The big bang of journalism in America

The demise of objective journalism is less a result of a news source trying to push an agenda and more about economics. A leading research organization covering the media industry published a summary of a well-known media survey from a few years ago by describing the media as “Biased, Frivolous, And Liberal.” Unfortunately, this is correct.

The media landscape is a mess, Commissioner Pai

An open letter to Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai: As you have probably noticed our media landscape is a mess. With only five companies owning the bulk of media, especially the news media Americans consume, every day we witness a fragmented message. And it is only going to get worse.

Privacy in the age of Facebook, Comcast and Trump

Why did our government give away our rights to our browsing histories? We have a president who admires despots like Putin and Duterte and doesn’t believe in free speech unless it’s his own on Twitter. Could the search histories of today be used for blackmail tomorrow? With a warrant, the government can request our histories, but who will have access to it tomorrow? Your employer, your insurer, your neighbor? And what will constitute a crime in the future?

A ‘conspiracy’ for higher ratings — at Newtown’s expense

NBC’s newest multi-million-dollar anchor is about to give America – and Connecticut in particular – a lesson in journalistic ethics. It’s a fight that pits the network’s need for ratings and publicity against the pleas of Sandy Hook parents not to cause them more pain. This weekend, Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly plans to air an interview with conspiracy website author and radio host Alex Jones. In one of his more outlandish theories, Jones has called the monstrous shooting “a giant hoax.” No one died there, the theory goes. Instead, the government hired actors to pretend there was a shooting, in order to increase support for gun control, Jones claimed.

A free press supporting informed and engaged communities is at risk

Thomas Jefferson sued the Hartford Courant for libel. (He lost.) But Jefferson still believed that, given the choice of government without newspapers or newspapers without government, “I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers, and be capable of reading them.” Today, however, Jefferson’s vision of a free press supporting informed and engaged communities, the prerequisite to a well-functioning democracy, is at risk. The good news is there is hope, and everyone has a role to play.

‘Shop local’ when it comes to TV news

“Shop Local” is a phrase you hear a lot when it comes to shopping for food and holiday gifts. The theory is that you get higher-quality products when you buy from people you know, and help support the local economy at the same time. But “shopping local” could soon be a lot more difficult when it comes to watching TV news in Connecticut.

DeStefano poisons public opinion, betrays agents, by calling ICE ‘jerks’

I am writing in response to a recent article that appeared in the New Haven Independent and was then reprinted by the CT Mirror. The article was entitled “Ex-Mayor: ICE Raids in Immigrant Friendly New Haven Likely Again.” In the article, former Mayor John DeStefano was quoted as stating in a presentation at Yale University that “The federal government is going to do exactly what those jerks did in Fair Haven.” The “jerks” he was referring to were federal immigration officers. After serving as an FBI special agent for 23 years, and working with ICE agents in numerous cases, I want to object to Mayor DeStefano’s use of the word “jerks” in describing these officers.

Free speech defense bill will combat ‘libel tourism’ in Connecticut

In the internet age when, at the press of a button, the spoken and written word can be transported around the world virtually instantaneously, our Constitutional freedom of expression is at increased risk from a relatively unrecognized threat – that of “libel tourism.” Fortunately, CT S.B. 69: “An Act Concerning the Enforcement of Foreign Libel Judgments” is the cure, and has been introduced this session.

A media blob has come to Connecticut

Like it or not, a Connecticut television station is now part of a media conglomerate. The Federal Communications Commission just approved the sale of Media General’s New Haven-based ABC affiliate WTNH to Nexstar Media Group, as part of a larger $4.6 billion merger involving TV stations around the country. The deal officially closed on Tuesday. Nexstar now owns more than 170 stations covering 39 percent of American households. That’s the maximum percentage allowed by the FCC.

‘News Year’ resolutions for Connecticut TV in 2017

We’re going to see a lot of changes in Connecticut television news in 2017. New Haven’s ABC affiliate, WTNH, is getting a new owner for the second time in two years. WFSB, the state’s top-rated news station, is reportedly cutting back on sports coverage – eliminating dedicated sportscasts at 6 p.m., and instead only giving sports a few minutes of coverage at 11 p.m., and only on Wednesdays through Sundays. And News 12 Connecticut plans to begin broadcasting its shows from studios in New Jersey, starting in March.