Take that, Detroit!
The problem was the southern states were still rebelicious.
Cover art mainly by Earle K. Bergey
There’s a nice city.
Well, it’s been long enough between posts. So long that I’ve graduated since my last post.
Anyways, one of the issues I have with the news media is that we have a tendancy to confuse events with news. Events aren’t news. Events are the raw materials of news stories; journalists should take events and attach things like context to get news. Physicists have a saying: “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Well, journalists ought to take that to heart.
One of the biggest offenders in that regard is one of my favorite news sources: Politico, an online newspaper devoted to political journalism. They take a normal journalistic virtue — breaking news — and turn it on its head through the 24-hour news cycle that news sites have to live by.
So today I got a Breaking News Alert e-mailed to me about a speech on Middle East policy President Obama just made. I click on the link and it takes me to a story headlined Obama: “We face an historic opportunity.”
The story is just a summary of the speech, I’m going to assume because everyone else was putting out stories about the speech or broadcasting it live with follow-up on-air summaries and they decided to put it up as fast as possible.
Unfortunately, the need for speed resulted in a story that lacks context. It’s a record of an event, not a story. The interesting bit, the kernal of story, were in the third and seventh paragraphs. In the third paragraph, Josh Gerstein quotes Obama as saying “There can be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity.”
This is pretty standard stuff. However, the real meat is where Gerstein wrote, “However, Obama signaled the U.S. would continue to work closely with undemocratic countries like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia because of U.S. interests in preventing terrorism and preserving the flow of energy from the region.”
In other words, the real story is that Obama is telling the Arabs and the world that human rights come second to American policy objectives.
I think we all already knew that, but here is Obama spelling it out in terms that should have foreign policy columnists storming White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s office. Maybe The Daily Caller will get it. They like nailing Obama.
Props to Obama, though, for using the correct “an historic” instead of “a historic.” If only his support for human rights was as strong as his grammatical skills.
Given not only how irregularly he updates his blog, but how few of his posts are actually relevant to his topic, one would think from reading Paul Anthony Ita’s Details are Sketchy (Humor and Comicality in the Pioneer Valley) that the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts is the most depressed spot on the planet.
He has written 35 posts since starting last February, or approximately one every 10 days. It’s better than I’m doing. But of his posts, only 12 have anything to do with humor in the Pioneer Valley and most of those are plugs for his sketch troupe, Side of Toast.
I can’t help but find this lack of material disturbing, especially since I’ve been at the University of Massachusetts Amherst since 2007 and I’ve been to dozens of sketch shows and around 100 improv shows. At the end of last semester I found out about the Amherst College and Hampshire College improv troupes and I hope to see them this semester. Student Valley Productions, the registered student organization the three main troupes (Mission: Improvable, Improv With Attitude and Sketch-22) belong to puts on a comedy jam every year. For the past 11 years.
Ita lives in Amherst, so there’s no way he could have missed them for so long.
Thankfully, there’s another explanation from his very own blog. Ipse dixit:
Oh, who am I kidding? I can’t wait to see ‘em go. In fact, the single happiest sight this time of year is not the first of the spring daffodils but rather the sight of college students with all their worldly possessions crammed willy-nilly into their car heading out of town. Sayonara, say I, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out!
No wonder. He hates students so he ignores us and our comedy scene. Which is also his beat. When Dave Weigel made fun of the people he covered he was fired from his blogging job, even though it never impacted his coverage. This guy hates most of the people he covers—it probably also explains why he’s never published anything about any of the stand-up acts or open-mic nights. I bet he hates stand-up.
What an arrogant prick.
So Details are Sketchy is just another example of the false advertising plaguing the blogosphere.
But, when I misspell “protesters” in The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, I can rest-assured that I’m a student journalist and I’m not getting paid somewhere around the poverty line to work on a news outlet read by at least tens of thousands of people each day.
So when The Daily Caller not only publishes a story headlined “Protestors gather as Supreme Court hears Westboro Baptist Chuch case,” not only spells the word correctly in the article itself, but leaves the headline uncorrected for over 24 hours, I start to feel all the better about my job prospects.
I can see my resume now: “Can spell words good, grammar need work some.”