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Thanks to an idiot spammer leaving heavy code as multiple comments to this, which tied up my machine evry time I tried to view them to delete them, I'm reposting this entry with the one legitimate comment appended, and deleting the original post.
Originally posted Sat Mar 04, 2006:
Have you noticed the incredible deterioration of basic journalism skills? The Who, What, When, Where, & Why school of giving readers the information they need to know whether they want to read the story?
I read a NY Times story the other day--scanned is more like it--and reached the end without seeing any info that would have justified the headline. So I went back and read more slowly. There it was--in the 11th paragraph. And the point they had pulled for the headline wasn't the primary point of the story, or even the secondary point of the story. It was tied with probably 5 other points for being the tertiary point of the story.
And that was the NYT.
In Rochester, NY a few years ago there was a sudden deterioration of headline writing ability. Here in Vermont, where almost all newspapers are "small town" by definition, I've seen headlines that would have been laughed out of any journalism class in the country 30 or 40 years ago. The one example I can remember:
I know I'm getting old, but I don't think that explains it. Things are deteriorating a lot faster than they are being fixed. A water heater that once carried a 30-year warranty might now have a 5-year warranty. You can't reach a live human being at hardly any business you call. Most businesses think they're doing you a favor by keeping you as a customer. Headline writers can't write headlines, reporters can't report, legislators can't legislate, analysts can't analyze, NASA has an accident rate that would make a car manufacturer blush in shame, and on and on.
This is the basis for an "American Empire?" Someone should tell the Project for a New American Century that we need to worry about making products that work and won't kill you, creating customer service departments that can at least define the words "customer" and "service," and keeping citizens here healthy and employed before we even start start worrying about controlling the world.
Comment from Sarah on Sun Mar 05, 2006 at 11:30:39 AM EST
Tell me about it...
Our regional rag, the Virginian Pilot, ran the AP story about the FEMA tape of the Katrina presidential briefing on the front page (The first shocker, as usually news this big and revealing would be relegated to a deep inside page) with the headline, "President Confident During Katrina Briefing". The tie to this headline was a short reference in the 12th paragraph of the article to Bush expressing confidence in the level of preparedness of the government to deal with the situation. If the headline would have been written from the lead of the story as would be proper, it should have read, "FEMA Tape Shows President Warned About Levees Before Storm".
As a former managing and copy editor this sag in journalistic competence and ethics makes me sick.
I can't help it, I keep seeing parallels between the rise of Fascism in Germany in the 1930s and what we're experiencing in America today. That's "parallels," not "an exact replica," but the parallels are strong enough to bother me.
This is all triggered by a 12-18-05 NY Times Book Review piece by Brian Ladd, reviewing the book "The Third Reich in Power," by Richard J. Evans.
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Not to beat the flip flop theme to death--serious injury will do fine--but have you been keeping up with the string of Bush versus Bush statements? You know, the ones where Bush was against something before he was for it?
Recent examples follow.
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So not only has the Army changed advertising firms for its annual quarter of a billion dollar ad budget, but the Air Force suddenly felt the need to update its mission statement.
Both the timing and the content of the new mission statement trouble me.
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Congressman Joe Pitts (R, Pa) has never really been known as an intellectual. And since he broke his promise to abide by the term limits in the old Gingrich Contract with America, even the Republicans don't think too much of his honesty.
Add me to the list of people who feel that way. Here's the honorable Mr. Pitts on the venerable Town Hall web site:
"It is also important to understand why these brutal killers have chosen to make Iraq the central front in the war on terror. Having lost their base of operations in Afghanistan due to the exemplary success of coalition forces in Operation Enduring Freedom, the terrorists are now seeking to find safe harbor elsewhere."
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I was going to post this as a comment to a diary entry from Number 6, but that entry seems to have disappeared.
Just wanted to point out 2 things about our Declaration of Independence:
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Take a guess: what and who do you think the sources are for these (scroll down for the answers):
"Our dead have left obligations for us, and we the living are under obligation to do their will. Anyone who doubts victory has no right to be part of our community. Whoever pays attention to what the enemy says is a traitor to our cause. Who harms our war efforts by passing on enemy rumors sins against our people, for which....soldiers have died heroic deaths."
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How do you know that Wal-Mart has decided to get serious about "fighting back" against its critics? Well, when two major newspapers run OpEd pieces by "respected" names, both extolling the virtues of the "retailer you can't avoid but would love to," I'd say it's a pretty good sign.
So here's a big cheer and a solid tribute to the Wal-Mart (W-M) weasels of the week, John Tierney and Sebastian Mallaby.
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