Monday, August 14, 2017

Sourcing and mayhem

Good to see the Formerly Fair 'n' Balanced Network is on the case as "officials" push back against the Fake News Media:

President Trump specifically condemns “white supremacists” and other extremist groups as forces behind the deadly protests and counter-protests this weekend in Virginia, a White House spokesperson said Sunday.

That ought to show 'em. Now let's see the quote!

"The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred. Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together,” the spokesperson said from Trump’s private golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

Oh, no. Would that be another of those anonymous Fake News sources? I wonder what other commercial news agencies say:

A White House official, who requested anonymity and ignored attempts to go on the record, told reporters Sunday that it was obvious the President condemned "white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups" despite Trump not mentioning those groups during an event at his private golf club Saturday and instead blaming the violence on "many sides."
"The President said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred, and, of course, that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups," the official said. "He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together."
Glad we have that worked out. Meanwhile, though, let's enjoy some other Fox treats. Here, for example, is Saturday evening's top story:
"Face of mayhem," is it? What other faces do you suppose have been spotted lurking around the Formerly Fair 'n' Balanced Network in recent months?
Well, that's hardly fair. Surely it would have been stronger than "mayhem" if someone had actually died!
It does seem kind of hard not to conclude that certain skin tones are more strongly associated with "hate" and "terror," doesn't it?

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

2 Dacron women feared missing

What does it take for national news to land in the lead position at the Sunday fishwrap?

The Detroit Red Wings are exploring possible legal action after a slightly modified team logo appeared on signs held by protesters at a violent and deadly white nationalist rally in Virginia on Saturday.  


The signs, which showed the team’s winged-wheel logo spokes altered to look more like swastikas, sparked outrage in the National Hockey League and among social media users.

I wonder when we'll menti0n the war recent unpleasantness. Who had "after the jump, fifth graf"?

... The sign holders were among thousands at the volatile Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. One person was killed and at least 19 injured after a car drove into a crowd of protesters, hours after a state of emergency was declared due to the event.
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Friday, August 04, 2017

Today in drooling racist paranoia

Shock horror outrage! How bad is it, elite Washington Times "Rapid Reactions" team?

London’s Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan declared an end to any kind of advertising in the city that promotes “unrealistic expectations of women’s body image and health,” or, in layman’s, typical Western-style fashion spreads.

Sharia, meet London.

As the Gatestone Institute notes, this reminds of when ISIS took over Sirte in Libya a couple years ago and immediately set up sharia shop, ordering via billboards for all women to don baggy burka’d robes if they wanted to walk in the streets without, say, getting acid thrown in their faces, or raped.

Well, not quite. What it most "reminds of" is -- how did the Washington Times put it back in June 2016?

London’s first Muslim mayor is hitting the ground running with a ban on ads in the city that feature “unrealistic” body images.

Labor Party’s Sadiq Khan pledged before his May 7 election win to prohibit ads across Transport for London (Tfl) like those seen in a “beach body ready?” campaign by the company Protein World.

... The decision by Mr. Khan comes just months after the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) began looking for way to “proactively regulate” images of men and women.

Well, that's at least marginally closer to the truth. As noted by professional media outlets, of course, it was a ban on body-shaming ads on the Transport for London network (whose ad policies, we noted at the time, are fairly easy to find), not "the city." And there's some flavorful irony in the link the Gatestone Institute* itself uses to illustrate its sharianoid babbling; it's a column in the Independent headlined "Sadiq Khan is right to ban objectifying ads from the tube -- we never consented to this sexist wallpaper." Much of the adult world, indeed, seemed quite capable of putting this into the general context of how commercial speech is regulated. (Hint: At least he isn't fining anyone half a million dollars for half a second of accidental breast at halftime of the Super Bowl.)

But of course that's not why we have deranged race-baiting fishwraps like The Washington Times, is it? Back to today's story:
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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Emergency hyphen drop requested

Sometimes upstyle headlines are their own reward.

As your students ponder where they would put the hyphen, a friendly reminder that even if your goal is a major-market TV station, those boring old editing skills might come in handy.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

A date which will live in ... wait, what?

Thanks for letting us know it was "an editor's error," Ohio's Greatest Home Newspaper. Do you suppose it might have made a difference if "an editor" had been in the same time zone as the rest of the paper?

True it is that we've been putting these on quizzes in the editing class since before there was a War on Editing, because people have been counting the toes and forgetting to divide by 10, or something like that, since more or less the dawn of time.* And equally true that no single error can be causally linked to any single policy or personnel decision. Eventually, though, do you think we might want to pay a little more attention to the correlations?

* Thucydides was unimpressed by the ship tallies in Homer's war stories, because poets.

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Today's in-depth journalism

You almost have to feel sorry for whoever was in charge of turning Massster's morning tantrum into a news story at Fox:

President Trump went on a wide-ranging Twitter rant Saturday morning, bashing Hillary Clinton, “fake news,” The New York Times and other favorite targets.

Trump tweeted at least eight times within a one-hour period, focusing first on a Washington Post story, based on unnamed sources, that alleged Attorney General Jeff Sessions talked to a Russian ambassador during the 2016 White House campaign about policy issues and other matters.

"A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post, this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions. These illegal leaks, like Comey's, must stop!" Trump tweeted.

Points for getting "rant" into the lede, I suppose. But if you're waiting to hear what the "nuke commission" has to do with this, keep waiting. (One of the tweets about mid-rant or so does mention the commissioning of the Gerald R. Ford,* but the story mentions neither the ceremony itself nor the propulsion system.) The inside hed avoids that problem, but it still requires some cognitive problem-solving:
Only one of the Clintons is mentioned by name in the text, though if you're a regular Fox reader, "big dollar speeches" is your cue.

If you're wondering why it takes so long to get to the Times, check out the delicate bit of avoidance here:

... Trump also tweeted Saturday that The New York Times has a “sick agenda” regarding national security and that paper “foiled”  a U.S. strike on Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, believed dead for months.

“The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist, Al-Baghdadi. Their sick agenda over National Security,” Trump tweeted. However, to which attack the president was referring and why he singled out The Times was immediately unclear.

The daintily undangled preposition in "to which attack" is charming. It's been a while since "immediately unclear" came up; it still looks like a bizarre reading of the Strunkenwhite mandate to put things in positive form, but syntax is only half the fun. Other parts of the Fox empire have little trouble identifying the Times's sins:

In a wide-ranging interview moderated by Fox News' Catherine Herridge, Thomas, who leads the Special Operations Command, said his team was “particularly close” to Baghdadi after the 2015 raid that killed ISIS oil minister Abu Sayyaf. That raid also netted his wife, who provided a wealth of actionable information.

“That was a very good lead. Unfortunately, it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead,” Thomas said. “The challenge we have [is] in terms of where and how our tactics and procedures are discussed openly. There's a great need to inform the American public about what we're up to. There's also great need to recognize things that will absolutely undercut our ability to do our job.”

Thomas appeared to be referring to a New York Times report in June 2015 that detailed how American intelligence agencies had “extracted valuable information.” 

”New insights yielded by the seized trove – four to seven terabytes of data, according to one official – include how the organization’s shadowy leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, operates and tries to avoid being tracked by coalition forces," the Times reported.

Would this be the same raid that Fox reported on in May 2015?

U.S. personnel overnight killed a key Islamic State leader in charge of the group's oil and gas operations in a raid in eastern Syria, the White House said Saturday.

A team of Delta Force commandos slipped across the border from Iraq under cover of darkness Saturday aboard Black Hawk helicopters and V-22 Osprey aircraft, according to a U.S. defense official knowledgeable about details of the raid.

... Ancient Assyrian texts and other priceless artifacts were recovered as well as what the defense official called a "treasure trove" of intelligence materials, such as cell phones, laptops and documents.

You'd think Gen. Thomas's assertions might have rung a bell with the interview's moderator, in that she's credited on Fox's follow-up two days later:

A special team of CIA, FBI and Pentagon interrogators has been dispatched to Iraq to grill the wife of the key ISIS leader killed in a daring commando raid last Saturday -- but sources told Fox News that the questioning, which will include queries about murdered American aid worker Kayla Mueller, will stop short of using rough techniques.

... Umm Sayyaf, the wife of Abu Sayyaf, was captured in the raid by the U.S. Army's elite Delta Force in eastern Syria and whisked away to an undisclosed Iraqi facility where the U.S. High Value Interrogation Group is questioning her.

... In addition to taking out a key ISIS leader and the man responsible for the terrorist army's black market oil trade and capturing his wife, the raid netted a "treasure trove" of sensitive information, according to Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas. Officials believe the terrorist leader's wife may know even more about ISIS' operations.

... Cellphones and laptops were seized in the operation and are now being analyzed for intelligence. U.S. officials said it was likely, given Abu Sayyaf's position, that he knew about more than just the financial side of the group's operations and also was targeted for his known association with the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Sure. It's entirely possible that -- three weeks after the raid, and a week after the Times reported  on 'information harvested from the laptops, cellphones and other materials," al-Baghdadi suddenly realized that the laptops with the terabytes of data were the missing ones!!! Otherwise, it's hard to see why you'd give the competition top credit for following up on your own reporting. Maybe the smart reporter is the one who decided things were immediately unclear.

* Presumably, President Trump has gotten over his preference for steam catapults over "the digital." Fox doesn't mention that, either.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

When spark plugs attack

See if you can guess where the Editor In Chief Emeritus of the Washington Times is going with this one:

The Donald finally caught a break in Paris, basking in rare Franco-American bonhomie as he joined the new president of France on Bastille Day, this year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the American arrival on the battlefields of World War I.

A contingent of American troops even led the parade down the Champs-Elysees. Not even a president can resist a parade, especially a military parade with marching bands and serried ranks of fighting men. On Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron of France did not even try.

I think you've got the wrong "not even" -- is there some reason heads of state should be especially immune to the old blare of bugles and ruffle of drums? But we're about to get to the point:

Neither did Donald Trump, once a schoolboy at a military academy. Regimental flags floating on a peaceful breeze, despised as nationalist symbols to some, are but reminders to all that “greater love hath no man than this,” in the words of Christ as recorded by the Apostle John, “that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

So whatever his offspring have been up to with the Russians, the Bright Sun of the 21st Century is still reminding Europe who's the real defender of Western Civ. Which makes the Times's venture into period history all the more interesting:

... The 100th anniversary celebrations are particularly poignant reminders of Franco-American friendship when it was backs-to-the-wall time.  ... When the Germans, advancing through a grain field, got within a hundred yards, the Marines opened ferocious rifle fire, mowing down the ranks of the Bosch until the survivors fled into the woods.

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