Should media outlets pay any attention to the Jihadi PR machine? And other media tidbits of the day.
Do terrorists get to name themselves? In recent weeks, the group previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL (ISIS if you translate “Levant” from the Arabic, where it becomes “Sham”) has changed its name to the “Islamic State”, a new title to reflect its declaration of a global Islamic caliphate based in Iraq.
The Associated Press has, in accordance, just changed its style guide. It now also refers to the group as Islamic State, while also on second mention making clear it is not a state recognised by others. But as Poynter points out, other American media organisations have dragged their feet on this, reluctant to endorse what they see as ISIL’s propaganda. Many, including The New York Times and SBS, continue to refer to the group as ISIS or ISIL, which is the term US President Barack Obama was using late last week.
“We want to be accurate and up to date. But we also want to avoid adding to readers’ confusion. We wondered, too, whether ‘the Islamic State’ might convey the impression that we were describing a functioning state, rather than a single militant faction that controls a shifting share of territory.”
But in Australia, the print press appears to have largely accepted the Islamic State name change with little fuss.
In its front-page report that touched on the group this morning, The Australian newspaper took the Islamic State moniker (the italics are Crikey’s).
“Tony Abbott was quick to denounce the image, saying it exposed the ‘kind of hideous atrocities’ that Islamic State was capable of. Islamic State, a jihadist group formerly known as ISIS, has declared a Muslim caliphate across swaths of Iraq and Syria …”
However, many of those interviewed continued to use the ISIS or ISIL moniker in direct quotes.
In a report carried across The Age and SMH this morning, Fairfax appears to do the same.
“Sharrouf, 33, slipped out of Australia last year using Mostafa’s passport and travelled with his four children to Syria and Iraq, where he has been fighting with the terrorist rebel group Islamic State”.
The ABC, in news reports and opinion pieces published this morning, also refers to the group as Islamic State. (In the interests of full disclosure, Crikey also uses “Islamic State”, as the piece by Guy Rundle today illustrates). — Myriam Robin
Press Council strikes back.The Australian took the extraordinary step of attacking the Australian Press Council in an article and an editorial on the weekend, perhaps in anticipation of an adverse ruling about to come its way. News Corp’s broadsheet called Australia’s media watch dog “erratic in its rulings”, “ponderous”, “ineffective” and “unmoored from its foundations”. According to the Oz, the APC has “lost the plot” and “run off the rails”. It also attacked Press Council chair Julian Disney, accusing him of “poor stewardship”, “biases” and “ideological activism”. The Press Council has now released a media release in relation to the matter, slamming the Oz for breaching the confidentiality of proceedings in criticising its handling of a complaint:
“The newspaper concedes that it has breached the confidentiality obligations relating to its discussions with the complainant and the Panel. These obligations are essential to protect the interests of both the complainant and the publication in the fairness and integrity of the process. Their breach in any particular case adversely affects the confidence with which all other complainants and publications can engage in the Council’s processes.
“The obligations encourage candid and constructive discussion and avoid discussions with the Panel becoming vehicles for public airing of irrelevant or needlessly offensive assertions. It also means, for example, that details of a complaint are not made public until the same time as the Panel’s findings are made public in its adjudication. Sometimes, the public adjudication may exclude all reference to an aspect which the Panel decides is unfounded.”
The Press Council also rejects claims that its chair has a conflict of interest in the ruling. The Australian had asked that chairman Julian Disney recuse himself from the proceedings as he had had dealings with the late senator Arthur Gietzelt.
“The only possible contact of which I am aware is that Sen Gietzelt apparently spoke at a public meeting in 1988 at which I was also an invited speaker. If there was any contact between us it would only have been for the purpose of being introduced to each other,” Disney said.
Jezebel v Gawker. Feminist website Jezebel, owned by Gawker Media, is not happy with its parent company, but instead of having a quiet word with the boss in a corner office, Jezebel staff have posted their complaint on their website. Staff writers say anonymous commenters have been spamming Jezebel articles with GIFs of violent pornography for months. Although staff are able to delete the comments, they pop up elsewhere, and moderators say being subjected to these images day after day is distressing. Jezebel wants Gawker Media to track commenters’ IP addresses so the spammer or spammers can be caught and reported, but Gawker has refused, pointing out that its anonymous comment system allows tipsters and whistleblowers to provide sensitive information without fear of reprisal (for what it’s worth, Crikey has an anonymous tip-off system, but our comments section does not guarantee anonymity).
Say Jezebel staffers:
“In refusing to address the problem, Gawker’s leadership is prioritizing theoretical anonymous tipsters over a very real and immediate threat to the mental health of Jezebel’s staff and readers. If this were happening at another website, if another workplace was essentially requiring its female employees to manage a malevolent human pornbot, we’d report the hell out of it here and cite it as another example of employers failing to take the safety of its female employees seriously. But it’s happening to us. It’s been happening to us for months. And it feels hypocritical to continue to remain silent about it.”
The post has more than 2000 comments (none of them porn GIFs that we could see), with the response from Jezebel’s close-knit, passionate readership overwhelmingly positive. Gawker has not responded publicly yet on the Gawker website, but Gawker Media editorial director Joel Johnson tweeted his support for Jezebel staff.
When Andrew met Sharri. Kids say the darndest things. Sharri-bot Markson popped up on The Bolt Report on Sunday to continue the fatuous-wah against Mike Carlton, and was so eager to play to right-wing talking points that she even threw in a detour about “Labor running up a $600 billion debt and why isn’t anyone talking about that?” “Yes,” said the Bolter before leading the Oz’s media murdochaphone back to the topic at hand, allegedly anti-Semitic cartoons. Or “anti-Semmetic”, as Markson called them, before being corrected by Bolt. Did we hear a sigh pass his lips? The people he has to work with … — Guy Rundle
Video of the day. While Robin Williams became known late in his career for kid-friendly fare such as Mrs Doubtfire and Patch Adams, we love his stand-up comedy, such as his take on the invention of golf …
Watch more of Williams’ finest stand-up moments at Crikey’s sister site Daily Review.