A long, long time ago in a social medium far far away, I did a daily Linkspam post that covered all the major headlines of the day with my own particular snark. It eventually morphed into an annual Show Your Work post, in which I would highlight the best journalism of the year. Problem: Life gets busy, I get distracted by shiny objects, and I was always forgetting to add to my Show Your Work list, so it generally fell to the award winners.
But there’s a whole lot of journalism that flies under the national radar, the kind of serious, important work being done by the reporters right around the corner from you, and they never get the credit they deserve for shining the light on the badness. They get angry emails and they get death threats on Twitter – excuse me, X – and when bad guys are finally brought to justice, no one remembers that the scandal started when a journalist got curious.
More to the point: I am furious beyond the reaches of metaphor at the number of people from all political and socioeconomic backgrounds who whine that “the media” is a giant Borg hive-mind of automatons spitting out what corporate masters tell us to say, and other highly offensive nonsense that clearly shows the person saying it has never set foot in a newsroom. Show Your Work was intended to collect all the best of us in one place as a metaphorical shotgun blast to open people’s minds to the work being done in their local and national newsrooms, which has little to do with hairdos bloviating on cable news networks.
So I’m bringing it back, as a regular feature on this too-quiet blog.
What do I look for in Show Your Work? Basically, I’m looking at pieces where journalists step in to do the work that regulatory agencies and law enforcement should be doing, highlighting injustice and malfeasance that would not come to light without the work of the media, and especially those that made an actual difference. Accompanying that will be “This Week in Total Bullshit,” because if I see people reposting that copypaste paragraph that will totally cut off your Facebook ads and eliminate their primary revenue, my head may spin around and fly around the room.
So this will be a recurring feature, to the point that I can manage it. I want to promise a weekly post, but let’s be real: Advocating for my profession and the ethical practice thereof is my passion, but not work I get paid to do. Rent is due. So… as much as I can?
• First up we have the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Riverfront Times, both of which published photos this week taken by an attorney inside the St. Louis Jail, which has had enormous problems and allegations of misconduct and there’s a bunch else we reporters and the lawyers in this city could tell you if we were free to do so. Apparently Kevin O’Schaughnessy is being held in the jail and has developed a hernia the size of a cantaloupe, which allegedly is not being treated. The attorney took the photo as evidence, and in response they… outlawed cell phones by attorneys. O’Shaughnessy, by the way, was shot by police multiple times while having a mental breakdown, is partially paralyzed with a traumatic brain injury, and is being held in the jail without a wheelchair and little access to clean clothes or a shower.
• Former president Donald Trump did not sign an oath of loyalty promising not to overthrow the government when he filed for election in Illinois. The oath dates back to the McCarthy era and can’t be formally required because it would be unconstitutional, but Trump had no problem signing it in 2016 and 2020. This was discovered by a joint analysis of candidate petitions conducted by WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times. President Joe Biden and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the oath with their petitions.
And this week in Total Bullshit….
• No, Florida is not removing Democrats from voter rolls. Approximately 1 million people were removed, half of them were Democrats, and you get removed from the rolls if you have two election cycles of inactivity.
• No, T-Mobile is not fining its customers $3,500 for text messages involving sex, hate, alcohol and tobacco. Which, by the way, the TikTokkers blame on Biden, who I guess is running T-Mobile in his spare time. The prohibition applies to commercial advertising via text messages and they are not reading your secret texts to your side piece, dudes.
• Duh, Jimmy Kimmel was NOT on Jeffrey Epstein’s lists, and he may be suing football player Aaron Rodgers for making the claim with no evidence on an ESPN show. Then the internet was off and running with fake documents on iFunny (seriously, people, check your sources) and none of it is in the actual court documents. For what it’s worth, the “big release” turned out to be mostly a nothing burger, with names named that everyone already knew.
• Do I need to say that the social media brigade declaring that the shooting in Perry, Iowa was faked are totally full of it and their “false flag” claims are pathological and damaging? Fine then, FactCheck.org (which is operated by the Annenberg Public Policy Center) confirmed it.
• Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo announced this week that we should stop using the COVID vaccines because *checks notes* they will alter our DNA into frogs or something. Annenberg has assembled approximately a gazillion experts saying it’s nonsense. Who you gonna believe, your doctor or a TikTok scare video? (Don’t answer that, Florida.)
And finally…. my favorite meme pile-on of the week, because it’s just that hysterical. I tried to pick just one and I couldn’t. Paging Gene Roddenberry circa 1966…