Tag: Journalism

“Today,” writes Jay Rosen, “my case to American journalists is this: You cannot keep from getting swept up in Trump’s agenda without a firm grasp on your own.” This does appear to be the crux of the problem in American journalism: they don’t seem to think they have, or should have, an agenda. Rosen offers a fairly disturbing quote from Peter Baker, who covers the White House for The New York Times.

As reporters, our job is to observe, not participate […].”

The thing is, journalism is a bit like quantum mechanics: you can’t merely observe. Reporting on events necessarily both partakes of those events and impacts those events, and Rosen is especially right that if journalists don’t have (yes) a political agenda of “fighting authoritarianism and the subversion of democracy”, then journalism itself effectively is a pointless and impotent exercise.

Because neither the news media nor the nation’s larger political culture has reckoned with the GOP’s authoritarian evolution, the habitual response is to mislabel GOP authoritarianism as hypocrisy. Calling out hypocrisy is a pointless shaming mechanism for a party that has broken free of shame. Worse, it camouflages a war on democracy as democratic politics as usual.

From American Politics Is Now Democrats Versus Authoritarians by Francis Wilkinson (via John Stoehr)

More Hands, Less Body

My only regular podcast at this point is Social Distance from Katherine Wells and James Hamblin of The Atlantic. Today’s edition (“Is Anyone Else Not Showering?”) focuses on this Daily Mail post ridiculing Hamblin’s hygiene habits — or, more accurately, misconstruing both his hygiene habits and health advice based upon a promotional appearance for his forthcoming book, Clean: The New Science of Skin.

The podcast usually is an informative interview bookended by mutually-chiding banter between the hosts; this edition skips the interview segment. Highlights include Wells (who sounds like Jewel Staite) announcing that her Purell “has been liberated from its bladder”, Hamblin explaining that “we sold people so much soap that we had to start selling conditioner”, and a brainstorming session as to how to reduce Hamblin’s 90,000-word book down to a marketable catchphrase as a way to seize control of the internet’s apparent lack of nuance. I’ve titled this post for Hamblin’s own late-in-the-show suggestion.

For the record, I am a not-daily shower person, mostly for reasons related to regulating my available resources (or “spoons”), but I do at least actively wash up at the sink on a daily basis.

In the face of Mine Furor’s repeated false charges on Twitter that Joe Scarborough murdered someone, Twitter’s only response is this.

We are deeply sorry about the pain these statements, and the attention they are drawing, are causing the family. We’ve been working to expand existing product features and policies so we can more effectively address things like this going forward, and we hope to have those changes in place shortly.

This is not a statement. It’s a pointing into the distance; yelling, “What’s that!”; and running away.

Oh, hey: will Kali Holloway of The Daily Beast be the one finally to take down Shaun King? The phrase “King did not respond” appears ten times regarding easily-documented misused or missing funds.

This dramatic cover does more than mark a stark number. It rejects the toxic individualism embraced by a certain portion of Trump’s base. These people refuse to isolate or wear masks either because they believe the virus isn’t actually dangerous or because they insist that public health rules infringe on their liberty or because, so far, the people most likely to die have been elderly or people of color and they are not in those categories.

From May 23, 2020 by Heather Cox Richardson

ProPublica’s new tracker for states as they start to reopen uses “metrics derived from a set of guidelines published by the White House for states to achieve before loosening restrictions”. By this data, Oregon meets four of the five criteria (positive tests per 100K people, percentage of tests that are positive, ICU bed availability, and hospital visits for flu-like illness) and isn’t far behind on the fifth (tests per 100K people per day).

The article’s paywalled, but a study of Washington Post articles over a ten-year period shows that autism coverage “shifted […] from a focus on ’cause and cure’ toward one of acceptance and accommodation” but still exhibited problems.

Although the paper’s coverage over time gradually placed more emphasis on autistic skills and strengths, coverage continued to use negative terms to describe autistic people. For example, the terms “high functioning” and “low functioning” continue to appear, despite autistic advocates’ preference for more specific language, such as “speaking” and “non-speaking.” And the emphasis on strengths was on autistic people who can do things like speak conversationally and hold jobs.

Link Log Roundup for May 11, 2020

In this edition: labor surveillance, viral surfaces, blurb writing, knowing the risks, testing questions, child vaccinations, engineering ventilators, actuarial science, Cannon Beach, bunk beds, institutional discrimination, public pharma, money for Western states, virtual reality, false balance, the social safety net, salon workers, opening up the streets, and public opinion.

Notwithstanding lazy reporters writing that California is the first state in the nation to implement statewide vote-by-mail, the actual announcement from Governor Newsom and Secretary of State Padilla specifically states, “Today we become the first state in the nation to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by mailing every registered voter a ballot.” Emphasis added, for the record.

I’m getting exhausted by people mistaking asociality for introversion. Introversion just means that socializing enervates where for extroverts it energizies. You can have social introverts and asocial introverts (or even antisocial ones), but you can’t just write a sentence like this one Shayla Love wrote for Vice.

And by using social media, introverts are fostering a new, more fluid and nuanced sense of what it means to be introverted—by doing the very thing that introverts claim they don’t like: socializing.


  1. For the record? I’m an introvert, although it’s anyone’s guess how much of my energy state issues with it comes to sociality has been introversion and how much has been the undiagnosed autism. As for sociality itself, I’ve been social and I’ve been asocial; I’ve not often been outright antisocial.

If you’re looking for an easily-digestible, mostly-daily pandemic podcast, Social Distance from Jim Hamblin and Katherine Wells at The Atlantic typically clocks in at just half an hour and keeps easch edition’s subject pretty graspable.