the Washington Post

How many mass shootings? Why do media believe everything they read on social media?

The left wing media and bloggers have been spreading around a number, obtained from the Washington Post, of the number of mass shootings this year in the US.

There is a major problem though…the number is a lie…and it took a lefty writer from a left wing outlet, Mother Jones, to bust it open.

On Wednesday, a Washington Post article announced that “The San Bernardino shooting is the second mass shooting today and the 355th this year.” Vox, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, this newspaper and others reported similar statistics. Grim details from the church in Charleston, a college classroom in Oregon and a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado are still fresh, but you could be forgiven for wondering how you missed more than 300 other such attacks in 2015.

At Mother Jones, where I work as an editor, we have compiled an in-depth, open-source database covering more than three decades of public mass shootings. By our measure, there have been four “mass shootings” this year, including the one in San Bernardino, and at least 73 such attacks since 1982.   Read more »

Faces of the day

Lest we forget, today’s faces of the day will remind us. These are powerful images drawn by artists who experienced the horrors of Auschwitz themselves.

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The Nazis did all they could to make their Jewish captives faceless, dressing them in uniforms and tattooing them with numbers that would become their new identities.

In the midst of that horror — indeed, in perhaps the most horrific place a Jew could land at the time — prisoners sought to take their images back and made sure that art was still present.

Franciszek Jaźwiecki, a Polish artist and political prisoner at Auschwitz, made portraits of fellow prisoners. Though the portraits portrayed prisoners of various nationalities and ages, they shared the same haunting quality, according to Agnieszka Sieradzka, an art historian at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

“The most interesting in these portraits are eyes — a very strange helplessness,” she says. “Prisoners created portraits because the desire to have an image was very strong.”

Read more »

Mark Steyn blasts media and many outlets cower in the face of terrorism

Mark Steyn wishes that the media would try at least to find their testicles.

http://youtu.be/WklsCGIfLdQ

The Sunday Star-Times gets a dishonourable mention in the segment.

We saw yesterday the cowardice of the NZ Herald in publishing only those Charlie Hebdo cartoons that offend politicians, Christians and Jews, but not a single one that might offend a muslim.

David Farrar found his courage though, which puts the New Zealand media to shame, and this same attitude seems to prevail worldwide where legacy media lack courage and new media exhibit it in spades.

With few exceptions, it has been digital outlets like The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, Business Insider, BuzzFeed, Vox, and Slate that have exercised their constitutional right by republishing the cartoons that are thought to be the basis for the attacks. In contrast, many “legacy” organizations, from CNN, to The Washington Post, to The New York Times, largely withheld the images. In explaining its decision not to distribute any of the images, the AP’s spokesman, Paul Colford, was quoted as saying, “It’s been our policy for years that we refrain from moving deliberately provocative images.” Bloomberg, meanwhile, published a slideshow that included many of the incendiary covers.  Read more »

Do disclaimers on native advertising work?

As the NZ Herald and Fairfax move to extend their already considerable investment in native advertising, the advertising made to look like journalism, there is growing evidence that their disclaimers don’t work.

The disclaimers are what news executives like Tim Murphy and Shayne Currie use to justify their extension of native advertising.

While publishers are producing and running sponsored content in greater numbers, one thing they haven’t figured out is how to effectively label their output. Some publishers are particularly overt about it, while others are content with making readers work a little bit harder. And no one’s quite sure which approach works best.

The real challenge is that a lot of those disclosures may not be all that effective. A new study from analytics platform Nudge found that the most common native ad disclosures are actually the least effective at helping readers identify their content as ads. Sponsored content using disclosure techniques like the home page buyout (used, for example, by The Wall Street Journal) and the persistent disclosure banner (used by Slate) were only identified as ads by readers 29 percent of the time.

In contrast, Nudge found that over half of the 100 people it polled were able to to identify ads that featured disclosures within the content itself. In-content disclosures are rare compared to the other techniques, though.

Nudge’s conclusion: Some publishers may be going out of their way to label sponsored content, but readers are barely noticing them, thanks to banner blindness and small labeling. Ben Young, CEO of Nudge, said that this is more than publishers staying honest in the eyes of the FTC. Bad disclosure can actually hurt brands, too. “Effective disclosures mean effective brand recall,” he said.

[…]    Read more »

Should there be a source shield law?

In the US there is a move afoot to further protect press freedoms by extending protection of sources further.

It is an interesting discussion and one well worth having, especially where sources could suffer a clear and present danger to their well being from those who would seek to identify them.

Geoffrey R. Stone writes at The Daily Beast:

The press isn’t free if it has fear of prosecution for leaks. It’s time to give reporters the same type of privilege attorneys and doctors have.

The Guardian and The Washington Post were each awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service Monday for their reporting based on classified documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. This will no doubt annoy many in the intelligence community who believe that Snowden, The Guardian, and the Post have done serious damage to the national security of the United States.

Unlike most disclosures of classified information, this reporting has not raised any central issues about the legitimacy or value of a journalist-source privilege, because Snowden chose to make no secret of his identity. Nonetheless, the bestowal of the Pulitzer Prize presents a good moment to reflect on the appropriate relationship between the government, the press, and source.

The issue is particularly timely at the moment because Gabriel Schoenfeld, a senior fellow at theHudson Institute and a former adviser to presidential candidate Mitt Romney, recently published an article in the journal National Affairs in which he concludes that for Congress to enact a federal journalist-source privilege would be “a bad idea.” Although I admire and respect Schoenfeld, in this, he is wrong.  Read more »

Does innovation create or destroy jobs?

I found this interesting piece on the decline of print media jobs being replaced by social media jobs.

It asks whether or not innovation create or destroy jobs?

The rush of new ideas and new technologies can turn formerly rock-solid companies into sand that melts away even as we watch.  The sale of the Washington Post is a case in point. By making that deal,  the Graham family is acknowledging that they could not see a good strategy for survival.

We know what will happen next: Fewer journalists will be working at the Post a year from now than today.  The Grahams allowed the operation to run mammoth losses which Jeff Bezos, rich as he is, will not tolerate.  Many people will suffer.

But remember this: Old industries can decline even as new jobs growth. In fact, the field of journalism is going through a massive innovative spurt that is creating jobs even as others are being destroyed. About a month ago I did a post on exactly this subject, where I looked at unpublished BLS data and help-wanted data from The Conference Board.  Here’s what I found:

  • Employment at newspapers is  down about 5% over the past year.
  • The number of help-wanted ads for “news analysts, reporters, and correspondents” is up 15% compared to a year ago.
  • More people are telling the BLS that they are working as a news analyst, reporter, or correspondent compared to a year ago.
  • Roughly half the want-ads for news analysts, reporters and correspondents contain the words ‘digital’, ‘internet’, ‘online’, or ‘mobile’.  Read more »

Last day for entries in the GR8 PL8 competition

Today is the last day for entries in the GR8 PL8 Competition.

I am a bit surprised that Sonic the self professed intellectual of the left has not submitted even one plate. Oh well I guess he struggles with only using 6 letters. As for homo-sexual fixated Phil Last Name is Maori for Cock you aren't allowed fullstops on plates so that counts him out.

Onwards chaps and chapesses. Voting for the Plates can be held at the Gallery of them all. Further you can buy PL8's Merchandise at the store.