Journalism Summer Camp

Journalism Summer Camp

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The media’s mostly treating Edward Snowden like he’s Lindsay Lohan, rather than focusing on the contents of his NSA leaks. There are obviously good journalists out there, and occasionally some even show up on TV. But in general, US journalism is a shit-show of lowest common denominator hackery. Of course, you could say the same about editorial cartoons and you wouldn’t be wrong.

The media elites have been extremely deferential to the Bush and Obama Administrations with anything that involves terrorism. I think that’s because the rich and powerful are so comfortable and secure, terrorism is the only thing that scares them. No pundit has to personally worry about hunger, poverty, gun violence, flooding or the other disasters that routinely destroy the lives of us lowly plebes, but the unlikely prospect of being blowed-up in a random act turns them into scared little pants-pissers.

There’s also the threat of losing their precious “access” and getting disinvited to Beltway cocktail parties that keeps them from becoming the adversaries of government that they’re supposed to be. But I’m not old enough to remember when that was ever the case.

Obama’s Leak Freakout

Obama's Leak Freakout

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Of the three “scandals” that involved the White House last week, the AP one is the only one I think has legs. The Benghazi attack has become a sideshow ever since Mitt Romney held that weird press conference immediately blaming Obama for the attacks.

The IRS thing is shitty, but I doubt the Republicans will want to shine too much light on it and risk reintroducing the American public to the damage done by the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision. As Bors’ recent cartoon highlights, the “victims” of the IRS’s keyword targeting are pretty shitty themselves, so it’s hard for me to muster up the outrage to give a fuck.

The Obama Administration has been aggressively going after journalists for years now; indicting more of them than all previous administrations combined. The giant dragnet they used to get two months’ of the AP’s phone records is ridiculous. If sources know their records can be secretly obtained on a government’s whim, they’ll cease to be sources, which is the textbook definition of a chilling effect.

If the DoJ went after financial criminals with the same zeal they use against reporters for simply doing their jobs, the world would be a better place. But reporters aren’t the ones who finance campaigns.

Unlikey 2013 Headlines/Gun Control Proposals

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I had the holidays off, and it was difficult getting back into the swing of things. So here are two Strips I’ve drawn since I last posted. However bad this year will be, at least we’re as far from a Presidential election as possible. 2012 kicked my ass, and one party didn’t even have a primary. 2016 should complete the transition of my hair to full-blown gray.

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Despite the jab at our attention spans in the first cartoon, gun control (or reform, as I think it should be called) is still being talked about weeks after Sandy Hook. I doubt any substantial legislation will come from it, but at least we’re starting to admit that unfettered access to high-capacity guns is fucked up.

And lastly, over the break I talked to Brendan Lynch at WGBH.

Lost: Issues

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Look at me getting all holier-than-thou at the peak of election season. But no mention of climate change in the first three debates is pretty egregious. I know there are many more important issues I left out, but hopefully I can get to them when things go back to their regular level of crazy after the election

Fall College Courses

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I’ve been out of college for over a decade now. If any of these classes were available back then, I’d probably be better suited for the political/media hellscape we’re living in today.

DC area residents, don’t forget! I’ll be in your town along with a bunch of other cartoonists this weekend. There are a couple of events for the public on Friday and Saturday. Check Damn Cartoons for details and to get tickets.

Presidential Campaign Reporting for Dummies

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Whoops, forgot to post this last week. Thankfully the media’s still dumb, so the cartoon remains relevant.

You’ve probably noticed I’ve been way behind on Big Fat Whale and other online things that don’t pay. I’ve been Having a Summah as dictated by the summah philosopha known as Howard Kremer. I’m also working on some other stuff, but really it comes down to economics and wanting leisure time. 16+ comic panels a week, with my stilted drawing style is exhausting.

Hopefully things will get back to normal as the weather gets gross and I’m stuck inside with nothing else to do but draw.

Silly Season Stories

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This is traditionally the time of year when the media is even shittier than usual. There really is no such thing as a slow news season, just a time when journalists are feeling lazy. I guess I’m technically part of the media, but if you saw my bank account, you’d forgive me for not giving a shit for a week or two during the summer.

The Wikipedia entry for silly season is pretty interesting. If you like cucumbers and pickles.

Are You Suffering from … Election Fatigue?

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If you’re generous, you could say this a sequel Horse-Race Journalism Playbook. If you’re me, you could say I went to the same well and dredged up similar jokes. Following the campaign coverage has made me even more cynical about politics than I already was, so it’s impossible for me to treat the campaign as anything but the kabuki theater it is. Nothing that happens in the campaigns between now and Labor Day will really matter to the outcome.

That’s not to say that actual issues, like the economy, Supreme Court rulings, Obama’s robo-murdering and stuff we can’t predict won’t heavily influence the outcome, but the way the campaigns react to it don’t really matter, except for the media, who love viewing every news story through the lens of the election and poll results. It’s summer, and they have yachts they’d rather be on than at their desks.

Horse-Race Journalism Playbook

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We are now in the phase of the 2012 campaign where it’s all about polls and optics. Maybe some issues will bubble up, but mostly in the form of “what should Candidate X say about Issue Y to increase his standings in the polls?” We get the media we deserve, and apparently this shit generates more pageviews than coverage of the epic downer that is real news.