The pros and cons of having an opinion as a journalist

Politics: some / Politics: none. Two ways to excel in political journalism. Neither dominates.:

“None” journalists have certain advantages over their “some” colleagues, but the reverse is also true. If you want to appear equally sympathetic to all potential sources, politics: none is the way to go. If you want to avoid pissing off the maximum number of users, politics: none gets it done. (This has commercial implications. They are obvious.) But: if you’re persuaded that transparency is the better route to trust, politics: some is the better choice. And if you want to attract sources who themselves have a political commitment or have come to a conclusion about matters contested within the political community, being open about your politics can be an advantage. That is the lesson that Glenn Greenwald has been teaching the profession of journalism for the last week. Edward Snowden went to him because of his commitments. This has implications for reporters committed to the “no commitments” style.

The key is to not go too far in either direction.

Being detached and objective is fine, but you don’t want to be so removed from the reality of what you’re reporting on that you go into what Paul Krugman calls “shape of planet blogging” – being so committed to reporting both sides of a story that you’re willing to spread points of view that are wrong or outright lies.

On the other end of the spectrum, don’t be Fox News or MSNBC.

Fox News: Obama is waging psychological warfare on Americans

Is Obama waging psychological warfare on Americans?:

I believe that the Obama administration is conducting psychological warfare on conservative Americans. Not only that but it is also waging this war on all Americans who previously viewed themselves, their country, their Constitution and their overwhelming belief in God as a force for good in the world.

The psychological warfare began with an apology tour in which President Obama publicly “confessed,” presuming to speak for all of us, for the shortcomings of America and our supposed contributions to tyranny and all manner of evils around the world.  

This confession planted in the American mind the notion that our values and beliefs might not be in line with freedom and truth.

Ugh. 

Gun rights are inextricably entwined in the American psyche with freedom to defend oneself.  Attacking gun rights, I believe, is an element of the psychological warfare on the American belief that force is justifiable when confronting evil.

Right. Which is why Obama didn’t have Osama Bin Laden killed or intervene in Libya, am I right?

If liberal Americans stand by and do not seek swift and severe justice for those who perpetrated these acts, then they will have tacitly been victimized, too. Because they will have tacitly agreed that it is acceptable for their government to target certain political movements for persecution—and that will have fundamentally changed the psyche of America.

The people responsible have been fired. What else does this guy want? Oh yeah, nothing short of Obama’s resignation.

Seen through the lens of psychological warfare, the failure to defend our embassy in Benghazi need not be understood simply as a screw-up. It could reflect an actual strategy on the part of the administration to reinforce the notion that homicidal violence born of hatred toward America is understandable—even condonable—because we have generated it ourselves and are reaping the harvest of ill will we have sown. In other words, we should take our punishment.

Yes, the President deliberately let Americans be killed. Okay.

There will be those that say that many American leaders have sought to target groups hostile to their views. Some will point to President Nixon or Senator McCarthy or J. Edgar Hoover. And that debate can be had.

But I assert that this administration is engaged in a coordinated attempt to dispirit, disarm and disenfranchise large portions of the American population and to weaken our founding principles through what is best understood as psychological warfare.

Obama is engaging in psychological warfare against the American people, but “the debate can be had” as to whether Nixon, McCarthy, or Hoover targeted groups they didn’t like?

What universe does this guy live in?

Why you shouldn’t listen to Glenn Beck for investment advice: gold prices down 30% since 2011

After the Gold Rush – Nouriel Roubini:

Sixth, some extreme political conservatives, especially in the United States, hyped gold in ways that ended up being counterproductive. For this far-right fringe, gold is the only hedge against the risk posed by the government’s conspiracy to expropriate private wealth. These fanatics also believe that a return to the gold standard is inevitable as hyperinflation ensues from central banks’ “debasement” of paper money. But, given the absence of any conspiracy, falling inflation, and the inability to use gold as a currency, such arguments cannot be sustained.

A currency serves three functions, providing a means of payment, a unit of account, and a store of value. Gold may be a store of value for wealth, but it is not a means of payment; you cannot pay for your groceries with it. Nor is it a unit of account; prices of goods and services, and of financial assets, are not denominated in gold terms.

So gold remains John Maynard Keynes’s “barbarous relic,” with no intrinsic value and used mainly as a hedge against mostly irrational fear and panic. Yes, all investors should have a very modest share of gold in their portfolios as a hedge against extreme tail risks. But other real assets can provide a similar hedge, and those tail risks – while not eliminated – are certainly lower today than at the peak of the global financial crisis.

It’s simple: as the market gains confidence that we aren’t headed towards economic oblivion, the price of gold falls. Since the economy is actually doing alright this year, the drop over the last few months has been rather dramatic. It’s not a pretty sight:

Al Jazeera America is coming and it is going to be big

It turns out that the $500 million that Al Jazeera spent to buy Al Gore’s Current TV cable network was only the first round of a huge investment on Al Jazeera’s part in an effort to bring Al Jazeera to America in a big way. As David Freedlander reports for the Daily Beast:  

Since launching its American outpost in January, the deep-pocketed network says it’s received 18,000 résumés for 170 open positions. By the time Al Jazeera America, as the new cable network will be called, launches in July, it will have 600 to 700 staffers on the editorial and technical side.

[…]

The new network will have nearly a dozen domestic bureaus and will rely on content from more than 70 overseas bureaus. The company is reported to be looking at prime New York real estate—in no less a bastion of American journalism than the former New York Times building—for its new headquarters. Executives at Al Jazeera say they are planning to compete with CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News on the belief that Americans crave substantive, deeply reported cable news, including foreign coverage.

 One of the concerns that industry veterans have brought up regarding such a massive hiring push is that having that many positions to fill is going to lead to weak hiring standards that hurt quality in the long run. Bob Wheelock, the executive producer in charge of bringing the network stateside, doesn’t think that this is an issue because of all the quality journalists out of a job due to the state of the news industry:

Among the résumés he’s seen, he said, “There are some first year out of [journalism] school or college and they just want a job.” But he added, “We have an awful lot who are 10 or 15 or 20 years in the business and are just fed up with where they work, or they left where they work, or where they work told them you aren’t needed here anymore because we closed down our Chicago bureau or we closed down our Rome bureau.”

Fox News copied post from a Politico article

foxnews.com logo

As noted by Jim Romensko, a blog post on Fox News’s website lifted a paragraph directly out of an article from Politico. After this was pointed out, Fox News took down the post and replaced it with the following text:

Due to a reporting error, a March 1 FoxNews.com story on the timing and impact of the sequestration cuts used information from an internal research document that contained material previously published by other news organizations. The story did not properly credit the sources of that material, and has subsequently been removed from FoxNews.com.

The uncredited use of the material was unintentional, and FoxNews.com regrets the error.

Why not leave the post up, explain what happened in a note at the top, put the paragraph in quotes, and link to the Politico story? That seems like the best way to effectively report on the news and give credit where it is due.