RSSCategory: Media

Investigative journalism is being killed off

November 27, 2013 | By | Reply More

The remarks by Paul Steiger, ProPublica Founder upon receiving an award from the Committee to Protect Journalists:

What has changed is the position of us, American journalists. We are still far better off than our beleaguered cousins in danger zones abroad, of course. But financially, I don’t need to tell this group of the hammering our industry has taken in the last decade. Publications shrinking or even closing, journalists bought out or laid off, beats shrunk or eliminated.

And now, more recently, we are facing new barriers to our ability to do our jobs – denial of access and silencing of sources.

For the starkest comparison, I urge any of you who haven’t already done so to read last month’s report, commissioned by CPJ and written by Len Downie, former editor of the Washington Post. It lays out in chilling detail how an administration that took office promising to be the most transparent in history instead has carried out the most intrusive surveillance of reporters ever attempted.

It also has made the most concerted effort at least since the plumbers and the enemies lists of the Nixon Administration to intimidate officials in Washington from ever talking to a reporter.

Consider this: As we now know from the Snowden documents, investigators seeking to trace the source of a leak can go back and discover anyone in government who has talked by phone or email with the reporter who broke the story. Match that against the list of all who had access to the leaked info and voila!


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Stories about humans

November 23, 2013 | By | Reply More

I highly recommend this TED talk by Brandon Stanton, creator of Humans of New York. He contrasts his own work with the stories we often see on the television “news.” What we see on television are stories carefully filtered to show conflict, sex, violence and danger. It’s not a bad thing, per se, to view such stories, but it is a bad thing to accept these stories as representative of the way the world is.

I find Humans of New York to be a calming counterbalance to the stories usually presented by the “news.”


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Approaching crisis point for journalism and corruption – Bill Moyers talks with John Nichols and Robert McChesney

November 11, 2013 | By | Reply More

Bill Moyers, John Nichols and Robert McChesney are three of the people I admire most in the world. Here they are sitting at the same table discussing what to do about the massive corruption of our political system, specifically, the challenges faced by those who are trying to do responsible journalism to report on this travesty. These issues are discussed with precision in the latest book by Nichols and McChesney: “Dollarocracy,” a stunningly sober look at the situation (I’ve almost finished reading it).

Toward the end of this excellent video, McChesney and Nichols indicate that they are “optimists.” They argue that we are at one of those acute crisis points periodically faced by Americans and thus positive change is in our grasp. The authors further argue that it is becoming apparent that we need to make the case for publicly funded journalism. This is an approach taken by many functional governments, and it was one of the cornerstones of early America, a topic discussed by Nichols and McChesney in one of their previous books.


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Epitaph for the tomb of modern journalism

October 14, 2013 | By | Reply More

Glenn Greenwald takes issue with a recent comment by U.K. “journalist” Chris Blackhurst: “Edwared Snowden’s secrets may be dangerous. I would not have published them.” This leaves Greenwald in a state somewhere between seething and despondent:

What Blackhurst is revealing here is indeed a predominant mindset among many in the media class. Journalists should not disobey the dictates of those in power. Once national security state officials decree that what they are doing should be kept concealed from the public – once they pound their mighty “SECRET” stamp onto their behavior – it is the supreme duty of all citizens, including journalists, to honor that and never utter in public what they have done. Indeed, it is not only morally wrong, but criminal, to defy these dictates. After all, “who am I to disbelieve them?”

That this mentality condemns – and would render outlawed – most of the worthwhile investigative journalism over the last several decades never seems to occur to good journalistic servants like Blackhurst. National security state officials also decreed that it would “not be in the public interest” to report on the Pentagon Papers, or the My Lai massacre, or the network of CIA black sites in which detainees were tortured, or the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program, or the documents negating claims of Iraqi WMDs, or a whole litany of waste, corruption and illegality that once bore the “top secret” label.


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Hostile BBC reporter tries to bait Glenn Greenwald

October 4, 2013 | By | 1 Reply More

In this interview/inquisition, Glenn Greenwald puts up with more establishment media questioning, i.e., reporters who feel that their job is to do the bidding of their governments rather than to shed light on government abuses and corruption.


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Encryption tools for journalists

October 1, 2013 | By | Reply More

Glenn Greenwald recently answered questions on Reddit, including the following:

Reddit comment: “Thanks for doing this. At the university I work at, we are putting together a workshop for Media Professionals, including journalists regarding IT security. We plan on covering: PGP, truecrypt, TOR, OTR, and strongbox. What tools, concepts, or techniques should we be teaching aspiring journalists?”

Glenn Greenwald: “That’s so great to hear. One of the most gratifying things I’ve seen since this all started is how many journalists now communicate using PGP, Pidgen, OTR, TOR and similar instruments of encryption.
Just as was true for me, so many national security journalists – including some of the most accomplished ones at large media outlets, the ones who work on the most sensitive materials – had no idea about any of that and used none of it. Now they do. In this age of a War on Whistleblowers and sources and ubiquitous surveillance, it’s absolutely vital that journalists learn advanced encryption methods and use it.”

It’s a shame that modern day journalists need to spend so much time learning about and using encryption technology to protect their sources from spying by the United States and other governments. What would the founding fathers have said about this more than 200 years ago, that the federal government is spying on its own citizens without probable cause and even spying on journalists?


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Fantasy statement by CNN

August 27, 2013 | By | Reply More

The Onion “reports” on CNN’s explanation for promoting the Miley Cyrus story:

There was nothing, and I mean nothing, about that story that related to the important news of the day, the chronicling of significant human events, or the idea that journalism itself can be a force for positive change in the world. For Christ’s sake, there was an accompanying story with the headline “Miley’s Shocking Moves.” In fact, putting that story front and center was actually doing, if anything, a disservice to the public. And come to think of it, probably a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of people dying in Syria, those suffering from the current unrest in Egypt, or, hell, even people who just wanted to read about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.


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Why Bradley Manning is a hero.

August 2, 2013 | By | Reply More

In this ten-minute video, Cenk Uyguy discusses the verdict against Bradley Manning, declaring him to be a true hero.


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Who qualifies as a journalist? The failures of the new DOJ guidelines.

July 17, 2013 | By | Reply More

Free Press reports on the new DOJ guidelines:

Last Friday, the Justice Department released revised guidelines governing the Department’s interactions with the press. President Obama had ordered Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct the review in response to the news earlier this year that the DoJ had obtained the phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors and the emails of a Fox News reporter.

One of the main issues is whether citizen journalists (e.g., many serious writers/reporters/investigators who run their own websites to report the new) will have any protection at all. This article warns that the federal government is moving in the direction of declaring an “official press,” deeming who is a journalist and who is not. This, in the digital age where citizen journalists are making a tremendous impact on news gathering.


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