Home cookin’: ‘The Lobbyist in the Henhouse’ prompts governor’s gag order

Colin Woodard received several tips last year about “a reign of terror” on the staff of Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection Agency.

As he looked into the tips, Woodard began unraveling a twisted truth: Patricia Aho, Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection commissioner and a former corporate and industrial lobbyist, has been fighting against laws and programs that her former clients in the real estate development, drug, chemical and oil companies opposed.

Read more on this controversy unfolding this week.

Off their rocker going off the record

There is an uncomfortable irony in the fact that an attorney general investigating his policy for spying on the media is asking the media to keep his words secret. — More.

AP, New York Times and others refuse to attend Eric Holder’s meeting because it’s off the record. (cnn.com) | (washingtonpost.com)

McClatchy, New York Times won’t attend DOJ’s off-the-record meetingThe Huffington Post | CNN | The Washington Post | Politico

POLITICO, The Washington Post and ABC News, meanwhile, have announced that they will attend the off the record meetings. — More.

Seems to me this is akin to a defense attorney meeting privately with the jury.

UPDATE: It takes the WaPo five paragraphs before mentioning off the record. Here’s the first paragraph: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is scheduled on Thursday to begin a series of meetings with top news executives as part of an ongoing review of how federal authorities investigate reporters. The meetings are part of an effort to quell concerns about the Justice Department investigations into journalists revealing sensitive government information.

UPDATE: By Thursday midday, representatives from CNN and Huffington Post had joined the Associated Press and The New York Times in deciding to boycott the meeting due to its off-the-record status.

‘The perfect headline for our age’

The end of sex * The end of power * The end of money * The end of war *

“The end of” is the perfect headline for our age. It fits a moment that fetishizes disruption over stability. It grabs an audience enamored of what is next, not what is here. It suits a public debate in which extreme positions are requisite starting points. — More.

In the frenzied quest for attention, moderation is no longer part of the discussion.

What’s being missed in the media/Te’o story

Former Newsday editor/critic: One thing nobody seems to mention in excoriating early media acceptance of the Manti Te’o girlfriend tale — nobody checked deep enough, blah blah blah (Howard Kurtz just let loose on CNN) — is that many reporters are no longer given *time* to report. For print (or whatever you want to call today’s newspaper/magazine biz), they’re too busy blogging, Tweeting, dashing out “breaking news” alerts/writethrus, and otherwise upping online page views with right-now quick takes. For TV, they’re too busy “going live” from “location” to actually go out and, you know, find out anything, much less make an effort to confirm it. Many if not most reporters abhor this, but going along is the way they keep their jobs. And we all know how few of those are left.More.

I suspect there are a great many journalists who would agree with this. They’re ‘slingin’ hash.’



The media’s Te’ogate

* Tom Rosenstiel on the Manti Te’o saga: “The lesson here is ‘look inside the freezer.’ Journalists shouldn’t be taking [a source's] word if there is some way to verify it for themselves.” (washingtonpost.com)

* Josh Levin: Sportswriters didn’t catch on to Te’o’s phony relationship because they didn’t care to look into it. (slate.com) | Today’s South Bend Tribune front page.

* Outsports writer: Everyone’s asking me if Te’o is gay. (outsports.com) | Lots of Twitter speculation, too.

* Deadspin’s Tim Burke discusses the story with a SiriusXM sports talker. (soundcloud.com) – (Source for links)

“Why should I care what a craven, slipshod outfit like the Boston Globe thinks of my ‘journalistic standards’?” (Source)

• The original bizarre story of the football player’s nonexistent dead girlfriend on Deadspin by Jack Dickey and Timothy Burke.
• “I can tell you we’re as baffled as anybody,” said a South Bend Tribune staffer when Poynter phoned Wednesday evening. “If this story was a cruel hoax, as the University of Notre Dame has now indicated, we indeed were taken in, as were many others, including officials of the Notre Dame football program,” Tribune Executive Editor Tim Harman said in a statement.
• “You can learn a lot about what happened by looking at the contradictions between other journalists’ stories,” Burke tells Poynter’s Mallary Tenore. “That was what really tipped us off, after all, that something was weird here. Major news organizations disagreed on the date of a person’s death by up to four days.”
• The South Bend Tribune didn’t delete its old Te’o stories: It yanked reporter Eric Hansen’s Oct. 12 article from the paid archives so that it could be more readily accesible, and it collected its other previously published content on the hoax here. (more…)

Deadspin’s widely circulated report on Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s began with a tip. Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey got an anonymous email last week saying: “Hey, you know, something is fishy about the Te’o girlfriend story, you should check it out.” Burke told Anderson Cooper:

Deadspin’s Burke: Te’o story shows ‘diminished role’ of investigative journalism

Notre Dame football player Te’o girlfriend hoax ‘became truth through the media”

The fact is every media outlet failed to confirm the stories they sold as inspirational – the New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, ESPN, CBS, and many more all got caught short.

UPDATE: Statement from South Bend Tribune executive editor Tim Harmon:

At The Tribune, we are as stunned by these revelations as everyone else.  Indeed, this season we reported the story of this fake girlfriend and her death as details were given to us by Te’o, members of his family and his coaches at Notre Dame.  We’re still trying to put together stories that will be posted later tonight and printed in Thursday’s paper that will answer some, but not all, of the questions about today’s astonishing story. (Source)



Watching him in Iowa be Jay Carney of the White House rather than Jay Carney of Time magazine, complete now with a Secret Service pin to show his true status as a campaign trail regular, I understood immediately why he officially crossed over: he’d developed a serious, $10,000-a-day habit of following presidents around the country and the world. — More from Michael Hastings.

Survey: Local news stations ignoring ‘toxic mix of money, politics & media’ leading up to election

It’s a longstanding problem that has only worsened in 2012. Wealthy donors,  corporations, lobbyists and politicians are aligning with powerful media companies against a public seeking to engage more fully in democracy. The scarcity of honest information about the misleading political ads invading our airwaves has knocked viewers and voters for a loss. — More. (Emphasis added)