sweater weather

some commentary on the commentary

Even… April 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sweaterweather12 @ 8:51 pm

I’ve been thinking of the word “even” lately. It’s weird how such a small word can completely jeopardize the integrity of a news story. Here‘s the  article that prompted my pondering.

The reporter in this case used “even” two specific times…and each is an example of outright editorializing.

1. “Even “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz, who confessed to killing six people in the 1970s when he was in his 20s, has had four parole hearings…”
translation: “Dear Reader, the horrible, cruel, immoral justice system in the united states is so screwed up that it lets this crazy killer that everyone knows about have a parole but not this beautiful innocent darling little murderer…”

2. “Two cases in which juvenile offenders got life without parole didn’t even involve murder…”
translation: Once again: the ridiculous, people-hating justice system goes so far that they sentence innocent children to life in jail…(no I’m not going to tell you what they were convicted of; that might hurt my point!)”

And there are several other parts of this article that make it worse…a small word here, an un-substantiated claim there…:

“It made no difference that at the time of the deadly scuffle, Lotts was barely old enough to watch PG-13 movie and too young to drive, vote or buy beer.”
PLEASE journalist, tell us how you really feel.

“Lotts is one of at least 73 U.S. inmates — most of them minorities — who were sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison for crimes committed when they were 13 or 14, according to the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization in Alabama that defends indigent defendants and prisoners.”
First of all, are you seriously taking stats from a non-prof with an obvious angle and trying to tell us they are not at least suspicious? And…most are minorities? Can you clarify that? You can’t just use a word like “most” and not define it!

Here’s another unsubstantiated “most”:
“Across the country, most juvenile offenders and many adults are given a second chance…”
What does that even mean? Again, you cannot just SAY the word “most” and then that makes it statistically true!

Sheesh. I mean, this article isn’t even about something I’m particularly passionate about…and I still can’t read it without gagging.

I hope I’m not the only one who gets annoyed by this stuff.

By the way…did everyone see this? Man this guy is crazy…some people just hate the media to hate the media. (I don’t, I promise!!) You’ve got to hand it to the reporter, though…he really kept his cool and didn’t let Billy Bob get away with it:

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What did Hannibal’s victims do to provoke him? January 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sweaterweather12 @ 12:29 am

I’m taking a Foreign Correspondence Class. It is absoultely awesome. In fact, today, I gave myself my own snow day and skipped every other class I had, except that one. I even spent more than 15 minutes scraping off the inch-thick block of ice that had encased my car so I could make it uptown.

Anyway. Every week, we have a question that our Professor posts on our online “discussion board” and we have to post our answers. Two weeks or so ago, the question was whether we feel American foreign correspondents have adequately covered the question “Why do they hate us?” After 9-11.

I must say, I have a little crush on my professor. He’s from Uganda, and it might be the accent. Or it might be his stories about war coverage he’s been a part of. He’s like James Bond. That doesn’t seem like the right analogy. But anyway. My point is, I have decided to not let this  discussion board question get in the way of my adoration of him.   🙂

Here’s what I wrote.
“I agree that our post-9/11 media climate proved to be different than pre-9/11. Perhaps immediately following the attacks, we saw a surge of patriotism and community in media reports and broadcasts. But I also feel that as more journalists began to ask “why do they hate us?” the pendulum began swinging the other way – and many of those same American journalists began to answer that question themselves.

I believe that though the idea of  “national security” has perhaps crippled the press at times,  as we get farther and farther from 9/11, the media is putting less blame on the men actually in the planes that attacked us and, curiously, more blame on our government and our country – for not being diplomatic enough, or whatever the hot-button word these days is. The media has stopped asking “why do they hate us?” and started saying “I don’t blame you for hating us.”

Here’s my biggest question: why do we have to assume that the terrorists’ justifications (or whatever they’d offer) for what they did on 9-11 are rational?  I absolutely CANNOT  look at what they did and then suddenly think to myself gee, we must have made them mad; it must be our fault they did that. I absolutely detest that about the politics of American journalism these days – it’s politically incorrect to insinuate that this group of radical Muslims, though they explicitly admit their intentions to kill “infidels” killed us for any reason other than something WE did, so we turn the blame for the attack back on ourselves, or Bush, or any other person – who didn’t happen to be in the planes, by the way.

And no, I don’t believe all Muslims have that sentiment toward non-believers, and I don’t want to be misunderstood in that way. I realize these men were radical and do not represent the religion as a whole. I also realize that specifically “killing infidels” might not have been this specific group of men’s reason for the attack – but I still think that the fact that they publicly claim to seek that mission is WAY underreported. (See, even I’m a little afraid of being “politically incorrect!” But I digress.)

I kind of equate that kind of logic to something like looking at the crimes of an insane mass murderer and saying “hmm…we should spend our investigative energy trying to figure out what those victims did to provoke him.” Yeah that’s just an analogy, but it is not an exaggeration of what we are in fact doing right now. It isn’t!

The other point I’d like to bring up is the question of why we SHOULD ask “why they hate us.” What would we do with the answer? If the reason for 9-11 was indeed the fact that America is a country of LIBERTY – freedom of religion, for example, are we going to give that up once we figure that out? In other words, perhaps the reason those few violent, irrational terrorists hate us was merely the fact of who we are; and if that is indeed the case, why should we indulge that as a legitimate “beef” with our country?

And even if their reason is something legitimate; even if it turns out they’re mad because they feel we’re internationally “policing” beyond where we have a right to, do we think that if we fix that, terrorists are going to stop terrorizing? I don’t understand how we keep assigning rationality to people who are willing to do what those men did on 9-11. If someone is willing to kill themselves in order to kill a thousand innocent people whom they know nothing about, why do you think that once we “changed” what they didn’t like about us, they would stop? Crazy people are going to do crazy things. Non-crazy people asking them to “please stop” is usually not going to change that.

And the last question I have is, doesn’t asking “why they hate us” beg the question – “Do they hate us?” A group of terrorists might, but does that mean the world does? Out of everyone in the US., journalists should be the first ones to eliminate questions with un-proven premises, like this one.”

The worst part about the whole thing is the responses posted by my classmates. “We haven’t looked into that enough. The American media caved into the pressures of the Bush administration after 9/11.” Do you WATCH MSNBC?! And geeze..these are my colleagues! These are kids who have gone through 4 YEARS of journalism school!! How do they still buy that bullshit?

In other news, I’m thinking of moving to Australia.

western-australia-kangaroo-beach

 

‘pro-choice’ October 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — sweaterweather12 @ 2:22 am

I hate the debates. If they were a person, I’d steal their money and kick them in the shins. I’m watching the one on right now, though. Background noise.

Except for the part about abortion.

I have two questions for Senator Obama:
1. You said ‘partial-birth abortion’ should be banned except in cases where the mother’s life is at stake. Do you understand what partial-birth abortion is, Sir? It is when the baby is physically removed from the mother’s uterus, and then killed. If a mother’s life is in danger and the baby must be removed to save her, I agree with you the mother should have the right to choose to prematurely remove the baby. But what in the HELL does killing it after it’s out of her have to do with her health? Why can’t it be cared for? Do you even hear what you’re saying?

(1.5. How do you define ‘health’? I’ll tell you right now that our courts define it so broadly, a woman could say “I’m stressed out” and she has the right to have a partial-birth abortion. Please. Enlighten us.)

2. Why do you think partial-birth abortion should be banned at all? If you think abortion is an issue about “choice,” and not about whether the child is a human or not, why does it matter or now how far along the child is? Why does it matter when or where or how the baby is killed? Google “consistency,” Senator I-will-save-the-world Obama.

I cry.

 

who’s katie couric voting for? October 8, 2008

i know i know – there’s a presidential debate on tonight. like the first one, i watched the first few minutes of it and then couldn’t take it anymore. all it is is pithy comments and stupid, degrading cliches (like those are going to convince anyone.) i’m sick of watching it because i’m sick of being talked to like i’m 5. by both candidates.

so anyway, i wanted to blog about this Katie Couric / Sarah Palin interview thing. Everyone’s going crazy because Sarah didn’t answer a question very well about how John McCain’s had a “long history” of reform, or whatever.

Here’s the thing. The interview was kind of painful to watch, because Governor Palin, like everyone else these days, was giving little cliches and proverbs instead of answering questions. (Though I feel like in her debate, she changed that). And I think Katie Couric did exactly what she was supposed to – she pushed the issue. She wasn’t getting a straight answer, and so she asked the question again, even apologizing for “belaboring the point.” That is what journalists are supposed to do!

The ironic thing is, that’s the only time she’s done that! I’m glad she did it, because it shed some light on something Sarah Palin said that she shouldn’t have. But look at Katie Couric’s interview with Joe Biden – absolutely embarrassing. He literally says that after the stock market crash in ’29, “President Roosevelt went on TV and…” blah blah – first of all, Herbert Hoover was President in 1929. And secondly, television hadn’t been invented yet.

But here’s Katie Couric’s voiceover after that: “Relating to the fears of the average American is one of Biden’s strong suits.” What happened to holding interviewees accountable? (Not that I ever expected her to – it’s Katie Couric. But she did for Sarah Palin, didn’t she? I wonder who she’s voting for. Gosh we should never be able to tell that from a journalist!! Fire coming out of my ears!)

And she goes on to talk to Joe Biden about a low-blow ad his and Obama’s campaign released about McCain “not being able to use a computer.” Biden says he didn’t like the ad and he wouldn’t have put it on. Couric says – but didn’t Obama approve the ad? Here’s what Biden says:”I don’t…the answer is…I…I don’t think anything was intentional about that.” What the hell does that mean? He accidentally tripped and fell and approved an ad? And Katie just smiles and nods. Aw, she’s cute.

But perhaps the best moment was when Couric told Biden the debate between him and Palin would have a “different dynamic since she’s a woman.” AHHHHH Gloria Steinem! Charge! Do you think she would have said that if McCain was about to debate Hilary Clinton? Holy crap, man. Holy crap.

I’m so tired of the media. I just keep thinking what if I were an undecided voter – where the hell would I go to get more information? Listening to the candidates themselves is out, because all they’re saying is “Main street is suffering…you need to make your mortgage payments…i won’t raise taxes…” blah blah blah. I’ve given up trying to decipher exactly what they’d do because they’re too busy trying to sound like a good idea. And their web sites are out, too – same story. The media is definitely out. Man. (Personally, I’ve pretty much turned to the blogosphere. At least those writers are up front about their opinions – it’s easy to find facts that way, when people aren’t afraid of actually being concrete on something.)

Here’s at least part of the Palin/Couric interview. It’s pretty painful, but if you watch the vice presidential debates you might feel better:

Here’s the Biden interview. Watch Katie closely – I think she’s drooling.

and for fun:

 

Soc. 201 and individual responsibility September 17, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — sweaterweather12 @ 3:21 am

So are we all surviving the mind-numbing election-related propaganda? I am. just barely.

I want to talk about something else today though. It probably won’t seem directly media-related, but I’m pretty convinced that it is, and I’ll get to that later.

I’m taking a sociology class (damn journalism requirements – they have this philosophy that journalists should also have at least some knowledge of other sciences, so they’ll ‘know what they’re writing about’…too bad MSNBC didn’t get that memo before they did their hiring). It’s called “Contemporary Social Problems,” and today our professor had us get into groups and decide on a local issue we saw as a “social problem.” She had us define the issue, talk about why it’s a problem, how we should about fixing or addressing it, etc.

So out of approximately seven or eight groups of us, all but two chose the issue of poverty in Athens County, where we live. (According to the US Census BureauUS Census Bureau, the last estimate of the percent of Athens County residents living in poverty was 31.5 in 2005. That’s huge.)

I think it’s encouraging that we all were at least aware of the poverty issue here. But here’s what was interesting: Every group that brought up poverty except mine (what a rebel) cited government action as a way to “fix the problem.”
“The government should step in and stop outsourcing.”
“The government should help people below the poverty line.”
and even…scary…
“The government should start a redistribution of wealth.” (go google “socialism,” kid.)

I think this has several implications, but the most glaring problem with this that I see is that we were all sitting on our little over-indluged asses talking about poverty in our own community, and our brilliant solve-all solution was not to do anything ourselves, but for the government to do something (or to force us to do something.) Are you kidding me?

Secondly, I think this highlights the problem of ignorance. Do these kids really think that the government is just hoarding money, rubbing their hands together greedily and snickering in the face of the poor? Where are they supposed to get this money to “stop outsourcing” or “give schools more funding”? Here’s where: our pockets. And while I will be the first and loudest advocate for individual responsibility you will probably ever find (at least on my campus, damn), doing something to help others because my government forces me to is NOT taking individual responsibility. It’s definitely our jobs to share what we have, if we have. It is NOT the government’s job to share what I have.

But here’s the third negative implication this little soc-class phenomenon had, and here’s where the media come in. Why do these kids think they know how these things work? Why were they so quick to blame the government, and to call on the government to fix everything? No, I’m not claiming that I know everything about how this stuff works, or what exactly the government’s role right now is. (But remember, I’m not the one criticizing it.) And my theory is that while there are other things to blame, like the enticement of the popular-kid liberal bandwagon and the super-cute! smile of Barack Obama, the media in general today is at the very least enabling this the-government-is-evil ideal.  Shame on us!

Don’t worry. I raised my hand and said my peace. Not in a mean way though, at least I hope. I just kind of said that maybe we should try doing something about the poverty in our own community before we start calling on Washington to do it. And believe me, I was talking to myself too.

In other news, I’m going to leave you with this clip, and then this DISGUSTINGLY misleading headline:

CNN article

 

professorial abuse September 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — sweaterweather12 @ 2:17 am
Tags:

I’m currently taking a Media Law class, and we spent the better part of today talking about the “EVIL!!” of the Patriot Act. I’m sure it was Professor Tatge’s beautiful way of respecting the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. (Actually though, some students set up a memorial of flags today on College Green, and it was beautiful).

Anyway, Tatge opened up the discussion with such a clever, witty joke about how “fair and balanced” Fox News is…ohhhh hahahahaha….he’s so clever and witty and funny. What a clever, witty, funny man he is! He must be very important! Anyway, finally we got into a(nother) rousing discussion about how the evil republican regime is obsessively instilling fear into every American heart, so that they can control our minds and spy on us and laugh in dark rooms at our dumbness. (Is dumbness a word?)

So obviously, my classmates just had some very intelligent, persuasive things to say; things like “The Patriot Act is bad!” and “they’re spying on me!” and “yeah!” and “I know!” and “I never watch Fox!”

It’s just so repulsive to me that college students like these sit in rooms like our classroom today and though they know next to nothing about what they’re talking about, feel justified in “hating the man!” because everyone around them pats them on the back when they talk about it. And it might be even more repulsive that professors like Tatge abuse his classroom to spit out this elitist, meaningless smut. What a cowardly thing to do.

I’m not even going to pretend that I know everything about the Patriot Act. I’ll say that I don’t see anything wrong with the basic premis of it, or at least what I understand that to be, which is that the government reserves the right to listen to/read private conversations that for some reason show up “on the radar” (in terms of terrorism prevention.) I know this isn’t a new stance, but I honestly don’t care, because I have nothing to hide. And beyond that, I am definitely for the government being proactive in preventing another attack. But even though I openly admit I don’t know everything about this legislation, bear in mind that I’m not the one criticizing it. In fact, I’m not even promoting it – I kept my mouth shut today.

I’ve now decided to learn more about the Patriot Act. I’m digressing.

Anyway, I just hate the unchallenged elitism of liberal college students. It’s ironic, and annoying.

 

Just to close, I want to say that my thoughts, prayers and my heart go out to all victims of what happened seven years ago today. I don’t want to try to be eloquent about it.

 

I thank God for this country, and for my life and my family’s lives.

 

maybe if you’d combed your hair… September 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — sweaterweather12 @ 2:06 am
Tags: , , , ,

Mmm, I love viewer statistics. They’re so democratic, aren’t they? Money talks, so if you’re being watched or read, you get to keep your job. If not, you’re out.

And I especially love statistics today, because they have finally served up some sweet, sexy justice. The beloved Chris Matthews AND Mr. “voice” Keith Olbermann both got sacked from the nighttime political desk at MSNBC today. (Check out Foxnew’s article here).

According to that article, MSNBC’s ratings were last in line after their disastrous coverage of the Republican National Convention. The bad ratings could either be due to obnoxious commentary, ridiculous editorializing, or, in Chris Matthew’s case, really, really, really bad hair.

If you missed the good ole’ boys’ coverage of the RNC, be grateful, but I will share my favorite part. Right around the night of Palin’s powerful speech (and after Fred Thompson’s moving narrative of McCain’s POW story), Chris Matthews simply could not fathom how low Republicans had stooped so low that they would center their “entire campaign” around a person, rather than the issues themselves.

Imagine! I mean, both Barack and Hillary were all business. When’s the last time you remember either of them talking about race, or gender, or their spouse, or personal stories, personal feelings, personal goals, personal memoirs, personal slogans that no one actually gets,…or even a totally rad personal head-shot cover spot on Rolling Stone? Or a great trip to France to trade BFF heart necklaces with the ‘popular kids’ who can’t even vote for you? I mean it’s not like the most influential, most eloquent, most respected, intellectual, and empathetic man in our generation – Ludacris – gave one of them his personal, poetic endorsement! I mean obviously that was all about the issues. I know how much Ludacris cares about our country. Didn’t you hear that song? He even knows how many presidents we’ve had!  You’re so right, Chris Matthews. The McCain camp has made this a weird, sick idolatry race. Barack’s followers are college students. I mean, can you imagine a better-informed group? Or a group less prone to blind idolatry? Ohhhh yeeeah. Get it Barack.

So, goodbye Mr. Mathews and Olbermann. Now that we’ve all told you, via ratings, that we literally care more about Brittany Spears at the MTV Video Music Awards than what you personally think about politics, maybe you’ll stop whining to the camera about how the republican kid made fun of you at recess and you’ve been socialists ever since. Hey, go talk to Ludacris! I bet he’d write you a ballad.

.

Cheers, free thinkers!