Morning Ed: Media {2017.09.05.Tu}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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47 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Me6: Looting will probably always be a lot like price gouging during a crisis, your attitude towards it will depend a lot on your politics. There are always going to be people that believe looting even more necessities in a big disaster like Harvey is bad because theft is always theft and always immoral/illegal. Others will take a more permissive view and argue that people need to eat, disaster relief can’t cover everybody, and the food is going to rot anyway. For some people the rules are the rules and others have a more flexible approach.

    One problem with having a reflexive attitude towards looting in some situations is that enforcing the rules like food is fine, televisions are not is tricky simply because there are going to be lots of opportunists that don’t make this distinction. The number of looters might be too large to prosecute everybody and that makes prosecution of any looter seem arbitrary.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      Meh, my experience is that supermarkets will be sold out of everything useful very quickly. Days before landfall, there will be no water, no canned foods, no batteries or anything useful for an emergency. I am far less likely to assume that there is looting of survival supplies, as opposed to detergent, safety razors and DVDs.

      We don’t know what was taken, possibly because the reporter received a twitstorm complaining that he was unethitical to report crimes so obviously committed for the greater good. This is why we can’t have good journalism.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      What I would like to see from journalists about looting is a serious look at how widespread it is or is not. Capture video of some black guy carrying a TV through the broken store window and it will be repeated endlessly, even by outlets that don’t think of themselves as outright propagandists. But is this representative, or the one example of what many enjoy assuming is widespread?Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw says:

        Its not any secret that burglary rates increase in response to a hurricane. The burglary rate in New Orleans one month before Katrina was 82.3/per 100,000, and one month after it was 249.5/per 100,000. This is certainly an under-reporting because the police will code property loss as uncertain when the cause could be natural or criminal.

        However, I don’t see any reason for an on-site reporter to be reviewing crime statistics, which could be done anywhere, as opposed to reporting what he is seeing. BTW/ this is the offending tweet:

        #Breaking We’re witnessing looting right now at a large supermarket in the NE part of Houston & police have just discovered a body nearby


  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Me1: In this sensitive age, choice of words and enunciation are important because there will always likely somebody who will give you an uncharitable and bad faith reading and try to unleash the power of social media against you. You need the most proper choice of words and the best enunciation are important to show that you said what you meant.

    Me3: There is a long tradition of people not taking their lumps when they feel dishonored and fooled in public.

    Me7: There will always be people looking to make a political point. The Politico cartoon could have been a lot more offensive and I’ve seen conservative political cartoons that make fun of liberals that were more disgusting.

    Me9: They should do a study on why some employers become miniature tyrants while others realize they are running a business or organization and don’t try to turn it into their little fiefdom.Report

    • Avatar pillsy says:

      I suspect one key issue with Adler is that people don’t actually believe his story that he meant “guerrilla”.

      Just as there are downsides to being to quick to charge people with racism, there are downsides to being to quick to defend people against charges of racism. After all, if spurious charges drain the accusation of its power….Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        The guerilla metaphor may have been what he ment, but it’s nonetheless completely wrong for what he was trying to describe. Williams is a top twenty player, and her opponent wasn’t even in the top 100, so you’re not the guerilla asymetric warrior when you’re not the underdog. Moreover the art of fighting a guerrlla asymteric war is taking advantage *subtly* when your adversary overplays – not charging in agressively when your adversary underperforms (as in, a fault on the serve)Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        What is missing from this explanation is any reason to believe he meant “gorilla” that has enough certainty to justify ruining a career over. Guerilla, even if misapplied in this instance as Kolohe says, makes as much or more sense than the jaw-dropping racist one. If the term had been just invented and not previously used to describe other (white) stars, maybe. Or he were actually trying to wiggle out of having used the word gorilla to say he “didn’t mean it like that” then ugh. If he had a history that would also change things, but as far as I know he doesn’t. Does he?Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          Well, that’s what happens when the media environment is filled with defenses of flagrant racism offered in obvious bad faith, right?

          A lot of people who otherwise would have been willing to extend some benefit of the doubt to Adler no longer will.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            The flipside, of course, is that I will myself take accusations less seriously from people that take this attitude.

            Not “liberals,” to be clear, or people generally who make accusations or racism. Just the people saying what you’re saying right here.Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              Do you apply similar skepticism to claims that charges of racism are untrustworthy because people are too quick to jump to them?

              If so, cool, that’s entirely consistent.

              Still, I bet that a lot of the discounting of both charges and defenses is less explicit, and for that matter less conscious, than all that.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I try to at least evaluate the particulars of a case before coming to a determination. I won’t say I always succeed or that my biases don’t get in the way. But I don’t try to dig in me heels justify the biases on account of what people I don’t like do.

                I do recognize that there are a lot if people that do think like that, though, and I adjust my opinions and standards accordingly.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Yeah, like I said, that’s consistent. And good policy.

                Still, I hear a lot about how being too quick to charge people with racism degrades the effect of the charge. Very rarely do I hear the same about defending people, despite the fact that I don’t see why the two should be different.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                I think probably ESPN’s action was wrong (but understandable, as the Williams sisters are far more important to the business enterprise than a random fifty year some odd year old commentator.

                But if you put out stuff like this, if I’m in Management, I’m not too sorry that you’re gone.

                (i.e. if your One Job is to be an effective communicator, and if you can’t seem to do that, you shouldn’t have that One Job)

                ETA – I mean, a thumbrule for me on these things is if you align yourself with all the worst people on the internet when something bad happens to you, maybe you’re not so good to begin with. (see also, Google Bro).

                ETA – I can’t believe he couldn’t pick a better pic for his profile pic. (see also SheriffClarke and Donald Trump and the baby)Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

                I typically draw the line at the mind reading games that people start to play when they interpret what was said. It’s pretty clear what he meant even though it wasn’t particularly smart. The alternate interpretation isn’t “not smart” so much as a nonsensical mishmash of words that nobody would actually say with a meaning nobody could explain if he did.

                So the people who don’t believe him are taking an obvious reality and substituting what they think he really believes deep down for what he said. Fake but accurate. Either that, or they’re engaging in recreational outrage.

                It works in the opposite direction for Imus. You can say all you want about how he’s a good guy who really doesn’t believe bad stuff in his heart of hearts, but he said a pretty crappy thing and rightly apologized for it. Trying to make it OK by reading his mind through the TV doesn’t work.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci says:

                I think this is an underappreciated point. The “gorilla” version makes no damn sense. What could it mean? Maybe if Venus was relying on sheer power, the way Serena sometimes does, to overwhelm a small, light-hitting opponent, but that’s not how the game was going.Report

              • Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

                I see it the complete opposite.

                “and you’ll see Venus move in and… put the [guerrilla/gorilla] effect on… charging”

                Aggressively charging is a behavior of gorillas, not something guerrillas are known for.Report

              • Avatar KenB says:

                So let’s say this is what Adler meant. If the property of gorillas he was referencing was their aggressiveness, then it still doesn’t make his comment racist — just a poor choice of metaphor due to associations made by other people in other contexts.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                That is a defense, but surely it’s a weaker one. We’ve moved to the other fork of the (sensible) test that Troublesome Frog offered upthread, I’d say.Report

              • Avatar KenB says:

                I’m not trying to defend anyone. I’m saying that even assuming Adler meant “gorilla”, if he meant it in the way Hoosegow Flask described, it’s not really racist, just an unfortunate choice of words. And if he was thinking “guerrilla”, it’s still an unfortunate word choice, so if those are the two options, then why are we even arguing about it?

                The only way it would be properly racist is if he chose the word partly or wholly based on Venus’ race. Is anyone actually claiming that, and do they have any evidence for it?Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Well, that’s what I mean.

                The difference between the two is the difference between, “Well, that’s not racist but if you make a weird reach to say it is,” and, “That’s pretty racist but if you make a weird reach you can say it isn’t.”

                As slurs go, this one isn’t one of the obscure ones.Report

              • Avatar KenB says:

                I don’t see it as a weird stretch at all. Animal metaphors are used all the time, sometimes to praise and sometimes to insult.
                It’s just that we have a special case defined around a particular type of animal as applied to a specific set of people — it’s not at all hard to imagine someone forgetting about that exception in a given moment when they don’t have time to think about what they’re saying. It’s just that our society now is primed to make the least charitable assumption the default one in these cases.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                @pillsy is right, @KenB, it’s not an obscure slur. Let’s not argue over whether it’s reasonable for a professional with years of experience following his company’s rules to use that word to describe African American athletes. Even the fired guy is not arguing that! Arguing guerilla/gorilla is fine although I think you’ve explored the nuances. If you need to explore them more, go for it.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                (Arguing whether he should have been fired is fine too obviously. I actually didn’t mention it in my first comment because i figured that was obvious. It’s just the arguing over the term gorilla and how understandable it would be (it’s not!!) that I’m putting my foot down on.)Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Guerrilla would be briefly attacking from the forecourt and then retreating to the baseline to regroup.Report

        • Avatar notme says:


          Don’t you know that in this new PC world anything you can say will be twisted out of content in the worst possible way and you will be judged guilty before you can try defend yourself.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        I suspect one key issue with Adler is that people don’t actually believe his story that he meant “guerrilla”.

        Of course they don’t. I mean, obviously he meant “gorilla,” because the media is full of people who use racial slurs when they know the cameras are rolling. How do we know that? Because of incidents like this.

        I mean, sure, there are some people who say that’s nuts, and circular logic. But those are the same people who try to discredit all our nutty accusations, so of course they would.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Me3: Streisand effect in all it’s glory.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    [Me1] Just like the DC “niggardly” case. ” “We removed him from the Australian Open for making an inappropriate comment that was viewed negatively by everyone but Adler.”” No, he was fired for PR reasons for making a comment that people interpreted as being racist. The fact that they were wrong doesn’t matter apparently. I hope he wins big.

    [Me2] I cannot imagine having sex with a 16 year old. Ugh. Really?

    [Me3] Nicely done boys.

    [Me6] “”if the need be so manifest and urgent, that it is evident that the present need must be remedied by whatever means be at hand (for instance when a person is in some imminent danger, and there is no other possible remedy), then it is lawful for a man to succor his own need by means of another’s property, by taking it either openly or secretly: nor is this properly speaking theft or robbery.”” So after a flood hits some guy shows up at my door, and because he NEEDs the food I have more than I do, he gets to take it? Right. Better yet, the owner of the grocery store in in the store cleaning up, and the hungry people show up and try to take the food because there need is more. Are the hungry people justified in forcing the store owner to comply or preventing him from resisting this liberation of needed food. Tell me where you draw the line.

    [Me7] This seems par for the course with comments I’ve read basically saying “fuck texas, let them drown for voting for Trump.”Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine says:

      [Me7] I thought Will’s link to Self was a good point too. It wasn’t so much that it was “mean” (I expect political cartoons to be mean-ish) and this wasn’t that mean… it was a rehash of an ancient joke that was old when I was a kid. It was that in rushing to “frame the narrative,” it lends itself to framing by the other guy’s narrative. So it’s sort of an own-goal.Report

    • Avatar CJColucci says:

      I cannot imagine having sex with a 16 year old. Ugh. Really?

      I used to imagine it all the time. But that was when I was between 15 and 17.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Me2: The Internet is making jokes the old jokes about something going on your permanent record a real thing. 1970 was nearly fifty years ago and without condoning Pete Rose’s actions, there should be some limitations on when minor bad actions in the past can hurt you. Granted deciding what are minor bad actions and what are major bad actions is going to be a blurry and heavily debated line. What really annoys me is the amount of hypocrisy in these debates. People calling on mercy and generosity for what teenagers who grew up with the media look for or post go quickly after older people who engaged in some minor to medium bad act in the past. “Freedom and generosity for me and strictest, fiercest moral discipline for you” seems to be their calling.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      Part of the issue is that what constitutes a minor transgression and what is major has changed. The 70s was full of rock bands with underage groupies. This was no great secret, and even to those who disapproved, the fact of the girl’s being underage was merely one aspect of their disapproval, and probably not a particularly big one. Athletes were more discreet, as they also had the whole “role model” thing going, but had much the same sort of stuff going on. Rose is reputed to have had a girlfriend in each National League city, in addition to his lawfully wedded wife. Sex with a post-pubescent but legally underage girl? Not really on the radar at the time.

      This is not intended as a defense of 70s sexual morality in general or Pete Rose (who gives every indication of being a total shit of a human being) in particular. It is merely an observation about changing standards.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        We discussed the issue of underage groupies during the 1970s before on this thread. Standards do change, they grow more or less permissive but there seems something unnecessarily strict about punishing somebody in 2017 for most actions that occurred in 1970.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        Indeed @richard-hershberger

        Not really surprised, National League and all.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco says:

        I just thought of four songs from the 70s singing thw praises of girls between 13 and 17 aand could probably come up with a dozen more wothout straining, even though I wasn’t even there for practically the entire decade.

        None of them are played on the radio anymore – not because of changing standards but because they are crap (“‘Into The Night’?

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      minor bad actions

      So to speak.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:


    The Politico cartoon was so awful that it would have fit perfectly in Bretibart, the Daily Caller, or a D’Souza book.Report

  6. Avatar Maribou says:

    @pillsy @notme I go to get lunch for five minutes…

    Jokes aside, @notme, I deleted that whole thread because you were basically throwing out the taunt flag with your rhetorical not-question and seeing if anyone would respond. And yes, Birtherism, particularly as promulgated by Donald Trump and particularly when raised just to taunt people, will be treated as racist from now on. If you need someone to help you figure that particular issue out, do it somewhere else.

    And I will suspend you for deliberately trolling the board. That has nothing to do with ideology (unless you decide to play at the edge of what is and isn’t okay in order to deliberately stir up crap). I don’t think being racist IS ideological and Trump isn’t particularly conservative or liberal, historically speaking.Report

  7. Avatar Maribou says:

    @pillsy I don’t know how to say this more clearly. Give Me Five Fucking Minutes (or sometimes more) to deal with things, explain what I have just done, etc., and stop adding fuel to the fire, or you’ll get suspended too.

    I’m a human being, I don’t live here twenty-four seven, and sometimes it takes me a minute to respond or to figure out how to phrase things.Report

  8. Avatar notme says:

    I apologize as well.Report