Paul Farhi

Catholic school boys Part II: Some media just can't say they're sorry

Catholic school boys Part II: Some media just can't say they're sorry

Well, the plot grows thicker.

The Make America Great Again hat-wearing Catholic students –- who were in the midst of this past weekend’s controversy told about here -- are back in Covington, Ky. However, the furor has not died down. It followed them home.

Various media continue to climb around this ant hill, digging out what they can.

The scene has shifted back to Covington, which lies across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. It took a little while for the Cincinnati Enquirer to get up to speed but they’re finally on it. We’ll start with this piece about local Catholic entities closing their doors out of fear of violence.

Covington Catholic, Covington Latin and Diocese of Covington will be closed for an undetermined period of time following the backlash after a video of students and a man from the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington D.C. went viral.

According to a statement from the Diocese of Covington, the schools and the diocese were closed to due threats of violence toward the school as well as a planned rally outside the diocese.

Now there had been a demonstration, apparently at the local diocesan headquarters (although this poorly written Enquirer story doesn’t specify the exact locale), so it’s little wonder why the locals are nervous.

Other media concentrated on Nathan Phillips, the Native American who waded into the group of boys, then made himself out to be a victim. Then videos and transcripts videos proved he was stretching the truth — at best — during his attempts to stay in the limelight.

Then Fox News interviewed a chaperone who was present during the controversial showdown. (Note to Fox: This was not on Capitol Hill; it was a mile away at the Lincoln Memorial.)

“They were singled out; I believe for the color of their skin they were targeted,” the chaperone said in part. “Nick Sandmann had the courage to look this man in the face and diffuse the situation by not reacting.”

Unfortunately, the network didn’t ask the chaperone some hard questions. For example, why were there so few adults with the teens on the steps of the Memorial, as they waited for their bus to head home. Fox also identified the Native Americans accompanying Phillips as “left wing activists.”

So the rhetoric is ramping up, not down.

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Al Jazeera America's demise and American concerns about Islam and Arabs

Al Jazeera America's demise and American concerns about Islam and Arabs

Soliciting and editing opinion pieces was part of my job many times during my almost 50 years around the news and communications business. Being a highly opinionated sort myself, I enjoyed that work quite a lot.

However, I've often been unsure about just how much to pressure an op-ed writer to add to, better justify or delete something they wrote.

In the end, I generally left the final decision to the writer. An op-ed is, after all, the writer's opinion about a subject and what they think is most important about it. It's the writer's prerogative to cherry pick from among the "facts" available on whatever the issue. The editor's job is to edit for style, grammar, originality, organization, libel and slander, personal animus and logical cohesiveness.

It's true that this can -- and often does -- result in one-sided, unfair and even intellectually dishonest copy. But that's the nature of the beast. Don't like it? Well, if you're in a position of authority you can always decide not to publish a piece or solicit another writer to produce one more to your liking. Or you can write one yourself (and hopefully find someone willing to publish it, but that's another issue).

A recent New York Times op-ed about the soon-to-close Al Jazeera America is a case in point.  (I'll get more precise shortly.)

One of the main reasons GetReligion was founded was to note this sort of imbalance when it shows up in basic, hard-news copy, specifically as it relates to religion news.

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WPost demonstrates how not to respond to Gosnell critiques, again

It’s like drinking water from a fire hose. That’s what processing all of the information coming out right now about either the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell or the problems with the media coverage of same is like. I have 600+ emails in my inbox to open and they keep coming. Many want to just talk about the media coverage but some are from reporters asking for help covering the story. It’s very good news that reporters and editors are working to improve coverage of this story.

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