Interesting, how the Hunting, Farming and Fishing Assn. — the guys who really do feed Hawaii — have a totally different list of candidate endorsements than Center for Food Safety and the other non-farmers who want to dictate how agriculture is done in the Islands.
As the primary election nears, candidates in tough races are feeling the strain — even snapping under pressure:
Not long ago, Hooser was observed on Kuhio Highway, standing alone in the rain at 6:30 a.m., holding a campaign sign and stabbing at the air with an angry expression on his face. The last mad candidate was Bob Cariffe, picking up trash along the road with a sign and a scowl. He never did make the top 12.
Just when you think journalism can't sink any lower at Civil Beat, it does, with “reader rep” Brett Oppegaard telling us that comments are a form of “citizen journalism.”
Now that's a scary thought, if some of the cuckoo comments that come through my in-basket are any indication.
What's more, according to Brett, journalism isn't just a profession. It's “an ideology, and a way of being in the world, and understanding the world.”
Is that the sort of rubbish he's teaching his students at University of Hawaii? But then, it seems at least some of them are wise to his silliness, given their comments — excuse me, their “journalism” — on ratemyprofessor.com:
Smart guy, but inept teacher. Lectures in monotone for long periods.
[A] lot of times goes on long, irrelevant tangents that no one really listens to.
Indeed. Or as a journalist friend observed:
Anyone who uses the affected “dear reader” in their copy deserves to be slapped. Hard. And then ignored.
Which is likely what Civil Beat editors plan to do when it comes to Brett's admonishment:
If any person wants to express themselves in any media form, they have the right to do that. But if they are going to participate in journalistic discourse, they have basic ethical obligations, and one of those obligations is to disclose all significant conflicts of interest.
That would require Civil Beat to disclose that Pierre Omidyar — its funder, founder and editorial board member — is funneling large sums of money through the Hawaii Community Foundation to groups whose spokespersons and agendas are prominently featured in its stories. To wit, Center for Food Safety, Surfrider, Blue Planet Foundation.
Yeah, it gets a little messy when you're a billionaire social engineer with a penchant for starting vanity presses and people like me call you out.
Which is why Brett did his hit piece on me the other day. A few weeks ago, he began interrogating me about an exchange I'd had with CB editor Patti Epler in the comment section last April. I suggested that if he were keen to claim it's a conflict for me — or apparently anyone — to leave a comment that has nothing to do with how I earn a living, he might want to also look into Pierre's inherent conflict.
Especially since every time I mentioned it on CB, my comments magically disappeared.
As Brett persisted, I pushed back: Was he going to write about Pierre?
Not in this column ... commenting is a big enough topic for one column, but I am looking into this issue for future columns. …
I kind of figured you didn't want to touch it. But how can you not when it was at the core of my exchange with Patti?
It's not that I don't want to touch it; it's a complicated subtopic (within the topic I'm addressing) that is beyond the scope of what I want to deal with in this particular column (which therefore would muddy the theme of the piece), about commenting systems and disclosures of commenters. There's always another column, for something like that.
It wouldn't be complicated or muddy in the hands of a more masterful writer. Shoots, I even laid it out for him. But apparently, the will was lacking.
Anyway, I'll be waiting for Brett to publish that column on Omidyar — the day hell freezes over.
Cuz let's face it. The guy ain't got no cojones.
As for me, I tend to agree with Bronson Kaahui:
ALL journalists should be biased towards the truth, not “objectively” reporting BS with facts to get a more “balanced” picture.
On a related topic, yesterday I was telling a group of communicators in the agricultural field about how the anti-GMO movement had polarized Kauai, divided people into “reds” and “blues” based upon the color of their shirts.
They were appalled, aghast, having no clue at how this movement has scorched aloha the way a blaze blackens the weeds in an abandoned sugar field.
It's a fire that Civil Beat has fanned and fed, both overtly on its pages, and covertly through the philanthropy that has ingratiated Omidyar into the community. That's why I've gone after both of them. And that's why Brett, like a good little toady, delivered their payback — at the expense of his own credibility.
Sadly, with the Star-Advertiser bleeding from a thousand cuts, the Islands may soon be left with only Brett, Civil Beat, Facebook and “citizen journalism” to inform its citizenry.
And thus began the reign of ignorance.