January 15, 2019

Working On It

I tried importing from my .xml backup file this morning with limited success. It seems most of the work is there, but it has been set to “draft.” No clue why.

I may go through and re-publish each entry.

I may try re-installing WordPress with a new database and then import the file.

Stay tuned…

December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas … and Yikes!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Sadly, Rhetorica suffered a catastrophic event a few days ago. Still not sure exactly what happened. But, I do have a plan for fixing it. Luckily, I also have a complete back-up. I’m nowhere near the computer that holds the back up, so Rhetorica is likely to look like a bit sparse until the middle of January.

October 17, 2002

Changes at The Rhetorica Network

I’m changing software. I’ll be using MovableType. I have combined the Rhetorica: Press-Politics Journal web log with the original opening page for the Network. For the next day or two, some pages may not work and some archived material may not be available. I’m working on it. Please be patient. Thank you.

October 17, 2002

Waiting for news…

Paul Janensch wonders if saturation coverage of the beltway sniper is doing more harm than good by boosting the killer’s ego. In another article, Libby Copeland explores the difficulty of covering this situation:

It’s a tense little tango: the reporters asking questions they only half expect to be answered; the officials surely tired of dismissing questions they’ve dismissed before. Round and round the thing goes, fueled by speculation, by not knowing. And before their TV screens, radios and newspapers, the public asks the same questions. And waits
What do you do when you’re a reporter and you don’t have much news to give? If you’re slated for broadcast in an hour, maybe you, well, offer tips on how to be a good witness. When the cops turn to such handouts, speculates one regional television reporter, “it’s like they’re trying to find things to share with the media.”
“It’s getting hard to keep it interesting,” says Sonja Deaner, a TV reporter for Tribune Broadcasting. So far this morning, she says at 11 a.m., Tribune has broadcast to five or six stations, several times each. There is a lot of interest in this story, yet many days there’s so little for her to impart. “The stations are starting to ask us side issues: ‘Where are you standing? Are you safe?’ . . . Everyone wants to know ‘When are you going to get a description?’ Every station.”

Reporters have always played the waiting game. What makes this situation so difficult is the need to feed the 24/7 news monster even when nothing happens. Deaner’s quote is telling in this regard. There are few news events as interesting as this one right now. But it is not interesting every moment of every day. So TV has to manufacture something to say. And, sadly, newspapers follow this lead.

October 16, 2002

'02 really about '04…

Howard Kurtz says the ’02 campaign is really about the ’04 campaign because the press is more interested in the big contest. He says:

At this point, the next White House contest is personality-driven: Will Al challenge George again? Will Joe break his promise to Al? Will Dick leave the House for another try? Is John from North Carolina a fresher face than John from Massachusetts?
The current campaign, by contrast, is issue-driven: Will Iraq trump the economy? Can the Democrats exploit Social Security privatization? Does anyone still care about prescription drugs?
No wonder many media outlets seem more interested in the election two years down the road than the one at hand, which by the way will determine who controls Congress.

Hmmmm…are those really issues Kurtz identifies, or are they personality-driven press master narratives? Notice how he frames the questions in the second paragraph. He personifies Iraq by asking if it will trump the economy–a conflict with drama and characters. Then, can the Democrats exploit privatization? What about what Democrats (or Republicans) propose and the effects those proposals might have on citizens if enacted? As for the final question: Well, perhaps seniors care. Maybe we need to put some senior reporters on that beat. It seems Kurtz is urging reporters to look for the personality-driven drama in the ’02 campaign.

October 10, 2002

Beltway sniper…

Howard Kurtz takes a look at the coverage of the beltway sniper…here and here.

October 9, 2002


Bias in the Blogosphere is a student essay that uses the Herman/Chomsky propaganda model to critique the blogosphere. No matter what you may think of Chomsky, this essay is worth reading. It’s certainly not perfect; there’s much to argue with and much to make you think about blogging theory and practice.

October 9, 2002

Case study in press-politics interaction…

In my posting today about the Davis-Simon photo flap, I said this situation is a case study in the press-politics relationship. Specifically, this is an excellent example of the political use of the press by a candidate (Simon) and a political group (COPS). It works this way: Float an accusation. The press will pick up on it because the narrative and bad-news biases of journalism dictate that the accusation is news (indeed it is).
While I often criticize reporting that emphasizes political maneuvering over policy, the press’ handling of this incident demonstrates a proper focus on politicking. After making the accusation, the Davis’ administration and the press looked into it and found it wanting. In addition to demonstrating the lack veracity in the accusation, the press also explicated the political maneuvering behind the scenes so that citizens could see how this sordid affair transpired–certainly a service to voters.
Is it a maneuver on Simon’s part, or is he simply a victim of poor campaign handling and a lack of tact. I’ll argue the former based on this Simon quote:

“The location where the governor received this campaign contribution is now in question,” his statement said. “However, even if the specific claims made by the California Organization of Police and Sheriffs are not sustained, this outcome should not deter the Fair Political Practices Commission, other law enforcement agencies and the media from investigating Gray Davis’ aggressive and shady fund-raising practices.”

In other words, he all but admits the accusation is false and then commits a fallacy by claiming that his error doesn’t mean that Davis has not committed shady fund-raising practices. Also, notice the role passive voice plays in the second sentence. The agent of the action is, among others, the press. In this one sentence he covers up the fact that the press has found him out, and yet Simon continues to call on the press to investigate Davis based on Simon’s own false accusation. What chutzpah!

October 9, 2002

Veil of words…

Read this powerful commentary about the veil of words used to subjugate Cubans.

October 9, 2002

I-net news sites…

Internet news sites are more popular than porn sites with people who surf at work (and it’s also a lot safer for your reputation…but never mind). If you’re a news junkie, and you are if you read Rhetorica regularly, then you’ll enjoy this column from The National Review. (via MediaMinded)

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