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Thinking outside the fact pattern

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Jumbled Geomitry
(image by Bob Patterson)

After being acquitted of murder charges, O. J. Simpson received a rather official looking letter from the Court. As a citizen who had never been convicted of a felony, he was being ordered to report for consideration for jury duty. According to reliable anecdotal evidence, O. J. walked into the courtroom and the judge took one look at the sport celebrity and immediately dismissed him. The judge was looking for a member of the jury not a new media circus.

There were rumors in the Los Angeles area that on O. J.'s last night in custody, a jailer approached the defendant with a larger than usual supply of items the turnkey wanted autographed. According to the rumor, he explained that O. J. wouldn't be available for autographing sports memorabilia the next night (i.e. he was going to court the next day and then walking out the front door) and so the chance to have O. J. sign more stuff was on a "now or never" priority basis.

The Santa Monica Outlook ran a squib about the jury duty dismissal and offered it to the Associated Press (which is run on a co-op basis) and the AP editor turned it down. The reasoning was that at that point the public had reached saturation level with all facts connected to the life of O. J. Simpson.

The autograph anecdote never got traction because it was just a rumor.

Twice recently we came across books that reported that Adolph Hitler was a very funny guy in cocktail party settings. We have read that der Fuhrer could mimic Goring to perfection. Admitting some humanizing aspects in the personality of a fellow who was going to be portrayed as a raving maniac just didn't help matters, so it has always been best if journalists omitted related facts and anecdotes from their books which substantiated the view of that dictator as an affable amateur comedian.

Recently the news coverage of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day ("jour j" for those of you who speak French) Invasion used the number of members of the military who lost their lives during the longest day. Very little mention is ever made of the dress rehearsal which claimed more lives than the actual invasion did. (Google "Operation Tiger.")

Recently, we picked up a used book titled "the Tuskegee Airmen Mutiny at Freeman Field," by Lt. Col James C. Warren (USAF ret.). We had never heard about that incident but since it happened just about the same time as VE Day it doesn't seem like a "cover-up." It's more like a news value imbalance that was due to timing. (Google hint: Freeman Field Mutiny)

Has a book been written about the explosion and deaths at Port Chicago?

When does a fact turn from irrelevant extraneous information to game changer status?

The challenge that faces citizen journalist is similar to giving a jigsaw puzzle to a blind person. When the high price journalists get stonewalled, how can a citizen journalist realistically expect to report on what is going on inside top secret strategy meetings for politicians or corporations?

Recently, we heard the term "fact pattern" for the first time and realized that the concept was crucial to the nature of product development at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory (located somewhere in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Berkeley CA). If information that doesn't fit the fact patter must be ignored and/or disregarded by the mainstream media, it becomes the primary ingredient for the next trendy conspiracy theory.

According to one obscure news report we monitored, the latest internal poling available to Rep. Eric Cantor showed him leading by thirty points. He got blind-sided and lost the primary election. Only conspiracy theory nuts would follow the Cantor item with a reference to the fact that the results from the electronic voting machines are not verifiable.

If you love New York City, then Donald L. Miller's new book, "Supreme City (How Jazz Age Manhattan gave birth to modern America)," will make you swoon.

Isn't the number of troops who are being sent back to Iraq just about equal to the size of an extraction team? Did you see "Argo" before it won the Best Picture Oscar or after?

Are the peacniks in Berkeley, who didn't approve of sending the military advisors to South Vietnam, going to let the redeployment back to Iraq slide because the President has a good voice and a nice smile?

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BP graduated from college in the mid sixties (at the bottom of the class?) He told his draft board that Vietnam could be won without his participation. He is still appologizing for that mistake. He received his fist photo lesson from a future (more...)
 

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