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July 14, 2009

I'll Pretend If You Will

Oddly enough, I saw this the other night: Teen Fatally Stabbed at Oak Forest Party

Well, saw in the sense that I mosied past the scene, watched the crowd, wondered what happened as an ambulance pulled away. It's a quiet burb, and something like this doesn't happen very often. I've even been in that very house, many, many years ago at a classmate's third grade birthday party.

The story, of course, is the usual rundown you often get. Nice kid, well-liked, killed tragically. Fairly cursory media coverage.

Then there is the comments section on the newspaper's website. They've since done some scrubbing, but it was kind of amazing that the commenters were explaining what happened in far more depth and detail than the reporters. The deleted comments laid out a story of drug dealers, cocaine, and money gone wrong. What's stranger is the editorial choice to clean the comments about the victim while leaving intact the one about the suspect.

It's just interesting how we report these things. Assuming the deleted comments were truish (and they seemed plausible to me from what I know of the situation), it seems we often scrub the bad out of any seedy story, pretend as if these events are random and unexplainable. As if a drug deal gone wrong is as unavoidable as a bolt of lightning falling from the sky. With Chicago sunk deep into an epidemic of youth murders and violence, the local media seem to have elevated this sort of papering over to an art form. One story last year detailed a twelve or thirteen year-old kid murdered for cash. The coverage was the usual "My baby was a nice boy and never did anything wrong." Flowers, vigils, the victim well-liked and friendly, smiling in school photos.

And partially running an illegal gambling ring with ties to drugs and gang violence.

But they'll get to that. Eventually. After everyone has moved on to the next tragic story.

Isn't part of solving a problem admitting you have one in the first place? If the media can barely bring themselves to mention the causes for the violence, why do they keep pretending to ask what they are in those banal, soul-searching editorials about the horror and mystery of it all?

I'm all for sensitivity to victims, but at some point the constant, pitying whitewashing starts working against uncovering what is wrong with this city.

May 10, 2006

Reuters' Day of Atonement?


George Bush sure has been taking a drubbing lately, and no one has drubbed quite as mightily as the "journalists" from Reuterville.  So now that Bush's poll numbers have tanked, does that mean Reuters is going softer on him now?

Take this photo from an event today, showing the "caring" side of the President:


Perhaps they are making up for this:


Or other past media sins like this from USA Today:


Or this from "NBC Nightly News":


Although I suppose that last one could have just been NBC's secret shout-out to tennis fans.

May 04, 2006

Junk Science


What is it with some people's almost pornographic obsession with Fox News Channel?  (Disclosure: I almost never get my news from television.  I don't much care for it.)

The Washington Post reports today on a "study" that purports to show that George Bush might "owe" his 2000 election victory to FNC:

"Our estimates imply that Fox News convinced 3 to 8 percent of its audience to shift its voting behavior towards the Republican Party, a sizable media persuasion effect," said Stefano DellaVigna of the University of California at Berkely [sic] and Ethan Kaplan of Stockholm University.

In Florida alone, they estimate, the Fox effect may have produced more than 10,000 additional votes for Bush -- clearly a decisive factor in a state he carried by fewer than 600 votes.

My, what a modest claim to make!  But it sounds to me like a textbook case of a "Post Hoc Fallacy."  Event B occurs after Event A; therefore, Event A must be the cause of Event B.

What kind of bullshit science is this, anyway?  Actually, it is a 51-page piece of bullshit science called "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting."

Admittedly, I have not yet read the whole paper.  And maybe the authors think I am supposed to be impressed and/or intimidated by things like this:


Or perhaps they want to lull me into submission with stultifying passages like: "The Fox News effect could be a temporary learning effect for rational voters, or a permanent effect for voters subject to non-rational persuasion."

But the fact remains that, nowhere in the "study" (to my reading) or in the related media reports have they established cause, only contemporaneousness.

The argument is that Fox News was the reason that people voted more conservatively.  But couldn't the opposite be just as true?  That is, couldn't Fox owe its existence to a rightward political trend that was already in progress?

Because FNC was created in 1996, why should I not claim that the "Republican Revolution" of 1994 was the "cause" of Fox News?  Only two years separated those two events.  What explains the electoral bath the Republicans took in 1998, only two years after the creation of Fox?

And how would the authors explain the countering effect of the measured left-leaning bias of almost every other media outlet, whose combined reach is infinitely greater than Fox?  The answer is, they don't, and their failure to do so makes their agenda all the more transparent.

Admittedly, it was a great way for DellaVigna and Kaplan to get publicity, especially among the vast numbers of reporters who loathe Fox.  But if a guy like me with only one college-level statistics course under his belt can see through them, why can't the WaPo?

May 02, 2006

Suck It, Drudge


I know Matt Drudge viscerally hates all things left-wing, a category in which Stephen Colbert is now firmly ensconced, but what is this poorly punctuated bullshit about, exactly?:


So he's trying to humiliate a show that comes on at 11:30 p.m. by comparing it to the prime-time line-up of a competing network?

Isn't it also significant that "The Colbert Report," a relatively new show, is already out-pacing the entire prime-time schedules of CNN, MSNBC and Headline News, and is nearly even with Fox's 11 p.m. hour?

Stupid Walter-Winchell-wannabe queer.

Developing ...

March 13, 2006

Mind Your G's, L's, B's, T's and Q's

Malbug_13GLAAD claims victory in the gay language wars; vows to mount charge up Bisexual Hill.

February 28, 2006

The Minister and the Media

Everyone seems a bit up in arms about the recent appointment by President Bush of the Rev. Herbert H. Lusk II to a position on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Whereas the other appointments to the panel seem almost uncharacteristically appropriate, I thought I'd poke and prod around a bit to figure out who the minister with close ties to Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council is. Upfront, the man is fairly hostile to us mo's. However, gay media are once again being brutally dishonest to their readers.

Continue reading "The Minister and the Media" »

January 11, 2006

More Dishonesty From the Gay Media

This is getting tiresome. In this article, 365gay.com purports to give its gay readership the relevant details on the Samuel Alito confirmation hearings. What do they note? They cite Ted Kennedy's shameful McCarthyite attempts to smear Alito based on what someone else has said. The senator quoted statements written by people who Judge Alito has most probably never met, but were fellow members of Concerned Alumni of Princeton. Statement after vile statement that Kennedy attempted to use as associative guilt, even though there is no evidence - none - that Alito shares any of those sentiments. In fact, there are sheafs of testimony from women and minorities on what an exemplary man Alito has been in treating those around him with equality and respect.

What does this news article not mention? It does not mention that during Kennedy's questioning, another homosexual issue came up concerning this case where Alito ruled with the majority, "holding that a school district did not provide a high school student with a free and appropriate public education, as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, when it failed to protect the student from bullying by fellow students who taunted the student based on his lack of athleticism and his perceived sexual orientation."

If the gay media were remotely interested in informing their readers of all the relevant facts of the hearings, at least a minor note of this case and Alito's comments on it would have been made. Instead, it seems 365gay.com and other publications are more invested in providing their readers with the Democratic highlight reel.

Are there actual journalists in the gay media, or is it safe to assume it mostly consists of mouthpieces for the HRC and other unabashedly partisan groups?

January 05, 2006

O'Reilly, "Fair and Balanced" As Usual on Gays

Malbug_13I actually tuned in to O'Reilly last night – something I rarely do – to see how he would handle the hubbub surrounding his Tuesday night interview on Letterman.  What I got was a lot of preening and self-congratulatory blather that, frankly, wasn't worth bothering anyone else with.

But what I also got was more of Bill's ongoing, zoo-visitor-like fascination with the gays.

While he frequently covers all things gay, last night he was just getting around to the "battle" – cable news loves that word – over gay-rights activists' decision to (quite legally) post the names and addresses of Massachusetts citizens who chose to sign petitions that would put an antigay-marriage measure on the ballot.  (The Malcontent covered this breaking news about four months ago.)

O'Reilly was positively apoplectic about this, of course, and took the side of the man representing the "family" group.  (Aside: Do you think if it were made known to organizations like AFA that when we see a queer guy, we say, "Oh, he's family!" that they would quit bogarting that word?)  It was funny how Bill's fair-and-balanced take on this "battle" doesn't also include the thousands of potentially fraudulent signatures on the petitions.  But these things do slip the mind.

This being "The Factor," there was a lot more heat than light.  But if anything good came out of it, I suppose, it is that the additional traffic Bill generated for knowthyneighbor.org produced a trickle-down effect of mouth-breathers who came to our site and goosed the readership stats.

I hope that at least they have been getting off on our "L Word" ad.

[Watch video – 7:17, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 7:17, WMV format, low bandwidth]

UPDATE: I should have mentioned O'Reilly's little "dolphin marriage" thing I kept at the end of the video clip.  I can't tell you how much the "slippery slope" argument pisses me off.  Anyone who truly believes this issue is a straight line to legalized marriage with aquatic mammals is not a serious participant in the debate.

Millions of my countrymen watch this idiot, and yet "Arrested Development" gets canceled.  Take me home now, Lord.

December 21, 2005

The Evil Brokeback Agenda

Oreilly I waded into the morass of the O'Reilly Factor so you, dear readers, don't have to. Tonight, Bill asked whether or not there is a liberal or homosexual agenda behind the heavy promotion of Ang Lee's film in newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post.

Bill's guests included entertainment reporter Jeanne Wolf and conservative movie critic Michael Medved. It's an interesting discussion on media bias, with nice things said all around about the film, but also typical posturing about the "homosexual agenda" being "rammed down throats."

O'Reilly does have a fairly amusing response to a question posed by Wolf at the end of the segment.

Malco-vision has the clip.

[Watch video – 7:27, WMV format, high bandwidth]

[Watch video – 7:27, WMV format, low bandwidth]

December 12, 2005

Notes on a Run Down Media

Two stories in two days. Which strikes you as far more important than the other? Which do you think made media headlines while the other passed fairly unnoticed?

Story One:

Saddam Hussein loyalists who violently opposed January elections have made an about-face as Thursday's polls near, urging fellow Sunni Arabs to vote and warning al Qaeda militants not to attack.

In a move unthinkable in the bloody run-up to the last election, guerrillas in the western insurgent heartland of Anbar province say they are even prepared to protect voting stations from fighters loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Story Two:

Al-Qaida in Iraq and four other Islamic extremist groups denounced this week's parliamentary elections as a "satanic project" that violated God's law, but they stopped short of an explicit threat Monday to attack polling stations.

If you guessed Story Two made big headlines while Story One was largely ignored, you're merely ordinarily prescient.

For those who believe the idea of an American media cheering for American defeat is hyperbole, I need only point to the above to prove otherwise.

December 03, 2005

Capitalism is Mystifying

The economy is thriving, gas prices are falling ($1.99 here in the burbs), but worry not, pessimists of the world. The New York Times is here to ensure we feel as lousy as possible about all things in perpetuity . . . or at least until a Democrat is in the White House. Howard Kurtz lays it out:

Gregg Easterbrook's rule that All Economic News is Bad was effectively illustrated by yesterday's NYT front-pager, "Upbeat Signs Hold Cautions for the Future." The article notes several positive economic trends, including lower gas prices, but then warns darkly that

... as always with the United States economy, it is not quite that simple.

For every encouraging sign, there is an explanation. ...[snip]  Gasoline prices - the national average is now $2.15, according to the Energy Information Administration - have fallen because higher prices held down demand and Gulf Coast supplies have been slowly restored. [Emph. added.]

It's indeed deeply disturbing to learn that higher gas prices have held down demand, causing those prices to fall back to a level at which demand begins to rise again! It's almost as if some insidious law was at work--as prices rise, demand declines! As supply increases, prices fall! You can't win! ... P.S.: The price drop might be alarming if the decline in demand for gas reflected a general economic downturn. But that doesn't seem to be the case. What the NYT's Vikak Bajaj ominously describes is the market working exactly as it's supposed to, coupled with successful rebuilding efforts on the Gulf Coast. It appears to be "quite that simple." ... P.P.S.: Nor can I spot any "cautions for the future."

A New York Times reporter finds capitalism disturbing.

No. Really.

h/t Karol

December 02, 2005

I Miss You Most of All, Scare Quotes


The scare quotes have once again mysteriously gone missing in Reuterville.  The "news service" that refers to Osama bin Laden as a "terrorist" (scare quotes included) is once again struck completely credulous when it comes to pathological dissembler Kim Jong Il:

N.Korea ready to scrap nuclear plans for better ties: envoy

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea is ready to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs if it can better its relations with the United States, Japan and South Korea, China's envoy to Seoul was quoted as saying on Friday.

Chinese Ambassador Ning Fukui said in a meeting with a key South Korean lawmaker that building trust between Pyongyang and Washington was essential for advancing six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. [...]

After putting that story through the Truth-O-Matic 9000, it reads:

N.Korea "ready" to "scrap" nuclear plans for better ties: envoy

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea is "ready" to "dismantle" its nuclear weapons programs if it can better its relations with the United States, Japan and South Korea, China's envoy to Seoul was quoted as saying on Friday.

Chinese Ambassador Ning Fukui said in a meeting with a key South Korean lawmaker that building "trust" between Pyongyang and Washington was essential for advancing six-party talks aimed at "ending" North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. [...]

(I was originally going to call this post "Gullible's Travels" until I arrived at the current headline, after which I found someone else at a far-flung blog had already used a similar idea for Reuters.  But I decided to keep it anyway, and screw you if you think I ripped you off!)

November 23, 2005

Behold the Next Generation of "Reporters"

Malbug_13Robert Jensen embodies everything that is evil and self-destructive about the tenure system on U.S. college campuses:

One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting. [...]

But in the United States, this reluctance to acknowledge our original sin -- the genocide of indigenous people -- is of special importance today. It's now routine -- even among conservative commentators -- to describe the United States as an empire, so long as everyone understands we are an inherently benevolent one. Because all our history contradicts that claim, history must be twisted and tortured to serve the purposes of the powerful. [Emphasis mine]

"All our history" contradicts the United States as a benevolent power.  Indeed.  This is so self-delusional and incendiary that such excrescence doesn't even merit a response.

But what's most dangerous about Robert Jensen is not that he is teaching some far-left subject steeped in identity politics and victimhood, such as "gender studies"; he is teaching journalism.  (On second thought, I am probably being redundant.)  [HT: Malkin]

November 22, 2005

What Passes for Humor At CNN

Malbug_13The Manhattan Offender brings us a little ho-ho-homophobia from CNN anchor Rick Sanchez.

If this had happened on Fox News, the howls of protest would be deafening.  But alas, it was on the "favored" network of the liberal elite.

November 14, 2005

The Gay GOP: Here, Queer, You Know the Rest


If you're a gay Republican or conservative, chances are that you have grown a thick skin against epithets like "Uncle Tom" or "traitor."  They are made by left-leaning echo-chamber types who are blinded by the brilliance of their own rightness, or who are just too lazy to try to understand legitimate differences between human beings.  That attitude is usually evinced by the gay press, as well, despite the duty of journalists to be dispassionate, seek truth and challenge conventional wisdom.

But sometimes the gay press can surprise, covering gay Republicans and conservatives like they don't have a third eye growing from their foreheads.

Kudos to the Gay & Lesbian Times for making quick work of the canard that such gays are "oxymorons."

Continue reading "The Gay GOP: Here, Queer, You Know the Rest" »

November 10, 2005

America On-Left


Has anyone else noticed an awful lot of AOL headlines like the one below?  I visit AOL's main page quite often, and it seems to me that there has been a little too much GOP-derived schadenfreude going on for what is supposed to be a news site:

AOL headline

November 08, 2005

Mary Mapes Gets SWOTted!


Today Mary Mapes's hotly anticipated book "Truth and Duty," a behind-the-scenes look at her role in the "Rathergate" scandal that brought down the CBS anchorman and dealt a near-fatal blow to 60 Minutes, is released.  And The Malcontent couldn't let the moment go by without peeing all over her parade, so we are dusting off an old feature in her honor:  the SWOT Analysis.

Now, several readers in the past have asked what a "SWOT" is.  It is basically a "PR 101" technique whereby a public relations expert analyzes a client's strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and threats in the external world, in order to help them better communicate.

So congratulations, Mary!  You've been SWOTted!  (Click to enlarge.)


UPDATE: Mapes makes her case (lamely) on ABC.

November 05, 2005

Sins of Omission

Can YOU find the missing word in this AP article?

Youths armed with gasoline bombs fanned out from Paris' poor, troubled suburbs to shatter the tranquility of leafier towns, torching 900 vehicles, a nursery school and other targets, police said Saturday, in the worst wave of arson since the urban violence began more than a week ago.

Hrm. Youths. Yes, youths are involved. What kinds of youths?

Continue reading "Sins of Omission" »

November 01, 2005

Liberals Dig Deep for Media "Bias"


Liberal journalists take Republic of T's advice not to cover stories where they might have a bias; newsrooms empty out from New York to L.A.

October 31, 2005

Reporter's True Calling: Porn


Not since White House reporter Cyrus Merganthaler asked if William Howard Taft was able to wash his scrotum on his own has there been such insolence among the White House press corps.

John Roberts (the CBS anchor helmet, not the CJOTUS) today asked WH Press Secretary Scott McClellan if the Samuel Alito nomination, in the wake of the failed Miers bid, amounted to a term that is synonymous with ... ummm ... having sex with someone who was just sex-had-with:

John Roberts: “So, Scott, you said that -- or the President said, repeatedly, that Harriet Miers was the best person for the job. So does that mean that Alito is sloppy seconds, or what?”

McClellan's response mysteriously didn't involve a Ninja throwing star.

UPDATE: Roberts culps mea, tone was "too casual."