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Thursday, May 15, 2003

"... youthful rebellion...inside a corrupted institution..." A different look at the Jayson Blair story

Jayson Blair Cracked the Code
The Young Plagiarizer Beat the New York Times at its Own Game

By Al Giordano
Narco News School of Authentic Journalism
May 12, 2003

The front page of the Sunday New York Times is a big deal for all journalists everywhere; we see one of the largest tips of an iceberg ever seen floating in the murky ocean of Commercial Media:
"Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception," is the headline, followed by 14, 290 navel-gazing words, including an "Editors' Note" (registration required) (the "note" doesn't say which of the editors penned it - the subtle placement of the apostrophe indicates the plural use of the noun - the Times editors are not sufficiently stand-up guys and gals that they would sign their names at a moment of crisis) and a long sidebar documenting glaring falsehoods published by the "newspaper of record" in the Big Apple.
"There will be no newsroom search for scapegoats," the newspaper cheesily announced. The scapegoat has already been found and slain upon the altar of 43rd Street: He is a 27-year-old ex-New York Times reporter, Jayson Blair, who resigned from his four-year Times career on May Day only after outside media alerted the Times of some, ahem, obvious problems with his reporting.
Jayson Blair should now write a manual: "Steal This Newspaper." He gave new meaning to the newsroom term "phoning it in." He would plagiarize material from other media, and sometimes claim, including to readers, that he was in Texas, or Maryland, or Ohio, when, it seems, he was, says the Times now, somewhere in Brooklyn. Sometimes his apparent invention of facts out of thin air harmed real people, like when he claimed that law enforcement sources had fingered the triggerman in the Washington DC sniper case (if that doesn't unfairly prejudice a defendant to a jury pool, what does?)
The Times has now characterized Blair with words normally reserved for serial killers: "a troubled young man veering toward professional self-destruction," who was both "prolific," and "pathological." The newspaper now marvels at the "audacity of the deceptions," and "his savviness and his ingenious ways of covering his tracks," his "hungry ambition and an unsettling interest in newsroom gossip," his "sloppy" physical appearance, and his penchant for "drinking scotch, smoking cigarettes and buying Cheez Doodles from the vending machines."
"The person who did this is Jayson Blair," the newspaper quotes its publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., as saying. "Let's not begin to demonize our executives — either the desk editors or the executive editor or, dare I say, the publisher."
Oh, Mr. Sulzberger, please… Let's…(more)

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Wheres the (BIG) fish?

Study reveals plunge in big fish numbers

By Lidia Wasowicz
UPI Senior Science Writer
From the Science & Technology Desk
Published 5/14/2003 1:05 PM

A global survey spanning nearly half a century reveals a 90 percent plunge in the population of large ocean fish, from tuna to cod, since commercial fishing vessels took to the high seas, Canadian researchers reported Wednesday.
With their numbers decreasing by as much as 80 percent in 15 years, the depleted communities could crash delicately balanced ecosystems, with unknown worldwide consequences, the surveyors of pelagic creatures warned.
"More than 90 percent of the fish we like to eat are gone," said Jeremy Jackson, a renowned marine ecologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., who was not involved in the study.
The statistics -- which some industry scientists questioned -- emerged from a 10-year analysis of trawler surveys and U.S. and Japanese long-line fishing records compiled over 47 years for 62 predatory species.
"From giant blue marlin to mighty bluefin tuna and from tropical groupers to Antarctic cod, industrial fishing has scoured the global ocean," said lead study author Ransom Myers, Killam Chair in Ocean Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. "There is no blue frontier left."
The sampling included fish inhabiting every ocean save the seas surrounding Earth's poles and those that dwell where continents submerge under the sea off the coasts of Newfoundland, Thailand and Antarctica.(more)

This is what I REALLY call a lead!

Teen survives brown bear mauling
TUSTUMENA LAKE: Cody Williams requires 38 staples to close head wound.

Anchorage Daily News

(Published: May 14, 2003)

The pain wasn't registering yet, but Cody Williams could hear the damage as the bear clawed and chewed on him.(more)

Monday, May 12, 2003

Finally, some Patriotism in Juneau we can be proud of

House resolution seeks fix to Patriot Act

The Associated Press

JUNEAU (May 12, 6:15 p.m. ADT) - The state House is asking the federal government to fix parts of the USA Patriot Act that may infringe on civil liberties.
The resolution approved Monday also tells state agencies they should not help the federal government with investigations that could violate people's rights unless they have reason to suspect criminal activity.
"The resolution states the efforts to fight terrorism must not be waged at the expense of civil rights and liberties of the people of the state of Alaska and the United States," said Rep. David Guttenberg, D-Fairbanks.
"We're not trying to back off on the fight on terrorism," he added.
Guttenberg co-sponsored the measure with House Majority Leader John Coghill, R-North Pole.
House Joint Resolution 22 says the state supports the fight against terrorism that led to passage of the federal law in 2001. But it urges federal lawmakers to go back and fix parts of the law that infringe on civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
The measure also says state agencies may not participate in investigations unless there's reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
That prohibition includes recording and sharing information on a person's library records, bookstore records, medical records and other personal data even if authorized by the federal law.
"We're just not comfortable with them collecting information, etcetera, on people that are law-abiding citizens," Coghill said.
The measure also says state agencies may not use state resources to enforce federal immigration laws and may not collect information about political, religious or social views of individuals or groups unless that directly relates to a criminal investigation. It also says the state may not engage in racial profiling.
The measure passed the House 32-1, with Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, voting no. The measure now goes to the Senate.