Jack Shafer

Politico’s rush to cane Herman Cain

October 31, 2011

Let’s assume that Herman Cain misbehaved, in the manner that is alleged in Politico, during his time as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s.

Ted Koppel’s misguided nostalgia

October 27, 2011

Ted Koppel, my favorite media punching bag, has stepped back into the ring for another beating.

Much smoke, few flames for right-wing press critics

October 25, 2011

Is this the best the right-wing press critics can do?

In principle, I’m all for James O’Keefe’s guerrilla campaign to destroy the media establishment. The more rough handling journalists receive, the better for them and the better for readers. But the hidden-camera sortie O’Keefe and his Project Veritas’ “To Catch a Journalist” series just flew against Huffington Post White House correspondent Sam Stein fails miserably. It ends up making Stein look normal and O’Keefe slightly tetched.

The Gaddafi corpsewatch

October 21, 2011

The newsroom debate over which blood-smeared Muammar Gaddafi images to share with viewers and readers—which consumed wire services, newspapers, and news channels around the world today—seems a tad quaint in the age of the Internet. Thanks to ubiquitous cell phone cameras and hard to govern entities like Al Jazeera, YouTube, Twitter, and other social media that publish first and deliberate later, the old newsroom debates over what images to publish are moot, resembling the futile acts of paternalism a father might inflict on his 24-year-old son who moved out three years ago. It’s a wonderful spectacle, it makes news editors and producers feel important, but it no longer means much.

Intrigue in the house of Murdoch

October 19, 2011

New York Times reporter Jeremy W. Peters invests 2,400 words today in a Page One story delineating the “rift” between News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and his son and heir apparent, News Corp. Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch.

When anonymice attack

October 19, 2011

Washington’s anonymous sources are disagreeing with one another today.

In the lead story in today’s New York Times (“U.S. Debated Cyberwarfare in Attack Plan on Libya”), the anonymous sources tell reporters Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker that the issue of whether or not to attack Libya with cyberweapons was “intensely debated” by the Obama administration last March.

How to think about plagiarism

October 14, 2011

An editor must have a heart like leather. Not freshly tanned leather—all supple and yielding like a baby’s bum—but like an abandoned baseball glove that’s been roasting in the Sonoran Desert for five or six years. Only those who are hard of heart can properly deal with the plagiarists who violate the journalistic code.

Murdoch’s latest scandal

October 12, 2011

Wall Street Journal Europe Publisher Andrew Langhoff resigned yesterday, but why?

Bloggy Monday: McGinniss’s anonymous sources; Netflix switcheroo; ask an expert; FOIA turnaround.

October 10, 2011

Alaskan anonymice. Joe McGinniss got knocked by reviewers—me included—for relying so heavily on anonymous sources for his new book, The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin. Today he strikes back at his critics in the opinion pages of USA Today, citing Bob Woodward, New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson, and Huffington Post media reporter Michael Calderone on why journalists must get anonymice to squeak about the powerful if they’re going to get the story.

The apotheosis of Steve Jobs

October 6, 2011

If BMW had an auteur—the kind of auteur Apple had until last night—would his fans gather at local BMW dealerships when he died to light candles and toss flowers in front of showroom windows the way Steve Jobs fans are now at Apple Stores around the world? Would they storm Twitter to post recollections of the first and second BMWs they owned and thank Mr. BMW for having made their ordinary trips to the store for milk and eggs more like cosmic adventures in motoring?