Posts Tagged ‘damagnificent seven’

By Christopher Harper

Journalists have no idea how little their readers and viewers trust the media.

That’s readily apparent from a new analysis from the Pew Foundation, which found that “overall, journalists give themselves relatively high marks on performing several of the core functions of journalism. The public, however, does not see it the same way.” See https://www.pewresearch.org/journalism/2022/06/14/journalists-and-the-public-differ-on-how-journalists-are-doing-how-connected-they-are/

The survey should be required reading for the media!

Sixty-five percent of journalists surveyed think news organizations reported news accurately. That compares with only 35 percent of the public.

A significant majority—83 percent—of journalists think their audience trusts the news organization they work for. Another 13% said their audience has some trust, while just 3% said their audience has “a little” or no trust at all.

Here, journalists are entirely out of touch with reality. Only 29 percent of the public said they trust the media, while 27 percent say they have some trust. A plurality—44 percent—reported that they have “a little” or no trust.

Some of the other findings include the following:

–Fifty-two percent of journalists think they do a good job playing the watchdog over government. Only 29 percent of the public agreed.

–Forty-six percent of journalists think they give voice to the underrepresented. The public provides a rating of 24 percent. 

–Forty-three percent of the media think the industry does a good job of correcting misinformation. The public puts that figure at 25 percent. 

Another disparity between journalists and the public is how much reporters think they are “connected” to their audiences, while readers and viewers disagree.

Among journalists, close to half—46 percent–said they feel extremely or very connected to their audience, while another 37 percent said they feel somewhat connected. Far fewer—16 percent—said they feel little or no connection.

Underlining how out of touch journalists really are, the public sentiment is almost exactly the opposite.

Twenty-six percent of those surveyed said they are extremely or very connected to news organizations, far lower than the 46 percent of journalists who feel extremely or very connected to their audiences. 

Another 37 percent said they feel somewhat connected to their primary news sources, while 36 percent feel little to no connection.

In many cases, the media have become part of the American elite rather than remained part of the body politic. Reporters often look down on their readers and viewers and have increasingly little contact with real people.

Whatever the case, I think the media can’t regain the public’s confidence. After nearly 50 years as a reporter and a journalism professor, these development makes me both angry and sad. 

By Christopher Harper

During my 17 years at Temple University, I have seen a leftward-leaving body of faculty become a home for social justice warriors.

One of the SJW stars is Sara Goldrick-Rab, one of the most outspoken and obnoxious leaders at Temple, where she heads the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. The center has attracted at least $6 million since she arrived in 2016, and she’s been named one of Education Week’s most influential scholars. 

Nevertheless, her autocratic and abhorrent methods for running the center have resulted in the massive departure of employees and has caused the university to hire investigators to find out what’s going on. 

Moreover, Godrick-Rab has been placed on paid administrative leave from the university while the investigation continues.

Not surprisingly, you won’t find a single word about the controversy on Temple’s website or in the student newspaper—only laudatory articles about her extraordinary work.

The problems first surfaced in Inside Higher Ed, a news organization devoted to reporting about university affairs. See https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2022/04/14/temple-hires-outside-counsel-investigate-hope-center

“More than a dozen center employees, past and present, have in interviews with Inside Higher Ed over the past several months described toxic management under Goldrick-Rab,” the news organization reported. That’s quite a few since only 50 people work there!

Here’s a sample of some statements in the interviews:

“The center fails to live out the public values of the work being done when it comes to the treatment of staff,” said one former employee, who (like most of his former colleagues who reached out to share their experiences) wished to remain anonymous, for fear of professional or personal retribution. “The Hope Center tagline is that ‘students are humans first,’ [but] in every possible way [Goldrick-Rab] fails to apply that same lesson to the treatment of staff, viewing them as disposable to her and the work of the center.”

Another current center employee said, “There’s drama everywhere, you know. You go to places of work, and there’s bad bosses. There’s people who do shitty things. I get it. But this is just untenable.” More than two dozen colleagues have left the center in the last few years, the employee said.

Goldrick-Rab told Inside Higher Ed that she had asked for the investigation and has faced retaliation for speaking out about Temple education dean Gregory M. Anderson. Earlier this year, Anderson resigned his post as dean. 

Temple acknowledged in a statement that it had initiated a “review” and that Anne Lundquist, managing director of learning and innovation at Hope, will act as interim director during that process.

“Temple takes seriously its responsibility to ensure a supportive workplace climate and professional environment,” the school said in a statement.

Whatever the case, social justice apparently only applies to those who join its highest rank of warriors. 

Cool Cal

Posted: April 19, 2022 by chrisharper in Uncategorized
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By Christopher Harper

As the 100th anniversary nears of his ascendency to the presidency, Calvin Coolidge is becoming cool.

Coolidge became the 30th president when Warren Harding died in 1923 and held the post until 1929, when he decided not to run. He promoted a mixture of lowering taxes, cutting the federal budget, removing the federal deficit after World War I, promoting racial harmony, and embracing America’s small-town heritage.

Coolidge is finally getting his due as a good president in a 2013 biography by Amity Shlaes and a more recent series of essays and a book about conservatives from Matthew Continetti, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Shlaes, a former journalist who heads the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation in his hometown of Plymouth, Vermont, carefully dispels many of the myths about Coolidge in her book.

Both Shlaes and Continetti want to give “Cool” Cal his due. “Cool” Cal seems a lot better than the liberals’ description of Coolidge as “Silent” Cal. 

Moreover, the misconstrued moniker fails to acknowledge Coolidge’s activities on the radio—long before FDR—and his fascination with modern technology, such as air travel. 

Although historians have placed Coolidge in the lower half of presidential accomplishments, Shlaes argues that that’s mainly because he was a conservative.

Her recalibration of Coolidge’s accomplishments argues that he’s worthy of a much higher place in presidential rankings.

Coolidge carefully steered the country through the disastrous aftermath of Woodrow Wilson’s calamitous post-World War I antics and illness and the scandals left by Warren Harding.

Continetti pushes Coolidge’s reputation into the upheavals of the 21st century, comparing Cal and Donald Trump.

“Both Coolidge and Mr. Trump staked their presidencies on voter satisfaction with broadly shared prosperity. Both supported restricting immigration into the United States. Both wanted to protect American industry from foreign competition. Both sought to avoid overseas entanglements,” Continetti wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal. “Trump’s views now dominate the Republican Party. For anyone who grew up with the GOP of Ronald Reagan, the two Bushes, and John McCain, this can be strange and bewildering. But in many respects, it’s a return to the principles of the 1920s of Coolidge.” 

Coolidge presided over a prosperous nation at peace. He preached America First—as did Trump. 

When I started my deep drive into presidential biographies about three months ago, I didn’t expect to find such an underrated president as Coolidge. 

I’d move him into my top tier of George Washington, James Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, Grover Cleveland, and Harry Truman. 

The wusses of journalism

Posted: April 5, 2022 by chrisharper in Uncategorized
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By Christopher Harper

Temple University has determined that its journalism graduates are having a tough time.

In an announcement, the administration said: “[W]e are seeing an increase in our journalism graduates go into their first jobs and leave before their first contracts are up. Some of our alumni are telling us they just weren’t prepared for the stress and the challenges they are facing.

“We all know it’s always been difficult to adjust to those first years in the field, but between the pandemic and a growing number of people who think journalists are ‘fake news,’ in addition to many other new challenges, we are losing some of our best potential journalists.”

I am admittedly old school. But I’m amazed at how journalism graduates and current practitioners have become wusses.

In my first few years in journalism, I covered demonstrations, terrorist attacks, a civil war, and mass murder.

I am not alone in my amazement. New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg called his younger colleagues “little dweebs” and “f—ing bitches” for “going on about their trauma” from the events on January 6, 2021.

In a hidden-camera video, Rosenberg called the mainstream media’s reaction to the events “over the top.”

He joked, “I know, I’m supposed to be traumatized.”

During much of my career in training journalists, I assigned students to some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city to find stories that demonstrated the true nature of the locales.

My colleague Linn Washington, a longtime Philadelphia journalist, and I created Philadelphia Neighborhoods, an award-winning news organization.

From 2007 to 2013, our students told the stories of poor neighborhoods throughout the city, providing a much subtler view of how people—whatever their income and education—just wanted to have safe streets, a future for their children, and a way to make a good living.

The experience also toughened up student journalists who had rarely strayed outside of their comfort zone.

I’m not entirely sure what happened in the past decade, but I am saddened that some journalism students at Temple, which has a motto of “Temple Tough,” have gotten soft.

But what has happened at Temple is indicative of what has happened in much of the news media.