DIY News and Commentary

by on October 13, 2010 · 1 comment

What a delight it has been to watch the rescue of the Chilean miners on a live feed, without commentary from any plasticized, blathering “news reporter.” Of course, there are editorial judgments being made by the camera crews and on-scene director, but it is refreshing to make my own judgments based on what I see happening and what I see on the faces of the miners, their wives, and standers-by.

As my friend, the curmudgeonly @derekahunter notes, “There’s really nothing worse than listening to a reporter attempting to fill time while waiting for something to happen.”

Meanwhile, I’ve been chasing down some intemperate commentary on Twitter about the recent discovery of explosives in a New York cemetery. One Fred Burton, identified on his Twitter feed as Vice President of Intelligence for STRATFOR and a former counter-terrorism agent, Tweeted at the time that these explosives seemed like “a classic dead drop intended for an operative.”

But now we know the explosives are old, they were dug up and laid aside in May or June of 2009, and someone recently found them and decided to report them. That is not consistent with a dead drop, and Burton was wrong to speculate as he did, starting an Internet rumor that needlessly propagates fear.

As a public service, I’m doing a little bit to cut into Burton’s credibility, which should cause him to think twice next time. The winning Tweet is not mine, though. It’s @badbanana’s: “Military-grade explosives found at NYC cemetery. Hundreds confirmed dead.”

In summary, it’s a do-it-yourself news and commentary night. I’m making my world and re-making yours (just a tiny bit), rather than all of us sitting around being fed what to think.

  • http://rationalitate.blogspot.com Stephen

    Speculation is what Stratfor does, and it does it very well. In that sort of industry (i.e., the open source intelligence industry) there's the expectation that a lot of what they say is flat-out wrong, but people who read it should know that. Stratfor's actually an amazing source of information, and if anyone has access to it (it's expensive, though I hear they offer free subscriptions to journalists) they should take advantage of the opportunity and read it.

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