Bob Schwartz

Category: Newspaper

More New York Hate Attacks—On a Muslim Cop and a Subway Worker

aml-elsokary

Just as you probably didn’t see any national coverage of the assault on a Muslim college student riding the New York subway, you also probably didn’t see stories about more attacks in the last few days—including one on a New York City cop.

Sunday

‘I will cut your throat!’: Man attacks Muslim cop and her son

A suspect was arrested Sunday in the Brooklyn attack on an off-duty Muslim cop wearing a hijab.

“Go back to your country,” the man yelled at NYPD Officer Aml Elsokary during the incident Saturday.

He also targeted the cop’s 16-year-old son — shoving him and shouting a slur that referenced ISIS — before telling them both, “I will cut your throat! Go back to your country!” sources said.

The incident is being probed as a hate crime.

The suspect, whose name was not released, lives near the scene of the attack, on Ridge Boulevard and 67th Street in Bay Ridge.

Elsokary made headlines in 2014 when she helped rescue an old man and a baby from a burning building.

Monday

Muslim MTA worker in hijab pushed down stairs, called ‘terrorist’

A Muslim New York City Transit employee who was wearing a hijab with her uniform was injured when she was pushed down the stairs at Grand Central Terminal Monday morning by a man who called her a “terrorist,” officials said.

The 45-year-old woman was on her way to work at 6:20 a.m. when the man confronted her on the 7 Train.

“You’re a terrorist and you shouldn’t be working for the city,” the hate-monger spewed at her while the two were on the train, as he jabbed at her MTA patch.

He followed her off the train and pushed her down the stairs. Her ankle and knee were injured and she was taken to NYU Langone Hospital.

We have to start facing a few realities, though strategies to deal with them are still to be determined. One is not just the presence of hate and intolerance—an age-old problem—but the growing aggressive expression of that hate, possibly in light of the current political climate. Another is a certain willingness to stand by while that happens—also long-standing—because we will always have such people and that’s just the way things are. A final reality is much of the news media, which, with all due respect, spent the presidential campaign focused on all kinds of nonsense and missing all kinds of truth, sometimes in the name of being “objective” and not judging or having opinions.

These latest examples of necessary truths are not matters of opinion. What’s wrong is wrong, and if the media is uncomfortable reporting or analyzing it, maybe they have outlived their usefulness and relevance.

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Daily Mail

Daily Mail

Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper isn’t quite what it appears.

From the outside, it looks like a sensationalist buffet, focusing on things like showbiz and celebrity culture. Which it is. Some of its stories, such as those highlighting controversial medical cures, have been criticized by British scientists and doctors.

But it also contains excellent reporting on a range of stories in the U.S., U.K., and around the world. In a number of cases, you will find better and more insightful reporting of the current campaign than in many of the more respectable American papers.

Plus, if you need a break from the bleakness of the news, a small dose of the more frivolous stories can be welcome relief.

Visit the website or get the app. Enjoy.

New Hampshire Primary Aftermath: Battle of the Billionaire Front Pages

The New York Daily News and the New York Post have been tabloid newspaper rivals forever. And that battle is most deliciously seen on their front pages.

These papers are currently owned by very different billionaires: The Daily News by Mort Zuckerman (leans liberal), the Post by Rubert Murdoch (Fox News, enough said).

In the U.S., the Daily News and Post are the champions of creative, clever, crass or crude. Here is what they came up with the morning after a very momentous night in politics.

New York Daily News

NY_NYP

New York Daily News Wins Pulitzer Prize for Trump-Palin Front Page

I'm With Stupid!

There is no Pulitzer Prize for newspaper front pages. And if there was, the New York Daily News is not going to win it. Too bad.

“I’m with stupid!” Sarah Palin pointing at Donald Trump. Three words. One photo. It does what media outlets continue to spend hours and pages on, while avoiding the obvious in the name of fair-mindedness—or for ratings and circulation. Or to avoid insulting a future President.

Journalism schools will not use this as a model of anything. We do need high-minded and thoughtful analysis. But once in a while, you’ve just got to cut through the blah-blah-blah and get to the point.

The Economist on Israel: Winning the Battle, Losing the War

Economist - Israel and Gaza

If you read the biblical chronicles instead of the newspapers, you know that the Jewish homelands have lived forever from crisis to crisis. In the history of modern Israel, none of that has changed.

When you live in constant crisis, the historical topography can be indistinct—it can be hard to tell which one is bigger than another. But in Israel’s history, Independence in 1948 and the Six Day War in 1967 are epochal. The current Israel-Gaza conflict is still ongoing, but the current crisis of 2014 may join that cohort.

Among the thousands of pieces and millions of words generated over the past few weeks, the new cover story from The Economist, Winning the battle, losing the war is one of best and most even-handed evaluations published about the aftermath of all this.

“Even-handed” and “fair-minded” are hard to find in such a brutal and polarized controversy, and some would say they don’t exist at all. The Economist, for those who don’t know, is one of the most astute and level-headed journals of public affairs in the world. This piece, like others about contested matters, is not without embedded value judgments or opinions. It is just a sharp, worthwhile, and informed point of view that should be heard—even if it is shouted down as somehow biased and mistaken:

For all the blood and misery in Gaza, Mr Netanyahu will soon have a chance to show he has heard the critics. Having won his battle, he could return to the negotiating table, this time with a genuine offer of peace. Every true friend of Israel should press him to do so.

There Is Still a War in Syria

Paris Hilton As Miley Cyrus
When there was less to people’s news and info lives—a newspaper or two a day, a half-hour network news show, a couple of news magazines a week—there were stories that rose to the top and stayed there, depending on importance. This didn’t mean that second-tier or frivolous stories didn’t get coverage or traction. People always loved celebrities, always loved hearing gossip, and when man bites dog, that’s always news. The down side was a certain provincialism that came with a narrow channel and less worldly attitudes: if millions were suffering in a place nobody heard of, with people unlike us, most readers and viewers might have no idea.

Now we can know anything, though we don’t know everything, or care about everything. This has left news leaders in a delicate position. There are going to be stories that appeal to a journalist sense and a humanist sense, that deserve at least regular mention, if not coverage that might only say, “And in the misery of this place or that war, it’s still happening, with no end in sight.” The dual problem is that people can find and figure that out for themselves, without a multi-billion dollar media enterprise telling them, and those media consumers might just as well pay attention to something else.

Which is why, unlike its predecessors World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War, the Iraq War was not the top story every day of its ten years. Which is why the current violence in Iraq is barely covered, a turning away that in part must come from some profound but unspoken embarrassment.

For a few moments a few months ago, Syria was a bright shiny object. Red lines, chemical warfare, threats of military action, etc. After some erratic movement, slight progress is being made. But that progress does not include ending the civil war.

The New York Times, still possibly the world’s greatest news enterprise, has an ongoing section devoted to the Crisis in Syria. The increasing numbers stupefy: 6.5 million Syrians displaced from their homes, more than 2 million of them seeking refuge in other countries. Now we hear about a cluster of polio cases among Syrian children.

We have plenty of our own problems, individually and as a country. Some of those are not small at all. But there is no polio. And the entire population of the state of Tennessee or Indiana has not had to leave their homes behind, dodging mayhem, unsure if they will ever return, or if there will be anything to return to.

We shouldn’t expect ourselves to be exhausted or crushed by the miseries of the world; that’s what keeping track of all the problems all the time would do. So yes, you can argue that it is important to learn from the news today that Paris Hilton has spent $5,000 on Halloween costumes so that she can dress up as Miley Cyrus. But for a change of pace, a regular, maybe daily, reminder that there is still a war in Syria might be of value.

The Most Significant Shutdown Front Pages

El Diario

Republicans should pay close attention to the front pages of America’s newspapers this morning, the first day of the government shutdown prompted by their obsessive opposition to Obamacare.

Most papers carry some version of “shutdown” or “gridlock,” with photos of John Boehner and Harry Reid, or John Boehner and Barack Obama (it’s all about John Boehner).

But the big story on two front pages is the opening of the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges. These two papers just happen to be two of the largest Spanish-language dailies—El Diario in New York (above) and La Opinion in Los Angeles (below).

La Opinion

Why is this significant for Republicans? Because they claim (but in their heart of hearts still may not believe) that here in the second decade of the 21st century, they can’t become an American national party without broad Latino support. That is true, but the fact is that a large part of that constituency is uninsured and is deeply interested in the benefits of Obamacare. This is reflected in those front pages. But the Republicans are sworn enemies of Obamacare, so committed that they are willing to put people out of work to do it. How can the Republicans be a party attractive to Latinos under that circumstance?

The answer is that they can’t. It is a circle Republicans cannot square. And no matter how much lip service they pay to underserved populations, everything they do says something else. Actions, like front pages, speak louder than words.

One Child Born

Newborn
And when I die
And when I’m gone
There’ll be one child born
And a world to carry on.
Laura Nyro, And When I Die

Had enough of just about everything in the news? Had enough of hearing and reading about Syria, including right here?

If you visit random.org, home of all sorts of randomness tools, you will discover a way to generate random places on earth. Find an online newspaper from one of the random places. Check the newspaper for a record of recent births.

There, for example, you will find the randomly selected Pueblo, Colorado Chieftain, with the important news that on September 8, a daughter, Boone, was born to Michelle and Andrew Bischoff.

Around 365,000 babies are born every day in the world. They are born into so many different circumstances of comfort and discomfort, ease and disease, bright and shaded prospects. But here they are, and if we are able to better the worst of those circumstances, here they will be after we are gone.

Maybe that’s not news. Maybe that’s the only news that matters.

The World Makes Sense Of America, One Front Page At A Time

COL_EC
The Newseum in Washington, D.C. is America’s news museum. It is a valuable resource that fortunately offers a lot of online content. One of its focuses is the still alive and kicking medium of print newspapers, and the Newsuem offers something that highlights one unique feature of these supposed media dinosaurs. Each day the Newsweum collects the front pages of hundreds of American and global papers and makes them available digitally.

For particular eventful days, like 9/11, the Newseum archives those front pages for posterity. The archive for Saturday, December 15, 2012, the day newspapers first reported about Sandy Hook, is particularly enlightening. Most nations had at least one front page featuring the story. American gun culture is so singular, even in places undergoing short-term or protracted states of war, that the stories mix perplexity with maybe some sense of “we’ve got plenty of problems, but this ain’t one.”

Even for those who love a well-crafted Web page or mobile screen, newspaper front pages remain an expressive art form, a story before and within the story. This is at its truest and most challenging in the face of big events.

The one above is from Medillin, Colombia. Medillin is the country’s second largest city and the infamous home of the Medillin drug cartel, which for about two decades terrorized the nation. Medillin is no stranger to brutality and guns.

The headline reads: “Golpe Al Alma de Estados Unidos”. Blow to the Soul of the United States.

Here are a few more:

Austria
Austria
Has America Learned from the Pain This Time?

PanamaPanama
Massacre
BelgiumBelgium
Bloodbath in Kindergarten
BrazilBrazil
Why?

More Proof That Baseball Is Better Than Politics


The political polling analyst Nate Silver is something of a hero, both for his accurate predictions and for his amazingly clear explanation of the statistics that lead to his seemingly prescient conclusions. To paraphrase Barack Obama talking about Bill Clinton’s ability to make complex budget math simple, Nate Silver should be the Secretary of Explaining Things statistical.

Those of us who have followed Nate’s career, even before the New York Times made him and his Five Thirty Eight blog a must-read fixture, know that his roots are not in politics but in the art and science of baseball stats. That’s why it was wonderful to see him switch gears yesterday from the election to the most contentious baseball argument of the moment: who should be this year’s American League Most Valuable Player, an award voted on by the Baseball Writers of America?

To make this basic for non-baseball fans, two players in the league had historic, exceptional seasons. Miguel Cabrera, playing for the pennant-winning but World Series-losing Detroit Tigers, was the first player in forty-five years to win the Triple Crown, leading the league in Batting Average, Runs Batted In and Home Runs. Twenty-year-old Los Angeles Angels rookie Mike Trout not only had one of the best first seasons ever (unanimously winning Rookie of the Year award), he had one of the best seasons period. Of the so-called five tools (hitting for average, hitting for power, baserunning, throwing and fielding), few players of his age have ever exhibited such an array of gifts.

Yesterday, the Major League Baseball Network convened a conclave of baseball experts for a one-hour debate on the matter; that’s how significant it is (at least to lovers of the game). And yesterday Nate posted The Statistical Case Against Cabrera for M.V.P.

The point here is neither Nate’s argument nor the merits of the debate (Cabrera will most likely win, though the best outcome, given how micrometer-close it is, would be for a shared award). The point is that soon after the blog post, hundreds of comments arrived. Not just a few interesting comments mixed with uninformed, borderline psychotic rants, as we’ve come to expect from political posts. This was an amazing collection of intelligent, articulate, deeply researched responses, offering perspectives that even the most attentive fan might not have considered.

That’s why we are happy that Nate returned, at least for the moment, to baseball. And that’s why baseball is, inarguably, better than politics.