How I want to look at online media during terrible events

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I think the latest Ask Amy video covers a some of my thoughts about how we view stuff online, and how to find better images to fill our minds and brains with. It’s hard not to seek out news stories when something happens, but it also felt wrong to me at the same time. I’m aware that a lot of the media coverage of the Boston bombing was probably very distorted – the facts on the ground weren’t known completely, and people tweeting and video posting events from their point of view can be a window into events or a fun-house mirror that tells us more about ourselves than it does about what’s actually happening. If people need information on how to grow their online media, they can visit here and get help.

I think stepping back from the flood of information online – especially when I don’t know the veracity or relevance of it – is a good idea. I think a lot of my fascination with and time spent on the events in Boston was in observing how social media was spreading information around (that has gained 1k views recently), which is an interesting inquiry, but I’m not exactly a viral expert (it’s not my job to watch these patterns of information), so it’s an exercise in navel-gazing that isn’t exactly productive or enriching to my psyche.

In contrast, though, I’ve started to see the “I don’t want to know who he is or why he did what he did” meme going around facebook already. I’m uncomfortable with that reaction. I agree that we don’t want to glorify people who do terrible things with a spot in history, but I also hate the idea that we just accept that things happen without assigning blame on the responsible parties. If we listen to the guy’s manifesto, we can counter it with messages about why he’s wrong, which I think is important.

Because I don’t believe we have to just accept that “bad things happen,” or that we can’t create change because we clearly can. I think holding people accountable is important, and proving that they are wrong in their wrong beliefs advances us culturally to be more civilized and to have opportunities for more rewarding lives. If you had told me 15 years ago that our country would accept and allow gay marriage in our lifetime, cynical me would not have believed it for a second. But change is coming on that front, and it a good way. We can change the way the world thinks, the way they believe. It may be a long and arduous process, but we have done it countless times in the past, and we can do it again.

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links for 2011-09-27

  • These aren't those women. They're how dudes want to imagine those women would be — what Wire creator David Simon called writing "men with t*ts." They read like men's voices coming out of women's faces. Or worse, they read like the straight girls who make out with each other clubs, not because they enjoy making out with women but because they desperately want guys to pay attention to them. This is not about these women wanting things; it's about men wanting to see them do things, and that takes something that really should be empowering — the idea that women can own their sexuality — and transforms it into yet another male fantasy. It takes away the actual power of the women and turns their "sexual liberation" into just another way for dudes to get off. And that is at least ten times as gross as regular cheesecake, minimum.
  • The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media has done a 20 year study and put together some surprising stats about how women are portrayed in entertainment and the media. For example, in G-rated movies, 81 percent of the adults who hold jobs are male, and none of the women who do have jobs hold positions in science, medicine, law, business, politics, or the like. F.or every female character, there are three more male characters. We know that the more hours of television a girl watches, the fewer options she thinks she has in life,” she said. “So there’s clearly a very, very strong message coming through — that boys are picking up too, by the way — that girls can’t do as many things as boys can.” She's provided the statistics to studio heads, who are committing to changing the way women are portrayed on TV.
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Journalists vs. Pundits

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I disagree with about 90% of what Meghan McCain believes in, but in general I think she’s a likable girl. I think part of that is because in the back of my head, I think she’s really a closeted liberal just waiting for the light bulb to go on so she can come out of the conservative closet. Today she’s pretty far off base, though.

Today on the Daily Beast she’s commenting on Keith Olbermann’s temporary suspension from MSNBC for making campaign donations. Her point there is that he shouldn’t have been suspended, because she doesn’t think he’s a journalist.

Olbermann needs to determine if he is a commentator or a journalist. It never really crossed my mind that he was considered a journalist by anyone, just like I never assumed that anyone considers Glenn Beck a journalist. And, for the record, neither does he. Both Beck and Bill O’Reilly (as recently as his appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher) said they fall on the commentary side of the network. This is the state of the media.

I’d like to call bullshit on this one. It is indeed true that Beck and O’Reilly ARE actually “commentators” or rather pundits, and that they are not journalists. Journalists tend to have a much better relationship with the facts than either of these guys. The professional goal for journalists is to uncover the truth – Beck and O’Reilly, on the other hand, are interested in pushing their point of view and have only a vague notion of what the truth might be, because they aren’t really interested in it.

But 90% of the viewing public doesn’t realize that Beck and O’Reilly are pundits rather than journalists. Most of them think that what they see on Fux “News” is actually news, provided to them by actual journalists. They don’t make any sort of distinction between journalists and “commentators.” In fact, that’s exactly what Beck and O’Reilly are counting on – that their “commentary” be mistaken for real, investigated, researched journalism.

So that line of “I never assumed that anyone considers Glenn Beck a journalist” is all kinds of bull. The vast majority of the viewing audience considers that to be so, Meghan, because they don’t know any better. And I’ll bet Beck and O’Reilly aren’t going to be thrilled that you’re musing about those sorts of distinctions publicly.

So Olbermann – journalist or pundit? Journalist, in my view. He sure does have an opinion, but it’s always in service to uncovering the truth. When he’s wrong, he corrects himself. He reports actual, factual news.

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You say Goth like it’s a bad thing…

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I was kinda surprised at this NYTimes headline this morning on the front page: “Goth: Seems Like You Just Can’t Kill It”

NYTimes inflammatory headlineInflammatory NYTimes Headline

Given that goth kids get harassed and are the targets of violence all over the country, the headline seems rather inflammatory.

And besides that — does someone want Goth to go away? The article is in the style section of the paper because a couple of fashion designers have rediscovered Goth on the runway this year. But Goth is really more of a sociological expression in youth subcultures than a mere fashion statement, and the article seems to trivialize that to show off some catwalk photos.

WEV, NYTimes. You’re not doing youth culture any favors here.

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Democracy Now producer Nicole Salazar films her own arrest

I mentioned in an earlier post that the Minneapolis police arrested journalist Amy Goodman outside the Republican National Convention when she came outside from the floor of the convention after hearing that her producers had been arrested while reporting on the protests outside. This was reported widely in the mainstream press — here is an interview she did with the L.A. Times.

Here is video of the arrest of one of those producers, Nicole Salazar, who had press credentials and clearly identifies herself to the police as they are illegally arresting her.

Continue ReadingDemocracy Now producer Nicole Salazar films her own arrest

Police arrest Journalist Amy Goodman at the Republican National Convention

Police arrest journalist Amy Goodman at the Republican National Convention. She was there to find out what had become of two of her producers, who had been reported arrested as they were covering the protests occuring outside. She had the credentials identifying her as a reporter and had come from the floor of the convention, where she was covering events.

She’s a well-known and respected journalist and had legitimate press credentials; her arrest is pretty surprising. Other coverage of the vent discussed on Salon and also the Washington Post.

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Damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t

The day after Hillary Clinton delivered one of the best political speeches in American history — CNN has come out with this bit of fucking loveliness:

(CNN) — What did Hillary Clinton’s body language give away at the Democratic National Convention?
Dan Hill, a body language expert and author of “Face Time,” told CNN that even while the words Clinton delivered offered an unequivocal endorsement of Barack Obama, her body language was much less affirmative.

“When she spoke about Obama, she really did not emote very much,” Hill said. “The only thing she showed was a very weak smile, the cheeks didn’t tend to lift very much, it was really almost what I would call a ‘crocodile smile’ where even the slight corners of the lips sometimes raise into a little bit of a smirk.”

“I don’t think that helped move the 30 percent of her supporters who say they won’t vote for Obama,” Hill added. “What she did do was appeal to voters at large, that she did more emotionally.”

What the hell do you want the woman to do? Fuck Obama on stage to show how much she supports him? Shine his shoes and iron his shirt on stage? Jesus fucking Christ on god damned cracker.

Clinton just can’t fucking win, no matter what she does or says.

It’s like they want her to fucking apologize for running the first place, and they want those of us who voted for her to apologize for doing it.

FUCK THAT NOISE. Fuck it all to hell.

When the mother fuck are Obama supporters going to learn that SHITTING ALL OVER HILLARY AND HER SUPPORTERS IS NOT GOING TO MAKE THEM WANT TO VOTE FOR HIM?

And the notion that there are 30% of her supporters that “aren’t going to vote for him” is bullshit. We’ll all vote for him if we absolutely have to, but we don’t have to like it, because he isn’t the best candidate.

Continue ReadingDamned if she does and damned if she doesn’t

Financial Times Columnist fails at life

This lovely article on The Financial Times: Lunch with the FT: Gloria Steinem, says By Chrystia Freeland:

For most of this decade, the conventional wisdom has had it that feminism in America is dead – or, at least, irrelevant. The New York Times talked to female students at Yale and found them to be mostly interested in becoming housewives. Sex and the City told us that even the ones who became career girls were more interested in men and Manolos than in their actual careers.

What? That’s what you got out of Sex and the City? FAIL. Please try again.

And more that makes me sigh with irritation:

While I’m a feminist and Steinem is one of my heroes, I didn’t share her enthusiasm for Clinton’s candidacy, partly because getting to the White House by having been married to a president seemed rather more an affirmation of traditional women’s roles than a shattering of the glass ceiling.

So, all the political work she’s done her entire life, and the work she’s done in the Senate mean nothing, compared to “been married to a president”? Jesus – FAIL again. WTF? Read something about Clinton before you say stupid shit, please.

I’m afraid to keep reading the whole thing. I did scroll down to the bottom to note that “Chrystia Freeland is managing editor of the FT’s US edition.”
Holy Maude. That’s really bad.

Continue ReadingFinancial Times Columnist fails at life

WTF? ABC News is full of shit

via Shakevillethis lovely gem appeared on ABC news yesterday.

What the hell is this about? Do they actually think that WE think this is news? Do they think anyone seeing this wouldn’t recognize it for the sexist, misogynist smear job that it is? I was sorta halfway still on the fence between Obama and Clinton, given how close they are on issues, but I’m not anymore. I’m going to vote for Clinton because the media is fucked up. Not a rational reason I know, but I don’t give a shit.

The economy is in the toilet, it’s the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion and other countries are refusing to convert American money for travelers because the dollar is so weak. THIS is what ABC has to say? Unbelieveable.

This is NOT news

Continue ReadingWTF? ABC News is full of shit