Some news such as the potential for a Hackgate scandal is being completely ignored by mainstream media, while a rude conservative instantaneously becomes a celebrity journalist. Between the two extremes of Hackgate and Hecklegate, lies a vast array of news stories of differing degrees of newsworthiness that should be getting more media attention. The staffs of various national news organizations have been cut back to alarmingly low levels and stories that have great trend spotting value are being ignored by the various media that might have provided massive coverage if these same stories broke back in the day when manpower was plentiful for large newspapers and TV networks.
On Thursday, June 14, 2012, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) held a press conference to release their reaction to the the Frazier Report which criticized the OPD conduct in response to protesters at Frank Ogawa Plaza on October 25 of last year.
On Friday, the Lakeview elementary school in Oakland was closed permanently. Over the weekend disgruntled parents and teachers began a sit-in on the school grounds.
On Monday morning, the Oakland Police delivered to protesters the information that they were subject to arrest on the charge of interfering with the operation of a school, which is a serious matter.
As the week progressed it was unknown if the Oakland Police would adjust their response to the Lakeview school sit-in in a way which indicates that they have heeded the message of the Frazier Report or not.
Critics of the OPD would have other Americans believe that a new local version of the Algiers Motel Incident is almost inevitable.
If Oakland is becoming a microcosm of the problems and challenges facing many other American cities during the summer of 2012, then perhaps national news media (usually owned and controlled by conservatives) should be covering the political maneuvering in that city. The politicians are trying to provide a miracle of the loaves and fishes style solution for the rapidly expanding list of budget shortfalls and municipal challenges.
News stories during the week indicated that Oakland would hire a Los Angeles based firm to manage the Oakland Coliseum as long as the agreement contained an iron clad clause that the company would not indulge in team poaching. That brought to mind the old quote about “I don’t want lawyers who will tell me what I can and cannot do; I want lawyers who will get done what I want done.”
At the same time that a Republican Senator, who owns several homes, is staunchly asserting that it might soon become very necessary for the American military to become involved in a civil war in Syria, the Republicans, who have established their brand identity along the “for the sake of the children” style of thinking, seem to be willing to decimate public education nationwide rather than miss out on the chance to completely disregard the “never again” post Vietnam philosophy and plunge America directly into a shiny new war (AKA quagmire) in the Middle East region.
It seems as if the Republicans who were fearless of the deficit problem during the George W. era are now willing to sell off kids’ education and instead provide them with basic training and an M-1 (or the modern equivalent) in deference to deficit spending.
While student activists were objecting to generous raises for the UCB executives and trying to gain wage and benefit increases for the members of the AFSCME union’s local 3299, they had to contend with the possibility of massive cuts in the library service available to the students. The Republicans seem ready to manipulate current students into a much higher interest rate for their student loans.
A recount of the votes for the smoking tax initiative in California’s June primary election were still being conducted as the week started, and the tally was “still too close to call.”
Financial markets around the world seemed to react favorably to the pro-Conservative results in the elections in Greece. Pre election news stories indicated that the voter sentiment was leaning toward a socialist agenda.
Some skeptics were questioning the legitimacy of the election results in Egypt.
It seemed like the only journalist who was concerned about the legitimacy of the voting results in Wisconsin was Brad Friedman, who has provided extensive coverage about the reliability of the electronic voting and vote tabulating machines being used nation wide. He was the only person drawing attention to the implications that if the recall results in Wisconsin were questionable, then conservatives might have used the contentious recall election there as a dress rehearsal for sliding more skewed results past the media in November. (Google News search hint: “Brad Friedman” plus “Command Center”)
In the past, reporters in the group known as Murrow’s boys (Yeah, we’ve read The Women Who Wrote the War” by Nancy Caldwell Sorel so we know that the war correspondents weren’t all guys) risked their lives to bring a very high standard of excellence to American Journalism during World War II. Media owners (who are usually conservative) would like Americans to assume that is still the norm. Unfortunately that is just as unrealistic as believing that Paul Josef Goebbels was a champion of freedom of the press.
These days it is much easier to get a major career boost from rude and boorish conduct at a President’s press conference than it is to do so via high quality reporting. Who doesn’t love a class cutup from the Spicoli School of Journalism who can disrupt a President’s speech just as easy as he used to toss snide remarks at the teachers giving lectures at Ridgemont High?
How difficult would it be to convince high school dropouts (via cleverly disguised political propaganda?) that teachers don’t deserve to get the pension benefits they spent a lifetime earning?
The state of the art for Journalism in the USA has become so wretched that American journalists are happy to manufacture drama and uncertainty about how the Republican majority United States Supreme Court will rule on a case that could subsequently provide Republican propaganda specialists with an opportunity for asserting that there is no basis for speculating about the legacy of the first President with a pan-African heritage.
The world of conspiracy theory connoisseurs is buzzing with rumors that the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is conducting a competition that is offering a cash prize for the first employee who can come up with one single, all encompassing, narrative that includes three diverse items from the current events beat.
There is rumored to be a wealthy journalism media mogul who used wire taps and e-mail hacking in Great Britain to accumulate material which was then used to blackmail politicians for unspecified ends.
Brett McGurk’s e-mails were posted on a web site called Cryptome and caused the fellow to withdraw his efforts to become the American Ambassador to Iraq.
Some recent news stories reported that the e-mails of Mitt Romney, who is expected to be given the Republican nomination for President, have been hacked.
It is doubtful that even Philip K. Dick could concoct a logical narrative connecting the dots using those three items of public record, but if he were still alive and if he did concoct an entry for the competition and labeled it “Hackgate,” it is very unlikely that news media would take any notice.
Famous con man Frank W. Abagnale, in his autobiography, wrote: “Almost any fault, sin, or crime is considered more leniently if there’s a touch of class involved.”
Now the disk jockey will play “Charlie Brown,” Chuck Berry’s “School Days,” and the drinking song from Sigmund Romberg’s “The Student Prince.” We have to go see what odds the British bookies are giving for bets on the Supreme Court’s decision in the Obamacare case. Have a “not drunk he is who can from the floor can rise alone to still drink more; but drunk he is who prostrate lies with power to neither drink nor rise” type week.
[Note from the photo editor. A good deal of time was spent on Monday trying to get some adequate news photos from the Lakeview school sit-in in Oakland. A return trip on Tuesday produced a better result. A casual encounter with carpenters’ local 180, which was handing out information leaflets on Market Street in San Francisco on Wednesday, produced better (but less relevant?) photo images.]