John Hockenberry, a former Dateline reporter-cum-fellow of the MIT Media Lab, has written a stunning, scathing indictment of network news for the Technology Review: mired in corporate bureaucracy, obsessed with the "emotional center" of stories to the exclusion of truth, gutless and irrelevant:
To get airtime, not only did serious news have to audition against the travails of Diana or a new book by Dr. Phil, but it also had to satisfy bizarre conditions. In 2003, one of our producers obtained from a trial lawyer in Connecticut video footage of guards subduing a mentally ill prisoner. Guards themselves took the footage as part of a safety program to ensure that deadly force was avoided and abuses were documented for official review. We saw guards haul the prisoner down a greenish corridor, then heard hysterical screaming as the guard shooting the video dispassionately announced, "The prisoner is resisting." For 90 seconds several guards pressed the inmate into a bunk. All that could be seen of him was his feet. By the end of the video the inmate was motionless. Asphyxiation would be the official cause of death.
This kind of gruesome video was rare. We also had footage of raw and moving interviews with this and another victim's relatives. The story had the added relevance that one of the state prison officials had been hired as a consultant to the prison authority in Iraq as the Abu Ghraib debacle was unfolding. There didn't seem to be much doubt about either the newsworthiness or the topicality of the story. Yet at the conclusion of the screening, the senior producer shook his head as though the story had missed the mark widely. "These inmates aren't necessarily sympathetic to our audience," he said. The fact that they had been diagnosed with schizophrenia was unimportant. Worse, he said that as he watched the video of the dying inmate, it didn't seem as if anything was wrong.
"Except that the inmate died," I offered.
The KLF is back. You will follow the instructions, or you will not get your book signed. On my way to Liverpool for the KLF thing and what’s shaping up to be the greatest book signing in pop history (pic via Kristy off Facebook) pic.twitter.com/nwHBxHwKns— Peter Robinson (@Popjustice) August 22, 2017 I am now in […]
You know those “amazing household tips” where you descale showerheads with vinegar and a sandwich bag, or lift carpet indentations with ice cubes, or whatever? Well, I’ve just found out that a common one in Australia, allegedly, is “wash your underwear in hotel kettles.” I honestly don’t know if I believe it, but Gizmodo Australia […]
The Justice Department will scale back a very broad request for data connected to an anti-Trump website, after accusations the demand violated the free speech rights of politically engaged citizens.
Toaster ovens are the perfect appliance for small things like toasted sandwiches and roasted garlic (try it!), but anything more involved usually requires a full-sized conventional oven.However, despite its small size, the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven can handle anything from baked pastries to broiled meats. This kitchen appliance has a minimal countertop footprint, and cooks […]
The Pry.Me Bottle Opener holds tens of thousands of times its own weight, and you can pick one up now from the Boing Boing Store.This remarkable keychain is considerably smaller than any of your keys, but don’t let that fool you: it can easily open any bottle, and could even tow a trailer full of […]