Apr 17 2015

Are Soldiers Happy? Unhappy? Compared to What?

US soldiers in Afghanistan (photo: Liu Jin, AFP/Getty Images)

It’s the unanswered question “compared to what?” that makes USA Today’s lead story, “Soldiers Hate Their Jobs,” a prime example of pseudo-news.

Apr 17 2015

Abdi Ismail Samatar on Al Shabab, Katherine Gallagher on Abu Ghraib Lawsuit

US guards at Abu Ghraib abusing a prisoner.

After horrific attacks in Kenya and Somalia by the Somalia-based Al Shabab, what needs to happen in Somalia and elsewhere to help that country move forward? And will those who committed atrocities under cover of war at Abu Ghraib face justice?

Apr 16 2015

They Have ‘Propaganda,’ US Has ‘Public Diplomacy’–and a Servile Private Sector

The Red Menace movie poster

When you have arguably the US’s most prestigious for-profit media outlet describing government propaganda as “efforts to counter propaganda,” it’s pretty clear that the nation’s demand for propaganda is going to be met–whether by the public or the private sector.

Apr 16 2015

Politicians Bragging About Exports While Ignoring Imports? That’s Just Gross

Auto assembly line (cc photo: Spencer Cooper)

Thirteen former Democratic governors urged Congress to approve fast-track trade authority to facilitate the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP). The most newsworthy aspect of the letter is that the governors apparently do not understand the basic economics of trade.

Apr 15 2015

As Drought Grips California, Networks Come Up Dry on Climate Science

CBS News: California Drought Map

When California’s drought was covered on network TV, global warming was rarely addressed, with just three mentions on ABC, two on NBC and one on CBS.

Apr 14 2015

An Article by Any Other Name May Smell Sweeter to Search Engines

Andrew Cuomo totally looks like Al Lettieri (image: Random Overload)

One way to try to get around Google’s rules against recycling other outlets’ content is to automatically replace random words in the pilfered articles with synonyms. This works about as well as you might guess.

Apr 14 2015

Reporting on Russia’s Troll Army, Western Media Forget West’s Much Bigger, Sophisticated Troll Army

(cc photo: Ray)

Western media keep breaking the same story of Russia’s paid Internet trolls over and over again. In all these stories, however, the rather glaring fact that the US has a long-documented history of manipulating social media is not mentioned once.

Apr 13 2015

Why Does WaPo Protect Identities of Cops Who Tased a Shackled, Mentally Ill Woman Until She Died?

Natasha McKenna

Regardless of whether the deputies are indicted or not, they are public employees under whose custody a community member died; it’s unclear why the public has no legitimate interest in knowing who they are.