Frenzy

Tired of the Trump-Russia stories yet? Well, they are only just beginning. Which is strange because much of the information coming out now could have come out a year ago, if anyone had bothered trying to dig. But the “liberal media” didn’t at the time and has only really started to get going.

If you’re tired of today’s press, you’re far from alone. The problem, however, isn’t bias but a severe case of “shiny object syndrome” where nothing is investigated unless it appears popular.

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Original Source

Robotics season and new work means I have to run a repeat.  This one, while a bit dated, has a message that needs to be repeated anyway.

The internet is a wide, rolling river of information. It can be treacherous and dangerous to wade into if you’re not careful. If you’re looking for a cool drink of truth, the muddy brown of this mighty Mississippi of data often has a harsh stench of bias bubbling along with the waves. What can a reader thirsty for knowledge do?

The answer is to seek the source – the cool, clear stream that feeds into the torment at the headwaters. I call it the “Urquelle”, a German word meaning “original source” favored in the mountains and rolling hills that are the source of so many great rivers in Bavaria and Bohemia. This process of seeking out primary sources is valuable not just for writers, for whom primary sources have long been a staple of good, useful prose. As surely as reading is writing, today’s discerning reader should also seek the Urquelle.
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Crossing the Line

Anything resembling an actual “election” is still months away. But the circus is running in full (questionable) colors well in advance. There is one candidate who knows a circus – not as the bland ringleader, but as the craziest clown there is.

There’s no value in naming this particular clown because he thrives on hearing his name. That’s probably what this is really all about as narcissistic politics finally crawls up its own backside to die. He was recently dubbed “White ISIS” (Whisis) by the still-excellent Daily Show for his desperate willingness to promote the main goal of ISIS – conflict between the Muslim world and the West. So we’ll use that term.

But that’s less important than the reaction to the big show because somehow Whisis finally crossed the line. That is, there is a line. We found the line!

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Bibi Comes to Washington

Why is foreign policy so difficult? If you were to ask Tip O’Neill, he’d tell you that “All politics is local,” a phrase he credited to his Dad. Take that mindset and set it loose in an integrated world and pretty soon you have nations talking right past each other with no hope of ever finding common ground.

That’s what brings Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Washington on 3 March to speak to a joint session of Congress – but not President Obama. It’s also what makes it very likely that this will be an epic disaster for at least some of the parties arranging this trip.

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Answers or Questions?

It’s been a tough week.  We survived -22F temperatures in Minnesota, but still have to go about making a living.  I’m beat.  So please enjoy this repeat from 2010 that I think it still relevant.  Thanks!

A complex world where we have just about any information we want at our fingertips isn’t a world that’s limited by the answers.  It’s limited by our ability to ask the right questions.  That may sound like more sophistry from a wannabe mystic, in case you’re getting tired of my schtick.  But if journalism is about connecting people to their world it seems that the ways it is changing are directly related to the size of the world that people have the ability to connect to.  That might best be handled by changing the entire approach to news.

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Dissin’ the Jobs Report

The September Jobs report finally came out after being delayed by the shutdown. Any way you look at it, a longer delay would have been better. According to the official Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures, the economy only added 148k jobs in September.

But there’s a lot more to it this time around lurking behind the scenes. The markets largely shrugged off the bad news and most of the reporting on the event was dismissive. It’s almost as though the anticipation was bigger than the event – like a disappointing Christmas (whoops! Can’t say that ‘round here!). Is it possible that financial reporting is starting to wake up?

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