Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Journalist's Christmas List to Santa

Dear Santa,

I understand you're incredibly busy, but in the land of the secret government approved by the secret court, there's never been a time when journalism has been in greater need for some Christmas cheer.   If at all possible, could you please bring the following gifts:

1.  Earmuffs for the citizens of Washington, D.C. so they won't have to listen to the barking from all the lapdogs.  

2. Two items for the Washington press corps:  1.) an understanding that torture is like rape: it is ALWAYS wrong and 2.) a question to ask any politician who proclaims family values on the campaign trail who is defending torture:  what would Jesus say?

3.  A flash drive with a video of the acceptance speech by Jorge Ramos for his award from the Committee to Protect Journalists.   This should go to every journalist in the country (so you don't have to stop at FOX).  

4.  For Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated and 60 Minutes, a copy of the 8th grade journalism 101 lesson plan.   Sabrina Rubin Erdely,  Pete Thamel, and Lara Logan and every CBS executive who approved her Benghazi story that could have been blown up with 15 minutes of checking the CBS News archive seem to have forgotten the basics.   Journalism requires verification. Journalism requires checking your facts. 

5.  Pens for sports reporters.   Currently, most only have pom poms. 

6.  Basic computer-assisted reporting skills for university student journalists who can easily examine the university's grading database and pinpoint puff courses for athletes at their university - they're the ones where everyone always gets an A every semester.   This is 
an analysis provosts should do but they don't and local reporters could do but they won't - see number 5.   

7.  The URL's for the Guardian and Al Jazeera and BBC for CNN so it can see there's more than one story to cover in a day.    

8.  A plaque that says "Giving a NUT Equal Time is Not Fairness, IT IS IDIOTIC" to news organizations giving equal time to those who don't believe in science (climate change).

9.  Membership in IRE for Cincinnati Enquirer editor Carolyn Washburn so hopefully someone will tell her if she goes to the annual convention what an investigative reporter is.   It is NOT someone who "works with your advertising partner to grow and monetize the 25-45 audience."

10.  And most of all Santa, on your naughty and nice list, please tell President Obama it is very naughty to prosecute people who tell the truth (whistleblowers) and not nice at all to fail to prosecute those from the CIA and NSA who lie to Congress.

Merry Christmas Santa.  


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