Whistleblower sues reporter (5×8 – 3/15/11)

A Twitter chill, Japan’s meltdowns, why you’re not typical, interview walkouts, and the state of hair.


1) A TWITTER CHILL

The new media landscape either has ushered in a new definition of defamation, or mankind is evolving to thinner skin. In either case, the bloggers/tweeters, even those employed by reputable news organizations, are finding out their new media work carries significant risk.

Last week, a Minneapolis blogger was ordered to pay $60,000 for writing something that may have been true, but which still caused a man to lose his job with the University of Minnesota.

This week, the Minneapolis Business Journal reports, an Associated Press reporter is being sued by an NBA referee for defamation because of this tweet at a Minnesota Timberwolves – Houston Rockets game in January:

ap_tweet_nba_ref.jpg

The “make-up call,” in which a referee or umpire makes up for a bad call on one team by making a bad call on another, is a time-honored tradition in sports. It’s not exactly “fixing” the game, as the lawsuit says the reporter implied. But the referee in this case says he didn’t promise to (figure out a way to) “get the points back.”

Can the AP reporter prove it was a “makeup call?” Probably not, although it would be a comedic trial when the ref has to prove it was simply incompetence that led to a particular call.

In his suit — available here — the referee claims “Defendent Krawczynski has made a theme of his reporting persistent criticism of NBA officiating.”

I’m a Wolves season ticketholder and regularly “tweet” during games. Some people like it; some people don’t. But why should anybody risk it?

2) JAPAN’S MELTDOWN

It’s rather hard to concentrate on things when nuclear reactors in Japan are melting down. Here’s an interactive feature from the New York Times that explains what happens when a reactor melts down. The BBC has this explanation of the risk of radiation, complete with props.

And here’s live coverage from NHK:


Live video chat by Ustream

The Times has new images — more about the personal tragedy involved — posted here.

Minnesota native Kris Marose, who lives in Japan, is blogging about the situation on his blog Merry KrisMarose.

Meanwhile, the Fargo Forum says a North Dakota native is missing.

How are kids — little kids — handling all of this? The Washington Post’s Petula Dvorak says death talk used to involve dead goldfish or grandma. But things have changed:


Today’s children are growing up in a world where book bags are searched on the Metro, tiny bodies are fully scanned at the airport, water rises to rooftops in some cities, buildings flatten like pancakes and an ocean wave can be taller than Godzilla.

Questions like “Why is the sky blue?” are a picnic compared with “Why do we have to remove our shoes in the airport?”

Disaster is not unique to this generation of American children. Certainly, there are kids who have seen death and destruction up close, in ways no human should ever experience.

The difference today is the way our digital world has afforded us up-close and immediate proximity to calamity wherever it occurs, making sure the latest horror is spread throughout the land.

Whereas a disaster such as Japan’s earthquake once would have been recorded with pictures in the paper and footage on the evening news , the amazing, all-access, 24/7 coverage available on iPads, mobile phones and televisions can haunt little minds everywhere, all the time.

Were people better off when it was less informed?

3) THE WORLD’S TYPICAL PERSON

Is it you? Probably not.

4) WALKOUT

The 60 Minutes gang has produced a piece with the highlights of people getting so mad at tough questions, they walked out on the interview. Those were the days when you could learn a lot about newsmakers by asking them a tough question.5) THE STATE OF HAIR

Here it is, your all-state Minnesota hockey hair team…

Bonus: Be sure to read MPR’s Madeleine Baran’s story separating fact from fiction in the debate over Minnesota’s welfare card.

TODAY’S QUESTION

Minnesota legislators have voted to lift the state’s ban on new nuclear power plants. But that was before the crisis in Japan, where several reactors have been crippled following last week’s earthquake. What’s the future of nuclear power?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Depending on your political outlook, Gov. Scott Walker was either showing leadership or over-reaching when taking on the unions. In today’s highly-charged, partisan climate, is it possible for politicians to play to their base without going to extremes?

Second hour: For much of American history, racial identity has been defined in terms of black and white. But because of their heritage and physical appearance, some families walk the line between cultures. A new book chronicles three mixed-race families whose identities were called into question at various periods in history – with surprising consequences.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Republican legislators Mary Liz Holberg and Claire Robling take your questions about GOP plans for the state budget.

Second hour: Historian Jeremi Suri lays out five key events that shaped America’s relationship with the Middle East. He spoke recently in St. Paul.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The future of nuclear power.

Second hour: TBD

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - MPR’s Stephanie Hemphill will assess the relative safety of Minnesota’s two nuclear power plants.

Best Buy faces many challenges, competition from Target and WalMart among them. Now the company is considering a major change in its strategy — dumping sales promotions and adopting everyday low pricing. MPR’s Martin Moylan will provide the details.

And Annie Baxter updates the status of operations, sales and personnel of Minnesota companies with operations in Japan.

  • c

    love the hair piece!

    both my son and I would agree that good hockey players have nice hair-do’s

  • Jeff

    RE: How are kids dealing with this? Kids have always had to deal with scary things. But in the past, many of them were unknowns. (“When will the Soviets drop The Bomb?” “Nobody knows. That’s why we have to Stop, Drop and Cover.”) (“Ma? Why does Pa have his gun?” “Because a bear or a wolf may attack him while he is working in the woods, Laura.”) I’m not saying it isn’t an issue today or that it isn’t different than it was in the past, but it isn’t a new issue. Being ill-informed was scary for little minds, too.

  • Dale

    Bob,

    Get your facts right:

    John 3:16 is “For God so love the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (NRSV translation)

    “I am the way, the turth, and the life” is from John 14:6

    As for chaplain’s saying whatever they want to say. I disagree. When I worked as a hospital chaplain we had to respect the patient’s religious beliefs. If they were Jewish or Native American, one did not use Jesus in the prayer. If these individuals wanted to discuss Jesus I was more than happy to share my faith with them. I was never to assume that everyone was a Christians. A chaplain needs to be aware that there are others who do now share their faith and craft prayers accordingly. If one can not do that, then they should not be a chaplain.