This you can hardly believe.
David Rhodes, president of CBS News, is the brother of Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser.
Ben Sherwood, president of ABC News, is the brother of Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Obama's special assistant.
Ciaire Shipman, national correspondent for ABC's "Good Morning America," is married to Jay Carney, Obama's press secretary.
Virginia Moseley, deputy bureau chief for CNN in Washington, is married to Tom Nides, deputy security state for management and resources (under Secretary Clinton and now under Secretary Kerry).
So how aggressively can we expect CBS, ABC, and CNN to pursue the truth about Benghazi?
If Cheryl Atkisson, the CBS reporter who seems to want to pursue the truth, is muzzled or let go, would the David Rhodes - Ben Rhodes brother team (covering for the latter's key role in changing the talking points) possibly have something to do with it?
(Centennial Fellow) Last July, a Gallup poll said 21 percent of American adults had a "great deal" of confidence in TV news, which is odd even though it is a minority, seeing as how there is so little really, truly to have confidence in.
The wisdom of the majority in not much trusting TV is surely more justified. Yes, there is some splendid reporting. And even if liberal bias still dominates, there's Fox News, born in the '90s, now outrunning its cable competitors in ratings and affording the public interpretations and subject choices decidedly less dependent on neo-socialist, big-government amiability.
It does not follow that the citizenry had as much opportunity for true enlightenment in this most recent presidential election as it should have or that we aren't witnessing a continuing tumble in much that calls itself news.
The respected Pew Research Center recently completed a study comparing TV news in 2007 to 2012. It found that local TV news -- infrequently much more than sensational snippets in my watching experience -- is devoting increasing time to traffic, weather and sports. That may be useful and fun, though it is not exactly what James Madison meant when he said the people must be armed with knowledge if they are to keep government from becoming a farce and a tragedy.
To be sure, other news is there in itsy-bitsy bites, but young people aren't watching and it's getting ever harder for the stations to pull in the dollars necessary for oomph down the road, the study says.
The national networks? Their viewership is half what it was 30 years ago and the future doesn't look exactly like fireworks and shouts of hallelujah. Nevertheless, the number of nightly viewers (some 22 million) is about seven times larger than cable news viewers (roughly 3 million). The content has stayed relatively unruffled, just little things changing, such as ABC putting more emphasis on lifestyle stories.
Where things get more interesting is with cable news. Commentary is getting to be a bigger deal than before, as straight news coverage is relying more on interviews than live stories. Fox has kept its format close to what it was -- 55 percent commentary to 45 percent news. CNN, coming in last in the ratings, still has more news than commentary, 54 percent to 46 percent.
Then we get to MSNBC, where news accounts for just 15 percent of airtime and the liberal commentary is 85 percent.
I am scarcely against opinion as part of a news package or even, in some specialized outlets, the main deal, but what you get on MSNBC is a misleading pretense of something informative and helpful when it's too often closer to zaniness and vitriol.
Consider, for instance, commentator Chris Matthews branding ideas he dislikes as racist less as a consequence of considered reflection than of the anti-conservative, ad hominem reflex of a certain breed of ideologue.
Someone who points this out is David Freddoso, a Washington Examiner reporter and author of "Spin Masters: How the Media Ignored the Real News and Helped Reelect Barack Obama." In an online interview, he summed up how the nutsy stuff -- the nonexistent war on women, Mitt Romney's high school pranks and such -- got more serious attention in campaign coverage than any number of truly meaningful issues affecting the lives of one and all.
The networks focus far more on news than commentary, but the liberal bias never stops barking. Some of the earliest documentation was in a 1980 book -- "The Media Elite" -- that showed how just 17 percent of journalists at top newspapers, magazines and the TV networks saw themselves as conservative. More recently, the book "Left Turn," by social scientist Tim Groseclose, convincingly demonstrates that the bias in media generally still affects content big time.
What began to afford more balance on TV (in addition to the generally commendable work on PBS "NewsHour") was the start of Fox, which does a pretty good job in straight news reporting and provides antidote conservatism in much, if far from all, of its commentary. Liberal critics never cease banging it on the head, but despite varied, unmistakable flaws, it represents something we need more of.
Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is now columnist living in Colorado and a Centennial Institute Fellow.
(Centennial fellow) Almost every Friday morning, a friend and I get together for strong coffee and bracing political discussion, and sometimes he will say journalists lie. No, I respond -- they make mistakes and their biases pop through their reporting, but it's not lying. What am I to argue now that we've learned about NBC News and the doctored tape?On broadcasts to millions, NBC played a recording of a police officer's conversation with George Zimmerman the night he shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman was patrolling his neighborhood as a citizen, called the cops, and, according to NBC's version of the conversation, said he had been following someone who "looks like he is up to no good. He looks black."
That's not how the conversation actually went. Zimmerman said there was someone walking around looking "like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something," and the officer on the other end asked, "Is he black, white or Hispanic?" Zimmerman responded that the man looked black.
The unchanged tape is a thousand miles distant from the mangled one, and NBC has said it is sorry for "an error made in the production process." But that is evasive mumbo jumbo. The editing was not a technical issue of production. It was a substantive issue of content, and the "error" happened to fit a thesis of racist homicide while making the network look like a watchdog hero. It seems to me to have been error with a purpose.
Sadly, very, very sadly, this NBC incident is one of many possible examples of an outlandish, rules-be-damned rush to judgment in which reporters and commentators are playing the roles of crazed prosecutor, judge and jury not about to wait for evidence.
According to a news report on findings by the PEW Research Center, news outlets have been paying more attention to this story than any other. For a stretch, the MSNBC cable network spent half its time on it, and one of MSNBC's hosts, longtime racial agitator Al Sharpton, has been leading protests. ABC embarrassed itself somewhat less than NBC when it claimed that a video of Zimmerman showed no signs he had been attacked by Martin. The issue matters because the reason police did not arrest Zimmerman was their believe he was defending himself. ABC was wrong about the video. It checked with forensic experts and changed its story.Some of the bad journalism has been slightly more subtle, such as the frequent juxtaposition of a photo of an unshaven Zimmerman in a jail uniform next to a photo of Martin as an angelic looking kid. But there has also been journalism of the kind that produced an eyewitness who says he saw 6-foot-2 Martin on top of Zimmerman and that revealed how Martin had been expelled from school three times and was once found in possession of jewelry that was not his. Zimmerman, we have learned, is himself a minority -- his mother is Hispanic -- and has white as well as black family members. Black friends have spoken up for him and he has mentored a black child, although he also has some rough spots in his past.
What happened is a terrible tragedy, and it is understandable that many would react emotionally. But many have also seen journalistic unfairness in all of this. Jack Pitney, a professor at Claremont McKenna College, recently told the Christian Science Monitor that the story "undermines public confidence in mainstream news media, which is already pretty low." He noted PEW already says 77 percent of Americans think the press is generally unfair.News is in a stage of dramatic transition. Newspapers and broadcast networks are in decline as new media -- cable TV, blogs and more -- are making themselves felt in ways both scary and encouraging. No one knows where it will end. This much we can bet on: If mature media forsake reasonable standards, it will end badly.The tipping point cometh.
Normal 0 false false false false EN-US JA X-NONE
(Centennial Fellow) You’ve got to have an “able, disinterested, public-spirited press” if popular government is to be something more than “a sham and mockery,” Joseph Pulitzer once said. Is there hope? Well, yes, there’s hope, and there are plentiful exceptions to any condemnatory conclusions. But what’s missing in too many news outlets this campaign season – amid the constant analysis of who has fumbled, who might win and what strategies are being employed – is much of what’s worth knowing. When assessing the presidential candidates, the vital questions boil down to character, competence and stands on issues. The salacious shall be known, and more on the bad side of character than that if the press finds you less than cuddly. It seldom investigates demonstrated competence to the extent many might want. But where the public really gets cheated is in being presented with little more than sound bites about stands on issues. Want to know why? Because some in the news craft believe that delivering detailed reports on speeches and otherwise exploring candidates’ policy positions without comment reduces them to plain-Jane stenographers. They would rather be bold explorers of ulterior motives. Charlotte Grimes, a journalism professor at Syracuse University I know and admire, has written a superb paper (available online) that notes how this near obsession of some was inspired by the work of an exceptional reporter, Theodore White. He wrote groundbreaking books in the ‘60s and ‘70s about behind-the-scenes strategizing in presidential campaigns, and ever since then political writers have tried to do a Teddy White strut in their daily copy. Among the problems is too little time to pull it off and sometimes a whole lot less knowledge and talent than the hero. That’s just for starters, though, because rather than dwell on material crucial for understanding what is at stake, many on TV, in newspapers and elsewhere would rather waste your time speculating on what you’re going to find out anyway: who is going to win. Understand that today’s guess is often next to worthless and that the need, at any rate, is telling you not how you might vote in a primary or general election, but giving you facts enabling you to vote intelligently. "Facts.” Interesting word, that, and yes, there is such a thing as verifiable information just as there is such a thing as fact checkers who don’t get it that their verdicts of “true” and “false” are many times arguable, extra-factual interpretations otherwise known as opinion. The worst of the campaign coverage may be bias holding hands with melodrama, as when segments of the press went wild shouting to the nation that millionaire boss-man Mitt Romney had said he liked “being able to fire people.” The explicit, perfectly clear, unmistakable context was that people should be able to change their health insurance companies. An example of purveying those particular Romney words with no hint of the actual meaning was a piece in The New York Review of Books, which seems worth mentioning because the magazine is considered one of the most prestigious broadly distributed intellectual journals in America. The article – a review of two books about Romney – also said his Bain Capital operation existed “to enrich the investor class” without mentioning the massive profits going to union pension funds. It later contrasted the Republican candidate’s speaking fees with his father’s refusal to accept bonuses as an auto executive. Did the writer know Romney accepted only a $1 a year salary and no expense account as governor of Massachusetts and no salary for running the Winter Olympics in Utah in 2002, though donating $1 million to the cause? Pulitzer, the dazzling journalistic innovator whose century-old words I found in the Grimes paper, was himself capable of sensational journalism almost – not quite! – that embarrassingly shoddy. He was nevertheless a crusading proponent of decency who properly summed up the wages of journalistic sin in a democracy as the sort of terrible government some of us think we have right now in the executive branch in Washington. Let’s pray for journalistic improvement, and meanwhile, may the blessed exceptions bloom.
Jay Ambrose (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a former editor of the Rocky Mountain News and other daily newspapers. He is now a Centennial Institute Fellow, co-director of the Project on News in the 21st Century, and a nationally syndicated columnist for the Scripps Howard, for whom this piece was written.
('76 Contributor) "Have the media failed America?" That was the question at an all-day conference in Colorado Christian University's Beckman Center on December 2. Media experts gathered to discuss the changing face of news and journalism's role in a free society. It was part of a project called News in the 21st Century, sponsored by CCU through its think tank, the Centennial Institute.
Through the means of classroom instruction and civic engagement the News in the 21st Century Project seeks to equip both CCU students and the public to be critical consumers of media, as well as objective producers. "To be self-governing citizens, we all need reliable information about our world," said Centennial Institute director John Andrews. "The News21 project addresses that need."
Funded by a grant from the Smith Foundation in New York, the project is fulfilled in part by Persuasion and News in the 21st Century, a required general education course. Dr. Chris Leland, the professor of record, taught the first two-thirds of the class on basic persuasive theory. Then, students got their hands dirty: under the tutelage of veteran journalists Stephen Keating and Jay Ambrose, they examined firsthand the persuasive messages, bias and tactics that media sometimes uses. Starting with Keating's first question, "Is Facebook news?" students considered how they got news, what they called news, and how they can trust news.
Bringing media notables onto campus was an appropriate climax, as students heard from men and women that they can read in the paper, watch on television, or see on the computer screen. Exhibiting both conservative and liberal views, the panels discussed the effectiveness of the media, as well as the role for consumers today. Students were continually reminded that media is changing, and the divide between consumer and producer is breaking down. Referring to an individual's role, Patti Dennis of 9News reminded all: "Your job is to enlighten yourself." With the rise of the internet and the democratization of news, there is ample opportunity.
Building on this idea, Brent Bozell, who founded the Media Research Center, exhorted students to become storytellers. "If you learn how to become storytellers, you're going to change the world."
Indeed, that was the goal of the class, and remains the ongoing goal of the project -- which will continue in the spring. According to Dr. Leland, students, "gained interpretive skills and interests they didn't have before. They could see how the theory of persuasion works in the real world. And, they saw the clash of ideas in culture."
Still, this class is a beginning for students: with the tools to add to the cultural dialogue, they now have the confidence to do so from a Christian perspective. "Karl Barth said that every Christian should get up in the morning and read the newspaper and the Bible," explained Leland. "They need to know what's going on and how God wants them to react." The News in the 21st Century project aims for exactly that.
"We invite everyone to keep up with the project through our website at www.news21ccu.com," said John Andrews. "That includes suggesting topics for our blog on media bias, and attending future conferences."
The next conference is set for Friday, March 2, 2012, again at the CCU Beckman Center. It will take up the issue of how fair and accurate is the media's treatment of religion and faith.
(Centennial Fellow) There is not as yet – and may never be – a complete accounting of the human suffering and property losses that befell the people of Japan with the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.
One thing everyone knows is that a nuclear power plant emergency of historical proportion is on the list. Has it been reported fairly?
This essay is about exaggeration, and the absence of a fair perspective accompanied by useful technical information.
In context with the entire tragic picture, the consequences of events at the six-unit Fukushima nuclear power complex are small. Predictably – this being about things nuclear and radioactive – Fukushima has dominated news coverage and created unwarranted, widespread fear. Citizens all around the world have been badly served once again by press failure that has had little redemption.
Yes, the Japanese are going to lose several billion dollars worth of electric generating capacity, but that will be little more than rounding in comparison to their aggregate property losses and other economic disruption. Almost certainly, no one will ever be able to identify public health effects from radiation releases because, while there could be some, they will be too few and too diffuse for statistical verification.
Heroes. I cannot go forward from this point without pausing to note heroes. The nearly unbelievable calm and cooperation exhibited by the people of Japan make them all heroes. At Fukushima, though, there are several dozen who stand especially tall, men who have braved exposures to high radiation levels while performing emergency procedures intended to protect their fellow citizens. We should all pause and ask our Maker to save them from permanent harm.
Reporting. I don’t claim that fair, informed reporting of a nuclear power plant emergency is easy. However, among results of the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 was extensive focus on lessons learned by those in the industry and those regulating it. The news media were all over this, of course. But what about lessons learned by them from their awful reporting? Recall that TMI was further sensationalized on account of occurring just 12 days after release of a thriller movie, The China Syndrome. Despite all the nail-biting and hand-wringing at the time, I have never seen reported a single injury to anyone – plant worker or general public – in the intervening 32 years. More to the point, I have never seen in the press anything resembling a good news report of the spectacular safety record at TMI!
No lessons for the press from Chernobyl either? Unlike either TMI or Fukushima, there was prompt, uncontrolled release of an enormous inventory of radioisotopes. That was 25 years ago, and it is now well known (but, thanks to the underperforming press, not broadly known) that the dire predictions of human and property costs have not been experienced.
Wouldn’t one have to say the media has failed to learn any lessons? Of course one would. But then TMI and Chernobyl are old stories, useful in “the news” today not for factual illustration but only to conjure up bad memories and, thus, stir the pot.
Columnist Ann Coulter’s March 16 column was ironically titled “A Glowing Report on Radiation.” Read it here. Though her résumé shows no technical training, Coulter wrote a clear discourse on recent radiation effects research. This proves that a technically-complicated subject is amenable to solid reporting. It also feeds one’s suspicion that most in the news business are less interested in straight reporting than in sensationalism and – like too many utility executives – in keeping environmental activists happy.
Our household finds Fox News Channel generally more reliable than other televised news sources, and we respect its efforts to air different points of view in its commentaries. However, Fox on Fukushima was worse than useless.
On the early evening news program he hosts, Shepard Smith gave us day-after-day regurgitation of emergency action at Fukushima, reported releases of radioactive material with no authoritative explanation as to consequent health effects, and the like. This got no better when Smith showed up to do his broadcast from Japan, apparently to give viewers the impression that Fox was on the ground giving us the straight skinny from up close. All hat and no cattle.
Coulter appeared March 17 on “The O’Reilly Factor” to discuss her writing about radiation effects. I’ll give Bill O’Reilly and his producer credit for the invitation, but not the content. The trouble was that O’Reilly was hell bent to make sure his guest didn’t come off as knowing more than he about her subject. What Coulter had to say was dismissed as pretty much irrelevant given the oh-so-urgent need to tell the alarming story of Fukushima and, as usual, it ended with O’Reilly shouting louder.
On April 13, The Denver Post carried a report that 0.17 picocurie per liter (pCi/l) of iodine-131 from Fukushima had been found in local water and in the water of other U.S. cities. That happens to be about 16,000 times below the conservative upper limit set by Japanese regulators for consumption by babies, and nearly 50,000 times below the limit for adults. The Post acknowledged that “authorities” considered this concentration harmless, and some useful context was provided.
But, I ask, why did the paper publish 400 words on this subject at all? I think you can bet the farm that no hazardous substance other than radioactivity, at 16,000 times below the standard for protecting babies, would have been reported. Few if any can even be detected at levels that low.
The Post missed a great opportunity to tell the real story in that 0.17 pCi/l, the beyond-astonishing ability science has developed to detect and identify radioisotopes in the environment. For iodine-131, that is the same concentration as one-fifth of an ounce (weight) dispersed in the Mediterranean Sea. Less than one-and-one-half parts per billion trillion.
While this wonderful metrical capability facilitates protecting people against harmful exposure – a blessing – it also opens the door to reports that lead to unwarranted public fear – a curse. We need to demand better from the press.
Environmental writer William Tucker has been a well-informed voice of sanity for decades. In an op-ed titled ”Japan Does Not Face Another Chernobyl” published March 14 in The Wall Street Journal, Tucker trenchantly noted, “With all the death, devastation and disease now threatening tens of thousands in Japan, it is trivializing and almost obscene to spend so much time worrying about damage to a nuclear reactor.”
Events subsequent vindicate striking “almost” from that sentence! It’s obscene, plain and simple.
John Dendahl is a Centennial Institute Fellow specializing in energy policy and mass media. This piece originally appeared at FamilySecurityMatters.org.
(Denver Post, Mar. 27) "Donor supports program cuts" sounds a bit like "man bites dog" to my ears, and yet I am one of those donors to Colorado Public Radio (CPR) who supports an end to federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Enacted in 1967, the Corporation provides roughly 15 percent of the funding for National Public Radio (NPR), state affiliates such as CPR and public television. I applaud the House of Representatives for having the courage to cut this program because it is the fiscally and morally responsible thing to do.
Federal, state and local government indebtedness exceeds the Gross Domestic Product; yet the gravity of this situation is lost on some politicians who continue to press for business as usual, or worse, even more spending. It is as if the ship is sinking and the crew is enthusiastically pumping water onto the deck. If lawmakers want to right the ship they must cut discretionary funding, reform entitlements and balance the budget. Since mandatory spending will be more challenging to reform, lawmakers can act now by eliminating unnecessary discretionary programs.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is the very definition of an unnecessary government program. Times have changed since 1967. Back then public television provided a viewing alternative to the handful of existing options. Those were the days when you had to switch the channel by hand and the screen turned to white static late at night. Likewise, news radio was a scarce commodity. On family road trips, we often had a choice between the tinny sounding farmers report and popping in an 8-track cassette. With today's innumerable cable television channels, FM and AM stations, XM radio and the Internet, no one under 30 will ever know the deprivation we experienced.
Consumers have unprecedented viewing and listening choices which they pay for directly through user fees and indirectly by buying advertized products. Miraculously enough, these programs survive without taxpayer funds. Once weaned from the public's pocketbook, most public television and radio programs will likewise carry on. Sesame Street, with its millions of young viewers and millions of dollars in Big Bird and Elmo merchandise, will outlive all of us. NPR's exceptional programming from Morning Addition to All Things Considered to BBC World Service provides in-depth coverage of events and issues heard nowhere else on the dial. While AM radio offers interesting commentary and top-of-the hour news, only NPR provides the long story.
Two years ago I became a contributor to CPR's outstanding classical station, KVOD. I believe strongly that one should put one's money where one's heart is. I reject both the lazy "I gave at the office through my taxes" approach to philanthropy and the idea that those who do not enjoy programs should be forced to pay for them. I love classical music; therefore I buy concert tickets and make donations. I have a right to support this form of music and a right not to support music I do not like. As a taxpayer, however, the government makes that choice for me.
Americans should have the freedom to choose (and pay for) the news and entertainment they want free of coercion. Pulling the plug on the $430 million in taxpayer subsidies for public television and radio is as much a moral imperative in support freedom as it is a moral imperative in support of fiscal responsibility.
The purpose of government is to protect the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of its citizens. It is not to subsidize the choices of some citizens on the dime of others. Spending the hard earned money of citizens and obligating the future earnings of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren through massive government debt to subsidize television and radio programs is antithetical to the purpose of government in a free society.
Krista Kafer is a freelance writer in Littleton and a Centennial Institute Fellow.
(Denver Post, Feb. 27) So Facebook brought down the Egyptian regime. Until now, the only thing I knew it had brought down was my productivity – and that of many other Republicans old enough to know better, after we all stampeded there upon hearing how Democrats rode it to victory in 2008.
Obama in, Mubarak out, Zuckerberg to megawealth, and “Social Network” to the Oscars. Such is the Facebook scorecard so far, and there is 90% of the human race yet to be tapped – er, “friended.”
Well, call me a dinosaur, but I still believe the front line of self-government in a free society is citizens reading newspapers. Your pretty pixels on a shimmering screen are fine. But ink on pulp, served up at the breakfast table for Printosaurus Retrogradus to devour, digest, and act upon, remains the superior medium for effective political engagement in my book.
If you are reading this on newsprint – and about half the total audience of the Denver Post now may not be – you probably agree. Our task is to bring along enough of our fellow Americans, especially the next generation, so that newspapers can survive economically and the country, with their help, can keep renewing itself politically.
He’s gone apocalyptic, some will say. He’s a curmudgeon trapped in the 1950s, a technophobic troglodyte. He’s mad because his email service, America Online (itself pathetically passe’), has merged with the Huffington Post – and ISP wasn’t supposed to stand for “incessant socialist propaganda.” His prejudice for the fish-wrapping, birdcage-lining news medium of yesterday over the wild and woolly Web of today is groundless.
Maybe; the 1950s charge isn’t actually that far off. But the prejudice none of us who love newspapers should apologize for is simply a matter of setting value on their more comprehensive, structured, and reasoned interpretation of current events – in contrast to the fragmentary, fleeting, and impressionistic patchwork one is likely to get from the unedited maelstrom of online sources.
I want, and we should all want, the neighbors who share with us the duties of governance in city, state, and nation to be thinkers equipped for deciding responsibly. Does democracy carry the inescapable risk that your carefully considered vote will be cancelled by that of some shallow-minded flake? Boy, does it – which is all the more reason to work for a civic ethos where informed consent is encouraged and impulsive irresponsibility is frowned on.
Editorial gatekeeping and quality control in our news and opinion media cannot be mandated (thank God for the First Amendment), but they must not be lost. Twitter mustn’t become the only game in town. Newspapers didn’t lose their dominant agenda-setting and chaff-filtering function as radio and TV arose in the last century, and we need to hope they don’t lose it as the Internet burgeons today, even though electronic delivery may far outpace print delivery.
Election 2010 would have gone better here, in my opinion, if the Rocky Mountain News had still been around to compete with the Denver Post. But heaven help us if the people’s momentous decisions on candidates and ballot issues had had to be made with only the help of dueling websites and water-cooler gossip, and no Denver Post at all.
What keeps vital democracy-facilitating businesses like this one afloat as the new technology sorts itself out, I don’t know. I do know government subsidies are not an option. My personal crusade is more on the demand side, building readership.
That’s why, at every opportunity in my work on a college campus, I brace these laid-back millennial students to arm themselves for citizenship by reading print journalism and lots of it – the local paper, national papers, newsmagazines, opinion journals. Nothing else feeds your head in quite the same healthy way, I tell them. Please help me spread that message.
Sunday, 7 November 2010 12:56 by Admin
Hear how center-right media on the Web in Colorado are breaking news and changing the political conversation.
And learn how you can be a part of it.
A couple of weeks ago, for example, a twenty-something from Denver with a videocam cruised a Bennet Senate rally and made ripples nationally on CNN.
That was none other than Kelly Maher of WhoSaidYouSaid.com. Join her next Monday evening, along with Michael Sandoval,the Battle '10 Colorado reporter for National Review Online, and Todd Shepherd of CompleteColorado.com, for a panel discussion and how-to roundtable. The moderator will be Stephen Keating, the Centennial Institute fellow for new media.
When: Monday, Nov. 15, 7-9pm.
Where: School of Business, Room 103, at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, on Cedar two blocks east of Garrison.
Open to the public, no charge, but you will need reservations. Email email@example.com or call 303.963.3424.
Stephen Keating, below, covered cable TV and was business editor for the Denver Post before reinventing himself as an online journalistic entrepreneur.
('76 Contributor) Next time you read a news story about racism at Tea Parties from some dishonest source like the NYT's Bob Herbert, bear in mind this Crash the Tea Party website. Here are some people openly recruiting infiltrators to pose as Tea Partiers and behave in ways intended to reflect badly on the Tea Parties, so as to damage the public perception of the movement. Since the claims that Herbert made have failed to be corroborated in the multiple videos of the events in question, that pre-established narrative must now be bolstered by whatever means necessary. Of course, there almost certainly are some racists and other disagreeable people at many Tea Parties (which of course has NEVER been the case at a union rally or an anti-globalism rally or some other such leftist thing)--there are bound to be some unsavory individuals at the margins of ANY gathering of substantial size for whatever cause--but the organized effort to smear the entire movement based on some individuals' unrepresentative behavior is truly disgraceful. It's McCarthyism. It's difficult for me to understand how anybody could, in good conscience, attack people whose central message is that the founding principles of American government should be adhered to. No matter how awkward or embarrassing somebody's effort to stand up and proclaim that message, how can you not be ashamed to do anything other than applaud him for it? And the idea that it's a generally awkward or embarrassing movement is just propaganda, from what I've seen--certainly some of the individual efforts have been awkward, but so what? I've met very admirable and impressive folks involved with the movement. What is wrong with people who are trying to marginalize ideas like limited, responsive government, government of, by, and for the people? That such efforts are widespread in THIS country really sickens me. Then again, maybe there's something even more insidious going on than an infiltration agitprop effort by Tea Party opponents. Maybe it's one layer deeper--this recruitment effort is organized by the Tea Party itself, to create the impression that its opponents are unscrupulous enough to resort to such infiltration tactics. Or maybe it's even deeper than that: Maybe the Tea Party opponents want to create the impression that the Tea Party would resort to creating a false recruiting effort attributed to Tea Party opponents. Or maybe it's an even deeper layer of insidiousness than that... [Or maybe someone needs to call the fantasy conspiracy helpline for counseling - Editor]