Perceptions of Reality— And a Failure of a Grand Jury to Indict

  by Walter Brasch   She quietly walked into the classroom and stood there, just inside the door, against a wall. The professor, his back to her, continued his lecture, unaware of her presence until his students’ eyes began focusing upon her rather than him. “Yes?” he asked, turning to her. Just “Yes.” Nothing more. “You shouldn’t have done it,” she said peacefully. He was confused. So she said it again, this time a little louder, and began yelling. “Ma’am,” he began, but she cut him off. He tried to defuse the situation, but couldn’t reason with her. She pulled a gun from her purse, shot him, and then quickly left. He slumped to his lectern, but quickly recovered. It … Continue reading

Democratic Daily columnist wins awards

Walter Brasch, whose weekly column appears in the  Democratic Daily, recently won awards for both his column and his radio commentary. Brasch won first place in commentary (general) and second place in commentary (humor) from the Pennsylvania Press Club, against statewide competition. During the past decade, he has also won multiple awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, National Federation of Press Women, Society of Professional Journalists, Pennsylvania Press Club, and the Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association. At the annual Pennsylvania Press Conference, held in State College, Pa., this past weekend, he won his second consecutive first place for commentary, presented by the Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association. Dr. Brasch has been a journalist more than 40 years, specializing in … Continue reading

Tragedy in the 24/7 News Media

by Walter Brasch CNN is the 24/7 media trumpet for news about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that is presumed to have crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean, southwest of Australia. On that flight were 227 passengers and 12 crew members. CNN grabbed every iota of information, pumped it full of digital frequencies, and broadcast it to what it thought was a world salivating for every syllable of thought. When there was news, CNN broadcast it. When there was no news, CNN broadcast it. When there were outrageous theories, CNN was the source to find out who was saying what. When there was a rumor, CNN broadcast that, only to have to retract it hours later. Through chatter and repetition, CNN … Continue reading

The Boozy, but not Newsy, Mass Media

by Walter Brasch   The Big Story this past week was the Golden Globes awards. The Golden Globes, sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and broadcast by NBC, drew 21 million viewers for the three-hour ceremony, preceded by a one-hour Red Carpet gush-fest hosted by “Today” show personalities. There wasn’t one TV or film personality the hosts didn’t fawn over. Tamron Hall several times excitedly told the viewers that last year she watched the Golden Globes on TV, and now was so thrilled to be on the Red Carpet to interview fellow celebrities. Hosts praised the gowns of the women; the women returned the compliments to Hall and Savannah Guthrie. No one said anything about the spiffy tuxes that … Continue reading

Government Should Not Define What a Reporter is—or Isn’t

    by Walter Brasch Sen. Diane Feinstein and a horde of members of Congress of both parties want to decide who is and who isn’t a reporter. Sen. Feinstein says a “real” reporter is a “salaried agent of a media company.” She mentions the usual suspects—New York Times, ABC News. She dismisses part-time staff. She dismisses freelancers. She dismisses those who write, often without pay, for the hundreds of alternative publications, and often break news and investigative stories well ahead of the mainstream media. She dismisses anyone who, she says, “have no professional qualifications.” The reason she wants to define what a reporter is or isn’t is because there’s a federal Media Shield Law that protects reporters from revealing … Continue reading

The No-News Media Cover a Royal Birth

by Walter Brasch   Long after the American colonials broke away from the British monarchy, long after George Washington refused to take the title of “king,” Americans are still fascinated by anything British and royal. The media incessantly pumped out news and features about the royal birth. TV networks gave us several “special reports” when Kate Middleton checked into the hospital, and then even more reports when the birth was announced, and then when Middleton, Prince William, and their baby went home.  The 30-minute network evening news devoted as much as half of its time to the royal birth. There was live coverage. There was taped coverage. Radio gave us near-instant updates. Just about anyone in London with a cell … Continue reading

Columnist Wins Several Major Awards

Democratic Daily columnist Walter Brasch has recently won several state and national awards for work published in 2012. Against statewide competition, the Pennsylvania Press Club honored him with first place awards for his column, special series (for articles about problems with the state’s new law on gas exploration), and religion. Also against state competition, he received first place in radio commentary from the Pennsylvania Associated Press Broadcasters Association. The National Federation of Press Women awarded him 3rd place for his column, 3rd for social issues reporting, and honorable mention in special series. The National Society of Newspaper Columnist awarded him honorable mention for his column. In a four decade career as a journalist, Dr. Brasch has won more than 200 … Continue reading

America’s Culture is Signing on the Dotted Line

by Walter Brasch The signing season has begun. Look through your local newspaper for the next few weeks, and you’ll see a lot of posed pictures of high school athletes. Everyone will be at a desk or table. Around each one will be their parents and their coach. In some cases, add in an athletic director, a principal, and someone representing a college the young athlete is planning to attend. It makes no difference if it’s a Division I or Division II school; sometimes it’s even a Division III school. Star athletes at the end of their high school careers get photos and applause. They can even get special financial aid and scholarships just for being able to play a … Continue reading