Peter Doggett, Are You Ready for the Country? Elvis, Dylan, Parsons and the roots of country rock. Five hundred pages of text, and consistently interesting throughout, at least if you care about the topic. Otherwise not. I have pre-ordered the author’s forthcoming biography of CSNY
You could give various responses about the larger significance of the debacle, that some people haven’t adequately recanted, etc.
But I want to add something, which is that this feels personal because it could so easily happen to any of us. The encounter was so mundane that you have to wonder what other non-events will be used to try to destroy you or me. It happened to be video-recorded not because it mattered, but because that’s just so easy with 2019 technology.
I didn’t have to worry about that when I was 16, but I can’t help thinking: what would it have been like if this had happened to me when I was 16? Are some people not having that thought because they see him as the Other, and consequently lack empathy for him?
I also think about what will happen if I ever have a kid. Would my 16-year-old always stay on the right side of the face police? Or might he occasionally be awkward at that age? What if he had some kind of a mental or physical disability that caused him to have facial expressions or body movements that people took the wrong way? (I say “he” because so much of the vituperation that’s been directed at the Covington kids has been explicitly based on their gender.)
Bridget Wall says her cardiac alert dog has changed her life
In the past few days, I’ve been under the weather (getting better now, so don’t worry about me), and sometimes as I’ve stood around in a public place, I’ve stopped to think: hey, I might have had an inappropriate facial expression just now, because of a combination of feeling a little out of it and feeling physically uncomfortable. If someone were video-recording me, could they find one still that made it look like I was “disrespecting” the wrong person?
When I see a post saying the kid’s “smirk” (always that same exact word choice) is proof that there’s something bigoted or wicked about him, I wonder if the person saying that has gone through life always making an appropriate facial expression for every social situation. Presumably not, but let’s say that is the case — would you want to be someone who always makes what others consider just the right expression? That sounds like someone who’s very safe and inoffensive and well-scripted, not someone spontaneous and flawed and quirky.
I grew up in a far-left college town, and I’ve known so many young people who were free spirits, who were nonconformists, who were determined to be themselves no matter what anyone else said, who had a passion for noisy music and experimental art, who listened to the color of their dreams . . . And back then, it didn’t seem incongruous that they were mostly on the left. Today, I see so many people on the left sternly admonishing a 16-year-old for having the wrong smile in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s a prissy attitude which seems like the antithesis of so many lefties I’ve known.
“Ink can freeze,’’ said Phillip Pina, deputy editor of local news for the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Another good tip? Don’t die.
That’s no joke. With temperatures dipping as low as minus 30 in the Twin Cities and wind chills reaching an unfathomable minus 55 in Chicago, this is weather that can actually kill you. On Tuesday, it was warmer in Antarctica and at the Mount Everest base camp than it was in Minnesota and the Windy City.
“Our biggest rule is to avoid unnecessary risks,’’ Pina said. “Have a plan to keep warm.’’
So how do you cover a story about how dangerous it is to be outside when it’s too dangerous to be outside?
Well, most news organizations start with the basics: closings, emergency updates, warnings and tips. The headline in Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune got straight to it: “Avoid being outside.’’
Along with telling people the dangers of such bitterly cold weather, news outlets offer up such pointers as how tell if you have frostbite, how to keep your pipes from freezing and what to do if you lose power. Those are all stories that can be done in the warm confines of a newsroom.
Eventually, however, news organizations have to get out in the cold. Or do they?
Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news for NBC 5 in Chicago, sent a note to his staff Tuesday morning telling them not to do any live shots outside until temperatures get back above zero.
“We must cover it in a way that is safe for our reporters and photojournalists,’’ Whittaker said. “We will cover the story, but we will keep (them) safe.’’
People bundled up against the cold in downtown Chicago, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. (AP/Nam Y. Huh)
No live shots does not mean his reporters won’t go outside at all. For the film crews who must get out into the elements, the station is providing hand and feet warmers, car battery jump kits and other cold-weather supplies. But, mostly, reporters must be equipped with common sense.
“Reporters here are used to working in extreme weather, but this story is the ultimate test,’’ said Allie Shah, who is heading up The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune’s coverage. “We tell them to dress in layers, watch the time and don’t stay outside too long. No story is worth risking their safety.’’
News outlets also have to be responsible with their coverage.
“Viewers are smart,’’ said Jennifer Lyons, news director at WGN-TV in Chicago. “They actually get angry if our reporters are outside telling people how dangerous it is to be outside.’’
In the end, news outlets simply have to be safe, ride it out and, when possible, try to enjoy it.
“It takes your breath away,’’ Pina said. “Sure your snot freezes and icicles grow on your lashes and it can get uncomfortable very quickly. But when it is sunny out on days like (Tuesday), we have some of the most clear blue skies I’ve ever seen.’’
The 8,000-pound gorilla
Edmonds talked to Howard Polskin, who runs a website that lists the 40 leading conservative outlets, aggregates a sample of their stories daily and tracks audience numbers. Check out Rick’s story.
Also on Poynter, read Kristen Hare’s story on how The Oregonian spent years working on a report about how a serial killer who got away got away, again and again, with murder.
President Barack Obama's hilarious final White House Dinner 2016 AD