White Noise: News from inside the media bubble

by Brian Clarey

All About Eve

The tragic murder of UNC-Chapel Hill student body president Eve Carson two weeks ago catapulted normally placid Chapel Hill to national media attention. Police worked around the clock to apprehend her killers, fielding tips from across the state that led to two arrests a week afterwards. We commend the Chapel Hill Police Department, and offer our condolences to the UNC community. But one aspect of the crime and its aftermath sticks in our craw. One of the suspects, 17-year-old Laurence Lovette, was also charged with the murder of Duke University grad student Abhijit Mahato in January. Carson was a high-profile figure in Chapel Hill, but if Mahato’s case had attracted the same media coverage, could the police have caught Lovette sooner? It’s cynical to point to the national media’s obsession with crimes against young, blonde white women, but I don’t know if that makes it inappropriate.

– AK

New domino theory?

Writing in the new issue of Esquire, Thomas PM Barnett proved prophetic when he said that Admiral William Fallon, head of US Central Command, “may soon be unemployed.” Shortly after the article was published on March 11, the admiral resigned. Fallon bas been an anomaly in the famously bellicose Bush administration, reportedly telling Al-Jazeera last fall: “This constant drumbeat of conflict… is not helpful and not useful. I expect there will be no war, and that is what we ought to be working for. We ought to do our utmost to create different conditions.” It’s apparent that Fallon knew his days in the administration were numbered, and easy to conclude that his candid debrief with Esquire was intended as a siren of alarm as he made his exit. The leftist blog The Vineyard of the Saker notes that many of the military advisers who have been gunning for war with Iran are Jewish, and that their neoconservative agenda dovetails with the militarist aims of Zionism. Fallon, then, would be placed in the “Old Anglo Guard” clique that characterized the foreign policy establishment during the elder Bush’s administration. “The Pentagon has been effectively cleared from any Old Anglo Guard members capable of opposing neocon plans for more wars in the Middle East,” a March 12 blog post reads. “Even better, it makes it easier for the neocons to trigger a ‘Persian Gulf of Tonkin’ kind of incident to trigger a war with Iran even before the presidential election, thereby probably propelling the most beloved candidates of the neocons (McCain) to power.”

– JG

Blogfight of the week

Oh man, if you’re not one of the one in five who regularly reads blogs (that’s according to a March Harris Interactive poll), you’re missing some sweet, sweet drama in the local citizen journalism community. Last week’s kerfluffle involved the shrill countenance of Dr. Mary Johnson, who blogs at Dr. J’s House Calls and shows an affinity for long posts replete with random capitalizations, colored text and allusions to what she perceives as a colossal wrong done to her 10 years ago in Randolph County, where she lives. In a succession of posts that fell between March 10-15, she laid into Roch Smith, curator of the We101 series of community blog aggregators and a fledgling blog of his own, Roch101. Backstory: Johnson has been trying to drum up some press and sympathy for her case, in which she claims she was fired for whistleblowing, for three years, by her count. Then last week Marshall Eakes, who blogs as Meblogin at his eponymous site, reintroduced Johnson’s case with a call for reporters, journalists and bloggers to take up the banner. Smith commented with a thumbnail summation of his interpretation of Johnson’s case. Then it got kinda crazy, with several long comments from Johnson directed towards Smith, and an argument that bled over to Johnson’s blog, the blog of Dr. Joseph Guarino, another MD, and the blog of our old friend Bubbanear, with an insinuation that Smith took Johnson’s blog off of the We101 Greensboro page and put it onto the Asheboro page. It’ll take a couple hours to weed through all the threads and links – a couple hours you’ll never get back – but if you like teapot tempests, this one is for you. A highlight is legal analysis by attorney Sam Spagnola on the Johnson’s House Calls blog, which apparently caused a rift between the two that, as of this writing, has yet to be mended.

– BC