(This segment has updates below)
Over the past few months we’ve seen a distinct rise in fact-checking candidates for President of the United States. But it’s in an unusual place.
Before I get to my journalistic point: a chyron is defined as “an electronically generated caption superimposed on a television or movie screen.” Mostly for our purposes, though, it’s the graphic-text that runs beneath the presenters and/or interview subjects for that specific segment.
There are so many mistruths, distortions and outright lies flying around profit-based media these days that you need a giant rhetorical flyswatter to rebuff them all. But still, it’s an obligation, a duty, of journalists to get the facts right. And to my knowledge, chyron fact-checking is new to our lie-carnival culture. There have been myriad examples of chyron writers fact-checking on the fly and posting those corrections on-air an on-screen in a way that does a significant service to viewers.
The latest lie that’s been jerking my soda is this claim that President Obama “is the founder of ISIS”—a claim put forth and repeated multiple times by Donald Trump and his people. Told once it’s an off-the-cuff, throwaway line; repeating it makes it a culpable lie. Let’s set aside that this is a coded incitement to violence and that our president is, in Trump’s mind, an enemy of the state.
Truthfully, we’re only in a post-fact-check political era if we allow ourselves to be. To Brian Stelter’s point below: all political parties exist to some degree in their own bubbles. But some people hew more to reason, science and fact than others.
RELATED: HAVE A LOOK AT A ROUND-UP OF CHYRON FACT-CHECKS ON TWITTER
For journalists covering these dinguses, it’s high tide in the sea of untruths. I’ve seen Chuck Todd allow politicians to come on Meet the Press and lie without being challenged; I’ve seen Bill Maher on Real Time interview Bernie Sanders without any significant, meaty, tough questions about his policies; and I’ve seen people repeatedly appear on CNN and tell blatant lies about this and that, without so much as a peep from the presenting journalists.
This may sound like I’m making something out of nothing. But believe me: this is society’s death by a thousand deep cuts. Every time we let a lie waft through the air unchallenged we allow someone hearing it think it’s fact. And that is a dangerous precedent.
As a recently honed craft, chyron fact-checking has actually been better than the actual presenters and hosts leading the programs—many of whom are so obsessed with access to candidates that they don’t want to get blacklisted or denied a lucrative interview just because they ruffled the feathers of a thin-skinned bird.
‘CHYRONALISM‘: CHRYON + JOURNALISM
If you care about the craft of journalism as I do and you’re not following Brian Stelter and Dylan Byers on Twitter or watching Reliable Sources regularly, you’re missing out. He’s been out front as a sharp critic of his own network and others. In particular he’s holding Fox so-called News accountable for things that come from that network, which is important given the scandal involving its founder and all the coziness going on with shows like Hannity.
Chryon fact-checking shouldn’t be all we have. It’s a great and welcome practice, don’t get me wrong; I’d imagine those graphically and strategically placed words to be frequently read by viewers and even subliminally comprehended sometimes. But we cannot rely on producers and the control room scrambling to change the chyron so that context is added; we need on-air journalists doing their fucking duty to disseminate truth and call out lies when they’re told.
Committing acts of “Chyronalism” alone ain’t enough.
UPDATE: Given the angry epithets directed at the press pen last night in Kissimmee, Fla., perhaps Chyron Journalism is a safer practice.
UPDATE 2: The AP has done an epic and marvelous job of thoroughly fact-checking Trump’s “ISIS Founder” bullcrap claim. There are actually some hard details on when Daesh was founded and other details at that link below.
An extreme marathon runner was recently adopted by a stray dog in one of the hottest places on earth… and it was, of course, awesome. Ultramarathoner Dion Leonard was running the Gobi March this past June and was befriended by a mixed-breed stray, who took a liking to him and started to follow him on his journey. As told by Upworthy:
The seven-day, 155-mile race was difficult; the heat was unforgiving, with temperatures reaching 125 degrees. But Dion and Gobi finished it together… well, almost.
Gobi kept up with Dion for 78 miles — half of the race, through the hot desert sand and rough mountainous terrain — though he carried her across rivers when they came to them.
“When she came into camp, she followed me straight into my tent, laid down next to me, and that was that – a bond had been developed.”
There are times when animals cry for their dinner, and there are other times when they know they’ve found a home in a person. She found her papa and didn’t let him go.
Dion named her Gobi after the desert they raced through.
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While we’re on the subject of emotionally intelligent dogs, I’m still doing my blog tour for Leaving Triscuit. And let me tell you: I’m floored by the response so far. Here’s a sample:
“Leaving Triscuit is a comprehensive resource which gives pet owners a psychological roadmap of how to make being apart from each other as easy as possible.” — Erik Christian
“Leaving Triscuit provides a roadmap for solidifying ties with man’s best friend and with Triscuit’s best friend. A very loving tribute.”—M. Wilson
Head over to my book blog to read more about the blog tour. Also, Leaving Triscuit is FREE today, tomorrow and Saturday to commemorate the tour. Boo-yah! Please consider leaving a review after reading.
As I predicted, I did in fact leave the theater with a migraine.
I reluctantly went with a pal to see Jason Bourne, the latest installment of the movie franchise to feature Matt Damon (the previous film explored a different thread with Jeremy Renner in the titular role). Damon’s partner-in-cinema crime was once again director Paul Greengrass.
Ever since the pair linked their jittery arms for the sequel, The Bourne Supremacy, the franchise has descended in to a thoughtless hellscape of shaky-cam fast-zooms, unintelligible photographic framing and the absolutely shittiest editing you could imagine. In short, Jason Bourne is an abomination in filmmaking.
Greengrass’ style is a travesty in that viewers are cheated out of set design, wide-angle frames and, most importantly, any remote enjoyment of a car-chase scene. Under Greengrass’ direction, Bourne film car chases are blips of action strung together that all add up to a friggin’ headache.
The original—as David Roberts points out on Vox—is a classic, far-superior rendering of a stylish, nailbiting action movie. Viewers are treated to frames that don’t challenge or annoy the senses; they broaden and engage them. This clip above is a fair example of a scene that would never make it to the final cut of a Greengrass-helmed Bourne film.
I knew going in that Bourne would give me a headache; what I didn’t expect, however, is to be so completely underwhelmed with character arcs and really poor writing by Greengrass & Christopher Rouse. In this film, the story is the moviemaking style—not any narrative they tried to create.
Has Bourne run its course? Actually, Bourne’s frenetic journey begun and ended with the epic, soaring, poetic and operatic first installment. Since then, it’s descended into indulgent filmmaking crap.
I want to give David Roberts of Vox the highest of fives, so this piece is a virtual one. The Bourne Identity is the greatest of the group, and no other film will come close so long as Greengrass is at the helm and they don’t give him a fucking steadycam.
We have a significant food-waste problem—in American and around the world. Earlier this month Italy passed a new law that aims to significantly reduce the amount of food waste the country produces. From the BBC piece:
The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) estimates that some 1/3 of food may be wasted worldwide—a figure that rises to some 40% in Europe. ‘The food currently wasted in Europe could feed 200 million people,’ the FAO says.
Three months ago, the country’s supreme court ruled that stealing smaller quantities of food would not be classified as an actionable crime. The country is doing many great things that we should be looking at in the U.S.—including carbon recapture and municipal composting.
A number of years ago I was half-watching an HGTV program called “You Live in What?” and stumbled across a segment on Borden Flats Lighthouse, a property that was about to be converted to a hotel. Thanks to the magic of social media, I connected with the executive director, Nick Korstad, and asked him if I could profile the property some day.
This would be a neat little getaway for some of you looking for quirky accommodations that have a story to tell in each and every room. I reached out to Nick to see what the latest is with the property, and I’ll let you know what I hear.
Meantime, click over and book your stay now. You need you a vacation.
That’s it from me this week, Cranker Darlings. See you right back here next Thursday at 2.
Will Pollock is a cranky New York City escapee living in Atlanta. He’s a freelance multimedia journalist and author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—and check out the book links below.
Don’t forget to comment below. Cranky loves company.