Tag Archives: journalism

The FAU Press Advisor Who Came to Dinner

Some Reflections on the Long Lost Chum I Barely Know

By James F. Tracy

I recently noted that an unknown party was linking somewhat inflammatory and misleading articles focusing on this author to my Facebook profile. After doing some modest investigation I came to find that the individual behind the posts was none other than Michael Koretzky, the self-appointed press advisor to FAU’s student newspaper, University Press (UP).

This was not the first time Mr. Koretzky’s blog posts came to our attention. In 2015 a colleague remarked that Koretzky was  attacking me on his various social media sites, sometimes camouflaging the diatribes under various nom de plumes. After being the focus of so many broadsides by major media outlets, however, I dismissed the commentaries out-of-hand as likely ill-informed, amateurish, perhaps even dishonest. Only time would prove me correct.

The Press Advisor Who Came to Dinner

A fitting narrative to describe Koretzky’s two-decade long affair with FAU is Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s 1939 Broadway play, The Man Who Came to Dinner. The story centers on an obnoxious showbiz personality invited to sup with a prominent midwestern family as a publicity stunt.

Upon his arrival he injures himself on the family’s icy front steps and insists on taking up residence in both their both home and lives to recuperate. As the story goes, the radio host never leaves, soon threatening the family with litigation for his fall, or should they dare seek an outright eviction. 

Promotional poster, 1942 film adaptation of The Man Who Came to Dinner

For two decades Koretzky has been the self-appointed press advisor to FAU’s UP,  run out of Florida Atlantic’s student union and funded by student government fees. A self-proclaimed proponent of the First Amendment and press freedom, Koretzky worked as a freelancer, founded a handful of publications, and presently operates a personal finance website, Debt.com. In 2004 Koretzky was accused by FAU’s student government of ethical violations stemming from his involvement with the UP, and fined several thousand dollars. 

Undeterred, he returned to the student paper shortly thereafter. An active member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Koretzky, 53, has become an undeniable presence in the national student press community, further honing his persona as news industry businessman masquerading in Che Guevara chic among student journalists.

From this perch he descends upon various college press conventions to fire off self-deprecating one liners while levying savage critiques of fledgling journalists and their newspapers, a practice comparable to shooting half-dead fish in a barrel. 

 

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JFK, Mass Media, and the Origins of ‘Conspiracy Theory’

Prefatory Note on Censorship in Academe

This study was written in 2013-14 as part of my academic research as Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. I have had numerous papers addressing news coverage of historical events published in academic journals over the past two decades. However, this was the first attempt to offer a scholarly treatment of a research object related to a conspiracy–how the news media “framed” New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s JFK assassination inquiry.

When I presented the paper at the Association For Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Montreal Conference in 2014 the panel respondent congratulated me on what he deemed to be a very well-researched and written manuscript. He further remarked that it was at most a draft or two away from submission for editorial review at a scholarly journal. I was also confident the study would eventually achieve publication. 

The paper was subsequently rejected by five journals out-of-hand. The editors refused to even send the paper out for review, which never occurred to me before. Notably, each editor provided a different reason for not wanting to give it further consideration. What is more, three of the venues had published my work in previous years. The paper nevertheless offers a timely contribution to understanding the historical origins of the term “conspiracy theory” and its development from perhaps the most momentous event in 20th century American politics.

This helped me to further realize how despite celebrated notions of unbridled inquiry and academic freedom, certain subjects so historically central to the nation’s history in fact remain taboo among academics–those entrusted by society to research such matters–vis-á-vis their counterparts in professional journalism, with both camps still proceeding in tacit agreement to police the boundaries of permissible discourse and thought. -JFT


Introduction

“It appears that certain elements of the mass media have an active interest in preventing this case from ever coming to trial at all and find it necessary to employ against me every smear device in the book.” –Jim Garrison (Playboy 1967)

The news media’s failure to interrogate and question the “the lone assassin” theory by the 1964 Presidents Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, otherwise known as the Warren Commission, should be recognized as one of the greatest episodes of journalistic misconduct in US history. The mass media have played a pivotal role in the coverup of the Kennedy (JFK) assassination that they unabashedly practice to this day. New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s investigation of the November 22, 1963 event was the first substantial challenge to the official narrative. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) countered Garrison’s efforts by calling upon its media assets to directly attack, defame, even sabotage the inquiry.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

From this episode the CIA developed one of its most potent psychological weapons against political dissent: the “conspiracy theory” label. Over its 50-year lifespan the label has time and again demonstrated its effectiveness in policing the public sphere by calling into question the credibility and even the sanity of journalists, academics, or any other public figure that dares question authorized myths for the masses.

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Truth Is Evaporating Before Our Eyes

Does anyone notice?

By Paul Craig Roberts

On September 17, I posted my column, “Evidence is no longer a Western value.” I used as an example the blame that has been put on Russia for the shot down Malaysian airliner. No evidence whatsoever exists for the accusation, and massive evidence has been presented that the airliner was shot down by the neonazis that seized power as a result of the Washington-organized coup in Ukraine.

Blame was fixed on Russia not by any evidence but by continuous evidence-free accusations that began the moment the airliner was shot down. Anyone who asked for evidence was treated as a “Putin apologist.” This took evidence out of the picture.

Wherever we look in these times, we see evidence-free accusations established as absolute facts: Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” “Iranian nukes,” “Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the Trump/Putin conspiracy that stole the 2016 US presidential election, Syrian use of poison gas. Not a scrap of evidence exists for any of these accusations, but the truth of the accusations is established in many minds worldwide.

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Bob Woodward: The Story He Won’t Tell

Editor’s Note: Tis the preseason of the 2018 midterms. This past week saw the release of Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House to much fanfare from the corporate “news” media. Unsurprisingly, Trump administration officials argued that Woodward’s work included made up quotes wrongly attributed to them.

Long ago Woodward and his Washington Post cohort Carl Bernstein’s “breaking” of Watergate reached mythic status in US journalism and political history. Yet myth is usually divorced from fact, and for a reason. When one of the principal figures in this storied saga has long-established ties to the political establishment and intelligence community, as the article below by investigative writer Russ Baker demonstrates, the myth is intended to reinforce a specific agenda, in this case the taken-for-granted suggestion that Woodward is a disinterested writer and the paragon of integrity. 

Is America’s favorite investigative reporter a government operative? Political commentator Russ Baker offers intriguing evidence!

By Russ Baker
(HUSTLER MAGAZINE July 2011)

Woodward at the LBJ Library in 2016. Image Credit: Wikipedia

In June 2009,Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward traveled to Afghanistan with General Jim Jones, then President Obama’s National Security Advisor, to meet with General Stanley McChrystal, then the commander of forces there. Why did Jones allow this journalist to accompany him? Because he knew that Woodward could be counted on to deliver the company line—the military line. In fact, Jones was essentially Woodward’s patron.

The New Republic’s Gabriel Sherman pointed out that when Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee hosted a 50th-birthday party for Woodward’s wife, reporter Elsa Walsh,“Jones was a guest of Woodward. ”According to Sherman, one attendee told him, “Woodward and Elsa were glued to Jones at the cocktail party before the dinner started.”

In September 2009, McChrystal (or someone close to him) leaked a document to Woodward that essentially forced Obama’s hand. The President wanted time to consider all options on what to do about Afghanistan. But the leak, publicizing the military’s “confidential” assertion that a troop increase was essential, cast the die, and Obama had to go along. Nobody was happier than the Pentagon—and, it should be said, its allies in the vast military-contracting establishment.

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National Public Radio Questions Mass Shooting Statistics

Calls Out US Department of Education

On a August 27th broadcast National Public Radio announced its finding that the US Department of Education’s most recent mass shooting figures at US public schools appear to be grossly inflated. This is especially significant since there are public misconceptions toward such events that stem in part from dubious statistics. These numbers are then often taken by gun control advocacy groups to mislead and frighten the public on the scope of the problem.

NPR reports:

How many times per year does a gun go off in an American school?

We should know. But we don’t.

This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.” The number is far higher than most other estimates.

But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the government’s Civil Rights Data Collection.

We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.

In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn’t meet the government’s parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn’t respond to our inquiries.

“When we’re talking about such an important and rare event, [this] amount of data error could be very meaningful,” says Deborah Temkin, a researcher and program director at Child Trends.

The remainder of the story is available here.

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Health Ranger Mike Adams Launches Video Platform

‘Real.Video’ To Host Censored Views and Analysis

NaturalNews founder Mike Adams has launched a new website, Real.Video, that he intends to open to various content creators, some of whose work has already faced censorship on corporate-controlled sites such as YouTube and Vimeo.

In this July 6 update Adams explains the need for such an outlet, noting how thus far the Beta version of the project has been deluged with thousands of requests for new accounts. As of this writing a full-fledged version of Real.Video that can accommodate this has yet to be launched.

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Annapolis Shooting: Mayor Discusses Active Shooter Simulation on National Television

Attended Drill, Spoke With Gazette Editor Minutes Before Shooting

This morning Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley pointed to the fact that there was an active shooter drill conducted by the city’s first responders less than one week before the Capital Gazette shooting, on June 22.

In a somewhat uncomfortable exchange on Fox&Friends, Annapolis’ mayor repeatedly glanced downward and stumbled through what appear to be a set of canned statements. He pointed to the fact that he conversed with the Capital Gazette‘s editor minutes before the event transpired, and further noted how he was present as the city’s police and fire departments rehearsed such a scenario one week ago.

“So many resources were thrown at this,” Buckley explained. “The fact that we had done … a drill … less than a week beforehand. And I had watched these guys come in and practice … Little did they know they would actually be doing that a week later.”

Buckley goes on to plead for mental health and gun control measures, in addition to the purported role social media (i.e. independent and uncensored information) may have played in the shooting.

These specific passages of the interview are transcribed verbatim below.

Fox&Friends: Joining us now is a mayor that probably didn’t get very much sleep last night, Gavin Buckley. Mr. Mayor sorry you’re going through this. Uh, what did you find when you got on the scene, and what could you tell our listeners and everybody—our viewers and everyone around the world, uh, what’s the latest with the shooter?

Buckley: So, uhm, we uh … I was speaking to the editor of the the Capital probably 20 minutes beforehand. That editor was not in the building when the shooter came in or he would have been dead I’m sure.

Uhm, he doesn’t go away very often. He works really hard. The journalists that lost their lives—all those journalists are like his children. He, uh, it’s going to be along time for his—him to recover.

Uh, we got the news, uh, we came straight to the scene. There were, uh, what felt like a hundred, uh, uh, em-em—emergency vehicles here.Uh, the situation was being addressed.

Th—so many resources were thrown at this. I don’t think there’s anything more but … I’m so proud of first responders, because I know, uh, that what they did saved lives.

And the fact that they got in there as fast as they did. The fact that we had done, uhm, a drill, uhm, less than a week beforehand. And I had watched these guys come in and practice. They stepped over simulated, uhm, victims, ah, headshots and, uhm, chest-shots and, and, and flesh wounds. They had to walk through—past those simulated victims, and had to go to the shooter and take the shooter down. Little did they know they would actually be doing that a week later.

Buckley repeated the usual litany of topics covered by public officials in the wake of most every mass shooting event over the past several years, while asking the public to empathize with local news outlets like the Gazette.

Buckley: We have to do something about these guys. We have to do something about mental health. We have to do something about gun control. We have to do something that stops, uh, society being so t–tightly wound.

This paper is not a left wing paper. It’s not a right wing paper. It’s a local paper that reports on local things. It reports on our kids sports teams. [It] reports on all the things that matter to us locally. There’s nothing this paper does that would offend you that much that you’d want to kill people.

Shortly thereafter Fox steered Buckley toward the alleged impact that commentary on social media has in precipitating such events.

Fox&Friends: But the thing is with the social media postings. Are you going to be part of a process that maybe reevaluates the threats that are online locally? Is there a way to do that? Is that something you’re going to focus on?

Buckley: I think it has to be, uh, definitely something we look into, because, uh, Chief Altamari’s talking about increasing resources to, uh, public safety for such things. We have to, uh, reevaluate how we, uh, prepare for these things. We have to be vigilant. We-we have to, uh, look for tell-tale signs and, you know, I think that what people, uh, uh, [are] so isolated now. They-they live in their silos and they sit in front of their screens, and they don’t get out there so you can’t tell [sic].

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