Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mediascape update

Catch up on MSM highlights in 100 seconds, via Talking Points Memo.
  • Talk of war is kicking up again, this time concerning North Korea. What was left of diplomatic relations between North Korea and South Korea appear to have completely broken down in recent days. In the meantime, media reports say the country's military has been given the go-ahead to strike the United States with nuclear missiles. Ever since then, North Korea's military have been super busy moving their missiles around in exceedingly menacing ways. What's behind the aggression?

Carmen Electra's ex and new "best friend for life," North Korea's Kim "the Jong" Un

Well, depending upon the source, Dennis Rodman either saved us with his "Renaissance Man" touch, or damned us with his previously untested skills as an occasional totalitarian-state ├╝ber tourist and unofficial diplomat during last month's visit.

  • In other news, the Associated Press will now drop the term "illegal" when referring to immigrants. Journalism ethics groups, particularly the Society of Professional Journalists, have been calling for this change for several years. However, the AP style sets the industry standards and has a direct influence on how journalism is taught. Having a current copy of the AP style handbook is an absolute must for J-schools students. Via the SPJ's diversity blog:
The AP is now changing how it will describe people as journalists report stories involving the current immigration issue. According to Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll, here is what is behind the decision:
The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.
“Journalists and others can argue that the new style recommendation is less precise than ‘illegal alien’ or ‘illegal immigrant,’ but it’s important to note that a significant portion of country’s population regards those terms as offensive.  It wasn’t that long ago that keepers of journalism style, including The AP, fought dropping ‘Negro’ as a term for black or African-American people,” says SPJ President Sonny Albarado.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists also says these terms can be dehumanizing  and demeaning.
“AP is right to note that the English language evolves and that our everyday usage contributes to that evolution. I hope journalists and others continue this conversation about immigration and people who come here legally or illegally until we arrive at terminology most of us can agree on,” Albarado says.
We on the SPJ Diversity Committee agree and hope journalists will eliminate these types of terms from their copy as immigration is a huge issue we will be reporting on this year.

  • Over in the United Kingdom, many were upset over the Daily Mail's Wednesday issue, which dedicated its entire front page to blaming the deaths of six children on Britain's "vile" welfare state. 

But, after the tabloids set the tone, anyone who was anyone (Yes, Minister) pretty much did the same thing. By Thursday, the BBC News Channel joined the chorus, also harping the "welfare state as culprit" angle ALL day, every hour on the hour in one form or another.

Included in the BBC's April 4th coverage of the sensational story were obligatory shots of people booing at the transport van carrying Mick Philpott after his sentencing in court, a 7-minute debate during the 5 O'clock program about the welfare state's culpability, and the same repeating 2-minute story about how men with bald heads are one-third more likely to have heart disease.

By Friday, the BBC's website had busted out the body-language experts to give more insights into the arson revenge plot gone tragically wrong.

Dear Mr. Corn, Ms. Shelvin, and Mr. Burkey,
Every night, tens of millions of people tune into the news on the major broadcasting networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC, expecting to learn about our nation's most pressing issues. Given the urgency of addressing the climate crisis, we urge you to give global warming the coverage that it warrants.
After experiencing the hottest year ever recorded in the United States and a series of devastating extreme weather events including wildfires, droughts, and storms like Hurricane Sandy, the American people need to know how changing climate is fueling this extreme weather and what we can do about it.
That can only happen if you devote more coverage to climate change, report on future extreme weather in a climate context, and interview more climate scientists who will be able to accurately connect the dots between human activity, climate change, and the weather we have been experiencing. Yet, a recent study by Media Matters for America found that throughout all of 2012, climate change was only featured in 12 segments on your nightly news programs combined.
The Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters also partnered with Media Matters in asking the three nightly news programs to put more efforts towards covering climate change.

  • Finally, it seems that Bill O'Reilly's "killing" spree will unfortunately continue. After being largely responsible for bringing the at times, historically challenged, Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy dramas to life for the audiences of National Geographic Channel (some minor Murdoch Empire incest there), ratings were high enough to create a bidding war for the Conservative pundit's latest venture: Killing Jesus. 
Totally went there.
        Via Mediabistro:

Following the ratings success of “Killing Lincoln” on Nat Geo, the News Corp.-owned cable channel quickly acquired the rights to “Killing Kennedy,” the second book in the series from Fox News hostBill O’ReillyO’Reilly recently announced that the next book will be “Killing Jesus,” about the life–and death–of Christianity’s most important figure.
Not surprisingly, a bidding war broke out for the TV rights, and according to the New York Post‘s Michael Shain, and confirmed by one of my sources familiar with the plans, CNN nearly won the rights to the TV movie.
Jeff Zucker, the new head of the news channel, bid as much as $2.5 million for rights to the book. The Jesus movie will be produced — as the other O’Reilly movies are — by Ridley Scott, the director of “Blade Runner.” Zucker learned of the Jesus movie through Scott, who is also making a series called “Crimes of the Century” for CNN, according to the sources.
Like the Lincoln and Kennedy movies, director Ridley Scott and his production company will be producing the film.
Ultimately, however, Nat Geo Channel won out, and will likely air “Killing Jesus” in 2015. 

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