Posts from September 27, 2004

Dan Gillmor in New York

Dan Gillmor in New York

: I’m in New York now at the Markle Foundation; had the honor to intro Dan Gillmor for a talk he’s giving here on his book, We, the Media.

Isenberg is here. Ditto Weinberger. And Blaser. And Spiers. And Weiss. And Sifry (Micah).

Dan is telling a very personal story about his experience with citizens media starting with the 2000 election and how online gave him a better perspective online than TV would give him, up through 9/11, up through Lott and today.

The kidnap weapon spreads its deadly cancer

The kidnap weapon spreads its deadly cancer

: Danny Pearl was kidnapped and beheaded in Pakistan. Foreigners of many countries and jobs are being kidnapped and held for ransom of all sorts and killed in Iraq.

Now a CNN producer has been kidnapped in Gaza.

I fear this weapon of terrorism will spread everywhere.

Mud v. substance

Mud v. substance

: It’s so nice to hear one’s own stands echoed in Big Media. First Safire (below), now Adam Clymer (an ex-neighbor) on today’s Times op-ed argues that mud-slinging is distracting from the real work of the campaign and those covering it. The upcoming debate, he says, is not only a test for the candidates but also for journalists:

Phony documents and dishonest advertising have captured more attention than the facts of the candidates’ competing claims about health care, or whether either has a plan – a plausible plan – for Iraq….

The test for journalists is whether they can appreciate the importance of the event and help voters make sense of what is said, checking the accuracy of claims about the past and the present and the plausibility of what is claimed for the future. It won’t do to say, “We covered that in August.”

So if Mr. Kerry says he will solve the situation in Iraq by getting other countries to send more troops, the press needs to examine whether this could happen if he should win. And if Mr. Bush says he is going to solve the health insurance crisis with more community health care centers and fewer lawsuits, then journalists have to help voters determine whether Mr. Bush is offering cures or Band-aids.

Exactly. That is the job of the press. And, let’s add, an army of fact-checking bloggers can help.

The kidnap weapon; the media target

The kidnap weapon; the media target

: William Safire said today just what I said Saturday about examing our role and responsibility in media giving terrorists publicity for their atrocities. He also said that candidates and government leaders (read: Kerry) have an equal responsibility not to be manipulated by the enemy. I agree.

Nobody should order reporters and editors to “downplay” a gut-wrenching human interest story involving cruelty, violence and death. Nor should the media flinch from covering casualty counts or honoring the fallen. War involves sacrifice.

But responsible journalists should consider the wisdom of allowing media-savvy terrorists to play them like a violin….

Do we have to become conduits for this grisly, real-death kidnap choreography? We are obliged to report it, but we need not go along with the terrorist propagandists in milking the most horror out of it.

We know that the primary purpose of the kidnap weapon is to drive the coalition forces out of Iraq and to prevent a free election there.

We know, too, that the kidnap weapon is aimed at the U.S. election….

John Kerry, who has evidently decided to replace Howard Dean as the antiwar candidate, last weekend helped to magnify the terrorists’ kidnap weapon. In a scheduled commercial Kerry personally approved, just before charging that George Bush had no plan to get us out of Iraq, the Democratic campaign underscored the message Zarqawi has been sending: “Americans,” said Kerry’s announcer, “are being kidnapped, held hostage, even beheaded.”

Though undoubtedly accurate, that paid evocation of horror by a political candidate is a terrible blunder.

Say goodnight, Jay

Say goodnight, Jay

: Conan O’Brien to replace Leno. It could only improve.

: The NBC press release here. [via Lost Remote]