THURSDAY’S LINKS: WHCA Dinner ‘An Embarassment’, Press Lapdogs, Why Columnist Thomas Left Baltimore

By: E&P Staff

In today’s links, Jack Shafer on the possible backfiring of Bush’s secretive government, illumination into why columnist Wendi Thomas only spent a week in Baltimore at the Sun, and questions about the proprietors of a planned Florida black journalism institute.


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Bush’s Chamber of Secrets
“What can journalists do to fight back?” writes Jack Shafer. “A little less whining in the face of tin-horn presidential oppression would seem to be in order. The best journalists practice judo, using their foes’ brute force against them. Every time the Bush administration cracks down on openness, it creates new sources for journalists inside the bureaucracies. “


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Doubting Thomas
The Baltimore Sun’s newsroom was stunned Monday, April 24, when new metro columnist Wendi C. Thomas abruptly resigned, just a week after starting at the paper, and a day before her debut column was set to publish. But Thomas? misgivings about moving up from Memphis? Commercial Appeal (where she will return) had taken root before her arrival in Baltimore.


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Lapdogs of the Press
“Cowardly and clueless, the U.S. media abandoned its post as Bush led the country into a disastrous war,” writes Eric Boehlert. A look inside “one of the great journalistic collapses of our time.”


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Jurkowitz Likes ‘TSG,’ Doesn’t Have Much Use for ‘Huffington’
“The fact that there are so many options to choose among is a testament to the fragmentation of today?s information universe,” writes Mark Jurkowitz. “In a world in which we are bombarded by media constantly vying for our attention, it?s a cutthroat challenge to battle through the clutter and create favorable ?brand identity.? In my view, the people and venues listed below deserve real credit for that, including — in a perverse way — those that have distinguished themselves by their ability to rub me the wrong way.”


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Critic: Fla. Black Journalism Institute Doesn’t Sound Bad — Until You Know Who’s Behind It
“A place for disadvantaged African-American youth to learn some of the finer points of the newspaper game” is a good idea, writes Bob Norman. But the man behind the plan, Bobby Henry, who owns the Westside Gazette, a 35-year-old weekly black newspaper in Fort Lauderdale.
Norman alleges The Westside Gazette has been claiming fraudulent circulation numbers for years to pump up its advertising rates with local governments. “And journalistically, the newspaper has been a cheerleader for those same generous governments. Hardly the type of journalistic training youth need these days.”


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Does Noise Trump Contemplation In The Blogosphere?
“Is the blogosphere full of citizen journalists who, with a seemingly limitless supply of bandwidth and resources at their fingertips, are becoming a powerful addition to the mainstream media?” wonders Vaugn Ververs. “Or is it in danger of slipping into the 21st Century version of cable talk shows, where those who can shout their outrage the loudest get the most attention?”


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WHCA Dinner Has Been ‘An Embarassment for Years’
“The problem is that this black tie underscores the notion that journalists are part of a wealthy elite, completely out of touch with ordinary Americans — their audience,” writes Rem Rieder. “(That’s ridiculous, of course, given the fact that far too many journalists at smaller papers work for hideously low salaries.) And panting furiously after these name and semi-name guests is simply demeaning. If that isn’t enough, there’s the scrambling to get into the exclusive Bloomberg after-party. Please.”


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‘Sac Bee’ Series Wins Harvard’s Taylor Award
A series by The Sacramento Bee about the misuse and abuse of Latino immigrants who work in America’s forest industry has won the 2006 Taylor Family Award for Fairness in Newspapers.


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Broder Advocates Splitting Up Iraq
“It might be time to stop insisting on a strong national government in Iraq and instead encourage Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds to manage their own regions,” writes the Washington Post’s David Broder.


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Newspaper Columnist Killed in the Philippines
A newspaper columnist was killed by unidentified gunmen in the Philippines, the fourth journalist to be killed since the start of the year, police said Wednesday.

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