Friday, April 3, 2009

To: Bill O'Reilly, Re: Ambush Journalism, Or Viva La Papparazzi!

Let's Face It:
YOU'RE the Only One Who Thinks It's Journalism, Bill

Yesterday, Bill O’Reilly defended his top henchman, producer Jesse Watters, who is supposedly “the subject of far-left angst, because he goes out and talks to the bad guys.” During his conversation with Amanda Carpenter of the Washington Times — who agreed with everything the Fox News host was saying — O’Reilly defended his “ambush journalism” as a “legitimate brand of journalism.”
Quiz yourself, Bill: How many of the "Ten Commandments" of journalism do you really ascribe to? According to The Elements of Journalism, a book by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel:
  1. Journalism's first obligation is to the truth.
  2. Its first loyalty is to the citizens.
  3. Its essence is discipline of verification.
  4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
  5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
  6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
  7. It must strive to make the significant interesting, and relevant.
  8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.
  9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.
  10. It must recognize the rights and responsibilities of citizens

Now Bill, there are, as you know, different kinds (styles) of journalism: Sports, Science, Investigative, Yellow, Gonzo, Celebrity, Convergence and, your own, Ambush journalism. Of all kinds of journalism, Ambush journalism has been criticized by "legitimate" journalists as the most sensational and unethical. Many would not consider it journalism at all because of its blatant physical intrusion on a person.

You said "...goes out and talks to the bad guys." So you prejudge them as bad guys BEFORE you send Jesse Watters out to ambush them. And when they resist Watters (who is usually on their property), they look even worse, right? Very interesting.

Here's part of your interview with THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER:


O'Reilly: My job is to watch the powerful. A performer has a forum that other people do not, and all we ask is that they be fair. If they believe something and use their TV show, movie or concert to spout off about it, that's fine. But if we have some questions about their beliefs, I think they should answer them -- and not be drive-by people.

Hmmm. Okay. But Bill, would that have included Princess Diana? Maybe she wasn't a performer, but she was one of the powerful you talk about. Would you have been in the car with the paparazzi if you had the chance?



O'Reilly: I think Wolf Blitzer does a nice job, and Anderson Cooper is an honest guy.

But Bill, how would YOU know if Anderson Cooper is honest? Can you actually relate to a journalist who has won countless awards for his reporting on Katrina, Darfur, Ruwanda, the Asian Tsunami, Iraq and Bosnia?

And what does honesty have to do with "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox? Fox, of all places! The home of Sean Hannity? Fox, the place where no liberal dares to tread! Fox, the only news channel that panders slavishly to Sarah Palin and let's her do all the talking! Fox News, who actually thinks of Michelle Malkin as a kind of roving reporter! Come on, Bill.

Be realistic and honest, Bill. "The O'Reilly Factor" and its ambush style does not equal any kind of honest journalism. Scrap people like Malkin and Watters, dump the attacks on the people you think are "the bad guys," say "mea cupla" one hundred thousand times and maybe you'll enter the realm of real journalism.

Just a thought.

Ann Coulter(geist) Bites A Big One

Now We Know Who Ann Coulter Gets Her News From: Michelle Malkin! ?? !!!!!

By now, this story has captured the hearts of the all the progressive bloggers in the world, and I'm no exception.

O.K., April Fool's pranks can be treacherous - and down right humiliating - especially to someone like Ann Coulter.

As an April Fool’s joke, Car and Driver magazine posted a made-up story on its website claiming that “President Obama had ordered Chevrolet and Dodge out of NASCAR after the 2009 season.” The magazine “pulled the fake story” after it “turned into a sizzling Internet topic,” especially on anti-Obama right-wing websites.
Rush Limbaugh laughed at the gullibility of anyone who would believe the article:

Well, now, who’s going to believe this?

Well, that’s not the quite proper way to ask it. All good comedy requires an element of truth in it, and obviously there are people that believe this could come down the pike. But it hasn’t yet. Run this story tomorrow, if you want to play a practical joke on people.
But some people DID believe it. Ann Coulter is as gullible as she is rabid for any anti-Obama news:

If Obama can tell GM and Chrysler that their participation in NASCAR is an “unnecessary expenditure,” isn’t having public schools force students to follow Muslim rituals, recite Islamic prayers and plan “jihads” also an “unnecessary expenditure”? Are all those school condom purchases considered “necessary expenditures”?.*

And guess where she got the "force students to follow Muslim rituals", etc." Not from a reliable source, that's for sure: Michelle Malkin's June, 2007 post Hot Topic: Muslim Prayer in Public Schools. Malkin is the reigning queen of yellow "journalism." Every time she's put in as a "reporter" on Fox News (esp. Bill O'Reilly's "Factor"), she's never calm, cool or collected. She rants. She rales. She fumes. She screams as if someone is raping her (while SHE rapes the English language!)

And she gets most of her facts wrong. Or spins a story until it becomes the opposite of what it was before. With professional news reporting, the story about San Diego's Carver school is limited to ONE school. Carver. Singular. The circumstances were approved by the principal and teachers and it would have gone unnoticed if a Christofascist substitute teacher hadn't screamed to the press that "indocrination" was going on.

From The San Diego Tribune:

"An investigation by the San Diego Unified School District failed to substantiate the allegations."

Of course, none of that matters to people as hungry for hate as Malkin and Coulter. And the irony in all of this: one of Coulter's books was titled If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans.

Let's see: Ann Coulter - Michelle Malkin - Rush Limbaugh - Michael Steele - Bill O'Reilly - Sean Hannity - Sarah Palin - Bobby Jindal

My next book title:

If Republicans Had Any Brains, They'd Just Shut Up!

*They damn well are necessary!