Atlanta publisher Andrew B. Adler’s “kill
Obama” column challenges my “fight-words-with-words” standard response
to vicious publications and speech. It never should have been
published. No, he’s not a racist, anti-Semitic crank
or advocate of sex among boys, clerics and coaches. Sick as they are, I
wouldn’t muzzle them so long as they are willing to accept the
Dwelling on any presidential aspirant’s
personal history, proposals and promises invites accusations of bias
that mainstream news media fear most. That might explain reluctance to
hammer Ron Paul for views he espouses now or previously published.
Religion continues to bedevil politics
reporting. News media prefer the simplicity of characterizing elections
as horse races until there is a winner. Religion beyond clichés
complicates politics. If voters are to appreciate the implications of
campaign thrust and parry, it’s time to yoke religious and political
reporters for the duration.
Poynter Online director Julie Moos is correct, I’m a plagiarist. I
sometimes use others’ words in this column. While attributing the
words and ideas to the original writers, I don’t always put their
words inside quote marks. That’s not good enough for Moos. It
was his failure to maintain that level of attribution purity that
drove out veteran aggregator Jim Romenesko from the Poynter website.
He always told us where he got his material but he sometimes used
those sources’ language without direct quotes.
increasingly militarized local police — helmets, assault rifles,
black uniforms and boots, etc. — using excessive force more often
than previous generations? Or
has technology — cell phones and YouTube — made any use of force,
whether excessive or justified, easier to document?
its Page 1 story on public employee “perks” last week, The
Enquirer was doing a pretty good job of playing pre-election
partisanship down the middle. That
story — which required a major page 1 correction — embraced the
paper’s historic Republican and anti-union demons. The timing was
too neat; the subject could have been explored in many ways at any
time. Almost on the eve of the Issue 2 ballot, it was no
you want an alternative to the faux even-handedness of American daily
journalism, turn to London papers and news/opinion magazines. They
know how to treat whack jobs. None of this same-space “objectivity”
that leaves it to readers to decide whether the mainstream of, say,
science or climate-change deniers are correct.
paraphrase Joseph Welch, “Have we no sense of decency?” Nope.
Not when candidates’ answers or evasions suggest how they might act
in office. At
our best, reporters are intrusive so that Americans have the
information we need to debate and decide public policies. Reporters
should have no reticence when candidates display their families as
symbols of virtue/virility/fecundity.