Former PJS sportswriter Lonnie Schwindenhammer passes

From the PJS:

PEORIA – Former veteran Journal Star sports writer Lonnie Schwindenhammer died of an apparent heart attack Thursday morning. He was 53.

Schwindenhammer worked nearly 20 years for the Journal Star, covering mostly preps, though his byline also graced stories on the Peoria Chiefs, Peoria Speedway, the AMA Grand Nationals and area collegiate events. In recent years, he had been the beat reporter for large-school football and boys basketball, plus baseball.

He left his position in the newsroom last September, but continued to deliver the Journal Star to subscribers in the Bartonville area.

Sadness.

Sorry Trumpsters … Snopes is to be believed

From The New York Times:

“Rationality seems to have fallen out of vogue,” said Brooke Binkowski, Snopes’s managing editor. “People don’t know what to believe anymore. Everything is really strange right now.”

That is certainly true at Snopes itself. For 20 years, the site was dedicated to urban legends, like the purported existence of alligators in New York City sewers, and other benign misinformation. But its range and readership increased significantly during a prolonged presidential election campaign in which the facts became a partisan issue and reality itself seemed up for grabs.

One way to chart Snopes’s increasing prominence is by measuring the rise in fake news about the site itself. If you believe the internet, the founder of Snopes, David Mikkelson, has a longer rap sheet than Al Capone. He was supposedly arrested for committing fraud and corruption and running a pit bull ring. In the wake of a deal that Snopes and others made this month to start fact-checking for Facebook, new slurs and allegations poured forth.

The underlying message of these spurious attacks is that the movement to fact-check the internet is a left-wing conspiracy whose real goal is to censor the right, and therefore must be resisted at all costs.

[snip]

All of Snopes’s revenue — Mr. Mikkelson says he doesn’t know what it is — come from ads. Facebook is not paying for its services. Nor is the billionaire George Soros funding the site, although that is sometimes asserted in anti-Snopes stories.

Fake news story beings us a little closer to nuclear armageddon

From Yahoo News:

Concern about the effects of fake news racheted up a notch Sunday with a tweet from Pakistan’s defense minister threatening nuclear war with Israel on the mistaken belief Israel’s defense minister had threatened Pakistan if it sent troops to Syria.

Fake news has been credited with contributing to the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

Now a typo-riddled fictitious story on AWD News was posted last Tuesday quoting former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Israel’s current defense minister is Avigdor Lieberman) as saying he would “destroy” Pakistan prompted a response Saturday from Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Asif, threatening nuclear retaliation.

[snip]

The fact-checking site Snopes.com has said AWD has a record of promoting conspiracy theories and fake news. Among its fact-free scoops was a story alleging King Abdullah of Jordan had killed his wife in a Rome hotel room for having an affair. It also claimed the CIA tried to assassinate Trump.

Don’t hold your breath waiting, Roger Ailes

And second thought … go right ahead and hold your breath:

New York Daily News’s TV editor Don Kaplan got a call yesterday from former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.

Ailes was seeking an apology for a headline in Kaplan’s Sunday column ‘Gropey old men.’ The column began: “Two crusty old media moguls — both undone in court papers by their own loose zippers: Sumner Redstone against Roger Ailes in a race to the bottom of the barrel.”

“I was hoping you would be a gentleman and apologize,” Kaplan quotes Ailes as saying.

Only Roger F*cking Ailes would have the balls to call up and demand a reporter appolofize for accurately reporting on someone filing court papers.

‘Hello. I’m Roger F*cking Ailes and I demand my ass be kissed with an apology.’

Well, f*ck you, Roger.

Ailes should be bent over naked on his desk, and every female who ever worked for him should be invited to kick him right in his nuts.

The CIA is planning assassination of Donald Trump!

It must be true, because Alex Jones is saying it:

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been repeatedly warning President-elect Donald Trump that “rogue elements” within the CIA are trying to “assassinate” him before he takes office. Trump, who has been publicly feuding with the CIA in recent weeks, reportedly speaks to Jones on the phone and watches his videos. He has previously echoed Jones’ other conspiracy theories and rhetoric.

Jones is a toxic promoter of conspiracy theories, including that the United States government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and the tragedies at Columbine, Oklahoma City, Sandy Hook, and the Boston Marathon, among others. He was also a leading promoter of the false “pizzagate” conspiracy theories that led a Jones listener to fire a gun inside a Washington, D.C., pizzeria.

Trump made deal with the owner of WYZZ 43 Bloomington/Peoria for favorable coverage

From Nation of Change:

President-elect Donald Trump has long positioned himself at odds with the media, lashing out at reporters and outlets that dared to criticize him or shine light on his numerous scandals. His vitriol toward the press became so intense on the campaign trail that reporters covering his rallies began to fear for their safety.

The Trump campaign also sought out allies, like Fox News’ Sean Hannity, to counteract the media’s attempt at straightforward coverage with airtime unencumbered by tough questions (over $31 million in free airtime, in fact). Now it seems Hannity wasn’t the only one. The campaign struck a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group for similarly uncritical coverage, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner reportedly told a group of business executives in Manhattan Friday.

Sinclair got more access to Trump and the campaign and, in return, broadcast Trump interviews without commentary to its television stations across the country, six people who heard Kushner’s remarks told Politico.

“Kushner highlighted that Sinclair, in states like Ohio, reaches a much wider audience — around 250,000 listeners — than networks like CNN, which reach somewhere around 30,000.”

A Trump spokesperson told Politico the Sinclair deal included interviews running across every affiliate and that the campaign had sought to disseminate information through other media companies with affiliates, like Hearst.

Sinclair Broadcast Group owns or has partnerships with 173 television stations, on 482 channels, in 81 U.S. markets, according to its website.

Sinclair owns WYZZ in Bloomington/Normal. But to be fair, WZYY’s news program is produced by WMBD 31 (owned my Nexstar), so I’m not sure how Trump’s special deal would have generated favorable coverage in Central Illinois

ProPublica bringing alternative, nonprofit journalism to Illinois

Yes, yes, yes.

The nonprofit newsroom ProPublica announced that it will launch a new Illinois unit in 2017, publishing investigative journalism on key issues in Chicago and across the state. A search for an experienced, Chicago-based editor to lead ProPublica Illinois is underway and will conclude shortly.

With this state-based expansion, ProPublica seeks to further address the business crisis of the press. The collapse of regional and local newspapers, and the drastic cutback of reporting staffs, has left accountability journalism at the state and local levels shrinking and underfunded, weakening democratic governance at a critical moment.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica – which has exposed abuses of power and betrayals of public trust, spurring reforms nationally and in communities around the country since it began publishing in 2008 – is in a strong position to help fill this gap. ProPublica’s state initiative, which it is hoped will eventually expand to other localities, is made possible in part by seed funding from the Ford Foundation. ProPublica Illinois will begin hiring a staff of about 10 journalists after an editor has been selected. A local fundraising effort has begun and will accelerate in 2017.