He --- and his grumpiness --- will return Monday, Jan. 4.
He --- and his grumpiness --- will return Monday, Jan. 4.
Major media, including most columnists and on-air reporting, in quoting Donald Trump in interviews or at rallies since he announced his run, tend to leave out vital words from speeches by the Republican presidential candidate, observes Grumpy Editor.
Two potent overlooked words that have led to much discussion in print and radio-TV over the past six months are illegals and, more recently, temporary.
In early references to those crossing into the U.S. from the southern border, Trump cited illegals. But media implies all immigrants, thus stirring up a storm. Latest word skipped in reporting Trump’s output is temporary, in connection with banning Muslims from entering the U.S.
Among latest examples are two lengthy Washington Post stories that also made the rounds in other newspapers last week. One, which had a flavor that should have put it on the editorial pages, states, “Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States marked a sudden and sizable escalation…in the inflammatory and sometimes demagogic rhetoric of the candidate…” After posting on the Web, that story --- with “temporary” nowhere to be seen --- brought more than 7,500 mostly harsh comments from readers by the next day.
The other Post story's lead mentions “the GOP presidential front-runner’s call to bar Muslims from entering the United States…” and is repeated some paragraphs later --- with “temporary” not appearing in the text.
Smaller dailies also jump in. For example, the Las Vegas Sun, in a long editorial last week, cites “The compelling reasons why Donald Trump is unfit for the White House continue to mount, the latest being his threat to ban Muslims from entering the United States…” “Temporary” is left out.
Not all newspapers skip the “temporary” word. A front-page Wall Street Journal story at the same time leads off with “Donald Trump’s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S…”
+ + +
Survey backs Trump on Muslims plan
Trump’s proposed temporary ban on Muslims coming to the U.S. has the support of a sizable majority of Republicans and a plurality of all voters, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey conducted Dec. 8 and 9.
Rasmussen finds 66 percent of likely Republican voters favor a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. until the federal government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists while 24 percent oppose the plan, with 10 percent undecided.
Among all voters, the survey shows 46 percent favor a temporary ban while 40 percent are opposed and 14 percent are undecided.
(See Gallup "confidence" survey taken on same days, below.)
IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE NEWS OUTLETS MISSED THESE…
CONFIDENCE IN U.S. PROTECTION DROPS. Americans’ confidence in government protection from militant attacks falls to its lowest level since 2003, according to data from a Gallup poll Dec. 8 and 9, the same days as the Rasmussen survey.
HAPPY DAYS? The Federal Reserve reports U.S. households saw a $1.23 trillion drop, or 1.4 percent decline, in net worth in the third quarter. Meanwhile, a Pew Research Center study reveals the U.S. middle class no longer is the majority, now only 50 percent of the adult population, down from 61 percent in 1971.
MOVIES BETTER THAN EVER? In connection with the upcoming Oscars, Stephanie Merry in the Washington Post says, “this time around the movies are more than serious. They’re nightmare-inducing. You’ve got a bear trying to eat a man and slow-motion throat-slitting; a teenager held captive in a shed and dead bodies hidden behind drywall."
KEEPING THE NEWS STAFF BUSY. A San Bernardino “massacre spurs interest in gun buying” story in the Los Angeles Times sports a mighty five bylines.
GETTING THE DATE RIGHT. A Reuters story on gun control activists is accompanied by a Reuters photo showing four handguns displayed side by side with a caption pinpointing the date the picture was taken --- Nov. 13, 2014 --- just in case the weapons changed somewhat with age.
JUMPING TO A CONCLUSION ---
A Fox News headline on the Web sums it up: Burglary suspect hides in Florida lake where gator eats him.
Localized storm-triggered mudslides, engulfing cars and trucks 80 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles late last week, pointed out to Grumpy Editor that print and (especially) broadcast newsrooms apparently don’t consult maps these days.
Reporters and editors thus get mixed up in directions and locations, relaying faulty information and causing confusion to readers/viewers.
Check these misleading print/broadcast headline examples:
Dramatic photos of the mudslides that stranded L.A. drivers
Powerful storm slamming Southern California --- and it’s not over
Heavy rain causes mudslides across Southern California
Southern California digs out of mudslides
Many radio stations with on-the-hour news and television evening news programs based their reports on a wire service story that put the fuzzy location of roadway mud on “a section of Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles.” The wire story also described the “flooding” was “brought on by a storm system that produced heavy rainfall across the region.”
First off, the storm --- localized in a section of Kern County (geographically, located in the southern part of California's Central Valley) --- did not affect Los Angeles which recorded zero precipitation and thus L.A. drivers were motoring along in sunshine.
Main area affected was on busy east-west state highway 58 between Bakersfield and Tehachapi where close to 200 cars and 75 tractor-trailers were trapped by mudslides flowing from higher elevations.
Flooding and backups closed a south-of-Bakersfield section of heavily-traveled Interstate 5 that runs from Los Angeles to the San Francisco area, and beyond.
Thus, the local storm in Kern County did not “slam Southern California” and “Southern Californians were not digging out of mudslides.”
A TV network (which definitely needs to check a California map in its newsroom), alarmed viewers with, “Cars were stuck in place on Los Angeles highways Thursday night amid mudslides caused by flash flooding and thunderstorms.”
It appeared some broadcast and print editors were gearing up for the widely predicted upcoming El Nino. One TV network, looking weeks ahead for more heavy rain coupled with mudslides and homes sliding down hills, mentioned:
“This El Nino season is expected to be as strong as the one that swept into Southern California in 1997.
IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE NEWS OUTLETS MISSED THESE…
North Korea is capable of hitting the United States with a long-range nuclear missile, warned Adm. William Gortney, commander of the U.S. Northern Command. Amplifying that a few days later, a Wall Street Journal editorial Saturday cited “North Korea could have as many as 100 nuclear bombs within five years and may already be able to mount warheads on missiles capable of reaching the United States.” Meanwhile, after a White House meeting Friday with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, President Barack Obama said the U.S. is ready to negotiate with North Korea as it has with Iran, but Pyongyang has to be serious about abandoning nuclear weapons. This was followed by word from North Korea on Saturday that the communist nation rejected the idea of resuming talks to end its nuclear program.
The Labor Department noted plunging gasoline prices as a key factor in no inflation and thus, no 2016 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for millions of Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees. More precisely, gasoline prices last month fell 9 percent, biggest drop since January, after declining 4.1 percent in August but food prices rose 0.4 percent, largest increase since May, 2014, after rising 0.2 percent the prior month. Also rising was the rental index, up 0.4 percent, after advancing 0.3 percent in August...Separately, with some questioning the tally, the Labor Department said the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell to a 42-year low.
China has edged past the U.S. in the number of billionaires with 242 added in the past year, upping its total to 596, surpassing the U.S.'s 537...A Washington Post headline: White wines may be just as good for you as red (in some ways, at least)…Playboy will unveil its redesign with the March issue that will feature a larger size plus heavier, higher quality paper --- but no nudes…In denouncing “Truth,” CBS nixed running commercials for the film in which Robert Redford plays ex-CBS newsman Dan Rather who was involved in a discredited 2004 news story on former President George W. Bush's military service record…A hot-selling Halloween item in Mexico this year is an unflattering Donald Trump mask.
FROM THE POLICE BLOTTER: A burglar entered through a doggie door at a residence of vacationing homeowners, drank a lot of booze, spent time searching for jewelry and even used the toilet (and not flushing) over several hours. Even slept in a bed.
Yes, a security service, alerted by sensors, dispatched a guard.
He rang the door bell.
No one answered.
So he departed.
In pursuit of information, journalism students are urged to ask solid, often tough, questions in efforts to gain a full picture, reminds Grumpy Editor, who once taught a news writing course at a California university.
So when Major Garrett, CBS News’ chief White House correspondent asked President Barack Obama at a press conference last Wednesday why he was “content” with the Iran nuclear deal --- with nothing said about negotiations on releasing four Americans (including two journalists) being held in Iran --- an irritated president admonished Garrett by saying, “that’s nonsense, you should know better,” adding, “nobody’s content and our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try to get them out.”
Garrett, a 1984 University of Missouri graduate with journalism and political science degrees, later said it was odd that the hostages were not part of the negotiations and he didn’t mean to imply that the president was “content” leaving Americans hostage, adding the administration has used the phrasing multiple times before with families of the hostages.
Surprisingly, some members of the White House press corps attacked Garrett as “disrespectful.”
“All I was trying to do was elicit from the commander-in-chief where these four Americans in Iran fell in his prioritization of obtaining a nuclear deal and whether he fought for their release,” said Garrett.
IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE NEWS OUTLETS MISSED THESE…
President tackles two New York City fundraisers in four days. After a Friday night fundraiser that raised nearly $1 million, President Barack Obama and his two daughters strolled through Central Park late Saturday morning. But it wasn’t a quiet, hardly-observed walk. With them were about four dozen Secret Service agents plus New York police officers on scooters and an overhead helicopter. The president was due to fly in for another New York fundraiser on Tuesday…Not getting attention of news editors in the wake of shooting deaths of four Marines and a sailor at a military post in Chattanooga, Tenn., were quick decisions by governors of several states directing their state flags to be flown at half-staff to honor those victims --- yet President Obama has not directed the U.S. flag be lowered to half-staff at the White House and other public buildings…A bit off course. Covered heavily on television, a major brush fire Friday that ignited about two dozen vehicles and halted traffic on California's busy I-15, a key highway to and from Las Vegas, was pinpointed by a MSNBC host as “east of San Diego” when the precise location was 115 miles to the north, near Victorville…A Friday Wall Street Journal opinion piece on “immigrant bashers” mentioned “immigrant” or “immigrants” 16 times without reference to “illegal.” The material came close, however, with “immigrants in this country unlawfully, whether they overstayed a visa or crossed a border, should be required to face serious consequences to make amends”…Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's new book, “A Time for Truth,” finally made the New York Times best seller list (as No. 7 in the non-fiction category) a week after the newspaper rejected it as a best seller, claiming sales were inflated by "bulk purchases”…A tally by Rasmussen Reports found 55 percent of likely voters are opposed to the president’s immigration amnesty while 34 percent favor. In addition, 63 percent feel “gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States” --- highest level of support for more border control since December, 2011…Democrat California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that eliminates reference to husband and wife, replacing each with the generic term “spouse”…After publishing for 46 years, The National Journal will end publication of its print magazine at year end and shift resources to digital journalism.
Tired of constant media references, with accompanying stock market gyrations, to upcoming rising interest rates?
No end is in sight. First it was by June, then September, then October, now “later this year.”
Donald Trump certainly kicked up some dust among many media members when he tossed his hat into the crowded ring of Republicans seeking the presidential nomination with his tough, straight talk that resonated with many voters who seek action from Washington and are tired of the wussies there, observed Grumpy Editor.
Grabbing much attention the day after Trump’s announcement --- 45 minutes without a teleprompter --- at his New York skyscraper Trump Tower, was the New York Daily News which illustrated the real estate magnate with a bulbous red nose on its cover.”
In a departure describing the scene of such a serious announcement, the Daily News came up with: “The real estate magnate made a less-than-imperial entrance, emerging on the main floor of the building and then descending an escalator with his wife, Melania, who wore a strapless white dress.”
The newspaper’s story went on to say Trump “insulted Mexican immigrants, derided foreign countries and lambasted President Obama and other American leaders as ‘losers.’”
(Later, when asked about the Daily News’ “clown” cover, Trump said the Daily News is “going out of business” and needs such outlandish cover stories to hypo sales.)
In mentioning immigrants, Trump was referring to illegals, a word that the Daily News, and other news outlets, failed to use.
Trump also cited “it’s people from countries other than Mexico also. We have drug dealers coming across, we have rapists, we have killers, we have murderers. I mean it’s common sense, what do you think they’re going to send us their best people, their finest people? The answer is no.”
He also declared his ability to fortify the U.S. southern border, pointing out "nobody builds walls better than me, believe me."
“Our country is in serious trouble,” he emphasized. “We don’t have victories anymore,” then added, “we are going to make our country great again.”
Media didn’t hear it, of course. But Trump’s gung-ho talk brought cheers from many Americans, coast-to-coast, who agreed.
In holding up a financial statement, the never-shy real estate developer declared, “I’m really rich.” He cited $9.2 billion in assets and a net worth of $8.7 billion.
That brought a key financial news outlet to mention "rich" figures that "couldn’t be independently confirmed.” (A task fact-checkers would be hard pressed to establish within minutes --- or hours.)
Trump later told Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire, "I know the speech went well. I meant everything I said and I think a lot of it resonated with different groups of people."
Lemire said, “Trump is currently polling well enough to land a spot in one of the early Republican debates, potentially pushing a more politically established candidate off the stage. His well-honed TV skills could lead to a buzzworthy performance that keeps him in the media spotlight.”
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE NEWS OUTLETS MISSED THESE…
While search for two killer convicts on the loose from an upper New York state prison continued to grab print/air time, not much has been reported by key media on 121 convicted criminals (illegal immigrants) --- remaining in the U.S. despite receiving deportation orders between 2010 and 2014 --- who face murder charges. The Daily Signal carried the report…Disclosure that hedge fund Jana Partners acquired a 7.2 percent stake in ConAgra Foods sent stock of the packaged foods giant (Slim Jim jerky, Hunt’s tomato sauce and Chef Boyardee) up 10.86 percent or $4.25 a share to $43.37 on Friday…United Airlines faced a major PR problem with 176 passengers on a flight from Chicago to London. It took two days. A maintenance issue diverted the Boeing 767-300 to Goose Bay, Canada. Rather than promptly dispatching another aircraft as a replacement, United Continental Holdings placed the passengers, without access to their luggage, overnight in an unheated military barracks. The following night, a replacement 767-300 flew the grumbling passengers to Newark then on to London, arriving the following afternoon…While basketball, hockey, soccer and football grab chunks of print space, somewhat ignored was the Baltimore Orioles, in a game with the Philadelphia Phillies, smashing a team record eight home runs, in a 19 to 3 win last Tuesday…In other baseball news, a nifty headline in The Wall Street Journal in connection with the FBI probing charges that the St. Louis Cardinals illegally accessed Houston Astros’ player information database: FBI Is Looking Into Foul Play…Embattled TV news anchor Brian Williams was assigned by NBC News to cable as MSNBC daytime breaking news anchor starting in mid-August…In the “this just in” category: Media just love anniversaries with scant interest. This time, CBS News came up with commemorating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta --- a charter agreed by King John of England on June 15, 1215…Meteorological buddies. Pope Francis and President Barack Obama both agree on climate change. The Argentine-born pontiff, 78, on Thursday demanded swift action “to save the planet from environmental ruin”…In connection with Apple, Inc.’s news app announcement earlier this month, the company said its “Apple News team is looking for passionate, knowledgeable editors to help identify and deliver the best in breaking national, global, and local news”…Another 2015 newspaper position has veteran news folks scratching heads: The director of audience engagement title at the Los Angeles Times went last week to Alexandra Manzano, formerly with the Portland Oregonian.
Now, which car was that?
Within eight minutes during yesterday’s Oakland Athletics/Los Angeles Angels game on Fox Sports were commercials or on-screen plugs for Hyundai, Lexus, Audi, Jeep and CarMax.
ABC News’ chief anchor George Stephanopoulos --- former communications director and senior adviser for policy and strategy for former President Bill Clinton --- faces a credibility crisis in political coverage even after apologizing to viewers Friday for failing to disclose donating $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation, observed Grumpy Editor.
In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Stephanopoulos made $25,000 donations each year to the charitable organization headed by Bill and Hillary Clinton, and daughter, Chelsea.
In an interview last month with author Peter Schweizer about his book "Clinton Cash,” Stephanopoulos did not disclosed that Clinton link to viewers.
In addition to being chief anchor and chief political correspondent for ABC News, Stephanopoulos is co-anchor of ABC's "Good Morning America" and host of Sunday’s "This Week."
Like many others working these days in broadcast and print news, Stephanopoulos was a political science graduate (from Columbia University, New York), rather than holding a degree in journalism, thus lacking solid education/basic training in the specialized news-gathering field. It’s much like allowing an unqualified “dentist,” without a doctor of dental surgery degree, to drill on teeth or going to a fake certified public accountant, who doesn’t hold an accounting degree, to tackle figures for taxes.
Mark Levin, on his Friday talk show, called Stephanopoulos a “phony journalist.”
Jeremy W. Peters and John Koblin in the New York Times on Thursday said, “Even after more than a decade as an analyst, anchor and public face for ABC News, George Stephanopoulos has never been able to shake the image that many Republicans have of him: Clinton hatchet man.”
AP television writer David Bauder on Friday pointed out “ABC News' rules permit charitable donations, but reporters are required to inform management before covering a story related to the organization.”
Bauder added, “The story is a threat to Stephanopoulos' ability to cover politics for ABC, said Mark Feldstein, a veteran broadcast journalist now a professor at the University of Maryland” and “he couldn't have given the Republican Party a greater sword to decapitate him.”
Meanwhile, Free Beacon on Friday reported Heather Riley, spokeswoman for ABC News programs “Good Morning America” and “This Week,” worked in the White House press office from 1997 to 2000.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Among federal agencies missing from current news stories: Anyone read or hear about Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coming to the rescue of tornado victims in many states this month, or over the weekend? However, FEMA has been busy concentrating on states that must, as of next March, properly address climate change to be eligible for grant funding…Industrial output fell for the fifth straight month in April, triggered by a drop in energy-related drilling and sluggish manufacturing, reported the Federal Reserve on Friday…So does this mean sending more jobs overseas? Manufacturing jobs in the U.S. declined by 7,231,000 (or 37 percent), since employment in that category peaked 36 years ago, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data…Among government waste items in the "2015 Pig Book": $120 million for the continued upgrade of the M1 Abrams tank --- despite objections by senior Defense Department officials…Comcast, largest U.S. cable provider, in efforts to repair its poor relations with customers, said it plans to hire 5,500 workers over the next three years to handle customer service…The $4.4 billion deal by Verizon Communications Inc. to acquire AOL Inc., includes the Huffington Post.
Gee! In the no-kidding department:
Grumpy Editor noted this front-page headline ---
ACLU: Tough-on-crime bills will lead to more inmates.
School budget cuts are curbing journalism interest in high schools across the nation, an unfortunate development, observed Grumpy Editor, who, incidentally, developed early interest in the field as an assistant editor on a Los Angeles high school newspaper.
Chicago Tribune writer Vikki Ortiz Healy on Thursday noted many high school journalism programs in Illinois and the U.S. “are struggling to stay afloat.”
She added, “In an era of tight school budgets, high-stakes testing and changing news consumption habits, the once time-honored tradition of offering students the chance to be newspaper reporters has joined the list of school activities becoming obsolete for today's students.
"Yet with public school funding shortfalls --- and school days often structured to focus on subjects covered on standardized tests --- school administrators say they are forced to make tough decisions, and journalism programs are another casualty of tight economic times."
That’s why there is a growing trend of college graduates with degrees in political science, history and law, as examples, entering print and broadcast news. For those, basic training in journalism is lacking.
A veteran journalist said that’s like having a physician, holding a geography degree, for example, diagnose an ailment.
But there’s hope.
WNEP-TV, Scranton, Pa., reported Friday that about 200 high school students in the area attended the 15th Tom Bigler Journalism Conference at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre. (Bigler, a former TV newsman, became a professor at the university.)
With input from those working in the field, the aspiring journalists attended workshops, lectures and seminars on the changing face of journalism, with a focus on globalism and international communities.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
President Barack Obama said it again last week: Climate change is a primary national threat…Allied with that, a two-page global warming story, “ A Glimpse at 2115,” in The Sunday, a Greenspun Media Group weekly publication, contained the word “could” 35 times, as with “maple trees could disappear” and “changes in wet and dry periods could increase flooding and fires” a century from now…Another word that brought reaction --- treason. Maj. Gen. James Post III, who was Air Combat Command vice commander, used that word in a bid to block retirement of the low-flying A-10 Warthog aircraft, highly regarded by ground troops in providing close air support. Result: Post was reprimanded and removed from his job…Said Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz in a CNBC interview: "Historically the media's had two caricatures for Republicans --- that we are either stupid or evil. They’ve to some extent invented a third caricature for me, which is crazy. I get portrayed in a lot of outlets as a wild-eyed lunatic with dynamite around my chest”…CBS radio news on Wednesday was overly excited, trumpeting four words heralding the lead item on the trial of Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: “The verdict is in.” But the 2 p.m. (Eastern) top-of-the-hour news had no decision to announce on the newscast. Nevertheless, the segment ended repeating “The verdict is in.” Stay tuned…In the wake of some faulty reporting in Rolling Stone, Mike Smith, whose editorial cartoons are distributed nationally, developed one depicting an editor addressing three staffers with: “We’ve decided to add some new elements to our reporting…they’re called facts”…In connection with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter ‘s visit to South Korea last week to discuss North Korea’s growing missile and nuclear threat, North Korea, flexing its muscles in a "greeting," fired six short-range missiles.
Some baseball humor from New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez :
Sidelined via a year-long drug suspension, the veteran player hit his first home run in nearly 19 months and commented, “I felt like I needed a Google map to run the bases, it’s been so long.”
Grumpy Editor finds the Los Angeles Times newsroom gets excited over the word “earthquake” and via its website or print version almost daily reports shakers (no matter how small), mostly in California. On Friday the newspaper came up with: Swarm of earthquakes in Nevada desert is intensifying
The swarm’s location, to be precise, is about 525 miles from the L.A. Times building at 1st and Spring Streets in Los Angeles. The report pinpointed the location in Nevada’s extreme northwest corner, 50 miles southeast of Lakeview, Ore., a sparsely-populated area.
The report, by a staff writer, pointed out “about 750 earthquakes, mostly magnitude 2.0 to 3.0, have struck the area” since July.
Deep into the story, John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington, said: “It doesn't necessarily mean anything big is coming, but it does raise the risk there will be a bigger quake in the future. Ninety-nine percent of the time nothing too dramatic happens, but every now and then there is a good pop and everyone asks why we didn't predict it."
Other media picked up the report. But the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada’s largest newspaper, didn’t run the swarms information until two days later. It covered the subject in nine sentences via Reuters.
CNN on Saturday mentioned, ‘The vast majority of the current Nevada swarm's quakes have been undetectable to people walking around on top of them.”
In San Francisco, where talk of earthquakes easily shakes up residents, KCBS radio’s website on Friday spotlighted the event under the headline: Ongoing Earthquake Swarm In Nevada Increasing Chances For A ‘Big One’
USA Today jumped into the shaker act on Saturday picking up, in part, information contained in the L.A. Times and CNN stories.
Most interesting, however, was the earthquake swarms story on Nov. 6 (a day before the L.A. Times version) in the Herald and News, Klamath Falls, Ore. It was written by the newspaper’s editor, Gerry O’Brien --- from a press release.
This just in: Continuing its focus on earthquakes, today’s L.A. Now section on the L.A. Times website reports a magnitude 4.1 shaker at a depth of 6.8 miles in the Pacific with the epicenter 69 miles from Newport Beach in Orange County.
IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE NEWS OUTLETS MISSED THESE…
A reminder as frigid Arctic air makes its way today to the central plains and then eastward with temperatures 20 to 40 degrees below normal: A recent Gallup poll found concern over climate change ranked last among 16 issues voters cared about in the midterm elections…In the “huh?” department. The lead to a story in the Nov. 6 Wall Street Journal: "Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. reported a wider third quarter loss"… Then the next day in the newspaper's “The Good News” portion of “Stocks in the News” feature: Tesla stock was up $10.25 a share stemming from, as the WSJ put it: “The electric car maker beat earnings forecasts”…A top-of-the-hour ABC News item on radio Friday focused on Home Depot announcing about 53 million customer email addresses were stolen by hackers. That was in addition to earlier reports that 56 million credit card accounts were compromised. That news was followed by a Home Depot commercial…How many times with the same “warning” over the past few months? Federal Reserve officials on Friday warned about market turbulence as the central bank prepares to raise short-term interest rates next year…Reuters decided to stop allowing readers to comment on its online stories…As Thanksgiving approaches, a reminder from the Associated Press Style Book on bread-related items: With breadbox, breadcrumb, breadstick and cornbread, keep it a single word. But not bread pudding…Operation United Assistance, the U.S. military mission to combat Ebola in West Africa, likely will last until 2016, according to Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
After Tuesday’s voting results, Harry Reid (D-Nev.), outgoing Senate majority leader who has shelved hundreds of House-passed bills, declared: “I look forward to working with (incoming Republican majority leader) Sen. McConnell to get things done for the middle class.”
Print/broadcast reporters, editors and producers say they are less satisfied with their work, have less autonomy on the job and see the industry moving in the wrong direction, Grumpy Editor notes from an Indiana University survey that, naturally, received zilch attention in newspapers and radio/TV news.
Among noteworthy survey findings:
Going wrong way. About 60 percent of journalists say journalism in the United States is going in the wrong direction.
Newsrooms are shrinking. Almost 63 percent of journalists say staffs were reduced during the past year, while only about a quarter say staff numbers remained the same.
Majority have bachelor’s degree. About 92 percent of full-time journalists have at least a bachelor’s degree --- although journalism majors represent about 37 percent.
More journalists say they are political independents. About half of all journalists say they are independents, up about 18 percentage points from a similar survey in 2002. The number of those identified with the Democrat Party dropped nearly 8 percentage points to 28 percent, while the number of journalists closer to the Republican Party decreased to 7 percent from 18 percent.
Job satisfaction ebbs. Job satisfaction fell to 23 percent from 33 percent of journalists who said they were “very satisfied” with their jobs in the 2002 tally. This trend continues the decline in job satisfaction that was observed between 1971 and 1992 but was interrupted with a positive bounce in 2002.
A puzzling element --- at a time when media critics are labeling current journalists, especially those out of Washington, lapdogs rather than watchdogs --- is that 78 percent of the surveyed journalists say investigating government claims is “extremely important.” The survey finds that percentage up significantly from 2002 and exceeds the 76 percent in the early 1970s.
In case you missed these…
TIME FOR A CHANGE WITH CLIMATE. First it was termed global warming, then (as eyebrows were raised by some meteorologists and atmospheric scientists), it became climate change. Now, with last week’s 840-page National Climate Assessment report, the phrase “climate disruption” made its debut.
ANOTHER L.A. SHAKE-EM-UP STORY. Under the headline --- Preliminary quake map shows fault lines under schools, hotels, homes --- the Los Angeles Times continues its periodic shakeup of readers. A story last week pointed out about 12,000 properties lie in the newly drawn California Geological Survey fault zones, roughly 500 feet on each side of estimated fault lines. It follows a Times story last October focusing on “more than 1,000 old concrete buildings in Los Angeles and hundreds more throughout the county may be at risk of collapsing in a major earthquake.”
‘NYET’ TO FOUL LANGUAGE. A Russian law signed last week by President Vladimir Putin restricts use of profanity in literature, theater, film and recorded music, effective July 1. A separate law, starting in August, subjects bloggers --- those with more than 3,000 daily page views --- to hefty fines for using profanity.
TIME INC. SPIN-OFF SET. Time Warner Inc.'s spin-off of publishing unit Time Inc. takes effect on June 6. Time Inc.’s titles include Time, People, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, and Entertainment Weekly. Along with 23 magazines in the U.S., the company operates 45 Web sites.
DYSFUNCTION IN WASHINGTON? In a TV interview, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) --- who single-handedly has blocked much movement in the Senate --- declares, "One of the problems that the press has in modern-day journalism is everything you do is a tit for tat. You won't call things the way they actually exist. What has happened here is the Republicans have stopped everything from happening.”
MORE ON WASHINGTON FROM THE PRESIDENT. Variety, the entertainment news publication, reports that at a Los Angeles fundraiser last Wednesday, President Barack Obama said a “disquiet around the country” remains along with “an anxiety and a sense a frustration”…and “the challenges out there remain daunting and we have a Washington that’s not working.”
A clue as to why Wall Street is confused over latest economic data --- figures and headlines are all over the place, notes Grumpy Editor.
Among headlines from Friday’s newspapers:
Retail buoys economic outlook
Retailers singing ‘Blue Christmas’ as sales fall
Spending jumps in November
The first headline, above, reflects information from the Commerce Department. It reports retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in November from the prior month, marking the biggest gain in five months.
The second headline is based on a report from the National Retail Federation. It estimates the four-day Thanksgiving Day weekend (including Black Friday) dropped 2.9 percent from last year.
The third headline also stems from the Commerce Department report with an Associated Press story adding, “Two straight months of healthy sales suggest steady hiring is encouraging Americans to spend more this holiday season, particularly on big-ticket items.”
The AP piece also quotes an economist who points out the Commerce Department report “suggests that the holiday shopping season began on a strong note.”
The Wall Street Journal, in citing the Commerce Department report, also adds input from an economist who says, “the numbers certainly suggest a stronger trajectory of consumer spending than we had thought."
In case you missed these…
NEW JOURNALISM JOBS LOOM AS LOS ANGELES SOON GETS A NEW DAILY. Aaron Kushner, co-owner and publisher of the Orange County Register says his operation will move into the City of Angels early next year with a new, seven-days-a-week newspaper, the Los Angeles Register, staffed by journalists working in Los Angeles covering local news. Kushner points out more than 200 people were added to his news staff in the past year, more than the size of most newsrooms in the country.
NOT A VERY NICE CHRISTMAS PRESENT. Martha Stewart Living magazine is hit especially hard as Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia lays off between 75 and 100 staffers --- about 25 percent of the company’s work force --- 13 days before Christmas.
JOURNALISM MAJOR RETURNS AT TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY. The College Station school in the Lone Star State is bringing back its journalism major next fall. But it will be "a small, rigorous program limited to 25 entering freshmen per year,” says the university.
LOCAL VS. FOREIGN THINKING BY SAME-CITY EDITORS. A few days after the Las Vegas Review-Journal runs a photo of Santa Claus cavorting with fish in a far-off South Korea tank, the Las Vegas Sun features a full page with five photos of a Sin City Santa swimming with sharks and other fish in the aquarium at nearby Silverton, a Las Vegas casino.
AT LEAST BALLPARK HOT DOGS REMAIN UNCHANGED --- FOR NOW. Taking some of the sport out of the game, baseball’s rules committee votes to outlaw home-plate collisions by 2015. Under the rules, runners would have to (politely?) slide home while catchers, giving runners a clear path, will not be allowed to block home plate.
“HURRY UP AND WAIT” ROUTINE CONTINUES FOR VETERANS. Not widely heralded in national broadcast or print news from Senate majority leader Harry Reid’s home state, is that Nevada veterans shockingly wait an average 433 days to have disability benefits claims completed by the Veterans Administration, according to Dean Heller, the Silver State’s other U.S. senator, a Republican.
NOW IT'S SANTA’S TRANSPORTATION VEHICLE THAT IS THREATENED. While polar bears used to be the great concern of global warming folks, now it’s the Arctic’s alleged reduced number of reindeer that worries them --- and obviously making it tough for Santa.
ONE AWARD THE WHITE HOUSE SNUBS. PolitiFact gives President Obama its “lie of the year” prize for his claim that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period.”