Category Archives: Media Criticism

Bleg To Journalism Majors

For a book I’m working on. Does anyone out there have any stories of “progressive” indoctrination as part of required courses (or just in general) in journalism schools? Email me (address at top left) if you don’t want to post publicly. The question is prompted by this post about the phenomenon in schools of education.


La Seipp, on Nikki Finke:

How hath the crazy fallen, I thought when I noticed L.A. Weekly columnist/pretend lawyer Nikki Finke now has a blog, because of course Nikki has long been dismissive of the blogosphere. She also, at least until fairly recently, has been ignorant of basic blogospheric knowledge that the IP addresses of commenters are easily checked. So for instance if you post once here under the name Nikki Finke, and then again pretending to be a lawyer threatening me with libel for insulting Nikki Finke, it might be better to post that second comment from someone else’s computer. I guess that’s inconvenient, though, if you rarely leave the house. I haven’t seen Nikki in years, probably because these days she looks like Jabba the Hut, if you can imagine Jabba after he’s said to hell with the diets already. Off Google

Simon Mansfield reports that his publication, one of his SpaceDaily family of web sites is no longer having its pages served by Google. Strangely, if you search for “Space War” you find lots of sites linking to, but if you search for sites linking to, the search comes up empty. To enforce Google’s “Don’t be evil” policy, I don’t think Google’s robots are smart enough to parse the following:

<META NAME=”keywords” CONTENT=”war, death, destruction, ruin, hate, bad bad bad”>

which have been in the keywords section for years. (Load this page and view source to see it last year.)

Space.TV corp,’s parent isn’t taking this lying down. “We consider the ban a violation of the recently enacted US-Australia Free Trade Agreement.” We wish them a fruitful trade war.

2006-02-25 09:55 Update: It’s back up and running. See Simon’s comment.


Glenn asks if blogging is going to lose its freshness as more (though still not many) bloggers start to make a living at it. He’s not worried, though:

…why are so many people doing it? Because it’s fun! And fun is good.

That’s a good reason to do all sorts of things. Press accounts tend to focus on making money (perhaps because many journalists dream of walking away from their day jobs, and editors?) but money is only one reason we do things, and usually not the most important. As people get richer, and technology gets more capable, I think we’ll see a lot more people doing for fun things that previously were done only for money. And I think that’s a good thing.

Speaking of journalists, it’s easy to see why they’re both fascinated by, and frightened of blogs and bloggers. I suspect that it’s because journalism is something that doesn’t seem to take much skill to do well (at least as well as its largely done), or if it is, most journalists don’t seem to be up to the job. It’s kind of like Hollywood (or has been, up to now)–it’s not so much what you know, or how much talent you have, but who you know, and how lucky you are. But the days in which a clueless journalism major could (by whatever means) get a job in the industry, and not have to worry about competition are coming, or have come, to an end.

The problem is that journalists, as a class, are rarely experts in any particular field. We always used to say in the tech proposal business that it was easier to take an engineer and teach her to write, than to take an English major and teach him engineering (there are exceptions, of course, particularly when the English major took some science classes on the side). Same applies to journalism, and any sort of expertise. The best journalists, particularly those who specialize in certain areas, such as science, or finance, are generally people who came from those fields to journalism, as opposed to being journalism majors.

It’s been noted that the blogosphere is chock full of people who know things (not to mention lawyers and law professors who know how to make logical arguments, against which many journalists are utterly helpless, at least to go by the Cory Peins, not to mention Mary Mapes of the world), and this was dramatically demonstrated to journalism’s detriment in the Rathergate affair. And now that bloggers have pulled the curtain from the journalism wizard, many journalists’ dreams (to whatever degree they exist) of “walking away” and just making money blogging will probably go unfulfilled, because it’s not at all clear what they will bring to the table.

For these reasons, if there is a flow of talent between blogging and professional journalism, I expect it to be largely in one direction–from the former to the latter–because that’s the direction that the osmotic pressure of the talent and knowledge will dictate.

All The News Not Fit To Print

An Iraqi mayor gives thanks to America and its troops:

Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi

Down The Memory Hole


They’ve changed the story. Note same link as before, but all references to Wilson and the 2003 SOTU have been deleted, just as I feared they would (thanks to emailer Abigail Brayden). Guess that story never even happened.

And of all the bad luck, I’d been keeping the original one open in a window, just in case they did this. But I had a computer freezeup this morning, had to reboot (thanks, Microsoft!) and I hadn’t captured a screenshot.

But as the Abigail points out, what they did was redirect the original link to the new story. The old one is still there, with a new URL.

Interesting. Here’s something else interesting. The Deseret News has a version of the story from Friday in which the wording has been changed to make it more accurate. It now reads:

Wilson’s revelations cast doubt on President Bush’s claim in his 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq was trying to develop a nuclear bomb and had sought to buy uranium in Africa as one of the administration’s key justifications for going to war in Iraq.

I wonder who edited that one, and if it was in response to blogospheric complaints? And, of course, still no response from AP to my email.