Toure de Force: CNN and MSNBC Personalities Clash Over Coverage Of Martin Killing

Tongues are wagging over a confrontation between CNN’s Piers Morgan and MSNBC’s Toure (a journalist who appears to go by just one name like Cher or the Artist Formerly Known As Prince). At issue was whether Morgan should have been tougher on George Zimmerman’s brother in an interview or conversely whether journalists like Toure have discarded their neutrality and objective distance in declaring Zimmerman a murderer. Putting aside the childish rhetoric, it is a serious question of whether journalists are crossing the line into advocacy in declaring the guilt of someone like Zimmerman. The controversy has also raised long-standing uncertainty of the role of anchors and journalists in actively supporting a claim, cause or movement.


The exchange below is clearly driven to some extent by bad blood between the two men who crossed virtual swords over Twitter. After the Zimmerman interview, Toure objected that “Piers did not challenge Robert Zimmerman the way a professional journalist should” and later accused him of “allowing Rob Zimmerman to spout unchallenged lies further poisons a tense moment in American history. Be professional.” Morgan responded by tweeting “Oh Toure, you’re such a tedious little twerp . . . ps @Toure – 71k tweets for just 57k followers? Ouch. Ever get the feeling you’re doing a LOT of jabbering but nobody’s listening?”

Not exactly the stuff of Edward R. Murrow. Then however it got more direct and even more personal on the show. Morgan pointed out that Toure had pronounced the guilt of a man without all of the evidence and disregarding the claims of the accused. Toure insisted that Morgan was ignoring the obvious evidence of guilt.

MORGAN: Wait a minute. At no stage did I give any sense that I agreed with what he was saying. I challenged him repeatedly about many of the things that he was saying.

TOURE: What you understand as challenging, perhaps, maybe that goes in England. That’s not what we do in terms of challenging in America.

While not defending Morgan’s interview with Zimmerman, he did challenge Zimmerman’s account:

MORGAN: How do you explain as a family the video that came out last night of your brother within not much time after this incident walking around, unaided, perfectly OK, with no apparent markings to his face? If you get a broken nose or the kind of head injuries sustainable from having your head smashed on the concrete floor, you’re going to have blood everywhere. You’re going to have injuries. There is nothing.

I mean, we’re looking at images now. There’s no visible sign of any attack. How do you explain that?

I did understand Toure’s frustration with Zimmerman’s brother. However, I was a bit surprised to see a journalist say that a second unreleased 911 call would clearly prove Zimmerman guilty.

MORGAN: Do you believe that George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin?

TOURE: Yes.

MORGAN: So you’ve already tried him? You’ve convicted him?

TOURE: You asked me what I think.

MORGAN: You called me — you called me — you called me an irresponsible journalist. Really? That is professional? Professional journalism means that you have just —

(CROSSTALK)

TOURE: — George Zimmerman is clearly showing repeatedly racist bias against a person who he does not know and has never seen before, and is pouring all these sort of stereotypes into this person.

That’s even before we get to coon. They always get away, which is ridiculous because the jails are filled with millions of black men. But he thinks they always get away. He’s up to no good. He’s got his hands in his pants. He’s on drugs.

It’s a 17-year-old boy walking down the street talking to his girl on the phone. None of those things are true. But he’s already said all those things.

And then we have the other 911 call, which I imagine will be extraordinarily damaging if we ever get to a court of law, where we hear someone screaming, which clearly sounds like a young boy and not a 200 something pound 28-year-old man with a gun.

A person, however, is screaming. There’s a gunshot. And there’s no more screaming. That sounds to me pretty damning. It reminds him of the face Emmett Till, bashed in the coffin, where we see here’s evidence of a black body being destroyed wrongfully, innocently. And the justice system, of course, not coming to his aid.

MORGAN: I’ve raised many questions about the justice system, the legal process, as anyone who has watched the show in the last week knows. What I haven’t done is convict George Zimmerman because I haven’t seen all the facts yet. You berate me for a lack of professional journalism.

But you have just said that you believe he murdered him. You have a very biased, one sided opinion of this, based on your assessment of the limited amount of facts that we have at our disposal. That’s your prerogative. I don’t challenge you. I simply say that as a fact. You also think it’s OK to do stupid dumb jokes, mocking — what did you call it, Zimmermaning (ph) me? You’re killing me.

So we are different people. I like to think that I’m a professional journalist, Toure. I think you are something else. But I appreciate you joining me tonight.

There has always been an interesting question of when a journalist should clearly state what has been established even if denied by a party. For example, I have long criticized the use of the term “enhanced interrogation” by the media — a term made up by the Bush Administration to avoid calling waterboarding “torture” as uniformly defined by U.S. and foreign courts. That is an example of where news reporting can mislead the reader into believing that there is a credible debate or uncertainty over whether waterboarding is torture. Yet, here many journalists feel the evidence is clear and conclusive — should they speak of the evidence in such terms?

Of course, in this case, you have an individual who insists that he was attacked and there is only sketchy evidence of what occurred at the scene. I have previously stated that I believe Zimmerman could have been arrested at the scene based on that evidence. Yet,I have been criticized for simply noting that the case had “murky” element and was “not as conclusive” as suggested in some coverage. I have also been criticized for not declaring Zimmerman clearly guilty while exploring the likely issues facing any possible prosecution.

As a legal commentator and a civil libertarian, I am uncomfortable with political campaigns and petitions demanding prosecutions. While I have expressed my skepticism over Zimmerman’s account, there remains standards to satisfy for any prosecution — including proof beyond a reasonable doubt. There are many details that have yet to come out, including forensic evidence. There are also questions such as whether Zimmerman will claim that Martin tried to grab the gun. Self-defense cases are context bound and detail driven. My training leads me to be neutral in such analysis. While expressing my skepticism, I think it is important to explore both versions of the shooting in a detached manner to assist others in reaching conclusions about the state of the evidence.

The question is whether some television personalities and journalists have crossed the line such as Al Sharpton’s suggestion of civil unrest unless there is an indictment. This includes journalists like Allison Samuels recounting what Martin was thinking at the time of his killing:

SAMUELS: Is this slavery day, where we have to show our papers and say, “Hey, look, I’m allowed to be here. I’m free?” That’s ridiculous. You don’t have to explain who you are or why you’re here to someone who does not have a badge, who is not in a uniform.

I am sure this young man’s attitude was, “What are you following me for, what are you doing?” And I don’t know why they would try to flip the script on that, and make that seem that that’s inappropriate, when he had every right to be there, and didn’t have to explain that to anyone.
. . .

SAMUELS: Trayvon Martin had no idea what was happening. He had no idea why this guy was behind him. And the young girl, the girlfriend, I think is going to be very important when she is able to testify, to say he was saying, “This guy’s following me.” She’s telling him to run. Trayvon was very scared for his life, and I think there’s no way that they can sort of change the way that that went down, no matter what they release. . . .

SAMUELS: No, and I was in Sanford, Florida for a couple of days. I went around the community, I talked to a number of people. No one that I spoke to there could sort of defend what George Zimmerman had done, no one was in agreement with what he had done, and no one had seen what he had done. The women that you’ve seen — who admitted, who came forth — they went to the police, they went to the police station, and they talked to the media, they talked about what they saw. I even talked to a little kid who had seen sort of the end of it.

But I talked to no one who had actually witnessed the other part of this story that Zimmerman is putting forth. So, it’s all very suspect. It is also very convenient for it to come out now, when he — Zimmerman — and the police department is taking such a beating.

Samuels made some very good points in the interview and she is a serious journalist by any measure, but the question is where journalists should draw the line in presuming feelings or thoughts. This has always been a difficult question for me in drawing this line. However, I am concerned that the super-heated environment in this case may be interfering with an objective accounting of the facts and possible prosecution. That can itself lead to a violent response if the public is not told about the difficult legal issues that would be raised in any trial.

Notably, the continued super-heated language and marches (and irresponsible tweeting and use of social media) will create a serious question of a fair trial if an indictment is ever brought in the case. A change of venue motion would likely be filed, but where would such a trial occur. With rallies being held in major cities, the defense might try to push the trial to smaller cities or towns. However, there may be a racial differential in the jury pool in such jurisdictions. That would create an ironic twist that the rallies and public statements in various cities could work to the advantage of the defense in a venue change in a more rural area or less urban area.

There may be a different standard for legal commentators and journalists as opposed to others. However, for years, legal commentators have been urged to be outspoken in their accounts — taking predictable sides in coverage that often produces more heat than light. Another (different) question is whether it is appropriate for anchors on Fox or MSNBC to lead political rallies and campaigns. Keith Olbermann was fired at MSNBC for writing a couple of small checks to candidates for political office. I understand that policy and the importance to keep journalists neutral, but there appears no bar on actually leading a political rally and openly supporting one party — so long as you do not give actual money. Again, I am not sure of what the objective line is that divided a small financial contribution to a candidate and leading voting drives for a particular party. Fox recently cancelled an auction item by Dick Morris to assist a local GOP campaign. In defense of people like Sharpton, I am not sure such a line has been articulated. Moreover, Sharpton is billed as a civil rights leader and activist as opposed to a journalist. Morris is defined as a political operative. Does that matter?

What do you think?

Here is the transcript of the Toure/Morgan interview.

132 thoughts on “Toure de Force: CNN and MSNBC Personalities Clash Over Coverage Of Martin Killing

  1. “Not the stuff of Edward R. Murrow”. Yeah they were not promoting smoking to the children of the world.

    One way to condemn Piers and Toure de France is to begin with the proposition that one commits a journalist Sin when one condemns another in a criminal context. Here you have murderer saying he is victim and victim cant talk. Allowing the weeny brother of Zimmerman to blather on was a bit much. He needs some cross examination.

    The case is similar to Klan days and few people are making the comparisons. The Vigilante wore no hood. He is not a Neighborhood Watch Commander– no home owners association would associate with him now would they? They would be defendants in the civil suit.

    Perhaps the Neighborhood Watch Commander aspect is one which the media are all missing. The right to arm bears is one thing. The right to protect oneself with a gun is not the right to go be cop in the hood. Or Klansmen correcting the nigras who step off the sidewalk.

    The criminal proceedings will sort some of this out but a civil rights suit will be an avenue of justice which the family should pursue. I found, in my prior incarnation as an attorney in the South, that a civil rights suit is the only justice that the family of a dead black kid can get. The angle to pursue is that Zimmerman is the private actor, acting in conjunction with the public actor, the police dispatcher, that dispatcher’s superior, and the town itself.
    Those entities are liable under the Civil Rights Act. We used to call that statute the Ku Klux Klan Act. Maybe Y’all should realize that Florida is as far South as one can get.

  2. “This is a major moment in American history.” Seriously? Who the hell is this clown and why the hell doesn’t he have a last name? What a joke.

  3. re: “While I have expressed my skepticism over Zimmerman’s account, there remains standards to satisfy for any prosecution — including proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    Your knowledge of the law likely surpasses my knowledge of my own profession, so I ask this question timidly: In order to prosecute, there cannot be reasonable doubt as to a person’s guilt? Or have I misinterpreted that?

  4. “Dark humor” and “black humor” are common for American blacks and white British people can’t get it. Riiiigggghhhtt……

  5. While all this is going on I have to wonder: have we invaded yet another country? has the pentagon “lost” another trillion dollars? have the banksters managed to get another bailout in order to get huge bonuses?

    We seem to have another OJ-type case to distract us. Or is this a case to set Blacks and Hispanics against each other? With whites lining up on one side or the other. More divide and conquer?

    FWITW: Even if Martin did confront Zimmerman, didn’t he “stand his ground” against someone who had been following him? If he did grab at the gun, what would you do under the circumstances of someone pulling a gun on you?

  6. Francesdavey – ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ is the standard for conviction; ‘probable cause’ is the standard needed to prosecute.

  7. @swathmore, nothing on his wikipedia page has convinced me that he is at all qualified to make any sort of objective journalistic proclamation, much less to challenge the journliastic integrity of real journalists. this guy looks like a TV news “commentator” with all the objectivity and integrity of al sharpton crossed with nancy grace.

    do you disagree?

  8. I tried to watch this, I really did. But it was just too painful. Neither man acquitted himself well at all. This is what happens when news morphs into entertainment and you have entertainers passing themselves off as journalists. And vice versa.

    Where are Ed Murrow and Walter Cronkite when you need them?

  9. OS beat me too it. Entertainers, not journalists. Ratings and retweets.PR and puffery, not information.

    It’s a joke. American so-called journalism is mostly a joke.

    The mass media and the masses. Both pathetically shallow.

  10. The idea that journalism bespeaks lack of bias is wishful thinking and has always been such. Observation of anything is distorted by individual perception, thus it has always been, even in the times of Murrow and Cronkite.

  11. Toure apologizes for Piers Morgan Rant, Blames ‘Masculine Bravado BS’
    By Chris Ariens on April 2, 2012 10:15 AM

    MSNBC contributor Touré went on Piers Morgan‘s CNN show Friday night discussing the Trayvon Martin case, and the discussion turned to Touré saying Morgan isn’t qualified to comment on the case. “You are too new to this situation to fully understand what’s really going on here, and what’s really at stake here for America.”

    “What a load of fatuous nonsense you speak,” Morgan shot back.

    Cutline’s Dylan Stableford reports, Toure took to Twitter Saturday night to write: “I should not have gotten caught up in ‘winning’ the debate with Piers. I got caught up with ‘winning’ on some masculine bravado bs when my whole point has always been justice for this boy. I lost sight of that.”

    Morgan isn’t taking the apology and moving on.

  12. There are no journalists on American television.

    There are a couple of news readers that have excellent journalists doing research for them, but there are no actual journalists on television. On any network. As others have pointed out, television is about entertainment and ratings, not news. That distinction between “news reader” and “journalist” is one bit of precision I truly appreciate about British English.

  13. Typically deep thinking: “why the hell doesn’t he have a last name? ”
    he does. is this the substance of your criticism?

    On to the interview. Piers Morgan did a fluff interview with George Zimmerman’s brother. I agree with Toure that he threw light ball questions that were met with fog answers. “we’ll let the medical records determine that” and the like are red herrings. Each time the fish hit the trail, Piers Morgan lost interest.

    But worse he blindly agrees with things that are wrong because he’s a fraud. The attack on the audio by the brother was filled with more horse shit than your average equestrian track produces in a year.

    The changing of equalizer settings does not add or subtract core audio features. When Zimmerman threw this line of garbage out, Piers Morgan says, “right” then moves on pass this glaring nonsense.

    Morgan pushed Toure harder than he pushed Zimmerman because Morgan’s concept is that a journalist is to play nice nice. If a journalist is asking questions of a subject and they evade the question, the Morgan standard would be to move on. Toure’s view is you call horseshit for what it is, horseshit.

    Example: Chris Matthews regularly calls out politicos who engage in fogging. “what are you talking about?” he’ll ask. “you don’t really believe that, so why are you saying it”. He usually saves this for an insincere manipulator. Imagine David Frost just taking Nixon at face value.

    We’d have no muckrakers in history if they had simply waited for the genteel manner Morgan claims is “professional”.

    Looking at Piers Morgan’s career, he is not a journalist by trade but an entertainment gadfly promoter. Yes, he’s dabbled with tabloid journalism here and there, but he is not the person who has the authority to say, “i’ll teach you about professional journalism”

    Back to the interview, Toure challenged how Morgan didn’t push and in response, Morgan points to “repeatedly asking”. Repeatedly asking something isn’t pushing, its repetition. Pushing is to gain an inch with each question. If the question isn’t giving you the feedback you think belongs there logically, then you ask more questions until the picture comes clear. Different than looking for a prearranged conclusion, it is more like what Toure said, “that doesn’t fit with the facts as I know them.”

    Certainly Piers Morgan has been in an audio editing room, but unlike editors like me, he hasn’t a clue how the gear works because he’s all blow bag presenter not the technical crew. Few producers and talent know the hard cut work. He isn’t a lawyer, so he has to fluff there, he isn’t tune in to the concerns of our American enclaves.

    To the topic of whether a Brit can understand the suffering, expectations, and collective memory of the Black Community, Toure makes a very good point and Morgan wasn’t open to it. Had he been open to it instead of blindly defensive, it might have been a worthy news moment. What Toure was conveying is the resentment of Cultural Voyeurism. Cultural Voyeurism means you might know some surface items about a group’s culture from peeking in here and there, but until you’ve lived in it, you don’t understand it. You have a surface level access to this.

    Example: I am fascinated with Chinese and Indian cultures. I have an outsider’s experience that is part sociologist and part historian. What lacks until you submit to the identity of the area, is the undercurrent of feelings that are only awakened in situations that have affected the said community most directly. Sure, white people might know what a lynching is, but it doesn’t create the same feelings typically as it does in the black community. Morgan might get this intellectually, but he hasn’t got this in his bones.

    Similarly, many Americans have no idea what it was like to live during the fire bombing days of WWII. Jokes about nuclear strikes are funnier in Kansas than they are in Kyoto. Toure’s point was treated as everything else he said, with mockery. That was the best Piers Morgan could offer. He was a petulant bully just like Bill O’Really but with his pompous British condescension.

    “I’ve been covering this a week! What don’t I understand!”
    He arrogantly said he could understand the story in a week of coverage. This very blind statement becomes clear when you’ve stood in protests over 20 years confronting police departments and the justice system for the disproportionate attack on black men.
    He hasn’t participated in any of these types of struggles so even if he was an American it is equally true that he does not understand the story the way Toure understands the story.

    As for the above mockery by John about “moment in history”, it is easy to dismiss a relative “moment in history” when it isn’t your “history”. Your comment isn’t very well qualified to begin with, especially in light of the ad hominem attack of no last name. Toure Neblett is his full name. If you approached information in a non-mocking way, you could have learned that without me typing it.

    By in large, I think the grand ass in this interview is clearly Piers Morgan who decided to resort to mockery more than answers. “pure rubbish” etc…that is a non-answer. It is called, appeal to mockery in logical fallacy. He couldn’t respond because this is his best. This is finest. He’s a boor unless he’s happy. He pressed Toure in a manner that suited his egofest after he had his cozy interview with Zimmerman.

    Toure’s one mistake was revealing that MSNBC was laughing at CNN. That dragged in people who weren’t there to qualify their reactions and lead to his apology likely. I don’t apologize for laughing at the joke that is Piers Morgan. He’s a tabloid garbage digger who wants to pretend to have credibility. When he can’t establish it professionally, he’ll simply play the boor and call that professional.

    Anyone who believes in “objective journalism” needs to get a good course in journalism. It is a rare field. Most journalism has a view or bias. Piers Morgan is in no place to teach anyone about journalism. His condescension was quite telling. His patron garbage makes CNN look really bad in my eyes. Larry King used to helm that time slot. It now has a British version of Bill O’Really.

    Thanks for your blog, Prof Turley and to all the fun folks who come by to share a view.

  14. Touré Apologizes for Piers Morgan Rant, Blames ‘Masculine Bravado BS’
    By Chris Ariens on April 2, 2012 10:15 AM
    http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/toure-aplogizes-for-piers-morgan-rant-blames-masculine-bravado-bs_b119432

    Cutline’s Dylan Stableford reports, Toure took to Twitter Saturday night to write: “I should not have gotten caught up in ‘winning’ the debate with Piers. I got caught up with ‘winning’ on some masculine bravado bs when my whole point has always been justice for this boy. I lost sight of that.”

    Morgan isn’t taking the apology and moving on.

  15. “There are no journalists on American television.”
    Sorry, there are many good journalist on American Television.
    Bill Moyers is back on Monday nights for instance, McNeil Lehrer brings on many quality journalists. I might not agree with them all but they’re still solid professional journalists. Even the 3 news cable channels have guests who are solid journalists.

    Ann Cornblut for instance overturned an article she previously took one stance but the facts were evolving and she kept up faster than anyone else in corrections, adjustments. She really one me over. The story was the Trina Bachtel story that got run over by the claim that Hillary Clinton lied about the “hospital story”. Most outlets got the story dead wrong, but one of my colleagues didn’t. He saw that the story was not only true, but was systematic of the southern Ohio health care reality. Hospitals were denying care based on other family member debts, small debts, and other.

    When we confronted ABC, CNN, Fox, NBC, NYTimes etc, only Ann Kornblut and Jake Tapper took the time to correct the record, make sure it was sound and even acknowledged the source of the correction. This is solid work. I can’t ask for anything more.

    But to your: “There are no journalists on American television.”
    my experience in getting corrections does lead me to want to agree with this…there certainly is a large amount of punditry and anchoring instead of solid journalism…on TV.

  16. MCM,

    I have to disagree with your characterization of Chris Matthews as a journalist. He’s a color commentator at best. But I do agree that Morgan was the worst of the deal. He should be ashamed every time he refers to himself as a journalist, but since his primary interests seems to be celebrity as indicated by his career path, I really doubt he has a sense of shame.

  17. I do agree that American journalists should challenge the politicians and government officials on the facts. Asking tough questions is not akin to condemning an alleged criminal. Without tough questions from the media you get things like the Iraq War and the Patriot Act torture called “enhanced interrogation”. Without the media attention to this case, the Trayvon Martin family nor the Zimmerman family would have no hope of the truth coming out. Of course, maybe there are some that don’t want the truth to come out.

  18. MCM,

    Exception noted and stipulated. I do sometimes forget Moyers is still on the air. However, you go on to point to “guests”. News readers in general are not journalists nor are the real thing (Moyers excepted) usually the focus of their respective programs.

  19. Toure proved himself to be a clown as soon as he attempted to bolster his position with his personal musings about things uniquely ‘American’ and what ‘hurts America.’

    What a load of crap; or as Morgan called it “fatuous nonsense.”

    fat·u·ous
    adjective
    1. foolish or inane, especially in an unconscious, complacent manner; silly.
    2. unreal; illusory.

    That about sums it up.

    I too thought Morgan could have been tougher on Zimmerman’s brother, but on second reflection, that’s probably because I’m convinced he’s guilty.

    Accordingly, Morgan is the hands down winner per exemplifying professional journalism and Toure is indeed a clown.

  20. Gene,

    If you try looking at Morgan the same way we look at Scalia for the health care debate you’ll see that he wins the objectivity award here compared to Toure.

  21. One person who is going to have to deal with the facts on the ground, and not someone’s imagination about what he wishes the facts might be, is the prosecutor. The prosecutor’s job here is going to be horrific. So far as we have learned, there is no eyewitness to the actual shooting and the immediate events that led to it. There are eye- and ear-witnesses to parts of it, but once Z left his car in pursuit of T, things go blank for critical moments. This leaves a very large hole in the evidentiary puzzle from which the defense can argue “reasonable doubt,” particularly in light of the myriad issues presented by the “Stand Your Ground” law. Indeed, it’s not clear who was standing his ground at the critical moment. Then there was an interrogation which, if taped, might show a consistent, or an inconsistent, story by Z. Z’s lawer will undoubtedly point out that the police didn’t charge him and let him go. And, ironically, the more that people protest the lack of an arrest now sets up a great argument for the defense at trial that this was just a political prosecution. It’s a mess and the sideshows are making it messier.

  22. And Gene,

    If you want an interview that was far more outrageously softball than Morgan’s interview of Zimmerman’s brother, you may want to look up Leslie Stahl’s 60 minute interview of Antonin Scalia.

    To me that stands out as the archetype of journalistic malpractice!

  23. Bob,

    Please don’t mention Leslie Stahl’s Scalia interview. I’m trying to keep a bagel down. As to Morgan and Toure? I think they’re both clowns, but I do think Morgan wears the bigger shoes.

    **********

    MCM,

    I thought in context you were implying Matthews was a journalist. Sorry! My bad.

  24. Ms. Elaine this thread is about the confrontation between CNN’s Piers Morgan and MSNBC’s Toure. Although the MSNBC’s journalist last name is similar to the word torture this is not what the thread is about. Stop or I will start posting climate change links. :)

  25. Just teasing you :)

    Here’s how reliable media does reports.

    NBC News has launched an internal investigation into a story that ran on the “Today” show about the killing of Florida teenager, Trayvon Martin.

    The Washington Post was the first to report news of the investigation.

    The internal probe will investigate the editing completed on the audio recording of the 911 call George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin to death, made to police minutes before he took action. The “Today” version of the call makes it sound as though Zimmerman volunteered the information that Martin was black. In actuality, the 911 officer asked if the “suspicious person” Zimmerman was calling about was “black, white or Hispanic.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/02/nbc-news-trayvon-martin-internal-investigation_n_1396442.html

  26. Bob Esq: “Am I the only one here who thinks that Lawrence O’Donnell is almost as much of a blowhard as Rush Limbaugh?”. Not to sure about your taste in journalists or whatever they are.

  27. “He’s a boor unless he’s happy. He pressed Toure in a manner that suited his egofest after he had his cozy interview with Zimmerman. Toure’s one mistake was revealing that MSNBC was laughing at CNN. That dragged in people who weren’t there to qualify their reactions and lead to his apology likely. I don’t apologize for laughing at the joke that is Piers Morgan. He’s a tabloid garbage digger who wants to pretend to have credibility. When he can’t establish it professionally, he’ll simply play the boor and call that professional.”

    MCMcC,

    You have it so right about Morgan. As an inveterate watcher of crap TV, I watched him on “America’s Got Talent” from its beginning. Besides all you said he is also homophobic, misogynistic and bigoted. What else should be expected from a former Editor for Rupert Murdoch?

  28. “News readers in general are not journalists nor are the real thing (Moyers excepted) usually the focus of their respective programs.”
    exactly Gene. we aren’t in disagreement about Matthews or that type.

    I resist for instance calling Rachel Maddow a journalist only because I think she’s becoming one…but that isn’t her primary skill. Her primary skill is based in her PhD in health policy. She’s speaking from that area of expertise in almost all of her clips. She takes information that other fact finders (one of my former roles in radio) cull together and collectively they put together their final bit. She’s the lead presenter in a group effort.

    The veterans are leaving the building unfortunately and the truly finest are only guests or in print.

    But lets say Piers Morgan doesn’t have to be a journalist. Lets say Toure was wrong to assume he was a journalist per se (if that was his take). If we simply deal with it at the value of the topic at hand (allowing the fog machines to show up and do their thing)…that is the story. And I’m with Toure on this that not only Morgan, but others have let these folks come out unqualified to speak and spin the machine.

    Frank Taaffe, Joe Oliver, Robert Zimmerman, all are being allowed to speak as if they have authority. “the family representative joe oliver” has been said at least a dozen times. “close friend”

    Toure was right in pointing out that “journalistic standards would allow that guy in the front door” or there abouts. Funny that Ira Glass just apologized for an exaggerated story that is in essence, very true.

    This is bigger than Piers Morgan or Toure. This is bigger than CNN alone. These networks do what we’ve dealt with in journalism for years, “if it bleeds it leads”. There is much to talk about with this case, as we’ve been doing. The policy, the past, the future. These are no jokes and there is little room for clowns.

    There are some real gems in those studios. I have huge respect for many who work at these networks. But when Piers Morgan comes here and acts as arrogant as he did towards someone who is telling him, “you don’t get it”…he lost an opportunity. He could have restated what he did get, asked for a dialog but he wasn’t interested.

    Lets put that disinterest in context of British behavior to colonials and the occupied. Talking down from a Brit with power is almost a stereotype with lungs. I’ve seen it for most of my life. It isn’t a sole characteristic but it is a lingering impression in the feelings of people who live at the brunt end of it.

    Additionally American arrogance has the same dismissive demeanor. “those little countries” Obama said the other day…damn shameful but honest exposure of the treatment of many countries by American leaders. “those little unimportant countries” is what is heard.

    If Morgan were as erudite as he projects he’d been in tune with this, but that isn’t his mission. Being proud and right is his mission. If anything he just reinforced many power plays between white males and black males for a long time. “oh sure I know what you feel, ask me what I don’t know”…how high that wall is. No openness there.

    I’ve lived in the black community for most of my adult life, spent years in rallies, learned most of my politics through community leaders in NYC, Chicago, Houston, Miami, and LA. But the idea that I can truly understand the reaction Toure is speaking of is still slightly remote and intellectual in nature because…lets see how well my french is…IT DOESN’T HAPPEN TO ME. It does happen in front of me though. Morgan is clueless about this. Toure might not know how to bring him there.

    In the end, I’d like us to look more at how these networks climb over dead bodies to get their microphone in front of a lead.

  29. The problem I see with this whole case is that while I believe Zimmerman murdered Morgan because of his skin color, the underlying issue is the SYG laws. These laws are not only racially charged in intent, but also supportive of class distinctions.

  30. “What else should be expected from a former Editor for Rupert Murdoch?”

    Well said. I don’t want to be angry with Morgan, feels like that takes too much of my energy. I sort of accidentally fell into my media critic hat by being a fact finder. I’d have to source for radio programs and it became a fun activity. But you develop a long detailed memory of these personality types.

    For every ounce I can dole out about Morgan, I have 10x the vent about the destruction of Nightline. Ted Koppel’s hair is rolling in its grave over that train wreck. No wonder we have such an uninformed populace.

    I appreciate the dialog in this niche of the world. Call me out if you need. Good for us all.

  31. MCM,

    We are in total agreement about Maddow. She’s still a presenter, but she does show signs of morphing into an actual journalist. From what I can tell, she also has probably some of the best researchers in television today working for her.

    The rest of your observations vis-à-vis Morgan and the general state of the media as it relates to spin I have no argument with.

  32. “I’ve lived in the black community for most of my adult life”

    MCMcC,

    I worked in Black communities for almost my entire career. I’ve been friends with Black people, worked for them, with them and employed them. While I have probably a greater depth of understanding than the average White American, I can never know the reality of the experience on anything thing more than an intellectual and/or empathic level. All I can say and it is a mere intellectual exercise is that I am amazed that the entire community it not overwhelmed by rage at the continued injustice heaped upon them.

  33. Gene,

    Since I don’t know more about Toure than that one interview, you may be right. I too do not consider Piers Morgan to be a serious journalist. However, unlike Toure, he did stick by the one basic rule of reserving judgment. Recall it’s so fundamental that we demand journalists preface their comments about criminal defendants with the word “alleged.”

    Morgan was no clown if only by not stooping to that Fox News type low of convicting before trial as Toure did.

    Elaine,

    The part of that interview that made me wretch was the way he dismissed Bush v. Gore — saying something to the effect that people should just ‘get over it’ or something.

    Swarthmore mom,

    Lawrence O’Donnell is insufferable and pig headed. He is the liberal opposite of Rachel Maddow.

    You’re a fan of Glen Greenwald; aren’t you? Why don’t you look up the confrontation between Greenwald and O’Donnell on Morning Joe about a year or so back. Maybe then you’ll see what I mean by insufferable pig head.

    And for the record, when I refer to O’Donnell as being as much of a blowhard as Rush Limbaugh, it means I find them equally worth ignoring.

  34. http://www.veracityradio.com/documents/videofiles.pdf

    This is a small snapshot of our video archive for instance. We track coverage based on topic and networks for different reasons. Some will be as simple as straight archiving. I think we have almost all of Prof Turley’s television visits. I keep a full quad on daily. (4 channels same time) Then we toggle to cover important items.

    “what is an important item?”
    time will tell, so we archive. Its amazing what we learn later after context develops.

    This…is not what Piers Morgan does. Tracking trends, weighing coverage, watching anchors transform, channels transform. Name it, Michael Savage on MSNBC, Rick Sanchez being tasered, Dick Cheney confessing to authorizing waterboarding, we try to keep it for long term view.

    God bless CSPAN for finally putting up their library, but even then they don’t post everything…glad we have those clips ourselves.

    Ideally, there would be good use in study of how any single narrative develops, BP disaster as it relates to the protests over pensions in the early 50s in UK. Ideally, I’d have a satellite system for other networks outside US. But studying US media is a full time burden as is.

    No wonder citizens here are so misinformed. Look at what they’re given. ABCNews compresses stories into 2:12 segments, learn about your military in :38 sec.

    Did Fox cover StoryA? yep for 10:30. Did they cover StoryB? Yes, for 1:08.
    Did CNN cover StoryA? yep for 3:35. Did they cover StoryB? Yes, for 5:05
    Did MSNBC cover StoryA? no. Did they cover StoryB? Yes, for 22:10.

    Fun stuff. if you like chomping antacids and coffee.

    And unlike Media Matters, focusing only on conservative media especially fox, we’re more into the whole thing. I’m fascinated with propaganda in many different forms; the why we buy into shit science.

    Like…why did I vote for George H W Bush? because driving around in a helmet looks silly. And why did I think that we were justified in nuking Japan? because nobody told me that Japan as devastated in Manchuria. Why do Texans believe they can secede when they renounced the right March 1, 1866? because myth is easier to keep up with than truth, I guess. Either way, it can become fascinating work, much like law.

  35. Bob, Esq. Glad you cleared that up. I did see the Greenwald and O’Donnell exchange. Greenwald is involved in a big twitter war now. He is certainly an angry sort, himself.

  36. Mike, I agree. I’ve also worked a lot in minority communities; worked with for and supervised blacks. In one setting, very small, interdependent staff, I experienced a lot of black/white, black/black dynamics that eventually led me to switch jobs. I was getting stereotyped for being an over educated white guy who didn’t belong (even after I spearheaded a significant wage updgrade for all us mere “s.a. counselors”), and the admin didn’t want to touch it (neither the black nor white admin). Anyway, even the older, little educated (formally) black women who got on my case a lot, and spouted about all whites having some degree of racial prejudice — recognized or not, conscious or unconscious — had a point. It’s a rare American who doesn’t recognize color.

  37. “he did stick by the one basic rule of reserving judgment.”

    where did this rule come from? and how is it being applied. I think this is something that should be discussed fully.

    First, what judgement are we talking about?
    If I believe I should write a story about prison abuse, I’ve already judged two things that might be challenged later.
    a. that there is prison abuse
    b. that it is unjust
    c. that it should be challenged at least with information.

    I’ve already committed the ‘don’t judge’ crime if that is a standard.
    Now…the real journalist standard would be…don’t let your story offend the facts. Don’t let your judgement offend the facts. And, Toure was asked what he ‘thinks’. That doesn’t mean in his final journalism he couldn’t conclude something counter to his view or not in line with his original premise.

    The field of journalism isn’t as sterile as Morgan wanted to project. It isn’t as sterile as Howard Kurtz imagines in his ‘non-biased’ discussions. That just isn’t the history of journalism. Ethics are based in letting the facts come through. Make sure you can source your work and that the sources are worthy of your reader, viewer, and historical record.

    Your image as a hack will be guaranteed if you keep talking to 3rd level sources instead of 1st person. I know some great news editors and they are brutal on you when you turn in a story. “where did you get that? is this your conclusion? is this what they said?” It can be tougher than I face with a kung fu instructor in training. The better the editor the harder it is to get the story finished. Each detail is examined for its need and verifiable origin.

    Toure is a social commentary person as well as journalist. Cutting his nads off as a journalist when he delivers a social commentary would also show a poor understanding of the history of journalism. I.F. Stone and George Seldes had plenty to say about our society…that was their prime work. The facts only generation are parrots. They serve the authority to be ignorant and unquestioning. Wolf Blitzer is a nightmare. These folks repeat the same unexamined nonsense every day while real journalists do the hard work they feed from.

    You and I don’t know the names of most of the great journalists. They’re just too buried under their typewriters and pouring out stories that get AP coverage here and there, show up in various niche magazines or blogs now while the camera heads to the glittery smile of Anderson Cooper, the Hannity Hair, and the train wreck that is Nightline.

    I’d be interested in some of your favourite journalists. Dahr Jamail, Jason Leopold, Jeffrey Kaye, and others get my information juices flowing when I read their work. But there are many many out there. Don’t have to necessarily agree with them either, but who would some be?

  38. MCM,

    Propaganda is an inherently interesting subject. I’ve done quite a bit of research into the history, mechanics and psychology behind propaganda. A functional knowledge of how it works makes looking at the media, news in general and reading history a totally different experience after that knowledge is acquired. Knowing the nature of propaganda is the very portrait of transformative knowledge. Upon acquisition, it becomes as integral to your world view as a knowledge of physics.

  39. Here’s an interesting letter to the editor that I read in The Boston Globe this morning:

    A cost to teaching black youth ‘humility’
    http://articles.boston.com/2012-04-02/letters/31269422_1_black-son-black-youth-sad-commentary

    I READ Yvonne Abraham’s column “Fatal differences’’ (Metro, March 29) with the recognition that comes from raising a black son. I’m the white mother of an adopted son and now the grandmother of his three children. Our children – we also have two birth daughters – were raised in Brookline, and had safer experiences than many, but we taught our son the “humility’’ routine that Abraham describes early and reinforced it often. He was stopped more than once, driving our car, and when he left the town where he was known, he went with a lengthy set of instructions for what to do when something went wrong.

    He and I have often talked about the cost of this “humility.’’ From a word that implies much that is virtuous also comes a word that implies much pain: humiliated. What young boy doesn’t want to be free to be sassy, particularly when it is just? What young black man doesn’t wonder whether, at the age of, say, Henry Louis Gates Jr., he will still encounter unwarranted humiliation? What well-behaved young black man taught these rules doesn’t give up some of his essential manhood, swallow toxic anger, and learn repression when he should be learning joy?

    There is an upside: My son is remarkably sensitive to other people’s feelings and has learned to read humans with astuteness. Practicing humility has increased his patience and empathy. But not without cost. It is a cost I had hoped my grandsons wouldn’t have to pay, but they do.

    Tama Zorn

    Brookline

  40. “The internal probe will investigate the editing completed on the audio recording of the 911 call George Zimmerman, ”

    Yes, I’m very interested in what NBC reveals about this. Sometimes it is a nonmalicious edit, and others…who knows.

    I had a live broadcast go dead because Emory University was under huge storm. But across the nation, an email war started claiming we cut the feed because the FCC commissioner who was speaking offended us. Truth is, I didn’t know what he was even saying because were busy restoring signal. LOL

    It is easy to misread technical errors, so it will be interesting to see what NBC says.

  41. “Wolf Blitzer is a nightmare.”

    I actually laughed aloud reading that.

    Even his name is scary.

    Especially if you’re a wolf.

  42. MCM: “where did this rule (of reserving judgment) come from? and how is it being applied. I think this is something that should be discussed fully.

    First, what judgement are we talking about?
    If I believe I should write a story about prison abuse, I’ve already judged two things that might be challenged later.
    a. that there is prison abuse
    b. that it is unjust
    c. that it should be challenged at least with information.

    I’ve already committed the ‘don’t judge’ crime if that is a standard.”

    No, that’s just sophistry. The rule of reserving judgment in the press is intended to maintain the balance between the rights of a free press and the due process rights of a criminal defendant awaiting trial; or a possible suspect awaiting indictment. Note how your example is inapplicable.

    MCM: “The field of journalism isn’t as sterile as Morgan wanted to project. It isn’t as sterile as Howard Kurtz imagines in his ‘non-biased’ discussions. That just isn’t the history of journalism. Ethics are based in letting the facts come through. Make sure you can source your work and that the sources are worthy of your reader, viewer, and historical record.”

    Judgments are not facts; claiming a man is guilty without trial is irresponsible judgment, not fact. And to do so while cloaking yourself as a journalist on national television interferes with the defendant’s rights to due process and a fair trial. Thus the term “alleged” and the rhetorical approach directed thereby.

  43. The problem is that it doesn’t make good copy to say, “It would be irresponsible to render an opinion until pending evidence has been made available.”

  44. “However, I am concerned that the super-heated environment in this case may be interfering with an objective accounting of the facts and possible prosecution. ”

    Ya think? The lynch mob will not be appeased until their will is done.

  45. I prefer the PBS NewsHour done by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions for televised news and if I’m going to watch a pundit, I’ll watch Maddow because of her superb research staff.

    I also appreciate the straight forward manner in which both shows handle corrections when a mistake has been made.

    I used to depend on McClatchy/Knight Ridder for accuracy in written reporting but not so much anymore.

    I totally agree with Gene’s last statement: “Knowing the nature of propaganda is the very portrait of transformative knowledge. Upon acquisition, it becomes as integral to your world view as a knowledge of physics.”

  46. Blowhard or not…key distinction: Lawrence O’Donnell is a veteran staffer who knows exactly how the sausage is made. Rush is a talking bag who hasn’t done anything outside that talking bag. Even though I’m not a fan of O’Donnell, I appreciate his experience informing the conversation. Same with Matthews, he’s useful because he knows how the hill works. Otherwise, he’s just another opinion out there.

    O’Donnell is a Harvard University graduate, former legislative aid to Patrick Moynihan and staff director for Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

    Rush Blowbag has only done radio, he’s a college drop out, and only done this shock jock gig. So when it comes to blowbag, he’s got O’Donnell the wonk beat by miles.

    Does this mean O’Donnell is a lovable wonk? That’s subjective. But he has more credibility in the field than the blowbag than substance.

  47. Gene regarding propaganda “Upon acquisition, it becomes as integral to your world view as a knowledge of physics”

    Exactly. I even have to work against the negative bias of the word. “but I hate propaganda” said one activist I know. “really, how will you let the world know about Darfur?”

    She opened up on the spot to a better view of the word. Reclamation of our language is something I think you’ve written about before, appreciate that, and it can be a full time job.

  48. “Judgments are not facts; claiming a man is guilty without trial is irresponsible judgment, not fact”

    Strawman. First, Toure specifically was asked about his Thoughts. That isn’t the result of a journalistic product. He was then attacked for that thought.

    Yes, the ethical thing for a journalist to do is present facts. But the choice of facts is already going to meet bias. This is fundamental journalist class discussion. First thing you are confronted with in a journalism class is a balance of your biases and the empirical world. But to render a student to think non-biased journalism exists, aka objective journalism…is simply not the case. It is what is what strives for.

    Building facts around a weak premise and seeking a conclusion is bad journalism. Writing about a topic you already have a view on isn’t bad journalism if you let the facts come through. The narrow view of journalism as presented by people like Howard Kurtz and feigned by Piers Morgan simply isn’t the history of the best journalism in the past 200 years.

    An additional myth is “each argument has 2 sides”…
    If I write a journalistic story about an event I saw, I could write about it one sided if I was the only one who saw it. Or, if in mixed company there could be more than 2 sides. The problem with ‘objective journalism’ is that is void of the acknowledgement of our unconscious bias. If I think treating workers is bad, then when I write a story, I might try to be objective, but I’m probably writing about the policy that is creating conditions I believe should be addressed. This is called “advocacy journalism” and it is as old as print.

    I read comments like “what happened to objective journalism” and it sounds like fairy tale land to me. Its like saying “where are the good ol days” which were good for some and not for others. Even the word ‘objective’ can become a biased tool when yielded by ‘journalists’ who want to shoot from ivory towers, ala Howard Kurtz.

    Walter Cronkite or David Brinkley might be considered legends of objective journalism until you aren’t coming at it from the view of an American. Then you see their pro-America biases, even though they were pretty good at being objective from an American political point of view. Yes, they didn’t rile the waters.

    “And to do so while cloaking yourself as a journalist on national television interferes with the defendant’s rights to due process and a fair trial.”

    First, show where a “journalist” cloaked as a “journalist” to interfere with a defendant’s rights to due process. In case you haven’t noticed, the Florida police force is doing more to damage his due process than any ‘journalist’, ‘pundit’, ‘network’ or mob could do. They bungled the due process for all involved, not the press. The press is in the mix now because they didn’t expected judicial duties.

    Has the press been going too far? Yes, but pinning that on Toure and not Morgan is absurd. Morgan sensationalizing this as much as anyone else and last I checked I have no record of Toure writing a piece proclaiming guilt. That he may have concluded guilt before had doesn’t rob him of his voice to write on the topic, nor does it interfere with George Zimmerman’s due process.

    I concluded Dick Cheney was involved in war crimes long before the public documentation verified what I knew from sources. His record till now hasn’t defied that conclusion. I suppose, now I’ve robbed him of his due process too?

    This whole discussion is like asking lawyers to go into court and act ethically…then making ethically mean “only let the truth come out”…yeah right…not in our plantiff-defendant model…not going to happen.

  49. MCM,

    I find it useful to distinguish between the common perception of the word propaganda as having a negative connotation by using the term anti-propaganda. The reason is simple. Why do most people have a negative reaction to the word propaganda? Why does the word itself have a net negative value load? It is because much of what people pay attention to in the world is “the bad”. They have seen the damage propaganda does, can do and has done when based in lies and/or applied to nefarious ulterior motives. This, however, is a true observation; a legitimate negative reaction. Since it is true, it is best not to fight it, but rather instead to work with it. A very Taoist approach to the issue, but effective. Accordingly, the same methodologies can be applied to spread truthful and honest messages and information that have no nefarious intent. That is anti-propaganda. The methodologies of propaganda are like any tool – capable of misuses and abuses. Much like Carlin’s general observation about words, “[t]here are no bad words, bad thoughts, bad intentions, and wooooords”, the same can be said about propaganda. The difference between propaganda and anti-propaganda is bad thought and bad intention. The linguistic tool remains the same.

  50. MCM: “Strawman. First, Toure specifically was asked about his Thoughts. That isn’t the result of a journalistic product. He was then attacked for that thought.

    Yes, the ethical thing for a journalist to do is present facts. But the choice of facts is already going to meet bias.”

    I’m not misrepresenting his position, you simply can’t make up your f’n mind if he’s a journalist or not. And spare me the sophomoric lesson in epistemology that’s about as grating on the nerves as listening to a precocious teen explain how “everything’s relative man..”

    Bob: “Judgments are not facts; claiming a man is guilty without trial is irresponsible judgment, not fact. And to do so while cloaking yourself as a journalist on national television interferes with the defendant’s rights to due process and a fair trial. Thus the term “alleged” and the rhetorical approach directed thereby.”

    MCM: “First, show where a “journalist” cloaked as a “journalist” to interfere with a defendant’s rights to due process. In case you haven’t noticed, the Florida police force is doing more to damage his due process than any ‘journalist’, ‘pundit’, ‘network’ or mob could do. They bungled the due process for all involved, not the press. The press is in the mix now because they didn’t expected judicial duties.”

    I began by stating the principle behind the reason for journalists reserving judgment; showing how your example was misleading.

    to wit:

    “The rule of reserving judgment in the press is intended to maintain the balance between the rights of a free press and the due process rights of a criminal defendant awaiting trial; or a possible suspect awaiting indictment. Note how your example is inapplicable.”

    So, in discussing this principle as applied to Toure in the case at bar, how is your comment about the Florida police force anything more than a red herring?

    Toure did not sound anything like a journalist; if anything he sounded like someone auditioning for the Charles Bronson part in yet another installment in the Death Wish film series. To suggest he was a journalist while doing so only makes him look like a clown.

  51. “I agree. There is a big difference between Limbaugh and O’Donnell. Limbaugh isn’t just a blowhard–he’s a hatemonger.”

    even if I could let Limbaugh be a douchebag entertainer, and acknowledge O’Donnell is a brooding prick….there is a substance issue. O’Donnell and Matthews have done the Capital Hill game. There are some Republicans that have done that too and even when I disagree with them, I know they get the machinations. Rush is a failure at everything except gab and incitement.

    I mostly don’t relate to O’Donnell’s fierce Democratic stances in that he does exude a tribalism that I’m not a member of. But his ability to cut through the bs is valuable to a fogging conversation. The interview last week with the fraud that is Joe Oliver was exquisite! You have to want to have that veneer come down to get it to come down. That was Toure’s point to Piers Morgan. He wasn’t saying to blindly beat up on him because he’s the brother of a bad guy.

    Funny how some of these anchors love to push one guest but not another then get defensive when called out for being too soft or hard on other days. Aaron Brown, for instance, used to make me want to puke when he’d fawn over the military brass. The schmooze was too much. I was too busy documenting the ‘officials’ and ‘experts’ to spend too much time on him, but from time to time, he just made me want to vomit.

    In surfing the news, my lefty friends scorn FoxNews, appropriately, but truth is I get almost daily gitmo reports because of Catherine Herridge. I know how to the Pravda thing and read passed their small amount of spin. I know they’ll always have “I’m against this” guy on, but…they’ll tell me where we are for a moment. Compiled with tons of other sources, it helps form a full picture that few are able to tell alone.

    It is unfortunate that a myth of ‘objective journalism’ has been allowed to foster when purely objective journalism doesn’t exist.

    And to Bob, esquire.
    You suggested that my example regarding doing a prison abuse story is “a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning.
    2. a false argument; sophism.”

    Of course you didn’t back this up with any evidence. So its easy to say. Unfortunately, then much of the best journalism in our last 100 years was pure sophism. Each damn faux journalist who went after a story on a whistleblower tip, based on their proclivity for civil rights, human rights, women’s rights, gay rights, community development, etc…aka THEIR BEAT…is a sophist? Perhaps you could explain your comment a bit further for the lesser sophisticates.

    Most journalism is based in a bias and someone who says they’re a journalist and starts throwing around ethics charges better be sure they can match up to that muster. In my experience, they are suspect the moment tye launch the charge. It can create Ivory Towers and false expectations. I’m softening on Howard Kurtz as I see him more because I think he means well, but he’s a prime example of self-serving clique journalism. Guys like him wish to tell you that they are part of a club of officially sanctioned truth tellers. It is a nice myth, but isn’t so. No different than when someone says, “hey, I’m a lawyer”….as if I should cringe in fear at the great club that must represent!

    Name the best ‘journalists’ for some comparison and we’ll see where our venn diagram intersects.

  52. francesdavey 1, April 2, 2012 at 9:42 am

    re: “While I have expressed my skepticism over Zimmerman’s account, there remains standards to satisfy for any prosecution — including proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    Your knowledge of the law likely surpasses my knowledge of my own profession, so I ask this question timidly: In order to prosecute, there cannot be reasonable doubt as to a person’s guilt? Or have I misinterpreted that?
    ===================================
    Beyond a reasonable doubt is the prosecutor’s sole burden in the case in chief in any criminal prosecution. The defendant carries no burden at all in the case in chief and needs to say nothing.

    There is no case in chief here because Zimmerman has admitted to shooting unarmed Martin with Zimmerman’s 9mm handgun.

    So those facts are not at issue.

    The issue is: can Zimmerman prove his affirmative defense? He raised “self defense” as his affirmative defense.

    He has the burden of proof and persuasion on that issue.

    If I was advising Zimmerman I would tell him to seek a plea bargain with the state prosecutor that the feds would also go along with.

  53. “I’m not misrepresenting his position, you simply can’t make up your f’n mind if he’s a journalist or not. ”

    your huff is cute.

    You’re frothing on your own images not my words. Toure is a journalist. He was asked by a person his thoughts about guilt in an interview. He said he thought the guy was guilty. You didn’t discuss a piece of his journalism stating “george zimmerman is guilty” or alluding to it either. His journalism is recognized as award winning so you’ll have to do the work on who Toure is to keep up your attack on his record. If you’re going to pin it on the comment in the interview, then you aren’t really discussing his journalism anyway.

    As for your “its all relative dude” jab, I’m not saying its all relative exactly. I am saying Objective Journalism is a myth.

    Stereotype in play here: “Toure did not sound anything like a journalist”
    and what does a journalist sound like?
    Think you have a very narrow view of what a journalist is that doesn’t comport with the facts.

    “To suggest he was a journalist while doing so only makes him look like a clown.”
    If you’re going to randomly discuss logical fallacies in argument in any way, then don’t engage in them. “look like a clown” doesn’t explain in a journalistic way what was wrong with his journalistic work. You are being a critic of his personal discussion with another man as if this reflects on his work as a journalist. And his only reason for being there was to explain his criticism of Piers Morgan. He did explain that criticism. But his journalism, since you obviously don’t know about it…isn’t based in criticizing Piers Morgan.

    You act as if a person only does one thing in life and that is their stereotypical role for 24 hour engagement. Sorry bud, but if that’s the case, I bet you’re going to wind up with far less journalists because many of our finest are absolute assholes. Come to D.C. and sit with them in the different gaggles and watch their petty tribalism in play then explain this ‘ethical’ look a ‘journalist’ has.

    So…what does a ‘journalist look like’?

  54. I’d recommend, especially considering the Trayvon Martin killing…reading “Just the Facts: How “Objectivity” Came to Define American Journalism” by David Mindich. Mindich writes about how the major papers of the time would report on lynchings in a neutral manner with special attention paid on what the victim of the lynching did to precipitate the event. He argues this led to the normalization of lynching. Flash forward and you have Toure telling a foreign fluffer that he doesn’t understand this history as he’s playing the same damn game.

  55. Toure Neblett: Author of Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?,

    forward by Michael Eric Dyson and excerpts from over 100 interviews with people like Reverend Jesse Jackson, Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates, Melissa Harris-Perry, Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Glenn Ligon, Malcolm Gladwell, Paul Mooney, New York Governor David Paterson, Harold Ford, Jr., Soledad O’Brien, Aaron McGruder, Greg Tate, Stanley Crouch, Kamala Harris, Chuck D, Questlove, and Mumia Abu-Jamal.

    His writings have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, the Best American Essays of 1999, the Best American Sports Writing of 2001, the Da Capo Best Music Writing of 2004.

    Yeah, guess, he’s not a journalist because Piers Morgan said so. How quaint. Guess he doesn’t look like one either…how biased.

    Then there is the esteemed Tabloidist, Piers Morgan, who has worked with South London News (1985–88), The Sun (1989–94), News of the World (1994–95), Daily Mirror (1995–2004). Certainly his work with the great objective journalism under Rupert Murdoch makes him superior to that little kid writer from Rolling Stone who doesn’t look like a journalist.

    If this interview isn’t an ironic example of why we’re all talking about the Trayvon Martin case, nothing will be. Here we have a blowbag white male who is additionally foreign to this shore telling a black man that he knows the experience being discussed enough to render his opinion too. He’s covered it for a week of course! He’s lived here for 6 years of course! He’s just as qualified of course!

    Its hard to blame people for not understanding journalism…they rarely see it.

  56. One more thing on Piers Morgan…citing ethics…

    Let us not forget his antics with Rupert Murdoch or that he was fired from the Mirror for not following the sourcing basics in journalism. This was the key part of Toure’s criticism. Piers Morgan is more interested in getting the break than the facts. He has done this before.

    He was fired May 14, 2004 from the Mirror after paper published photographs that were fake. The photo graphs showed British Army abusing Iraqi prisoners. If he had learned from that in the past, he’d have shown more scrutiny in this interview. But he’s a fluffer, a sensationalist who seeks the Get.

    “SORRY.. WE WERE HOAXED”
    The Mirror was right to fire him. CNN should consider the same. Let him go back to entertainment tabloid where he’s got something to offer. He’s good at that, I guess. He’s not a good journalist by track record.

    His involvement in Phone hacking…was that ethical? Does that give him right to lecture the snotty boy who dared show upon his show?

  57. Michael, I posted it earlier on this thread. It was another 5-4 decision. We need to flip one republican appointee.

  58. The Supreme Court ruled Monday that jailers may subject people arrested for minor offenses to invasive strip searches, siding with security needs over privacy rights.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion for the court.

    By Evan Vucci, AP

    Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion for the court.

    Enlarge

    By Evan Vucci, AP

    Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion for the court.

    By a 5-4 vote, the court ruled against a New Jersey man who complained that strip searches in two county jails violated his civil rights.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion for the court’s conservative justices that when people are going to be put into the general jail population, “courts must defer to the judgment of correctional officials unless the record contains substantial evidence showing their policies are an unnecessary or unjustified response to problems of jail security.”

    In a dissenting opinion joined by the court’s liberals, Justice Stephen Breyer said strip searches improperly “subject those arrested for minor offenses to serious invasions of their personal privacy.” Breyer said jailers ought to have a reasonable suspicion someone may be hiding something before conducting a strip search.

    Albert Florence was forced to undress and submit to strip searches following his arrest on a warrant for an unpaid fine, though the fine actually had been paid. Even if the warrant had been valid, failure to pay a fine is not a crime in New Jersey.

    But Kennedy focused on the fact that Florence was held with other inmates in the general population. In concurring opinions, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito said the decision left open the possibility of an exception to the rule and might not apply to someone held apart from other inmates.

    The first strip search of Florence took place in the Burlington County Jail in southern New Jersey. Six days later, Florence had not received a hearing and remained in custody. Transferred to another county jail in Newark, he was strip-searched again.

    The next day, a judge dismissed all charges. Florence’s lawsuit soon followed.

    He may still pursue other claims, including that he never should have been arrested.

    Florence’s problems arose in March 2005, as he was heading to dinner at his mother-in-law’s house with his pregnant wife and 4-year-old child. His wife, April, was driving when a state trooper stopped the family SUV on a New Jersey highway.

    Florence identified himself as the vehicle’s owner and the trooper, checking records, found an outstanding warrant for an unpaid fine. Florence, who is African-American, had been stopped several times before, and he carried a letter to the effect that the fine, for fleeing a traffic stop several years earlier, had been paid.

    His protest was in vain, however, and the trooper handcuffed him and hauled him off to jail. At the time, the State Police were operating under a court order, spawned by allegations of past racial discrimination, that provided federal monitors to assess state police stops of minority drivers. But the propriety of the stop is not at issue, and Florence is not alleging racial discrimination.

    Kennedy gave three reasons to justify routine searches — detecting lice and contagious infections, looking for tattoos and other evidence of gang membership and preventing smuggling of drugs and weapons.

    Kennedy also said people arrested for minor offenses can turn out to be “the most devious and dangerous criminals.” Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh initially was stopped by a state trooper who noticed McVeigh was driving without a license plate, Kennedy said.

    In his dissent, Breyer said inmates in the two New Jersey jails already have to submit to pat-down searches, pass through metal detectors, shower with delousing agents and have their clothing searched.

    Many jails, several states and associations of corrections officials say strip searches should only be done when there is reasonable suspicion, which could include arrest on drug charges or for violent crimes, Breyer said.

    In 1979, the Supreme Court upheld a blanket policy of conducting body cavity searches of prisoners who had had contact with visitors on the basis that the interaction with outsiders created the possibility that some prisoners got hold of something they shouldn’t have.

    For the next 30 or so years, appeals courts applying the high court ruling held uniformly that strip searches without suspicion violated the Constitution.

    But since 2008 — and in the first appellate rulings on the issue since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — appeals courts in Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco decided that authorities’ need to maintain security justified a wide-ranging search policy, no matter the reason for someone’s detention.

    The high court upheld the ruling from the Philadelphia court, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

  59. MCMcC,
    Blitzer is an establishment whore. Izzy Stone was perhaps the beat in print. My preferences today are Taibbi and Russ Baker.

  60. MCMcC,
    Myths and mythology of which propaganda is a subset, are an avocation of mine also. I’ve devoured Campbell, Fraser and Graves as starting off points. I’m fascinated by how much of human life is influenced by mythology. The American Dream for instance.

  61. The notion of journalistic objectivity is a chimera. How can it exists when hman objectivity itself is a myth, an illusion and self deception?

  62. Mike – the American dream is not a myth! You can work 20 years for one company & then have your job outsourced overseas & your pension stolen to buy off the BoD . . . oh, wait. is that not the American dream now? Because thats what I thought it was. I’m livin’ that dream myself

  63. Same here Mike Spindell, big fan of Joe Campbell, his foundation, and many of the great story tellers. They ended my notion that ‘myth’ meant ‘false’.

    And I.F. Stone, George Seldes, Ida Tarbell, Molly Ivens, Jim Hightower, Jeremy Skahill, and many others who dared challenge convention.

    We really owe a lot to the nonconformists when we talk about ethics in journalism. They were often the most ethical people in the world while the major paper would be bought and paid for by the industry captains.

    Smaller papers like Ida B. Wells’s The Free Speech focused on specific areas like Jim Crow laws.

    In my research into Standard Oil, its a treat to read Ida Tarbell’s work. She knew from first hand experience what Standard Oil was doing and sought to expose their tactics. To say this isn’t quality journalism is to totally miss the meaning of the word.

    Swarthmore mom, I.F. Stone is one of my favs. As we discuss health care, we should enjoy is work, The Court Disposes. Had this been done one of today’s ‘objective journalists’…the new deal….would perhaps been a thing of not.

    Its tragic yet can be fun to scoop the big papers or catch the nugget they didn’t. Recent celeb tie in on this one:
    During the 2008 primary season we all likely remember the “somali garb” tabloid picture. It was used in the media to attack Hillary Clinton with the claim that it originated with one of her staffers. Now, some did say “was forwarded by a staffer” but the implication was always clear, This Was From The Clinton camp.

    The staffer was canned, the media chewed and chewed, and all along…they were wrong. The picture actually originated a few days previous at the Free Republic. Because the Freepers have a habit of attacking and fighting with many progressive groups I’ve interacted with, I sort of know their ilk. To each their own. In fact, they were upset that the poster at FR didn’t get credit and Clinton (arch-rival of big government) did. It went from there to Matt Drudge and 2 days later the staffer passed the mail. Likely because someone told them about it.

    But the narrative never corrected itself and I know for a fact that Countdown was told that it didn’t originate with Clinton. The response to the caller informing them was “are you a clinton supporter?”, “well, I haven’t voted yet but I might.”, “Have a nice day!” hang up.

    In a way this was a knee Jerk reaction, but it perhaps was an attempt to keep information that was biased from coming in. The caller wasn’t convinced Obama was the best choice, but wasn’t calling to defend Clinton at all. The call was to point out it didn’t even originate in the Democratic Party in the first place (key to know, ya’d think).

    Then, 2 months later, as referred to above, Clinton is blasted for a ‘false’ hospital story that was actually true. ABCNews even had the video of the officer who told her the story. But because another hospital missed the cue and thought it meant them, they denied it and the media pounced. Especially worthy to note it was all the so called “professional journalists” who did this. The Clinton camp dropped a legitimate point on the trail. A small town sheriff in Meigs County was being ridiculed while correct, and all to get the scoop. It took 1 lone journalist who had taped the first telling of Clinton’s story to get the facts right and force the overtuning of the story. Yet only WaPo and ABCNews issued the correction, quietly on page 41842B behind the file cabinet.

    Due to these oversights, I think it rather silly to hear Piers Morgan used as an example of ethics while Toure who calls what he sees, researches with hundreds of interviews…is not a journalist. Then lets see that juxtaposed against the narrative about white power, acceptance, black inferiority and victims. Who is official is all about who approves power. Racism is about power, sexism is about power. These areas need honest answers too and it takes bold people to tell those truths, even in the form of metaphor and myth.

    And for the few who wish to mock the “moment in history” comment, sorry, he’s right. This is a momentous point. Is it equivalent to WWII? no…but it certainly will be remembered and noted for sometime. It is still playing out. Tell me the Rodney King beating wasn’t a moment in history and Reginald Denny will tell you “you’re wrong”

    Thanks Gene, Mike Spindell, and Swarthmore mom. Swathmore, yes, I’m up for a bit of a SCOTUS change myself. Looking back at past justices, who would be a mold for a replacement considering the current players?

  64. Michael CheyneywatchMcCollum – I would hope if you are assigned a story on prison abuse that you would keep an open mind, you need to have soome idea about the story you will do, there is prison abuse, there is not prison abuse, there is some prison abuse, picking a topic does not necessarily mean picking a side.
    Everytime I saw Toure he was talking about hos this was racism and racist. At no point have I heard him show any hint of objectivity.
    Sadly when you watch almost any of them, Bill Plant and Bob Schieffer as 2 examples that madden me, you hear commentary at the end of the story, sometimes merely a sentence, sometimes a little more (if not within the story itself) but one that indicates a left or right, usually right, and interpretation, not journalistic objectivity.

  65. In discussing great journalists let us not forget Hunter Thompson, who book fear and loathing on the campaign trail sight me all I needed to know about Presidential campaigns.

  66. MCM: “Toure is a journalist. He was asked by a person his thoughts about guilt in an interview. He said he thought the guy was guilty. You didn’t discuss a piece of his journalism stating “george zimmerman is guilty” or alluding to it either.”

    Again, like the intended focus of this thread, I was referring to Toure’s demeanor in a particular interview. Why do you feel the need to change the subject?

    MCM: “His journalism is recognized as award winning so you’ll have to do the work on who Toure is to keep up your attack on his record.”

    For the record, I couldn’t care less about his take on hip hop culture and the like.

    MCM: “If you’re going to pin it on the comment in the interview, then you aren’t really discussing his journalism anyway.”

    There you go again; redefining the issue. The issue was whether he acted like a professional journalist during the interview. Yet you whine about the fact that I failed to discuss the irrelevant.

    MCM: “As for your “its all relative dude” jab, I’m not saying its all relative exactly. I am saying Objective Journalism is a myth.”

    Yes, I’m aware of that you epistemic whiz. But the fact remains that we do distinguish between journalists based on perceived objectivity. That is to say, we all know the difference between a Bill Moyers and a Sean Hannity. Exclaiming to the world that “objective journalism is a myth,” like a two year old that just learned the phrase “excuse me,” doesn’t negate the existence of said rubric. And just to be clear, by the word “rubric” we mean “an assessment tool for communicating expectations of quality.”

    Bob: “To suggest he was a journalist while doing so only makes him look like a clown.”

    MCM: “If you’re going to randomly discuss logical fallacies in argument in any way, then don’t engage in them. “look like a clown” doesn’t explain in a journalistic way what was wrong with his journalistic work. You are being a critic of his personal discussion with another man as if this reflects on his work as a journalist.”

    Actually, I’m looking at him as a lawyer. IRAC. Issue Rule Analysis Conclusion.

    Issue: Did Toure act like a clown?

    Rule: To act like a clown means to act in a coarse, rude and vulgar manner much like a buffoon.

    Analysis: See my comments above.

    Conclusion: Toure is guilty of epic buffoonery.

    MCM: “So…what does a ‘journalist look like’?”

    Serious journalists don’t get caught up hitching their wagons to, how shall we say, “fatuous” nonsensical notions; such as what is ‘uniquely American’ and what ‘hurts America’ like Toure did during that interview. Rather, a journalist to be taken seriously handles such trite turns of phrase artfully; like Hunter S. Thompson.

    I leave you with this:

    Raoul Duke: “There was only one road back to L.A., U.S. interstate 15. Just a flat-out high speed burn through Baker, and Barstow, and Berdoo. Then on to the Hollywood freeway straight into frantic oblivion. Safety… obscurity… just another freak in the freak kingdom. We’d gone in search of the American dream, it had been a lame fuck around. A waste of time. There was no point in looking back. Fuck no, not today, thank you kindly. My heart was filled with joy. I felt like a monster reincarnation of Horatio Algier, a man on the move, and just sick enough to be totally confident.”

  67. “I would hope if you are assigned a story on prison abuse that you would keep an open mind, you need to have soome idea about the story you will do, there is prison abuse, there is not prison abuse, there is some prison abuse, picking a topic does not necessarily mean picking a side.”

    Well without an open mind you can’t even build the case you thought you were building. You wind up with one interview that confirms your hypothesis. That’s not very useful. Your better off getting officials to speak, to explain their policies. But my point is…you were drawn to cover the topic out of a bias of ‘fairness’. For someone to overcharacterize that as ‘bias’ in the 10th degree is just hyperbole.

    Picking a story as worthy is bias.
    Picking a source as credible, involves bias.
    Journalists are humans not computers. A computer can process data without rendering its opinion. Human beings are not computers and Objective Journalism is a goal that cannot be reached. For every “objective” story someone might want to lob, I’ll show the biases in the story.

    The purpose of seeking objectivity in writing a story is to allow the reader to have their experience for themselves.

    Give you a more direct example: I’m convinced Richard B Cheney is a war criminal. I have enough evidence to prove many of his crimes but my friends who are loyal ‘truthers’ get upset when I don’t jump on their ship. “But you must believe he was behind it!” they plea. I don’t worry about believing anything. The evidence hasn’t stacked up. At best I have motive, opportunity, gain, and many more things but…sorry, as you suggested…remaining open…I have to see the evidence.

    I’ve reported back to my editors (radio) before that the story we were looking into was a dead end because the elements that were delivered to us didn’t match the facts I could verify. Though I was left with a hint of wrong doing by local officials (environmental) I couldn’t really pin one down outside the general bureaucracy errors and incompetence. The allegations that came in didn’t match the evidence and the story never hit the airwaves.

    So yes, your credibility is all you have. Get the facts and sources wrong enough and you’re out.

  68. “If I’d written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people – including me – would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.” – Hunter S. Thompson

  69. “you hear commentary at the end of the story, sometimes merely a sentence, sometimes a little more (if not within the story itself) but one that indicates a left or right, usually right, and interpretation, not journalistic objectivity.”

    but we’re muddying the waters here….lawyers come on television all the time and give answers based on more than just the law. They’re giving a glimpse into the process and thinking. For someone to treat their personal comments about right and wrong as legal opinions would be foolish and yet they are no less a lawyer. The finest of the law profs like Prof Turley are patient in their explanations to avoid getting ahead of the facts but if you don’t know the views and opinions of Jonathan Turley by now, then he’s just not being clear enough. Does that make him a biased lawyer?

    A journalist talking with a panel is not the same thing as the fact finding they put into their written work or their radio or television segments. Yes, they can blow their credibility in the ‘off time’ but frankly that’s just the result of a 24/7 news cycle. Many great writers who are often extremely factual in print are utter assholes on FoxNews, CNN or MSNBC later. Why? Because it is opinion time at that point.

    The argument that Toure is less a journalist because he tells you his opinion about racism, this case, a pattern he sees…is simply avoiding dealing with his articles. A journalist has personal opinions. Only the well tooled idiots in the White House Press gaggle and such have this idea of ‘don’t render an opinion’. What a pathetic waste of human experience to rob a journalist of their personal viewpoint just so they can convey facts to you, a narrative to you, and point of view to you.

    Nothing wrong with arguing against dishonest journalism. Judith Miller comes to mind…..

  70. “I was referring to Toure’s demeanor in a particular interview. Why do you feel the need to change the subject?”

    I didn’t. I referred to the interview, you slammed his journalism…these are not the same thing. If you want to discuss his journalism, it won’t be in this interview. So, you changed the subject.

    The interview, he came to discuss what was wrong with Piers Morgan’s interview. He explained his view to the boor and the boor responded, “rubbish” at best. Then you go on about his ‘journalism’ based on the interview?

    Projection comment:
    :The issue was whether he acted like a professional journalist during the interview. Yet you whine about the fact that I failed to discuss the irrelevant.”

    That whining is your inner voice projection, I’d caution you against projecting voices on others. I don’t whine unless I’m out of chocolate at 3am.
    “acted like a professional journalist” is such a subjective load of crap. What you’re saying is he didn’t comport with your character guidelines and thus isn’t a professional journalist. You’re ability to articulate what a professional journalist is, has yet to be demonstrated.

    Additionally, you have omitted the attack back from the boor, Morgan. So, if Morgan makes a comment like, “teach you about journalism” is he supposed to smile like a good boy and say, “oh, gee, thank you for your concern, but that won’t be necessary”

    You’re expectations are not universal nor are they required to be a Professional Journalist. A Professional is one who makes a Profession out of a skill or service. The rest of your use in this term is something utterly different and has nothing to do with ‘journalism’. So, get to your point about ‘professional’ behavior and not about ‘journalism’.

    “Actually, I’m looking at him as a lawyer. ”
    very clear that you were not looking at as a journalist.
    Guess what…very different fields yet no less ethical. Lawyers cherry pick facts to make a case. So don’t bullshit me on that.

    “Issue: Did Toure act like a clown?”
    Factually false at face value, no big bow tie, funny make up, balloons. Sorry, you’re syllogism isn’t working very well so far…

    “Rule: To act like a clown means to act in a coarse, rude and vulgar manner much like a buffoon.”
    Describes Piers Morgan’s responses perfectly. Utterly stunning that you own the view on this one. Glad there’s only one view, not biased now are you?

    “Serious journalists don’t get caught up hitching their wagons to, how shall we say, “fatuous” nonsensical notions; such as what is ‘uniquely American’ and what ‘hurts America’ like Toure did during that interview. ”

    loaded statement….”serious journalists”…whoooo nice big term…means nothing. Toure is very SERIOUS that there is a part of American suffering that Piers Morgan isn’t reflecting his understanding. I doubt it is vaudeville for him. I can see you’re mind treats him as clown, but that reflects more on your interpretation than the actuality. You’re allowed your interpretation of course. I’m sure Toure won’t mind or be harmed. Its ok.

    ” Rather, a journalist to be taken seriously handles such trite turns of phrase artfully; like Hunter S. Thompson.”

    Artful is in the eye of the beholder, oh wise one. I’m sure you are the great arbitrator of what is artful with your objective view.

  71. Oh, and the utter contrast of your expectations of a “professional journalist” and then honoring Hunter S Thompson who turned those damn conventions on their ear…is stark. You might want to consider your words again before writing. Hunter S Thompson was not a “professional journalist” by your standards.

  72. “Rather, a journalist to be taken seriously handles such trite turns of phrase artfully; like Hunter S. Thompson.”
    this comment really is loaded with so much that throws your attack on Toure as a “clown” in question. Thompson would get blasted then show up and do an interview. How can you applaud gonzo journalism in one breath, with its personal view all in the muddy mix, then ask for some “objective” standard.

    I’d love to see you square that circle.

  73. My view is that Florida’s “stand your ground” law relies upon a wildly flawed assumption, that a person carrying a gun and encountering a conflict in a public setting can be relied upon to act reasonably. I think that in practice the statute will more frequently be regarded as a “make my day” law. In this instance, I stated following the initial report that Mr. Zimmerman likely regards his neighborhood as a Sundown Town and acted accordingly. The most likely outcome is a manslaughter plea down the road.

    As for Toure, a journalist appearing before a national audience does not have the luxury of voicing his personal opinion on the guilt or innocence of a criminal suspect. To do so creates a risk of harm to the suspect’s right to a fair trial. I view the demonstrations in the same light. Once they have served the function of compelling a thorough and unbiased investigation, their purpose is concluded and the process should then be permitted to run its proper course without interference.

  74. MCM,

    “Thompson would get blasted then show up and do an interview. How can you applaud gonzo journalism in one breath, with its personal view all in the muddy mix, then ask for some ‘objective’ standard.”

    Might I suggest for the very reason gonzo journalism as practiced by Thompson worked in spite of its obvious lack of objectivity – no matter how loaded he was or personalized in his presentation, Thompson always staked his tent with truthful observations even when he was bending the truth for the benefit of artful presentation.

  75. “Thompson always staked his tent with truthful observations” exactly.

    but the argument about what is “professional” is not the same as what is ‘truthful’. A totally unprofessional person might be a very truthful witness with character flaws. It is a strange standard.

    as you said: “Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.” by Gonzo himself.

    Toure spoke his truth to Piers Morgan. He spoke about the interview held the night before. He did so out of the complete conviction that the truth was buried and obscured. That there is a long colloquial history that isn’t properly seen from the surface. Morgan reflected that right back with his “i’ve been here 6 years” and “i’ve covered this for a week” nonsense. That showed immediately that he didn’t get it. As an American, had Toure said that to me, I’d say, “well, lets explore that…are you referring to the long line of lynchings, the nightly stereotyping of black males, the history of incarceration without trial, shooting young black men and then no-bill the officers?” or something closer to the topic he was raising to indicate I was hearing his complaint. Then he could elaborate, “yes or no” on whether I was close.

    Morgan took the “how dare you” approach mixed with the red herring about length of time and even subject matter. He clearly doesn’t understand what Toure was talking about regarding this event as painful in a collective manner (clearly demonstrable) and yet…I did and so did many others. Strange.

    I think the thing Toure could have said differently there was, “you don’t understand the experience of Black America. Then it was less about the Yankee Doodle Dandy America as some commented above in the general “america” tense and more about the pain that Toure was talking about. But even then, that would leave out the pain of people who suffer along with Black America for the same offenses. It isn’t something that only affects Black America so frankly, he’s right. It affects all of us. England has its own colloquial pains. I’ve run into a few stiff upper lip moments that I didn’t understand until someone clued me in. It isn’t that big of a deal. Only a very vain man like Piers Morgan would bristle at being told he didn’t get it.

    And to Mike Appleton:
    I too am cautious about a fair trial being twarted, but I have more faith in our system than to believe : “As for Toure, a journalist appearing before a national audience does not have the luxury of voicing his personal opinion on the guilt or innocence of a criminal suspect. To do so creates a risk of harm to the suspect’s right to a fair trial. ”

    he has exactly that luxury and it does not harm the right to a fair trial. As I said to Bob the Professional above, the police did more to affect the fair trial, the prosecutors did more to affect a fair trial, ABC, and the networks have done more to affect a fair trial than…Toure. One man rendering an opinion does not destroy your fair trial. Further, again, there is no article by Toure that says, “George Zimmerman is guilty of murder, lock him up now.” His point has been the same, this investigation let a man go that should have been given more examination, that the victim in the crime had no advocate and that this has been seen before. None of that affects a fair trial. Calling for justice…does not prevent a fair trial. When asked on the spot if a journalist believes the man is guilty..(especially since we already know he shot the boy)…the answer is yes. That doesn’t affect the trial.

    If he were an official, especially in jurisdictional range, then we could talk about how he affects a trial. If he lies in the fact presentation to portray an innocent man as guilty, then he has certainly harmed his own reputation for getting it right. And that can be considered in the future in determining the veracity of his ‘facts’. But to argue all of this is to show how little some here even know of what Toure actually writes, what he’s received awards for in the past (a sports article on Dale Earnhart for instance) It ignores a whole body of work for an honest comment about his opinion.

    Yes, I too believe George Zimmerman acted in a vigilante mode and the brother fogged. Yes, I can also provide support for that view based on what is in evidence. Is it biased? Of course it is biased against hearing people say things that are clearly contrasted by both irrefutable evidence and my basic life experience. (no different than a juror)

    His lawyer is doing more to harm him than Toure. The only black man who harmed him this last week was Joe Oliver. His friend Frank, his father Robert, his brother Robert…they are not helping his case…but lets pound on Toure for being mouthy to the ‘professional journalist’ because that will bring a fair trial.

  76. MCM,

    No issue with that. My statement was merely to suggest why Thompson works as a journalist despite his unconventional style. That he was a journalist I think is without question. His professionalism compared to a Murrow or the like? Eh, I’m willing to admit that was at times questionable.

  77. Mike Appleton: “As for Toure, a journalist appearing before a national audience does not have the luxury of voicing his personal opinion on the guilt or innocence of a criminal suspect. To do so creates a risk of harm to the suspect’s right to a fair trial.”

    Mike,

    I couldn’t agree more.

  78. Toure’ makes one unassailable point and that is that six years of even intense scrutiny of this Country will not give anyone a true or complete understanding of race relations — or the pain this case has brought because of them. His statement that this is a “major moment” in American history is true, I think. Perceived grave injustices usually bring about social change, not because of the events themselves but because they shine a glaring beacon onto just what a nation thinks about itself.

    Too naive, poetic, or esoteric a stance? Ask Cpt. Dreyfus. Or 1970 America one day after Kent State.

  79. Gene, “My statement was merely to suggest why Thompson works as a journalist despite his unconventional style.”

    you did great! This is exactly a perfect example of my argument against “professional journalism” having some construct that is stiff, void of the personal view.

    Professionalism is such a loaded term regardless of journalism. It is often a term used to abuse people who are doing their job just fine. In the case of journalism it is a clique term often used to give access to particular media outlets. AP, Reuters, CNN, and the networks think they are the only legit services when you are all standing at the same events. They work hard to control the pool feeds, who gets interviews and who gets a scoop. They hate to be outclassed by any independent journalists.

  80. What Bob, Esq actually wrote: “That is to say, we all know the difference between a Bill Moyers and a Sean Hannity.”

    ———————————————————-

    Michael Cheneywatch McCollum response:

    “’Bill Moyers and a Sean Hannity’

    These men don’t even belong in the same sentence.

    You can do a retake if you need.”

    ——————————————————

    Cheap spin in the worst journalistic tradition. Not even clever. Dismissed.

  81. Michael Cheneywatch McCollum 1, April 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Santa Claws,
    The purpose of posting personal information is what?

    ——————————————————————-

    So I can be more like Spike Lee and Roseanne Barr – 2 great bastions of the left. Just following their examples :) I like handing out presents.

  82. To Mespo727272
    “Toure’ makes one unassailable point and that is that six years of even intense scrutiny of this Country will not give anyone a true or complete understanding of race relations — or the pain this case has brought because of them.”

    And yet they attack him exactly on this point…fascinating.
    This is one of the key festering issues. The utter ignorance of the pattern this represents. Just one year ago the same police department had their chief dismissed, the city officials went through the same symbolic change and yet a year later, the paradigm didn’t really change. If officials can’t understand the pain in a part of their community then they are likely to be rather stunted in their response to that community’s concern.

    For years gay americans have been ignored for their pains. Atheists mocked for theirs, even hauled up to court. Our history is riddled with so much prejudice and oppression that don’t just leap out by reading a Cornell West book, though that’s a start. It isn’t about knowing who Stokley Carmichael is or even intellectualizing an understanding of the radical messages of Huey Newton, Cesar Chavez, or the voices of resistance in NOW.

    There are plenty of folks just waiting to be in a ‘post racial world’. Very cool if you’re so evolved that you just don’t see color. And very unique. It is a rhetorically nonsensical position, and yet we hear it all the time. “oh, George…he’s just color blind, after all he’s hispanic (which simply means you speak spanish and thus means nothing about racism.) Yes, being of an origin other than Anglo can involve racism against another group. I don’t think we have to look far for examples of this outside Anglo-European people. The fact is, there is much more to be learned.

    It isn’t hard to see the insincere in this work to get beyond racism. I don’t subscribe to race in the first place so its a bit more complicated question when you start breaking down what doesn’t even exist in the first place and a mass agreement on this non-thing. Might as well believe in unicorns.

    Yet, the affect of skin color is clear. “a black man is” leads many calls because the culture hasn’t transcended this distinction. I’m sure some are more clear than others, but it isn’t a one person issue. It isn’t only about George Zimmerman, though his actions brought us all to this discussion point.

    To Mespo727272 continued:
    “His statement that this is a “major moment” in American history is true, I think. Perceived grave injustices usually bring about social change, not because of the events themselves but because they shine a glaring beacon onto just what a nation thinks about itself.”

    I agree. I learned more in individual death penalty cases than the over arching protest against war or against police brutality as a concept. Each case had a name at the time not simply a concept. It wasn’t driven by Facebook, Twitter, or other, but by phone calls, campus work and existing community centers. I do consider these moments to be filled with amazing positive opportunity for those who want a more just world.

  83. I know MCM. He’s been in the news media for over 20 years and I find it hilarious to see you arguing whether he gets what a professional journalist is from your lawyer perch!!!!

  84. Wow…. Media…..It never ceases to amaze me how people react the way they do…. We don’t have news…. We have a damn circus….. The problem is determining who the ringleader is…….

    I remember someone here stated that the news reporters or at least some of them used to be the best cops in town….. The only thing changing is the medium……

  85. hello Mr. Oliver, sorry I’ll miss SXSW. Maybe next time.

    Nothing wrong with a lawyer rendering an opinion about journalism. It does help to do it before talking about it, but to each their own.

    And to Anonymously,
    “We don’t have news…. We have a damn circus”
    We have both. There’s plenty of straight forward news, but yes, there is also a circus atmosphere in general.

    It is important to demand quality reporting.

  86. Truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability constitute the professional journalist’s code of ethics.

    Unless the Publisher says otherwise.

    That’s it in a nutshell.

    BTW, the absence of brevity in many of these posts indicates a lack of familiarity with the red pencil pusher. Also, clarity would definitely be an issue with the copy editor.

  87. As a legal concept, the phrase “stand your ground” sounds as plausible as “stand by your man.” I remember years ago preparing to take the driver’s test for a motorcycle license. The instructor kept telling us: “you may actually have the right of way, but only a fool would insist on it.”

    Passing laws to encourage armed, homicidal confrontation between and among hyper-terrified Americans doesn’t sound wise to me, but then I don’t live in that paranoid asylum any longer. So I’ll just watch safely from across the Pacific pond.

  88. Truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability constitute the professional journalist’s code of ethics.

    Unless the Publisher says otherwise.

    That’s it in a nutshell.

    Lets see we know that NBC framed it this way

    “Today” segment took this approach to a key part of the dispatcher call:

    Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

    Here’s how the actual conversation went down:

    Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

    Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?

    Zimmerman: He looks black.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/post/nbc-to-do-internal-investigation-on-zimmerman-segment/2012/03/31/gIQAc4HhnS_blog.html

    and now this

    Latest Media Lie Exposed: George Zimmerman Weighs 170 Pounds Not 240 Pounds

    However it started, witnesses described to the 911 dispatcher what resulted: the neighborhood watch coordinator, 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, and the visitor, 6-foot-1 and 150, wrestling on the ground.

    Trayvon Martin is consistently described as 140 lbs, although the police report had him at 160. The Sanford PD initial police report listed a weight for Martin but not Zimmerman; in retrospect, that will rank as one of the biggest blunders of their investigation.

    I am serious – if the Times is correctly telling us that Zimmerman was roughly Martin’s size, that changes the whole theme of the scary large man stalking the overmatched boy. Do I need links to document how widespread that meme is?

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/04/george-z/

  89. MichaelCheneyMcCollum, in appearing to take issue with my statements you actually said what I said, come to a story and find the facts not go into it to prove your bias.
    Journalists do not have the luxury, like a panelist like the Prof for instance, to give their view on the story, only the good ol’ Jack Webb, just the facts, ma’am (or sir) if they are giving a news story.

  90. “Journalists do not have the luxury”

    I do take issue with this in reference to a “journalist” having an opinion.

    Having a journalist write a piece is not the same as asking a journalist their opinion. Of course a journalist has the luxury of their opinion.

    Why would you think that a journalist cannot give their opinion in an interview?

  91. You did not read my comment, I said: unlike a panelist, if they are reporting a story then they do not have that luxury. You need to take an extra second or two and really read what is written.

  92. leejcaroll,

    As an aside (and completely OT), I accidentally moused of your your Gravatar. You may want to double check the text of your Gravatar profile. Just a suggestion and hopefully a helpful one.

  93. You are most welcome, leejcarol.

    And you know how cats are . . . spotty typists and even worse proofreaderz. :D

  94. (Yes, they wrote that liine for me (and strange no z’s cause cats seem to adore them the most ((*_*)) )

  95. leejcaroll,

    thanks for pointing out the detail distinguishing your comment from Mike Appleton. His comment was directly addressing whether Toure has the right to an opinion as a journalist. He clearly has a right to his opinion in this interview. You further qualified ” if they are giving a news story.”

    In a straight reporter role, a reporter should do what was asked and present the facts. But this is a narrow use of a journalist, because not all journalists are ‘reporters’. Journalists are not monolithic nor are they drone cameras and microphones. If an investigative journalist is invited in for an interview, they will likely report all the facts they’ve uncovered but are equally able to give opinions. They will clearly distinguish their opinion from the facts, but are able to give opinions when asked. Ideally, their opinion is based in the facts presented or their credibility would be at risk. Coloring the facts is considered unprofessional. Giving an opinion may risk coloring the facts but it doesn’t automatically do that.

    “so what is your read of the situation then”
    “so where do you think this is going”
    “so do you think there will be follow up”
    “do you think they were forthright with you?”
    “do think this is all they’ll have to say about this?”

    Very common questions in interviews with journalists.
    Without the ability to give an opinion, the journalist is merely a parrot when being asked questions not found in the obvious. The model of “no opinion” would mean we’re better off sending drone microphones and cameras into events we want coverage of. Just put 24/7 cameras in all meetings, public spaces, etc, if you want a sterile account of the facts.

    Especially when it comes to investigative journalism, opinions do matter. But if they conflict with the facts, the journalist hasn’t done a very good job and should be judged as such.

    Toure wasn’t reporting on a story above. He was rendering an opinion when asked his opinion. That is perfectly acceptable.

    All the attacks on him about whether he was ‘unprofessional’ are red herrings in addressing the substance of this meeting…Did Piers Morgan do a fluff piece with Robert Zimmerman. Instead, we’re discussing whether Toure is a professional because that is how Piers Morgan attacked to distract from the accusation. In doing so Morgan’s professionalism also came into question. But the question still didn’t get addressed, Was Robert Zimmerman allowed to come and fog the discussion? My answer, Yes.

  96. I agree with you but when reporters like Plante or Scieffer (the ones who have the most recently annoyed me with this behavior) give the report and, without prompting, then add a line oir 2 that is commentary and interpretation, that negates the journalistic objectivity and restraint they should have employed while standing there reporting a story. If it is a panel show, if they are asked specific questions, based on thier suppositions, speculations, etc then they will answer in an unobjective way, but just the SCOTUS should be impartial so too should be the recitation of the facts.

  97. Michael Murry,
    You must be posting suppertime there in Australia (and he responds huffily he’s in NZ)

    “Passing laws to encourage armed, homicidal confrontation between and among hyper-terrified Americans doesn’t sound wise to me”

    This gives me an extension to a concept Chomsky wrote about:
    Adaptation and internal realization of opinions from above.
    You know the saying: “All of the people some of the time…..”

    Well, if all of the people are treated to a terror message bombardment constantly they will absorb and internalize it whether they agree conciously or not. I think it may be more widespread than I can see from Stockholm.

  98. LeeJCaroll,
    Dredd made a point that most of what we “know” and accept as probable or thruth is built on information from others.
    Doesn’t that make objectivity, impartiality, truth, etc rather moot?
    Only the discussion of relíability of sources, which is what you are essentially talking about remains.

  99. leejcaroll,

    Don’t get me wrong, btw. I am with you about facts only. I rarely read opinion pieces, rarely stay to watch panels, the facts only stories are my favorites. The more straightforward the facts, the faster I can get to my next source. But in the wide view, the expectation that a ‘journalist’, will not be asked to apply opinion, separate from fact but still on the story, is just not plausible nor the reality of journalism as it lives outside the classroom. Good editors slice through the opinions inserted in a piece that color the narrative.

    I’m examining your word “luxury” though for a moment. One should really make sure the opinion comports with supportive facts. Whether that is luxurious doesn’t register to me. When I think of whether a Professor of Law would have more ‘luxury’, it doesn’t seem so either. The facts matter in any opinion, imo. I’m starting from that premise.

    Luxury is a subjective experience. It doesn’t feel uncomfortable to remain in the fact world, so it might be luxurious to simply support an opinion on the perception of facts. “yes, I think they will be forthcoming based on their past history of disclosures.” or “well, the pattern doesn’t indicate to me that we’ll see a change.”

    For years I solidly believed that good journalism, aka professional journalism to some, required objectivity and this “objective journalism” idea sunk in. Having asked very ethical journalists and journalism professors, even they have been clear “objective journalism” simply does not exist. A human being has a view. That changes the conditions immediately. Get used to it, a few said. We can’t tell all the facts because there are too many. The moment we narrow the vision down to what is important to tell, we’ve already rendered our opinion.

    This was their message: distinguish the perfect from the real. While we strive for the perfect, we must accept what is real. We have a view. That view should be qualified. When acting as the ‘witness’ be the ‘witness’.

    “telling it like it is” journalism of Hunter S. Thompson is no less professional journalism than the guy who says, “a man shot another man in the public square. he was arrested at the scene. the other man is in intensive care and expected to survive. charges are pending. witnesses say the two were in an argument over a parking spot”.

    Is Hunter S Thompson’s journalism ethical journalism….different question maybe from whether it is professional?

    Professional means simply one gets paid. It implies one wants to continue to get paid. This can put you at odds with being ethical. Sometimes you have to be ethical instead of professional. Sometimes to remain professional, you’re ethics will be called into question. No?

    Thanks for your clarification and call out if you see I’ve misread you.

  100. “give the report and, without prompting, then add a line oir 2 that is commentary and interpretation”

    a per media example here: In TV reporting, for example, a person who is assigned to report facts should be doing so as a ‘witness’. If they are asked for an interpretation, then render it. Or if it would be qualified as an opinion separate from the facts, and that opinion doesn’t interfere with the facts, then I’m not disturbed. Coloring the facts with opinion is a violation to the viewer experience.

    I’m very with you about the blurring the lines. If a good anchor or host and a good ethical reporter present a piece, opinions should be separated from facts. “what was the feeling in the room?” isn’t something a person can answer without subjective notions. If we put a camera in the same room, we might agree with their read of “peaceful”, “amiable”, “tense”, “confused”.

    They are there to be our eyes and ears.

    “but just the SCOTUS should be impartial so too should be the recitation of the facts”
    Since SCOTUS is simply supposed to make sure their is accord between laws and the Constitution, both in letter and application. This doesn’t not automatically mean ‘right’ vs ‘wrong’ will be decided in their court. Thus, their personal opinions might differ from what the Constitutional remedies call for, correct?

    A journalist isn’t in the same boat as a SCOTUS judge. A journalist may start from a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ view and still be an ethical journalist if…they support their story with facts that allow the audience to determine for themselves if this is ‘right or wrong’. They aren’t required to determine this along a very narrow “constitutional” ground like SCOTUS. Many of our greatest recognized journalists, who were not impugned for their ‘ethics’, did so out of a conviction for a cause. Advocacy Journalism is a hot topic for some purists. But that is just another type of classism found in journalism, no different than Professional means get paid and yet some use it as a designation of superior quality, refined, accepted.

    Unlike lawyers, Journalists have no Bar Exam. There are not review boards outside their employer. A responsible journalist wouldn’t want to lose their reputation by distorting the facts.

  101. “indicates a lack of familiarity with the red pencil pusher.”

    I think you mean blue not red. Besides, it is digital now anyway. Nor did all editors use pencils.

    btw-a CMX 600 doesn’t have a blue pencil either. Nor does Final Cut Pro.

  102. idealist707, “Only the discussion of relíability of sources, which is what you are essentially talking about remains.:”

    exactly. this is often the greatest hassle in putting together a quality piece of journalism; finding qualified sources.

  103. MCM
    Thank you for this….
    “A human being has a view. That changes the conditions immediately. Get used to it, a few said. We can’t tell all the facts because there are too many. The moment we narrow the vision down to what is important to tell, we’ve already rendered our opinion.”

    But then you have said this before. Paraphrase: “Having decided what is important in choosing a story to investigate one has left objectivity long behind,” is what I think you wrote.

  104. Michael Cheneywatch McCollum wrote — ‘Having asked very ethical journalists and journalism professors, even they have been clear “objective journalism” simply does not exist. A human being has a view. That changes the conditions immediately.’

    Which is the reason editors exist.

  105. Winston,

    “Which is the reason editors exist.”

    Very well put.
    As was “clarity would definitely be an issue with the copy editor.”

  106. idealist707, “Only the discussion of relíability of sources, which is what you are essentially talking about remains.:”
    You have the ‘who created G-d, and who (or what) created the what that created G-d and on and on it goes.
    How reliable is a source; from where do his ‘facts come? At some point there is the empty glass on the table fact, no more no less,. Everything else is, of necessity, and life, not impartial.
    3 drones were sent over ( ) and so many ( ) killed, that is fact. A soldier who massacred had a fight with his wife that morning, massacre is fact, the fight, maybe, maybe not – unless the person was in the room during the fight. The added comment about his d being depressed, maybe having PTSD is supposition and infiltrated bythe colored glasses of the ‘reliable’ sources. (Heck, even most psych dx is not objective.)
    I remember, and memory comes with glasses too) Walter Cronkite giving the facts, John Facenda, Huntley, Brinkley, giving the facts. They did not interject their personal feelings at the end of the stories.

  107. Michael Cheneywatch McCollum1
    ((*_*))
    And I agree with ou. If I am watching an investigative journalist (and what happened to them btw -seems there are no more Woodward and Bernsteins) I do not expect just the facts, well, I do, to support his story.
    I have no problem with the questions asked or their answers but when the lines show clear partiality then it needs to be addressed and acknowledged as commentary/opiniion. Too often I have heard Plante and Schieffer (since they are the most recent for my recall) add lines that are clearly personal bias/belief and that can change viewers percepotion of the facts given. As you say “When acting as the ‘witness’ be the ‘witness’. To me it is a luxury when they can express these biases while purporting to give the facts on a particular story but have not been asked questions that would require a more personal reply.

    I think Thompson and say Cronkite are 2 different animals. One’s job was to report the facts, the other to color them..
    Both are ethical, and professional, but called by a different name.

    and leejcaroll, thanks for the exchange. greatly appreciated.
    MichaelCheyneyWatch1, And back at ya’ ((*_*))

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