- - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Here is my naughty and nice list, including some memories from 2014.

Naughty: Journalists. But they also make my nice list because they gave me so much to write about. The media have fumbled through 2014 from Obamacare to the CIA torture report that we tend to forget a whole host of misguided reportage over the past year. Lest we not forget, here are some major foul-ups:

The invented stories from a Virginia rape to a New York City high school student who didn’t make $72 million in the stock market

The inadequate and inaccurate reporting from Ferguson, Missouri, where the media libeled the police with a symbol of “hands up; don’t shoot” — an action that Michael Brown didn’t take

The excesses of the Ebola “crisis” during which the media tried to scare everyone to death

The inane missteps of CNN and others over the coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which is still missing

The continuing meltdown of The New York Times and the rise of Vice.com

Nice: The Washington Times for giving me this column to analyze the media.

Nice: My students, who include the following:

Adam Ellick of The New York Times, who discovered Malala Yousafzai, the recent winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, in the Swat Valley of Pakistan in 2009 and did a documentary about her family.

Jad Sleiman, who left for Syria the week after he graduated last year to report on the genocide there. He is in Afghanistan as a multimedia reporter.

Robert Bluey, one of the first journalists to discover the phony documents on which CBS based a report on the National Guard service of then-President Bush. He is the director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Media and Public Policy.

Kurtis Lee, who earned a Pulitzer Prize winner for his coverage of the murders in Aurora, Colorado.

I hope my students will change the future of journalism and make it far better than it is now.

Nice: My colleagues at Temple University. As one of the few conservative professors, I appreciate what one colleague said recently, “We may not agree on many things, but at least we can discuss them.”

Her words should resonate throughout the country. Let us discuss issues, like the deaths of blacks and police officers, rather than shout at one another.

Nice: My wife Elizabeth, who convinced me to return to the Roman Catholic faith more than 20 years ago. She provides research for my column and helps me edit it each week. I am thankful for my daughter Cecylia, who has been a good traveling companion throughout the world.

Memories: Family and friends, who died during the past year, and include the following:

Earl Harper, my uncle, died at the age of 103. He conducted trains for the Union Pacific Railroad from Rawlins, Wyoming. An expert rock hound and jeweler, he also played bridge and other card games. He taught me some important lessons about losing at those games and about life. As his obituary stated, he ate prunes in the morning and cheese at night, with an occasional vodka and tonic.

Connie Marinsanti, a friend and a virtuoso pianist. She and her late husband Cesare introduced me to the hidden details of Italy — a place that many people visit and few know like they did.

Michael Ward, a high school classmate who became an important news executive for NBC. We played together in a rock ‘n’ band in high school, which was elected to the South Dakota Music Association’s Hall of Fame.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Christopher Harper is a longtime reporter who teaches journalism at Temple University. He can be contacted at charper@washingtontimes.com and followed on Twitter @charper51.

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