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Posts published in “Day: June 3, 2014”

Failure to inform

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

The media’s outburst of sustained patriotism and flag-waving over the Bowe Bergdahl story in recent days seems symptomatic of that same media’s oft-repeated failure to report stories rather than announce events. Now, after the first 48 hours, nearly all of them have run the other way in a "rush to judgment".

Bergdahl, of course, is the Idaho soldier released by the Taliban in Afghanistan a few days ago. For 48 hours, the media was ecstatic and breathlessly related lots of fluff without much substance. Rather than go back to the original reporting on file to flesh out details of his capture five years ago, the kids slathered viewers and readers with gooey gossip severely lacking in fact. Chasing crumbs on the floor while leaving the loaf on the table, seems to me.

Bergdahl may ride in a parade or two around Idaho. But there’s also reason to believe he could wind up in prison or, at the very least, be charged with desertion, given time-served as a prisoner-of-war and dishonorably discharged. Some of the things said by his parents at hastily called bi-coastal media events, could do their son more harm than good. To wit: his father’s decision to learn the Afghan language, comment about hardships caused Afghans by America and the war while growing a big, bushy beard like real male Afghans.

Then add some of the comments from soldiers who risked their own lives to find Bergdahl in the early days after his disappearance, the death of several soldiers on that detail and reports Bergdahl simply loaded up a canteen with water and walked off into the countryside - without his rifle - and you’ve got far less a wonderful story and more of another tragedy of war. And desertion.

The Bergdahl story is far from over. But, if the media had been doing any professional job at all, these details and a lot more could have been reported right at the top along with what was known about his release. The story wasn’t so much about his negotiated freedom as it was about how he was captured in the first place. The story has bookends. And - sadly - both were simply not included in all the reportorial B.S.

There was a time newspapers adequately reported these kinds of things. Lots of detail massaged by editors and proofreaders. Then radio came along. Radio wasn’t designed for long, fully-reported stories. You got the gist of things, then sought a newspaper for details. Then TV hit the scene. Facts gave way to pictures and pictures drove the coverage. TV newscasts had to have “graphics - pictures - movement - action.” Radio gave you the immediacy, TV showed you what happened (sometimes) and newspapers had the details. Now - not so much.

When Ronny Reagan’s Federal Communications appointees deleted all requirements for local radio news, we information seekers took a hit. When they knocked down barriers to same-market-ownership and cross-ownership of competing media, we were hit again. With the advent of the I-net, we turned to electronic data to satisfy our need for detail. That didn’t last long. Between reduced hours of staffing and interminable repetition, even the I-net - with rare exception - has succumbed to “flash-and-dash” coverage.

With brevity, understanding a story can be difficult. Today’s media kids - in all types of media - are being told to “write down.” In newspapers, a few paragraphs al la “Huffington Post.” In radio, standing network protocol is no more than 30 seconds! TV “packages” are supposed to be less than two minutes. With pictures. (more…)

Some unsolicited advice to A.J.

carlson CHRIS
CARLSON

 
Carlson
Chronicles

Democratic gubernatorial nominee A. J. Bulakoff has a slim opportunity to connect with Idaho voters and make the case that he has the ability and skills necessary to lead Idaho forward into the future.

In C.L. “Butch” Otter, voters clearly see a tired and aging Republican governor who has done nothing to merit a third term , who has been around 40 years and one who plays fast and loose with facts that damn him for gutting public education and starving state government.

So here is some unsolicited advice to A. J.

First, restoring adequate funding for public education is your number one issue, but deliver the message with passion and conviction once in awhile. A.J. clearly is not a politician. He is a successful businessman but voters have yet to hear the conviction in his voice that tells them he will figure out how to work with a still dominant Republican Legislature to improve funding when many voted for the original cuts.

Secondly, he has to focus on positive messages that people can unite around such as moves to expand the economic pie. Stay away from the divisive, polarizing social messages. The election is about Idaho’s future and whether its children will be eqipped to compete with the rest of the world. It is not about revisiting the abortion issue or gay marriage. The Supreme Court and other courts have ruled on those issues. The law is the law.

Republicans are so adept at getting Democrats off the “we’re better for the economy, education and environment” message by hitting them with “wrong” stances on social issues. Democrats have to make the Republicans respond to their messages and quit letting the R’s take them off message.

That’s not to say that A.J. should not weave key elements of some of the fundamental civil rights issues Democrats have always been in the forefront on because he should. Democrats are fundamentally corrrect on the immigration reform issue and many of Idaho’s farmers are far more in agreement with the Democratic position that will help Idaho farmers legally obtain needed field workers rather than the draconian Republican approach. (more…)

On the front pages

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Anger over conditions of Bergdahl release (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News, Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Ada Republican winner favor Otter (Boise Statesman)
House value in Ada rose 15 percent in 2013 (Boise Statesman)
IF may try automated garbage pickup (IF Post Register)
Higher ed presidents get pay raises (Lewiston Tribune)
Latah planned development, traffic issues (Moscow News)
Caldwell may get recreation facility (Nampa Press Tribune)
Idaho effect of federal carbon cut order (Nampa Press Tribune)

Seattle sets $15 minimum wage (Eugene Register Guard, Medford Tribune)
Many citations by Eugene's 'party patrol' (Eugene Register Guard)
Emissions must drop in OR nearly half (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Medford Tribune, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Klamath irrigators pursue more water (KF Herald & News)
Farmers market to start at Klamath soon (KF Herald & News)
Ashland still works on pot regs (Ashland Tidings)
Avalon Bar & Grill at Talent closes (Ashland Tidings)
State of Jefferson more a California thing (Medford Tribune)
On pay for classified staff at Medford SD (Medford Tribune)
Visits may be canceled at Pendleton prison (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Poll: Oregon evenly split on gas pumping (Portland Oregonian)
State Arts Commission considers leader (Salem Statesman Journal)
May was one of warmest recorded (Salem Statesman Journal)

NLRB backs machinist-Boeing deal (Everett Herald)
debate over build bans in slide areas (Everett Herald)
Debate over Berghdahl release deal (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Kennewick Herald)
Federal emissions requirements hit WA (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Vancouver Columbian, Kennewick Herald, Olympia)
Reynolds metal cleanup cost may be $344m (Longview News)
Rainier climbers nearly all identified (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Seattle sets $15 minimum wage (Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune)
Public at meeting blasts oil terminal (Vancouver Columbian)