Archive for the ‘Newspapers’ Category

There’s a movement right now where people are publicly shaming advertisers on Breitbart.com, the alt-right website. People are being urged to Tweet to businesses telling them to take down their advertising, unless they want to be associated with the website that once used the headline: “Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield.”

Here’s the problem: a lot of companies don’t know they are advertising there.

They advertise through Adwords, a Google platform. Like anything Google does, it is focused on the big reach. They want to find as many possible customers for your business as possible. So, they place ads everywhere. You want to advertise your national shoe company? It might wind up on Breitbart. You want to advertise your local lawn maintenance company? It might also wind up on Breitbart.

Adwords lets advertisers choose what websites they don’t want to appear on. However, it is a lot to ask of companies to scour the web and write down every site they disagree with.

Chances are, they just don’t realize their ads are there. So, don’t publicly shame them for something they had no idea about.

I went over to Breitbart when I heard about this public shaming movement. I wanted to see who was advertising there. So, to my surprise, there was a company I do a fair amount of business with. Its founder is of Middle Eastern descent, so I was a bit shocked to see that.

Instead of adding to the Twitstorm, I went to this company’s website and used “Contact Us” to send a quick e-mail letting them know where their ads were, and that it was probably an Adwords issue. I also warned them of the ill-informed backlash that some other companies are getting because of this. They responded in person within hours letting me know they wanted nothing to do with Breitbart and would inform their advertising director right away to fix this.

I understand the desire to fight inflammatory words with other inflammatory words, but in this case, you’d be hurting innocent advertisers in the crossfire. And besides, as the Red Dragon in Bone said, “Never play an ace if a 2 will do.”

I’ve been a reporter for more than a dozen years now. I am OK with the fact that people don’t believe everything they read. But I don’t understand how people think politicians are more believable than the media that covers them.

Politicians lie. That’s all there is to it. Every single one of them. I don’t care how wonderful your candidate is, they are a liar. They have lots of reasons to get you to believe what they’re telling you. It all has to do with money and power. And occasionally mistresses. That’s really all they want.

What Lies

This short satirical video explains it all.

And yet journalists are condemned as biased whenever they point out these shortcomings. In my admittedly short tenure, I have met some reporters who were biased against certain politicians. Some had a David complex, looking for a Goliath to slay. But most of the reporters I know don’t care who is in office as long as they give a good quote. They don’t have a horse in the race. If they are on anybody’s side at all, it’s the taxpayer.

Journalists make mistakes. I have made my share. But one mistake will make people condemn a news source, while politicians can make all the mistakes in the world and be untouchable. Maybe it’s because politicians have more charisma than most journalists. Maybe people just believe what they want to believe. No matter what, I’ll never understand why journalists are trusted less than the politicians they report on.

When writing political articles – particularly election previews – I always strive for fairness. And after a while, some of the politicians know that about me. And they’ve told that to me…but lately I’ve been doubting their intentions.

I always get both sides. In election previews, I do a word count so that one candidate doesn’t get too many more words.

Some people have said to me “Your article was really fair.” At first, I took that as a compliment. After a while, I started looking at it as a left-handed compliment. As in, “I really wish you had only told my side of things, but your article was fair.” One person told me I walked a razor line with one of my stories.

Now, I’m seeing another side – a veiled threat. For example: I’ve heard “I know you’ve always been fair” several times. But sometimes I think the full thought is “I know you’ve always been fair…and you better let me have my say as well.”