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Archives: July 2013

Sri Lanka Indicts Eight Suspects Following Release of ‘Brothers Shaikh’ Film

On Monday we brought you the news that Stateless Media, a new film company based in Washington, had created a film about a man murdered in a Sri Lankan coastal town in 2011. Amid the crime, the man’s girlfriend was raped. At the time, the government imprisoned eight suspects, including a Sri Lankan politician, for 11 months and then released them. For a year and a half, the story stilled.

The murdered man, Khuram Shaikh, was from Manchester, England. His family still lives there. To many Brits, it’s outrageous that Britain is sending its prime minister, David Cameron, and Prince Charles to take part in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) this year in light of the fact that Sri Lanka is hosting it.

The film was released last week and posted on The New Yorker website. Since then, there has been an apology from Sri Lankan senior officials as well as an indictment of all eight suspects. (Yeah, the Sri Lankan court system is nothing like what exists here so don’t even try to equate it.) What’s important — we guess — is that the suspects are once again being asked to pay for their crimes.

“‘The Brothers Shaikh’ has been getting lots of clicks in Britain, and my suspicion is the British High Commission, in Colombo, told the Sri Lankans it was getting hard to justify sending Cameron and Prince Charles to this big meeting that the Sri Lankans will be hosting,” explained Stateless Media founder Peter Savodnik. “That probably scared the Sri Lankans. Hosting the Brits means a lot to them. It’s like a debutante ball. It means: We’re modern and democratic, and we don’t kill Tamils or Muslims; we’re not Buddhist zealots or fascists, which is what they are becoming, slowly. Still, there are two things to remember: First, the government has only said that it will indict the Tangalle Eight; it hasn’t done that yet. And second, we only made a movie about one man, Khuram Shaikh; there are thousands of Sri Lankans whom we will never make any movies about.”

Stateless Media is now producing films – they call them shortreals – in New York and Berlin. They have shortreals under development in Burma, Cairo and Los Angeles.

 

Company Wants to Help Put Out Weiner’s Fires

A media marketing company based in Tampa is offering New York mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner the chance to learn how to use Social Media without setting his life ablaze. Bits of the news were first reported on TMZ Sunday. Among other things, he’d learn how to shoot his schlong on Snapchat without getting caught as well as use the DRUNK DIAL app. Shouldn’t these be musts for all lawmakers?

Trent Silver, who runs Silver Visibility, has given us the full letter he sent Weiner.

The bottom line: A lot of people want a piece of Weiner. The company would negotiate a fee with the serial sexter, which they would then donate to the New York Fire Department.  “In essence, we would be sort of the Robin Hoods, taking the money from Weiner for our services and giving it away to FDNY,” Silver told FishbowlDC.

Asked how his company feels about Huma Abedin standing beside her Weiner, he replied, “I have a lot of respect for her,” said Silver. “It’s obvious Anthony Weiner has a problem, just as some women’s husbands might have a drinking problem. That doesn’t mean you just give up on the person. If he gets the help he needs personally, and we help to restore his reputation, eventually I believe their relationship could withstand all of this drama and perhaps come out stronger in the end.”

Why the New York Fire Department? “So they can put out his fires as well as the cities,” cracked Silver. On a more serious note, he said, “FDNY is actually the perfect organization to benefit – they are selflessly doing good for New York every hour of every day. We would request a $10,000 retainer from Weiner, which every penny would then go to FDNY for their great work.”

See the letter… Read more

Afternoon Reading List 07.30.13.

About that NYT article — Jonathan Van Meter’s piece on Anthony Weiner for the April 2013 issue of NY Times Magazine was well received. The story with the headline, “Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin’s Post-Scandal Playbook,” narrated Weiner’s fall from Congress, his life after and his first steps back into politics. But WaPo’s Erik Wemple argues that the story is now “being blamed for enabling Weiner’s political rehabilitation.” Weiner told Van Meter that he was “eying” the mayor’s race and enlisted the help of pollster David Binder. As many journalists do when writing profiles, Van Meter immersed himself into Weiner and Abedin’s life. But, Wemple argues, immersion wasn’t the key to this story. Instead, skepticism should have ruled his reporting. Van Meter didn’t question Weiner on when he ceased having those online sexy chatfests or phone sex, which we now know he continued having after he resigned.

Why you should read it: The NYT piece drew well deserved praise, even from the likes of Poltico Editor-in-Chief John Harris, when it was first published, but had Van Meter pushed Weiner on whether he had halted the online relationships, it could have been a very different story.

Hindsight is 20/20 — In an op-ed for Scoop San Diego, Doug Curlee says he has covered Bob Filner, San Diego’s pervert mayor, since he was elected to school board in 1979. He says that he and many other San Diego journalists knew how abrasive and abusive he was throughout his political career. Now that Filner is facing a slew charges of sexual harassment, Curlee questions why the media, including himself, didn’t investigate Filner earlier. He doesn’t know the answer, but offers a few suggestions: the media could have been lazy, because Filner had established himself as a Democratic power or because Filner controlled votes and campaign funds of “large and ever-growing organized labor groups, the unions.” None seem like good reasons to not investigate the mayor’s behavior, but Curlee says the media as a whole “didn’t try, or try hard enough” and that San Diego journalists “should be a little ashamed of that,” noting that he is.

Why you should read it: How often does a journalist say he f–ked up? That in itself is a good reason to hear him out. According to Curlee, Filner had been a subject of speculation among San Diego journalists, and he offers insight into why those stories were never pursued.

Prepared for battle — Religious scholar and author Reza Aslan’s interview Friday with Fox News’ Lauren Green has spread around the Internet like Chicken Pox before there was a vaccine, starting with it being posted by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, and labeled as one of the most embarrassing interviews to appear on the network. Green tore into Aslan asking how, as a Muslim, he can write a book about Jesus Christ. But Slate’s Josh Voorhees argues that Aslan knew what he was doing coming into the interview. In battling Green and establishing credibility for himself by listing off his college degrees, Voorhees says that Aslan “highlighted the gaping hole in Green’s line of questioning.” The interview worked out well for Aslan. After the interview, Zealot was at the top of the Amazon and Barnes & Noble best-seller lists.

Why you should read it: Voorhees offers–something different–a look from Aslan’s side.

Washington Examiner’s Tapscott Not a Groundswell Participant, According to Tapscott

Washington Examiner’s Executive Editor Mark Tapscott is upset FisbowlDC labeled him a participant in Groundswell, the conservative Journolist uncovered by Mother Jones’ David Corn. He sent us an email with the subject line, “David Corn got it right, you didn’t,” and asked for  a correction.

So what did Corn say in his piece? That Tapscott was a participant in Groundswell. What did we say? The same thing.

It appears we just didn’t spend enough time talking about Tapscott for the piece to be to Tapscott’s liking.

Read more

Bill Press Wonders, What’s Good About Washington?

Lefty radio host Bill Press wrote a column Monday about This Town (that’s column #9,345,789 across the D. C. media landscape, by the way) in which he started out saying, “Because nobody else will defend Washington, I guess I’ll have to.”

Yes! Finally. We got out our popcorn, grabbed a seat in the comfy spot on the couch and then… read 7 of 9 paragraphs in The Hill explaining how D.C. is actually a lot like how This Town describes it. That can’t be all you got, is it Bill?

Actually, he has some ideas…

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Anonymous Sourcing: Haberman Style

The more creative anonymous sourcing gets the harder it is to guess who may be doing the talking. And in Washington, it’s rampant as many sensitive spokespeople hardly ever want to go on the record about anything no matter how important or absurdly innocuous the information may be.

In Politico this morning is a whopper of an insider story by Maggie Haberman published at 4:59 a.m. on Huma Abedin, the victim-scorned wife of New York mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner. The larger point of the story is that Huma’s friends, who once had her “support,” now have their “concern.” In short: What the hell is she still doing with him? They don’t come out that boldly, but just enough to get their point across. While her friends are “concerned,” the media, writes Haberman, has gone from “sympathetic” to “savage.” The piece uses mostly anonymous sourcing outside of Clinton Camp intimate and CNN Contributor Paul Begala. Here is the impressive variety of anonymous descriptors she used:

1. “her friends.”

2. “their worry”

3. Our favorite: “The feelings about Weiner in Clintonland are unequivocal, according to one someone close to the couple: ‘Everyone’s done with him.’”

4. “Multiple sources familiar with the Clintons’ thinking”

5. “Everyone loves her to death,” said a Clinton ally who’s worked with her.

6. “sources said”

7. “Clinton insiders and allies insist they don’t believe Abedin has become a liability for the former Secretary of State…”

8. “Within Clinton-world…”

9. “’Two years ago [it was] caring about Huma, and now it’s concern for Huma,’ said a second Clinton ally, who, like almost everyone interviewed, asked not to be identified.”

10. “said one senior Democrat, who asked for anonymity”

 11. “One Clinton insider…”

12. “One source”

13. “Another source”

14. “Several other people with ties to the Clintons say…”

15. “Clinton aides say…”

16. “Several Clinton allies pointed out…”

BuzzFeed’s Malinowski Defends Himself Against NYT Magazine

Talk about not getting it.

Yesterday we highlighted a NYT Mag piece calling out several prominent journalists for helping spread false information via social media in the days following the Boston bombing, information that incorrectly labeled an innocent, missing kid as a terrorist.

One of those named was BuzzFeed sports reporter Erik Malinowski.

Later on Monday, Malinowski posted a defense of himself on Tumblr in which he manages to not only not take a single ounce of responsibility, but to cast himself as the victim. He says he’s been dragged “unfairly and falsely” into the story because NYT made a “major error”—they got the time of his first tweet off by a couple hours. This is apparently more of a bad thing than the “major error” he committed when he spread the false information in the first place because even his Buzzfeed editor felt compelled to contact NYT to explain this to them. In Malinowski’s world, these couple of hours mean he had absolutely nothing to do with the entire debacle.

Let’s take a closer look at just what role Malinowski played, shall we?

Read more

Bitch is Seeking Contemporary Feminist Voices

Bitch magazine

By focusing on gender issues and the media, Bitch acts as a tool-kit for all those who engage in social justice and feminist criticism (no, feminist is not another word for lesbian), and editors are looking for writers who can provide smart, thought-provoking commentary on pop culture.

With few staff writers to fill in the gaps, freelancers have more opportunities to land a byline. “We rely on freelancers to pitch us,” stressed editor-in-chief Kjerstin Johnson. “If we generate an idea in house, we may send a query to a group of established freelancers,” but she emphasizes that the Bitch team is hungry for solid stories with new angles.

For more details and editors’ contact info, read How To Pitch: Bitch.

Sherry Yuan

ag_logo_medium.gifThe full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Morning Chatter

HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS: “Some people call it dinner, I call it my nightly FEAST” — WUSA9′s Social Media Editor Simon Landau

A public mourning: NPR correspondent tweets mom’s death to the end

“The heavens over Chicago have opened and Patricia Lyons Simon Newman has stepped onstage.” — NPR’s Scott Simon at the conclusion of a weekend of near constant tweets chronicling his mother’s death. “She will make the face of heaven shine so fine that all the world will be in love with night.”

Affectionate: CNN’s Jake Tapper: “Deepest condolences and warmest hugs from the Tappers.”

Non-denominational religious: CBS’s John Dickerson: “Bless her and you Scott.”

Biblical Shakespeare? Commentary‘s John Podhoretz: “A love that surpasseth all, @nprscottsimon. May God comfort you.”

New Age-y: NPR’s Michele Norris: “Big universe of ppl sitting at computer keyboards or staring at hand held devices who are raising hands for you and your mum.”

Going national: “Sending our condolences to @nprscottsimon and his family this morning.” — NBC TODAY Show.

And last but not least, the cliché response: “She’ll always be alive in you, Scott.” — National Journal‘s Ron Fournier, on book leave but took time to tweet something deep and profound to Simon.

ICYMI: We had thoughts on the whole tweeting your mother’s death phenomenon Monday.

The Media Observer

“What could be more appropriate–Eliot Spitzer on Hardball. He and Chris Matthews both pompous assholes.” — GOP political consultant and blogger Roger Stone.

Meghan McCain has serious doubts in headline writers

“I think I could cure cancer and the headline would be: ‘Meghan McCain, voluptuous, really curvy, not skinny, maybe fat woman cures cancer.’” — The Daily Beast and “Raising McCain’s” Meghan McCain.

Karl Frisch: Still not smoking!

“8 Weeks #SmokeFree! Will be two full calendar months on August 3.” — Syndicated columnist and Bullfight Strategies’ Karl Frisch.

Reporter impersonates Stuart Smalley

“I look good today.” — Washington Examiner‘s Justin Green.

Politico Playbook Publish Time: 8:09 a.m.

A female journo’s dating woes

“If you go on a terrible date and the other person laments his inability to find a girl, do you have a right to tell him he’s the problem?” — The Hill‘s Alexandra Jaffe.

Speaking of dating woes…

“Joe just threw his wedding ring across the room because he’s so upset about Brooks and Des. #Bachelorette” — Dr. Jill Biden parody account.

 

FishbowlDC Newsstand: Your Morning at a Glance

WaPo

TWT

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