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Friday, September 11, 2009

Journalism and Twittering, Skin whiteners labeled racist, House Ethics in Spotlight, Afghan Elections, FoxNation Exploiting 9/11

In the same column, I wrote that “To be a journalist is to bear witness. The rest is no more than ornamentation. To bear witness means being there — and that’s not free. No search engine gives you the smell of a crime, the tremor in the air, the eyes that smolder, or the cadence of a scream.” This was too much for Arianna Huffington of the eponymous Post who fumed that I had chosen “to attack the tools of new-media-fueled reporting by citing the very event that highlights the power of those tools” and opined: “The truth is, you don’t have to ‘be there’ to bear witness. And you can be there and fail to bear witness.” Huh? You can’t bear witness from afar any more than you make an omelet without cracking eggs. Seeing is different and has a price, sometimes even the ultimate price. As for being there and failing to bear witness, well, yes, you might be in a Hafez-induced trance or off climbing the Alborz mountains, if so inclined, but that’s hardly material. New Tweets, Old Needs -Roger Cohen [thanks BinaShah]

Cosmetic advertisements in Asia are targeting men with blunt campaigns aimed at skin color that one lawmaker labels racist. In one TV commercial, two men, one with dark skin, the other with light skin; stand on a balcony overlooking a neighborhood. The dark skin guy turns to his friend and says in Hindi, "I am unlucky because of my face." His light skin friend replies, "Not because of your face, because of the color of your face." Suddenly the light skin guy throws his friend a cream. It's a whitening cream. It is one of several television commercials aimed at men in Pakistan and India. In the end the darker skin actor is shown several shades lighter and he gets the girl he was after. Most of the ads end up that way. Skin whiteners labeled racist
[thanks SS]

The ethics spotlight on House Democrats is intensifying amid predictions from political analysts that Republicans will pick up many seats in next year’s midterm elections. Few are going so far as to say that the GOP will win back the House, but ethics controversies are key to the rise of the minority party in the lower chamber. Republicans capitalized on Democratic ethics woes to win the House in 1994 and Democrats turned the tables on the GOP in 2006, catapulting Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to Speaker. Ethics spotlight burns on House Dems By Susan Crabtree [thanks FK]

KABUL -- The U.N.-funded elections watchdog in Afghanistan has begun to throw out fraudulent ballots from the country's presidential balloting, a day after a tally including contested votes put President Hamid Karzai over the 50% he needs to avoid a second round.
The Electoral Complaints Commission, a United Nations-sponsored body responsible for investigating allegations of fraud and misconduct, has been looking into more than 600 serious accusations, Commissioner Grant Kippen said. The accusations include instances of ballot stuffing and voter intimidation. In some cases, the commission has disqualified results from entire polling stations. Afghan Election Watchdog Discards Tainted Votes [thanks FK]

In the past, Beck has said he “hates” the families of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Nonetheless, Beck hosted a special program earlier this year announcing his initiative called the “9/12 Project” — an effort to ostensibly recreate the patriotic unity after the September 11 attacks. But far from calls for common ground, Beck explained that the purpose was to demonize his political opponents, declaring that his movement would “surround them.” He has also implored listeners to attend the rally because they “may be the only thing that stands between freedom and slavery.” The 9/12 project website, owned by Beck’s media company Mercury Radio Arts, directs readers to Beck’s radio newsletter. Exploiting 9/11, Glenn Beck, Extremists And Corporate-Backed Groups Plan Anti-Obama March


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