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Finish this sentence

When journalists in newspaper newsrooms talk about local television news, the typical tone might best be described as….


The one fact that matters: bin Laden is dead…

Good morning, Netizens…


Cartoonist David Horsey depicts the press conference held in the White House Press Briefing Room. White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan began adding details about the raid before the true facts were known, before the debriefing of the Navy Seals involved in the firefight was complete, and thus a lot of facts were distorted and went downhill from there.


Then CIA Director Leon Panetta jumped the gun in an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams when he said a photo of Bin Laden’s body would definitely be released. That step was, at the time, being hotly debated in the White House and the eventual decision went against making the death photo public.


Yes, the talking heads of television news said far more than they should have said in their haste to bring the news of Osama bin Laden's demise to the public. They simply couldn't keep their mouths shut until all the facts were known, and thus the initial story was more than a bit off.


Whatever the details, the facts remain the same: Osama bin Laden, the perverse mastermind of the 9/11 attack that sent this country on a decade-long descent into war and worry, is now swimming with the fishes. Of course, there are people both here in the United States and across the globe that still do not believe that OBL is dead. They believe what they want to believe. Having a picture of his corpse will change nothing.


Those of us who prefer reality to conspiracy theories there are no longer any doubts. Osama bin Laden is dead, and all it took is logic and patience to find that out. Of course, your results may differ.



Note to media critics: check your facts

About once a week, some reader is kind enough to forward something from the Internet that shows what an absolutely abysmal job the news media is doing on some topic or another.

Sometimes the complaint involves not telling them that Barack Obama was really born in Africa, or is a closet Muslim, or perhaps from another planet. I can live with that, because a). I’m pretty sure he wasn’t born in Africa but couldn’t prove otherwise to their satisfaction if my life depended on it; b). I take all people at their word on their religion, but wouldn’t care if he was a Muslim; and c). I’m from another planet too, and we aliens stick together.

Other times it involves stories of the military and military heroism, which the e-mail’s anonymous author insists the NEWS MEDIA WILL NEVER TELL YOU.

As someone who covers the military for a paper, and sometimes writes about local veterans who’ve done remarkable things (they’re leery about calling themselves heroes, so I generally don’t) it is mildly annoying to suggest any newspaper would pass up a good story of heroism. They’re much better to write than, say, a story about zoning policy or sewer rates.

The real reason we usually haven’t told the story in the forwarded e-mail is …

KREM joins others in laying off personnel…

Good morning, Netizens…

It isn’t about the talent or skill, nor is it about their on-air personalities. It is all about the MONEY just about like what is happening to the newspaper industry nationwide. That is the story, according to the Spokane Inlander’s (p://www.inlander.com/content/newscommentary_layoffs_krem) Nicholas Deshais’s story about the evolution sweeping KREM-2’s news room. The news came down from Belo Corporation, and everyone stepped into their respective positions. Nothing on their web site suggests that people are now unemployed; they are simply not there anymore.

The portion of this story that truly makes me sad is that thus far this year, KREM-TV has already won four regional Edward R. Murrow awards for exceptional journalism, a statistic that, no matter how you look at it, gives them bragging rights that no one else in Spokane can claim. Orders are orders, and everyone stepped in lockstep to comply.

Their news stories about the Valley View fire, Joel building fire, the Sage Tavern closing and record severe winter snow storm all received national recognition, as well they should. KREM was able to put the most people on the ground in situations where needed, and although I question their claim to top honors for their winter snow storm reports, because until the worst of the storm had passed, they did not cover the residential neighborhoods.

Still, some of the brightest and best of the KREM-2 news room are gone, budgetary cuts taking precedence over talent and awards. One has only to wonder where this erosion will all end, but without a robust national economy I simply do not see it stopping soon.


Superman to the Rescue?

Good morning, Netizens…

I keep asking this same question, over and over again, and each time when I peer into my bowl of fortune-telling oatmeal, all I see are oats. What are we going to do to save our newspapers?

Leave it to David Horsey’s cartoon this morning, and we might see the resurrected figure of lowly Clark Kent AKA Superman to the rescue. Why not? Nothing else seems to be working. We’ve seen several big national newspapers shutter their doors for good; we have seen some of the most-talented and skilled journalists evacuating the Spokesman-Review. Now more than ever, we need one of America’s most-durable cartoon super-heroes to come save the newspapers.

David Horsey may be onto something! Of course, if you have any other ideas, by all means feel free to speak up. If you have one of those old Superman costumes in mothballs in the closet, by all means don it and save the day!