Sunday, January 08, 2006

More on Gurinder Osan

I am flattered that photographer Gurinder Osan chose to comment on my post. Certainly, as a wire photographer he often has a job to do and it may be that not all of his photos are art, but this makes it all the more impressive and laudable when they are. I note that the Kashmir photo made the New York Times' "2005: The year in pictures" as the lead world photograph. Also, it is worth noting that the Times has recently changed the printing of photographs in its print edition so that the colors are much richer and many pictures are much more impressive.

More on liars for hire

Tom Giovanetti, who is President of the Institute for Policy Innovation, responded to my previous comment. Contrary to his implication, my comment about Ferrara is based entirely upon what he is quoted as saying in the New York Times (since Giovanetti did not address the substance of my remark, I wonder if he actually read it; I can imagine an aide using Google to find and comment on any blog that mentioned Ferrara and the IPI). I write now to say that I recognize the distinction between paying someone to write an article advocating your point of view and paying someone, or merely lending your name to someone, because you agree with their views. While the latter is an expression of first-amendment rights akin to the freedom to own a printing press and use it to publish what you like (and I would certainly defend those rights), there is a corresponding obligation on the part of the public to recognize such sources for what they are. While on this topic I will also admit that although I am fond of the phrase 'liars for hire' and consider it an appropriate counterweight to the phrase '[so-and-so] of the respected think tank [such-and-such]' I acknowledge that most of these writers probably do believe what they write. However, something is very wrong when the media routinely presents as balanced the pairing of these people with academics or journalists who genuinely seek the truth. All too often, those who would use money to influence public debate appear to have succeeded.

If this topic interest you, then you may want to read the comments of Michael Kinsley, former editorial and opinion editor of the Los Angeles Times, in the Washington Post ("Pundit Payola").