Reluctant Habits

The Bat Segundo Show: Annalena McAfee

Posted by in Bat Segundo, interview, Journalism, mcafee-annalena

In this 45 minute radio interview, novelist and recovering journalist Annalena McAfee discusses her novel, The Spoiler, the problems with contemporary journalism, women in journalism, and being edited by a famous husband.

Jason Allardyce: How a Sunday Times Journalist Ripped Off Ian Rankin, Bat Segundo, the Observer, and an Australian Producer

Posted by in allardyce-jason, Bat Segundo, Journalism, Plagiarism, rankin-ian

In which a former “Scottish Journalist of the Year” steals quotes from numerous sources without accreditation for 54% of his article.

Why Devin Faraci is Unfit to Practice Journalism

Posted by in faraci-devin, Film, Journalism

A thorough explanation on why Devin Faraci is unfit to practice journalism and why the recently launched Badass Digest isn’t worth your time.

Steve Weinberg, Russell Carollo, and Christopher Szecheny — Scientology’s Sleazy Bitches

Posted by in Journalism, Journalistic Ethics, Scientology

In today’s Washington Post, Howard Kurtz reports the alarming news that three “journalists” — Steve Weinberg, Russell Carollo, and Christopher Szecheny — were paid money by the Church of Scientology to examine the St. Petersburg Times‘s “conduct.” This ad hoc “investigation” was commissioned because the newspaper has devoted considerable resources to examining the ostensible religious organization. But the new study is highly suspect. Weinberg reveals in the article that the final results may be withheld from public dissemination, should the Church not find the report to its liking. And in…read more

Paul Fischer: The Unpardonable Hack Who Charmed His Fellow Junketeers

Posted by in douglas-edward, ethics, Film, fischer-paul, Journalism

There was once a time — before the Internet, or perhaps not at all — in which film critics conducted themselves with something approximating journalistic standards. It was never very much. These were, after all, film critics — often underpaid, most having lost the capacity to marvel at the frequent cinematic magic playing before their eyes and most lacking the dignity to recuse themselves from professional duties before they soured. But the nagging need to catch up with some perceived discrepancy between the fruitless remuneration from their cold analysis and…read more

Interview with the FTC’s Richard Cleland

Posted by in Advertising, Blogging, FTC, Journalism

This morning, the Federal Trade Commission announced that its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials would be revised in relation to bloggers. The new guidelines (PDF) specified that bloggers making any representation of a product must disclose the material connections they (the presumed endorsers) share with the advertisers. What this means is that, under the new guidelines, a blogger’s positive review of a product may qualify as an “endorsement” and that keeping a product after a review may qualify as “compensation.” These guidelines, which will be effective as…read more

2009 is Boring By Comparison

Posted by in Journalism

At the bash at Jimmy’s that Warner Brothers records gave for Alan Price (he wrote the score for “O Lucky Man!” and performs in the film), Malcolm McDowell’s cock was the center of attraction. The wife of a rock writer couldn’t take her eyes off of his pants and she said she’d give a year of her life to be with Malcolm — in them. Malcolm posed for photos with Alice Cooper. Alice wore teeny hot pants which showed his inverted belly-button and little else. He said the last film…read more


RIP Walter Cronkite

Posted by in Journalism, Obits

Walter Cronkite died on Friday. He was great and irreplaceable. The last living newsman that America could trust, save perhaps Jimmy Breslin. One views the above clip in our present age of “journalists” relying on unconfirmed Twitter feeds and green-tinted avatars, and TMZ staffers shredding every form of privacy and decency to take cred for some haphazard scrap of dirty underwear, and it is almost inconceivable for any network television anchor to now state, as Cronkite once did, “This is a rumor. This we do not know for a fact.”…read more


Three Producers Fired from American News Project?

Posted by in Journalism

I received a tip that three producers at the American News Project had been fired. The American News Project is directed by Nick Penniman, who also serves as the Executive Director of the Huffington Post Investigative Fund. The Investigative Fund was only just announced by Arianna Huffington back in April. I managed to get associate producer Lagan Sebert on the phone, who sounded a bit nervous. He told me that he could neither confirm nor deny that there were firings, but indicated that there may possibly be an announcement. I…read more


The Bat Segundo Show: Arthur Phillips

Posted by in Bat Segundo, Journalism

Arthur Phillips appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #288. Arthur Phillips is most recently the author of The Song is You. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Reconsidering the playlists and those who play him. Author: Arthur Phillips Subjects Discussed: Characters who are enslaved to culture, partisan positions in relation to hoarding facts, being in denial about larger arguments within novels, Nabokov’s Lectures on Literature, aesthetic concerns, muses and playing against reader expectations, the myth of an author’s personal connection, listening to headphones, ghosts and Jeopardy experiences gone awry, personal experience and…read more

The Covenant

Posted by in Blogging, Journalism, Newspapers

Some years ago, not long after Herb Caen’s death, I decided to make a series of pilgrimages to the San Francisco Public Library to dust my hands and wrangle microfilm. I had known Caen’s three dot columns for some time. Or, at least, I thought I had known. When Caen passed away, as others dwelt on his coinage of “beatnik” and “Baghdad by the bay,” I felt that it was my civic duty as a San Franciscan to begin at the beginning, which very few at the time had thought…read more


NBCC Rumormongers About Washington Post

Posted by in Journalism, Washington Post

Late Friday, the National Book Critics Circle demonstrated its commitment to accuracy by reporting a rumor that The Washington Post Book World was closing up shop. Instead of picking up the phone or talking directly with the appropriate people at the Washington Post or committing any elementary act of journalism, Eric Banks saw fit to create a wave of panic through the online world by suggesting that “a reliable source” was reporting that Marcus Brauchli was recommending to the board that Book World be eliminated. The unconfirmed rumor was likewise…read more


The Bat Segundo Show: Norah Vincent

Posted by in Bat Segundo, Journalism, Mental Health, vincent-norah

Norah Vincent appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #258. Norah Vincent is most recently the author of Voluntary Madness. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Challenging pseudonymous authorities about his voluntary commitment. Author: Norah Vincent Subjects Discussed: The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, homelessness and mental health care, the revolving door of mental institutions, Marvin Olasky and community responsibility, the bureaucratic process of mental health care, why Vincent didn’t break down the costs of staying in pseudonymous institutions, the unwillingness of Vincent’s health care provider to have Vincent pay for her stay in these institutions,…read more

What Everybody Can Learn from Anita Bruzzese

Posted by in Journalism

As a guy who writes unapologetically for both print and online outlets, I have a lot of fun reading smug and woefully out-of-touch posts from alleged “journalists” dictating precisely how to go about conducting this business. Thankfully, much of Anita Burzzese’s work is online, offering invaluable lessons for writers of all stripes on what not to do. 1. Don’t treat the reader like an idiot. In Ms. Bruzzese’s December 14th column, spends five needless paragraphs providing dumb buildup about why Kathy Caprino thought that losing her job was the best…read more


Why Canadian Journalists Rock

Posted by in Canada, Journalism


Idiot Pundits: New Jobs for Out-of-Work Journalists?

Posted by in Journalism


Why Can’t More Press Conferences End Up Like This?

Posted by in Journalism

From a press conference with Newcastle United interim manager Joe Kinnear: JK Which one is Simon Bird [Daily Mirror's north-east football writer]? SB Me. JK You’re a cunt. SB Thank you. JK Which one is Hickman [Niall, football writer for the Express]? You are out of order. Absolutely fucking out of order. If you do it again, I am telling you you can fuck off and go to another ground. I will not come and stand for that fucking crap. No fucking way, lies. Fuck, you’re saying I turned up…read more


A Brief Interlude

Posted by in Journalism, New York Film Festival, New York Times

Some brief housekeeping between these longass NYFF reports: I had intended to write a report on Saturday afternoon’s panel, which I believe was called “Holy Shit! The End of Film Criticism is Nigh! It’s the End of the World!” But it appears my work has already been done for me. Details of what went down, not as hysterical as the title implied, can be found over at Mr. Hudson’s place. There are links to reports and even an MP3. Last I checked the thread at Mr. Hudson’s, there was some…read more


Bill O’Reilly Doesn’t Understand the First Amendment

Posted by in First Amendment, Journalism, o'reilly-bill


Responding to Orwell: September 15

Posted by in Journalism, orwell-george

George: Seventy years from your epoch, the average person getting a gustatory rush from news and information enjoys considerably more than two newspapers. We now have RSS feeds propagating endless items of interest that stop us in our tracks, that we must learn to wrestle with and filter, and that make some of the distinctions between liberal, conservative, and centrist somewhat unnecessary. I say this is all fine, provided one steps away from the computer for long stretches and talks to souls in the waking world. This is not to…read more


“Hard” Questions

Posted by in 2008 Election, FOX News, Journalism, mccain-john, Obama

The above interview, which involved Campbell Brown questioning McCain campaign manager Tucker Bounds, caused McCain to cancel a planned interview with Larry King. The reason cited by McCain’s camp? “A relentless refusal by certain on-air reporters to come to terms with John McCain’s selection of Alaska’s sitting governor as our party’s nominee for vice president.” But the interview sees Brown simply trying to find out about Sarah Palin, while Bounds repeatedly declares that she has as much experience as the competition. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And here, questioned by…read more


Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! Producers, AP Photographer Arrested

Posted by in 2008 Election, First Amendment, Freedom of the Press, goodman-amy, Journalism, Police Brutality, Politics

The Washington Post is reporting that Democracy Now! radio host Amy Goodman was arrested in St. Paul after inquiring with the police over the arrest of two Democracy Now! producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Goodman and her producers were in St. Paul to report on the Republican National Convention. Goodman was held in custody for three hours, and Goodman has claimed the Secret Service ripped off her press credentials to get on the floor of the Republican National Convention. Meanwhile, the two producers are still being held in…read more


Bob Costas, The Only NBC Interviewer with Balls

Posted by in Dubya, Journalism

COSTAS: But given China’s growing strength and America’s own problems, realistically how much leverage and influence does the U.S. have here? THE PRESIDENT: First of all, I don’t see America having problems. I see America as a nation that is a world leader, that has got great values. And leverage is — I don’t think you should look at the relationship as one of leverage. I think you ought to look at the relationship of one of constructive engagement where you can find common areas, like North Korea and Iran,…read more


The Future of Newspapers and Litblogs: A Thought Experiment

Posted by in Advertising, Book Reviewing, Journalism, Litblogs, Newspapers

In yesterday’s Huffington Post, publicist Lissa Warren expressed her dismay in “the seemingly widely-held notion that these book sections are being adequately replaced by blogs.” She complained that blogs “don’t actually review books” (emphasis in original) and that bloggers are nothing more than helpful cherry pickers ferreting out the best content. This, of course, is poppycock. Scott Esposito continues to turn out issues of The Quarterly Conversation and is now making efforts to pay his contributors. Aside from the almost two hundred hours of podcasts available at The Bat Segundo…read more


Tony Snow Expires

Posted by in Dubya, Journalism, Obits, snow-tony

One week after the death of Jesse Helms (and, alas, Thomas M. Disch), the universe illustrated once again that, despite its many abominations, it still maintains a self-correcting impulse. Tony Snow, the smug apologist for President Bush’s disgraces, finally expired after a bout with colon cancer. He was 53. It was a particularly fitting way to go. For Tony Snow was far from a sweet man, and certainly neither a nice nor a reasonable one. On February 13, 2007, when CNN’s Ed Henry calmly asked the perfectly legitimate question about…read more


Los Angeles Times To Lay Off 150 Editorial Staffers

Posted by in Journalism, Layoffs, Los Angeles Times, zell-sam

Radar is reporting that 150 staffers in the newsroom are to be laid off and that the number of pages published each week will be reduced by 15%. I have emails into the good people over at the Book Review to see what, if any, impact this has had upon them. If I learn anything that I can report on the record, I will. This is terrible. More at the LA Times. Nothing yet from LA Observed. [UPDATE: My sources inside the L.A. Times indicate that there hasn’t yet been…read more


Associated Press Negotiates With Sock Puppet Organization

Posted by in Associated Press, Censorship, Journalism

Teresa Nielsen Hayden has done some investigation, and it appears that the so-called Media Bloggers Association, which purports to represent bloggers in the AP nonsense (and sure as hell doesn’t represent this website), appears to have been conjured out of thin air.


The Bat Segundo Show: Errol Morris

Posted by in Abu Ghraib, Bat Segundo, Film, Iraq, Journalism

Errol Morris appeared on The Bat Segundo Show (#205). Morris is most recently the director of Standard Operating Procedure. (There is also an accompanying book written by Philip Gourevitch.) Guest: Errol Morris Subjects Discussed: Susan Sontag’s “Regarding the Torture of Others,” the American cycle of photographing physical abuse, finding out what we’re looking at before drawing conclusions, the differences between a still image and a moving image, reenactments, guiding the viewer’s ability to map reality, Comte de LautrĂ©amont, misinterpreting Crimean War photographs, the milkshake toss in The Thin Blue Line,…read more


Covering War

Posted by in Iraq, Journalism, War


Mark Ames Shuts Down eXile

Posted by in Ames, Mark, Journalism, Russia

Russia has become a deadly place for journalists of all stripes. In 2006, journalist Anna Politkovskaya was mysteriously killed after criticizing the war in Chechnya. Thankfully, Mark Ames remains alive. But his fortunes have taken a turn for the worse because of these conditions. After writing about Russian government officials conducting an unplanned audit of his iconoclastic expatriate newspaper, Mark Ames has been forced to shut down The eXile.