posted by Erica C. Barnett on October 29 at 3:46 PM
So cute when they get to editorialize! Bob Young of the Seattle Times, take it away:
[Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino] Rossi [deposed this morning as part of a lawsuit alleging he illegally coordinated his campaign with the Building Industry Association of Washington] has to counterattack.
So he's holding a press conference at 9:30 a.m. No slinking in and out of a lawyer's office for him. [...]
To Rossi and his supporters this is now a political ambush by Gregoire operatives and the loony left.
The legal case against the BIAW, they note, is brought by Knoll Lowney, who sued Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McGavick late in his 2006 campaign. That suit stirred stories. But coverage was less visible seven months later when a federal judge dismissed the suit.
Lowney also represented the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which contributes heavily to Evergreen Progress PAC, the union equivalent of the BIAW. Evergreen Progress PAC gave $35,000 to Fuse, Republicans point out. Fuse is a liberal group that helps Lowney with public relations; they're his mouthpiece. The circle of liberal complicity is complete in the plot against Rossi.
Lowney says he's not being paid in this case. He's working on contingency. He has a class action suit against BIAW alleging the group breached its fiduciary trust with its members. That suit could pay big fees, he says. That's why an Arizona firm is helping with his case. Not because they're Gregoire fans, he says, but because they can see the potential payday.
Lowney does have a history of liberal activism. And he was on the winning side in at least one big case, getting the state Supreme Court to overturn Tim Eyman's Initiative 747.
Lowney's big "win," by the way, was actually overturned at the instigation of Gov. Gregoire--the very same "liberal" politician Young is insinuating Lowney is supporting.
And not that we at the Stranger are against editorializing--hell, we endorse it. But it's funny to watch reporters for the above-politics, uber-"objective" Seattle Times when they're suddenly allowed to betray their real opinions--opinions every informed citizen has, but which reporters for the "objective" daily papers aren't supposed to betray under any circumstances. Could allowing naughty words be next for Seattle's family newspaper? Stay tuned.
Whether it is someone known or a stranger entering the home, too many people in this country are paying with their lives during home invasions. The Hudson family is just one of far too many Americans gunned down in their own home.
Shotguns are often weapons of choice at home because of their deterrent effect on assailants, their close-range stopping power, their affordability and their reduced risk of injury to innocent others from stray shot. But the problem is storing them in a place where you don’t have to turn your back on your assailant. Propped in the corner or under the bed takes valuable time to get to, and could cost you your life.
But now there is a solution. The BackUp makes them easily accessible during a time of need. Racked between the mattresses, The BackUp offers immediate access to the homeowner’s shotgun: in the hands, cocked and ready to defend in 2 seconds.
I take back everything bad I've ever said about you, Mucinex mucus family.
After a century of continuous publication, The Christian Science Monitor will abandon its weekday print edition and appear online only, its publisher announced Tuesday. The cost-cutting measure makes The Monitor the first national newspaper to essentially give up on print.
Here's an interesting thought, via Sullivan and originally from Andrew Keen. Perhaps the economic downturn will force people to start putting a price on the act of blogging. Right now, many writers (and aspiring writers) all over the media landscape are basically creating online content for free.
How will today's brutal economic climate change the Web 2.0 "free" economy? It will result in the rise of online media businesses that reward their contributors with cash; it will mean the success of Knol over Wikipedia, Mahalo over Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), TheAtlantic.com over the HuffingtonPost.com, iTunes over MySpace, Hulu over YouTube Inc. , Playboy.com over Voyeurweb.com, TechCrunch over the blogosphere, CNN’s professional journalism over CNN’s iReporter citizen-journalism... The hungry and cold unemployed masses aren’t going to continue giving away their intellectual labor on the Internet in the speculative hope that they might get some "back end" revenue. "Free" doesn’t fill anyone’s belly; it doesn’t warm anyone up.
When, in 50 years time, the definitive histories of the Web 2.0 epoch are written, historians will look back at the open-source mania between 2000 and 2008 with a mixture of incredulity and amusement. How could tens of thousands of people have donated their knowledge to Wikipedia or the blogosphere for free? What was it about the Internet that made so many of us irrational about our economic value? It was a "mania," these mid-21st-century historians will explain, like the Dutch Tulip mania of the 1630s or South Sea Bubble of 1720 -- a mania that ended with the great crash of October 2008.
When Will the Seattle Times Stop Protecting Dave Reichert?
posted by Erica C. Barnett on October 24 at 9:55 AM
A story in this morning's Seattle Times includes new information about Republican Rep. Dave Reichert's own exaggerations about his college degree. Seven different web sites, including Reichert's own Congressional web page, claim Reichert graduated college with a B.A.; in fact, he graduated from a small religious junior college in Portland with a two-year associate's degree.
So it looks like the Times is finally taking a look, however brief, at Reichert's resume exaggerations. That's nice of them. But it doesn't erase the fact that the reporter, Emily Heffter, seriously fucked up in her initial story, in which she reported, erroneously, that Reichert's opponent Darcy Burner had falsely claimed to have an economics degree from Harvard. In fact, she has a computer science degree with a concentration in economics. That's a double major; another way to describe it would be a "computer science and economics degree." The Times splashed the story, to which it dedicated a lavish 700 words, on its front page, under the headline "Burner Falsely Claims Economics Degree."
Contrast that to the 400-word, web-only follow-up about Reichert, initially headlined, "Burner's Campaign Says Web Sites Misrepresent Reichert's Resume" but later changed to "Web Sites Misrepresent Reichert's Resume." In it, Heffter takes every step possible to exonerate Reichert, noting almost apologetically, "None of the Web sites with the wrong information are affiliated with Reichert's campaign. His congressional office was taking steps to correct the errors this afternoon."
On the Politics NW blog--the Times' lackluster replacement for David Postman's Postman on Politics--Heffter was even more explicitly defensive, writing, "I did find one Web site that misstates his degree. This congressional directory lists that he has a B.A. He doesn't." She added, "The Congressional Directory is a government site managed by the Office of History and Preservation ... None of the [other five] web sites [with false claims about Reichert's degree] are affiliated with the Reichert campaign."
So does Heffter really believe that Reichert has no power to change his own Congressional web page (on which the other five web unaffiliated web sites based their information)? Or is she just unwilling to admit she made a huge mistake?
Everybody loves MSNBC's Rachel Maddow—her new show is absolutely kicking ass. But I didn't fall hopelessly in love with Maddow until last night when I read this in The New York Times Magazine. Profiled in the "Domains" column, Maddow answers a bunch of questions about herself and her home in Massachusetts. I swooned when I read this...
Favorite place to shop: Not applicable. I don’t shop.
I know that she's a lesbian and I'm a fag and the lives-to-shop stereotype applies primarily to boy homos and not girl homos, but reading that made me feel a little less alone. Spending money to go places and do things? I'm always up for that. But going places just to spend money and acquire things? No thank you.
Why? Because he'll be able erase the state's budget deficit without raising taxes—really! It's like this amazing Republican superpower. You just watch—Dino will be able to cut taxes and balance the budget. Just like Reagan did. And George W. Bush.
Sorry, Seattle Times, but when you're in a hole, you stop digging. Dropping Rossi in with his gold-plated shovel isn't going to help.
CBS has made a bold move to drive online viewership by providing full-length television programming via YouTube.
YouTube and CBS have teamed up to deliver new full-length TV programming delivered via YouTube's new Theater View style, which provides a larger video image. YouTube is testing the new format, so it may see some tweaks in the near future; however, the move represents a significant departure from the short-clip, user-generated content that turned the YouTube brand into an international video sharing powerhouse.
In addition to streaming proprietary, full-length TV episodes, YouTube and CBS are running in-stream advertisements, including pre-, mid-, and post-rolls. YouTube says these embedded advertisements will only show up in long-form content, not the short, user-supplied videos that still dominate the site...
...CBS already streams full-length shows from its own CBS.com Web site, so why draw viewers away from it?
"If you look at YouTube's numbers, and they are pretty impressive, so CBS will want to take advantage of those views, especially since a lot of CBS content is out on YouTube, regardless of whether it's under the CBS cloud or not," [said Chad Cooper, director of editorial content and marketing of OVGuide.com].
The partnership is also an attempt to stem pirated content by providing superior, full-length material that draws revenue from advertising.
"Whether they acknowledge it or not, [copyrighted content] was on YouTube before," Cooper said.
"CBS is taking this 'we're going to play now' rather than just sit in the corner and build up lawsuit documents," [said Cooper]. They have a unique opportunity to jump in and reap the benefits of the fabulous YouTube user base and play with them."
posted by David Schmader on October 13 at 11:28 AM
Today's Stranger Suggest for Sarah Vowell inspired a question from Slog commenter Aislinn:
Did anyone else listen to her on KUOW this morning? It was one of the most awkward, uncomfortable interviews I've ever heard. Her contempt for Steve Scher was palpable over the airwaves. Not that I'd fault anyone for disliking Steve Scher, but it wasn't really a good plug for her book, either.
This sounds fascinating! Did anyone else hear it? I'm too busy to listen now, but apparently it's available via the KUOW website...
Last week, Atlanta-based alt-weekly chain Creative Loafing (recent purchasers of the Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper) filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Atlanta Magazine has a grim look at the perfect storm of bad news that hit the company in the last three months (declining ad sales, rising gas prices, tanking economy, etc.) as well as its probable future (spoiler alert: online content aggregation!):
Unfortunately, the purchase of the Chicago and D.C. papers couldn’t have come at a worse time. The housing market was crashing, which cut advertising revenues by up to fifteen percent. “It wasn’t the nightclubs or the retail stores,” he said. “It was housing. Furniture was just gone.” And Eason’s cost-cutting measures—like centralizing production of all the papers out of Atlanta—wasn’t saving enough money to offset the losses. Earlier this year, he ordered more layoffs at his papers. But it wasn’t enough. This summer, with gas prices creeping up, ad sales took an even bigger hit.
posted by Dominic Holden on September 24 at 5:22 PM
This is so tragic. The ACLU’s infomercial about pot, which cost tens of thousands of dollars to produce, got booted from real TV and now the nonprofit is reduced to showing it on public access.
Using a panel format and clap-on-cue audience, the talk-show-style program encourages people to talk about pot. It is quite bland, really. Nonetheless, KOMO billed thousands of dollars in production costs for recording the show its studio, then refused to air it; KING and KONG would air the program only after 1:00 a.m.
Today, the Seattle Community Access Network, notable for the lowest production values and highest level of raunch in regional television, announced it will air the show at 6:30 p.m. and a live panel discussion at 7:00 p.m. on Comcast channel 77 and Broadstripe channel 23 throughout King County. Sounds… almost as dull as Brokeback Mountain. (You can also view the show online.)
But here’s the thing. People often deride advocates of controversial issues for marginal tactics, like marching or rallying or blogging--generally for not taking a more mainstream tack. Well, the ACLU tried to take the most mainstream approach of all—network television with high-end production values—but network television gave bullshit excuses to reject it. Maybe America’s just not ready for certain mainstream tactics until those rallies earn a bit more respect.
Why is the media putting up with this? Just pull your staff from the bus (well, van) and plane. You people serve no more purpose than FOX News. You're there to parrot what Palin and McCain want you to parrot. Stop it. CNN and CBS took a good first step today, by pulling their reporters from a phony Palin photo opp. Now it's time to go for the Full Monty. Pull your reporters from coverage of the McCain campaign until Palin and McCain start acting like big boys and girls, like potential future leaders of the free world.
The media revolts against the McCain campaign's attempts to restrict access to a Palin photo-op, says the NYT. After attempting to keep all reporters out of a photo-op between Palin and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the McCain camp relents and allows a single reporter to observe the photo-op.
Maybe it's time for the media to pull all reporters—print and television, photographers and videographers—off the McCain campaign. Entirely. Press coverage of a campaign is supposed to be a two-way street. The candidate wants to get his mug on television, he wants his rallies and speeches broadcast and written up, he wants to use the media to reach the voters. In exchange for allowing themselves to be used, the candidate is supposed to make himself available to reporters and anchors, answer questions, hold press conferences. The McCain campaign isn't holding up its end of the deal. It's using the media to reach voters without making Palin and, increasingly, McCain available for questioning.
Why should the media play along? The media should pull reporters off the McCain campaign and refuse to cover rallies or speeches until McCain and Palin start holding press conferences. Period. You want to reach our viewers and readers? Start answering our questions. Don't want to answer our questions? We'll ignore you and your campaign.
Case in point: The St. Louis Evening Whirl, a weekly newspaper I first became acquainted with in the summer of 1990, when my parents were living in Missourri. The nearest local equivalent is The Facts, Seattle's primarily African-American newspaper, but the Evening Whirl exists on a planet of its own.
What initially drew me in was the weekly column Wife Beaters and Sweetheart Mistreaters (all linked PDFs drawn from the Tuesday, June 12, 1990 issue of the Whirl I've been toting around for the past 18 years). Along with the dazzling title, the column featured an awesome tagline-in-dialogue ("Oh Daddy Don't"/"Be Good and I Won't") and, of course, the Whirl's signature brand of reporting:
Terry [REDACTED], 37, of 5513 [REDACTED], was at home with his beloved Miss [REDACTED], 28, who is his live-in mama and sex alarmer. He struck Miss [REDACTED] about her head, arms and body and also her "fanny" early in the morning before the break of day with a baseball bat. Do you call that love or hatred? Just think! 'Twas the hour when they should have been making love with the blanket rising and falling with concerted movements. But no! A slave driver and woman beater although Terry was arrested.
The redacted names are my doing—the Whirl regularly published the full names and home addresses of alleged criminals, and news stories typically kicked off with a rhyming couplet. Even short items boasted amazing headlines. And then there was my favorite ongoing column, the crytpic yet explicit WHO?:
Much to my delight, this morning I stumbled across a 2006 Believer article profiling the Whirl and its founder Ben Thomas. But nothing compares with reading the instigating material. As the Whirl's boasted in its pages for decades, "Missing an issue of the Whirl is worse than missing a meal."
posted by Brendan Kiley on September 16 at 5:13 PM
The wicked, liberal media sure has been quiet about all that pepper-sprayin', journalist-arrestin', teenage-whuppin' action at the Republican National Convention a couple of weeks ago.
But the New York Times finally picked up the story today:
“It was an unprecedented show of police presence and display of force,” said Bruce Nestor, the president of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which is defending many of those arrested. “Minnesota has never seen this level of militarization of local police.”
And please enjoy this price quote from a St. Paul police flack:
“At some point even a journalist has to recognize that they are in violation of the law,” Tom Walsh, a St. Paul Police spokesman, said as the arrests were taking place. “Are they going to get arrested or are they going to cover it from a distance?”
He thinks he's dismissing Amy Goodman from Democracy Now!, the folks from I-Witness video, and the other members of the non-mainstream media who were roughed up by police.
But would you say the same to the writers and photographers from the AP, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and Fox freaking News who were rounded up and arrested, Mr. Walsh?
Because they happened to be doing their jobs, covering a protest when the police decided to conduct a mass arrest that—the courts may very well show—was unjustified? Because how dare a journalist, whether from Fox or Democracy Now!, get close enough to see what's actually happening?
And they said it couldn't be done: The PI's Paul Shukovsky went and got a quote from someone on the other side of the pot issue—someone who thinks grow-op busts are a waste of time and police resources—and added that quote to what had been, when it originally appeared online yesterday, a rote piece of drug-war propaganda masquerading as journalism.
Shukovsky's revised piece isn't an anti-drug-war screed and it isn't advocacy journalism calling for the legalization of pot. Instead it's the kind of journalism daily papers take pride in delivering on other issues but typically fail to deliver when it comes to stories about drug busts. With the addition of a quote from a board member of NORML—Seattle defense attorney Jeff Steinborn—the PI and Shukovsky finally acknowledge the fact that there are two sides to this issue. By including Steinborn's comments, the PI let its readers know that not just police officers, federal prosecutors, and DEA agents have valid opinions about pot and the war on drugs.
Re: No Longer the Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day: Paul Shukovsky
posted by Dominic Holden on September 10 at 6:40 PM
UPDATE: All these posts asking reporters for both sides of the story on pot enforcement, insight into whether or not breaking down pot growers' doors actually makes a dent in the pot market, a quote from someone in a group that disagrees with our war on pot... it just may be working. Or maybe it's a fluke. Either way, as wisepunk points out in comments, Paul Shukovsky's article has been updated:
Seattle defense attorney Jeff Steinborn, who frequently takes drug cases, said Wednesday: "Is there no real crime out there? By golly, I guess we'll be safe from the giggles and the munchies for a while."
Steinborn, who is a member of the national board of the marijuana legalization group NORML, decried the "amount of resources they've expended to enforce a law that every government study for the last 160 years says should not be."
Keep it, Paul Shukovsky!
You'd think that since the PI's Paul Shukovsky reported how agents "swooped down" on pot growers for “Operation Green Reaper" in April, he'd attempt to figure out what the impact of the first set of busts were. You know, why are we doing this? Is it working so far?
But, of course, if he'd even asked the agents what they sought to achieve then, he'd be forced to answer those question now. But he did neither, because he’s a stupid fucking credulous hack.
The mistake Shukovsky and other SFCHs make is to argue that this is a regular crime-n’-punishment story. Someone gets busted so outline the offense and talk to the authorities. But this isn’t like other crimes. It’s not like murder, rape, or theft—crimes with victims. The victims of pot growing, in the relatively rare cases when they exist, are people who dunnit to themselves (we don’t lock up people who eat their way to a coronary), or people got hurt because pot is illegal (when it's sold on the dangerous black market). The latter problem is one that we created—it can go away—but crime reporters take this approach more arrests are the solution. Otherwise they’d ask, “Why are we doing this? Is it working so far?”
Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day: Paul Shukovsky
posted by Dan Savage on September 10 at 1:54 PM
This post is no longer operative. Paul Shukovsky is no longer a SFCH. Please see Dominic Holden's update here.
Comrades! Another heroic victory in our Great Patriotic War on Drugs! Thousands of pot plants seized in King County! And the PI's Paul Shukovsky is there to bravely take dictation!
Remember comrades: When it comes to the Great Patriotic War on Drugs, there is only one side to the story! There is no need for reporters to get a quote from someone—anyone—on the other side of this issue! There is need to get a comment from someone believes that our never-ending war on pot is a waste of money, police resources, and lives! There is no need to quote from someone who believes that the quickest way—the only way—to put a stop to illegal grow-ops is to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana! Becausethosepeopledon'texist!
posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee on September 9 at 5:06 PM
Seattle Central Community College has quietly cut its journalism program and put its student-run newspaper, the City Collegian, on hiatus.
Earlier this summer, Professor Jeb Wyman stepped down from his position as the paper's faculty adviser after a battle with the school's administration over the future of the paper. In June, Wyman fired off a letter to SCCC's administration, excerpted here:
The Publications Board, chaired by Laura Mansfield, has been hostile to the Collegian all year, and this is one of two reasons for my departure. The board has remained willfully ignorant of the operation of the Collegian, the precepts of student journalism, and student press law.
By Laura’s own admission, the board was established with the intent of controlling the student press on this campus, and this mission was dutifully carried out from its first meeting. Not surprisingly, the board swiftly became a forum for outside agendas and false accusations made against the Collegian.
In a particularly galling turn, the Collegian was accused of misusing staff stipends, barred from explaining how this was grossly false, then further accused of “hiding” information.
I am unwilling to continue as adviser so long as this board and its chairperson are sanctioned by the administration.
At our last meeting, the board voted down a  credit-load policy that would have restricted who could participate as an editor of the Collegian. The policy...would remove about a third of the Collegian’s senior editors, degrade the students’ paper, and needlessly stifle journalism education at this school.
Despite the board’s “no” vote, Laura has made an “executive decision” to invalidate the board’s vote.
I am sad to leave the position as adviser to the Collegian, but am unable to continue under the present circumstances.
After Wyman's resignation, the City Collegian was left without an advisor and SCCC has put the City Collegian on hiatus.
SCCC isn't the first local community college to lose their newspaper. Last year, North Seattle Community College also put its student paper, The Polaris, on indefinite hiatus.
It's unclear why SCCC canceled their journalism program, but it's not surprising considering how well things are going in our industry.
Mansfield—who is also SCCC's spokeswoman—did not return calls for comment on the future of student journalism at SCCC.
Bill Gates And Jerry Seinfeld Join Forces for Baffling, Shoe-Related Performance-Art Video
posted by David Schmader on September 8 at 12:01 PM
First, some preliminary info from the Wall Street Journal:
Microsoft Corp., weary of being cast as a stodgy oldster by Apple Inc.'s advertising, is turning for help to Jerry Seinfeld. The software giant's new $300 million advertising campaign, devised by a newly hired ad agency, has been closely guarded. But Mr. Seinfeld will be one of the key celebrity pitchmen, say people close to the situation. He will appear with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in ads and receive about $10 million for the work, they say.
The new ad effort is expected to use some variation of the slogan "Windows, Not Walls," according to several people familiar with the matter. Those people say the point is to stress breaking down barriers that prevent people and ideas from connecting. The campaign, said to debut Sept. 4, is one of the largest in the company's history.
And here's the stunningly odd result.
It doesn't make me want to buy a PC. It doesn't even make me want to buy a churro. It just makes me itchy and sad.
Dems complain about a conservative bias at FOX News, FOX News says fuck you. Republicans complain about liberal bias at MSNBC, and heads roll.
MSNBC tried a bold experiment this year by putting two politically incendiary hosts, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, in the anchor chair to lead the cable news channel’s coverage of the election.
That experiment appears to be over.
After months of accusations of political bias and simmering animosity between MSNBC and its parent network NBC, the channel decided over the weekend that the NBC News correspondent and MSNBC host David Gregory would anchor news coverage of the coming debates and election night. Mr. Olbermann and Mr. Matthews will remain as analysts during the coverage.
The change—which comes in the home stretch of the long election cycle—is a direct result of tensions associated with the channel’s perceived shift to the political left.
Politically incendiary hosts are only permissible when they're right-wingers. Please make a note of it.
posted by Dominic Holden on September 4 at 3:57 PM
From going absolutely bat-shit crazy if I hear or read another person refer to a vice president as "one heartbeat away" from the presidency. We get it, if the president's heart stops--like if he actually fucking dies--the VP becomes president. But can we please stop using this hackneyed linguistic turd?
posted by Erica C. Barnett on September 4 at 10:35 AM
I'll have more to say about Palin's speech in a bit (predictably fawning media; preemptively subjecting herself to the same sexist stereotypes Hillary was attacked for; and, hello, context? This is the RNC, not a political debate between two parties)... but, in the meantime: OMFG Seattle Times, "Feisty"? Really? (They've changed the headline in the online version, but today's front page is below.)
It almost makes Danny Westneat's unhinged Valentine to Palin in the local section ("electric"! "masterful"! "the right choice"!) look, well, sane.
This photo is an detainable offense: Attorney Gena Berglund.
A Minneapolis-based attorney has asked Hennepin County district judge Mark Wenick to sign an emergency injunction to stop police from seizing video cameras and other recording equipment from journalists during the Republican National Convention.
Attorney Gena Berglund, of the National Lawyers Guild, says Judge Wernick claims to be "too busy with probable-cause hearings" to sign the injunction.
Police have been seizing video cameras and other recording equipment from video bloggers throughout the summer—seven affidavits of different instances—and in the past few days.
Just yesterday, say Bergland and a lefty organizer named Michelle Gross, police conducted a raid on a house and seized video equipment from a Eyewitness News, a New York-based video group. (Their footage from the RNC in New York in 2000 helped acquit 400 people who were arrested during protests.)
Berglund adds that right now, a team of videographers, who were on their way to this very press conference, are being detained by police on a streetcar just a few blocks from Minneapolis City Hall, where the conference is still underway.
(Sgt. William Palmer, a spokesperson for the Minneapolis police, says he hasn't heard anything about this.)
"The police just stopped the car on its tracks and have them trapped in there," Berglund says, her voice shaking. "I'm very angry and my clients are very angry," she said. "This has to stop."