Author Archives: Walter Brasch

Downsizing the news staff; downsizing quality and credibility

Part 1 of 2

On Monday, Nov. 2, every National Geographic staffer was told to report to the magazine’s Washington, D.C., headquarters the next day to await a phone call or e-mail from Human Resources. Continue reading

Terrorism on American soil

During this past week a 3-year-old boy in Rock Hill, S.C., killed himself when he was playing with a loaded gun in his house. Continue reading

The Republicans’ rhetoric of hate and fear

Fear, laced with paranoia, is driving the American response against allowing Syrian refugees into the United States. Continue reading

Snuggling up to celebrities is not part of journalism training

One of the basic tenets of journalism ethics and practices is that reporters must keep their distance from news sources. Continue reading

The 24/7 election and media carousel

The national news media—and their sidekicks, the cackling pundits—had been asking the same questions the past six months. “Will he? Won’t he? Should he? Shouldn’t he? Can he? Can’t he?” Continue reading

Censoring Books is suppressing freedom of expression

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s largest trade convention for publishers and vendors. Continue reading

Mass murders are good for business

Shortly after the mass murders at Umpqua Community College near Roseburg, Ore., President Obama predicted the extreme right wing would crank out press releases declaring the nation needs fewer gun control laws and more guns. Continue reading

‘Paging Dr. Doctivity’: Medicine evolves into a business model

Beneath a three-column headline in my local newspaper was a barely-edited press release. Continue reading

The boss who fought for the working class

He was born into poverty in New Hampshire in 1811. Continue reading

Katrina: A 10-year review

This week is the 10th anniversary of the destruction of the southeastern gulf coast by Hurricane Katrina. Continue reading

Canned pleasure: The thrill of the kill

Would you like to go to Zimbabwe, kill and behead a lion, just like that dentist from Minnesota or the physician from Pittsburgh recently did? They paid about $50,000 each for that experience. Continue reading

America’s culture of cheating: Tom Brady, the Patriots and deflategate

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says he had nothing to do with having air removed from game balls. Continue reading

Pennsylvania school is flushed by a problem

Ten-year-old Kaitlyn Montgomery, a fourth grade student at Park Elementary School in Munhall, Pa., now has access to that school’s restrooms. Continue reading

America’s morality police

In Saudi Arabia, the Mutaween are 3,500 public officials and thousands of volunteers who work for the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. They are responsible for enforcing strict religious laws. Among the many laws are those that require all women to wear niqabs and black gowns when in public. Continue reading

’Rithmatic doesn’t add up in one school district

The Danville Education Association (Pa.) has been operating without a contract for three years. Continue reading

They brand cattle, don’t they?

“Branding! We have to make you a brand!” Continue reading

‘Made in America’ is just a political slogan to conservatives

Conservatives in Congress have once again proven they are un-American and unpatriotic. This time, it’s because of their fierce approval for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Continue reading

A textbook case of willful distortion

HarperCollins says it’s sorry. It says it regrets not including Israel on a map of the Middle East in an atlas it published and distributed in the Middle East. It says all remaining copies of the atlas will be pulped. Continue reading

Setting America’s priorities for 2015

Marci Rosenberg, a senior speech language pathologist at the University of Michigan, earns about $73,000 a year. Continue reading

The fracking boom is a fracking bubble

Gas prices have plunged to the low $2 range—except in Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Practicing subsidized un-medicine

Clutching newspaper clippings in one hand and a medical bag loaded with seeds in the other, my ersatz friend Dr. Franklin Peterson Comstock III, knocking down pregnant ladies, students, the elderly, and two burly construction workers who were waiting for a bus, rushed past me, leaving me in a close and personal encounter with the concrete. Continue reading

The annual avariciousness assault and a non-existent war upon Christmas

It’s now been about a week after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Continue reading

Perceptions of reality—and a failure to indict

She quietly walked into the classroom and stood there, just inside the door, against a wall. Continue reading

How Americans came to oppose fracking

For the first time since high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as nonconventional fracking, was developed, more Americans oppose it than support it. Continue reading

A nation of fear

Maintenance workers at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa., airport shot and killed a bear and her three cubs. Continue reading

Cowardice plagues Pennsylvania House of Representatives

The Institute for Legislative Action of the National Rifle Association (NRA-ILA) gives politicians Defender of Freedom awards. The award, accompanied by a glowing press release, has little to do with freedom; it has everything to do with legislators advancing the NRA agenda. Continue reading

Pennsylvania’s politics of virtue

The Pennsylvania Senate, possibly for the first time in its history, stood up against the NRA leadership and extreme gun-rights groups, and voted to ban pigeon shoots. The senators correctly called the ban a matter not of gun rights but of eliminating animal cruelty. Continue reading

A Swift Boatload of lies

“Gov. Tom Corbett, who claims he opposes legalization of marijuana, was seen behind a barn smoking weed. Just a-puffin’ and a-grinnin.’” Continue reading

Railroad ‘bomb trains’: Speeding to disaster

It’s 3 p.m., and you’re cruising down a rural road, doing about 50 mph. Continue reading

House committee: No Benghazi scandal

The House Select Committee on Intelligence, following almost a two-year intense investigation, unanimously determined there is no basis for what has become known as the Benghazi Scandal. Continue reading

AIDS advances may be compromised by legislative inaction

Researchers at Temple University in Philadelphia may have found an entry-way to the cure for AIDS. Continue reading

Whites to openly pack heat on ‘gun rights education’ march through a Houston black neighborhood

A group of white gun-rights advocates plan to sling rifles, shotguns, and semi-automatic assault weapons onto their bodies, and walk through a Black neighborhood in Houston. Continue reading