Like a baby, Trump launches into a tirade about asking questions he doesn't like

As the death toll mounts...

After being asked a very important question about how his wild misstatements might impact his policy judgment, President Orange Julius ranted and raved. Read the rest

E. Jean Carroll fired from ELLE magazine after Trump rape allegation, readers call for #NoWayinElle boycott

E. Jean Carroll, who has written an advice column at ELLE magazine for three decades, and last year accused President Donald Trump of raping her in the mid-1990s, today said she was fired from her longtime editorial position as a direct result of Trump's public debasement of her character. Read the rest

Inspiring rules for journalists by PBS NewsHour's Jim Lehrer (RIP)

In the Aspen Institute's 1997 report on "Journalism and Society," PBS NewsHour co-founder Jim Lehrer, who died last week at 85-years-old, contributed the following wisdom:

I practice journalism in accordance with the following guidelines:

Do nothing I cannot defend. Do not distort, lie, slant, or hype. Do not falsify facts or make up quotes. Cover, write, and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me. Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story. Assume the viewer is as smart and caring and good a person as I am. Assume the same about all people on whom I report. Assume everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Assume personal lives are a private matter until a legitimate turn in the story mandates otherwise. Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories and clearly label them as such. Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes except on rare and monumental occasions. No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously. Do not broadcast profanity or the end result of violence unless it is an integral and necessary part of the story and/or crucial to understanding the story. Acknowledge that objectivity may be impossible but fairness never is. Journalists who are reckless with facts and reputations should be disciplined by their employers. My viewers have a right to know what principles guide my work and the process I use in their practice. I am not in the entertainment business.

Read the rest

Propublica offering diversity scholarships for students to attend 2020 journalism conferences

If you or someone you know is a US-based student interested in attending conferences such as Investigative Reporters and Editors, The National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, or National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists, then you should consider applying for Propublica's Diversity Scholarship program, which offers $750 bursaries "to students who would otherwise be unable to attend," especially "people of color, women, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities." Read the rest

VICTORY! New Free File rules ban tax-prep firms from hiding their offerings, allow IRS to compete with them (a love-letter to Propublica)

Six months ago, Propublica began beating the drum about "Free File," a bizarre, corrupt arrangement between the IRS and the country's largest tax-prep firms that ended up costing the poorest people in America millions and millions of dollars, every single year. Read the rest

Mass convictions of local warlords for 2009 massacre revive faith in Philippines' justice system

The election of the violent Philippine autocrat Rodrigo Duterte and the subsequent widespread extrajudicial killings, torture, and other crimes against humanity was a blow to the rule of law in the Philippines and the democracy advocates who have struggled to make a just society after centuries of colonial exploitation. Read the rest

Hundreds of journalists are sharing their salary information in a spreadsheet

I'm in a private Slack with some other media/journalist people, and someone brought up the idea of pay transparency. After all: if you don't know what your colleagues are being paid, it's hard to negotiate for a fair rate. We're all conditioned to believe that our financials should be private, but as far as salaries are concerned, that secrecy only ever tends to work in favor of your employer.

So this particular someone made a Google Form and a corresponding spreadsheet where journalists and other media professionals could anonymously add their salary information. And in barely 24 hours, it's spread to CJR and Bloomberg and even inspired Mike Cernovich to go off on some completely unsubstantiated rant to set off his army of loyal trolls because apparently all journalists are scum and also trustfund babies even though there isn't any proof of that (and I can personally assure you that my personal information is on that list and that my public school teacher mom and print salesman dad are not rolling in the dough).

As of this writing, more than 200 people have responded. On one hand, it is admittedly difficult to verify the claims contained within the data. On the other hand, there's still lots of eye-opening information to glean. Unsurprisingly, there are pay disparities across race and gender; but the same thing happens across geographic location, and work experience. Perhaps the most shocking revelation so far is just the absurd range of income of people working in news media. Read the rest

Northwestern journalism students wrote something dumb. The freakout around it is even dumber.

In a story that will surely captivate Fox News pundits for at least the next week, the student newspaper at Northwestern released a statement about their own reporting, following a visit to campus by Jeff Sessions.

It's…not great.

Essentially, the newspaper is apologizing for the way it covered the protest resulting from Sessions' presence. According to their statement, some students were upset that they were photographed, or contacted via the school directory, or texted for comments on the protest, mostly out of fear of retaliation by either the school administration, or the media at large, or really wrathful authority figures of any kind.

This, of course, comes on the heels of the recent debacle at Harvard, where reporters at the Harvard Crimson reached out to ICE for a comment after another protest, which is also a…fairly standard journalistic practice. While the concerns of these individual students might be valid, the entire field of news reporting should not be expected to compromise itself and over-cautiously cater to needs of every possible individual. This doesn't mean that journalists—student, or professional—should not try to approach situations with empathy and sensitivity, particularly when dealing with subjects who might be placed at risk by their reporting. In the case of the Daily Northwestern, the paper's backpedaling response may be a prime example of over-correcting for such sensitivities. Read the rest

The weak spots that let journalists expose the finances of looters, organized criminals and oligarchs

The trillions that the global looter class has stashed in offshore financial secrecy jurisdictions are protected by the joint tactics of absurd complexity and stultifying dullness, which have been created by a separate group of global looter-enablers, working for big accounting and audit firms, banks, law firms, even private schools. Read the rest

After a police raid, a Nicaraguan cartoonist has found sanctuary in the United States

Positive stories about Latin American immigrants and the United States are difficult to come by right now. But at least Pedro X. Molina and his family have found a happy ending.

Molina is an award-winning political cartoonist, whose scathing satire has been syndicated all across the world. Originally from Nicaragua, Molina was on staff at the Confidencial when their offices were raided and ransacked by police in December 2018. Like most dictatorial leaders, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was none-too-pleased with the Confidencial for doing such terrible things as, well, reporting the truth about his brutal and inhumane actions—you know, like ordering a violent police raid on journalists who dared to criticize him. Read the rest

Australia's raids on journalists signal an authoritarian turning point

Yesterday's spectacular series of raids on Australian journalists by the Australian Federal Police are a turning point in how democracies view the role of the press and leaks: the raid targeted News Corp's Annika Smethurst over her reporting on a secret plan to grant the Australian Signals Directorate -- a spy agency -- the power to surveil Australians; 2GB radio's Ben Fordham over his reporting on human rights abuses of refugees; and ABC Sydney's offices over their 2017 Afghan files reports, which documented war-crimes and other misconduct by Australian military personnel. Read the rest

Crackdown on journalism in Australia

Australia "may well be the world's most secretive democracy," writes Damien Cave in The New York Times. It's cracking down on journalism that embarrasses the government, using arrests, raids and expansive warrants to chill reporting to an alarming extent.

The journalist whose home was raided Tuesday, Annika Smethurst of The Sunday Telegraph of Sydney, had the authorities rifling through her belongings for more than seven hours. At the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday, the police downloaded more than 9,000 documents based on a warrant giving them authority to examine phones and notebooks of many journalists that had nothing to do with the articles in question.

“No turf, no terrain is off the books,” said Joseph Fernandez, a media law expert at Curtin University in Perth. “The law is very very wide reaching, and it is very disturbing.”

He added that it was hard to imagine how any of these articles could have been construed as a threat to national security rather than simply an embarrassment for officials and politicians.

Read the rest

Survey: 50% of Americans believe 'made-up news' is a very big problem for the country today. 46% say the same about climate change.

More Americans view made-up news as a 'very big problem' for the country, over terrorism, illegal immigration, racism, and sexism.

U.S. charges Julian Assange under Espionage Act

The U.S. Department of Justice today indicted Wikileaks' Julian Assange under the Espionage Act, the first time a publisher has been charged for revealing classified information.

Kevin Poulsen and Betsy Woodruff:

The indictment announced Thursday in Washington, D.C. charges Assange with 16 counts of variously receiving or disclosing material leaked by then-Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, which WikiLeaks published as the Iraq and Afghanistan “War Logs” following Manning’s arrest. Assange is also charged with one count of conspiracy to receive the documents, and an 18th count carries over the previous charge against Assange accusing him of conspiring to violate computer hacking laws.

Assange, recently extracted from London's Ecuadorian embassy after his hosts there tired of his presence, is already serving a yearlong sentence in Britain for jumping bail in a sexual assault case. He already faces extradition to the U.S. on computer-crime charges—and possibly to Sweden, where prosecutors revived the assault case after his arrest.

Many U.S. media outlets were first to publish Wikileaks' material, working directly with Assange, and some won Pulitzer prizes for it. As University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck puts it:

"The issue isn't whether Assange is a "journalist"; this will be a major test case because the text of the _Espionage Act_ doesn't distinguish between what Assange allegedly did and what mainstream outlets sometimes do, even if the underlying facts/motives are radically different."

The actual whistleblower/leaker in the case, Chelsea Manning, served several years in jail for it. She is currently being held again, after rufusing to give further evidence to a grand jury in the Assange case. Read the rest

Reporters who quote ums and ahs only make themselves look bad

Here's an interesting example of how journalists sometimes use a version of the facts to support faleshoods. Check out the following, posted by Daily Mail reporter David Martosko, quoting a teenager on Trump's use of the racist "Pocahontas" slur.

At the Elizabeth Warren rally I asked a 17-year-old supporter who will vote next year to comment on Trump's "Pocahontas" nickname for the senator. This is a verbatim transcript of her answer.

"I think that it's really hypocritical because not only is he making fun of someone for like, something that she didn't really like, say, um, but I do feel like he says so many like, racial slurs against like, and she just like presents themselves to be like, so like negative towards like minorities and stuff like that, that the fact that he is mocking her and calling her Pocahontas when he does nothing for Native American rights is really freaking dumb.

What Martosko wanted to establish here was that the teen—and perhaps by implication young Warren supporters in general—is confused and foolish. He did this by including all the ums and ahs of speech, filler terms such as "like", and extraneous commas.

Most people saw this "verbatim" text for what it was, and Martosko was thoroughly ratioed by readers.

But what, like, is going here?

The fact is that most of us talk just as the teen did, when challenged to speak extemporaneously. This can be true of even polished and well-prepared speakers. Listen to politicans and pundits on cable news panels, with an ear for the fillers, and you might be surprised. Read the rest

Gizmodo to be acquired for second time in 4 years

“Private equity firm Great Hill Partners has agreed to acquire Gizmodo Media Group from Univision, forming a new company led by digital media exec Jim Spanfeller,” reports the Wall Street Journal's Benjamin Mullin. Read the rest

Intelligence officials sue to end pre-publication government review of writings

The action was brought in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland, against DNI Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, NSA Director Paul Nakasone, and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

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