Investigative Journalism Awesomeness

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According to Miriam-Webster one of the hallmarks of what defines journalism is “writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation.”  The framers of the Constitution of the United States understood that this was a key aspect of a free society.  This was inherent in the protection of the fourth estate written into the First Amendment.

Bloggers and Foxy News types are always complaining that this has been forgotten, but sometimes we need a refresher course with some easily digestible facts.

Case in point

LA Times articleA recent Hot Air link from the Los Angeles Times gave a snapshot into statistics regarding the current immigration controversy in Arizona.  The Article by Teresa Watanabe, Immigration now a top concern among Latinos, poll shows, reported that the poll “of 504 Latinos” revealed that immigration was now the main concern of American Latinos, spurred by the new Arizona immigration law that they overwhelmingly opposed.

The article further stated  that this issue would “galvanize Latinos of all political stripes into voting in November,” and that the majority would only vote for candidates supporting an “immigration overhaul.”

All of this may be quite accurate.  But as usual, there is a lot written between the lines of this article.

To her credit, at least the author lists the sponsors of the survey, the Hispanic Federation and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).  What Ms. Watanabe leaves out is that both the Hispanic Federation and LULUC have a very clearly presented agenda that is perhaps important in determining the validity of any survey that they undertake on the matter of immigration.

Hispanic Federation ArticleThe Hispanic Federation, whose mission is, “To serve our community by building and supporting Latino institutions,” has recently put out a statement both condemning protection of the border and demanding “comprehensive immigration reform” as the only fix for our immigration problem.  Keep in mind that “comprehensive immigration reform” is one of those liberal talking-point catchphrases for  amnesty for illegal aliens.  “We need comprehensive immigration reform so hard working undocumented immigrants, who do the jobs other Americans won’t do, can finally come out of the shadows,” I believe is the officially sanctioned wording these days.  When any of these phrases are used, it becomes pretty clear which side of the issue the author is leaning toward.

On its homepage, the Federation refers to the survey in question, and gives the community’s reaction to the “Racial profiling law.”  One could not by any stretch of the imagination consider the Hispanic Federation an impartial party in this issue.

Lulac's websiteLULAC is far more militant as an organization.  Their website has an open call to boycott Arizona, although they trickily word it as, “boycott Senate bill 1070,” superimposed over the state outline.  I guess this prevents anyone from saying they actually called for a state boycott.  How clever.  I guess they also  fail as a disinterested survey party.



One would expect better results from someone with a USC degree like Teresa Watanabe.  But oh, wait!  Her Facebook page lists her as a fan of Reform Immigration For America.  Their agenda is made perfectly clear.

Teresa Watanabe's FacebookReform Immigration for America's website

So to recap, Thoroughly researched article—fail; Objective writing—fail; impartial survey—fail; LA Times writer trying to uncover truth wherever it may be found—massive fail.  This is no surprise.  In a recent survey conducted by RyanShinn.com, the Los Angeles times was found to be unreliable by 92% of respondents.

Why is this so bad?

Thomas Jefferson said that, “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.”  He wasn’t the only one with this sentiment.  The press was understood as being the main instrument to counter inevitable propaganda intended to control and enslave a free society.

Dictators have also long known this.  Vladimir Lenin stated this principle quite nicely. “The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses.”

It comes as no secret to anyone paying attention that the American main-stream press has largely abandoned the value of a free press in favor of acting more as a mouthpiece for propaganda that more easily fits their world-view.  But this fact needs to continually be brought back to our collective consciousness, lest we forget.    -Ryan

Going Digital

I’ve been watching the slew of PSA’s and “news” stories about the life-altering switch to Digital TV this Friday, and doing a lot of thinking.  Today, I heard on the radio that state lawmakers are “concerned” that too many households have not yet gotten their digital converter boxes, and are scrambling to figure out how to help.  I sat incredulous.

A year ago, everyone was scrambling to get the public educated and prepared for the February 17th, 2009 switch.  February came and went, with the Federal government realizing that this was too much for the public to handle.  A Popular Mechanics article detailed the government fears, and estimated that the government had spend $1.5 billion on helping the public make this switch.  This includes 33 million vouchers for essentially free converter boxes.  This was as of May, 2008.  These numbers have most assuredly risen substantially since then.

All of this seems so nice of the government.  We are so blessed to live in a land where our right to sit on our rears watching morally and intellectually degrading junk is supported by $1.5 billion in tax dollars.  This is especially generous of Uncle Sam…er….me, the taxpayer, considering our multi-trillion dollar deficit.

It has been said that the people often get the government they deserve.  Well, if indeed our priority is in having TV over a functioning and solvent government, then indeed we have succeeded.  But, if that is the case our society isn’t worth fixing.

But for a long time I have been bothered by more than the financial aspects of this.  We have had two years of bouncing cartoons explaining the Digital TV change.  Yet, mark my words, there will be people who on Friday will wake up and start screaming that they don’t know what happened.  They will shower, head out the door, and pick up a converter box at Best Buy before going home.  If the government had done nothing but allow the newspapers and TV news to report on it, the same thing would have happened.  The TV networks would have done their best to make sure everyone knows.  More people might have not been ready, but those people would quickly figure out what to do to fix their problem.

These same households that spend hundreds of dollars on X-boxes for their children would have gone out and bought $100 converter boxes, and if they couldn’t afford it, they would have done without for a couple months.  If people value their TV, they would have figured out a way.

I realize that had the government not done what they did, there would have been a whole lot of complaining.  In World War 2 people went without buying new tires or panty hose for years, and now we need the government to buy us TV gear, all the while Washington is boring from our grand children’s pocketbooks.

I wish our people deserved better.  Right now, I’m not so sure.

-Ryan

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What Are We Doing Here Anyway?

This blog really stems from who I am.  I am a youth pastor/church planter, Internet entrepeneur, and the husband of an awesome woman from Taiwan.  I have a passion for writing, seeing the Church use communication technology (specifically the Internet) in the most effective way possible, and helping to grow Christianity in America into what Jesus intended it to be.  I blog about these things here in separate pages according to these various themes.

2009 In Preview

Yeah, yeah…so I know that we are already nearing the end of the first quarter of 2009.  I am very late with my predictions this year.  Better late than never, right?  Well, frankly I have just been really busy with all of the stuff I’ve got to do, and this just fell to the back burner.  Having said that, I don’t actually usually do these until the end of January to mid-February.  I promise not to evaluate myself positively at the end of the year based on anything that has already happened as of this writing.  Well, here goes. Continue reading

A Piece From Some of My Personal Correspondence

The following is part of an email conversation that I had recently.  I felt it really got to the heart of some of my current political/spiritual thinking.

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I completely agree with the giant problem of fiscal irresponsibility, the redefining of conservatism as of late, especially in regard to fiscal issues, and even identification as more of a libertarian (to a degree).  Actually, on the last one, more appropriately, I would be a true conservative Republican.  I don’t like some of the libertarian social stances.  I know that there is a big difference between having the government decide what I am allowed to do, and me actually doing that.  Governments always tend to get more and more restrictive over time.  After all, when was the last time you heard of the government repealing a law in order to give more freedom. Continue reading

My 2008 Predictions Analyzed

Every year I create a list of educated guesses as to what the next year holds. Every year I come up with my best attempt at a fair analysis of my guesses for the previous year.  This is my analysis that I posted at my WordPress blog of 2008’s predictions.

Now that 2008 is well done with, we can look back and see how well I did.  I try every year to be fair with this.  Let me know what you think in the comments.  I will give myself a percentage rating on each.  I have shifted the original colors to straight black and my rating of each to red.  I have not changed any of the content from the original posting.   However, I was appalled at my usually impeccable spelling/grammar.  I have improved those errors. Continue reading