Manic Monday Markup 4/6/15…
…And the World:
We begin today in Kenya, where following last week’s terrorists attack on a university that left 150 dead, mostly students, the government is responding by bombing training camps of Shabab. The Somalia-based Islamist group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Adding to the intrigue, the son of a government official was held in connection with the shooting, which is Kenya’s worst terrorist attack since the US embassy bombing in Nairobi in 1998.
Staying in Africa, Western leaders are hoping the peaceful transition of power in Nigeria, Africa’s largest country by population, could signal a shift in the continent’s history of coups and dictatorial rule. Incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan lost last week’s presidential election to Muhammadu Buhari and called for unity in his country following his concession.
Israel appears to be softening its opposition to the deal brokered between the P5+1 nations and Iran, although not embracing it by any means. Some officials such as the Intelligence Minister want to appear as urging it to be improved whereas Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself insists he’s not trying to deep six the pact’s framework. This comes after President Barack Obama’s interview with The New York Times’s Thomas Friedman, in which Obama vehemently defends his record and commitment to Israel, part of a counterassault by the White House against opponents of the deal with Iran.
Netanyahu’s shift in tone may also reflect the increasingly isolation Israel’s position may have as the Saudis publicly welcome the deal. Additionally, the Opposition’s candidate for Defense Minister in last month’s election also said the deal was not terrible. Add to that the particularly rambunctious nature of the Knesset just elected. Although, the deal might prompt the unity government the Opposition Zionist Union has resisted.
Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband’s notes for last week’s 7-party debate were apparently left in his dressing room.
Germanwings and its parent company Lufthansa did not report Andreas Lubitz’s medical history to Germany’s aviation regulators. Lubitz is believed to have intentionally downed the plane in the French Alps in an apparent murder-suicide.
Hillary Clinton inked a campaign HQ lease, which means an announcement has to be forthcoming under federal campaign finance regulations.
Rhode Island, long struggling with high unemployment and budget problems, is looking into whether its welfare benefits are too generous, but a quick look by Rhode Island Public Radio suggests, no, they’re not.
Southern states are looking to maximize their influence in the upcoming Republican presidential nominating contest.
Tomorrow is E-Day for Rahm Emanuel and Chuy Garcia in Chicago’s mayoral race. The candidates campaigned through Easter weekend, but polls still show Emanuel leading Garcia. The New York Times looks at the split within labor during this campaign and the Chicago Reader asks which candidate is better for the arts.
Democrats appear unlikely to have an uncontested primary in Ohio Senate race as Cincinnati Councilor P.G. Sittenfeld affirms he is staying in even though former governor Ted Strickland is getting most of the party’s apparatus’ support.
The State of Things:
Gov. Charlie Baker’s panel looking into the MBTA is—unsurprisingly—finds fault with the agency’s spending and advises against more funds before reining in costs. But it also notes that much of the equipment is older than that of its peer agencies, so how to clear out the backlog of needs in the meantime?
Attorney General Maura Healey is looking for more regulations on the state’s casinos.
The Globe profiles Boston’s top numbers guy, who got his start ten years ago as a junior staffer on the House Ways & Means Committee on Beacon Hill.
Elsewhere on Beacon Hill: Senator Jason Lewis is looking into a contingency plan as a marijuana legalization ballot question appears more and more inevitable. The dispute over letting Senate bills exit committees on the voters of its senate members alone could detonate the state’s joint committee structure as the Senate insists on that right and the House demurs.
Cambridge becomes the largest city on the East Coast to ban plastic bags. The ban also includes a fee on the use of paper bags.
Holyoke’s City Council will take up the Polish Historic District at its next meeting.
The Fourth Estatements:
Rolling Stone’s story about a rape at the University of Virginia was savaged in a report from Columbia’s School of Journalism commissioned by the magazine. The story has been formally retracted. The Times has some analysis on the breakdowns that bedeviled the story.
Victor Gotbaum, a top labor official during New York City’s near-bankruptcy who helped steer the city, creditors and unions to a compromise, dies.
Harvard’s Graduate students are considering unionizing.
The color of Building Inspectors pants is on the Council’s agenda tonight…sorta.
The Reminder writes about the Police Department urging residents to use technology—yes technology—to fight crime, namely the app Nextdoor.
Without repeating all of the details of where Rolling Stone went wrong in its UVA story, in short the reporter and editors allowed too much deference to the young woman at the center of the story and thus failed to fulfill key journalistic principles. Maintaining fairness and accuracy is critical to outlets having credibility, even those that are opinionated and engage in advocacy journalism, such as ourselves. Today we award the Tweet Prize to NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik, who noted, in quoting Columbia’s Steve Coll, that Rolling Stone failed to properly employ fairness and accuracy in its reporting.
Coll told NPR that RS failed to weigh adequately story's fairness or accuracy: "“That was not at the heart of this professional culture."
— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) April 6, 2015
Perhaps to underscore the point, Folkenflik also tweeted a comment from Rolling Stone’s Will Dana who said that the magazine would have gone further to protest the woman in this story by reporting the story as diligently as it could rather than providing her with the protection she requested. The report is a pivotal moment for journalism to be sure.
RS's Will Dana: "We actually would have protected this girl much better by reporting on her story the same way we'd report everything else."
— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) April 6, 2015