The two biggest media misses of 2019 serve as perfect examples of what is plaguing the industry from a public trust and confidence perspective.
First, there is the rush to be first instead of accurate, allowing social media to dictate the narrative without anything resembling a meticulous vetting process. The Jussie Smollett fiasco is a prime example.
Remember what was presented as absolute fact after the story broke: Smollett decided to go outdoors, into a polar vortex, and walk to a Subway fast-food restaurant for a sandwich — at 2 a.m. He says he was then spotted by two men wearing MAGA baseball caps — in subfreezing temperatures, mind you — and recognized by them as an actor on a show that most Trump supporters are unlikely to watch. The two men, he said, screamed “This is MAGA country!” (remember, this is in Chicago) AND both men happened to have rope and bleach on their persons (talk about being prepared ahead of time).
Missing from much of the breathless initial reports was a very key word: Alleged. As in, “the alleged attack.”
“Celebrities, lawmakers rally behind Jussie Smollett in wake of brutal attack” — ABC News
“Analysis: The Jussie Smollett attack highlights the hate black gay Americans face” — The Washington Post
” ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett attacked in possible hate crime” — CNN
“Empire star Jussie Smollett attacked in Chicago by men hurling homophobic and racial slurs” — NBC News
“Celebrities rally behind Jussie Smollett after brutal attack in Chicago” — Buzzfeed
Without that word, “alleged,” the supposed attack — and its context — is presented to the reader or viewer as gospel. And, given the obvious questions that emerged around the actor’s tale and utter lack of evidence, the story absolutely warranted the disclaimer of “alleged” until a foundation of facts could be gathered.
Fortunately, thanks to local reporters and law enforcement in Chicago, the story fell apart. Smollett still somehow got off, but his career is in tatters — as it should be for wasting everyone’s time, particularly an already-overwhelmed department like the Chicago Police Department (more than 530 murders in the city last year).
The Covington Catholic catastrophe also was a classic example of newsrooms allowing loud, partisan voices on social media to dictate their vetting process, or lack thereof.
To review what happened back on that cold January day, social media video of the March for Life rally in Washington appeared to show Covington, Ky., students, some of them wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, taunting a Native American man attending an Indigenous Peoples March. One young man became the focus of media attention after staring at the Native American — who approached the Covington student, not the other way around, as first described — for more than two minutes in what the student later described as an effort to calm things down. The student was widely portrayed at first as, essentially, the face of racism.
Many media outlets initially ran with that angle of the story. After all, it contained the perfect ingredients for media outrage because it involved young white men, it involved the Catholic Church, and it involved President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against windmills: ‘I never understood wind’ Trump faces pivotal year with Russia on arms control Bolton says he doesn’t think Trump admin ‘really means it’ on stopping North Korea nukes MORE, since the kids were wearing MAGA hats. A trifecta for titillation.
“Boys in ‘Make America Great Again’ Hats Mob Native Elder at Indigenous Peoples March” — The New York Times
“The Catholic Church’s Shameful History of Native American Abuses” — The Washington Post
“The Covington Students Might as Well Have Just Spit on the Cross” — National Review
The student subsequently sued several outlets, including the Post, for hundreds of millions of dollars.
What we witnessed with Smollett and with the Covington Catholic kids is similar to what we saw with the Trump-Russia collusion tale that finally was dismissed after the Mueller report’s release in April, with results that shocked many in the press who had pushed an opposite narrative for two years by working from the premise that President Trump had to be guilty. It is a media that works under this premise: guilty until proven innocent, particularly on cable news, where anti-Trump stories are gobbled up like seagulls eating at the beach. Throw anything negative about this president or his supporters up in the air, and it will be swallowed whole.
United Press International used to have a saying: “Get it first. But first, get it right.”
The Fourth Estate needs to embrace that now more than ever.
IS claims killing of 3 female media workers in Afghanistan – CTV News
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the killing of three women working for a local radio and TV station in eastern Afghanistan, the latest in a spike in targeted killings across the war-tor country. Dozens of people gathered Wednesday for the funerals of the three media workers.
The women were gunned down on Tuesday in separate attacks, according to the news editor of the privately owned station and officials in Nangarhar province.
Afghan officials said police arrested the alleged killer of the three, identifying him as Qari Baser and insisting he was a Taliban — a claim promptly denied by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
Nangarhar police chief, Gen. Juma Gul Hemat, said Baser had used a pistol with a silencer in the attacks. He was arrested shortly after the attacks by police in Jalalabad, the provincial capital.
The IS claim, posted late Tuesday, contradicted the Afghan government’s accusations against the Taliban. The militants said the three female journalists were targeted because they worked for one of the “media stations loyal to the apostate Afghan government” in Jalalabad.
It was not the first attack against women working at the Enikass Radio and TV. In December, IS claimed the killing of another female employee there, Malala Maiwand.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned Tuesday’s attack, saying that assaults on “innocent compatriots, especially women, are contrary to the teachings of Islam, Afghan culture and the spirit of peace.”
Afghanistan is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media workers. Tuesday’s killings brought to 15 the number of media workers killed in Afghanistan in the last six months.
The slaying’s of the women are part of a larger spike in targeted killings in Afghanistan in the past year, coinciding with the signing of a peace deal between the United States and the Taliban in February 2020. The Taliban have denied involvement in most of the targeted killings. Both the Taliban and the government blame the other for staging the attacks to discredit the peace deal or leverage greater concessions.
The Biden administration is reviewing the deal which calls for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops by May 1. Officials say no decision has been made .
Shokrullah Pasoon of Enikass Radio and TV in Jalalabad — the station the women worked for — said one of them, Mursal Wahidi, was walking home when gunmen opened fire, according to eyewitnesses. The other two, whom he identified only as Shahnaz and Sadia, were shot and killed in a separate incident, also walking home from work. Two other people, apparently passersby, were wounded in the shooting attack.
The three women dubbed popular and often emotion-laden dramas from Turkey and India into Afghanistan’s local languages of Dari and Pashtu, added Pasoon, the station’s news editor.
Enikass Radio and TV is a privately owned outlet that broadcasts “news, various political, social, Islamic, educational, satirical, and engaging programs and standard dubbing of serials and movies for the people of Afghanistan,” according to its website.
Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.
InvestorChannel's Media Watchlist Update for Tuesday, March, 02, 2021, 16:00 EST – InvestorIntel
InvestorChannel’s Media Stocks Watchlist Update video includes the Top 5 Performers of the Day, and a performance review of the companies InvestorChannel is following in the sector.
Sources Include: Yahoo Finance, AlphaVantage FinnHub & CSE.
For more information, visit us at InvestorIntel.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
– Quizam Media Corp (QQ.CN) 0.58 (11.54%)n- Network Media Group Inc (NTE.V) CAD 0.18 (6.06%)n- WOW! Unlimited Media Inc (WOW.V) CAD 0.52 (4.00%)n- Wix.com Ltd (WIX) USD 342.94 (0.71%)n- ZoomerMedia Limited (ZUM.V) CAD 0.11 (0.00%)n- Postmedia Network Canada Corp (PNC-A.TO) CAD 1.60 (0.00%)n- Media Central Corp Inc (FLYY.CN) 0.02 (0.00%)n- Lingo Media Corp (LM.V) CAD 0.08 (0.00%)n- GVIC Communications Corp. (GCT.TO) CAD 0.35 (0.00%)n- Slack Technologies Inc (WORK) USD 40.92 (-0.46%)n- Corus Entertainment Inc. (CJR-B.TO) CAD 5.55 (-0.54%)n- Adobe Inc. (ADBE) USD 466.59 (-0.63%)n- Stingray Group Inc (RAY-A.TO) CAD 6.86 (-1.58%)n- HubSpot Inc (HUBS) USD 517.39 (-1.75%)n- MediaValet Inc (MVP.V) CAD 2.65 (-3.64%)n- Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc (TBRD.V) CAD 3.95 (-4.36%)n- QYOU Media Inc (QYOU.V) CAD 0.32 (-4.55%)n- Moovly Media Inc (MVY.V) CAD 0.60 (-6.25%)n- Zoom Video Communications Inc (ZM) USD 372.79 (-9.00%)n- Glacier Media Inc. (GVC.TO) CAD 0.40 (-9.09%)n
THINKING OUT LOUD WITH SHELDON MacLEOD: Mining social media for pandemic impacts – TheChronicleHerald.ca
Researchers at Dalhousie University are using Artificial Intelligence to analyze millions of tweets to identify trends that could help inform public health policy. Dr. Rita Orji describes how they can predict where people are emotionally based on what they say on their social media platforms.
Sheldon MacLeod has been a broadcast professional for close to 30 years. Eyewitness to the transition from 45s and magnetic tape to CDs, MP3s, computers, websites, blogs and the worldwide web. And through all of the technology one thing remains constant: the satisfaction of sharing compelling stories with other humans. The responsibility of knowing better, is doing better. Sheldon is based in Halifax, N.S. Reach out to Sheldon at [email protected].
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