.

Although Rossiter was terse Thursday night, he held court the day before at his favorite watering hole, the Sporting Chance Saloon, where his bar buddies refer to him by his nickname, “Fudge.”

Rossiter showed off his mangled hand, patrons said Thursday, and asked people if they wanted “to shake the most famous hand in America.”

Bar buddies bought him shots of his favorite drink, a cinnamon-flavored schnapps with gold flecks called Goldschlager.

Bartenders said he had gotten belligerent and then cursed his mother, who lives in Pennsylvania and told The Chronicle on Tuesday that her son had given away his fingertip to get out of a $50 gambling debt he had with Plascencia. A friend at the bar had to drive Rossiter home, about 5 miles away.

Ira Byrd, who lives in an apartment below Rossiter, saw him come home around 4 p.m. Wednesday. Rossiter confided in Byrd that he was having a bad day.

“I asked him why his day was bad, and he asked me if I had heard the Wendy’s chili story,” Byrd said. “Then he held up his hand and showed me it was him.”

Rick Fuller, a maintenance worker at Thrift Suites, said he believed that Rossiter would sell his fingertip for money. Rossiter was three days behind in his $175 weekly rent Thursday, said Thrift Suites chief engineer Alan Sneddon.

“Most people come in here with a story, like they lost their wallet,” Fuller said. “Rossiter just said he spent his paycheck gambling. At least he told the truth — that’s unusual around here.”

Stones Press Release and time travel

Rolling Stones press relese

Fans, along with hundreds of members of the U.S. and international media gathered at Lincoln Center, were treated to the ultimate surprise performance by the Rolling Stones. As the famous opening notes of ‘Start Me Up’ blared across the plaza, a giant banner with eye-popping signature tongue logos dropped revealing the band performing on the balcony-turned-stage of the 100 year old conservatory, Juilliard. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood played three songs for an ecstatic crowd, including ‘Oh No Not You Again,’ a new track off their upcoming CD along with their classic hit ‘Brown Sugar.’

This release came out several hours before the performance was scheduled. Written in the past tense but written and released ahead of time. Obviously, this isn’t journalism, but still seems unethical. Reminds me of the Mitch Alborn scandal recently.

Wired News: Wired News Releases Source Review

Wired goes all journalistic on our blog-readin’ asses

In April, we assigned journalism professor and Wired News columnist Adam Penenberg to review recent articles written by Delio for Wired News. Penenberg and his staff of graduate students at New York University reviewed 160 articles, largely from 2004, but some earlier stories were also checked. Penenberg provided Wired News with a list of 24 stories that contained sources he could not confirm (links are included at the end of this story)

Norway mistakes ‘Hook ’em’ for Satanic gesture has a well-written, appropriately tongue-in-cheek article about Norwegians reacting to Jenna Bush’s seeming-devil-invoking hand gesture that was really a Texas Longhorns sign. The coverage of this has been really lame; pointing out that the gesture is similar to a heavy-metal sign in Norway. But even the SF paper ran a picture of a rock concert in San Francisco where people were using the same gesture. But it was an AP story; they left the story unedited, making no reference to the fact that it’s something that happens at every rock concert in this part of the world as well. Yes, the Norwegian press reacted, based on their metal-esque interpretation of the gesture, but the story doesn’t have to have this wild-eyed “in NORWAY, heavy metal fans made this gesture when they enjoyed their loud rock music” as if we’ve never heard of that fascinating and exotic foreign fact.


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