Thursday, February 14, 2008

Journalist continues to be vindicated: video of Hezbollah in Lebanon as masses convene at Imad Mughniyeh’s funeral

In December I wrote an article, War of the Words, here at Creative Writer US. That article dealt with some mainstream media’s atttempted character assassination of a journalist I’ve known and admired for years, W. Thomas Smith, Jr. Smith got ensnared in a political dogfight between conservative and liberal publications. None of those publications checked all the facts. One of the first publications to even attempt to get at the truth was the magazine American Spectator. In a series of posts at a blog at National Review, Smith had written what sources in Lebanon, where Smith was embedded, told him: large numbers of Hezbollah fighters were positioned in the area. A liberal publication called him a liar, and numerous others followed suit.

Smith has since been vindicated by many articles. But today when I saw video and photos of the funeral of Imad Mughniyeh in Beirut, I thought to myself: this procession and its sheer numbers prove, once again, those publications lied. A lesser man would’ve sued every one of them for defamation. To this date, not a single one, including liberal and conservative magazine writers and editors that are the darlings of those squawking TV news shows and in some cases, well-placed professors at Ivy League universities, have corrected their erroneous statements. None have apologized to Smith.

You don’t have to take my word for it. You can either watch the evening news where you’ll see video of not-so-peaceful-looking people mourn a terrorist, or you can click the link below and let al Jazeera prove to you Hezbollah is indeed deployed in Lebanon and obviously proud of that fact. Once again shame on mainstream media for fabricating.

Read our original column, War of the Words

Read the Jan. 28 article in The Washington Times, Hezbollah’s Dark Hand

Question for readers: Do you think mainstream media has a biased attitude when reporting news from countries many Americans believe harbor terrorists?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Newspapers take a stand, support cartoonist under threat of death by extreme factions

Salman Rushdie introduced the world to radical Islam when a death threat was issued against him by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran. The threat not only extended to the author of The Satanic Verses, it also extended to his publisher. Recently, Ayaan Hirsi Ali experienced a similar threat, fleeing to America after her friend filmmaker Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered on a city street in Amersterdam. Hirsi Ali and van Gogh collaborated on a film about violence against women in Islamic societies. Hirsi Ali didn’t pull any punches when she followed that with her best-selling memoir Infidel. At the present time, artist Kurt Westergaard has been forced into hiding after he received death threats because he drew a cartoon depicting Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb instead of a turban.

This sort of fanaticism makes an American incredulous, and it usually has the same effect on Europeans. But in Westergaard’s case, his home country Denmark isn’t going silent. Three newspapers in that country reprinted his cartoon in a show of solidarity.

Perhaps the greatest challenge to Westerners is getting across the concept of freedom of speech to those in countries governed and/or oppressed by fanatics. Solidarity in the press is a great place to start. I’ve read comments on some newspaper Web sites that question why a cartoon like this is published, knowing it may provoke violence. To an American that is a question more dangerous than the violence that might be provoked.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

If you can write ad copy, here's a contest with a $1,000 spree for a prize

I did a column this morning at Beneath the Brand about a contest 'Lucky' magazine is sponsoring. If you can write clever ad copy, take a look and give this a try. Details are in my column, 'Aspiring copywriters: get creative in the 'Lucky' contest and win $1,000 spree.'

Friday, February 8, 2008

Power of Words: 'Pimped out' remark about Chelsea bites anchor's backside

The 2008 U.S. Presidential Campaign gets hotter by the day. MSNBC's David Shuster was doing an interview, and he asked,"But doesn't it seem like Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?" Shuster was referring to Hillary Clinton's daughter's very public involvement in presidential campaigning. Shuster promptly got raked over the coals for his remark.

This is a culture thing. I hear the words 'pimped out' all the time from my daughters and their friends, though not related to the Clinton daughter. My husband bought a Chrysler 300C (with the hemi) and the first thing my older daughter said was, "Look at Daddy's pimp-mobile!"

Shuster of course should've chosen his words more carefully. But if that's the worst thing we hear as this race cooks up, we might consider ourselves lucky. And just to be completely honest, this situation offers Sen. Clinton additional free publicity for her campaign.

Judging by the charisma and success Sen. Barack Obama has demonstrated, I'd say Sen. Clinton could use all the publicity she can get.

At any rate, words count more than ever before, courtesy of the Web's capability. What we say not only reverberates globally, it remains on the Web in perpetuity.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Expert weighs in on liability for bloggers

Martin H. Samson, a partner in the New York law firm of Davidoff Malito & Hutcher LLP, is a top authority on Internet Law. He authored the Internet Library site comprising extensive analysis of over 430 court decisions shaping the law of the Web. Samson also publishes the newsletter Internet Law Update. After reading my Dec. 21 post, 'Blogs move beyond original concept, some carry liability for authors,' Samson generously shared additional information about the subject of liability. In an email, he wrote:
I have analyzed a number of lawsuits brought against bloggers in my Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions. You can find these cases in the Blog section of the Internet Library at

I have also analyzed online defamation lawsuits brought against bloggers and others as a result of online posts in the Online Defamation section of the Internet Library found at

As you will see from reading these cases, one of the important factors in determining the potential scope of liability is whether the blogger authored the post in question, or has merely provided a forum at which a third party can share his/her views with the public. The Communications Decency Act affords immunity to website operators, such as bloggers, that are not afforded to those who publish offline.

As both professional journalists and laymen turn to the popular blog format to express opinions, we should be mindful there's legal turf to maneuver. Samson's site is an excellent resource for anyone interested in publishing on the Web.

(posted by Kay B. Day, Feb. 5, 2008)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Web Savvy will go another round with focus on tech and content opportunities

I just mailed the new contract for my column Web Savvy to continue at The Writer. I was thrilled the editors are pleased with the response to my column because I’m passionate about the opportunities technology is opening up for writers. In coming months, I’ll cover a variety of topics and hopefully, find an expert (top bloggers who'd like some exposure, where are you?) who will help explain basics for writers who want to learn about using video to help tell stories. Digital recorders, backup programs, SEO and even favicons are all on my planned content list.

When I bought my first computer at the urging of my husband, I hung onto my word processor. I figured if I didn’t like the computer, I still had a backup. Needless to say, I never used the backup. For me, the computer has really allowed me to expand the services I offer clients in ways I never envisioned. Recently, I discussed with a client the possibility of live blogging an election event. I routinely use video for my posts, and I have become fairly adept at taking still photos. In the early days of freelancing, I never thought I’d do any of that because a lot of the technology didn’t exist yet. I admit I really enjoy learning new things and seeing results of my trial and error attempts when I'm trying out a new program.

The other day my daughter came home and told me she’s thinking about majoring in English. That’s what I did. My daughter likes to write, but I told her the truth—major in multimedia and minor in English. You have to master the language, but you also need to know something about the different options for content.

As publications focus on Web content, opportunities and challenges will continue to arise. I plan to track them diligently for you twice a month at Web Savvy.

Along with a team of writers, I also do a 3x weekly column for Beneath the Brand. If you haven’t read articles there, take a look. The site is an amazing resource for those who want to learn about or work in marketing or advertising.

Today’s writer, regardless of specialty, needs to be savvy about the Web. It goes without saying we also need to be savvy about the language. I view the words as the linchpin, but you can really broaden their impact with a little Web savvy.