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Tag: Media

Texas Observer: Alex Jones Seeks Bigotry-Fueled ‘Groomer’ Comeback

Posted in Journalism, and The Texas Observer

Alex Jones remains a toxic influence on American politics and society despite an apparently shrinking audience and dwindling sales at his Infowars online shop, plus mounting losses in a bevy of lawsuits. After decades of spreading anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry, Jones now wants to stage a comeback by positioning himself at the front of a new wave of hatred—with the help of powerful friends like Republican U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.

“Alex Jones Broke The Groomer Gate Scandal … in 2008?!” read an incredulously phrased headline on a story published by Infowars in April. The post links an audio recording by Jones— in which he claims elementary school teachers are giving explicit sexual instructions to 6 or 7 year olds—to today’s “groomer” panic. “Grooming” refers to a behavior whereby pedophiles ingratiate themselves with a potential underaged victim. But right-wing pundits, including Jones, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and the viral Twitter account @LibsofTikTok, now seemingly want to expand the definition to include openly LGBTQ+ teachers or anyone who speaks with young people about the existence of transgender people and gender diversity.

Austin Chronicle: Why Is Fox Celebrating This Nazi?

Posted in Austin, Austin Chronicle, and Journalism

Paul Gray, a white supremacist originally from Tyler and active in Austin during the Trump presidency, is being lauded by Fox News after volunteering to fight Russian invaders in Ukraine. During a March  1 appearance in a segment titled “Former American paratrooper joins  fight in Ukraine,” Fox reporters praised Gray as a veteran volunteering  to fight on behalf of Ukraine but neglected to mention his violent  history.

Despite Fox protecting Gray’s identity by using only his first name, he was easily recognizable to extremism researchers like Michael Edison Hayden, senior investigative reporter and spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “They elect not to report his full name and don’t even stop to ask why he might already be in Ukraine,” Hayden told the Chronicle.  “They just hope that the audience doesn’t ask any questions because  then Fox will be forced to dig deeper into an uncomfortable story about  our problems with radicalization here at home.” Reports published by  KETK, Tyler’s Fox affiliate, did use Gray’s full name and further  identified him as an American citizen who’s owned a gymnasium and  reportedly “been an influence on the Ukrainian community.”

Fact-checking Fascism: Axios Platforms Violent Biker Gang Over Veterans Day

Posted in Creative Commons, Journalism, and Occupy Wall Street

Over 5 years since the election of Donald Trump and the rise of the powerful white supremacist movement he empowered, the mainstream media still struggles to fact-check fascists.

It always interests me which organizations get the benefit of the doubt from the mainstream media.

I (and many others) have written about how the mainstream media tends to take the words of police at face value. Reporters often use whatever language makes police seem blameless after violent interactions.

Just like cops, right-wing fascists frequently get platformed by reporters who fail to ask vital questions.

Which brings us to an article by Asher Price, an Austin reporter for Axios.

Officer-Involved Shootings: How Was The Officer Involved?

Posted in Creative Commons, and Journalism

I found a really stark example this week of how the mainstream media continues to misreport about police killings, or as they too-often call them, “officer-involved shootings.”

I’m not the first one to point out that this is a problem. Experts on journalism discourages the use of vague language like “officer-involved shootings.” So why does the media persist in it?

Again, this happens all the time. I’m only calling out ABC here because it’s so blatant: two contrasting examples from the same 24-hour period. Here’s the first tweet:

Mutual Aid In The Media After The Texas Freeze (Podcast Appearance)

Posted in Audio, Austin, Journalism, and Media

I appeared on a second episode of the It’s Going Down podcast about the Texas Freeze.

The first part of this discussion, published last month, focused on the disaster itself. In the second part the panelists (including myself) discuss how the media, populace and local governments reacted to the mutual aid efforts:

Yes Magazine: Documenting Protests While Protecting Protesters

Posted in Journalism, and Yes! Magazine

Often working with just their phones, community journalists can shine light on movements, expose police brutality, and help protect activists from getting “disappeared” by an authoritarian government. At the same time, the wrong tweet—or especially livestream—can leave people in the street exposed to increased police surveillance.

From “snatch and grab” arrests in unmarked vans, to raids on the homes of perceived organizers, activists have good reason to be concerned. From Portland, Oregon, to Philadelphia, law enforcement acknowledge using livestreams and other social media to gather evidence.

As activists begin to face serious charges from the most recent wave of protests, there’s also more attention on the risks posed by inexperienced or unethical community journalists. Meanwhile, more people are protesting for the first time, with some newly taking up the role of community journalist. As such, a debate that’s been bubbling beneath the surface since at least the Occupy movement and Arab Spring is bursting to the forefront: the question of whether, and how, protests should be documented in real time online.