Cheers and Regards for the Week of August 23, 2010

If you ever get an e-mail from a journalist, there’s one portion of it you should pay attention to more than any other. No, it’s not the part where they’re asking you about your dead-people voter registration drive; it’s the sign-off.

If it’s “Cheers,” you’re cool. You did OK. If it’s “Regards,” you pissed somebody off, and you better figure out how to fix things, quick.

We apply those same tenets here, every week.

CHEERS to the Guardian for a level-headed op-ed piece regarding criminal prosecutions of HIV positive people for having unprotected sex. In cases like this, intentionality is almost impossible to prove, and prosecutions do little to encourage people to get tested for HIV or take responsibility for their own sexual safety, and further stigmatize those who are HIV positive as diseased pariahs. (DW)

REGARDS to the Guardian, however, for a headline that needlessly trivializes HIV by comparing it to verucas and repeating the claim that HIV is no longer a fatal disease. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford top of the line health care, yes, HIV is a manageable disease. That’s a big “if” in most of the world, including developed nations like the US and UK. (DW)

CHEERS to the New York Times and the AP for taking a stand against using the phrase “Ground Zero mosque” to describe the proposed Islamic community center two blocks from the old World Trade Center site. The politics of the debate over the construction don’t even matter; it’s simply an inaccurate title. (MW)

REGARDS to the Toronto Sun for using scare quotes around the word “molested” in the headline to their article about a model who was sexually assaulted at a Star Wars convention. Unwanted sexual touching is unwanted sexual touching, regardless of whether or not a woman is dressed as Slave Leia. (DW)

CHEERS to AOL’s Daily Finance for pointing out just what sort of articles Demand Media is really putting out onto the web on eHow.com and other sites.  I guess somebody, somewhere would need to know how to calculate age from a birthdate. But can someone who’s four years old read an article like that? (MW)

REGARDS to KAKS radio in Arkansas, which fired on-air personality Renee Gork for wearing a University of Florida hat to a Monday news conference. The issue apparently wasn’t whether Gork was lacking objectivity; rather, she just didn’t have the right kind of subjectivity for “Hog Sports Radio.” And it only makes sense, right? For only fans and alumni of a school to be able to report on its sports teams? (MW)

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