When ‘art’ lights a fuse, should reporters stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, gay or nay in Wahpeton, time to ground flying history, and the civic stories of Northfield.
Did a filmmaker abuse the First Amendment when he produced a movie that has resulted in the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and several other Americans?
Believing that the film insulted their prophet, protesters stormed consulates in Egypt and Libya.
Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as the building came under attack by a mob with guns and rocket propelled grenades, the Associated Press said.
“This is a political movie,” Sam Bacile, the filmmaker, said of his movie that is at the heart of the protests. “The U.S. lost a lot of money and a lot of people in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we’re fighting with ideas.”
“Islam is a cancer, period,” he said.
Judging by the YouTube clips, it’s a badly acted, poorly written, low-quality piece of work. A nine-year-old with a decent Mac could’ve done better, suggesting that the reaction might well have been exactly what Bacile was looking for.
And yet, there’s this First Amendment thing.
“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims–as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions,” the U.S. embassy in Cairo said in a statement hours before the protests. “Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”
That’s a reference to Bacile, and also to Terry Jones, the anti-Islam Florida pastor who appears to be behind the movie.
And that’s where we are today: A dead ambassador, dead Marines, murderous protestors, an international incident, and a couple of Americans pointing to the Constitution.
“Freedom of belief is more important than freedom of expression,” one of the protesters told the Wall St. Journal.
Discussion point: Is it?
Should reporters say the Pledge of Allegiance at events in which it’s recited at events they cover? NPR’s Ari Shapiro writes that he’s uncomfortable joining in. He also wouldn’t stand. And while it was being recited, he tweeted.
I expected a flood of vitriol. Instead, a thoughtful Twitter dialogue unfolded about what it means to be a journalist, what it means to be American, and what role the Pledge of Allegiance plays in our society. Other reporters joined in, including some sitting around me at the rally.
He lists some of the responses he received at the link.
More media: A
Star Tribune columnistvia the Star Tribune doesn’t like the way “the media” covered the recent Stanford study on the benefits of organic fruits and vegetables.
“And in discussing scientific disputes, we often fall prey to one of the great perils of journalism — false balance. If some dingbat asserts that the Earth is flat, we wouldn’t insert that claim into a story about a satellite orbiting the planet, but we routinely give overly generous coverage to some assertions contrary to fact.”
Good points, but in some ways, an antiquated view of how information is dispensed. Online, for example, most coverage of the Stanford study carried references to what it didn’t include, and also carried links to the study itself.
And, while there may be disagreement over the study’s limits, it wasn’t from a dingbat asserting the earth is flat.
Was a Wahpeton (ND) football player kicked off his team because he’s gay or because he didn’t acknowledge he was gay?
It’s one or the other, apparently. Jamie Kuntz, a player at North Dakota State College of Science, was caught kissing his boyfriend during a game in which he was assigned to film the game (he was hurt). He told his coach he didn’t and that he’s not gay. Then he acknowledged that he did and he is.
Dan Savage has the story on SLOG.
The letter, which Kuntz shared with me, is signed by NDSCS Head Football Chuck Parsons. It reads in part: “The head coach reserves the right to dismiss any team member for any conduct that is deemed detrimental to the team. This includes, but is not limited to, any criminal charges or convictions; violations of school policies, NDSCS athletic policies, or NDSCS Wildcat Football policies… Lying to Coaches, Teachers, or other school staff [constitute a violation].” The letter continues: “This decision was arrived at solely on the basis of your conduct during the football game… and because you choose not to be truthful with when I confronted you about whom else was in the box with you.”
The kid’s “boyfriend” is 65 years old.
“The age difference mucks up the story a lot,” LZ Granderson, a senior writer at ESPN and a CNN contributor, wrote in an email. Granderson is gay and I contacted him about the story shortly after Kuntz got in touch with me. Granderson passed. A teenager football player with a 65-year-old boyfriend? “On the heels of the Sandusky trial and Penn State, that’s a very high hurdle…. I’m sad for the kid but angry at the 65 year old who should have never put him in that position.”
“A student athlete was asked to perform a duty, chose to accept that and did not do that, and when you look to the policy under the possible disciplinary behavior, you can zero in on two: lying to coaches and insubordination,” the school’s president tells the Fargo Forum.
North Dakota pilot Bob Odegaard was killed late last week when his Corsair crashed at Barnes County Airport in Valley City. He was practicing for an upcoming airshow.
People on the ground like to watch the old warbirds fly, but is it time to retire them from flying? Flying Magazine’s former senior editor suggests that they should, for the sake of history if not for the safety of pilots.
This airplane was originally sold by Walter Soplata with the proviso that it never be flown. Admittedly it was just a hulk, but he sold it to a quasi-museum–somewhere in Ohio, I think–that planned to restore it completely but indeed did promise to never fly it. When the “museum” failed and in turn sold it to Odegaard, apparently all bets were off. So now it’s flown, it’s gone, and only one Goodyear FG-1D Corsair remains. That one will continue to fly until it too inevitably crashes. Does anyone care?
Here’s an example: A year or so ago, I got to fly in a B-17 when it made a trip to Saint Paul.
A week later, the plane made an emergency landing in a soggy Illinois field, and burned, leaving only a dozen flying B-17s left.
(h/t: Mike Hilger)
The League of Women Voters in Northfield has unveiled a unique series profiling residents of the area who are the foundation of “political, civic, and humanitarian endeavors in the local community and beyond.” It involved St. Olaf students who asked the question, “What does Citizenship mean?”.
Here’s one of the profiles…
Find the rest here.
(h/t: Locally Grown Northfield)
Bonus I: How to sell your old iPhone.
Bonus II: We miss so much living in Minnesota…
Fifty years ago today, President John Kennedy announced a big national challenge: to land humans on the moon and return them safely to Earth before the end of that decade. Today’s Question: What should be the big national challenge of today?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Return of Bubonic plague.
Second hour: The presidential candidates (two of them, anyway) on science issues.
Third hour: The economics of the iPhone 5.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): “Washington Goes to the Moon” documentary. Today is the 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s speech vowing to put a man on the moon.
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – The Political Junkie.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - When it comes to fundraising by phone, many big-name charities use the same telemarketing company. Its phone solicitors say most of what you give goes to the charity. But an NPR investigation has found that it actually goes straight to the telemarketer.