2010 Barbwires

2011 Barbwires

2012 Barbwires





"If you can't say anything nice about someone, sit right here by me."

Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth  

2015-20 Barbwires

Barbwire 2021-22—>Present



Barbwire Molly Ivins Memorial Columniator Hall of Flames
(As of 1-17-2024 in order of induction)

Ned Day
Hank Greenspun
Guy Richardson
Bob Brown
Mike O'Callaghan
Travus T. Hipp
Jake Highton
Don Dondero
Dennis Myers
David W. Toll
Foster Church
Norman Cardoza
Joseph M. Neal, Jr.
Jeff German
Guy Louis Rocha

Qualifications for the Ivins HOF


Report from Jake Highton's remembrance at UNR on Labor Day weekend

The grasshopper and the dragonfly
Adios to a grandfather and a grand-daughter who never met
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 9-6-2017 Sparks Tribune / Expansions in blue

Remembering Jake at his university
By Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review NewsPic 9-7-2017

Life: What happens while you were making other plans
Adios to a grandfather and a grand-daughter who never met
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 8-30-2017 Sparks Tribune

Requiescat in pace

University of Nevada Journalism Prof. Emeritus and longtime Sparks Tribune columnist Jake Highton passed away of a heart attack on 7 Aug. 2017. Remembrance of a life well-lived will take place at 3:00 p.m. PDT Saturday, September 2 in the UNR library rotunda (or, as bureaucrats call it, a "knowledge center"). Remember George Carlin's warning about adding syllables and subtracting meaning. Jake would. (He would also dress down any novice who dared use a euphemism like "passed away" instead of "died." Mea maxima culpa.)

May the great teacher rest in peace from work well done and a life well-lived.

Jake Highton's Sparks Tribune recent column archive

Jake's Family Obituary
Reno Gazette-Journal 8-26-2017 et seq. / Sparks Tribune 8-30-2017

JAKE: Irascible prof challenged Reno’s academic community
By Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review Cover Story 8-17-2017
Jake's numerous RNR articles may be found at his author index thereat

Tribune Columnist, UNR Journalism Professor Jake Highton Dies at 86
By Kayla Anderson / Sparks Tribune 8-16-2017

Adios, Compadre
By Harry Spencer / Sparks Tribune 8-16-2017
A version of the first segment about Jake Highton also appeared as a Reno Gazette-Journal letter-to-the-editor on 15 Aug. 2017

Saying goodbye to my favorite mentor
By Chris Murray / Reno Gazette-Journal Sports 8-13-2017

Nevada Press Association: Rest in peace, Jake Highton
By Barry Smith / Executive Director Aug. __ 2017

Legendary UNR journalism professor Jake Highton dies
By Siobahn McAndrew / Reno Gazette-Journal 8-9-2017

A professor who made us all better: An appreciation of RSJ professor Jake Highton
For 30 years, Jake Highton reminded his journalism students to always ask more, not less, of themselves
By John Trent / University of Nevada-Reno "Nevada Today" 8-8-2017

Former students remember their hardassed professor
UNR Reynolds School of Journalism / 8-8-2017

Getting Jaked: The taskmaster teacher became a verb
By Deidre Pike / Reno News & Review 5-12-2011

Guest Writings by Prof. Jake Highton

Quick Jake Index
All items first appeared in the Sparks Tribune unless otherwise noted.

2014-16 Barbs, Jukes and Jibes by Jake

2013 Barbs, Jukes and Jibes by Jake

Prof Jake Highton: John Roberts, Jimmy Crow and the Ku Klux Court
Sparks Tribune 7-11-2013
Linked at the Barbwire of 6-27-2013: Clarence Thomas, Little Anthony and the Supremes

American media: consistently and corporately conservative
Jake Highton / Daily Sparks Tribune / 12-18-2011

Wilde won after all
Jake Highton / Daily Sparks Tribune / 12-4-2011

Semi-retired Highton will teach one class in Fall 2011
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 8-25-2011

Pro sports players need their unions
Jake Highton / Daily Sparks Tribune / 8-21-2011

Suicide via Laborcide in Carolina
8-21-2011 Barbwire with 8-14-2011 Jake Highton linkage

Newspapers will never die

Prof. Jake HightonAmerican workers had little to celebrate on Labor Day 2010
Daily Sparks Tribune 9-12-2010 (Editor's note: Alas, the latter link is now dead. Story search is being done.)

2006-2009 Jake Highton Archive

2006 Jake Highton columns and articles

2004-2005 Jake Highton columns

Resources on a century of corporate propaganda

No media reputation is left unstained
From the 12-9-2007 Daily Sparks Tribune
Reproduced by permission.
Copyright © 2007 Jake Highton

The Death of the Fourth Estate

By Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair
CounterPunch, Petrolia, Calif.
362 pages; $15.95

The Death of the Fourth Estate is a gross exaggeration. The New York Times will probably be published in print centuries from now despite the suggestion by its publisher that the paper might not be printing in five years.

Be that as it may, anyone who still has a starry-eyed view of the media should read this book. Indeed, the title ought to be: “No Media Reputation Left Unstained.”

Bob Woodward, Katharine Graham, Judy Miller and many other media stars are indicted. The sainted Times itself is justly lambasted.

Items for the Journalistic Hall of Shame:

• The Times in 2005 delayed a story for a year before disclosing that the Bush administration had sanctioned a program of secret, illegal spying on U.S. citizens by the National Security Agency. And, it did so at the request of the White House. That is hardly an adversarial press in the Land of the First Amendment. In that story the Times waited until the 25th paragraph to mention that Vice President Cheney had briefed Congressional leaders on the program. Only at the very end of the story — in the 48th paragraph! — did the Times admit that the program was an assault on the Constitution.

• The Gary Webb episode was one of the greatest betrayals in U.S. journalism history. Webb, reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, wrote a “Dark Alliance” series in 1996 linking the CIA to drug trafficking. He was praised by his editor and given a bonus with a note: “Remarkable series!”

Then the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times attacked Webb and the series as “one of the most venomous and factually inane assaults on a professional journalist’s competence.” Webb correctly characterized the Contras of Nicaragua as the CIA’s army. But no matter.

The editor, Jerry Ceppos, who has applied to become journalism dean at the University of Nevada, Reno, wrote a letter to the Post defending the series. It was never published. Finally, Ceppos caved in under relentless assault. He repudiated the series. He said he didn’t want “to get into a war” with the newspaper Big Three.

When Ceppos retired in 2005, an article in the online Narcosphere, written by Luiz Gomez, characterized Ceppos as a Judas who had stabbed Webb in the back. Webb was exiled to the Cupertino, Calif., bureau. He resigned and eventually committed suicide.

The press had killed Webb’s career. In effect, it killed him too. Subsequent admission by the CIA vindicated Webb.

Ceppos? He will probaby get the endowed chair at UNR — and teach media ethics. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Mr. Ceppos was indeed named new head of the UNR j-school and will be Prof. Highton's new boss.]

• Graham, publisher of the Post, showed courage to pursue the Watergate exposé. But she turned into a gutless wonder, later declaring that the press was overstepping its bounds in its investigative fervor.

• Bob Woodward, the dogged reporter who pursued the huge Watergate story, became a flack. He churned out “insider” books, one particularly pleasing to President Bush.

• Judy Miller, a New York Times reporter, may have done more than any other individual outside Bush to start the Iraq War. She was more loyal to big shot sources than to the truth. She became a cheerleader for the war, regurgitating press releases and supporting White House lies.

• The collapse of the government’s case against Wen Ho Lee in 2000 “represented one of the greatest humiliations of a national newspaper in the history of journalism.” The Times was guilty of the persecution of Lee, leading to “his solitary confinement under the threat of execution, his denial of bail, his shackling, the loss of his job, his anguish and terror endured by the scientist and his family.”

The book opens on a happier note with the parody of the Tedium Twins on “MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour” on PBS (now the “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer”).

The twins are Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer. Their telecast was narcotizing, carrying a tone of reverence.

They purported to bring on speakers from the Left but they were always lukewarm liberals. The media have little leftist broadcasts. The reason is simple: advertisers will not support progressive programs because they are “poison at the box office.”

Cockburn and St. Clair, publishers of the leftist newsletter CounterPunch, boast of their 3 million hits online daily.

But CounterPunch has no impact.

Page one of the New York Times? It has impact.

Ask Judy Miller and Wen Ho Lee.

State income tax needed
From the 4-19-2007 Daily Sparks Tribune
Reproduced by permission.
Copyright © 2007 Jake Highton

The horse-and-buggy days vanished a century ago but Nevada still has a horse-and-buggy government. It needs to enter the 21st century. And that means it needs a state income tax.

The mere hint of raising taxes is political heresy. It is the ultimate third rail of American politics. But the truth is that Nevada, with an ever-growing population, can ill afford to nickel-and-dime its way in the face of greater and greater needs.

Once again we hear from the governor and the legislators in Carson City that the state has no money for programs, or, that programs must be underfunded in order to balance the budget.

K-12 schools are badly in need of funds for new buildings and repair of old ones. Metropolitan school districts are crying for more funding. Higher ed was told to slash its budget, threatening jobs of part-time instructors and loss of many class offerings.

State roads are crumbling. Potholes abound. Road improvements are needed in Las Vegas to ease traffic tieups and frustrating commutes. Highway funding is projected at $4 million short of need. A report just released notes that the state spends more for prisons than on education and health services.

A Nevada appeals court is essential with ever-increasing case loads for judges. Nevada needs annual sessions of the Legislature to replace outdated biennial sessions.

In the gubernatorial debates last fall, Jim Gibbons kept pointing to rival candidate Sen. Dina Titus while declaring: "She’ll raise your taxes. I won’t."

It is doubtful that Titus would have dared to raise taxes. But she should have. She should have boldly declared something like this: "Look, I don’t like tax increases any more than you do. But the state needs more revenue and it needs a more reliable income.

Dependence on the state sales tax and ‘hidden taxes’ for everything is inadequate in the 21st century. We can no longer continue doing what we did ‘yesterday.’ ’’

It might take decades for a gubernatorial candidate to be brave enough to state what has been obvious for a long time. But that day must inevitably come.

Case in point: Governor Gibbons says there is no money for a proposed full-day kindergarten. Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, instead of leading, follows. He agrees with the governor.

"Full-day kindergarten is a good-sounding project," Raggio says. "Unfortunately, it can’t be funded this session or probably the next session (2009)." He further laments that such a plan would cost about $130 million, adding: "With all the other needs and the revenue shortfall, it’s not realistic."


Hit gambling and corporate welfare first
Daily Sparks Tribune 4-29-2007

An income tax would cure the problem. Everyone knows that education is the key to progress and advancement of the state and individuals.

The annual report Quality Counts 2007 (Education Week, 1-4-2007) is devastating. And embarrassing. It lists Nevada 44th among the states for student proficiency in math, reading and graduation rates. It ranks Nevada 43th for student chances of going from kindergarten through college. So many rankings list Nevada near the bottom in nearly all areas.

People rail about big government. But big government is necessary if Nevada is ever to come close to meeting modern needs. The problem is nationwide: people want services — excellent schools and excellent roads — but they don’t want to pay for them. Another measure in the Legislature should be passed: a bill amending the state constitution to allow a lottery.

Some Republican lawmakers, opposing a lottery, pretend that those who play lotteries are people who can least afford it. We heard similar arguments four decades ago when most states would not allow gambling. Now most states have set aside moralistic qualms, permitting various forms of gambling because of the needed revenue.

The real reason Nevada does not permit lotteries is obvious. Casinos. They refuse to have any competition, even the humble purchase of lottery tickets. A lottery would generate something like $50 million annually for schools.

But casinos run this state. Ask political candidates who need money for their campaigns. Note too the statewide curb on smoking. Casinos are exempted.

As Steve Sebelius, editor of CityLife in Las Vegas, writes: "Nevada’s golden rule: the casinos have the gold and they make the rules…No matter how much big casinos pay in taxes, it doesn’t give them the right to run the state in a way that only benefits big casinos. "

An income tax should be progressive: the more you earn the more you pay. Both a sales tax and flat tax are regressive, the poor paying as much as the rich.

Until it has a state income tax, Nevada will continue to be one of the most backward states in the nation.

Jake Highton is a longtime journalism professor at the University of Nevada-Reno. He is the author of Nevada Newspaper Days — A History of Journalism in the Silver State. (Heritage West Books, 1990)


People vs. Corporate Con Job

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

CNN's Lou Dobbs' "Exporting America" quotes Carey

More Guest Columns
Travus T. Hipp
Orland T. Outland
Labor Leaders

Back to the top of this page

NevadaLabor.com | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
| BallotBoxing.US
DoctorLawyerWatch.com | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
We Don't Need No Education: The Neverending Series

War Rooms:
Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
In Search Of...


Copyright © 1982-2013, 2017, 2021, 2022 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of NevadaLabor.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors (CWA signatory)
Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins.