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Life and media in 2013

I was flipping channels and came across a radio talk show simulcast on a cable sports channel.

The format features a main host and four sports-geek helpers. It can be entertaining, in small doses.

Anyway, at some point, one of the quartet of underlings said something snide about another of the foursome.

The host halfheartedly called him on it.

The offending party's defense of his mean remark?

“It's content.”

Costello: Media Rushed To Judgment

Do not jump to conclusions. That's the predictable advice that the mainstream news media dispenses after any terrorist attack. Translation: Don't assume that this is yet another in a long line of hateful, cowardly attacks against innocent, unsuspecting civilians committed by Islamic extremists. But, while they were telling us not to rush to politically incorrect judgments, the news media themselves and much of the left had the Boston Marathon bombing solved almost immediately. Within minutes, MSNBC's Chris Matthews pointed his finger at conservatives. So did NBC's Luke Russert. Obama's political adviser, David Axelrod, had it nailed too. CNN's Wolf Blitzer saw things the same way. They all cited the calendar. It was April 15/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: I figured that the terrorists were either neo-Nazi/militia or Islamic extremists, when I first heard about the bombings. Dunno if that's a rush to judgment. Rather, I view it as fingering the usual suspects from both extremes. How about you?

Costello: Media Distrust Rather High

Here's something I'll bet you didn't know. More than 70 percent of all U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan have been suffered since President Barack Obama took office. But when was the last time that you heard a somber-faced evening news anchor memorialize a “grim milestone?” Not since Jan. 20, 2009. That should give you a sense of why, according to a Gallup poll released Sept. 20, 60 percent of Americans no longer trust the news media. That level of distrust was the highest ever recorded in the history of the Gallup Poll. The NFL replacement referees might poll higher in Green Bay, Wis. And if anyone cares to understand the roots of the public's distrust, one needs look no further than the week of exceptionally dishonest reporting prior to the poll's release/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Why don't you trust the media?

Poll: 60% Of USA Don’t Trust Media

Sixty percent of Americans said they trust the mass media “Not very much” or “Not at all,” a Gallup survey published Friday says. That’s the highest percentage since Gallup started asking the question regularly in the ’90s, it reports. Republicans and independents are pushing that number up. Nearly 60 percent of Democrats trust the media a “Great deal” or a “Fair amount.”



Interestingly, Republicans are among the top consumers of the news they distrust/Andrew Beaujon, Poynter. More here.

Question: Do you trust the media?

High Noon: Should Media Use ‘GOP’?

From FRAN FRIED to Romansko.com: This is something that’s been on the back of my mind for a long time — the media’s use of the acronym “GOP” to describe the Republican Party. I know it makes things easier for copy editors like me in an era of narrowed web widths, but simply: Isn’t “Grand Old Party” a form of editorializing? (And “Just because it’s always been done that way” isn’t a legit response …) More here.

Question: Well, should the media refer to the Republican Party as “GOP”?

Edit: Media Should See Total Execution

On Friday morning, the state of Idaho is scheduled to take a life in the name of its people — but largely beyond the view of its people. By restricting the news media’s access to a crucial step in the execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades, the state Correction Department will restrict what Idahoans know about this most sobering service of justice. Idahoans will have to accept, on faith, the notion that the state’s first execution in 17 years was carried out without complications. That establishes a bad precedent for future executions — and there’s a good chance other Idaho inmates will be put to death in the next few years. Four reporters will be allowed to watch the execution, but the Correction Department has decided that they will not be able to watch as the execution team straps Rhoades into a gurney and inserts IVs into his veins/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Would you want to witness this execution?

Media Wants To View Entire Execution

The Idaho Department of Correction says it will not allow media witnesses to view the entire execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades, and two separate groups are protesting the policy. Rhoades is scheduled to die by lethal injection Friday, making him the first person to be executed under Idaho's new lethal injection guidelines. Prison officials say to maintain Rhoades' dignity, they won't allow witnesses to view him being restrained or having the IVs inserted. They also said changing the procedure now could be disruptive. But a group of Idaho news organizations say that policy conflicts with a 2002 federal court ruling that found the public, through the media, must be allowed to view executions in their entirety. The news organizations have asked the state to reconsider/Rebecca Boone, AP. More here. (AP file photo of Idaho execution chamber)

Question: Should the media be allowed to witness the entire execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades?

Ron Paul ripped off?

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, finished in second place in the Iowa Republican Party's Straw Poll.

By now, pretty much everyone agrees Ron Paul was ignored by the media following his second place finish in the Ames straw poll on Saturday. Whether or not the media blackout was justified due to his less-than-favorable campaign prospects is subject to debate. But the fact is the Texas Congressman lost to Michele Bachmann by nine-tenths of one-percentage point in the contest and was ignored by the Sunday talk shows (as Jon Stewart pointed out) and marginalized by the nation's top newspapers (as Politico's Keach Hagey pointed out).

Why did the media ignore the GOP's peacenik, drug-legalizing libertarian? Read more.

Why do you think Ron Paul isn't given more coverage by the media?

Prop. 8 judge speaking at GU tonight

The federal judge who ruled California's Proposition 8 unconstitutional will be speaking today at Gonzaga Law School.

Retired U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker will be discussing cameras in the courtroom in a lecture titled  “Hauptmann’s Ghost.”

“The lecture’s title refers to the media frenzy surrounding the trial of Richard Hauptmann, who was convicted of kidnapping and killing the Lindbergh baby in 1932,” according to a news release. “The subject of media in the courtroom is an ongoing controversy in the federal courts.”

The lecture, part of the annual Justin L. Quackenbush Lecture series, begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Barbieri Courtroom at the Gonzaga University School of Law.

Chief wants to shift focus in shootings

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said this week that she hopes to bring more public focus on the perception of officers involved in fatal shootings.

 ”We get so focused on whether a person is armed and is it a knife or whatever. We've got to change this focus. It's whatever the officer is faced with - is it life threatening to that officer?” Kirkpatrick said at a meeting of the city's Public Safety Committee.” We need to continue to bring this forward, because officers do get killed when there was no gun.”

City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi said the media and public don't focus on that. 

“The public or the media will focus on, from the public's perspective, you know, what occurred,” Treppiedi said. “The law focuses not on what the public perceived or what the witnesses perceived or even what the shooting victim perceived. The law focuses on what the chief said, and that is what did the officer perceive?”

Treppiedi continued, “whereas a lot of the public's discussion comes from 'but witnesses said x and the editor says y.'”

The discussion took place Monday as Lt. Craig Meidl presented to committee members internal affairs investigation data that included the number of officer-involved shootings since 2006 (three in 2010, two in 2009, zero in 2008, four in 2007 and zero in 2006.)

Committee member and City Councilman Bob Apple asked if the department was revamping policies and questioned shooting suspects who are armed with knives and not guns.

Kirkpatrick said she once had an officer shot in the line of duty with his own weapon.

“No one was armed when he showed up, but…he lost the wrestling match and the guy grabbed his gun and shot and killed him,” Kirkpatrick said.

 She emphasized that the threat of grievous bodily injury - one justification for the use of deadly force - can differ from situation to situation.

“What is grievous bodily injury is going to be very unique in that particular event that that officer is faced with,” Kirkpatrick said.

City Council President Joe Shogan said situations could end differently if police were called sooner. He referred to the Dec. 4 shooting of Jeremy Groom by police outside a Hillyard tavern.

Groom was shot as he pointed a gun at a man who turned out to be one of his best friends. His friends say Groom never would have shot the man and say officers didn't give him time to drop the gun.

The dispute began inside the tavern. Shogan said options seemed limited by the time police were called.

“I would hope that citizens would say 'OK if we're going to involve the police, let's involve them sooner than later,” Shogan said. “Don't wait until this gets to be a flash point and then hope that there are a lot of options, which, at that point, I don't think there are.”

Love in Plain Brown Paper

Real love is the kind we are surrounded by every day

Cheryl-anne Millsap
The Spokesman-Review
 
 

Chances are you’ve got love, or something like it, on your mind. After all, it’s Valentine’s Day.

Did you buy roses? You need to buy roses. And a card covered with sentimental poetry written by a stranger.

Don’t forget the chocolate, the expensive perfume, something from Victoria’s Secret, a gourmet meal at a five-star restaurant and jewelry. Isn’t that what it takes to show love? Well, one day a year, maybe. But it’s the other 364 days that tell the tale.

The truth is, love doesn’t always come with balloons and words that rhyme. True love usually comes to us just like the groceries – mixed with the necessities and wrapped in plain brown paper.

Love is spread between the peanut butter and jelly in a school lunch sandwich and folded into baskets of clean laundry.

It is carried in a soft look at the end of a hard day and the gentle sound of your name on another’s lips.

Love is scrambled into eggs for a quick supper on a hectic night and sweetens a cup of coffee brought to you before you get out of bed on a cold morning.

Real love isn’t just tender whispers in the dark. It’s pillow talk about unreliable cars, failing hot water heaters, thinning hair, expanding waistlines, ominous medical tests and parent-teacher conferences.

Love is the glue that holds us together and the fuel that drives us to work, piano practice, dentist appointments and soccer games.

Love is the smell of a newborn baby. Love is the sound of a sullen “goodnight” muttered by a teenager who, only moments before, expressed a keen desire to become an orphan.

Love is when you tell the one you chose, “I’m scared,” and they hold your hand. For as long as you need it.

Real love is letting someone hold your hand.

Sometimes love is only visible, like the growth rings in a tree, when we’ve been cut and left with an open wound. And love is the bandage that binds our wounds and helps us heal.

Real love has very little to do with the candy and cards we buy and give once a year. It isn’t in romantic music and movies.

For most of us, love is hidden in the shadows of an ordinary life, when you open your eyes in the cold, gray light of morning and make the choice to stick it out one more day.

Most of us learn to take love where we find it. And when we look, really look, past all the frills and fuss of a made-for-retail holiday, it’s all around us.

 

Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com


Are you an EPL princess? Check your panties and Band-Aids.




    When I was a little girl I loved to read fairy tales. I spent hours with my nose buried in beautifully illustrated books and my favorites were the classic stories of strong-willed maidens and castles far, far away.  
    To overcome whatever obstacle bound them, each woman used her wits, called on magic (there was always some kind of magic) and then fell for the handsome prince who came riding into each story just in the nick of time.
    And each, by the end of the story, walked away with the keys to the castle.
    The first time I opened the pages of Eat, Pray, Love I recognized a familiar landscape.
    In it, author Elizabeth Gilbert writes about her failed marriage and combative divorce, her depression and tendency to repeat old patterns and, ultimately, her search for authentic self. That search, in case you’ve been on Mars and haven’t heard, took her to Italy for the food and language, India for spiritual solace and Bali for personal direction.  At the end of the year, thanks to the magic of good food, a guru and a medicine man, and - the most magical thing of all - a lucrative book contract to write about experiences she had not yet had, she was whole again. And, coincidentally, in love with a hunk who’d come riding in and fallen head-over-heels for her.
    That would be, by any middle-class, overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated woman’s standards, a fairy tale ending to a really bad year.
    I’m not bashing the book. I read it and enjoyed it well enough when I actually finished it. (It took me two tries.) But at no time did I ever lose my head and believe that I can do what Gilbert did. Because, as it turns out,  I am a middle-class, overworked, underpaid and occasionally under-appreciated woman. I may be able to get out of town for a week or two, when the budget and schedule allow, and if I organize things around the house and call home every night, but how on earth can I run away for a year to simply sit and think? I can’t. I have to take my peace and inspiration where I find them.
    Now there’s a movie and Julia Roberts has made Gilbert’s story even prettier. Entertainment and enlightenment in 2 hours and 13 minutes. Another fairy tale ending.
    The tourism industry is rushing to make Eat,Pray,Love packages available to women who want to retrace Gilbert’s journey. What do you want to bet well-heeled participants don’t have to scrub floors at the Asham.
    Virginia Woolfe told us we need a room of our own and a little money. Those two things on their own are often hard enough to come by. Now, we need even more money and a trip around the world?
    The thing I find most fascinating about the whole EPL phenomenon is that Gilbert, in true modern day princess fashion, has become a brand. You may not be able to book a flight away from the kids (children were a complication Gilbert didn’t have to work around) but thanks to the Home Shopping Network and Cost Plus World Market you can buy genuine Eat,Pray,Love merchandise to give your home that journey-of-personal-discovery look for less. Not to mention the jewelry, tea, candles and journals and perfume. All without a passport.
    I guess the world hasn’t changed all that much since I read old fairy tales and my daughters watched spunky Disney princesses live happily ever after.     
    Can “Eat, Pray, Love”  panties and Band-Aids be far behind?
    

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance columnist for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Murrow Winners: Tweet With Care

Pintak asked the journalists if they have a Twitter account and how they avoid giving their personal bias in their tweets. (Judy Woodruff/PBS “News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” pictured) said she has a Twitter account, but admitted she is still learning how to tweet. “(The) News Hour feels (Twitter) is something important, frankly, to bring attention to what we are doing,” she said. Woodruff said other media networks also are using social media. Pintak cited the New York Times reporter who tweeted “Toyota sucks” and asked the journalists if they thought that was right to do. Fields said sometimes people forget that Twitter, Facebook, and e-mails are publications. She said she personally doesn’t have a Twitter account.  “Maybe I’m behind the times, but I don’t like that,” she said. Still, she said, ProPublica does blog often/Yesenia Amaro, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. Also: Joel Mills/Lewiston Tribune story of event here.

Question: Would you like to see more reporters, editors, newscasters involved in blogging, Twitter, and Facebook?

Reporter’s Question Angers Obama

Item: Obama flashes irritation in press room/Politico

More Info: President Obama made a surprise visit to the White House press corps Thursday night, but got agitated when he was faced with a substantive question. Asked how he could reconcile a strict ban on lobbyists in his administration with a Deputy Defense Secretary nominee who lobbied for Raytheon, Obama interrupted with a knowing smile on his face. ”Ahh, see,” he said, “I came down here to visit. See this is what happens. I can’t end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I’m going to get grilled every time I come down here.”

Question: How open will Obama be to the media, after he’s been stung by them a time or two? Do you care if he’s open with the media?

Don’t report on wars, says reporter

As you might have heard, Pajamas Media has sent Joe the Plumber to report in Israel. Joe tells the media there that he wants to return to yesteryear, when we got our war news from the movie theater reels (long after events had transpired.). Yeah, just report what the government tells us, because that always works out well (See: The Five O’Clock Follies in Vietnam.) Then go to the theater to see the propaganda on film.

Do you agree with Joe?