Jon Stewart on the NRA Convention


So much to appreciate here…

  • Pointing out both sides use fear to promote their agenda — one of my BIGGEST complaints with our political system.
  • Showing the irony in calling the government the evil tyrant that we must protect ourselves from and then applauding the government for being the good guys.
  • Pointing out that there’s no way to always know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are — and if they’ll always stay that way.
  • And pointing out that if a good guy becomes a bad guy (as sometimes happens) in the NRA’s mindset, you’ve already given them a gun.

A co-worker pointed out last week that if the real reason we need guns is to protect us from the evil tyrant of a government – he wants an F-16. Because an AR-15 isn’t going to protect him from the largest military in the world.

I agree.

Seems we’re going to either really have to up our own personal weapons arsenal – or drastically downgrade the U.S. military.

Also – for some additional fun, The Daily Show came to Dallas this past week to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

The clincher line – “They do the jobs we don’t want to do, staying sober and staying politically engaged.”

Making your message relevant

Jim Wallis and Jon Stewart are such a great combination…

Wallis was on the Daily Show Wednesday night talking about his new book, “Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street.”
Continue reading Making your message relevant

U2’s The Edge enters the wrestling business

Jonathan and Shawn Michaels
Jonathan & HBK

Apparently a week or so ago, “my best friend” Shawn Michaels was interviewed before his match with WWE Superstar Edge (Adam Copeland). The brilliant journalist apparently mixed up The Edge of U2 with Edge of WWE. Way to go.

Thanks to the Wrestling Observer for the transcript.

MARIA: Shawn Michaels, tonight you’re facing The Edge. Do you think you can win?
SHAWN: I’ll tell you what, Maria, I — did you just call him The Edge?
MARIA: [nods proudly]
SHAWN: …okay. You asked me if you thought I could win too, didn’tcha?
MARIA: [nods proudly]
SHAWN: I dunno, I guess now that I think about it, yeah! Yeah, I do think I can win. Especially after last week. You know something, Shelton Benjamin I have to admit gave me a run for my money last week. Shelton Benjamin, you are the finest piece of young talent that I have faced in this industry in the last 20 years, and you my friend have an incredibly bright future. Now that notwithstanding, someone’s future who is not looking so bright is … [points at Maria] The Edge! Haha! The name problems aside, he’s facing the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels.

Quality journalism there.

We had a discussion today in our office (however brief it was) about problems in journalism reporting.

This Monday, Newsweek magazine reported that a story that ran on May 9 was inaccurate. Now, an error in a news story is not that shocking, but the results of mistake is where the horror comes in.

The Newsweek article reported that U.S. military investigators had confirmed that personal at a Cuba detention center had flushed the Koran down the toilet as a means to get al-Queda and Taliban operatives to talk.

While it may seem harmless, 16 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in Afghanistan when angry protests were sparked from the report.

Desecration of the Koran is punishable by death in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Egypt, Saudia Arabia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and The Arab League have all condemned the report.

Now Newsweek Editor Mark Whitaker said he regretted that any part of the story was wrong.

“We extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst,” Whitaker wrote in the Monday, May 16 issue.

The magazine said that the information had come from a “knowledgeable government source.” Only now the source said he could not be certain he had seen the account of the Koran incident.

What does it say about our media, when we’re so pressed to get a news story that we find one “knowledgeable government source” to base an entire story on? What happened to being “democracy’s guardian angel?”

For some reason, “find at least three sources for every story” still echoes in my head from my journalism classes.

Where have we, as the media, gone wrong?

Where did we cross the line that having an exclusive or keeping advertisers happy became the standard?

Why are we as a country more concerned with who testifies in Michael Jackson’s case or Kobe Bryant’s case, than the continent of Africa going up in flames with an AIDS crisis?

When did covering a congressional hearing on steroid abuse become more important than covering the thousands of lives that have been lost to civil war in the Darfur region?

Recent reports confirm that up to 400,000 people have died in Darfur as a result of the government-sponsored genocide. The New York Times reported recently that President Bush has actually asked Congress to delete provisions about Darfur from upcoming legislation.

Yet while this genocide continues to go on, the top stories online are, “Abu Ghraib abuser sentenced to six months prison” and “British lawmakers ask Congress to back off.”

According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, “News is the reporting of current events usually by local, regional or mass media in the form of newspapers, television and radio programs, or sites on the World Wide Web. News reporting is a type of journalism, typically written or broadcast in news style. Most news is investigated and presented by journalists (or reporters) and often distributed via news agencies. If the content of news is significant enough, it eventually becomes history.

“To be considered news, an event usually must have broad interest due to one or more news values:

  • Impact (how many people were, are or will be affected?)
  • Timeliness (did the event occur very recently?)
  • Revelation (is there significant new information, previously unknown?)
  • Proximity (was the event nearby geographically?)
  • Entertainment (does it make for a fun story?)
  • Oddity (was the event highly unusual?)
  • Celebrity (was anyone famous involved?)

“News coverage often includes the “five W’s and the H” — who, what, where, when, why, and how.”

That last news value always upsets me.

So I think the real question is, who decides what the news is?

Does the public decide? With some of the phone calls and press releases I get, I have trouble believing sometimes the general public knows what news is. But granted, we are a hometown newspaper, where hometown events, however small, are important.

Maybe instead, managing editors and publishers who know the business side of the paper should decide what the news is.

Or maybe, we should leave it up to the wide-eyed, green journalism interns.

I don’t know for certain.

I don’t think anyone really knows. But we must keep the discussion open.

John Stewart discusses journalism in his book, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction. And Stewart was more than willing to discuss the media with his usual sarcastic wit.

When the U.S.S. Maine was sunk in the late 1800’s, Stewart reports that the papers were more than willing to tell the story as they saw fit.

“The pairs blend of fiction, bigotry and jingoism became known as ‘Yellow Journalism,'” Stewart writes. “Later the term was shortened to ‘Journalism.'”

A free, honest and independent press is essential to democracy.

Without it, we might as well all take out lifetime subscriptions to the Thrifty Nickel.

“By removing the investigative aspect of investigative journalism, today’s modern media finally has the time to pursue the ultimate goal the founding fathers invisioned for news gathering organizations,” Stewart writes. “To raise the stock price of the media empire that owns them.”