A good idea, a new gig for me, and the latest atrocity from Fox News
Plus ... about that new Beatles song
Mark Jacob, a former Chicago Tribune editor, is an astute commentator on the state of the media today. A few days ago, he wrote a piece I want to bring to your attention, urging that in these troubled times of rampant misinformation and right-wing extremism, the old journalistic methods don’t always work. A much more aggressive, more forthright approach is needed for effective truth-seeking.
Check out Jacob’s piece titled “Fact-checking isn’t enough. We need fact-crusading.” He writes, for example: “People read headlines. So journalists must put corrections in headlines.” His newsletter, Stop the Presses, has a clear focus — “how right-wing extremism has exploited the weaknesses in American journalism, and what we can do about it.”
Jacob’s proposal is the good idea mentioned in my headline. As for part two, my new gig was announced this week by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and I’m thrilled about taking on the new challenge that will begin in January. I’ll be the executive director of the j-school’s Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security. Here’s the announcement if you’d like to read the details and, of course, I would love to hear your ideas about what’s needed in the comments to this post. I’ll be continuing to write my column for the Guardian US, to write media-related pieces here on Substack, and possibly to gear up for a second season of my podcast, American Crisis, next year as the extremely consequential presidential election approaches.
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The latest atrocity on Fox News? Well, always so much to choose from, but it was particularly offensive to hear host Mark Levin attack CNN’s Wolf Blitzer over coverage of the deaths of Palestinian civilians. Levin said on his Nov. 1 show: “Wolf Blitzer, as I understand it, his parents weren't victims in one way or another of the Holocaust. But certainly his family comes out of that background — but you wouldn’t know it.” And he continued in his segment declaring that “CNN is filled with a lot of self-hating Jews, in my opinion.”
Blitzer and I happen to share Buffalo as our home town, so I know that his parents are indeed Holocaust survivors. His parents, Polish Jews who emigrated to the United States, talked to him about how they survived concentration camps; all four of his grandparents were murdered during World War II. Levin’s commentary is appalling and hateful. Eric Kleefeld of Media Matters wrote about it here.
And, finally, on a much lighter note, I couldn’t wait to listen to the newly released song, “Now and Then” — a rediscovered John Lennon composition turned into (sort of) a new and final Beatles song by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Beatles chronicler Peter Jackson released a slick accompanying short film. As a longtime and fervid Beatles fan, I wish I loved the song more. Although produced with every modern bell and whistle, and buffed to a high gloss by McCartney’s abundant talent, this is simply not an impressive song, either lyrically or melodically. As my Beatles-loving friend Lauri texted me: “I mean, it’s lovely and all that. But maybe best just to let things be still. They gave us all they had. It’s more than enough.”
What are your thoughts? And what’s your favorite Beatles album? I’m going with Revolver, though I’ve always been partial to the excesses of the White Album, too. And, of course, the second side of Abbey Road…
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