0 Comments · Wednesday, March 6, 2013
I hope the tabloid Enquirer holds current subscribers and attracts new readers, especially folks who are drawn more to the visual than the verbal. Publisher Margaret Buchanan promises its debut Monday. Trucks will bring it from Columbus, where it’ll be printed on Dispatch presses.
by Ben L. Kaufman
satirical website, The Onion, added kiddie porn to the Academy Awards. It tweeted about the 9-year-old Oscar nominee for Best Actress:
“Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is
kind of a cunt, right? #Oscars2013.”
Miss Wallis was nominated for Best Actress in Beasts of the Southern Wild.
and new media exploded with contempt but few spelled out the “C-word.”
Most offered the first letter and asterisks: C***.
Onion took down the tweet in about an hour and Onion CEO Steve Hannah
crawled back on Facebook. He wrote, in part, “I offer my personal
apology to Quvenzhané Wallis . . . for the tweet that was circulated
last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive . . . No person
should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading
wrote that “We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to
ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again. In addition, we
are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible.
“Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry.”
papa vecchio. Viva il papa nuovo! Did anyone else notice that Benedict
was driven to his helicopter in German cars? I didn’t recognize one
macchina italiana among the black sedans. At the helicopter, a papal
aide belted Pope Emeritus into his passenger seat. He knows the drill;
Benedict is a licensed pilot who has piloted a chopper from the Vatican
City to the summer villa at Castel Gandolfo. He left this flight to the
Italian Air Force. CBS followed Benedict’s chopper from liftoff to
arrival in suburban Castel Gandolfo about 15 miles southeast of Vatican
City. Boring video. Really boring. Obviously, CBS feared missing
something if anything went wrong. It’s the same reason the press
travels with the president...
Benedict really wants to live out his days in the Vatican City, why
would he leave Castel Gandolfo? That lovely Alban Hills town was a
favorite for long lunches when I worked in Rome: a great view over Lago
Albano, wonderful pollo al diavolo and fresh trota.
Cincinnatians don’t read the Enquirer. They never did. However, they
often are affected by reporters watchdogging government and businesses
that rarely appreciate the attention. In recent years, no one was better
at this vital First Amendment function than the Enquirer’s Barry
Horstman. His coverage of the Cincinnati city pension fiasco and other
issues was vital to public awareness. He died last week after a heart
attack in the newsroom. Barry was a good man and a fine reporter. When
then-editor Tom Callinan hired Barry despite a chill on new hires, it
was a coup. The city gained a seasoned investigative reporter who
understood the necessity of depth in reporting and writing; quickie
stories don’t suffice when public millions are involved. After Barry’s
memorial service, Callinan told me, “It was an important message to the staff that while we may have fewer people we will have the best. He was that and more.”
Mazzola and Julie Irwin Zimmerman have returned to the Enquirer. I’ve
worked with both; it’s good news. Randy is a talented graphic artist. If
the new tabloid format is to work, visuals are vital. Julie is a fine
reporter and writer. At different times, we both covered religion.
never understand the news media fuss about snow storms in the Plains
states and Midwest. It’s winter. Snow happens. Plows clear streets.
Kids slide. Image-hungry TV is the worst. They just don‘t get it. Sort
of like Cincinnatians who try to drive up Straight or Ravine streets or
West Clifton Avenue after an inch of snow. Those of us who grew up with
snow storms expect traffic snarls. We keep warm stuff in the trunk in
case we must drive but get stuck. We mumble, “I am not going to die of a
heart attack shoveling snow.” Then we shovel. Or hope a neighbor kid
tackles the job.
love snow. It melts and nourishes their crops, replenishes their wells
and waters their cattle. Blizzards can kill but drought is worse. This
by AP via the London Guardian: “Meteorologist Mike Umscheid of the
National Weather Service office in Dodge City, Kansas, said this latest
storm combined with the storm last week will help alleviate the drought
conditions that have plagued farmers and ranchers across the Midwest,
and could be especially helpful to the winter wheat crop planted last
fall. But getting two back-to-back storms of this magnitude doesn't mean
the drought is finished. ‘If we get one more storm like this with
widespread two inches of moisture, we will continue to chip away at the
drought, but to claim the drought is over or ending is way too
premature,’ Umscheid said.”
don’t know the laws governing public records in South Africa, but two
inexplicably tardy news stories suggest that inattentive reporters were
dazzled by the premeditated murder charge against the Olympic gold medal
winner Oscar Pistorius. He’s the double amputee sprinter and that
nation’s most famous living athlete.
took days after Pistorius shot his girlfriend to report that Hilton
Botha, chief police investigator and disgraced star witness at
Pistorius’ bail hearing, already was charged with seven counts of
attempted murder arising from a traffic stop. Botha reportedly shot at
the van and its seven occupants and his bosses took him off the case
when the attempted murder charge made news.
later, reporters told us that Oscar Pistorius’ brother Carl faced
imminent trial, charged with unlawful negligent killing/culpable
homicide after his car collided with a female motorcyclist.
Oscar Pistorius murder case is perfect for the American news media:
hero athlete killer, lovely blonde victim. Oh, we’ve done that story.
Here’s a different angle for reporters: releasing Pistorius on bail
wasn’t a race issue; it’s what happens in almost any country where a
rich and famous person hires the best legal defense possible. Oh, we’ve
done that story. Repeatedly.
is white, but even in race-conscious South Africa, fame and cash can
speak louder than color. If you doubt me, look up the criminal record of
Jacob Zuma, a black man and a longstanding leader in the ruling African
National Congress. A South African judge acquitted him of rape in 2006,
saying the unprotected sex was consensual. In 2005 and again in 2007,
Zuma was charged with corruption, racketeering and tax evasion.
Prosecutors dropped charges, saying political interference fatally
tainted their case. Zuma was elected president of South Africa in
love a good hoax and "Golden Eagle Snatches Kid" on YouTube was delicious.
Reactions illustrate the credulity of old and new media and people who
believe what they see/read online. BuzzFeed.com
freelancer Chris Stokel-Walker said the video got “17 million views
within a day, just shy of 42 million views in total, 14 million minutes
in viewing time in the U.S. alone, embedded on major news websites worldwide,
broadcast on morning talk shows and linked from countless message
boards — which proved this in historically impressive style.”
traced the hoax to Professor Robin Tremblay’s video-effects class at
Centre NAD, a technology university in Montreal. “In October, he
challenged his students — as he did the previous two semesters — to make
a viral hoax video. If it got more than 100,000 views, then
congratulations, you got an A.”
students created "Golden Eagle Snatches Kid." Twenty minutes after
showing the video to their class, they uploaded it to YouTube and
adjourned to a local bar.
Portuguese teenager Tiago Duarte spotted the hoax. "It looked so fake
to me," he told Stokel-Walker. "The main thing that gave it away was the
baby falling down. It really looked like a 3-D model to me." He went
online and "every single person was believing it, and the top comment at
the time was something like, 'If you want to say this is fake, you
better provide some proof.' So I did."
said “it took the 17-year-old less than five hours to debunk a
month-and-a-half's worth of work. Duarte used his video editing skills,
uploaded his version of "Golden Eagle Snatches Kid" to YouTube and proved
effects of a helter-skelter search for cheaper health care can be
deadly, as British news media have revealed. In a reality that recalls
Sarah Palin’s fantasy “death panels,” the British government is paying
incentives to hospitals to reduce the number of beds occupied by the
response is for physicians to hurry patients into the hereafter by
withdrawing nourishment, hydration and medical treatment. Without
intended irony, Brits call this lethal option Liverpool Care Pathway
(LCP). Revelations are beyond sensational. Here’s part of a National Health Service press release:
LCP is intended to allow people with a terminal illness to die with
dignity. But there have been a number of high-profile allegations that
people have been placed on the LCP without consent or their friend’s or
family’s knowledge. Concerns have also been raised about hospitals
receiving payments for increasing the number of patients who are placed
on the LCP . . . (A)s we have seen, there have been too many cases
where patients were put on the pathway without a proper explanation or
their families being involved.” Worse, some patients or families didn’t
give required permission.
• London’s Daily Mail, among those most actively pursuing the Liverpool Care Pathway story (above), wrote Sunday that:
“Leading doctors have claimed NHS
patients are being routinely placed on the controversial Liverpool Care
Pathway by out-of-hours medics who are ‘strangers’ who have never been
involved in their care. The claims suggest patients are often left to
die on . . . ‘bedside evidence’ alone and without fully understanding
the patients’ condition or medical history.
LCP has been the subject of much debate since it was introduced in the
1990s. More than 130,000 people are put on it each year but it was
revealed in December 60,000 patients die on the procedure each year
without giving their consent.
have been raised that clinical judgments are being skewed by incentives
for hospitals to use the pathway. Health trusts (that run National
Health Service hospitals) are thought to have been rewarded with an
extra £30million ($45m) for putting more patients on the LCP. Critics
say it is a self-fulfilling prophecy because there is no scientific
method of predicting when death will come.”
a story that any reporter could do: did the advent of ubiquitous urban
and suburban school busing — for whatever reasons — cause or coincide
with the explosion of K-12 obesity? News media are full of obesity
stories bemoaning fat Americans and blaming everything from school
lunches, fat, salt and sugar to oversize portions of everything. Maybe,
just maybe, it has more to do with the end of walking or biking to
cafes aren’t Starbucks spinoffs where philosophers and others have
spirited conversation as they sip soy milk hemlock lattes. (Gift cards
are one-use only.) Rather, death cafes are where people can talk about
what comes next. This growing movement appears to be news to
Cincinnati-area news media. Huffington Post tipped me to Columbus, Ohio,
leadership in the U.S. death cafe movement. Here’s some of what HuffPost
and others reported:
met on a Wednesday evening in a community room at a Panera Bread near
Columbus for tea, cake and conversation “over an unusual shared
curiosity. For two hours, split between small circles and a larger group
discussion, they talked about death: How do they want to die? In their
sleep? In the hospital? Of what cause? When do they want die? Is 105
too old? Are they scared? What kind of funerals do they want, if any? Is
cremation better than burial? And what do they need accomplish before
life is over?
Lizzy Miles says the latest gathering included new and previous
attendees plus a public radio reporter. “I set the ground rules. No
recording during the Death Café. He had to participate as a regular guy.
Then afterwards, we would ask for volunteers as to who would be willing
to talk for radio. Several people volunteered and we had a mini Death
Café discussion . . . I felt he did a good job of capturing the essence
of the Death Café in his WOSU broadcast, ‘Columbus Death Cafe concept
Spreads Across the U.S’.”