Tag Archives: journalism

Why you should check out Unmasked

Regular readers know that I am a retired journalist. I worked for Reuters in Chicago and London for 20 years, then left to teach journalism at Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

In the business of journalism, I remember how hard we worked to get our facts straight and present them clearly to increase the level of information to the public.

So, it is likely no surprise that the current state of what passes for journalism is disappointing to the point of heart-breaking for me. There seems to be not even a semblance of fair play or attempt to find out and put forward – the truth.

I would like to recommend that you check out Unmasked – Big media’s war against Trump pictured above. The authors give chapter and verse of the card stacking and outright lies put forth as journalism from no less than the Washington Post, New York Times, and all the major broadcast networks.

You already know that media doesn’t throw any cards off the top of the deck when it comes to the President, so why read an entire book about it? Here is a quote from the inside front cover, “In this fascinating examination of the media’s war on Donald Trump, Bozell and his co-author Tim Graham expose the weaponized and radicalized ‘news’ media as a direct threat to democracy and their unethical attempts to manipulate public opinion.”

Tony

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Filed under fake news, journalism, mainstream media, New York Times, Washington Post

All the news that fits …

I think the mainstream media is making us all into journalists.

Ernest Hemingway famously said, “To be a good reporter you need a built-in shockproof crap detector.”

When I started covering the fast-paced futures markets for Reuters News Service back in the 1960’s that quote resounded in my head on a daily basis. I started my journalistic career on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange talking to traders about what was happening in the futures markets. In those days, the biggest markets were pork bellies, live cattle, live hogs and shell egg futures. The financial instruments futures hadn’t been created yet.

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My qualifications included a degree in finance and several years experience magazine writing and editing. 

Reporting markets, you had to remember that everyone you talked to had an agenda (and likely a position in the market). So, I always assumed that the person speaking to me had an axe to grind. When someone told me something bullish on the market, I would search around for a contact likely to tell me the ‘other side.’ That way, my market comments remained balanced and useful to traders.  Continue reading

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Sharyl Attkisson looks at fake news – TEDx talk

*With all the talk about fake news you may have wondered what started it all. Here is renowned investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson giving you chapter and verse.*

Was the effort to focus America’s attention on the idea of “fake news”—itself a propaganda effort? Connect the dots and learn who’s behind it and why. It’s not what you think. Sharyl Attkisson is a five-time Emmy Award winner and recipient of the Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting and author of two New York Times bestsellers: “The Smear” and “Stonewalled.” Attkisson hosts the Sunday national TV news program “Full Measure,” which focuses on investigative and accountability reporting. For thirty years, Attkisson was a correspondent and anchor at PBS, CNN and CBS News, where the Washington Post described her as “a persistent voice of news-media skepticism about the government’s story.” She’s a fourth degree blackbelt in TaeKwonDo. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

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For shame, John Harwood …

Regular readers know that I have a background in journalism.

I wanted to share some further details of my career. My degree is in Finance. I started working for Reuters in 1968 shortly after they came to the U.S. and started competing directly with Dow Jones. My stock market reporting ended abruptly when I was transferred to the floor of the bustling Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) a few months later to learn the popular commodities markets.

I set up Reuters coverage there and continued to be the ‘floor reporter’ till a tennis injury to my ankle in 1972  forced me off my feet and into our office in the Chicago Board of Trade Building (CBOT). When my ankle healed I moved downstairs to the trading floor there and learned about the international corn and soybean markets. On the CME I had covered livestock futures including the hottest market at the time – pork bellies (bacon). In 1977 I left the CBOT floor to spend a year in London on the news desk there and to learn the other international commodities including gold, silver, coffee, cocoa and sugar.

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John Harwood: Chief Washington Correspondent for CNBC and a political writer for The New York Times.

One of the highlights in wire service reporting on markets is that you need to be perfectly accurate in your stories because anything you write may affect the market and change prices. In the fast moving and highly volatile commodities markets it is easy to see that mistakes could possibly cost traders or commercial firms millions of dollars. I can’t imagine a better training ground for a journalist. Talk about baptism by fire. You always had to have several sources for any story because there was a chance that someone on the other side of the market was going to complain.

The final aspect of that experience is that Reuters had Dow Jones as competition on the stock market and AP and Commodity News Service on the commodities side. It was fierce competition in which seconds made all the difference on our wires. Our mantra at Reuters as ‘Accuracy first; speed second.’ There was no place for mistakes.

I wanted to go into that detail because I have always been proud to be a journalist. In my
20 years with Reuters and three years of teaching journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago I came to understand that journalism was more than a job or a career. The people I worked with – and against – viewed journalism as about one notch below the priesthood. We were serving a higher master than others working for a living. We reported the news, we wrote the truth. Not many job descriptions can say that.

So, it is with a very sorry heart indeed that I read the nature of New York Times reporter and CNBC’s Chief Washington Correspondent, John Harwood, not only not grilling Hillary Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta, but discussing his upcoming interview with Jeb Bush and asking for tips.

The email from September 21, 2015 had the subject line, “what should I ask Jeb…”

Later that month, on Oct. 28, Harwood would go on to moderate the third Republican primary debate, and delivered a performance so obviously biased that even liberal commentators had to admit he had proven conservative suspicions correct.

In a December 2015 email to Podesta, Harwood bragged about his much-criticized debate performance in which he asked Trump “Let’s be honest, is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?”

With my financial background I have watched CNBC for years and have to admit that Harwood always stuck out as ‘leaning to the left.’ I had no idea how far afield he had gone.

Even though I am out of the flow of day to day competitive reporting I still respect what I consider to be my profession. So, seeing this man ‘break his vows’ to the truth as it were and actively try to promote one side makes me sick. It’s easy to call him a whore who sold out his principles for a price, but I think he is worse. He is a traitor to everything that every young (and in my case, old) journalist holds dear. That is reporting the truth. We tell it like it is.

So far, Harwood has not answered any requests for comments on these emails. I think if he had any character, he would resign his position on CNBC following these revelations. But, in view of his actions, I have to doubt it. If the network had any character, however, they would demand it.

I guess if Hillary wins, we know who her press secretary will be.

Tony

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