Saturday, November 12, 2011

This may be the most ludicrous New York Times Op-Ed I've read in years: Sell out Taiwan in exchange for China forgiving $1.1 trillion in debt!

Here's the link. And a quote:

There are dozens of initiatives President Obama could undertake to strengthen our economic security. Here is one: He should enter into closed-door negotiations with Chinese leaders to write off the $1.14 trillion of American debt currently held by China in exchange for a deal to end American military assistance and arms sales to Taiwan and terminate the current United States-Taiwan defense arrangement by 2015. 

This would be a most precious prize to the cautious men in Beijing, one they would give dearly to achieve. After all, our relationship with Taiwan, as revised in 1979, is a vestige of the cold war.

Wow. As if abandoning our allies and strategic commitments without cause or explanation weren't abhorrent enough, to suggest doing so in exchange for cash fundamentally demeans our country's values and ideals. (Imagine if he'd suggested selling Israel in exchange for a trillion in free oil?)

Ironically, the writer, Paul Kane, is an Iraq War vet. Thanks for your service, Mr. Kane, but you learned the wrong lesson from that misguided adventure....which will have cost us three times your bargain-label price for Taiwan by the time we finally leave.

James Fallows's equally aghast take here: Is This NYT Op-Ed a Joke? Selling Taiwan to the Bankers of Beijing—The Atlantic

And, of course, the Taiwanese animators of NMA:

Posted via email from OriginalSpin

Thursday, November 10, 2011

WCCO-TV's idiotic "Chinatown market sells dog meat" story: Reporter and news director need to come clean


So you've probably already heard about the rickperryian antics of reporter James Schugel, of CBS Minneapolis affiliate WCCO. If not, here's a quick recap: He conducted an exclusive investigation on how Minnesota dogs were being sent to New York Chinatown for consumption as meat. The heart of his report — an interview with a worker at Dak Cheong Market, where the dogs were allegedly being shipped, in which the worker apparently admitted over the phone to selling "dog meat." "Dogs...for people to eat?" Schugel asked. "Um, yeah. We sell many kinds of meat," responded the worker, in halting English.

(It should be noted that this conversation occurred after Schugel had sent his undercover "I-Team" crew to New York, where they investigated the premises with a hidden camera and (naturally) found no trace of dogs being consumed, butchered or sold.)

Now, those of you who are familiar with Chinese accents already know what's going on here. Yep, the worker was saying that they sold "duck" meat — ducks, "not for pets, but for eating." Because what kind of an idiot would go to a butcher shop to buy a pet

But that didn't stop Schugel and WCCO from highlighting the piece as a major story both on broadcast and on the web — until the real story came out and the station hastily pulled the online stream. The Asian American Journalists Association's Minnesota chapter has asked the station and reporter for an apology and explanation; none has so far been forthcoming. 

As usual, there's a much bigger concern here than just a single erroneous report. This is a case of a journalist going into a story with a clear agenda in mind: He wanted to uncover proof of dogs being eaten by Chinese people. Probably not because of any desire to slander Chinese; to give him the benefit of the doubt, he was likely motivated by the desire to "break" a big and shocking story. But the rationale for Schugel's lack of appropriate journalistic skepticism is moot. The fact is, when an initial — and expensive — foray didn't obtain the evidence he wanted, he pushed until he got support for the conclusion that would generate the most reaction.

Did he consult with experts in Chinese culture, cuisine or immigrant communities? Doesn't seem like it. And given the obvious likelihood that a language barrier would exist between the Kansas City, MO-raised Schugel and his prospective source, did he seek out the services of a translator to communicate in his over-the-phone interview? Nope. 

It's a no-brainer to point out that a station with reasonable diversity at all levels of the newsroom would probably have an Asian American individual capable of raising questions about both Schugel's reporting and conclusions before he and the station embarrassed themselves so badly.

But really, all it would have taken here is for a news director to engage a garden-variety B.S. detector: Even assuming a Chinese market were illegally importing dogs from another state to sell as meat, would they be idiotic enough to admit it, matter of factly, over the phone to a non-Chinese stranger

(It should be noted that, despite numerous rumors and unfounded allegations, no one's ever found a legit case of dogs being butchered and sold or served in the U.S. as meat. Really. Never. Here's a column I wrote about it, years ago: Putting On the Dog)

Schugel needs to be suspended from the investigative beat, and WCCO news director Mike Caputa — who was promoted to that position just this June — needs to go on the record explaining why the decision was made to air this story, given its massive holes. And let me be clear — this isn't a race thing, it's a journalism thing. Bad reporting needs to be censured, regardless of what its subject is.

That said, when bad reporting contributes to racial slanders that have (ahem) dogged a community since the dawn of immigration, and when it threatens the livelihood of innocent immigrant businessmen and workers (not just in New York, but in every Chinatown in the nation), the repercussions need to be real, and they need to be redressed quickly and publicly.

WCCO's failure to do so is the biggest embarrassment of all. 

Sidenote: While WCCO's fast fingers have pulled the original report off the web, the Taiwanese animators over at NMA-TV have been equally quick to fill the hole. Here's their take on the debacle:

Posted via email from OriginalSpin

All the snark in one place!: My CNBC GOPDebate liveblog transcript

0 0 1 762 4349 Jindomedia 36 10 5101 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE


So you may or may not know that I've been liveblogging the GOP Debates for WNYC's "It's a Free Country" as their Pop & Politics correspondent. In practice, this has meant pounding beers while watching the cavalcade of insanity that passes for the GOP candidates slate, and doing my best to simultaneously peck out snide commentary.

Anyway, with just a few thousand more debates left in this cycle, I've decided to start posting transcripts of my posts (here's a transcript of the actual debate itself, which was hosted by CNBC and titled "Your Money, Your Vote" — hilarious that CNBC misspelled its own anchor's name as "John Hardwood," you totes know that's his porn name, right people?) The highlights of last night's debate: 1. Jon Huntsman's back, did anyone miss him? 2. Herman Cain calling Nancy Pelosi "Princess Nancy" 3. Rick Perry #epicfail. 

And now, your debate, in 60 seconds. 

The debate's about to begin! My fearless predictions on the top three GOP debate ideas to fix the economy: 1—Cut taxes 2—End Medicare/Social Security 3—Ban abortion. 

Oops—the numbering got messed up. Should be 9—Cut taxes 9—End Medicare/Social Security 9—Ban abortion

Uh...was that Food Network's Alton Brown being interviewed as an expert for this debate?

Ha! @BorowitzReport GOP Debate Preview: Michele Bachmann will say that from the moment an egg is fertilized, it has the right to own a gun

Huntsman's back! I totally feel like he should be standing there behind a cardboard box

"Just like 60 minutes is an hour, a dollar is a dollar." #CainsFirmGraspOnObvious

Romney takes a sideswipe at Newt? "I've been married to the same woman for 42 years"

Rick Perry looks intensely focused on the five inches in front of his forehead.

Did Perry just call for the breakup of the banks? Like Newt did, earlier today?

The 40% corporate tax rate is driving jobs out of the country? How does Bachmann explain the huge percentage of companies that pay 0% taxes?

Santorum's 0% taxes for manufacturing makes zero sense. Banks will start setting up basketweaving divisions.

Whoa—the question. Maria B. raises Cain's lady problems: "Why should the U.S. people hire a president with character issues?"

Cain: "And if you'd like to talk about this later, Maria, in private..."

Now a question on Occupy Wall Street. 76% of Americans believe that the economy tilts toward the wealthy.

And Huntsman gets his first question, and answers: I want to be president of the 99%. And the 1%.

Newt: "Occupy Wall Street doesn't have a clue about history". Unlike the Tea Party, which is at least costume-appropriate.

Santorum wants to drill the Marcellus Shale while training coal miners how to program in C++. Or something.

Cain says 999! Everybody drink.

Bachmann: "Freedom should cost at least $10 for every taxpayer, the cost of 2 Happy Meals." It's tax policy via Groupon!

Romney: "Allow this economy to reboot." Romney to America: CTRL ALT DELETE

Newt plays the DeNiro card: You askin' me?

All of a sudden, all the GOP candidates are in favor of breaking up the big banks. Did a check not clear?

Perry's solution to the healthcare crisis: "I guarantee we'll solve it, and we'll save a ton of money."

Calling Minority Leader Pelosi "Princess Nancy," huh? Cain's just really racking up the gender credibility here 

Uh, Newt—Romney said MEDICARE, not MEDICAID should be sent to the states. Medicaid is already run by the states.

Michelle wondering where promised cost savings are from "Obamacare," which will not exist until 2014. #JustgohomealreadyMichelle

I really, really wish Romney would just say "we need to repeal Obamacare and replace it with Romneycare"

Romney stumbles like a drunken sailor all around question related to individual mandate.

RT @benschwartzy: Cain campaign now issuing statement that Pelosi is a "troubled woman" who asked to be called "Princess Nancy."”

Tied for face you most just feel like slapping: Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich 

Romney did not want to remind audience that he collaborated with Ted Kennedy on his healthcare plan. Ha.

"We must have a president who puts the country in front of getting elected" And Romney disqualifies entire Republican field in one swoop

Perry forgets what department he's going to eliminate. "Education, Commerce...uh..." Wow. #EndofLineforPerry

Props to Ron Paul for trying to give Perry hints, though. "EPA?" "'s not the EPA."

Gingrich calls for privatizing Social Security, e.g. putting it in the hands of the same people who brought us the global economic meltdown 

Bachmann has no idea what she's talking about, demographically OR economically, when she's talking about SocSecurity.

Huntsman: Obama sucks as a leader. See, a good leader wouldn't hire backstabbing weasels for key positions in his administration

Paul: "Pay for college the way you pay for cellphones!" Um...have the provider give it to you for free with a 2-year subscription?

Perry will "stand up for the young people" by getting rid of the federal student loan program. Our hero, saving kids from debt 

Oh here's the "China sucks" portion of the debate.

And Cain's answer to winning! vs. China? 999. Like it is to everything. #NounVerband999 

Romney: I'll crack down on China—those cheaters! I'll label them. And then they'll copy the labels and sell 'em at half price.

Newt cites Boston Consulting while standing right next to Bain alum Romney. Getting him back for his wife remark.

Romney's position on China is reminiscent of Reagan's joke "I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever."

And now pit boss Jim Cramer is reading a quote about the markets being a casino....

I think that if Jim Cramer traded some of his medication for some of Rick Perry's, both would be better off.

If I'm running the GOP debates, it's 3 frontrunners I'd reduce the field to: Romney, Cain & the um, who's the third one there? Um...oops.

That's it! Until the next one...good night, everyone!



Posted via email from OriginalSpin