Friday, September 28, 2007

Who is Middle Road

In case anyone doesn't know this, the main, but not only, author of Middle Road is Saipan Tribune reporter Marconi Calindas aka Rev, who judging by his anonymous side venture thinks it is ok to publish any anonymous rumor at any time on an anonymous blog, just as long as his name stays out of it. Is that Tribune policy or just yours Marconi? Mr. Free Speech deleted Angelo's comment where Angelo said the scandalous word Marconi, against Middle Road's "policies." That's his business of course, but don't pretend to be William O. Douglas afterward.

All "the writers" work for the Tribune or the Variety. Maybe the journalistic malpractice that goes on over there explains why Marconi does his blog anonymously. Even by today's weakened standards of journalism, publishing anonymous rumors is unethical. Marconi has been in the business long enough to know that, so he should be held to a higher standard.

Keep Middle Road's practices in mind in every story Marconi writes in the Tribune, especially those dealing in rumor or quoting anonymous sources. I won't harp too much on the sell out nature of being a journalist who works for the major business owner on island, longtime sweatshop kingpin Willie Tan, who has more control and influence on things here than anyone, including the governor. Once upon a time journalists were querulous and stood for the average person. Now they work for sweatshop magnates. Yes, Marconi, that's why the Marianas Variety is my favorite paper on island, and that's why I don't get your subtle jabs at the Variety. I don't like contributing to the guy who controls the government and controls the largest newspaper as well, but that's me.


bradinthesand said...

but the sports section is good! i mean to say that our stories were never influenced politically by the owners.

either way, it's not like the variety is much better. in fact, more than half of the tribune's staff is made up of former varieteers.

why not ask them, current or former reporters from the blue building, about what their pay is in relation to their hours worked.

as them about how much time they are asked to 'donate' to the company.

the reporters who leave the non-daily daily for the trib are treated like they work in a sweatshop.

...and e.e. thinks it's okay to drink the tap water!

Jeff said...

Why would your sports stories be influenced by anything. I love your writing Brad, but sports writing is basically fluff, especially here. It's not that much better or more important at the highest levels, but at least there the topics involve world class athletes.

I don't know the machinations of the Variety's staffing, but I do know that I asked Marconi to do a blogging story way back and they weren't paid at night, and didn't have flex time, which is beyond absurd in the newspaper business, so he couldn't come.

The Tribune is a loss leader for Willie Tan. It's a way to set the intellectual climate, as needed, to get people to believe we need meager wages, even while people are out of work and voting for a system that is unsustainable and screws over an enormous number of them. Fifty percent of the people here live in poverty.

I was here for three weeks and the Tribune wouldn't run one of my letters on a political candidate because it criticized a fomer columnist of theirs. They fired Ruth Tighe because she was critical of the new governor during his honeymoon. They pretend Holani Smith exists. They allowed themselves to be manipulated by Jesus Camacho's BS.

And no one there is going to be doing a hard hitting story on the garment factories because they know it is bad for their careers here. They don't have to stop it because it wouldn't see the light of day to start with.

lil_hammerhead said...

I've known Marconi since he's arrived on island, and your take on him and the blog is totally off-base.

In fact, if you closely review the comments related to posts, you would find that "the rev" has always taken the position that pay is too low, that abuse of employees are wrong, etc. etc.

There is a HUGE difference between a personal blog and a published newspaper. You might not want to acknowledge that, but there is.

SaipanMiddleRoad has been the stimulus for many important conversations. And I know how you are very against anonymous bloggers, stone throwers, etc., but the fact is, the conversations are more valid and reflective of the community when these comments are allowed to remain instead of being deleted.

When you "filter out" all of the comments you find offensive, or unworthy for whatever reason to be posted, you filter out the voice of a part of the community. Thus your conversation becomes less of a mirror of the total community and less relevant.

Jeff said...

When you're a doctor, the Hippocratic Oath doesn't stop applying because you're off duty.

Publishing any old rumor isn't responsible. It's not filtering, it's being ethical. You're either a journalist that follows the ethics of journalism or you're not.

lil_hammerhead said...

He's not a doctor. Putting out a heard rumor on a blog is not going to kill anyone. Comeon.

Boni said...

It really is true. There are bees at Central School.

Jeff said...

It certainly can cause harm. It is irresponsible, and it certainly calls other things into question.

"In fact, if you closely review the comments related to posts, you would find that "the rev" has always taken the position that pay is too low, that abuse of employees are wrong, etc. etc."

Then why does he devote his labor to the benefit of the primary architect of that system?

Things are sourced because it allows readers to evaluate the biases of the source. Anonymous sources remove that ability. That is why their comments, including yours, are less credible. People know my biases, they don't know yours. That is why journalistic ethics call for using anonymity only with great discretion and when there is no other real choice. Anonymous sources don't have any accountability. The constitution allows you to face your accuser in criminal cases for this reason as well.

lil_hammerhead said...

"Devote his labor"? You know Jeff, some people don't have alot of choices. I don't want to speak too much for "the Rev", but he took a job, I'd venture to say he didn't know about who owned what, or who bought this.. and in the end I don't think most folks would care. It's a job. Most people aren't in the position of being able to pick and choose jobs.

You take things way too personally Jeff. I don't think that makes for very fair journalism either.

With regard to ethics, anonymity and bias... It's a BLOG Jeff. It's not the Wall Street Journal.

lil_hammerhead said...

Another P.S.- And why are my comments "less credible". I'm not anonymous. I have my blog, with my bio and my names been thrown around a couple of times in the comments sections. Please.. understand me (Micronesian for "enlighten me").

Jeff said...

It's a blog by a professional journalist. I'm not taking it personal at all. I'm debating the issue with you.

Marconi is an educated man. He makes shirts and prints. He can write. He has choices.

lil_hammerhead said...

It's a job Jeff. It's a good blog as well. Give the man a break.

I do enjoy your blog as well and think I've made any points I meant to make here, so I'll make this my last.

I'd only ask that you rethink your position on comments and as I posted on middleroad.. be bigger and relink them. You all provide a good service. These constant conversations and discussions did not take place among such a large body (and varied) body of citizens before these blogs.

Jeff said...

I don't know your name. You could be the governor's sister for all I know, but I like your blog mostly, and while we disagree on a lot apparently, I enjoy debating with you.

lil_hammerhead said...

My name is Sherman (pronounced Char-mun) Hemsley. I've no relation to the Governor's sister (didn't know he had one actually).

Jeff said...

They delinked me first. That wasn't my thing to start. I both called (multiple times) and emailed Marconi to discuss this a few weeks back, and he blew off both things. Oh well.

It's too bad that this blogger thing has developed such animosity. We went from like 40 people at Java Joes in July, to like 4 or 5 in August, to as far as I know none and not even an announcement on this Wednesday past, which would have been the latest hang out. It wasn't like we always agreed, but it wasn't like it is now.

Jeff said...

You can call me Weezie then, Sherman.

lil_hammerhead said...

Yeah yeah Jeff... that's ones gotten old already.

Jeff said...

You mean you're serious.

lil_hammerhead said...

Yes. I've gotten into it with my parents already, so I'll leave it at that.

Tamara said...


Jeff said...

I actually think it's a cool name.

bradinthesand said...


...and ruth got the ol' axe for the same reason as jaime v (if i recall) because she cc'd everyone and their brother in an email to jayvee rather than discuss it with him one on one.

i didn't think that was professional at the time and they've since gone their separate ways.

she was on the chopping block because she brought an internal issue outside first.

i'm not taking a stance, but that's how i recall the situation.

true enough, though, i believe her column was critical of the administration.

in fact, i think the email she received was something about how the paper was trying to take a hands-off approach for the first 100 days in office to give the new administration a break.

that's what i recall, but i wasn't cool enough to be in the inner circle on that one.

plus it was a couple of years ago. wish i was cool enough to give you better insights on that one.

i do remember jayvee feeling a bit more betrayed about the "million cc'd email march" than anything.

my understanding was that he and ruth had a good relationship and that he felt that she yanked the rug out from him and forced his hand.

you'd really have to hear it from him to get the full story. i just pick up the scuttlebutt.

does that make me an ass grabber?

Jeff said...

The paper was wildly hands off in the first 100 days btw.

saipanboonieman said...

i betcha they wouldnt have been hands-off if ben hadnt sneaked in.

lil_hammerhead said...

Let's be fair then.. the tribune and it's bloggers weren't the only media who were "wildly hands off". A certain popular blogger and radio news and commentary person, who on a weekly basis absolutely bashed the Babauta administration, sometimes fairly and sometimes quite unfairly, was not only "hands off" for the first 100 days of this adminstration, he was "hands off" up until a few months ago and still treads alot more carefully when "questioning" this administration. I'm not going to name names.. but he dives.

So, it is wholly unfair to just pick out the Tribune on this. I mean if you want to have a real conversation and all.

Jeff said...

He probably wanted to see how it went at first, and after he saw, he hasn't been hands off at all. He also wasn't an executive for the guy who runs the island and didn't make his beans there. He took the previous administration to task, even though it was harmful to his radio station as the government pulled its advertisements, and that station isn't owned by a garment kingpin who runs the island and casts a cloud of suspicion over all that it does journalistically.

Jeff said...

I don't think your facts are straight on the Harry stuff in your last comment submission, so that stuff is not going to be published here. That is stuff you should probably deal with in your own blog.

Jeff said...

Reiterate above comment for last three comment submissions.

lil_hammerhead said...

Well I'll consider running the piece on my blog then. But your friendship with HB is seemingly clouding your ability to be fair when it comes to particular influences on the media here. You're a smart guy, and I'm sure if you've heard this line of conversation on the island. The 3 or 4 facts I laid out in the last comment are facts, you know this.

It would be unfair of you to keep posting the bias of tribune news, due to the percieved influence on reporters by the Tan Corp, and not also address that influence on other popular local media.

Jeff said...

Actually I haven't heard that, and I don't think that. In fact, the governor stopped going on Harry's show presumably over Harry's criticism. But you can make your case over on your end and start a new debate over there. I don't think this is the place.

lil_hammerhead said...

I do want to be explicitly clear.. I make no accusation that any reporters and/or commentators are being influenced by anyone.

In fact, I believe if any unfair reporting or lack of reporting is being done, it is being done on a subconcious level by the reporters and commentators (i.e.-I don't want to ire my boss or friend)

But the possibility for influence is there in both cases, and the actions of both media may lead one to speculate that such influence could be taking place. But as far as I know this is nothing more than speculation.

I just think that we should be fair all-around.

lil_hammerhead said...

Geez it's late... good conversation though Jeff. Sleepy time.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

So far, the Tribune has only censored one piece I have submitted (See below). Whether my content is pro or con, it is not interfered with so I think you are wrong about Jerry Tan's brother influencing content. Or Jerry either for that matter. I can tell you that my opinions are diametrically opposed to Jayvees in a lot of cases and yet, to his credit, he prints it anyway.

Here is the only thing he ever censored. It's long so I apologize in advance. Feel free to edit it if you wish. HAHHAHH.

* * * * *
The Beer Scam
I did not pen the following but only reprint it here in Sour Grapes as a public service. This important announcement was sent to me via open address bulk email so we know it must be true and reliable information. Please be forewarned.

Police are warning all men who frequent clubs, parties & local pubs
to be alert and stay cautious when offered a drink from any woman.
Many females use a date rape drug on the market called "Beer."
The drug is found in liquid form and is available anywhere. It
comes in bottles, cans, or from taps and
in large "kegs". Beer is used by female sexual predators at
parties and other gatherings to persuade their male
victims to go home and sleep with them.
A woman needs only to get a guy to consume a few units of Beer and
then simply ask him home for
no strings attached sex.
Men are rendered helpless against this approach. After several
beers, men will often succumb to the desires to sleep with these
sexual predators.
After drinking beer, men often awaken with only hazy memories of
exactly what happened to them
the night before, often with just a vague feeling that "something
bad" occurred.
At other times these unfortunate men are swindled out of their
life's savings, in a familiar scam
known as "a relationship”.
In extreme cases, the female may even be shrewd enough to entrap
the unsuspecting male into a
longer term form of servitude and punishment referred to as
"marriage”. Men are much more
susceptible to this scam after beer is administered and sex is
offered by the predatory females.

Please! Warn every male you know. If you fall
victim to this "Beer Scam” and the
women administering it, there are male support groups where you
can discuss the details of your
shocking encounter with similarly victimized men.
For the support group nearest you, just look up "Golf Courses" in
the phone book.

Next week we will look at this and other problems from the female perspective so as to offer equal treatment and equal time. We will find they see this in a different light.
* * * *

To be fair he said he would in fact publish this if I included the 'female perspective' along with it. He didn't want the feminist flak that would have probably ensued. I can understand that, and have no problem with it.

Boni said...

Hey Bruce: what's the statute of limitations on that beer scam thing? Do you think Tony still has a case against me?

Jeff said...

I don't think they have to censor in that stuff wildly against their interests do not even get proposed for stories, such as garment factory critiques. I mean their columnists like you and Ed are ridiculously far to the right on a lot of stuff, especially economic stuff, and david and the nmc people don't get into politics much. Walt does his own thing -- a little too Polyanna for my tastes. I don't see Jayvee taking many strong stands. Almost all middle of the road. He doesn't provoke and critique nearly as well as Zaldy does. No one at the Tribune does even close to as well as Zaldy on that stuff.

I think the Tribune is reasonably fair overall. Tan has the government doing their bidding for years, so in the case of just interviewing elected officials, their interests are represented. I still prefer the Variety for the reasons I already stated.

Jeff said...

One other thing Bruce, editing isn't censorship, and editorial decisions aren't censhorship. You got your word out here and elsewhere. There is a reason the New York Times editorial section has a reputation, for example. They don't let just any crackpot soundoff. If they did, it would have the same status as some of the internet sites full of cranks and crackpots, which is to say not much esteem.