By Christopher B. Daly
Lots to catch up on.
–BU Prof. David Carr uses his NYTimes column to meditate on the creepy side of the all-digital future.
And it’s not just those raised on screens who are prone to distraction. As adults, we make “friends” who are not actually friends, develop “followers” composed of people who would not follow us out of a room, and “like” things whether we really like them or not. We no longer even have to come up with a good line at a bar to meet someone. We already know he or she swiped right after seeing us on Tinder, so the social risk is low.
–That reminds me of this funny/true video (which I found while allowing myself to be distracted by Facebook), featuring Jena Kingsley.
–The Sunday Times Magazine featured this profile of Megyn Kelly, who may be the key to someday getting Bill O’Reilly off the air. The piece, by Jim Rutenberg, makes the point that the freakishly telegenic Megyn Kelly is much more than just another FoxNews minx. She succeeds by being slightly unpredictable in her politics — at least within the context of Fox News.
Below is a photo from the defining moment (thus far) in Kelly’s career — the election night when she stopped taking orders from
Karl Rove and marched down the corridor at FoxNews to the data desk, demanding to know what was actually happening in the reality-bounded world.
–Here is the Times‘ take on its own national-security reporter James Risen and his refusal to buckle to government pressure to name his confidential sources. Worth reading. While standing by their man, the Times also issues this ominous warning:
The abandoned pursuit of Mr. Risen leaves behind an atrocious legal precedent: a 2-to-1 ruling in 2013 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Virginia, which denied the existence of any reporter’s privilege in the First Amendment or common law. That position was advocated by the Justice Department, and it was repeated in briefs asking the Supreme Court to deny Mr. Risen’s request for review, which it did. The Fourth Circuit includes Maryland and Virginia, home to most national security agencies.
This ain’t over.
–And the Times public editor Margaret Sullivan waded into the uncomfortable issue of whether all human lives are equally valuable. In the news business, the answer appears to be no. That was certainly true when I broke into journalism in the 1970s. My editors at the AP patiently explained to me that a bus crash on I-95 was a hell of a lot more important than a train crash in India.
ELSEWHERE. . .
–The Boston Globe has finally brought some science to bear on the ridiculous “Deflategate” controversy. This should have been the second graf in the very first story:
“Despite the allegations by the Colts, scientists are unanimous that the pressure of a gas depends on the temperature — the lower the temperature, the lower the pressure.”
Anyway, that’s the upshot of today’s story.
–The Globe’s former metro columnist Patricia Smith has reinvented herself as a professor of poetry at the College of Staten Island. A rare comeback from journalistic disgrace.