Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Future of Journalism


Refusing to go with live coverage. Suspending normal relations with his White House. Always asking: is this something we should amplify? A focus on what he’s doing, not on what he’s saying. The truth sandwich when we feel we have to highlight his false claims. This is what you can expect now that our coverage has been switched to an emergency setting.

— Excerpt from suggested editor’s note crafted by Jay Rosen of PressThink as a guide to how media outlets should cover Trump during the coronavirus pandemic (Today we are switching our coverage of Donald Trump to an emergency setting)


We journalists should never again write that someone is too old, too young, too polarizing, too petty, too cranky or too whatever to win an election. We should listen to what he or she is saying and then analyze, with an open mind, how it’s being heard.

— Frank Bruni: Ideas should matter more to journalists than the politics of personality and likability (New York Times op-ed)


There is a big difference between not getting information and the press using the entire briefing time to ask the same two or three questions over and over and being upset that the answers don’t change no matter how many times they ask it.

— Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania (Noah Bierman: The White House press briefing, always a spin zone, is now approaching uselessness)


KJR’s Mitch Levy caught in prostitution sting

Yesterday, The Seattle Times reported that Bellevue police had conducted a prostitution sting in Bellevue, opening up their own temporary brothel. Over one hundred men were swept up in the dragnet, including KJR’s Mitch Levy.

Reaction to Levy’s arrest on social media has been (not surprisingly) unkind.

“Feel cheated by Mitch Levy,” tweeted one Seahawks fan. “No host talked about his kids and wife more than him. Can’t respect men who run around on their family.”

What many people may not know is that Levy already had a checkered history that includes chauvinistic comments as well as misogynist stunts.

For example:

Mitch Levy, morning host at sports radio KJR-AM, certainly seems inclined to borrow a few moves from the [Rob] Tepper/[Andy] Savage playbook, if that’s what Seattle wants.

In addition to reporting sports news and interviewing legends such as basketball’s Magic Johnson, Levy has branched out to gab on-air with models Claudia Schiffer and Kathy Ireland, and hold an annual “Queen of the Hardwood” competition to select the best celebrity pin-ups.

In a move that must’ve sent any puritanical listeners into frothing convulsions, he even once sang an appreciative ditty about KOMO TV news anchor Kathi Goertzen. Based on “The 12 Days of Christmas,” Levy’s substitute lyrics imagined Goertzen in fishnet stockings, 3-inch stiletto heels, and (substituting for the familiar “five golden rings” refrain) “edible crotchless panties.”

Then, in 2003, there was this:

Seattle Storm standout Sue Bird canceled a wager made earlier this season with KJR talk show host Mitch Levy, who had proposed to spank her on his program if she lost the bet. […] As the bet stood, Bird would have had to cry, “Harder, Daddy, harder” during the spanking if she lost. If Bird won the bet, Levy would have had to buy season tickets to Storm games next year.

And more recently, there has been weekly segment on Mitch’s morning show with dancers from Kitten’s Cabaret.

Exploitation of women seems to be a recurring theme with Mitch Levy. Mitch is setting a bad example for men — and especially young men — everywhere.

Enough is enough. KJR should cancel his show and take him off the air.


Arizona had prepared Trump’s path in more spiritual ways that long predated that transformative 2015 rally. With an economy built on real-estate deals, and some outright land hustles, Arizona was primed to embrace an outsider promising quick miracles. Bashing Mexican immigrants has played well for at least twenty years with the state’s other significant base of immigrants: Anglo retirees with nest eggs and a leeriness of their new Latino neighbors. And the luxury resorts ringing metro Phoenix are models of gilded Trumpian tackiness.

— Tom Zoellner: Why Trump loves Arizona

Recommended Link

Big win for media diversity: The Chicago Sun-Times is wrenched away from a rival publisher

The Chicago Sun-Times will not fall into the hands of Tronc, the company that owns its crosstown rival, thanks an eleventh hour intervention by a group of white knight investors that includes the Chicago Federation of Labor. “When the big guy decided to eat the little guy, this group of people stood up and said, ‘No more,’” declared the group’s leader, businessman Edwin Eisendrath, at a press conference.


The conservative mind, in some very visible cases, has become diseased. The movement has been seized by a kind of discrediting madness, in which conspiracy delusions figure prominently. Institutions and individuals that once served an important ideological role, providing a balance to media bias, are discrediting themselves in crucial ways. With the blessings of a president, they have abandoned the normal constraints of reason and compassion.

— Michael Gerson, former chief speechwriter for George W. Bush: The conservative mind has become diseased (The Washington Post)

Recommended Link

Sinclair requires TV stations, including KOMO, to air segments that tilt to the right

A must-read from The New York Times. “Eight current and former KOMO employees describe a newsroom where some have chafed at Sinclair’s programming directives, especially must-runs pieces, which they view as too politically tilted and occasionally of poor quality.”

Recommended Link

Inside a fake news sausage factory: ‘This is all about income’

“A computer science student in a former Soviet republic found there was money to made mixing real and made-up stories, as long as they were pro-Trump,” The New York Times reports.


Fox News masquerades as defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny.

— Excerpt from ex-host Andrea Tantaros’ lawsuit against Fox Noise Channel and Roger Ailes for sexual harassment (via Deadline).


If you want to write stories that might anger a billionaire, you need to work for another billionaire yourself, or for a billion-dollar corporation. The law will not protect you. There is no freedom in this world but power and money.

— Tom Scocca: Gawker Was Murdered by Gaslight

Recommended Link

UW had ‘Fight Club’ rule of secrecy about KPLU deal

“Emails and records show UW and KUOW officials worked to keep details secret about the Seattle public radio station’s intentions to buy its competitor KPLU until the day university regents approved the plan. PLU, meanwhile, insisted on not revealing that it initiated the deal,” The Seattle Times reports.

Recommended Link

What happens to journalists when no one wants to print their words anymore?

“As newsrooms disappear, veteran older reporters are being forced from the profession. That’s bad for journalism — and democracy,” writes Dale Maharidge.


Political reporters know only four stories: (1) who’s up and who’s down, (2) how much money candidates have raised, (3) which candidates have made what gaffes, and (4) who’s attacking whom. They’re not trained to report on what the candidates actually say, or the economic and social realities that are fueling what they say and why their candidacies are catching on (or not).

— Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, articulating one of the biggest problems with our mass media’s coverage of politics (via Facebook).

Recommended Link

Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia School of Journalism report

After receiving the final report it commissioned from The Columbia School of Journalism into its problematic cover story “A Rape on Campus”, Rolling Stone has fully retracted its article and apologized for not following its own rigorous process for checking facts and vetting sources.



David Carr: 1956-2015

A little earlier this evening, The New York Times reported that its most excellent media columnist David Carr had collapsed while at work in the paper’s newsroom and was taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

He was fifty-eight years old.

This is absolutely terrible news, and our deepest sympathies are with David’s family and his colleagues at The New York Times, as well as his greater circle of friends. We were readers of David’s columns and regarded him as one of the newspaper’s finest writers. We are grieved by his sudden death, but we are and always will be appreciative of his contributions to journalism.

Only a few hours ago, Carr moderated a TimesTalks discussion with Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, and Laura Poitras at The New School’s John Tishman Auditorium. That discussion is available for viewing on Livestream:

Also worth watching is this Bloomberg discussion, where Carr talks about the future of journalism. Whenever he wrote or spoke, he always had important things to say. His 2008 memoir The Night of the Gun frankly explored his struggles with addiction, garnering widespread praise and acclaim.

Mother Jones has a collection of tributes to David.

It’s tough to believe he’s gone… and in the same week as CBS’ legendary Bob Simon. This truly has been an awful week for journalism.

Rest in peace, David. We’ll miss you.