Typically, invoking a Great Man to settle
an argument involves Lincoln, Twain, Stalin, Churchill, Chief Seattle,
etc. Hitler is a provocative new favorite. Among some gun control foes, quoting
Hitler proves what will happen if Obama has his way: gun registration,
confiscation and tyranny.
When a reporter uses the law to pry
public records from resisting officials, readers are supposed to
benefit. And when readers value that invocation of open records laws, it
adds luster to the reporter’s work.
Shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School once again demonstrate a troubling paradox: A news story can be accurate and wrong. The aftermath of the massacre quickly
provided reporters with opportunities to put out stories that accurately
reported wildly incorrect but seemingly authoritative information.
I’m grateful to the GQ magazine reporter who asked Florida Sen. Marco Rubio about the age of the earth. It raises a vital question for a country
where significant numbers of Americans reject much of science from
creation to evolution.
If this presidential campaign hasn’t been sufficiently enervating, here’s more dispiriting news. Gallup reports that “Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high
this year, with 60 percent saying they have little or no trust in the
mass media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly.”
It’s time for Western news media to abandon post-colonial guilt when we write and talk about sub-Saharan Africa. I’m talking about the double standard that gives a pass to bloody black
regimes when former white rulers were damned for similar acts.
As surely as the sun revolves around Earth, the gaffe
that keeps giving has its origins in Cincinnati. I’m talking about
Republican Todd Akin, the Missouri anti-abortion senatorial candidate
who stupidly asserted that some rapes are “legitimate.”
Next Wednesday, Jon Hughes steps aside as the central figure in four decades of journalism education at the University of Cincinnati. “Am I going to be able to let go? Watch!” And he laughed at the thought of being “an era.”
The Good and Great of New Orleans have risen up to demand better from Times-Picayune owners and executives. Their
ad hoc citizens group is spitting into the wind. Trying to shame a
newspaper owner is futile. It’s an alien emotion. Economics might humble
owners and executives, but that pain can be passed on to employees.