Category Archives: Media

Required reading?

One interesting answer was set out in a New York Times column on Sunday, “Why You Should Read Books You Hate.”

It appears to have had an earlier title: “The joy of hate reading.”

Here’s the key paragraph:

…reading what you hate helps you refine what it is you value, whether it’s a style, a story line or an argument. Because books are long-form, they require more of the writer and the reader than a talk show or Facebook link. You can finish watching a movie in two hours and forget about it; not so a novel. Sticking it out for 300 pages means immersing yourself in another person’s world and discovering how it feels. That’s part of what makes books you despise so hard to dismiss. Rather than toss the book aside, turn to the next page and wrestle with its ideas. What about them makes you so uncomfortable?

And more:

It was only by burrowing through books that I hated, books that provoked feelings of outrage and indignation, that I truly learned how to read. Defensiveness makes you a better reader, a closer, more skeptical reader: a critic. Arguing with the author in your head forces you to gather opposing evidence. You may find yourself turning to other texts with determination, stowing away facts, fighting against the book at hand. You may find yourself developing a point of view.

The reader comments are also interesting. Many are in agreement. Others argue that with so many great books still unread, why waste your time on ones that you end up hating?

Sticking to reading through books you hate requires the luxury of time, which most of us don’t really have these days.

Another readers laments: “Unfortunately for most Americans you can stop with “Why you should read books…””

In any case, it’s a good read and a good argument to have.

Parallels between Russian media meddling and right-wing propaganda spin

Media Matters for America had a good story this week describing changes in the news food chain, as fringe media have developed techniques to shoehorn misleading or false stories into the news (“The Susan Rice Unmasking Story Is A Perfect Case Study Of The New Pro-Trump Propaganda Ecosystem“).

Groups that used to be contained to their own bubble have been able to insert themselves into the food chain and been able to spread not just misleading, but patently false information to right-wing outlets and sometimes even in turn to mainstream media. A new dubious allegation regarding Susan Rice, former national security adviser to President Barack Obama, illustrates how this new pattern can spread pro-Trump misinformation and propaganda from fringe sources into mainstream media outlets.

What’s interesting to me is that this incestuous and multi-layered Alt-Right media machinery looks very much like the system used by the Russians in their attempt to support tRump’s candidacy in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Reread the Washington Post’s coverage, or go to the intelligence agencies’ report to Congress (at least the unclassified version).

From the Post:

The Russian campaign during this election season, researchers from both groups say, worked by harnessing the online world’s fascination with “buzzy” content that is surprising and emotionally potent, and tracks with popular conspiracy theories about how secret forces dictate world events.

Some of these stories originated with RT and Sputnik, state-funded Russian information services that mimic the style and tone of independent news organizations yet sometimes include false and misleading stories in their reports, the researchers say. On other occasions, RT, Sputnik and other Russian sites used social-media accounts to amplify misleading stories already circulating online, causing news algorithms to identify them as “trending” topics that sometimes prompted coverage from mainstream American news organizations.

The speed and coordination of these efforts allowed Russian-backed phony news to outcompete traditional news organizations for audience. Some of the first and most alarming tweets after Clinton fell ill at a Sept. 11 memorial event in New York, for example, came from Russian botnets and trolls, researchers found. (She was treated for pneumonia and returned to the campaign trail a few days later.)

That’s very much like what Media Matters describes taking place in the case of the Susan Rice “story.”


Hawaii journalists’ work featured in photo exhibit

Lama Library, Kapiolani Community College“Vietnam: The War and the People,” an exhibit providing a graphic look back at the Vietnam War, opened at Kapiolani Community College yesterday afternoon. The exhibit features the work of longtime Hawaii journalists Bob Jones and Denby Fawcett, who both worked covering the war on the ground.

Click on the photo to see more pictures from yesterday’s opening.

Jones mused about his war experiences in a MidWeek column last week.

Fawcett’s combat boots are featured in one display, along with several photos of her wearing them in the field. Other photos capture different aspects of the war, vivid reminders of the era, now fading in the public memory after several generations.

The exhibit is in the Lama Library, which is easily accessible from Parking Lot E on the KCC campus. It is open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday to 4 p.m.

A map of the campus is available here.

Maui News recalls 1977 disappearance of two Kahoolawe activists

Maui News writer Colleen Uechi wrote a beautiful story published yesterday on the 40th anniversary of the disappearance of George Helm and Kimo Mitchell on March 7, 1977 (“40 years after men’s disappearance at sea, their vision for Kahoolawe has become a reality“). A fine bit of journalism, for sure.

I had a little advance warning in the form of an email on Friday from UH Professor and longtime Kahoolawe activist Davianna McGregor looking for an old photo.

Colleen Uechi of Maui News is writing a story for
the 40th anniversary of the disappearance of
George Helm and Kimo Mitchell (3-7-1977).

Are they any photos of George that you have that
Colleen could use for the story.

I do remember those terrible days after we heard the news about Helm’s disappearance. The anniversary brings back that pain.

The terrible thing about having tens of thousands of old photos–negatives, scans, and digital images–is finding something on short notice.

But I came up with this one, taken at a Kahoolawe workshop at Maui Community College on February 12, 1976. I have other bits and pieces from that day, including additional photos, a few rough notes, and names of some of those who attended copied from a handwritten sign-up sheet.