January 23, 2019

Nothing Is Ever Easy

You’d think with as much experience WordPress has at running a content management system that it would have a smooth process for importing content — especially backed-up content.

But, no.

Turns out the import system is full of problems.

Again, I’m working on it. All Rhetorica content still exists. It’s just going to be a bigger hassle getting it all back into place than I thought.

Stay tuned…

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.

August 10, 2016

Why Yes, Yes He Did

The headline asks:

Did Trump suggest gun owners threaten Clinton or the Supreme Court?

Do you really need it in so many words?

Here it is:

While talking about Supreme Court nominees, Trump told the Wilmington, North Carolina crowd that there was “nothing you can do” about appointments if the Democratic presidential nominee were elected.

“Although, the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know,” Trump added.

A communications adviser for the Trump campaign later said Trump meant that “Second Amendment people” rally around him or vote accordingly.

Why this is poppycock: Why limit the rallying and voting only to “Second Amendment people”? Why not call on all GOP voters to do this. What’s so special about “Second Amendment people” that they should be singled out to stop Clinton from nominating certain types of judges. And, really, what good would rallying and voting do once Clinton  is in office?

But the really big giveaway is the “I don’t know” that punctuates his statement.

He doesn’t know what?

He knows; he’s verbally winking.

[Editorial note: I’m likely to be tougher on Trump this election — a little less “balanced” than in years gone by. I consider him dangerous. There’s no point pretending like “both sides do it” in 2016.]

April 18, 2003

Bollinger’s Statement

I didn’t expect anything earth-shattering from Lee C. Bollinger’s task force statement on journalism education at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. And I wasn’t disappointed. But I do think the thrust of his statement is important: journalists must be broadly educated:

That a journalism school is located within a great university, which houses an extraordinary amount of expertise on virtually any subject, means that it would be an intellectual tragedy not to ensure that students partake of the feast.

If at first this seems like common sense, don’t be fooled. I would assert that the majority of students in higher education miss this feast because they come to college focused on being trained for a job rather than getting an education. This situation may be particularly distressful in regard to the practice of journalism (necessary to the civic health of a democratic republic), which, to be done well, requires not only basic professional skills but the ability to think critically and in context. To achieve this, Bollinger believes journalists need

a functional knowledge of statistics, the basic concepts of economics, and an appreciation for the importance of history and for the fundamental debates in modern political theory and philosophy.

To this list I would add a deeper understanding of language and how it works from the disciplines of rhetoric, linguistics, cognitive science, and psycho-linguistics.

April 16, 2003

Journalist Demographics

Tim Porter, of the First Draft blog, has an excellent rundown of a new survey of American journalists. Demographics, specifically political affiliations, often arise in discussions of media bias. Porter says:

I hate the liberal-conservative press debate since it’s like arguing over the weather–and because I believe most newspaper journalists are reactionary (in the non-political sense) by nature, and therefore a root cause of newsroom stagnation. That said, the survey found that 37 percent of journalists identify themselves as Democrats, moving them closer to the national percentage of 32 percent. It’s the lowest number since 1971 (proving, perhaps, that the greatest Democratic recruiter in the last half-century was Richard Nixon).

Interesting reading.

April 1, 2003

Should the press root for victory?…

Debra Saunders says:

When mainstream journalists report both sides of racism–pro and con, with equal weight–or both sides of having a free press in America, then I’ll believe that American media don’t take sides on issues, and that there is at least a rationale for American media not rooting for U.S. troops to win in Iraq. But that day will never come.

She properly qualifies this statement by observing that there are many issues in which “thinking” Americans agree. I would add that cultural values constitute a part of this “thinking.” For example, there may be cognitive differences between racists and the rest of us, but there are certainly cultural differences. Mainstream journalists are part of a culture that repudiates racism (what to do about it is open to debate).

Can we apply this same thinking to coverage of war? Saunders makes an excellent case. But I am not persuaded because, for the most part, American journalists are not against American troops. And, from the bulk of the coverage I’ve seen/heard/read, they hardly seem against the war. They do, however, fulfill that watchdog function for which they rightly deserve praise.

I don’t want journalists to look the other way when tough situations arise just as I don’t want them to forget they are Americans. Being a good journalist often requires the ability to live with contradictions and irony.

April 1, 2003

Peter and Geraldo…

Howard Kurtz runs down the recent troubles of journalists Peter Arnett and Geraldo Rivera. You’ll also find many links to material on Arnett at Romenesko (scroll down). I have no comment on either case.

April 1, 2003

Freedom of speech…

Is this a great country, or what? Today, thanks to Jeremy Gilchrist, we are free to express exactly what we think…to police dogs. And in their language, too!

March 31, 2003

Mass hysteria…

In our modern, civilized democracy, the populace cannot be exhorted to obscene, mindless acts of boorishness or violence because we are heir to, and defenders of, a rational civic discourse. We air our differences as Madison, Hamilton, and Jay taught us to do by the example of The Federalist Papers. We are Americans: Champions of the Enlightenment.

Or maybe not.

Next Posts →← Previous Posts

Powered by: Wordpress