One of the reasons I’ve maintained this blog for more than 10 years is as an effort to hold myself accountable. I want to make sure I know in the future where I stood on something.
I am the publisher of a news organization and still operate as a community journalist. I do maintain the dated and increasingly unpopular opinion that journalists do have a responsibility for prioritizing policy, over politics. That is, though I don’t believe in an “objectivity ideal” and despite the anti-media climate we are in, I still prize journalists fighting for results and data and something resembling a shared truth. This is unpopular work, but I think it’s important.
This, then is not a partisan cry. I believe Donald Trump should be impeached.
Continue reading I believe Donald Trump should be impeached
For the first time in my life, I made a political endorsement. I ddi this on Facebook intentionally to engage with many of those in my life who are active on that platform. I am re-posting this here for archiving.
Hello, I do not post political messages often. I do it even less on Facebook. And yet…
I grew up pretty centrist politically, and I developed professionally in a bipartisan journalistic tradition — one that, despite policy is more important than politics. I have voted for Republicans and Democrats, so I have never made a public endorsement. I’m writing this here because I was raised in a conservative county, and so I believe this is my best opportunity to try to share with people who might not agree with me.
Continue reading My first political endorsement
A version of this essay was published as part of my twice-monthly newsletter several weeks ago. Find other archives and join here to get updates like this first.
Censorship is about content (you can’t say this or that). Civility is about tone (you can’t say this like that).
Attribution bias virtually guarantees that we are sure our tone is appropriate for all circumstances. If we use vulgar language or overly fatalistic language, it’s because we are on the right and just side of a cause. If someone with whom we disagree does this, they are proving just why they something short of civil.
Continue reading Don’t mix up censorship with civility
Let’s start with scale: I attended a political fundraiser and wrote a check for $250.
Next, consider context: it was for someone I’ve known for longer than I can remember, among the closest of my family friends, who lived a few houses down from me when I was just a few months old.
Even still, I actually agonized a bit about the decision. Journalism is a thicket of rules and expectations and among the loudest is to stay objective in politics and distant from the money that feeds it. I was worried my donating would cloud the work I do as editorial director at niche publisher Technically Media. Here’s why I decided it was the right decision.
Continue reading I donated to a political campaign for the first time in my life
Governing is messy, so there has been no shortage of attempts by one party to overthrow the other through history. Among the most recent, high-profile coups came in Egypt where, as is almost always the case, the military led the overthrow — at some level.
This summer, as the Egyptian revolution has taken place, government leaders from China and the United States held their first talks on cybersecurity, spurred by reports that the second largest economy was snooping on the first.
It got me thinking: when will be the first coup led by a technology leader? There’s no doubt that military force will become increasingly controlled by technology. I wonder if that work will ever grow outside of a military or, if not, will there come a time when a military-based technology leader leverages control over systems, security and other digital processes using that power to take over control. It can’t be too far removed.
We care a lot when someone is running for public office as the first [insert quality or background]. I can summon two meaningful reasons why, but I’m sure there are others.
Continue reading Two reasons why getting your first female/black/Hispanic/Catholic/Jewish/etc. leader matters
What we have lost in investigative reporting units at news organization in the last two decades will be at least partially replaced by mission-orientated groups that can find other value for doing such work.
Foundations, think tanks and mission-minded nonprofits may be the more ethically normalized groups, but in elections and government, the idea of campaign opposition research will almost surely come to wider prominence. The idea that a campaign would hire investigators, lawyers or others to dig up shortcomings on political rivals is not new at all, but we’ll hear more about this.
Continue reading Campaign opposition research is a type of investigative journalism
When one looks at the depths of U.S. presidential politics, there is a balance between who is perceived as having succeeded and who has failed.
We write thick biographies and create college courses on the considerable accomplishments of our favorites. In pragmatic contrast, there is an old saw that means to convey how much federal structure has been built up over time.
The only two decisions a president gets to make are when to drop the bomb and where to put the library.
It’s with that logic that I’ve found myself feeling a certain sense of predetermined indifference. I’ve long loved following local politics more than federal, on the whole, because it’s my belief that those actors impact my life in a far more tangible way than those federally.
There are no good U.S. presidents, just good times to be president.
- When a new gamechanging technology is invented, like the Internet
- When there is an enemy of state, like after 9/11
- Right after a global recession, like perhaps next term
- When there is a global recession, like now
- When there is a hostage situation, late in your second term.
When the inevitable annual news story comes out about the latest politician having cheated on his wife, people question why leaders cheat.
There are some obvious reasons to me:
- Long campaign hours — Same as workaholics, being away from home offers a lot of opportunity for philandering.
- Lots of people interaction — When campaigning and legislating, you deal with a lot of people.
- Charismatic, passionate leaders — Elections attract people who often have the attractive qualities.
- Sense of entitlement — Those who do good, big work (like legislators) can easily convince themselves that they’re owed a little wrong.
- You’re the boss — In interviews and campaigning and voting and such, legislators are taught to make and stand by their decisions. Not all of them are the right ones.