Fox News, MSNBC Anchors Get More Than They Bargained For

All of the major networks have deployed their big gun anchors to descend in Ferguson in the flesh … and nothing spells honesty quite as well as a live mic.

But it may be the reporters’ reactions that were an honest window into their respective networks’ culture and stance towards black anger.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, at one point during his coverage, was stoned by some of the protesters. His initial reaction was to back away into a darker, albeit equally unsafe corner, but resumed from his initial position within seconds.

“A few rocks chucked at us, we’re fine, we’re fine, we’re fine…”

As members of the crowd yelled “Tell the true story!” and “Tell them what’s going on!” Hayes responded, in a despaired voice, “We’re trying to…”.

He then began to engage with some of the protesters, on the other side of a fence, who had been ordered by police to disperse.

“What happened down there?” Hayes asked.

A conversation ensued.

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Then there was Fox News’ Steve Harrigan’s trip to Black Melanin Rage, USA. Continue reading

Facebook: Users Toaster-Dumb, Don’t Know ‘The Onion’ Satire

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From Forbes:

“Founded in 1988, The Onion is a parody news organization that publishes fake articles like “Busch Gardens Unveils New 9,600-Mile-Long Endurance Coaster” and “LensCrafters, Pearle Vision Agree To Prisoner Exchange.” The Onion’s websites hit around 11 million total unique visitors per month and a lot of the traffic is driven by Facebook. Many gullible Facebook users believe that the headlines for these articles are true so the social network company is testing out a ‘[Satire]’ tag in front of links to satirical content.

Facebook said that it is adding the [Satire] tags because of feedback that it received from users wanting a way to “distinguish satirical articles from others.””

http://www.forbes.com/sites/amitchowdhry/2014/08/18/facebook-is-testing-a-satire-tag-since-users-think-the-onion-articles-are-true/

Ombudsman: NPR Made “Fundamental Failure”

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From NPR:

“The story itself—about the data mining by a small Massachusetts company that purports to show a correlation between the Snowden leaks and cyber-security measures taken by al-Qaida—generated little reaction when it first ran August 1. But since the story was attacked August 12 by Greenwald in The Intercept, an online publication he co-founded, and again on television, scores of listeners have sent emails and tweets angrily turning on NPR and Temple-Raston.

“As a 35-year NPR supporter and member,” wrote Heidi Schlossberg of Littleton, Col, in a typical message, “I am going to cancel my support unless you fire Dina Temple-Raston as well as transparently inform those of us who trusted you who at NPR are the shills for the NSA and our government. . . .I am so disgusted with you I don’t have sufficient adjectives to describe my horror at what you allowed.”

After doing my own research, I strongly agree with the critics that the story committed a fundamental failure in not noting that both the company, Recorded Future, and a second company that aided it, ReversingLabs, have ties to the United States intelligence community. Temple-Raston and her editor, Bruce Auster, agree, too, and say that what happened was an oversight on deadline.

Any of us can make a human error, and I find no intention to deceive, as Greenwald charges with no proof. I also disagree with his contention that the story swallows the government’s case that the Snowden leaks seriously damaged the ability of the United States to monitor al-Qaida communications. Instead, this was a small story on what today is a small historical point; in fact, by the end of the story that small point is largely dismissed by a leading expert as possibly interesting but not terribly relevant.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/2014/08/16/340624540/attacking-npr-as-a-shill-for-government-intelligence

Obama and Morgan Freeman Sharing Same Parents’ Loins?

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I’ve seen quite a few side-by-side comparisons of Obama throughout the years, but his physical change didn’t strike me until recently, when I caught him on two distinct appearances of This Week. The screenshot on the left is from 2009, the other from 2013.

The speed at which he’s aged really captures the imagination. It’s not just the hair, but it’s also that face of his, which seems to have lost the newborn baby butt smoothness it once enjoyed.

You get the feeling that if he had to serve one more term, it’s not just Morgan Freeman’s freckles they would have shared but the actor’s birth date altogether!

Cop Name Behind Michael Brown Shooting Revealed But…

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(Photo credit: St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Robert Cohen/Associated Press)

CNN Money reported today that the Anonymous network revealed on Twitter today who it believed was behind Michael Brown’s shooting. The group had pressed Ferguson’s police department to reveal the name of the officer … or else.

Well, after or-else-ing things out it only took a few hours before their Twitter account was suspended. While Ferguson police still hasn’t confirmed the individual’s identity it has indicated that the individual named by Anonymous was not the correct one.

The Columbia Journalism Review published an interesting article concerning the legality of withholding the officer’s name.

The author, Jonathan Peters, an attorney, mentions two particular laws that police can use as justification to withhold the officer’s name. The “Missouri Sunshine Law”, Peters reports, carries a subsection which states the following:

“if any portion of a record or document of a law enforcement officer or agency (…) contains information that is reasonably likely to pose a clear and present danger to the safety of any victim, witness, undercover officer, or other person (…) that portion of the record shall be closed and shall be redacted from any record made available pursuant to this chapter.”

The other subsection deals with the public right to know versus the well-being of the officer:

In making the determination as to whether information contained in an investigative report shall be disclosed, the court shall consider whether the benefit to the person bringing the action or to the public outweighs any harm to the public, to the law enforcement agency or any of its officers.

The law definitely is on the side of the police force because, as Peters says, “(t)he language is broad enough”.

Soledad O’Brien Asked If Al Jazeera Partnership “Creep You Out”

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(Photo Credit: Lauri Lyons)

One of the most important topics when it comes media literacy is the subject of funding. More than ever laypeople get to learn in great detail who owns or bankrolls media companies: that’s a testament to the work of media watch groups like FAIR, which has fought to bring to light this kind of information –the type big media companies often don’t want scrutinized.

Financial relationships are important to understand what one’s consuming. Whoever deposits money every other week into the bank account of those employed at, say, USA Today,  wants to make sure its staff promotes or defends the management’s vision of the world.

A great example of how ties can affect the nature, or the downright validity, of a story is the recent case involving NPR and a piece it published about the supposed effect of Edward Snowden’s leaked information. The story revolved around the work of Recorded Future and ReversingLabs. The groups claimed that, thanks to data they gathered, they could prove that as a result of Snowden’s involvement, “al-Qaida dramatically changed the way its operatives interacted online.”

Well … funny story: as it turned out, Recorded Future and ReversingLabs … drum roll … “have ties to the United States intelligence community.” The story never mentioned it. The oversight was such that NPR’s ombudsman, a role the organization has experienced some difficulties with as of late, spoke out against the article.

Yeah, context is everything.

This brings us to Soledad’s interview with conservative radio talk show host, Hugh Hewitt.

Continue reading

Amazon Taking Earrings Off for New Fight, Versus Disney

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Gone are the days of Amazon not making a profit for its first seven years while sipping on lemonade with its feet up.

Fresh off its ongoing beef with Hachette, the Jeff Bezos’ property is now locking up with Disney over what Deadline reports to be how much to price DVD titles such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Maleficent and Muppets Most Wanted.

While Deadline states that the “titles are finding their way into Amazon competitors such as Best Buy and Target via DVD and Blu-Ray, but they are not being sold on Amazon”, my eyes noticed a different story: none of the retailers mentioned are selling the films yet. They’re all offering them as pre-orders.

Still, this new confrontation is revealing. New York Times’s David Streitfeld laid out Bezos’s financial thorn in a very straight-forward way.

“Amazon does not want to be seen as hostile to content creators, one of the four groups it says on its investor relations web page it is expressly set up to serve. But it also has to price their creations cheaply enough to draw hordes of consumers, while at the same time making enough of a profit to satisfy investors.

It is a complicated balancing act. Some argue it is impossible. Amazon just surprised Wall Street by saying it may lose more than $800 million this quarter, potentially wiping out its profits for the last three years, partly because creating video content is expensive. The prospect of this unexpected loss has raised questions about whether Amazon’s money-losing ways are finally catching up with it — and whether that is the real reason it is making new demands on publishers like Hachette.”

Amazon is that kid that’s been partying up all night at their parents’ house and, frantically the next morning, yelling at drunken party members to wake up–the same drunken party members it was drinking tequila out the ear lobes a few hours before.

The book-and-whatever-else store has also just woke up.

Hopefully for its sake, when the piper needs to be paid the parents at the door will be whoever raised Miley Cyrus and not Tiger Mom.