by Ben L. Kaufman
Media musings from Cincinnati and beyond
• As much
as I usually enjoy Krista Ramsey’s controlled, empathetic reporting and
writing, I don’t understand why Enquirer editors wasted her talent and
their limited space on their serial about a bank-robbing granny. Who
cares? If I learned anything, it was from the front page dedicated to
the start of the serial. It was pure, screaming tabloid and perfect
practice for the day the Enquirer shrinks its page size again.
Enquirer discovered a foreign policy “expert” living silently among us
for years. That’s their word: “expert.” He was outed on Monday’s page 1
in a lavishly illustrated story about his taxpayer-paid travels. It’s
U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot. Face it, travel doesn’t make anyone an expert.
If it did, Rick Steves should be our next Secretary of State.
we go again. Our Enquirer carrier is supposed to deliver the Enquirer
seven days a week and the New York Times Monday-Saturday. Last
Wednesday, the Enquirer arrived but the Times didn’t. Times call center
people in Iowa promised a replacement paper by 2 p.m. We’re still
Thursday, there was no Times for the second day and, instead of a replacement
Wednesday paper, the Enquirer carrier tossed a copy of the Wall Street
I can’t invent this stuff. The WSJ is the only serious challenger facing the Times as a national daily.
people in Iowa promised a replacement Thursday paper. I’ve called so
many times I can recite their script with them, including faux sincerity
when apologizing for missed papers.
also sent another note to the circulation VP at the Times, using the
email address on the paper’s website. (I couldn’t find any such person
or email in the online list of Enquirer contacts. No surprise.)
Times circulation VP couldn’t happy about paying to deliver the WSJ. An
aide called, saying he’d do all he could by phone. Not much. Actually,
Friday, finally, the Enquirer carrier got it right: Enquirer and Times. That can’t last. The lapses are not new.
are being raised about foreign research involving UC and Henry
Heimlich. UC News Record reporter Benjamin Goldschmidt said, “The study
tested whether or not a modified version of the Heimlich Maneuver could
stop an acute asthma attack or treat asthma symptoms without
contemporary treatment. The subjects’ parents gave consent and the
results reported no adverse effects, according to the study. The 67
children who participated were between the ages of six and 16.”
said Heimlich’s son, Peter, is pressing the inquiry at UC and
elsewhere. The younger Heimlich said that “Since at least 1996, based on
dubious evidence, my father has claimed that the Heimlich Maneuver can
stop asthma attacks, but asthma experts have expressed strong doubts . .
. For example, in 2005, Loren Greenway, administrative director of
respiratory and pulmonary medicine for Intermountain Health Care in Salt
Lake City, told a reporter that using the Heimlich maneuver in an acute
asthmatic condition … could actually kill somebody.”
Heimlich said he targeted UC because Charles Pierce, adjunct professor
of psychiatry at UC, was involved with applying for loans for the study
in Barbados, an Atlantic nation between Haiti and Venezuela. He cited
email correspondence in the Winkler Center’s Heimlich Archives at UC.
News Record quoted UC spokesman Greg Hand, who said the majority of
Pierce’s work is done at Children’s Hospital, not with UC.
Peter Heimlich raised questions about his father’s foreign experiments
on malariotherapy, which seeks to prove that infecting people with
malaria creates HIV-killing fevers.
• If you missed it, find last week’s page 1 New York Post photo of a man about to be killed by a subway train.
photographer R. Umar Abbasi said it is one of dozens he shot using his
flash unsuccessfully to alert the driver about an emergency. A furor
followed the Post’s decision to print his photo.
Photographers frequently are faulted for not intervening in violent or deadly situations. So let me offer a couple comments.
Abbasi had no duty to try to lift Ki-Suck Han to safety. He says he
wasn’t close enough, the train was coming, he was unsure whether he
could lift the man. Others, closer, did not try to help.
photographers should set aside their cameras and get involved is a
recurrent question. My answer is this: The greater the risk, the smaller
the obligation to help. That’s how we get images of wounded and dying
soldiers, people trapped in or rescued from bombed buildings, prisoners
being shot, stabbed, torture, etc.
what photographers do. They show us what’s happening and in many
situations, photographers would have been casualties if they’d try to
older colleague at the Minneapolis Star said a woman who survived the
collapse of a downtown hotel complained that he photographed her instead
of helping. My colleague sent her an autographed copy of the photo,
inscribed, I recall, “Deadlines are deadlines, lady.”
the Post wasn’t wrong to publish the photo. I’m on the side of showing
what happens when things go very, very wrong. War is ugly. So are
traffic accidents, trench cave-ins and shootings here. Sanitizing does
no service to readers/viewers who need to know what happened in a
newsworthy event. Is the photo disturbing? Yes. But not so much as
Ki-Suck Han’s death at the hands of a stranger who pushed him on to the
often spend their lives known for one news photo: Marines raising the
flag on Mt. Suribachi, a young woman screaming over the body of a
student at Kent State, a starving Sudanese child watched by a nearby
vulture, a South Vietnamese officer executing a Viet Cong suspect with
one shot to the head. Some images win famous prizes. Some photographers
build careers on their moments. At least one, Kevin Carter, bedeviled
by what he’d seen among Sudanese famine victims, killed himself. Abbasi
will not easily shake the image of his image of that subway death.
Dec. 8 Economist online has a cautious update on the declining
newspaper industry, including Gannett, owner of the Enquirer. Included
is a look at the ways pay walls like that at the Enquirer are succeeding
where online content long was free. At some papers, online income
finally is seriously compensating for income from lost print ad
revenue. But the Economist warns “Most important, a paper’s content has
to be worth paying for, which is bad news for (unnamed) papers that
have cost-cut themselves into journalistic wraiths.”
love a journalistic hoax. A top Chinese daily, People’s Daily, reported
that “The Onion has named North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un as
the sexiest man alive for the year 2012.”
unaware that the Onion is an American satirical website, Chinese
editors copied it verbatim: “With his devastatingly handsome, round
face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this
Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman's dream come true. Blessed with
an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made
this newspaper's editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion
sense, chic short hairstyle, and, of course, that famous smile.”
pranks are nothing new. Years ago, when WNOP “Radio Free Newport”
broadcast from an Ohio River barge, it would play recordings of prank
telephone calls. One was to a railroad asking if the caller could use
its engine roundhouse to play a huge Bobby Breen U.S. Steel record.
Another asked a department store lingerie clerk about an Erin go Bragh,
and I think, a Freudian slip. A supermarket customer insisted he
properly assembled his “chicken parts kit” but it would only fly
backwards. What should he do? The “Green Hornet” called a garage,
supposedly servicing his Black Beauty car to ask when his Filipino
houseboy Kato could pick it up. Finally, there was the soldier who
called a McDonald’s with a detailed order for an entire Army reserve or
national guard unit. The laughs, of course, came as recipients of the
calls struggled to make sense of the queries until they realized they’d
however, a clever media hoax goes sadly wrong. That’s apparently what
happened last week when Australian radio DJs Mel Greig and Michael
Christian fooled nurses at London’s King Edward VII Hospital into thinking they were the Queen and Prince Charles. They wanted to know how Kate was handling her severe morning sickness.
an early morning telephone call, Greig, impersonating the Queen, said:
“Oh, hello there. Could I please speak to Kate please, my
she was speaking to the Queen, immigrant nurse Jacintha Saldanha, on
switchboard duty, replied; “Oh yes, just hold on ma’am.”
put the call through to the nurse in the Duchess’ room. That nurse, so
far unnamed, also thought she was speaking to the Queen and provided
details about Kate’s health.
Sydney station, 2Day, heavily promoted its prank and broadcast it
repeatedly. It became an international sensation; even the real Prince
Charles was reported to have thought it funny.
Saldanha was found dead Friday, three days later. London police said
they are not treating her death as suspicious. That means suicide or
natural causes. British news media assumed suicide, suggesting Saldanha
couldn’t deal with humiliation after 2Day’s recording of her
embarrassing error went viral. The London Telegraph said “the two
presenters who made the call will be questioned by Australian police
following a request by Scotland Yard, which will gather evidence for an
P. McIntosh was a Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter writing for women in
1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7. Editors killed
her story, saying her graphic description of civilian victims would be
too upsetting. Last week, the Washington Post published the uncut story
with McIntosh’s recollections. It’s vivid, fine reporting, the kind of
writing we seldom see today.
inexplicable failure of journalism honesty landed NBC in court. George
Zimmerman, who admits he shot and killed unarmed Florida teenager
Trayvon Martin, sued the network. He says NBC editing of his original
911 call defamed him and caused intentional infliction of emotional
played the its reporter’s edited tape three times. On it, Zimmerman
says, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or
something. He looks black.”
on the unedited tape, Zimmerman says, “This guy looks like he’s up to no
good or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking
around, looking about.”
Then the 911 dispatcher says, “OK and this guy — is he white, black or Hispanic.”
Only then, in response, Zimmerman said, “He looks black.”
the dispatcher’s question nor Zimmerman’s answer was racist. If a
police officer was to be dispatched, it was important what the potential
suspect, Trayvon Martin, looked like.
a story I haven’t seen as we edge up to the fiscal cliff: how many
billions are spent on fully employed people whose wages are so low that
employers transfer their costs to the rest of us? Medicaid, food stamps,
etc. aren’t limited to the unemployed or aged. And while they’re at it,
reporters can tell us how much a full-time worker must earn to equal all
of their taxpayer-supported benefits.
now, a birther alert. Ted Cruz, newly elected Hispanic and perfectly
conservative senator from Texas, says his Canadian birth doesn’t
disqualify him from a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
He told Ryan Lizza in the New Yorker, “The Constitution requires that
one be a natural-born citizen and my mother was a U.S. citizen when I
was born.” He could have added that
Americans captured Canada 200 years ago in the War of 1812, assuring
Donald Trump of Cruz’s eligibility. And hey! Americans then defeated
Santa Ana at the Alamo.
by Danny Cross
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls responded to Rep. Steve Chabot’s
Wednesday attempt to block federal funding for Cincinnati’s
streetcar construction by calling it “an outrageous interference in
local government decision-making.” The Enquirer today recapped the
situation, which involves Chabot adding the following amendment to a
massive federal transportation bill: “None of the funds
made available by this Act may be used to design, construct, or operate a
fixed guideway project located in Cincinnati, Ohio.” The amendment has
little chance at being included in the final passage of the bill, as the
Senate and President Obama would both have to approve and sign it.
A parody video of a Western &
Southern PR representative explaining why the insurance company should
build condos at the site of the century-old women’s shelter has earned a
response from W&S. The company’s VP of public relations told The Enquirer: “Whoever
created the video, we think it’s unfortunate that they’ve taken this
approach,” he said. “We think it’s a distraction from finding a win-win
for all involved.” The video is no longer available on YouTube, however,
due to “a copyright claim by Canipre inc.”
Speaking of funny videos, MSNBC posted this video of Rep.
Jean Shmidt apparently reacting to someone incorrectly telling her that
President Obama’s health care law had been struck down. Schmidt can be
seen twisting around and making strange screaming sounds.
Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
by Danny Cross
A local developer has offered to build a new jail adjacent
to the Justice Center, a cost of $65 million, in return for the county
leasing it for 30 years at $10 million a year, according to The
Enquirer. The developer, Rob Smyjunas, said the offer isn’t about making a profit, just making the county better for his and other families.
Mayor Mallory didn’t answer The Enquirer’s questions about
the potential for a Council majority to block the property tax increase in
City Manager Milton Dohoney’s proposed budget. A Mallory spokesman says he’ll work
behind the scenes on a budget that will win a Council majority and
that he’s off to New Orleans for a conference on reclaiming vacant
An environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro kicked off on
Wednesday, with environmental groups and activists disappointed with the
Rio+20’s lack of progress on creating clear goals for sustainable
The Sanford, Fla., police chief who drew criticism for not investigating the shooting death of Trayvon Martin has been fired. Sanford
City Manager Norton Bonaparte said he relieved Bill Lee of his duties
because the police chief needs to have the trust and respect of the
A video of middle school kids in upstate New York bullying
a 68-year-old bus monitor has drawn international media attention. The
woman says the kids are all pretty much normal and are OK to deal with
The bullying continues unabated for about 10 minutes in
the video, reducing Klein to tears as a giggling student jabs her arm
with a book. Recorded by a student Monday with a cell phone camera, the
brazen example of bullying went viral and spurred international outrage.
A population of chinstrap penguins in Antarctica has declined by 36 percent due to melting sea ice.
"Actually, in the '90s it was thought that the climate
change would favor the chinstrap penguin, because this species prefers
sea waters without ice, unlike the Adelie penguin, which prefers the ice
pack," study researcher Andres Barbosa told LiveScience. He added that
at the time, chinstraps, named for the thin black facial line from cheek
to cheek, seemed to increase in numbers, with some new colonies being
established. The sea-ice decline in the winter, however, has become so
big that it is now impacting krill populations, said Barbosa, of the
National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid.
Researchers found evidence of ice on the moon.
A new study has found that eating disorders are common
among older women. Researchers say weight and eating concerns do not
discriminate based on age.College football BCS commissioners have endorsed a
four-team playoff format to determine college football’s national
champion instead of the current computer-human two-team system. The plan will go to the BCS presidential oversight committee
on June 26 for approval. LeBron James and the Miami Heat are one win away from winning the NBA championship after going up 3 games to 1 with a 104-98 win in Game 4 Tuesday.
by Danny Cross
The Enquirer today broke out its
Freedom of the Press Card, pressing the city to release details of
the bids to build the streetcar's five vehicles. Enquirer
Editor and Vice President Carolyn Washburn says the newspaper is
being a good watchdog by investigating all the redacted parts of
documents released by the city, which reportedly include typical
streetcar parts, performance data and personal information of
employees. A firm called CAF USA, which won the bid for more than $20
million, is trying to block the release of the data, along with two
losing bidders who claim the information is trade secret.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Kentucky Gov.
Steve Beshear are considering a private-public partnership that
includes tolls to fund renovations to the Brent Spence Bridge.
President Obama enjoyed an enthusiastic
welcome from Los Angeles LGBT supporters at an event in Beverly Hills.
Republicans are saying Obama is being all glitzy in California so
he's out of touch with Americans' struggles.
Russia would like Iran to be involved
in forcing a political transition in Syria. U.S. Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton says Syrian President Bashar Assad should quit and
The U.S. is losing patience with
George Zimmerman's bond hearing has
been set for June 29. He returned to jail on Sunday after a judge
revoked his bond for failing to disclose $135,000 in funds raised for
his legal defense.
Thousands of homes in the Atlantic and
Gulf coasts are at high risk for hurricane damage, and New York City
has the highest risk of losses.
Do you use LinkedIn or eHarmony? Well,
you shouldn't. Also, both sites were hacked and had user
A car called the Honda Fit EV has
earned the highest ever miles-per-gallon equivalency rating from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency — 118 mpg.
More than 80 lawsuits by former NFL
players have been consolidated and filed in a Philadelphia federal
court, accusing the league of hiding details that linked head trauma
to permanent brain injuries. The NFL denies culpability.
The Reds are still in first place.
by Danny Cross
Hamilton County has been killing people more often than Ohio counties of similar size, despite actually asking for the death penalty less often. Today's Enquirer takes a look at the growing opposition to the death
penalty in other states and recent legislation and task forces aimed
at either studying its effectiveness or stopping the practice
altogether. Prosecutor Joe Deters says he's going to kill all the people who deserve it because the law is still the law.
Would you like to pay tolls or higher
gas taxes in order to have a new Brent Spence Bridge? No? Then you're
like a majority of people who take the time to respond to Enquirer polls.
City Manager Milton Dohoney plans to
ask City Council to raise the property tax rate in response to a
projected $33 million 2013 deficit that everyone knows was coming.
The Community Press on the East Side
says Norfolk Southern is willing to consider selling the Wasson Way
right of way that some would like to see turned into a bike trail.
CityBeat in March found the proposed trail to have support among cycling enthusiasts but some resistance from
light rail supporters.
President Obama hooked up an
11-year-old kid with a note excusing him from class on Friday.
“He says, ‘Do you want me to write
an excuse note? What’s your teacher’s name?” Sullivan told ABC.
“And I say, Mr. Ackerman. And he writes, ‘Please excuse Tyler. He
was with me. Barack Obama, the president.'"
Fortune magazine has taken exception to
Mitt Romney's recent criticism of Solyndra, the solar panel
company that went out of business despite a $500 million Department
of Energy loan.
So last Thursday Romney held a surprise
press conference at Solyndra's shuttered headquarters. During his
prepared statement, Romney said:
"An independent inspector general
looked at this investment and concluded that the Administration had
steered money to friends and family and campaign contributors."
Romney then repeated the claim later in
the press conference.
Small problem: No inspector
general ever "concluded" such a thing, at least not based
on any written reports or public statements.
Wisconsin Gov./Union Crusher Scott
Walker holds a slight lead over his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee
Mayor Tom Barrett, according to a recent poll.
George Zimmerman is back in jail after
what his attorney is calling a misunderstanding over telling a judge
that he had limited money even though a website set up to fund his
legal defense raised more than $135,000.
Legal issues will be involved in New
York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempt to ban giant sodas. Jason Alexander has released a lengthy and quite thoughtful apology for referring to the sport of cricket as "a bit gay" during a recent appearance on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.
Why do people on the West Coast get to
see all the cool stuff that happens in space? First the eclipse and
now the Transit of Venus, when Venus will cross paths between the sun
and earth. Next time it will happen is 2117. And Australia got to see
a partial lunar eclipse the other day, too.
by Danny Cross
After 18 months in the courts, Democrat
Tracie Hunter has won a Hamilton County Juvenile Court judgeship, but
a GOP challenge to the court's acceptance of Hunter's challenge is
likely to follow. Republican John Williams led hunter by 23 votes on
election night 2010, but Hunter filed a lawsuit over provisional
ballots cast at incorrect polling stations that weren't counted. After a
recount of 286 provisional ballots, Hunter moved ahead by 74 votes.
Republican board of election members reportedly plan to argue that
the 286 should not have been recounted.
The Enquirer's Mark Curnutte today
offered an analysis of recently released census data that shows a
steady growth of the regional Hispanic population and a growth of
minority population in areas outside the city that were once largely
white. Cincinnati's data suggests that the city and region are
slightly different than the nation's overall trend, which in 2011 for
the first time found a majority of the country's under 1-year-old
population minority (50.4 percent), up from 49.5 percent in 2010.
Included in The Enquirer's story, which
included a profile of a Mexican-American Florence family that moved
to Northern Kentucky eight years ago from Los Angeles:
A decrease of 1.3 percentage points in Hamilton County’s
black population under 5 was countered by increases in the black
population under 5 in each of the region’s six other core counties:
Butler, Clermont and Warren in Ohio and Boone, Campbell and Kenton in
Overall, the regional population of Hispanic children under 5
years rose from 7,583 in 2010 to 8,032 in 2011, a proportional
increase of 0.4 percentage points to 6.1 percent.
The family of a teenager fatally shot
by a Cincinnati police officer on Fountain Square last summer has
filed a federal lawsuit alleging police used excessive force and
violated 16-year-old Davon Mullins' constitutional rights. Police
say Mullins pulled a handgun, but the lawsuit says he had been
disarmed before officer Oscar Cyranek shot him multiple times.
Cincinnati's Bike Month revelers and
Over-the-Rhine residents received some good news this week when Reser
Bicycle Outfitters announced the opening of an OTR location. The
store could open by June 1 in the 1400 block of Vine Street.
Legislation regulating ownership and
breeding of exotic animals has been approved by the Ohio House Agriculture
and Natural Resources Committee, 17-4. Senate Bill 310 could get
through the full House and Senate next week and be signed by Gov.
John Kasich soon afterward. The ban on the acquisition, sale and
breeding of certain species would take affect 90 days later.
Europe is preparing for Greece to
completely duck out of the Eurozone. The world markets are feeling
Mitt Romney has released his first
general election TV ad. And he's giving cookies to the media.Former Senator John Edwards will learn
his fate today, as a jury was set to deliberate this morning on charges that Edwards used campaign funds to
conceal an affair during his run for president.
More than 200 pages of documents,
photos and audio recordings were released yesterday
offering further details about what happened the night George
Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin.
The documents include an FBI audio
analysis of the 911 call placed by a resident that captured yells and
screams. Two FBI examiners said they could not determine whether it
was Martin or Zimmerman yelling because of the poor quality of the
recording and the "extreme emotional state" of screamer.
The AP is live-blogging Facebook's
stock market debut. Why does Bono have so much Facebook?
Cell phone maker Nokia has accused
Apple of programming bias into its interactive Siri voice search by
making it answer the question “What is the best smartphone ever?”
by stating “"Wait... there are other phones?" The answer
had apparently previously been “Nokia's Lumia 900.” Apple won't
say whether or not it changed Siri's answer after finding the glitch.
A new study suggests that nighttime
fasting can go a long way toward keeping you slim even if you eat bad
stuff during the day.
Scientists have found a car-sized
The private space launch is scheduled for
4:55 a.m. Saturday, and there will be alcohol involved.
by Kevin Osborne
Participants will wear hoodies on the square
A rally will be held at Fountain Square today to commemorate the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and to demand a thorough investigation of the incident.The event begins at 5 p.m. and attendees are asked to bring signs that aren’t posted on sticks, to comply with a local law, and also to wear hooded jackets. Martin, 17, was wearing a “hoodie” when George Zimmerman allegedly killed him Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla.Rallies have been held across the nation during the past week to protest the handling of Martin’s case. Many of the participants have worn hoodies in a show of solidarity with the slain teenager, often carrying signs that state, “I am Trayvon Martin.”Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory posted a similar photograph on his Facebook page over the weekend. It’s unclear if Mallory plans to attend today’s rally.Among the groups organizing the rally are Occupy The Hood and the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center.Zimmerman, 28, who says he belongs to a neighborhood watch program in his gated community, began following Martin at about 7 p.m. for what he described in a 911 call as “suspicious behavior.” Martin was walking back to his father’s condominium after buying iced tea for himself and Skittles for his soon-to-be stepbrother."This guy looks like he's up to no good, on drugs or something," Zimmerman told a 911 dispatcher.Some sort of encounter occurred that resulted in Martin’s death. Sanford Police didn’t arrest Zimmerman, saying that it appeared he acted in self-defense.Sanford Police accepted Zimmerman’s version of events at face value. “Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don't have the grounds to arrest him,” Sanford Police Chief Billy Lee told ABC News earlier this month.After the incident became publicized through Facebook, Twitter and other social media, public outcry grew. More than 2 million people have signed an online petition demanding justice, and the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department have launched investigations.