Newscasters Repeat Themselves, Again and Again

 Posted by on 23 December 2013 at 12:00 pm  Media, WTF
Dec 232013

This is just creepy:

I wonder whether that’s just an accident, or whether that phrase was just “in the air,” whether the same story was used by multiple news outlets… or what!

Jan 022013

2012: The year Irish newspapers tried to destroy the web:

This year the Irish newspaper industry asserted, first tentatively and then without any equivocation, that links -just bare links like this one- belonged to them. They said that they had the right to be paid to be linked to. They said they had the right to set the rates for those links, as they had set rates in the past for other forms of licensing of their intellectual property. And then they started a campaign to lobby for unauthorised linking to be outlawed.

These assertions were not merely academic positions. The Newspaper Industry (all these newspapers) had its agent write out demanding money. They wrote to Women’s Aid, (amongst others) who became our clients when they received letters, emails and phone calls asserting that they needed to buy a licence because they had linked to articles in newspapers carrying positive stories about their fundraising efforts. These are the prices for linking they were supplied with:

1 – 5 €300.00
6 – 10 €500.00
11 – 15 €700.00
16 – 25 €950.00
26 – 50 €1,350.00
50 + Negotiable

They were quite clear in their demands. They told Women’s Aid “a licence is required to link directly to an online article even without uploading any of the content directly onto your own website.”

Recap: The Newspapers’ agent demanded an annual payment from a women’s domestic violence charity because they said they owned copyright in a link to the newspapers’ public website.

This isn’t the case of a collection agent going rogue.

The National Newspapers of Ireland is the representative body for Irish Newspaper Publishers.

Go read the rest of the article.

Many, many things irritate me about this abuse of intellectual property by Irish newspapers, but what really gets my goat is these news web sites could easily block deep linking via their webserver settings… but they choose not to do that. Why not? Obviously, because they actually want those deep links: they depend on that traffic. Still, their business model is failing. So, in a particularly nasty fit of short-sighted pragmatism, they’ve invented an utterly ridiculous legal claim of copyright infringement to compel those providers of traffic to pay them ridiculous sums of money after the fact. It’s just appalling.

The good news is that (1) I can’t imagine that any courts will uphold these claims and (2) if they do, the result will only be the utter obliteration of Irish newspapers from the face of the earth. You asked for it, brothers!


The July 24, 2012 edition of PJMedia has published my latest OpEd, “Media Underplays Successful Defensive Gun Use“.

My theme is that American journalists should report the whole truth about defensive gun use by law-abiding citizens rather than burying that fact.

Here is the opening:

On February 28, 2012, an angry 28-year-old gunman entered a medical office building in Colorado Springs and took three women hostage. After a three-hour standoff, the police shot him, and he died later that evening at a local hospital. The hostages were unharmed.

Yet the two largest newspapers in the state took two very different approaches in reporting the heroic actions of one of the clinic physicians, Dr. Jeff Ferguson, a legally armed civilian…

(Read the full text of “Media Underplays Successful Defensive Gun Use“.)

On a personal note: The recent murders in Aurora, CO, were unspeakably evil, and my thoughts are with the victims and their families.  Some of the wounded are at the hospitals where I work and the doctors and medical staff are doing everything they can for them.  I want to offer my best thoughts for the patients’ successful recoveries.


Dishonesty About 9/11

 Posted by on 10 March 2012 at 9:49 pm  Honesty, Media, Terrorism
Mar 102012

OpinionJournal has an interesting article by Claudia Rosett on the 9/11 special airing on CBS tonight. Rosett argues that the special is dishonest in its attempt to be sensitive, sugar-coating the terrorist attack rather than showing it in its full horror. We need to face the reality of those attacks squarely, even if painful.

I have often wondered why the news outlets have shown little footage of the planes slamming into the World Trade Center since those first few days after 9/11. Those images would recapture all of the overwhelming emotion of that day for me, from incredulity to despair. I want to be reminded of those emotions, of the magnitude of the events that day. No too often, for then such feelings are trivialized. But a special on the six month anniversary would seem to be an excellent time to really show us again the full reality of what happened.

We’ll see how well or poorly CBS does tonight. I’m not too hopeful.

One Generic News Report, Coming Up!

 Posted by on 9 February 2010 at 8:00 am  Funny, Media
Feb 092010

Here’s all that you need to create a standard television news report, courtesy of Today’s Big Thing:

I like the man-on-the-street interviews the best!

Local News, Circa 1982

 Posted by on 14 January 2010 at 2:00 pm  Media
Jan 142010

If only local news were this dramatic:

Based on this segment, anthropologists from the future studying 20th century America would have to say that “local news reporter” is the most exciting of professions!

Armstrong LTE Workshop

 Posted by on 19 October 2009 at 4:00 am  Activism, Media
Oct 192009

On October 6, 2009, Ari Armstrong held a workshop for local activists interested in improving their skills at writing LTEs (letters to the editor).

His own detailed blog post can be found here at, “Activism and Writing Letters to the Editor“.

I’d also like to highlight his two short videos discussing the principles and techniques of effective LTE writing:

Part 1

Part 2

Using these techniques, the activists in Front Range Objectivism have had LTEs published in our regional newspapers, including the Denver Post, Colorado Springs Gazette, Boulder Daily Camera, Fort Collins Coloradan, Pueblo Chieftain, and (before it folded), The Rocky Mountain News.

We have also had multiple LTEs published in national and major regional publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Boston Globe, and Los Angeles Times.

Anyone who want to refine their LTE writing skills should also read the following:

How to Write an Effective Letter to the Editor” (Ayn Rand Institute)

12 Tips for Letter Writers” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Thank you, Ari, for organizing this workshop!

(For more information, see Ari’s blog post “Activism and Writing Letters to the Editor“.)

NYT on John Allison

 Posted by on 2 August 2009 at 11:01 pm  Media, Objectivism
Aug 022009

The August 1, 2009 New York Times has published a major article on John Allison, with extensive discussion of Allison, Yaron Brook, and Ayn Rand, entitled, “Give Him Liberty, But Not A Bailout“.

Here is an excerpt:

…Speaking at a recent convention in Boston to a group of like-minded business people and students, Mr. Allison tells a story: A boy is playing in a sandbox, only to have his truck taken by another child. A fight ensues, and the boy’s mother tells him to stop being selfish and to share.

“You learned in that sandbox at some really deep level that it’s bad to be selfish,” says Mr. Allison, adding that the mother has taught a horrible lesson. “To say man is bad because he is selfish is to say it’s bad because he’s alive.”

If Mr. Allison’s speech sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it’s based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand, who celebrated the virtues of reason, self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism while maintaining that altruism is a destructive force. In Ms. Rand’s world, nothing is more heroic — and sexy — than a hard-working businessman free to pursue his wealth. And nothing is worse than a pesky bureaucrat trying to restrict business and redistribute wealth.

Or, as Mr. Allison explained, “put balls and chains on good people, and bad things happen.”

Overall, the article is fairly positive towards Rand’s ideas.

The more people who read it and then decide to read (or re-read) Atlas Shrugged, the better!

Obama’s Victory and Media Malpractice

 Posted by on 26 November 2008 at 11:12 am  Culture, Election, Media, Politics
Nov 262008

Over at, they wanted to investigate how someone like Obama sails into the White House. Their conclusion? That the news media simply refused to do their job.

On Election day twelve Obama voters were interviewed extensively right after they voted to learn how the news media impacted their knowledge of what occurred during the campaign. These voters were chosen for their apparent intelligence/verbal abilities and willingness to express their opinions to a large audience. The rather shocking video below seeks to provide some insight into which information broke through the news media clutter and which did not.

It is indeed shocking to see the demonstration of just where abysmal ignorance contrasts with easy knowledge.

I wouldn’t lay it at just the media’s feet, though — this sort of thing is enabled by serious cultural and epistemological degradation. The state of the news media is only a symptom. An incredibly nasty symptom.

UPDATE: A little clarification: the quote from their website was only sharing what they claim. Obviously, I have no idea what their methodology was for selecting their interviewees, nor how fair they were in their editing. What caught my attention was the contrasting pockets of knowledge and ignorance within the individual people.

Conservative Media

 Posted by on 28 October 2008 at 10:28 am  Election, Media
Oct 282008

I suspect that many conservatives would regard this video interview of Joe Biden as an example of what journalism ought to be:

In fact, it’s nothing of the sort. It’s blatant partisanship, not objectivity.

I’ve never thought much about the proper standards of journalism — until I began fighting Colorado’s Amendment 48. So here are my preliminary thoughts: Journalists should ask difficult questions, particularly of politicians. However, those questions should be fair — not loaded with presumption and innuendo. So a journalist should allow a person to state his basic views, then dig deeper by asking some tough questions. The goal should be to expose the person’s views for what they are — good, bad, or ugly.


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