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Jerry Lanson teaches journalism at Emerson College in Boston. He's been a newspaper reporter, columnist, writing coach and editor. His latest book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in January by Rowman & Littlefield.
Barack Obama's Courageous Gamble
Even if pushed by his vice-president's remarks, Barack Obama showed courage this week in becoming the first American president to speak publicly in support of gay marriage.
Saturday, February 18, 2012(1 comments)
Cheap laughs, easy bigotry
Jeremy Lin has won the adoration of New York Knicks basketball fans. He's also found himself in the cross-hairs of some nasty bigotry, the latest round by a major U.S. news organization.
Monday, January 30, 2012(5 comments)
Why do 99% of reporters cover 1% of the news?
Last week's "dust-up on the tarmac" between Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and President Obama typifies the kind of pack conformity coverage that fills wide swaths of the 24-7 news hole. These stories provide easy conflict but little content. They are grist for punditry but contain few calories. And in the end, none of us know what we're missing when so much attention is paid to the trivial.
Friday, January 13, 2012(6 comments)
Are journalists supposed to look for the truth?
It's bad enough that so much 24-7 cable television deteriorates into an unfinished food fight between Tweedledee and Tweedledum, typically moderated by a "journalist" lacking the interest or will to figure out whose facts are right. But when the public editor of the venerable New York Times publicly asks his readers if journalists should parse the B.S. to get to the truth, I've got wonder who blew up journalistic principles
Saturday, October 22, 2011(7 comments)
A 92-Year-Old Icon Of The '60S Marches With Occupy Wall Street
Pete Seeger, legend of peaceful protest and the folk movement, marched with Occupy Wall Street Friday, leaning at age 92 on two canes as he walked. But the song of another folk singer, Woody Guthrie, should be the movement's anthem. As he wrote: "This land was made for you and me."
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Occupy's first legacy: Re-establishing the power of the Commons
Regardless of its success in regulating Wall Street or stopping the rightward drift of American politics, the Occupy Wall Street movement already has re-established a sense of the importance of The Common and shared political action in the country's public life.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Occupy's crystal-clear message: Quit ripping us off
Critics of the burgeoning Occupy Wall Street movement say it lacks a message. But the message in some ways couldn't be clearer: The monied class in this country is getting rich on the backs of everyone else, and our elected officials have done little to stop it.
Friday, September 30, 2011(3 comments)
Occupy Wall Street links spirit of the '60s to the interactive age
With its broad-themed protest, lack of political affiliation and anti-establishment feel, Occupy Wall Street reminds me of the '60s anti-war movement, but with a distinctly contemporary twist. It's not clear whether it will grow or fizzle as a movement. But it already is shining a light on greed in ways both media and politicians have failed to do.
Monday, August 22, 2011(13 comments)
Mr. President: Your Moment of Truth Has Arrived
With gridlock a given until election 2012, Barack Obama needs to abandon his effort to compromise with the intransigent GOP and re-emerge as an articulate and forceful advocate of turning around the economy. It's his last chance to win back the American public.
Sunday, August 14, 2011(9 comments)
Class warfare? It is the wealthy who wage it relentlessly
Rich Americans and their Congressional patrons are quick to cry "class warfare" any time someone suggests raising taxes on the rich. But a new cover story in the Atlantic suggests that if anyone is waging class warfare, it is the rich, aided by a taxation system that leaves all the rest of us behind.
Monday, August 8, 2011(6 comments)
Putting America's future in the hands of the class dunce
S. & P.'s downgrading of the U.S. debt late Friday has sent shockwaves through global markets and could stagger this country's already anemic recovery. Yet the agency making this decision bears a considerable share of responsibility for the last crash. So why is anyone listening to its prognosticators?
Once again, Democrats prepare to cave on taxes
The rich are poised to get their tax cut extension after all. Though President Obama continues to insist he opposes Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, he and Republicans appear to be dancing toward a two-year-extension of these cuts for everyone, the wealthiest Americans included. Billed as a "compromise," the plan actually would give Republicans everything they want.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Election 2010: Legalized money-laundering spreads lies with impunity
Talk about Big Brother watching you. In this election, it seems, he's toying with you, twisting your mind behind the veil of earnest -- and dishonest -- anonymity. Big Brother is not the government. He is the wealthy individual and corporate donors pouring millions into ad campaigns that warp and skew perspectives on policies such as health care to influence votes. The scary part: No one can figure out just who he really is.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010(63 comments)
Why Democrats will keep control of Congress in November
Not long ago, pundits told us the 2008 progressive revolution just might change the country's political map for decades to come. I suspect the latest round of media predictions -- that a Tea Party Revolution could sweep Republicans into power in both houses of Congress come November -- will soon earn a tombstone in the same graveyard of hyperbolic predictions gone awry.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Liberals should end their lethargy, fight against spread of bigotry
The Tea Party professed ignorance and innocence. But its decision today to hold a rally at the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Had a Dream Speech" was but the latest example of the racial divisiveness increasingly roiling the United States. It is past time for liberals to speak and act out about it.
Monday, May 25, 2009(2 comments)
The Times Flunks Ethics 101
Within days, news dribbled out that two New York Times columnists and a reporter had violated bedrock guidelines of journalistic ethics: thou shalt not steal others' words, thou shalt not accept payment from those about whom you write, and thou shalt avoid conflict of interest. But at America's self-appointed bastion of journalistic standards, these lapses seems to have elicited little more than excuses and equivocation
Tuesday, February 10, 2009(6 comments)
Mr. President: Let's cut the banking dead wood
The Obama sequel of the Big Bank Bailout will have a few more strings attached but once again pulls punches. It won't force out failed bank executives or apply across-the-board salary caps at rescued institutions, according to early news reports. For those of us used to paying our bills and taking the consequences for stupid and unethical decisions, that's unfortunate news. Shouldn't the president be leading more boldly?
Monday, January 19, 2009(5 comments)
On the cusp of something special
In the midst of economic gloom, the giddiness surrounding Barack Obama's inauguration is nothing short of remarkable. It is fueled by more than his race, more than his intelligence, more than collective relief that eight years of George W. Bush has ended. It ultimately stems from the confidence that Obama is a man has a keen sense of the moment and the capacity to articulate what we can all do to make the most of it.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009(10 comments)
Dems should tackle the economy, not Roland Burris
Let Roland Burris be. He's neither a nut nor a novice. He's a lifetime public servant, whose only apparent sin is that he's an ambitious but not terriby charismatic politician. And the Senate has much more important matters to address than trying to retain its "virtue."
Saturday, August 30, 2008(7 comments)
How Democrats Should Take On McCain-Palin
In appointing Sarah Palin, John McCain pandered to the right and made a pitch for disenchanted Hillary Clinton supporters. Democrats should ignore Palin's inexperience and target her far right social conservatism. But mostly they should point out the hypocrisy that is the John McCain campaign.
Redrawing the lines of Republican family values
This time the Republicans buried the body while it was still warm. But in orchestrating the rapid resignation of Sen. Larry Craig, the party opened yet another vein in its hypocritical family values platform. Given Republicans earlier silence over Sen. David Vitter, one can only assume that the party's new platform on morality is this: Diddle only someone of the opposite sex behind your spouse's back.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
An American Shadow Over France's Election?
He's not on the ballot, but the way French voters perceive George W. Bush -- and the extent to which they link their frontrunner, Nicolas Sarkozy, to his uncompromising, tough-guy style could prove a factor in Sunday's French presidential election.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007(2 comments)
Is This America in 2007?
That shock jock Don Imus gratuitously smeared a team of largely black young women on the heels of their remarkable achievement in the NCAA Women's Finals is despicable. That corporate America hasn't cancelled his show -- and that a parade of influential white males continues to appear on it -- is worse.
Monday, January 8, 2007(2 comments)
Let's stop escalating the language -- and troop levels
In journalism school, I was taught that euphemism obscures the truth. That's why I doggedly order small coffees at Starbucks. And that's why reporters should stop repeating the Bush Administration's linguistic spin when they write about the Iraq war.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Doctor, please help me.
My back is sore, my joints stiff, my eyes watery from bending over my computer screen, scrolling through articles from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer to the Kalamazoo Gazette, perusing poll after poll for some deep, hidden meaning.