Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Regarding the New York Times Readers Center

To: Clifford Levy
CC: A. G. Sulzberger

Cliff,

I have been a loyal New York Times reader for more than 45 years. I had two newspaper routes in Cleveland as a boy, one for a morning paper and one evening, and the first and most important thing I bought with that money was the Times on Sunday and Tuesday.

I am troubled by the description of the Readers Center position here:

http://www.nytco.com/introducing-the-reader-center/

In particular the following line.

“Collaborating with our marketing department to showcase the value of Times journalism.”

The job of the Public Editor as I am I think most readers have understood it, was to be an advocate for the Readers and to publicly take the Times editors and management to task when they screwed up, to put it plainly.

The job of the Readers editor would seem to be the opposite of that, going by the posted description.

Having the new Readers Center working with marketing is crossing a red line in journalism which should never be crossed.

I should not have to remind you, but the present circumstances indicate the necessity of so doing:

Journalists should:

– Deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.

– Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two. Prominently label sponsored content.

Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics

The Public Editor position went a long way to restoring trust and the Times brand inflicted by inaccurate reporting and lack of editorial responsibility and oversight inflicted by, particularly, the false reporting in the run-up to the Iraq War, and it wasn’t just Judy Miller, though you sacrificed her, not undeservedly perhaps, and Jayson Blair.

Firing the Public Editor and then hiring a new “Readers Center” with the same brief, except for responsibility to represent the views of advertisers rather than those of readers, is a terrible idea in every way, moral, ethical, journalistic, and inflicts incalculable damage already on the Time’s already damaged reputation. The excuse that firing the Public Editor and eliminating that position was a cost-cutting measure seems untenable given that a new role, with a similar brief, was immediately established. With the critical and all-important distinction noted above. Going from being responsible for the insuring the journalistic integrity of the Times to overtly and self-admittedly being a shill and a mouthpiece for upper management and advertisers.

These are self-inflicted wounds, folks, what are you doing? Are you shorting the stock and hoping to make the Times fail? Or is this simply another unforced error committed for no conceivable good reason?

sincerely,

Henry Edward Hardy
former Senior Systems Administrator
Tufts University*

* institutional affiliation for identification purposes only

blog: https://scanlyze.org

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, need more information, or wish to discuss the issue further.

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy

scanlyze1

4 July, 2017 Posted by | ethics, journalism, New York Times, news, newspapers, Readers Center, scanlyze | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

European Union: Report on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners

The European Parliament has voted to endorse and publish a report strongly condemning the use of European facilities for the alleged kidnapping, torture, and illegal imprisonment allegedly carried out and facilitiated in EU states by alleged US persons. The resolution was passed on or about Feb 14, 2007 by a majority of 382 to 256 with 74 abstentions.

This news was ‘covered’ by the BBC, Financial Times, Radio Free Europe, Islamic Republic News Agency, Irish Times and others. However most (or all, seemingly) news accounts did not include the name of the report or a link to it. And it seems not to be easily searchable from the various EU institution sites or general search sites. Some legislative history and parliamentary questions were accessible by searching at europa.eu on on ‘rendition’.

Following are the header and conclusions from the full report.


EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

2004 – 2009

Session document

FINAL

A6-9999/2007

26.1.2007

 

REPORT

on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners

 

(2006/2200(INI))Temporary Committee on the alleged use of European

countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners

Rapporteur: Giovanni Claudio Fava

 

[…]

 

Final conclusions

225. Stresses, in view of the powers it was provided with and of the time which it had at its

disposal, and the secret nature of the investigated actions, that the Temporary

Committee was not put in a position fully to investigate all the cases of abuses and

violations falling within its remit and that its conclusions are therefore not exhaustive;

226. Recalls the principles and values on which the European Union is based, as provided in

Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union, and calls on the EU institutions to meet their

responsibilities in relation to Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union and all other

relevant provisions of the Treaties, and to take all appropriate measures in the light of

the conclusions of the work of the Temporary Committee, the facts revealed in the

course of the Temporary Committee’s investigation and any other facts that may emerge

in the future; expects the Council to start hearings and commission an independent

investigation without delay, as foreseen in Article 7, and, where necessary, to impose

sanctions on Member States in case of a serious and persistent breaches of Article 6,

including where a violation of human rights has been declared by an international body

but no measure has been taken to redress the violation;

227. Believes that the principle of loyal cooperation enshrined in the Treaties -which requires

Member States and the EU institutions to take measures to ensure the fulfilment of their

obligations under the Treaties, such as the respect of human rights, or resulting from

action taken by the EU institutions, such as ascertaining the truth about alleged CIA

flights and prisons, and to facilitate the achievement of EU tasks and objectives – has

not been respected;

228. Recalls that in light of European Court of Human Rights case law, a signatory State

bears responsibility for the material breach of the provisions of the ECHR, and therefore

also of Article 6 of the Treaty on the European Union, not only if its direct

responsibility can be established beyond reasonable doubt, but also by failing to comply

with its positive obligation to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into

reasonable allegations of such violations;

229. Notes the reports by reputable media operators that extraordinary rendition, illegal

detention, and systematic torture involving many people is continuing, and considering

the declaration by the current US Government that the use of extraordinary rendition

and secret places of detention will be continued; therefore calls for an EU-US counterterrorism

summit to seek an end to such inhumane and illegal practices, and to insist

that cooperation with regard to counter-terrorism is consistent with international human

rights and anti-torture treaty obligations;

230. Instructs its Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, where necessary in

cooperation with the Committee on Foreign Affairs, notably its Sub-Committee on

Human Rights, to follow up politically the proceedings of the Temporary Committee

and to monitor the developments, and in particular, in the event that no appropriate

action has been taken by the Council and/or the Commission, to determine whether

there is a clear risk of a serious breach of the principles and values on which the

European Union is based, and to recommend to it any resolution, taking as a basis

Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty on European Union, which may prove necessary in this

context;

231. Calls on its Secretary-General to publish, at least in compliance with Regulation

1049/2001, all the documents received, produced and examined, as well as the records

of the proceedings of the Temporary Committee on the Internet as well as in any other

appropriate manner and calls on the Secretary-General to ensure that the developments

in fields falling within the remit of the Temporary Committee after its disbandment are

monitored;

232. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the

governments and parliaments of the Member States, of the candidate Member States

and the associated countries, and to the Council of Europe, NATO, the United Nations

and the Government and two Houses of Congress of the United States, and to request

them to keep Parliament informed of any development that may take place in the fields

falling in the remit of the Temporary Committee.

see also: Temporary Committee on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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14 February, 2007 Posted by | Afghanistan, America, BBC, Bush, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, covert operations, customary law, detention, Europa, Europe, European Union, Financial Times, Giovanni Claudio Fava, human rights, intelligence, Iran, Iraq, Irish Times, Islamic Republic News Agency, kidnapping, law, law of nations, media, memory hole, Middle East, military, murder, national security, news, newspapers, peace, politics, prisoners, radio, Radio Free Europe, rendition, repression, Taliban, torture, USA, war, war crimes | 1 Comment

The Extraordinary Stupidity of the New York Times’ David Pogue

The New York Times isn’t what she once was in the 1960’s or 1970’s of course. Yet some of its writers still surprise and shock us with their ability to produce absolutely stupid and serious-sounding pronouncements about things of which they apparently are completely innocent of any knowledge.

Latest in the train of preposterous foolishness emanating from the Times is Breaking the Myth of Megapixels from David Pogue. Seems Pogue thinks he has discovered that the number of pixels in an image make no difference in image quality! Or as he pompously proclaims:

…the Megapixel Myth.

It goes like this: “The more megapixels a camera has, the better the pictures.”

It’s a big fat lie. The camera companies and camera stores all know it, but they continue to exploit our misunderstanding.

Well no David, actually the number of pixels in an image is important as it establishes an upper boundary for the image resolution. Of course an inferior quality image might be produced or saved at a high resolution, but that is essentially irrelevant. All other things being equal, a higher number of pixels is better.

Mr. Pogue seems equally at a loss to determine what other issues might affect image quality besides image resolution:

If you’re torn between two camera models, you now know that you shouldn’t use the megapixel rating as a handy one-digit comparison score.

So what replaces it? What other handy comparison grade is there?

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing.

Well of course Pogue is completely wrong again. Other factors to consider are the available lenses and their optical quality, aperture size, and characteristics of the digital device (CCD or CMOS), which records the image. We also should consider if the image is stored using a loss-less or lossy compression algorithm, and certain characteristics of the memory of the device including its speed and capacity.

Factors which should be regarded as far as the CCD or CMOS chip are:

  • Sensitivity. Usually reported analogously with ASA or ISO numbers on the old film cameras.
  • Dark Count CCD devices tend to “flip” or show a charge even when no light is present; this limits their use in low light.
  • Bit depth 32 bits per pixel holds 256 times as many color variations as 24 bits per pixel, for instance (2^32/2^24=2^8=256)
  • Cosmetic Defects These are “bad pixels” due to limits in the manufacturing process and quality control issues.

In addition, high-end processes, such as Kodak’s photo-CD format, keep other image characteristics, such as chroma and luminance, which aid in the restoration of images compressed using certain lossy formats such as YCC and some JPEG formats.

If Mr. Pogue had been a columnist for the Times back in the 1970’s, doubtless he would have “discovered” some equally stupid conclusions about conventional film photography. Perhaps he would have opined that using different film stock didn’t really matter and is a “myth” as most people can’t readily see the difference. Or that quality optics didn’t make a difference. Or using better quality chemicals or paper didn’t make a difference.

But then such rubbish wouldn’t have made it into the Times back when it really was *the* New York Times.

Hold the presses! ROFLMAO I guess I was right on in calling the New NYT the “New York Times for Dummies” (rollover the times entry in my blogroll). Evidently Mr. Pogue is in fact the author of several books for dummies including: Classical Music for Dummies, The Flat-Screen iMac for Dummies, Macs for Dummies and Magic for Dummies!

Welcome aboard the New York Times for Dummies Mr. Pogue, you should feel right at home!

David Pogue (wikipedia)

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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12 February, 2007 Posted by | David Pogue, dummies, journalism, media, mega-pixels, New York Times, newspapers, photography, pixels, scanlyze, stupidity, technology | 3 Comments