Twitter tail wags newshounds in Paris

Some observations and thoughts on the Paris coverage:

Tuned to CNN when I first learned of the attacks. It’s a habit I’d love to kick, but no other network gets up and running faster than the Colossus of Atlanta.

Most of what it reported on Friday was weak. There was an endless Anderson Cooper phone interview with some guy who hurt his hand opening a gate somewhere in Paris.

But Cooper did a decent job with a man who had been at the concert when the lunatics started shooting.

When I went to bed well after midnight, there were more than 150 dead. When I woke up, there were fewer than 130.


The worst question ever asked in a news interview: CNN’s Clarissa Ward to a 12-year-old boy who was at the concert – “Have you ever seen a dead body before?”

CNN announced its poaching of Ward from CBS with great fanfare in September, calling her “one of the world’s most widely respected journalists.”

Based in London, Ward is now among the legion at the network wearing the title “senior international correspondent.”

When did everyone working in journalism for more than 20 minutes become senior? Senior editor. Senior writer. Senior producer. Senior boom-mike handler.


I miss the old Toronto Star headlines that began: Star man tracks down … Star man finds … Star man interviews …

There was a Boot of the Beast quality to those stories that made me laugh.

Now, when big news breaks more than 100 kilometres from 1 Yonge, the Star’s self-promotion machine spits out this headline: The Star in (insert country, city) – as if it’s the only paper daring enough to put a reporter on a plane.

Thus, this week, we got the online headline: “The Star in Paris …The Star’s Marco Chown Oved is reporting from the ground.”

From what I’ve read, perhaps Oved should get off the ground and do some original reporting other than streeters.


As soon as I learned on Wednesday that a police dog had been among the casualties in Paris, I knew the media would be in canine heaven.

Sure enough, the Twitter tail wagged the newshounds:

  • “People use #JeSuisChien to honour police dog killed in Paris raid.” – CBC News
  • “Thousands declare ‘Je Suis Chien’ after dog killed in Paris raid.” – BBC News
  • “Outpouring of grief for Diesel, the police dog killed in Saint Denis raid.” – Sydney Morning Herald
  • “French police dog Diesel killed by jihadists during Paris raid.” – Times of India
  • “The hashtag #JeSuisChien, which means ‘I am dog,’ began trending worldwide on Twitter as people tweeted tributes to the dog.” – USA Today

Tip for men watching football and drinking beer this weekend: Tweet #jesuischien.


Some of the translations coming out of France appear a bit literal, or twisted – or the French don’t speak conversational French.

The New York Times quoted the mayor of St.-Denis saying the neighborhood where the raid occurred Wednesday has “many buildings and habitats in a disgraceful state.”

He added, according to the Times: “We are a population that needs serenity.”


Why does the media refer to webpages of hate-filled propaganda as the “ISIS magazine”?

Speaking of magazines, Ann Beattie has a wonderful piece of fiction in the New Yorker this week.


Do British universities offer a course called: How to proclaim yourself a terrorism expert and earn scads of U.S. dollars doing hits on American TV?


Do the U.S. networks have recruiting booths set up at retirement parties for FBI agents, CIA analysts, and military officers above the rank of major?



It’s always judicious for the media to use the “A” word. Alleged terrorist. Alleged murderer. Alleged Rapist. Alleged Syrian.


I saw a few interviews this week with Republican governors seeking to ban Syrian newcomers from their state. (I can’t remember whether we’re calling them migrants or refugees this week.)

Not once did I hear the interviewer ask:

  • Are you planning to close your borders?
  • Set up passport control stations on every road entering the state?
  • Build walls topped with razor wire?
  • How the hell do you plan to stop some swarthy kid getting on a Greyhound in New York from getting off in your shitty state?


Wolf Blitzer – yes, his name is really Wolf – was trying to scare the skivvies off Americans again on Wednesday, talking over an alleged ISIS video showing a guy strapping on a suicide belt and cutting to scenes of New York. (I added the “A” word.)

I wonder if Al Jazeera would air the video of my Aunt Flossie and the rest of the Gray Grannies in Arizona wearing balaclavas, toting automatic weapons, and practicing parachute drops into the desert, beside a sign that reads, Welcome to Fallujah?


Why are the alleged reporters on the Paris story at the CBC and CTV news networks on the ground in their newsrooms in Toronto?

Je suis phony baloney.


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