screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-9-04-05-amFor all of the true debaters out there, let’s face it: this was not an actual debate.

The American Debate Association describes how a debate is supposed to work. The debate focuses on a statement, such as “The United States needs a new tax system to create jobs.”

For example, Donald Trump gets first crack in the affirmative, followed by Hillary Clinton in the negative. Each has nine minutes to discuss the question rather than the two-minute soundbites of last night’s debate. Then each one gets to question the other. Then the two debaters get to rebut the other’s argument.

The argument is between the two parties rather than through a moderator. In fact, in an actual debate, there is no moderator. The judges are supposed to stay out of the way.

Since I was in high school, these rules have been the standard. I have no idea why presidential debates don’t use this approach.

It’s probably because the longstanding rules for debate would probably bring more substance without the useless presence of some media darling who has virtually no expertise in the area of domestic and foreign policies.

Despite my misgivings about the format and substance of last night’s debate, I generally think it was a draw, which probably works in Donald Trump’s favor. The MSM gives the nod to Hillary, but that’s not unexpected.

Trump did a relatively good job of explaining his policies on trade and policing, but he fumbled through his response on the birther issue. He rambled as he often does. But he had the best line: Hillary has a lot of experience, but it’s bad experience.

Clinton failed to move the needle on what to do about the self-proclaimed Islamic State and race relations. At times, she seemed robotic.

On more “substantive” matters that usually decide who won and who lost the debate, Trump’s audio was bad at many times during the discussion; both had terrible makeup jobs; the split screen clearly favored Clinton.

What’s amazes me is that the moderator, Lester Holt, failed to ask any substantive questions about emails, Benghazi or the Clinton Foundation. If anything underlines how unnecessary a star moderator is, Holt’s avoidance of certain issues demonstrates why actual debates don’t have moderators.

Howard Kurtz of Fox News provided a relatively good analysis of the debate at http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/09/26/clinton-scores-by-staying-on-offense-trump-by-sticking-to-serious-issues.html

Kurtz argued that Clinton stayed on the offensive while Trump countered with serious issues.

As CBS’s Bob Schieffer put it: Trump didn’t lose any voters; Clinton didn’t gain any.

That seems about right to me.


Christoper Harper, a recovering journalist from The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law.

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-9-27-55-am

My friend has become a Facebook rock star after he posted a video of his trigger warning for his editing class at Loyola University in Baltimore.

The post got nearly three million page views.

“I have been giving a trigger warning on the first day of class every semester. This is it: This is going to be a difficult class,” said professor John McIntyre, who also works as an editor at The Baltimore Sun, “and I must say, it is incumbent on me to tell you, this course is unrelievedly, thoroughly, appallingly dull.”

At a time when college campuses have become littered with trigger warnings and safe zones, McIntyre’s captured the essence of the debate over the idiotic tilt of university life.

“Part of what is going to be difficult in this class is that if you are like the 700 or so students who have preceded you here, you are wobbly in English grammar and usage,” McIntyre said. He blamed the educational system for either not teaching the subject or blowing it badly. Repetition, he argued, was the key to learning how to use language.

McIntyre added this final point: “One of the reasons you are in a university is to experience different personality types, different senses of humor, different approaches to the word. I am not the only jackass you will ever encounter in your adult working life. Use this semester as an opportunity to polish your coping skills.”

See the entire video at https://www.facebook.com/baltimoresun/videos

His video got noticed by The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Teen Vogue. Each of them also noted the negative comments about the video. Here’s how McIntyre responded to his critics:

“I am considering a form response to non-serious negative comments:

Having read your comment, John McIntyre expresses his sympathy for your disability:

□ Lack of a sense of humor

□ Propensity to rash, superficial judgments

□ Assumption of facts not in evidence

□ Incapacity for civil discourse.”

Rock on, John!


A personal note: I had a minor rock star moment when I was inducted recently into the Iowa Music Association Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Take a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGpou67Yahw


Christopher Harper, a recovering journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org


At the beginning of every semester, I receive several letters of accommodation for students with disabilities. Usually, the letters describe learning rather than physical disabilities.

Unfortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act, a noble gesture to eliminate discrimination and physical barriers, has increasingly become a means for college students to game the academic system for better grades.

One of the disabilities covered by many universities is attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. An estimated 5 to 8 percent of all college students receive disability status from this difficult-to-diagnose disease. Moreover, 25 percent of all university students receiving disability status claim to suffer from ADHD.

I’m not saying that ADHD does not exist. All medical organizations say it does. But it is often misdiagnosed and abused.

Here’s what two researchers wrote in 2012: “Malingering to obtain an ADHD diagnosis may be especially pertinent to college students. Students may deliberately over-report ADHD symptoms to procure academic accommodations or feign ADHD to obtain a prescription for stimulant medication, which many students believe will enhance their academic performance.” For more information, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3441934/

The accommodations include more time for tests, excused absences, note-takers, alternative grading rubrics and a host of other items that basically make a class easier for the student.

All of this costs money—higher tuition, taxes and health insurance. For example, the test for ADHD is not based on lab results but on a psychological evaluation, which can cost more than $2,000, with individual counseling sessions at $100 to $150 an hour.

The administration for such students has grown astronomically at universities. I recently inquired about an accommodation for a student and was told there were simply too many students to evaluate each class. Therefore, I received a form letter for a student that had virtually nothing to do with the course I teach. Moreover, no one had counseled the student about whether journalism was a good subject to study for someone who had difficulty meeting deadlines and taking notes.

It’s time to follow the intent of the law rather than to allow these unintended consequences to continue. Colleges and universities should make “reasonable accommodations” to allow students to participate in courses, programs and activities. Reasonable accommodations–not extraordinary ones–are what the law prescribes.


Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org

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Flyover country may not be the battleground for the presidential election, but there are many lessons the candidates could learn from the Midwest.

Over Labor Day weekend, I traveled through South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. I found almost everyone I talked to held conservative viewpoints.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I only speak in whispers about my viewpoints in my home of Philadelphia, a city dominated by leftists.

At a party, I met someone whose business card proudly displays his email address from reagan.com. At the same soiree, I talked with two old friends from high school. One of them is a prominent businessman in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The other is a pediatrician in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Neither one embraces the candidacy of Donald Trump but will likely vote for him given the alternative.

The businessman complained about the government’s heavy hand in regulating his huge enterprise, which started as a string of pharmacies and now has dozens of retail stores throughout the Midwest. He’s amazed at how ineffectively the government performs its duties and how it spends money without much planning. If his operation were so inefficient and costly, he said he’d be out of business.

The physician noted that his practice saw fewer patients because the doctors spent so much time meeting government regulations. He has to prescribe numerous unnecessary tests just to protect himself from lawsuits.

Both of them asked me why colleges cost so much to attend. The problem at my school and others, I told them, was similar to their complaints: excessive government regulation. The administrative structure has almost doubled in the time I started teaching because of government oversight and rules. Because of their inefficiency, some colleges may be pricing themselves out of existence.

The presidential candidates would be well served if they actually listened to the issues on the minds of people in flyover country. Whatever the case, I certainly felt energized by my visit.


Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org

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CJ Pearson says he supports Donald Trump.
CJ Pearson says he supports Donald Trump.

He’s young, black and says he supports Donald Trump.

If you haven’t heard about him, he’s 14-year-old CJ Pearson, a ninth-grader from Georgia who has criticized Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Not surprisingly, he’s faced an onslaught of vitriol from Democrats and other leftists. But some conservatives, such as RedState’s Erick Erickson, see Pearson as a social media wannabe who should sit on the sidelines until he grows up.

In a column this week in Time, Pearson offered his view of the presidential race.

“I believe that the future of America is post-party politics. I hope that in 10 to 20 years, the near constant issue of partisanship will be a distant memory,” he wrote.

That sounds about right to me.

“As a young black male, I’ve seen my community flailing and struggling due to the disastrous impacts of the Obama political agenda, and I refuse to allow the possibility of a Clinton presidency to extend that suffering,” he added.

I can’t say I disagree with him there.

“Trump’s message to young people of color is simple: what do you have to lose?

“In my young optimistic eyes, after the last eight years of the Obama presidency, there is little left to lose. There is only room to do better, and there is only one goal: to make America great for every American.”

Check.

The entire column can be found at http://time.com/4470565/teens-for-trump/

Erickson criticized Pearson when he announced that he was leaving behind the failed campaigns of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, where he served as head of “Teens for Ted,” and joining the ranks of Bernie Sanders’ supporters.

“[S]top embarrassing yourself, shut up, and go live life. Pay attention to politics, but also pay attention to movies, sports, girls, your parents, your preacher and your surroundings. Come back when you are eighteen, your voice has deepened, and you’ve passed your final growth spurt,” Erickson wrote last December. See the entire column at http://www.redstate.com/erick/2015/12/09/dear-cj-pearson-shut-up/ 

Erickson has a point that Pearson’s conservative bent may blow with the wind, but I see the underpinning of Trump and Sanders’ campaigns as quite similar. The two presidential candidates demonstrated the disdain Americans have for the political status quo.

What’s important to me about Pearson is that he asks a critical question about the lives of black Americans: Are they truly better off under Democrats?

Pearson realizes he and his fellow black Americans are not better off. I couldn’t agree more.


Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org

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A note from DaTechGugy:
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Budding reporters and politics
Give terrorists what they deserve: anonymity
The ‘BS’ factor
A Godless Olympics
A true American ally




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A woman in the Kurdish military recently shot and killed a senior commander of the self-proclaimed Islamic State who once kept her as a sex slave.

After more than 50 people at a Kurdish wedding died in an attack by Islamic terrorists, Turkey finally decided this week to launch a serious assault against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

The incidents underline the importance of the Kurds as a key ally in any successful attempt to rid the world of the radical Islamists.

When I arrived in the Middle East nearly 40 years ago, the Armenians and the Kurds were among the most downtrodden ethnic groups in the region. The Armenians have their own country now; the Kurds don’t but should.

In one of the most brutal results of map drawing before and after World War I, more than 30 million Kurds were split among four countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. Keep in mind, most Kurds, who are mainly Sunni, consider themselves Kurds, not Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians or Turks. An independent state would be one of the largest in the Middle East–bigger than Syrian and almost as big as Iraq.

The Kurds have faced adversity many times, including the horrific 1988 chemical attack by Saddam Hussein’s government that left thousands dead in the worst incident of its kind in history.

The Kurds have supported the United States on many occasions, including the Gulf War, the Iraq War and the Syrian Civil War—much of the time later being forsaken by the Americans.

The Kurdish forces are called the pesh merga, which translated means “one who faces death.” This army has driven out Islamists from a variety of their strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

The U.S. government has thrown billions of dollars at a variety of ineffective Middle Eastern armies, but it has only been recently that the Kurds have received money for small arms shipments.

The United States should fund the pesh merga to a much greater extent because it is the only effective fighting force against the Islamic State.

Perhaps it’s time for the U.S. government to consider an independent Kurdish state in at least parts of Iraq and Syria, where it could continue its support of America.


Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org

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A note from DaTechGugy:
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Budding reporters and politics
Give terrorists what they deserve: anonymity
The ‘BS’ factor
A Godless Olympics




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christrio

Even with the iconic statue of Jesus Christ watching over the Rio Olympics, NBC and mainstream media outlets have chosen to ignore the importance of religion among athletes.

For example, swimmer Michael Phelps, one of the greatest Olympians ever, lost his way until he found God a few years ago.

“I was a train wreck. I was like a time bomb, waiting to go off. I had no self-esteem, no self-worth. There were times where I didn’t want to be here. It was not good. I felt lost,” Phelps said.

After his second DUI, Phelps got a call from former NFL star Ray Lewis, who helped the swimmer onto the road of religious recovery.

Simone Biles, the gymnast who won four gold medals, carries a rosary in her warmup bag and lights a candle in church before an event. Instead of emphasizing her religious beliefs, NBC and others talk about her mother, a former drug addict.

Katie Ledecky, a Catholic like Biles, says a Hail Mary before each swimming event and proudly makes her religious views known. Simone Manuel, the first African-American woman to earn a gold medal in swimming, praised God after winning the 100-meter freestyle. Her reference to God got edited out when NBC put up the video on YouTube.

After Usain Bolt of Jamaica, the fastest man in the world, won his third gold medal in the 100-meter sprint, he fell to his knees to pray. The NBC commentators apparently couldn’t bring themselves to utter the word “prayer.”

Many other examples exist, but NBC and other mainstream media have focused on less significant details of athletes’ lives rather than their trust in God. Fortunately, faith-based news organizations have chronicled what the athletes themselves consider their most important characteristic: their belief in God.

The Christian Post wrote about U.S. athletes and their faith at http://www.christianpost.com/news/10-christian-team-usa-athletes-at-rio-olympics-2016-who-put-god-first-167556/

Eric Metaxas interviewed religion writer Terry Mattingly about God and the Olympics at https://soundcloud.com/the-eric-metaxas-show/terry-mattingly-5


Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org

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A note from DaTechGugy:
I hope you enjoyed Christopher Harper’s piece. Remember we will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent tryouts by hits both to their post and to DaTipJar. So if you like Christopher Harper’s work, please consider sharing this post, and if you hit DaTipjar [on the right] because of it, don’t forget to mention Chris’ post is the reason you did so. In case you missed his other pieces, here they are:

Budding reporters and politics
Give terrorists what they deserve: anonymity
The ‘BS’ factor

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This just in from The New York Times: Journalists are having trouble being objective about Donald Trump.

Seriously?

Here’s what the red, old lady had to say recently:

“If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, non-opinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable.”

The author, media columnist Jim Rutenberg, apparently isn’t much of a reporter or has ignored significant evidence of media bias when he served as the lead reporter on the 2012 campaign and a White House correspondent.

Note: I am not an ardent supporter of Trump. Also, I realize that the readers of DaTechGuy are not surprised by The New York Times’s arrogance and ignorance. But it is noteworthy that Rutenberg actually puts his analysis in writing at http://ow.ly/IOQg3034Bsk

NewYorkerNoted plagiarist Fareed Zakaria made no bones about his attitude about Trump. He simply called the GOP presidential candidate a “bull****” artist on CNN and in The Washington Post.

In the neck-snapping underpinning for his “astute” analysis, Zakaria quoted a Princeton University professor who actually wrote an academic paper entitled, “On Bull****.”

In case you need a definition, a BS-er, “is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all . . . except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says.”

It seems to me that the definition applies to Zakaria and many of his fellow travelers in the media.

Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org


A note from DaTechGugy: I hope you enjoyed Christopher Harper’s piece. Remember we will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent tryouts by hits both to their post and to DaTipJar. So if you like Christopher Harper’s work, please consider sharing this post, and if you hit DaTipjar because of it, don’t forget to mention Chris’ post is the reason you did so. In case you missed it, his first piece was Budding reporters and politics. His second was Give terrorists what they deserve: anonymity.

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Le Monde, The New York Times of France, has decided not to publish the names and photographs of terrorists—a stance that all media should take to restrict what the news outlet calls “the posthumous glorification” of these wingnuts.

In an editorial, the French news organization called upon others to follow its decision, arguing that publishing such information only leads to new recruits for the self-proclaimed Islamic State and other radical groups.

“For us, this battle cannot be considered only the cause of law enforcement, intelligence services and other people. It concerns all of society, and primarily those that constitute our media landscape,” the editorial said.

shutterstock_243268141

I have called for this type of self-censorship for years because an analysis of the motives of such brutal human beings does nothing but make some people feel a misguided compassion for them. We shouldn’t care about knowing their names, their goals and their trials and tribulations. Let’s dump these people on the garbage heap of hate.

Let me suggest one other change. Call these murders “homicide” attacks rather than suicide attacks. Homicide more accurately describes what they are doing.

I feel strongly about these issues—not only as a journalist but for selfish reasons. A man with a name similar to mine killed nine people last year in Oregon. For the rest of my life, this murderer’s name will come up before mine in any Internet search.

Anderson Cooper took one small step for the American media when he decided not to name the killer in the Orlando massacre.

Let’s hope other news outlets follow LeMonde and Cooper in their decision to grant these murderers what they deserve: anonymity.

Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org

A note from DaTechGugy: I hope you enjoyed Christopher Harper’s piece. Remember we will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent tryouts by hits both to their post and to DaTipJar. So if you like Christopher Harper’s work, please consider sharing this post, and if you hit DaTipjar because of it, don’t forget to mention Chris’ post is the reason you did so. His piece from last week, in case you missed it is here.




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Young journalists covering the Democrat convention listened to a point of view they are unlikely to hear this week in Philadelphia—a conservative one.

As a journalism professor at Temple University, I was invited to speak to a group of 25 students at the School District of Philadelphia, spending about two hours answering questions and talking about the upcoming presidential race.

We calmly discussed many issues, including race relations, immigration and Donald Trump.

You realize that almost no one agreed with you, one student told me later, adding that a teacher did describe the meeting as a turning point in the students’ journalistic training. Of course, I replied, that’s because you’ve almost never heard a conservative point of view.

Harper meets with Philadelphia students reporting on the convention.
Philadelphia students meet a conservative.

These students are among the best and the brightest from Philadelphia’s troubled schools. But their beliefs seem mired in years of leftist education and peer pressure.

One student stated matter-of-factly that Trayvon Martin was murdered. He was killed, I responded, and a jury found George Zimmerman innocent of murder. Accuracy is critical in journalism, I added.

One asked this question: Why can’t everyone come to the United States like we can go to other countries? We can visit, but we can’t live in China, Europe or much of the world, I replied, because Americans, like U.S. immigrants, need residence visas.

Another posed this question: Isn’t it possible Donald Trump would declare martial law? If he did, many conservatives would exercise their rights under the Second Amendment, I said.

I’m not sure I convinced many of them to come around to a conservative viewpoint, but one of the newly minted reporters asked me for an interview after the session. One step at a time, I thought.

Longtime journalist Christopher Harper teaches media law.
Longtime journalist Christopher Harper teaches media law and writes at www.mediamashup.org

A note from DaTechGugy: I hope you enjoyed Christopher Harper’s piece. Remember we will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent tryouts by hits both to their post and to DaTipJar. So if you like Christopher Harper’s work, please consider sharing this post, and if you hit DaTipjar because of it, don’t forget to mention Chris’ post is the reason you did so.




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