Friday, November 20, 2009

Eicher on the state of News Media

"Major news organizations relied on advertisers—rather than readers, listeners, or viewers—to fund operations. Using lowest-common-denominator content, they attracted mass audiences, sold them to advertisers, and severed the relationship between journalism and the people. The ad revenue model of financing news-gathering has crumbled and may not recover. Up against (1) an ailing economy, (2) a revolution of new technologies, and (3) a widespread public perception that their products lack journalistic integrity, elite news executives find themselves with little audience loyalty. This may help explain a movement among some industry insiders—as well as liberal activists—to push for taxpayer funding of newsrooms. It will likely come in the form of an expansion of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. One proponent, former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie Jr., recommends Congress rename CPB the Corporation for Public Media, and fund it more lavishly." World, Nikolas Eicher

News and Commentary

"...reporting seems to be merging with commentary just as surely as news is merging with entertainment." -S. Robert Lichter, Forbes

Lichter gives some interesting reporting and analysis to CMPA's data on the coverage of President Obama, Senator McCain, and Presidents past. More interestingly, he notes something that has also not escaped the notice of World's Marvin Olasky. Reporting is giving way to editorials and critique. Interestingly, World magazine does an incredible amount of commentating, even within the body text of many of its "news" articles. I have felt slightly uneasy for some time now about the magazine's claim to journalistic excellence when it doesn't always feel very journalistic (besides the few incredibly good featured articles with each bi-weekly edition). As the magazine hopes to grow as a reader-directed news source, bucking the norm and direction of news media, they should expand their original reporting and preserve the art of journalism for the purpose of "knowing." Mortimer Adler would whole-heartedly agree.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"The worse the terrorist, the more rights he has?"

This from William McGurn, WSJ...

When it comes to terrorists, you would think that an al Qaeda operative who targets an American mom sitting in her office or a child on a flight back home is many degrees worse than a Taliban soldier picked up after a firefight with U.S. Army troops.

Your instinct would be correct, because at the heart of terrorism is the monstrous idea that the former is as legitimate a target as the latter. Unfortunately, by dispatching Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other al Qaeda leaders to federal criminal court for trial, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will be undermining this distinction. And the perverse message that decision will send to terrorists all over this dangerous world is this: If you kill civilians on American soil you will have greater protections than if you attack our military overseas.

"A fundamental purpose of rules such as the Geneva Conventions is to give those at war an incentive for more civilized behavior—and not targeting civilians is arguably the most sacred of these principles," says William Burck, a former federal prosecutor and Bush White House lawyer who dealt with national security issues. "It demolishes this principle to give Khalid Sheikh Mohammed even more legal protections than the Geneva Conventions provide a uniformed soldier fighting in a recognized war zone."

We don't often speak of incentives in war. That's a loss, because the whole idea of, say, Geneva rights is based on the idea of providing combatants with incentives to do things that help limit the bloodiness of battle. These include wearing a uniform, carrying arms openly, not targeting civilians, and so on.

Associated Press, Attorney General Eric Holder

The Sword for Battle

A review of news coverage for the past several years reveals the following:
(1) Military chaplains are needed more than ever, and (2) the chaplaincy, or more accurately evangelical chaplains, are increasingly under fire for practicing and providing witness to their faith. What I do not know is if there are no enough chaplains because there are less or just more need, whether chaplains are quitting because of pressure, and whether evangelical chaplains have actually gotten more outspoken bringing the additional attention.

Regardless, this seems to be a terrible time for there to be a lack of chaplains, regardless of denomination or sect. In general, I tend to think that people benefit by talking about the spiritual dimension of their lives, even if mistaken. Ministers tend to be good, if not excellent, counselors merely by rote practice and experience. Surely someone will disagree with me. But let's leave it at this- talking to someone is good.
"The U.S. Army reported Tuesday that the number of suicides among soldiers this year has already equaled the number for all of last year, and so will rise for the fifth consecutive year, in spite of a major effort to combat the trend. The Army's number two officer says he is significantly short of the type of professionals who could help reverse the trend."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Those Speedy Hybrids

"The three freshmen were arrested shortly afterward with companion Marie Montmarquet, 22, also a UT student. She allegedly drove their getaway Toyota Prius in which police found a pellet gun and hooded jackets."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Caring Is Creepy?

In this disaffected culture, sometimes it seems like the Shins are right- caring is creepy.

Monday, November 9, 2009

84 Year Old on Retirement

Northwestern Magazine: Any plans to retire?
GO: Not until the good Lord retires me.
Glenn Opie practices law in Kansas. He is a World War II vet and spent three days snowbound in Cheyenne, Wyoming on his way home from Northwestern's 1949 Rose Bowl Appearance.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Loyd-Jones Responds...

"Christianity is common sense and much more -but it includes common sense. 'Ah', but you say, 'I can hear that in the world.' Well if you can, hear it and act on it! Our Lord himself has said that the children of this world are wiser in this generation than the children of light. He commended the unjust steward and I am simply doing the same thing."

The Dark Murky Pond

You are the owner of a large pond in the middle of dark woods. The woods are dark because they are thick, but there are no leaves. The water of the pond is murky and not clear. Under the water lives many monsters. Each monster has a name that is familiar to you. Every fear you have in life has a corresponding monster in your pond. For example, if you have trouble with your anger, there is an angry monster in the pond. Describe your pond and the monsters in it. What do they look like? What do they do? Do they ever come out? What happens then?


He felt guilty most of all because of the soda. It's what first came into his mind- the very first thing. There were later moments to be heroic, to try to bring her back from the dead, but just then it was a petty instinctual selfishness. The passing black Civic crushed her between the side of their own car and the crumpled door she had just opened. He was scarcely, almost gently, pushed aside. They were walking back from getting burritos with their hands full. And the first thing he thought was, "Dammit! I just dumped my soda all over me!"