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Month: December 2004

Acts of criminal intent

If you pay attention to the right wing of the political blog world, you’ll perhaps have noticed the argument that the AP “act[s] as mouthpieces of terrorist organizations.” Why? Because a stringer for the AP took pictures of an election worker being killed in Baghdad. Indeed, the AP is “participating in murder.” Yowza. That sounds really bad.

As it happens, Ryan of the Dead Parrot Society is a blogger and a journalist. He has the advantage of a) being level-headed and b) knowing a little bit about news photography. So his takedown is worth reading. My favorite excerpt:

So where was the photographer most likely standing when he got these shots? Hey, you know that Glenn Reynolds, he’s a camera buff, so why not ask him: If you were a professional photographer carrying professional equipment optimized for shooting pictures in a war zone (where you might not want to be right up close to the action), how far away could you have been and still gotten these shots? Actually, you don’t have to ask Glenn, because I just spoke with a news photographers on our staff. Judging by the perspective and clarity on the image above, he estimates that the photographer in Baghdad was using a 300-millimeter lens from about a block away. “From a very safe distance,” he said.

The disadvantage of being all pure and innocent of the mechanics of news reporting is that sometimes you say something really stupid because you don’t know anything about the mechanics of news reporting. You might say that a war photographer has to be really close to the action to photograph it, for example.

But follow the link, and don’t rely on my recap of stuff Ryan already said. The entire media category over there is worth reading, in fact; Ryan has a great perspective on this stuff. He’s a serious blogger and he’s one of the guys who brought the concept of blogging to newspapers.

Well done

Credit where credit is due on tsunami relief: Bush is sending an aircraft carrier and working closely with several nations in the region on relief efforts. Also, as expected, there will be future monetary support as the U.S. Agency for International Development requests additional funds.

I still think it’d be a good gesture to cancel the inauguration and redirect those funds, but that’s me.

Lunchtime Poll #7

Li asks, “I’ve often said that one of the best science-fiction authors whose work you probably aren’t reading is Connie Willis. Along the same lines, what’s the best game that I’m probably not playing?”

Well, I am reading Connie Willis, but I would recommend Primetime Adventures. It isn’t necessarily an easy game to figure out, but the screen presence and fan mail systems at the very least illuminate often under-considered aspects of roleplaying and at the best they produce some really fun play.

Are you now

Hugh Hewitt has a fairly revealing piece this morning calling for reporters to answer a short questionnaire.

What questions would I like answered? Very simple ones: For whom did the reporter vote for president in the past five elections?  Do they attend church regularly and if so, in which denomination?  Do they believe that the late-term abortion procedure known as partial birth abortion should be legal? Do they believe same sex marriage ought to be legal?  Did they support the invasion of Iraq?  Do they support drilling in ANWR?

If I know the answers to those ten questions, I can quickly decide what degree of trust with which to approach a reporter’s reporting.  Even “low trust” reporters can earn trust, of course, but degrees of suspicion are a fact of life.  Only MSM pretends otherwise, and bloggers have exposed that pretension as the fiction it really is, even if most of MSM want to continue the charade.

Got that? His degree of trust in any given reporter depends on whether or not they believe same sex marriage should be legal. It depends on whether or not they support drilling for oil in ANWR. It depends on not only their church-going habits, but what denomination they belong to. Unitarian Universalists need not apply?

He sets up for the list of questions by noting that everyone brings baggage to the reporting of the news, and thus argues that if you’re not willing to reveal that baggage, you’re untrustworthy. But then he makes the jump to asserting that it’s not just the revelation of the baggage that matters, it’s what the baggage is. It’s not “if those ten questions are answered,” it’s “the answers to those ten questions.” This is no more and no less than an ideological-based test for reporters, and it’s disgusting.


[Ed: still with apologies to Television Without Pity. And to anyone who’s confused by this, actually…]

This week on Dungeon Majesty: Oliver suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous childhood, Cassie and Millie get hit on by a swim team, Alvin gets a job, Andrew uncovers secrets, and Ferdinand is mostly away this episode. We’re grumpy about that last.

Putting it together

Bush’s inauguration will cost between 30 and 40 million dollars, before the cost of security is added. We have, so far, sent around 15 million dollars in tsunami relief aid. Quite the contrast.

I’m fairly sure we’ll send more money over the course of the next month or so. I also think we’d earn a lot of good will if we cancelled the inauguration and put the unspent money towards relief. It would hurt some American companies, yes, but chances are nobody would die of it.

This entry is pretty much just the result of this post and this post in close proximity.


[Ed: with apologies to Television Without Pity.]

Will Maggie Gyllenhaal free herself from an over-protective mother? Will Philip Seymour Hoffman overcome a slight case of being Philip Seymour Hoffman? Will Owen Wilson ever stop being cute, and/or find a distributor for his documentary? Will William H. Macy discover yet another way to lose an election? And most important, will your humble recapper be able to remain coherent despite continuous references to that geeky game she always ignored in high school? We won’t find out this week, except maybe for that last one, but at least the wheels will be in motion.