New Brunswick Today won’t cave to Housing Authority Board’s pressure to stop reporting on wrongdoings

charlie kratovil-nbha
Kratovil often the only member of the public at NBHA meetings. Source: Kevin Palomo via New Brunswick today

A friend referred to New Brunswick Today editor Charlie Kratovil as “a pain” in respect to his recent report on the actions of the New Brunswick Housing Authority and its members. This is my response to the comment:

If by being “a pain” you mean that Charlie Kratovil is doing the job the people of New Brunswick pay him to do through supporting his bilingual English-Spanish newspaper: in other words, investigate fraud, nepotism and unjust practices aimed at citizens, yeah I guess he would qualify.

Kratovil’s kickass journalism has uncovered fraud which led to the dismissal of 2 fake Housing Authority Board Members.

Charlie’s ignoring the remaining board members’ attacks on him for repeatedly requesting information they refuse to give him – which happens to be public information. Eventually, Charlie will just sue them and let a judge order them to cough up information they have no right to suppress.

Charlie refuses to be subjected to questioning as if he were a sitting member on a publicly appointed board belonging to city government. Because he’s not: he’s a reporter whose job it is to monitor politicians, appointees and city employees – and make sure they’re doing right by the citizens they are pledge and/or hired to serve.

And, he refuses to be cowed into not reporting truths that the Housing Authority Board members obviously want him to not report. Truths that might go unknown were it not for Kratovil, as he’s often the only member of the public at NBHA meetings – aside from a videographer who recently attended a meeting. The board does not record their open public meetings and emphatically challenged the right of the videographer to do so.

Chalabi late: the man who helped Bush move US into Iraq War

Dance on grave
Art courtesy RaphaelIsASexyName via the

The man who supplied the false evidence that Bush used to push America into war with Iraq, has become late: Ahmed Chalabi. A New York Magazine article tells the story of how his lies together with the ambitions of New York Times reporter Judith Miller, catapulted the Weapons of Mass Destruction myth into national prominence and helped GW Bush build his case to start the Iraq war. A war which effected the transfer of so much wealth from public coffers into close family friend VP Dick Cheney’s Halliburton company, that it seems entirely plausible that Bush’s hunger to push America into war was motivated by desire for personal gain.

…list of credulous Chalabi allies could include the New York Times’ own reporter, Judith Miller. During the winter of 2001 and throughout 2002, Miller produced a series of stunning stories about Saddam Hussein’s ambition and capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, based largely on information provided by Chalabi and his allies—almost all of which have turned out to be stunningly inaccurate. NY Mag’s Franklin Foer writes:

… the very qualities that endeared Miller to her editors at the New York Times—her ambition, her aggressiveness, her cultivation of sources by any means necessary, her hunger to be first—were the same ones that allowed her to get the WMD story so wrong. read more

Just 6 companies control 90% of the US media – and your perceptions

6 companies own 90% of media
Infographic by Jason of Frugal Dad

Seeing similarities in the news you read, view and hear – that’s no mistake. In fact, it might be inevitable, being that only six companies own 90% of all US media and all of the information we receive from it.

the 6 companiesDC Clothesline comments:

Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites. Sadly, most Americans don’t even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest. But they should. read more

Bernie Sanders to reporters: do some real reporting for a change

Sanders telling it
Bernie Sanders in top form when he confronts reporters and tells them to stop making it look like presidential candidates are in a mud-wrestling contest with each other and do some real reporting – on the issues people care about. Because, “People are fed up.”


Expert framing of Jorge Ramos’ challenge to Donald Trump

Jorge Ramos

Glenn Greenwald frames Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos’ challenge to Trump better than anything else I’ve come across:

Jorge Ramos, the influential anchor of Univision and an American immigrant from Mexico, has been denouncing Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. Yesterday at a Trump press conference in Iowa, Ramos stood and questioned Trump on his immigration views. Trump at first ignored him, then scolded him for speaking without being called on and repeatedly ordered him to “sit down,” then told him: “Go back to Univision.” When Ramos refused to sit down and shut up as ordered, a Trump bodyguard physically removed him from the room. After the press conference concluded, Ramos returned and again questioned Trump about immigration, with the two mostly talking over each other as Ramos asked Trump about the fundamental flaws in his policy. Afterward, Ramos said: “This is personal. … He’s talking about our parents, our friends, our kids and our babies.”

…Ramos’ supposed sin of being what the Post called a “conflict junkie” — something that sounds to be nothing more than a derogatory way of characterizing “adversary journalism” — is even more ridiculous. Please spare me the tripe about how Ramos’ real sin was one of rudeness, that he failed to wait for explicit permission from the Trumpian Strongman to speak. Aside from the absurdity of viewing Victorian-era etiquette as some sort of journalistic virtue, Trump’s vindictive war with Univision made it unlikely he’d call on Ramos, and journalists don’t always need to be “polite” to do their jobs. read more

Bush started us on path to Nazi-ism. Trump goes much farther.

trump naziSo, I’m reading this article shared by Truthout editor William Rivers Pitt about Trump’s extremist stand on deporting immigrants and his incessant hatemongering. And, I recently read a corroboration of Bernie Sander’s statement that Hitler was elected to govern Germany. All of a sudden that light-bulb goes on in my head: Trump could actually be a modern version of Hitler.

Trump’s fascist authoritarianism was thrown into stark relief by the courageous act of journalism “committed” by Mexican immigrant and Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos and Trump’s heavy-handed, dismissive treatment of him at a recent press conference. Ramos is one of the US Latino community’s most influential voices … Glenn Greenwald writes about the Ramos challenge:

What is more noble for a journalist to do: confront a dangerous, powerful billionaire-demagogue spouting hatemongering nonsense about mass deportation, or sit by quietly and pretend to have no opinions on any of it and that “both sides” are equally deserving of respect and have equal claims to validity? As Ramos put it simply, in what should not even need to be said: “I’m a reporter. My job is to ask questions. What’s ‘totally out of line’ is to eject a reporter from a press conference for asking questions.” read more

Atlantic’s list of “100 fantastic pieces of journalism” from 2014


The Atlantic’s Roughly 100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism: Exceptional nonfiction stories from 2014, includes:

SALON / The Day I Left My Son in the Car by Kim Brooks (Kimi note: this is a truly blow-away article)
“I made a split-second decision to run into the store. I had no idea it would consume the next years of my life.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES / Working Anything but 9 to 5 by Jodi Kantor
“She rarely learned her schedule more than three days before the start of a workweek, plunging her into urgent logistical puzzles over who would watch the boy. Months after starting the job she moved out of her aunt’s home, in part because of mounting friction over the erratic schedule, which the aunt felt was also holding her family captive. Ms. Navarro’s degree was on indefinite pause because her shifting hours left her unable to commit to classes. She needed to work all she could, sometimes counting on dimes from the tip jar to make the bus fare home. If she dared ask for more stable hours, she feared, she would get fewer work hours over all.”

BUSINESS INSIDER / The Untold Story of Larry Page’s Incredible Comeback by Nicholas Carlson
“…in 1985, a 12-year-old in Michigan finished reading Tesla’s biography and cried. That was Larry Page. In that moment, Page realized it wasn’t enough to envision an innovative technological future. Big ideas aren’t enough. They need to be commercialized. If Page wanted to be an inventor, he was going to have to start a successful company, too.”

THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE / A Changing Mission by Joe Garofoli and Carolyn Said
“A new group of settlers is arriving on 24th Street, known to some as El Corazón de la Misión, the heart of the Mission. Wealthier than previous residents, they are choosing the Mission’s bustling cultural mosaic over the city’s stodgier, old-money neighborhoods. Over eight months interviewing residents and merchants whose lives revolve around the block, The Chronicle observed a situation more nuanced than the past narrative of rich newcomers forcing out longtime residents.”

Looks to be a diverse and exciting list. Check it out and let me know what your favorite story is :-}

A short list of remarkable truth-telling journalists

speak truth to power
After reporting on Colbert’s public attack on David Koch at a Time Magazine Gala, journalist David Harris Gershon shares his list of truth-telling US journalists we should honor and pay close attention to.

Honor, because they are ‘swimming upstream’ in an era of cowardly and self-interested reporting. He starts off with, “Stewart. Colbert. Maher (at times),” and expands his list to include:

As According to Fish and kovie point out, it’s important to recognize those journalists and political commentators who swim upstream in their efforts to serve as truth-tellers, such as (to name just a few of my favorites) Amy Goodman, Bill Moyers, Robert Scheer, Paul Krugman, Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald.

While some may disagree with the names listed above, the underlying point is this: that there are journalists working tirelessly, and with integrity, to serve as important checks on power, even as our corporate media class (those who sip champagne and celebrate themselves at such gatherings as TIME’s 100 and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner) slide inexorably into the propaganda abyss. read more

Fact Checking: PunditFact


PunditFact (powered by Politifact) is a project of the Tampa Bay Times and the Poynter Institute, dedicated to checking the accuracy of claims by pundits, columnists, bloggers, political analysts, the hosts and guests of talk shows, and other members of the media.

We define a pundit as someone who offers analysis or opinions on the news, particularly politics and public policy. One can engage in punditry by writing, blogging or appearing on radio or TV. A pundit is not an elected official, not a declared candidate nor anyone in an official capacity with a political party, campaign or government.

Why Middle East news is so anti Israel

In this well documented article, a former AP editor explains why all major media outlet’s Middle East reporting portrays little Israel as the big, bad oppressor of the long-suffering Palestinians – no matter what the truth is.

most important story on earth headline

For starters, the AP alone has over 40 staffers reporting on ME affairs. And, AP and all other major news outlets’ Middle East reporters are only allowed to write stories that reinforce the “Bad Israel – Oppressed Palestinians” legend. The editors of major media publications simply refuse to publish any other type of stories.

Furthermore, approximately zero major media reporters in the Middle East speak either Arabic or Hebrew, so the permanent ME press corps lacks the ability to gather the deep insider perspectives that would give them a truly informed, holistic view of what is actually going on … and maybe impassion some of them to reveal the truth even if doing so would blow up their careers.

This article is well written, informative and thought provoking. I hope you’ll read it.

Today, I appreciate master journalists

Bob Braun in scarf

This morning, I have journalism on my mind. When I think of journalism, I think of excellence in delivering information so well that our understanding of an issue is instantly made much deeper; or when a skilled journalist shows us how relevant the topic is to our society and lives that our interest in it transforms from casual to compelling. I would like to share two examples of journalism brilliance.

Bob Braun in scarfFirst, congratulations to Bob Braun, whose career and personal accomplishments are featured in Rutgers’ Winter 2013-14 alumni publication. He comments –

Ok, so the plaid scarf was the photographer’s idea, not mine. But I’m glad the writer emphasized two of the accomplishments of which I am proudest – reintroducing Paul Robeson to Rutgers and meeting the Culbertson family.

Bob has recently taken on the cause of championing the plight of Newark Public Schools as the community wages a battle to protect its schools as the program to eradicate them continues to be implemented by Public Ed Destroyer in Chief Cami Anderson aka Newark Schools Superintendent. The plan Cami’s implementing was created by heavy hitters Senator Cory Booker, Mark Zuckerberg and Chris Christie (my words, not Bob’s).

Bob does a beautiful job of exposing the horror of what’s being done to Newark students and community through this drive to dismantle public education here; the intrinsic injustice of it; and the fantastic speed and brutality with which this abuse is being carried out. Diane Ravitch admires Bob too.

Find Bob Braun on Facebook, Twitter @BobBraunsLedger or read his blog.

Liberian needs a bike lock
Second. I was directed to this profile piece about a Liberian immigrant as a wonderful illustration of creating a meaningful portrait of a character with just a few words. By tying our knowledge of certain societal phenomena to the description of her subject

Emmet Larry, 50, hoped for a pair of underwear, a bar of soap, maybe some soup. But what he really needed was a bike lock …

Refugee from Liberia. Victim of torture. No income. read more