We are poorly served by our media. Too often, we get misinformation and extreme partisanship instead of responsibility and journalistic integrity. Opinion writers exert a lot of power but there is no accountability whatsoever. The rest of us thus have no choice but to fight back in our own little blogs.

I encourage everybody to share their own experiences with Arkansas media. Leave a comment or contact me at armediawatch at gmail dot com.


20 thoughts on “About

  1. Good for you doing this!
    Some of us have been critiquing editorials, columns, letters, new stories, and even cartoons via the newspaper blogs. How integrate with what you are doing?
    I would like to see Mediawatch monitor the cartoons in the ADG, because pictures often slip into people’s consciousness even if they don’t really make sense and are based on harmful stereotypes.
    Something I’ve noted is that Paul Greenberg prints a lot of pieces from neo-conservative periodicals.

  2. Good point about the cartoons. Again feel encouraged to leave a comment whenever you come across something in particular. I am not going to “monitor” everything but I imagine this evolving into a community effort.

  3. Hello, arkansasmediawatch.

    Last weekend, you challenged me to explain why people should be grateful that the military is present in certain places. I can comment only on my personal experience.

    First, let me be clear that I was never in combat. While many of my fellow soldiers were fighting in Vietnam, I was halfway around the world monitoring Soviet military communications. I like to think that the information we collected helped keep the Soviet Union at bay during the Cold War. They knew we were always listening and reporting on the movements of the Russian military forces in East Germany and elsewhere. Many other U.S. military units had missions that challenged the Soviet threat to Western Europe; the unit I was in was part of a massive American presence in Europe.

    Most of the soldiers in my unit were college-educated enlisted men who spent one term in the army and moved on — and most of them detested the army. But we all took our mission and our jobs very seriously. Another thing we took seriously was the top secret/crypto security clearance that we had to have to be able to do our jobs. Even today, we normally don’t discuss what we did except in general terms. Having said that, you can go to this link to learn more about how one unit did its job in Berlin during the Cold War and the history of Teufelsberg, a mountain constructed from the rubble of bombed-out Berlin:

    Pavel Korchagin

  4. More of everything, please!
    Don’t forget Sync….this week their *food and travel columnist* discusses his never traveling abroad, not being into foreign food, and thinks baba ghanoush is a dude.

  5. Hi. How can I find you on Twitter? I clicked the link at the top, but it just takes me to my Twitter page. No follow option.

  6. Hi Steppin,

    I can’t devote as much time as I wished to this blog but everybody is welcome to drop comments about pertinent media issues. Don’t hesitate to write a few lines about that travel columnist.

    Anonymous, I don’t use Twitter. I will check into how to remove that link.

  7. Wow. Cry me a river. A couple of right wing essays get published and you devote a blog to it? You guys control 99.9% of the media. Praising a president who has nor ever will do a thing to help the country. This might be the worst blog I have ever read. Worst of luck to you. Whhhhhaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

  8. And the “you guys [who] control 99.9% of the media” are–General Electric? Disney? Time-Warner? Saudi prince with major share of FOX stock? Mega-corporations?
    No, unfortunately I expect you mean something else.

  9. Here in NW Arkansas we have a double dose of journalistic doo-doo, in the form of the ADG and the Stephens Media wrappers that enclose the WEHCO turd ball.

    Not only do we have the drivel from Greenberg, Gitz and even pseudo-liberal Pat Lynch, we have Mike Masterson (hubby of Laurie Lee Masterson, paid staff of the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity and leader of the teabaggers).

    The NWA Times, which was a center-left paper for decades, is nowadays just another mouthpiece for the Billionaire Boys Club.

    • You rightly point out the fact that Masterson’s wife is a Tea Party political activist. A newspaper that cares about editorial responsibility would never put somebody like that in charge of the editorial page. This point was well made by Richard S. Drake a year ago:

      I read Mike Masterson’s column touting the recent TEA Party event in Fayetteville, and yet again promoting the work of his wife, Laurie. “What’s wrong with that, Drake, you cynical devil?” the average reader may ask.

      Other than the fact that it seems a little unseemly, I recall an episode of Lou Grant a few years ago (all right, it was arerun) when the wife of one of the paper’s editors was about to become involved in a highly charged political movement.

      The choice to made the editor was stark and simple.

      He kept his job and she withdrew from the political realm, or she was active, and he retired. Grant and the publisher felt hat it was a conflict of interest for the paper to cover a political group where an editor’s wife was such a prominent leader.

      If only FOX News carried episodes of Lou Grant. Someone at the Democrat-Gazette might have seen that episode – not that it would have made much of an impression.

  10. I found your site after reading Gitz’s latest piece of reactionary drivel and then wondering: is anyone else outraged by the number of factual errors in his columns? Like you I agree, of course, that everyone is entitled to his own silly opinions. But (as I think DPM said) not everyone is entitled to his own facts. Too bad Gitz doesn’t contribute a small bit to the economy by hiring his own personal fact checker. Or step outside of academia and get a job in the free enterprise system where tenure is non-existent.

    Bravo to AMW!

  11. Thanks for your interest “under the skies”. Unfortunately the lack of blogging only reflects my lack of time, not a lack of topics to blog about. I think though that this blog has done a good job exposing many of the pressing issues we have with the mainstream media in Arkansas. Many of these issues I could write about every day but frankly it would be repetitive. Figures like Greenberg and Masterson aren’t exactly innovative in the political propaganda they publish. They have been thoroughly exposed and exposing them a few more times would hardly be enlightening. So in some sense there isn’t much need to add to this blog. Some of the year-old posts are still up-to date as if they were written today. I am proud that some of the political issues of the last year were treated on this blog early on. For example back in 2011 I took Senators Boozman and Pryor to task (https://arkansasmediawatch.wordpress.com/2011/08/20/senator-boozman-insults-half-his-constituents/) for falsely claiming that half the population doesn’t pay taxes. That issue became mainstream only late in 2012 after Romney had used the infamous 47% meme. Of course I will continue blogging when I feel the urge to do so and I invite readers to visit this site and leave comments when you have something to share.

    Thank you all and Happy New Year 2013!

  12. I submit this article:

    Blueways and Hog Poop

    “In wickedness the haughty man and the weakling meet. But they misunderstand one another. I know you.” – Frederick Nietzsche

    I think he must have been talking about liberals and conservatives. Often they “talk past” each other, without having a clue (or even caring) about where the other is “coming from.” A good example is the recent brouhaha about the White River “National Blueways” designation. Liberals (generally speaking) have no idea why conservatives would be leery of it. In all the columns and letters I’ve seen in the ArkGazetteNWATimesMorningNews, I have yet to see any indication of understanding the opponents’ position. I have seen name-calling, charges of paranoia, and frivolous “theories” of why conservatives don’t approve, e.g. that they are deathly afraid that gays might get married on the river. So even though I disagree with conservatives on this, I would like to offer liberals a clue.

    Before we examine the differences between liberals and conservatives regarding the Blueways designation, let’s see what they agree about. Both factions (again, generally speaking) seem to believe that the UN is, or is capable of becoming, a strong influence on both member States and people within those States. Thus we see Iiberals supporting the UN generally, along with its resolutions and treaties. According to liberals such as Dick Bennett of Omni, or to national outfits like the Meiklejohn Institute, UN treaties even take precedence over the US Constitution. My point here is not to argue the validity of that position, but merely to show that liberals take the UN and its edicts quite seriously.

    Thought experiment: Suppose the UN ratified a “convention” about the right of indigenous peoples to defend themselves. In particular, suppose the convention included a provision guaranteeing a right of self-defense, i.e. the right of people to carry firearms, and furthermore, that UN members were obliged to follow the convention. (Actually, the UN Small Arms Convention does just the opposite by disarming victims of States, but bear with me here.) Would liberals be worried about this (to a liberal) crazy wild west gun nut idea? Probably many would. This is roughly analogous to conservatives’ worries about the Blueways designation. Ironically, while liberals cheer about most UN directives and take implementation quite seriously, suddenly in this case of UN environmental directives, they pooh-pooh the idea that the UN has any influence or import. In short, conservatives have the same attitude about Agenda 21 as (many) liberals have about the UN Convention on Narcotics, which internationalizes the failed policy of drug prohibition and prevents States from legalizing cannabis. It is an intrusion on sovereignty and local rule.

    The usual conservative view is (1) that the UN is powerful and (2) that there is a real danger of the UN directly or indirectly forcing its environmental agenda on Americans. Liberals generally agree with both, but unlike conservatives, approve of part two. What does the National Blueways designation have to do with the UN? A lot – it is basically the implementation of UN directives such as the infamous “Agenda 21.” As Wikipedia says, “The United States is a signatory country to Agenda 21. … In the United States, over 528 cities are members of ICLEI, an international sustainability organization that helps to implement the Agenda 21 and Local Agenda 21 concepts across the world.” Many Arkansas local governments have been members of ICLEI, including Fayetteville. Personally, I think that it’s a stretch to attribute local environmentalism to the UN, but it is certainly plausible. Certainly as plausible as claiming that the US drug nazis’ war on Americans is part of a larger UN anti-narcotics agenda.

    Being neither liberal nor conservative ( I am libertarian) I pretty much disagree with both. I reject the premise of both statist factions that the UN has enough power to be worthy of concern. The UN is, at bottom, a cartel of States. States are justly notorious for coveting power. The common conservative notion that the US could “lose sovereignty” to the UN is ridiculous on its face. The US can opt out or stop funding it at any time. The reality is the opposite of the conservative concern – the danger of the US using the UN as cover for aggression. The pattern is clear: If the US rulers want to invade or intervene somewhere, they attempt to persuade the UN to “bless” the aggression (and hopefully get other States to help supply money, weapons, and chumps to die.) If the UN doesn’t approve, then the US invades anyway. What a system! Where’s the loss of sovereignty?

    My opinion is that, in Ozarkia, both the war on drug users and environmental initiatives are all but independent of UN influence. Some people are intolerant and think that its okay to kidnap peaceful people who possess forbidden objects. The anti-drug assholes don’t need the UN to tell them that grass is evil, wicked, mean, and nasty. Similarly, neither the anti-gun assholes, nor the statist environmentalist assholes need the UN to tell them what’s what.

    There is a part of the conservative case that I do find compelling, but somewhat different from the usual conservative framing. There’s this thing called “corporatism” – the collusion between government and private entities – also known as “fascism.” The National Blueways published agenda is a “partnership” of government agencies and special interests. The modus operandi is putting on show “meetings,” generally with a professional “facilitator,” to make it seem like there is general support for invariably statist “solutions.” “Fayetteville Forward” was a good example of this.

    In particular, my concerns are these:

    1) Such meetings are self-selecting for statist types. If you’re not into planning other people’s lives, then you probably won’t attend. If you see voluntary social solutions as the answer (rather than government taxation, regulation, and property grabs) then you probably won’t attend. Thus, any “support” given by government agencies necessarily favors these statist types over other people, which is probably one reason they like it so much.

    2) The meetings are rigged to stifle dissent. Overt critics are ridiculed and/or run out of the meeting. Less strident people will offer ideas and alternatives, but if they don’t comport with the pre-arranged agenda they are ignored. Typically the facilitator will pretend to be openminded by asking people to write down their suggestions and turn them in to be considered. Not surprisingly, any suggestions contrary to the agenda are never heard again. The people who made the suggestions assume that the ideas were considered and rejected (if they are naïve) or simply quit the process.

    3) The federal agencies in the National Blueways group should not be given extra power to influence public opinion. Here we have a non-electoral process that helps government agencies subvert environmental groups. Personally, I trust the Ozark Society and the Nature Conservancy a lot more than I trust any government. The last thing I want is the State to buy off and pervert independent environmental groups.

    Furthermore, who are these government agencies involved in Blueways? They are the same outfits that gave us a Hog CAFO on the Buffalo river! They are the folks so incompetent that one agency approved and funded the CAFO, while another was totally oblivious to it. Clearly the Buffalo would have been better protected if it were owned by the Ozark Society rather than rulers and politicized government agencies. The very entities responsible for the recent massive government failure are the primary Blueways agencies!

    The bottom line: It really doesn’t matter much. The “Blueways” designation is largely cosmetic. To the extent that it promotes fascism and subverts voluntary organizations like the Ozark Society and Sierra Club, it could reduce liberty.

  13. Please publish this. I is a letter to the editor, but I write so much that it will probably not be published in the ArkDemGaz. But perhaps you will publish it here, especially since you’ve been too busy to write new articles lately. Here it is:

    “What a diabolically evil editorial!” was my first reaction. On Sunday March 23, the ArkDemGazette came out with a super-warmonger editorial that seemed straight out of Pentagon Psy Ops playbook. The editorial was about the liberation of the Crimea, but did not mention the Crimea even once. Amazing! There was a whole lot about Russia invading and the Ukraine being “cleaved.” The poor editors don’t know squat about history, in particular that the Crimea is not and never has been a legitimate part of the Ukraine. The doublethink behind the editorial is amusing – the ardent support of “the sanctity of international borders” decreed by a Soviet era strongman. If the editors came out supporting the “sanctity” Chinese control over Tibet, or condemned the USEmpire’s crossing of international borders (and continued occupation) of Iraq, Afghanistan, parts of Africa, etc. then at least they’d be consistent. Their patriotic parochialism is obvious.

    The editors are stumping for war, and make no bones about it. They openly state that they want to make the same stupid error that Churchill did to start his “unnecessary war” (Churchill’s own words) by violently preventing reunification of cultural groups. Fact: Chamberlain was right and should have stuck to his guns. He should have ignored warmonger Churchill’s advice to start a war when Hitler was attacking a common enemy in the opposite direction. What a better world we would have if Hitler and Stalin had beat each other to death!

    The most disturbing thing to me is the editor’s flat rejection of government by consent. For Crimea, there is a clearcut choice: Do you support consensual government as Jefferson so eloquently praised in the Declaration of Independence, or do you support existing decreed artificial statist borders? Will you let people be free, or will you kill them or enslave them to maintain statist rulers’ decreed borders – in this case “made holy” by the commie ruler Khrushchev? The Arkansas Democrat Gazette comes out firmly in favor of treating decreed borders as sacrosanct and treating the people of Crimea as expendable livestock.

    The editorial is right about one thing: It’s not about language. It is about government by consent. This is the elephant that warmongers are trying to hide when they talk only of Russia and Putin and Ukraine and “the West” and other chess pieces on their much-wished-for blood-stained global battle-ground. The Jeffersonians among us, including me, celebrate government by consent and the secession of Scotland, Crimea, Venice, S. Sudan, Montenegro, and so on. The more small entities there are, and the more devolution of big bloat-state power that occurs, the freer and more peaceful the world will be. The editor’s brain-dead jingoistic support of empire and war for national glory is absolutely disgusting!

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