Tag Archives: Journalism

To Anyone Who Truly Wishes For Justice In Ferguson

The following stemmed from a FaceBook post generated 11/26/14 by me, changes for grammar and context have been made

My posts on social media [Re-tweets, shares, and comments] lately regarding Ferguson have not been unbiased and I apologize for that.

I’m now going over witness interviews and testimonies [that, and more are available here] a long with evidence and all other relevant articles so that I may have a more informed context on what actually happened on August 9th 2014.

As a journalist, it’s my job to read first and ask questions later, but sometimes not being sure about the realities around you frightens you into hypothetical situations and rhetorical evaluation.

When events like these happen, maintaining a commitment to truth needs to be your first response, now that I’ve had time to digest the hysteria that has been the last couple of days (and weeks, and months) I can continue to pursue that same commitment with a much leveler head

I think it’s important that as we review the evidence, witness interviews and witness testimonies, we must keep an objective eye on the prize, and it wasn’t until I saw this post by Charles Cooke earlier that I really harnessed in that sentiment completely.

The point raised in the tweet above is one that I found myself asking when I was reviewing evidence and interviews myself. Although I functioned my way through the documents with assumptions guiding my eyes and mind, the number of citizens who were actually trying to review the information for themselves or for the sake of promoting good media did cross my mind in form of a question. And as a result, I encouraged others to dig into the documents for themselves.

With the recent spotlighting of police brutality, especially against minorities- that has until this point gone mostly undocumented, it’s reasonable to see why I may have been too quick to come to conclusions, however these incidents are arguably separate in nature. (Though I do believe our law enforcement should practice and develop more regular, non-lethal ways to dissolve situations)

So far I’ve only began reading witness, evidence and autopsy reports, I hope to read as much of the evidence as possible this week as the tension de-escalates over time.

I encourage my fellow journalists and citizens to do the same, should they wish to make an informed opinion of the case’s conclusion.

To not do so would be to provide a disservice to all ears eager of hearing truth and justice, and would allow for deconstructive ignorance to grasp this conversation and slowly submit it to the silence of shame.

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Same Sex Marriage Opponents Struggle to Convince Nation, here’s why

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Photo by Brianna Kight

The following is a mock-up I did for the Opinion section of the University Star on the struggle for same sex marriage opponents both in realms of religion and law, discussion is more than welcome in the comment section:

When approaching the subject of gay marriage, citizens should evaluate the constitution and what they believe the age-old document’s role is in conjunction with their lives and the lives of their fellow Americans.

Homosexuality, as most of us know, has been as present in history for as long as conflict has been in politics. Virtually every culture known to man has some evidence of early homosexual depiction, and in some ancient instances (Greeks specifically) homosexuality was a normal part of everyday life.

Since then, things have changed. The world has become more civilized. With the rise of mass media and information, no excuse should suffice that allows for the restriction of rights from your fellow Americans. No arguments of faith, and definitely no arguments of law.

Many conservatives argue that the primary role of the constitution is to limit the national government from encroaching on the rights of the states, and this argument is true within the outlining of the 10th amendment.

However, other constitutional procedures and standards must be revisited and prioritized.

For example, the full faith and credit clause – outlined in Article 4 Section 1 of the constitution – calls for the mandatory duty of states within the United States to respect the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.”

The significance of this law will stand out to any transfer student who’s come to Texas State, because without it, States would have the right to decline their birth certificate, identification, and other legal documents regardless of their importance or value to the student’s life. Without this, Texas would be able to deny anyone else in the U.S. recognition as a citizen. (or maybe even a person, which would have been an issue during the 19th century undoubtedly)

For LGBT couples, marriage licenses are denied and go unrecognized by the states who choose not to recognize gay marriage, and as a result- partners can be denied hospital visitation rights for their spouse, expect misallocation of their estates after they die, and possibilities of having their children taken away due to the difference in State laws for adoption practices.

These actions are a true and frank example of how those who deny recognition of same-sex marriage highlight what is written in their holy books (which for the current time, cannot be proven) more than the text of the law the they swear to uphold.

For those who can’t support same sex marriage for holy reasons answer the following: Do you ultimately know the entrapment of God’s will? How do you know this? God is supposedly an all-mighty and powerful being so how could you, a human not of divinity, know God’s will? Man and women only being capable of creating children? Not anymore, adoption and artificial insemination actually helps same sex marriage couples create children together, and ultimately provide the parenting which has been scientifically proven to show no abnormal average of issues arising from the “non-traditional” households. All holy books were written by men hundreds and thousands of years ago, which brings me to my next question, how do you know God hasn’t changed his, her, or its mind since then? If you find an answer for any of these and they sound legitimate, find me on campus and I promise I’ll lend you an ear.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

Water Shutoffs in Detroit: Violation of Human Rights or Blatant Irresponsibility?

Photocredit: http://syntheticzero.net/author/arranjames/The City of Detroit has decided to shut off water for customers of the Water and Sewage department who haven’t paid their bills for access and usage of the city’s water. Activists and citizens of Detroit have expressed disappointment and outrage over the city’s handling of the water utility department, and U.N. officials have even gone so far as to condemn the city for the shut-offs.

                                Here’s what happened.

Before the shutoffs occurred, the Detroit water and sewage department faced debts and uncollected payment upwards of $90 million. A substantial amount of that pre-shut off debt stems from the department’s lax attempts to collect payment from customers. In hopes of reversing the dismal financial situation, city officials turned to the old-fashioned tactic of shutting the water off, in hopes that this would encourage citizens to pay for their water usage.

The results were mixed; over half of the 17,000 citizens who had their water shut off subsequently paid their bills and had their water restored, (this is according to city officials), while citizens who really couldn’t afford the bills met the shutoffs with outrage.

More recently following the U.N.’s condemnation of the water shut-offs, the city of Detroit released a statement outlining modifications to their initial and more stringent shut-off strategy.

Changes contained in the modification include desisting holds on properties facing foreclosures who can’t meet the financial obligations of paying water utilities on time, setting up payment plans with struggling with their payments and additional funds and resources for citizens who need assistance paying their water bill, namely – The Detroit Water Fund, which includes nearly $2 million devoted solely to the cause.

The question at heart remains, are the shutoffs an example of “Cold hearted” penny-pinching greed, or is the situation more complex in terms of what city officials have called “An Economic Reality”?

This issue is simple to a certain degree, there is no doubt that it is a demonstrable consequence of misaligned of priorities, both on behalf of the city government and (some) of the citizens of Detroit. After filing for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, Detroit was blinded by an overwhelming amount of duties to get out of bankruptcy.

One of the biggest concerns with the bankruptcy filing had to do with pensions of city government employees and retirees; many of which saw their pensions take cuts for the sake of digging the city out of the $18 Billion debt accrued. The second largest concern was their water and sewage department’s financial state, which contained over $6 Billion of the bankruptcy debt alone.

Now let’s be clear here, the fact the Detroit fell into such bankruptcy and problems with its Water and Sewage Department to such an extreme extent is a transparent sign of failure to the constituency that is the citizens of Detroit. The fact that pensions had to take cuts in the first place for current and retired employees speaks in volumes about the fiscal irresponsibility that the city had in allowing those events to transpire that far.

What really makes matters worse is looking into how Detroit initially handled the water situation. After deciding to restructure the financial integrity of the water and sewage department, the city realized that delinquent customers continued to abstain from paying their bills and shifted the costs onto dependable customers.

If that wasn’t enough to spark outrage, after shutting off the water to more than 14,000 homes, the city took longer than two months to even begin shutting off water access to 36 delinquent commercial businesses- 12 of which contained delinquencies totaling more than $100,000. The city responded to criticisms from citizens claiming the commercial businesses were gaining favoritism over the households affected by stating,

“The contractor couldn’t shut them off…They’re not equipped to shut off a larger industry like a Ford Field or what have you.”

As if that excuses two months of delayed action.

The irresponsibility of the City government is mostly to blame for this situation, however some of the delinquent citizens must be held accountable too, after all; the citizens who paid immediately after having their water shut off demonstrated that the water bill wasn’t so much a priority as it was an inconvenience.

This irresponsibility is also illustrated by customers who could have initially afforded to pay their water bills, but chose not to for whatever reason and waited for their water to be shut off or for their debts to accumulate to untamable amounts.

Shifting the blame to the city for not collecting sooner is easy to do because yes, the city is responsible for collecting the payment that it seeks- but why did it take so long for these customers to take care of their financial obligations or voice their concerns over their bills?

After the City’s meeting with U.N. officials, Chief Staff Alexis Wiley noted a perceived narrowness by their perspective in a statement:

“Hundreds of cities in Michigan and thousands nationwide shut off water to people who do not pay.  It is a standard practice among utilities. Yet for some reason, the UN is focusing only on Detroit, apparently to the exclusion of all others.”

The way that the city handled the Water and Sewage department’s financial crisis was deplorable, and the citizens were merely following example set forth by their so-called community leaders who took oaths of responsibility and failed them in providing it through the practice of their policies.

Photocredit: Wikimedia.com
Photocredit: Wikimedia.com

But that’s not to say things aren’t capable of being steered on to the right track.

The city does seem to be making strides in atoning for its sins, just yesterday it reappointed retirement investment committees to oversee future developments in pension funding. This latest move is one of the essential last steps in resolving Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, and will lead the city to its way of eventually curing the blight that has been its national image.

Maher’s Show Accidentally Teaches You About Media

Typically pundits and roundtables don’t work so well in the sphere of constructive conversation about current events, and especially not about foreign policy. But sometimes Real Time With Bill Maher mines up some real gems (most of which don’t come from Maher himself).

What happened in this Real Time with Bill Maher clip from May 2013 is a perfect example of the consequences that come from a society more engaged in shouting than examining. While many people (and you might be included in this) roll their eyes over the thought of discussing Benghazi situation, (that was how long ago?) Glenn Greenwald mentions something that most liberals couldn’t find themselves to come to terms with: That when government officials make untrue statements on the air despite whatever team they may be on – their actions and statements deserve investigation and retribution when they prove to be false.

While Maher continued to insist that he didn’t know what the scandal was, Charles Cooke of the National Review Online added very beneficial and constructive reflections of how the media and its audiences turned to partisan distractions rather than actually addressing the issue and while this is slightly off-topic and not on point enough for Maher’s question-beckoning, it is very beneficial food for thought which I will come back to later.

Glenn Greenwald came in and supported Cooke’s claim that the polarization in coverage proved to be more distracting than beneficial, and came out with this awesome statement at 1:26

The problem is that this arose about 6 weeks before the election when everybody was desperate to protect their side, so Fox [coverage] was ‘this is the worst scandal ever’ MSNBC [coverage] was ‘Obama did absolutely nothing wrong, he acted perfectly as always’ and the reality was something in-between which was:

A U.S. ambassador was killed (there’s only been 6 times in our nation’s history when that happened) The president went on the air and other people did too and made statements that proved to be untrue about why the attack took place- that it was a reaction to this film, when in rea- that’s just a reality, whether they were lying or just an error, the statements they made were- it was untrue.

Maher: It was a fluid situation

Glenn: No but it it still- when the government goes on the air and says things that prove to be untrue that is a – something that needs to be investigated and it was in a place where President Obama and NATO had gone and invaded and bombed and changed the regime, I’m not saying it’s a huge scandal, but there certainly are questions when the government and political officials six weeks before an election say things about a major event like that prove to be untrue. There should be investigations even if the republicans are doing it for political ends the same is true when democrats were investigating Bush officials and saying ‘these are the worst scandals ever’

Maher then goes off and brings in a statement made by Cheney that security at the Libyan Embassy was typically stronger during the 9/11 anniversary under the Bush administration, and while there is a fair amount of irony in that statement, it’s clear that Greenwald’s statement is still lost on Maher.

What is perplexing and frustrating is that Maher, just like the left-leaning outlets that Greenwald and Cooke mentioned, refused to acknowledge that the government should be held liable and answer for the inaccuracies in the statements they were providing.

And therein lies the biggest problem that we can see in modern media reporting.

With no tenacity for the truth or expectation of accountability for themselves or from the government, the media turned to partisan talking points and bile-quality reporting because doing so covertly plays it safe when compared to turning press conferences into interrogations.

While ‘interrogation’ might seem like a strong word to use for this situation, is it not appropriate? Lately there’s been a shift in tone when it comes to the usage of that word to imply some type of malice or harsh-intent, but at what point should media and society break away from accepting non-answers and expect their elected leaders to not only answer honestly to questions from the press, but to also answer for their misinformation?

We see this happen in debates where candidates don’t answer questions directly and veer off course, or when they cite statistics that are unfounded, debunked, or misleading

As Glenn pointed out, the statements made by the President and elected officials at the time proved to be untrue, and at the time they didn’t answer as to why. The fact that the media never asked them shouldn’t be reason enough to not address an accidental dissemination of misinformation. I understand that when constituents are harnessed in by the party-line tactics, it’s hard to expect quality journalism to take hold, but where media fails, journalism– true journalism should never falter- and I believe that Glenn was advocating for that in his statements.

As Charles Cooke later mentioned, “The Scandal here is that the media, as it did during the Bush years sides with power, the media did not want to investigate this and so it reported a process story right from the beginning Mitt Romney attacks the President

After Maher persists in claiming ignorance over what the scandal is, he goes on to cite supposed interferences and limits to what the administration can take on, saying

“What’s the crime? Something bad happened in the world. Obama is supposed to micromanage everything that happens in the world? He’s got four million people under his charge.”

Glenn later interjects and adds,

“You don’t think that when the U.S. ambassador is killed and there are people within the state department saying that they were asking for help and not getting it and that the U.S. government went onto the world stage for a week and made claims about what happened that turned out not to be true, that that doesn’t merit any investigation?

After minor interruption by Joy Reid of The Miami Herald (Reid didn’t seem to share the same skepticism as her Herald colleagues Hannah Allam and Jonathan S. Landay) Greenwald, Maher and Reid’s voices collide together and Maher cuts off the conversation, sputtering in:

Okay, Alright, Alright let’s move-no, wait I don’t. I don’t and I’m bored with it let’s move on.”

Glenn smiles and sips from his cup, Joy Reid says OK- laughs and sits back, and the audience applauds enthusiastically from being saved from their duty as citizens that Glenn almost reminded them of.

If information is the currency of Democracy as Ralph Nader once said, it would seem that American media is doing its best to pick apart the collective piggy bank themselves. As hard as it may be, it’s up to us-the citizenry to count up what’s been exchanged and forged, otherwise the money that comes out of our mouth will never be any good.

About OurDailyBlaze (OBD):

OurDailyBlaze is a political commentary and social criticism blog created with the uninformed reader in mind.

   Sure, some people might have seen the “news”  on cable stations or sensationalized headlines

…But true coverage goes beyond talking heads and sensationalized gibber-gabber:

Luckily for you, that’s not really our style.

OurDailyBlaze is (Y)OurDailyBlaze- Meaning that we want our readers and our publications to provide top quality analysis, depth, and attitude to every topic.

With that being said – many posts will seem to be derisive and in bad spirits by some; but don’t be dissuaded.

I follow multiple media outlets, candidates, journalists, and movements- all of whom fall short in different ways. I understand that no one is infallible, that this blog will be far from perfect- and that some media outlets legitimately try their best to inform their readers; but part of why I created this blog and this endeavor was to highlight commonalities in media that have become, in my opinion, far too frequent and far too careless.

It’s become a new American custom that prospective candidates and officials face no consequence or castigation for lying to spectators and audiences through  microphones and monitors across the globe. The assumption that a candidate would seek to defend their honor while maintaining candor and integrity has become a long lost remnant of optimists past.

What’s worst of all is that the watch dogs of those in power have surrendered their potential to create productive and meaningful change within our political climate- and in doing so they’ve sold out their loyalty to the uninformed and have disgraced the image of modern journalism. These actions: whether they be through intention or ignorance- are unacceptable.

OurDailyBlaze is committed to pointing out the ugliness of media coverage and metastasizing social mediocrity so that their perpetrators and perpetuates know that there’s a change a ‘comin

And  it’s spreading like wildfire

Welcome To The Blaze.

Photo Credit: http://www.verumserum.com/?p=19796
Photo Credit: http://www.verumserum.com/?p=19796