Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

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Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Sitting in the dentist’s chair, enduring the agony of another teeth cleaning yesterday, I thought of the perfect use for the Google Fiber system coming to Raleigh.

I was being forced to watch Time Warner Cable’s News14 channel in front of me and thinking about how TWC’s local news model works. It didn’t take many minutes of watching the video (thankfully without audio, as the suction hose was often going) to realize how boilerplate it is. The TWC guys have an establishing shot, then zoom in on something dumb like police lights reflecting off the stolen car, then move on to another thing. It was obvious that the video doesn’t really tell the story – in fact, it is repetitive and dull. I could choose not to look up between rinses and feel like I didn’t really miss anything.

LTE on Skip Stam

Friday, March 13th, 2015

I sent this to the N&O regarding Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam’s apparent reversal of support for redistricting reform.

It is disappointing to see Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, once a champion of redistricting reform, backing a bill that quite plainly gerrymanders the Wake County Commission. We the voters lose again.

My original version called Stam “long a champion,” but it appears his days of championing redistricting reform are over. I hope one version or another makes it to print.

Reporters on the CIA take

Friday, February 20th, 2015

The story of Ken Dilanian playing footsie with the CIA brought to mind a comment I heard a few years back from someone in a position to know who insisted that news anchor Ted Koppel was a paid CIA asset. That was quite an extraordinary claim but I did not follow up and I could not find much evidence on the web to back it up.

It is not, however, a new phenomenon. Legendary journalist Carl Bernstein wrote a lengthy story about improper CIA involvement with the media. Wikipedia describes “Operation Mockinbgird” as a CIA plan to influence media and speaks of it in the past tense, though there is no indication that the operation has ended. Perhaps it hasn’t.

AP reporter soft-pedals phone key theft

Friday, February 20th, 2015
Ken Dilanian

Ken Dilanian

Associated Press Intelligence reporter Ken Dilanian reports on the NSA/GCHQ’s theft of mobile phone keys, as reported by The Intercept.

WASHINGTON AP — Britain’s electronic spying agency, in cooperation with the U.S. National Security Agency, hacked into the networks of a Dutch company to steal codes that allow both governments to seamlessly eavesdrop on mobile phones worldwide, according to the documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden.

via AP News | The Times-Tribune |

Dilanian’s soft-pedaling arrives in the second paragraph:

Brian Williams and lies about Iraq

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

There’s a lot being made about NBC News anchor Brian Williams having claimed he was in a helicopter in Iraq that made an emergency landing after being hit by enemy fire. I give Williams a pass. He had made a living telling other people’s stories, stories he did not write. After reading thousands of these over the years, it must become difficult keeping straight what one did and what one only read or saw. It does not diminish my perception of Williams if his helicopter wasn’t hit as he claimed. In the heat of it all it becomes difficult to piece together what’s what.

As the photo above attests, it would be a shame if Williams were the only one punished for lying about Iraq. There are presidents, vice-presidents, cabinet officials, – and, yes, news media – that buried everyone under lie upon lie about Iraq. Williams’s faux pas is tame by comparison.

Hanging Brian Williams out to dry for Iraq lies is like making Martha Stewart the fall guy for insider trading. The worst offenders get away.

N&O’s Christensen gets light rail wrong

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

The N&O’s Rob Christensen makes the classic light rail vs. commuter rail blunder in this week’s column. If the media can’t even properly explain the difference between light rail and commuter rail, how do we ever expect the public to understand?

When it comes to a light-rail system for Raleigh, label me a skeptic.

I am a believer in buses, and I think our bus system should be expanded and more bus shelters erected.

Before we sink huge bundles of money into a light-rail system, I think a stronger case needs to be made, given our limited resources.

He also misidentifies the real problem with our bus system, which is it’s unusable to all but those who have no other choice. I’ve written about that before.

via Christensen: Raleigh needs buses, not rail | Rob Christensen |

Taking aim at Gage’s Google Fiber op-ed

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

I submitted this letter to the editor to the N&O today. I trust they’ll agree with it and run it to correct the errors in the abysmal op-ed they ran last week.

Dawson Gage’s recent opinion piece about Google Fiber was deeply flawed. No public infrastructure is being “handed over” to Google. In actuality, Google will buy or build its infrastructure like any other provider. Gage also alleges Google was “deeply involved in the illegal, secret surveillance” when in fact much evidence exists to the contrary. Furthermore, how Gage can suggest that broadband hasn’t enriched our lives is bizarre and puzzling.

I know Google Fiber’s arrival is exciting news but let’s keep our heads, please.

Mark Turner
Raleigh, NC
Founder, Bring Google Fiber to Raleigh! Facebook Group

Update 6 Feb: The N&O ran my letter today. Gave it a headline of “Google all good.” I’m not sure I’d go that far, but at least someone has now set the record straight. On the same page, though, another letter writer repeated Gage’s “public giveway” premise. Sigh.

N&O runs horrible broadband op-ed

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The Google Fiber op-ed that ran in today’s N&O entitled “Google Fiber deal not in best interest of NC public” is so godawful that I don’t even know where to begin. Written by Dawson Gage, who calls himself an “IT worker, freelance writer, and aspiring law student,” it is incredibly misinformed on so many levels:

I rejoiced when my family first got broadband Internet when I was about 13, but I doubt it has made any of our lives richer or more productive. The usefulness of computers, for the most part, has little enough to do with how fast they are. No one wants delivery vans and school buses that go 20,000 mph.

Is Gage actually suggesting that life isn’t richer than in the days of dialup? Before YouTube, NetFlix, Wikipedia, Facebook, and Google? Apparently, having a mind-blowing amount of the world’s information instantly available isn’t rich or more productive enough for him. I bet he’s a big fan of the abacus.

N&O Editors miss Hatem hypocrisy

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

I was disappointed to read the N&O’s take in this editorial.

Greg Hatem is an acquaintance of mine. He’s done a tremendous job helping kick-start downtown Raleigh’s renaissance, investing when others would not. He’s earned some respect and should have his say.

On this issue, though, I must respectfully disagree with Greg. Downtown has continued to grow since those days when Empire Properties was the only game in town. Greg’s businesses have grown and thrived as well in this new, noisier downtown Raleigh. Heck, his businesses have contributed more than their share to the noise and revelry. For Greg Hatem to have played such a large role (as well as profited) in popularizing downtown and now complain about its success seems a tad hypocritical, doesn’t it?

It mystifies me how the editors at the News and Observer failed to see this irony.

When someone heads a company with 40 buildings and 500 employees connected to downtown Raleigh, getting the Raleigh City Council’s attention is fairly easy.

And Greg Hatem – whose company owns the restaurants Sitti, Gravy, The Pit and the Raleigh and Morning Times, along with many other properties – has earned that attention. Hatem’s involvement with downtown Raleigh goes back to a time when it was by no means certain that the city would see the boom it has. Hatem took big chances and got big returns.

But he’s moving his family, which includes younger children, out of a Fayetteville Street apartment into the Oakwood neighborhood near downtown. Why? The noise and party aftermath have made downtown, he says, "unlivable." He doesn’t like the idea of his family waking up to the garbage and other remnants of the previous night’s revels.

via Lower the volume on Raleigh's boom | Editorials |

Photos from the Google Fiber announcement

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Google Fiber is coming to the Triangle

Google Fiber is coming to the Triangle

I was able to attend yesterday’s Google Fiber announcement. As I walked towards the auditorium in the North Carolina Museum of Natural History, I was attracted to a table out front that displayed shiny plastic. Spying my Canon camera in my hand, the helpful woman staffing the table asked “would you like a media pass?”

Feeling like the limo driver in the Bud Light “Dr. Galakawicz” commercials, I answered “yeaaassss, I would” and smoothly hung it around my neck.

Inside, I hung out with the media pros and snapped photos with wild abandon. I’ve collected the shots into my Google Plus album. Check them out!