But for now, here’s a round-up of weekend news that I thought you’d find of interest.
IF DEATH ROW INMATE TROY DAVIS PROVES HIS INNOCENCE, THEN WHAT?
Last summer the U.S. Supreme Court granted Georgia death row inmate, Troy Davis, a new hearing before a federal judge in which Davis and his attorneys would be able to to try to prove Davis’s innocence of the 1989 murder of an Atlanta police officer. [Back story on Davis's case here.] It is, as the AP points out, “a chance afforded no American facing execution in nearly half a century.”
But the AP also discusses the fact that it isn’t at all clear what is to happen even if Davis and company persuade the judge that Davis didn’t do the crime.
Some experts say the judge could order a new trial. Others say the judge could make a recommendation to the Supreme Court that Davis be freed from prison. There’s also a possibility the judge could find Davis innocent, yet rule he’s powerless to spare Davis’ life.
“There is some ambiguity,” said John H. Blume, a Cornell Law School professor who specializes in death penalty appeals. “Whenever you’ve got something this new, that hasn’t happened all these years, you’re really making your best guess.”
Read the rest.
REASON # 4598 WHY SO MANY PEOPLE ARE GOING ELSEWHERE FOR NEWS OTHER THAN TO THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA
For weeks, I have found myself in a state of quietly growing rage at the way the so-called journalism establishment has taken endless snide little potshots (and some not-so-little shots) at Michael Hastings and his scoop-of-the-season Rolling Stone article, “The Runaway General,” in which then-General Stanley McChrystal and his aides made the smart-mouthed remarks that cost the general his job.
And so who did the ever vigilant Washington press corps attack after the release of excellent Hastings article? Why Hastings of course.
Thus it was relief to read Eric Alterman’s scathing round-up of nearly all the instances of what Rolling Stone’s Matt Tabbai had earlier and accurately described as Hysterical Backstabbing Jealous Hackfest 2010!
Here’s a representative clip:
But almost as impressive as the article itself—and, of course, the commotion it caused in the administration’s Afghan policy resulting in McChrystal’s firing and his replacement by Gen. David Petraeus—has been the Washington journalistic establishment’s reaction to it. Reporter after reporter has complained that by accurately reporting what McChyrstal and his aides said in explicitly on-the-record conversations to a reporter with a tape recorder and/or notepad in his hand, Hastings has violated the tenets of professional journalism. (A few of the reporters did this, it should be added, after stealing his work for their own websites.)
And about that work-stealing issue that Alter mentions: I flagged it at the time, but was astonished to find that few others seemed to notice. Here’s what Alterman says on that matter:
The other decidedly comical aspect of the journalistic establishment’s reaction to the piece they so disdain was the eagerness a few of them showed in trying to steal it. Not only did website after website post the highlights of the general’s shocking quotes before Rolling Stone did, but two of them—Politico and Time—stole it outright, posting the results of months of research and tens of thousands of dollars of investment on their own sites without even bothering to ask permission from the people responsible for them.
Asked by an NPR reporter whether this behavior “cros[ed] a line,” Bill Grueskin, who is dean of academic affairs at the Columbia University School of Journalism, replied, “I think they crossed the line in the same way that a bank robber who goes into a bank and takes money out of the cashier’s drawer crosses a line.” New York Times media reporter David Carr titled his column on the controversy “Heedlessly Hijacking Content,” and termed it “a clear violation of copyright and professional practice, and it amounted to taking money out of a competitor’s pocket.”
And do keep in mind that these people who excoriated Hastings (but thought nothing of stealing his work), are the same folks who regularly beat their breasts about the icky “non-professionalism” of bloggers.
Right. Sure. Whatever you say, boss.
A YEAR OUT OF PRISON BRUCE LISKER MEETS WITH ONE OF HIS JURORS
On LA Observed, Photojournalist Iris Schneider has been doing an occasional and quite wonderful series on Bruce Lisker, who was released from prison nearly a year ago after serving 24 years for murdering his mother, Dora Lisker. Monday Schneider posted her latest installment in which she accompanied Lisker when he met with Lorraine Maxwell, one of the twelve jury members who convicted him when he was 17-years-old of the 1983 murder.
THE LA TIMES GETS AERIAL EXPERT’S REPORT THAT CONTRADICTS OFFICIAL ACCOUNT OF HOW THE STATION FIRE MIGHT HAVE BEEN STOPPED
The LA Times’ Paul Pringle has gotten his hands on a very credible report that suggest that the official account of the way the disastrous Station Fire was handled may be troublingly inaccurate.
OBAMA TELLS CONGRESS: HANDS OFF FEDERAL RACE TO THE TOP FUNDS
The NY Times editorial board rightly approves of Obama’s threat to veto any spending bill that slashes money from his Race-to-the-Top school reform program. Find the cuts elsewhere people.
CLAY SHIRKY EXPLAINS WHY THE (INTERNET) KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
If you don’t recognize the name of web prognosticator/author/astonishingly fine thinker Clay Shirky, suffice it to say that, if you are interested in the whole Future of News thingy, he’s the guy you want to read. He has a brand new book out, Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age, which is already selling at a rapid clip.
To get a glimpse of what’s inside, read his essay in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal titled “Does the Internet Make You Smarter?”
Or better yet, read the interview in the Guardian in which the self-described techno-luddite interviewer admits she finds herself hanging on Shirky’s every word.