Monday, November 26, 2012

One Week Later

Gossips predicted that the situation at the Register-Star would be discussed on WAMC's The Media Project last Sunday, but that didn't happen. Instead, they talked about it yesterday and again this afternoon, and we missed it. But you can hear it on the WAMC website.


  1. If you are reading this Rosemary Armao, then the premise for all of your opinions was incorrect:

    "The issue that the editor wanted included was that a city councilman, city official, refused - and has been refusing for some time - to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. ..."


    Your claim that the official has refused to stand "for some time" qualified every subsequent opinion you had about both the editor and the journalist. Indeed, you may have tainted everything said by anyone who failed to correct you (my disbelief has temporarily prevented me from listening to the end of the program).

    And you teach at SUNY? What do you teach, hearsay?!

    No wonder the newspaper industry is in the toilet.

  2. @unheimlich: OK if she is wrong wrong wrong but you failed to say what was right right right....

    1. I'll take it upon myself to answer that question. At a special meeting of the Common Council on November 1, John Friedman did not stand for the "moment of silent reflection" and the Pledge of Allegiance. It was at this meeting that "Doc" Donahue pointed an accusing finger and loudly drew everyone's attention to the fact that Friedman was not standing. In conversation after the meeting, Friedman indicated that he had done it once before--although I have to say, it went unnoticed by me and everyone else. He again abstained from standing to recite the Pledge at a special meeting of the Council on November 8.

    2. Greg, your point occurred to me too, but too long after posting my comment to bother fixing. My apologies for the bad writing and my thanks to Carole for making my meaning clearer.

      If you re-listen to WAMC's idiotic panel discussion after correcting for the "and has been refusing for some time" premise, Armoa's contribution becomes ridiculous.

      She is a professional writer, and it must be obvious that I am not. Still, I'm willing to bet that most people in Hudson who've followed this story feel they could have done a better job than that professional, and I dare say they'd be right.

  3. This is insane. It's this man's prerogative not to say the Pledge. What is the big deal? I really don't get it. If everyone has to say it, then pass a law. Otherwise, back off. Is this hard to understand?

    -- Jock Spivy

  4. it's not about the pledge - its about doc donahue and his accusations being backed up by the register star - it's politics - as usual

  5. I agree Jock. As the Jyllands-Posten put it when things were quite hot for them, “free speech is free speech is free speech. No buts.”

    The bigger story here - of journalists being fired and walking out over a byline - was eclipsed overnight by the pseudo-story of whether a city official is patriotic or not. (Fortunately for us, Gossips stays true to the original story.)

    All of the above begs an even bigger question, and one which our society seems too adolescent to be able to analyze competently.

    In contrast to the brave decision of the Jyllands-Posten editors, how did Hudson's story about a byline dispute mutate and degrade into something else? To be more specific, when a journalistic mindset and psychology elevates the merely sensational over a more deserving analysis, how is the trick accomplished?

    The argument that journalism is an industry with its own psychology should be obvious from this story alone. I even believe that it's crucial to always emphasize the effect of the psychology of the industry as a whole before looking at any specific, self-serving actions of individuals within it.

    On the WAMC panel, that one journalist was only able to privilege the Pledge story by presenting it as the alderman's oft-repeated offense. I'm sure she really believed that too, but my larger point is that she needed to believe it (e.g., if the alderman was not a regular non-practitioner of the Pledge, then the panelist's argument that the Register-Star editor was a bad editor and that the journalist was a bad journalist didn't work. The Pledge angle made is possible for her to criticize both, which made her look smart and fair without having to put any thought or research into the matter).

    Should I suppose that the other journalist on the panel corrected the SUNY professor of journalism after awhile? After all, he claimed to have studied every aspect of the Register Star firing/quitting. Even though it runs counter to the psychology, and even though he'd have been seen correcting a colleague, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for correcting her. (I wouldn't know because I couldn't stomach listening to another minute of the panelists' ignorant smugness.)

    As far as "getting" what all of this is about, I believe that what we see here in miniature is the inherent self-interest of the journalistic psychology at work. The notion that the psychology of the discipline is increasingly propelling history puts me in mind of James Joyce's statement that "history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."

    (To recognize journalism as an industry with its own psychology is not qualitatively different from recognizing science as a discipline within a psychology with its own social applications.)