‘Bachelorette’s Constantine Tzortzis already reportedly has new girl

Constantine Tzortzis apparently wasted no time rebounding after his stint on The Bachelorette.

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Tzortzis, a 30-year-old restaurant owner from Atlanta, GA, has begun dating seriously again, Life Style reported Tuesday.

“He’s been seeing a British girl named Rachel,” a source told Life Style, adding that Tzortzis’ new sweetheart is tall, blonde and very pretty. “She’s been at Giorgio’s, the Tzortzis’ family restaurant in Cumming, GA, a lot, just helping out and hanging around with everyone.”

“It’s new, but they’re not really trying to hide it. They’re definitely into each other.”

While having a girlfriend would presumably be enough of a reason for Tzortzis to turn down a potential offer to become the star of the next season of The Bachelor, a future in reality TV is reportedly not in the cards for him because of a different rationale. 

“His mom will never let him go away again,” the source added. “The only flowers he’ll be handing out are right at home in Atlanta.”

Tzortzis eliminated himself from The Bachelorette during last night’s episode on his one-on-one date after he decided he was not interested in spending the night in a fantasy suite with Ashley Hebert. He opted to leave the show after he had expressed how he had not fallen in love with Hebert and respected her too much to pretend as if a strong connection had been built.

(Photo credit ABC)

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Mexico captures Juarez cartel hitmen leader-media

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican police have arrested an alleged leader of the Juarez drug cartel’s armed wing linked to a deadly car bomb last year, local media reported yesterday.

El Universal daily, quoting government sources, said Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez — also known as “El Diego” and reputed to be one of the bosses of the La Linea hitmen — was captured in Ciudad Juarez on Friday.

The media reports said Acosta Hernandez was behind a cell phone-detonated car bomb that killed four people in Ciudad Juarez in July of 2010, the first attack of its kind in Mexico’s drug war, and ordered the killing of at least a dozen more.

Formed by renegade police officers in the northern state of Chihuahua, La Linea act as enforcers for the Juarez cartel, a group based in the border city of Ciudad Juarez which controls some of the main drug trafficking routes into the United States.

The Mexican government had offered a 15 million peso reward for the capture of Acosta Hernandez, a former security chief who worked for a now-extinct Chihuahua state attorney’s office, El Universal added.

A spokeswoman for the federal police in Mexico City on Saturday said she was aware an arrest was made but could not confirm it was Acosta Hernandez.

Since President Felipe Calderon sent the army to fight the drug cartels in late 2006, some 40,000 people have died.

Believe it or not

Illustration: Frank Maiorana.

Illustration: Frank Maiorana.


Trust between the public and the media is eroding and that’s bad news for everyone.

FOR more than 30 years as a journalist I’ve heard people say, ”You blokes make it all up anyway”. Yet these same people clearly watch the news on television, follow events in their newspapers and make decisions based on what they hear and read.

The question I have to ask myself is why? What do people actually believe and how do they come to believe it? And if they genuinely doubt the veracity of what they are consuming, to what degree does the truth matter to them?

It’s a conundrum that is only becoming more complex with the rise of the internet. News is a bigger, more frantic and competitive business than ever – and the News of the World phone hacking scandal has further damaged journalistic credibility. People increasingly doubt that the information they consume is completely factual.

According to a study by the Pew Research Centre’s project for excellence in journalism, when Osama bin Laden was reportedly shot and killed by US Navy Seals and hastily buried at sea, one in six Facebook pages and twitterings debated if it was a hoax. A significant number believed it to be so. One in 10 blogs similarly frothed with conspiracy theories.

Clearly, a big part of the world did not believe the reports they saw on the evening news.

The Pew Research Centre, which examined 120,000 news stories, 100,000 blog posts and 6.9 million posts on Twitter, found these doubts continued to hold ”significant” and consistent purchase for days afterward.

While this is mostly a matter of lack of trust in authority – whether President Barak Obama lied to us – it also reflects negatively on the news media that reported it. If bin Laden’s death was staged to prop up a wobbly Obama administration, news media organisations are either incompetent, complacent or, to take a stroll on the lunatic fringe, colluding in a massive fraud.

But none of this matters to the people drawn to the bin Laden hoax theory. The role of news media as a fundamental pillar of a democratic society isn’t what they care about. (I could only find a handful of rants online that accused the media of failing to uncover the ”truth” of the matter.) For some, the mainstream media was all but irrelevant to one of the biggest stories of the year.

How did this come to be?

Social scientists have long argued there is a broad disconnect between journalism and its voracious consumers, where the hole in the transaction is trust. What the bin Laden story illustrates perhaps is how big that hole has become.

”The issue of trustworthiness is increasingly difficult for media outlets,” says Nick Couldry, professor of media and communications at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is director of the Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy.

He points to surveys that show declining levels of trust in journalists and to serious-thinking media critics who question whether news media can reliably deliver truthful information. In a long email discussing the relationship between truth and trust in the media, Couldry cites:

■Philosopher Bernard Williams, who argued that a disposition towards truthfulness – and specifically a will to strive for accuracy and sincerity – are basic human virtues. ”But he is sceptical about whether media markets can satisfy our needs for truthful shared information,” Couldry says.

■British Guardian journalist Nick Davies, in his 2007 book Flat Earth News, who argues that staff and other resource cuts in the British broadsheet press and press agencies ”mean that there are no longer the resources available for journalists to be truthful, except by accident”.

Couldry says Davies’ work raises an important question about truth and media. ”What if, as trust in media falls further, we were to come no longer to expect media to be in the business of truth-telling?” Couldry asks. ”That would generate a deep conflict between the apparent – and officially pronounced – aims of media in a democracy and our expectations of their actual practice.”

The fact is, as Couldry points out, despite the compromised trust, the need for truthful information about what’s going on in the world – news – continues to exist. However, if people don’t believe fully what they’re being told … how do they decide what is true for them?

Social researchers and sociologists say consumers have always responded to news emotionally more than cognitively and the truth of the situation will be what their heart tells them.

University of New England sociologist Peter Corrigan says: ”We generally need to know very quickly if we can trust somebody and often we don’t have complete information. We neither have the time nor the evidence to make a more intellectual judgment – so we are left with emotion as a quick and dirty guide.”

It’s somewhere in this gap of partial belief dirtied with distrust that people make up the truth that suits them best. Social researcher David Chalke says: ”Without jumping on the post-post-modern bandwagon, truth, like beauty, has always been in the eye of the beholder.”

Chalke is the head of AustraliaSCAN, an annual monitor of cultural change in Australia that started in 1992. This pulse-taking includes the level of confidence that adult Australians have in various institutions and bodies.

According to the 2010 survey:

■12 per cent of Australians have a great deal of confidence in news reports in newspapers. By comparison, ASIO scores 11 per cent.

■Radio and television reports do a little better at 14 per cent (the same as the federal government). Chalke says the electronic media earns the extra 2 per cent because it’s more immediate.

■Journalists, however, score a measly 4 per cent, the lowest of the low. Trade union officials score 6 per cent. These attitudes are ruthlessly indiscriminate, says Chalke.

IT’S not only tabloids or news media at large that have suffered a steady decline in reputation over the past 15 years – in tandem with the rise of the internet – but also consumer advocacy publications such as Choice magazine.

Chalke says: ”Choice is now regarded to have become an elite propagandist machine, while confidence in recommendations from local shopkeepers has gone up. People trust somebody they can eyeball.”

It’s not that most people have completely written off news media as rubbish, but rather that public trust exists on a sliding scale. ”Most people say they have some confidence, but they reserve the right not to believe what they’re reading,” he says.

David Braddon-Mitchell, a senior lecturer in philosophy at Sydney University, wonders if intellectual laziness and a form of cool snobbery by the consumer also play a role. ”My guess is that we live in a time when possibly more genuinely true and interesting material is available through the old and new media, but no one is prepared to believe much of it, even what’s reputable, because believing anything is uncool.”

Braddon-Mitchell believes this attitude assists a lazy rejection of truth as a goal to aspire to. ”I say lazy because I think that’s the motivation … much easier to say, ‘Well that’s your truth and I’ve got my truth’. Then no more actual thinking has to be done.”

Brian McNair teaches journalism, media and communications at the University of Queensland. He believes media audiences approach their news and journalism with quite a sophisticated understanding of its potential flaws.

”The UK, where I’ve just come from, has been through many scandals and debates about the limits of truth, even on esteemed channels like the BBC,” he says. ”There is, however, a legitimate expectation that journalists do not lie, even in the popular end of the press. A commitment to truth is still an essential part of the contract between the journalist and his or her reader/viewer and without it journalism loses its value.”

At the top end of the tree, the truth, and the appearance of telling the truth, seem to matter a great deal. Fabrications and plagiarism by reporters at The New York Times (Jayson Blair in 2003) and The New Republic (Stephen Glass in the late 1990s) were not only major scandals, they sparked a lot of angst and a review of practices at both publications.

Closer to home, Channel Seven reporter Mike Duffy last year threatened to sue journalist Paul Barry for defamation after Barry accused Duffy of a ”shocking beat-up”.

Duffy’s story about the lack of security for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi was picked up by news agencies around the world. It featured Duffy acquiring a detonation unit in a suitcase that he then carried into a reportedly restricted area outside the Games stadium.

Paul Barry, hosting Media Watch, alleged the detonation unit was a fake and the suitcase was empty when Duffy walked into the stadium area that was not at that time in ”lockdown”.

At one point, Channel Seven offered The Sunday Age interviews with Duffy and the network head of news and current affairs, Peter Meakin, and access to all the footage from the story.

We declined to do so while legal threats were in play.

Months later, Barry says he ”hasn’t heard a squeak” from Seven and believes the lawsuit has been dropped. Last week, a Channel Seven spokesman said they could no longer help with this story.

At the racier end of the market, however, some news outlets appear to have given up even trying to be truthful if there’s a dollar to be made in doing otherwise.

Late last year, a week after Barry gave both barrels to Duffy, Media Watch thumped Woman’s Day for fabricating a cover story about actor Kate Richie’s wedding. The apparently exclusive photographs of the bride and groom’s September 2010 wedding were in fact taken at the 2009 AFI awards and crudely Photoshopped to make it appear as if the happy couple were on the verandah of the wedding venue.

The magazine also provided a breathless eyewitness account of the ceremony: ”The dappled golden sunlight streams through the massive glass windows catching the tears gently pooling in Kate Ritchie’s eyes as she gazes at the man she adores … and says, ‘I do’.”

The story was as bogus as it was cheaply lyrical. It had to be: the magazine’s scheduling meant the edition was printed one or two days before the wedding even took place.

At the end of his report, Barry raged at this flagrant bucketing of the truth: ”In the media, it’s the bottom line that really counts.”

Woman’s Day editor Fiona Connolly didn’t respond to emails or phone calls from The Sunday Age.

However, there was a curious development in the wedding affair that suggests the social scientists are on to something: the truth is an elastic toy in the hands of some consumers, if only because they half expect to be lied to in the first place.

A Woman’s Day reader, M. Clements, of Albany, Western Australia, had been awarded the $50 letter of the week prize by the magazine for praising the wedding story. ”There is nothing like a good wedding to lift the spirits,” she wrote.

Media Watch contacted Ms Clements and asked if she was concerned the magazine had deceived her. She replied: ”It wouldn’t bother me that much actually because it’s media so, yeah, I’m not that stupid as to realise everything’s true in the magazine.”

With a shake of his craggy head, Barry seemed genuinely dismayed: ”Remarkable isn’t it? Just tell me a story, who cares if it’s true?” Well, it depends on what kind of truth you are talking about. Jonathan Marshall, an anthropologist with the University of Technology, Sydney, says it’s fundamental that people tend to consume information in a fashion that meets their own needs.

”People are likely to judge information by what they already know, or the purposes they have for it,” Marshall says.

”For the person who liked the wedding story in Woman’s Day, it was a good wedding story about people she cared about … The real story would not have worked so well.”

This isn’t an ivory tower notion. As one viewer wrote on Media Watch‘s online forum: ”The people who read Woman’s Day got exactly what they wanted – more so perhaps than if it had been a true account – and since they’re probably not Media Watch types, there’s not much chance of their investment in such a dopey reality being challenged any time soon.”

In the grand scheme of things, does a fraudulent wedding story in Woman’s Day matter that much? Couldry reckons it does. ”Small scandals well beyond the broadsheet press can matter a lot, depending on their details, because they may disturb people’s broader assumptions about the point of media operations, and so our point in consuming media,” he says.

Braddon-Mitchell agrees. ”I’m pretty sure it does have a knock-on effect,” he says ”The horrible truth is that lots of readers of Woman’s Day don’t really know it’s trash and take it seriously. When they get disillusioned, they don’t draw a distinction between Woman’s Day and the ABC. They just form the view that in this corrupt world of ours, what you read is no guide to the truth. And then that’s what they start to tell everyone they know and the cynicism spreads.”

To do tonight: Watch ‘Monster-in-Law’

On TV: ‘Monster-in-Law’ on TBS at 10 p.m. EDT/ 9 p.m. CDT

Starring Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez. When a well-off guy finally asks his sweetheart to marry him, she soon learns that she needs to deal with his mother, first. Bent on sabotaging the wedding, her soon-to-be mother-in-law will do anything to keep her son to herself.

Twitter handle of the day: The Onion, @TheOnion

Its description says, “America’s finest news source.” It has 2,952,652 followers. It is located in New York, N.Y. A recent tweet reads, “Emergency team of 8th-grade civics teachers dispatched to Washington.”

Dinner idea: Apricot-Ginger Asparagus

  • 1/2 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground ginger

In a large skillet, bring 1 in. of water to a boil; place asparagus in a steamer basket over water. Cover and steam for 5 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and keep warm. In a small skillet over medium heat, bring the preserves, vinegar, cinnamon and ginger to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2-4 minutes or until glaze begins to thicken. Pour over asparagus.

allrecipes.com

GateHouse News Service

Kristin Cavallari’s relationship reportedly ended over her career plans

Kristin Cavallari’s desire to continue focusing on her entertainment career was reportedly the reason behind her ex-fiance Jay Cutler ending their relationship.  

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According to Life Style, Cutler broke up with the 24-year-old former The Hills star after the couple got into a July 22 argument about her refusal to leave Los Angeles and fly to Chicago with him the following day. 

“Kristin said she didn’t want to because she’s working on a new TV project and had a full day of shooting scheduled for Tuesday [July 26],” a source told Life Style. “He told her that she needed to commit to him, and to move to Chicago.”

It became apparent to the 28-year-old NFL quarterback that Cavallari had no intention to stop working, pick up her life and move to Chicago — a decision that led Cutler to split from the former reality TV star and return to Chicago alone on July 23, the magazine reported.

The breakup reportedly came as a complete shock to Cavallari, who had been gushing about her marriage plans during a wedding dress photo shoot with Life Style only a day before the big fight. 

“I want a romantic, mystical wedding, with lots of flowers,” Cavallari — who also appeared on Laguna Beach, MTV’s The Hills predecessor, while she was in high school — told the magazine during the shoot at LA’s Mondrian Hotel on July 21.

However, the couple — who began dating last August after they met through Giuliana Bill star and E! News host Giuliana Rancic and then got engaged in April when Cutler proposed during a spontaneous vacation to Cabo San Lucas — reportedly had other problems as well, as Cavallari wasn’t ready to have children yet.

“Jay’s family was pushing Kristin to get pregnant immediately. Kristin knows she’s too young for kids right now,” the source said, adding that Cavallari “really loved Jay” and is “devastated” over the breakup.

(Photo credit MTV)

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World News in Brief | Mexican police arrest man wanted in slaying of U.S. …

GANG LEADER SUSPECT: Federal police in Mexico have captured the alleged leader of La Linea, a gang of hit men and corrupt police officers who work for a drug cartel. Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, 33, is wanted by the U.S. government on charges of murdering a U.S. consulate employee and her husband last year in Ciudad Juarez.

TV TRANSMITTERS HIT: NATO warplanes bombed three Libyan state TV satellite transmitters in Tripoli, targeting a propaganda tool that the military alliance said Saturday was used by Moammar Gadhafi’s government.

WRONG TARGETS HIT: Government airstrikes in southern Yemen targeting al-Qaida-linked militants accidentally killed 40 pro-government tribesmen.

AFGHAN OFFICIAL ARRESTED: A senior Afghan Defense Ministry official who allegedly leaked secrets that helped the Taliban stage suicide attacks in Kabul has been arrested by the Afghan Intelligence Service.

ISRAELIS PROTEST: Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets Saturday to protest rising housing prices. Other economic protests over the last two weeks involved doctors striking over working conditions and pay, parents demonstrating against expensive child-rearing costs, and motorists complaining about higher gasoline prices.

FIGHTER JET PURCHASE: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that he was reviving a stalled deal to buy multimillion-dollar fighter jets from the United States. He affirmed the need for American trainers to help Iraqi forces operate and maintain the 36 F-16s.

PROTESTERS KILLED: Syrian troops opened fire on people throwing stones to stop a convoy from advancing toward an eastern oil hub, killing as many as three people Saturday, activists said.

FREEDOM POSSIBLE: Two Americans jailed in Iran on charges of espionage could be freed after a court hearing slated for today, their lawyer said. Masoud Shafiei said the fact that the session in the trial of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal would coincide with the second anniversary of their arrests might indicate that they will be released.

COLOMBIAN ARREST: A Colombian judge on Saturday ordered the arrest of former president Alvaro Uribe’s chief of staff for alleged involvement in spying on judges, journalists and politicians by the domestic security agency.

| The Associated Press

Pet Health Fair today

A Pet Health Fair is set 9 a.m. to noon today at Mountain Home Church of Christ Pavilion, north of the church on Lake Street.

The fair is an opportunity to learn about pet nutrition, how to keep pets healthy and exercise for your pet. Those attending will have a chance to win a free treadmill. Pets are welcome, but must be on a leash.

The fair is a Girl Scout Gold Award project of Jessica Eckberg. For information, call 404-9375.

FoxNews.com First, HuffPost Last in Satisfaction Survey

FoxNews.com finished atop the American Customer Satisfaction Index rankings of Internet news and information sites for the second consecutive year, earning the No. 1 spot in each of its two years of being ranked. The Huffington Post, a newcomer to the chart, was not as fortunate.

FoxNews.com recorded a 2011 score of 82 for the second year in a row. It was followed by: ABCNews.com (77); USAToday.com (76); CNN.com and msnbc.com (each at 74); NYTimes.com (73); all others (the remainder of the total industry market share, less the market shares of the ACSI-measured companies, which finished at 72); and HuffPost, which brought up the rear with a score of 69.

ABCNews.com was up two points compared with 2010, and CNN.com picked up one point, while FoxNews.com and msnbc.com were unchanged. NYTimes.com suffered the biggest drop, three points, while USAToday.com and all others each shed one point.

Day At The Beach Proves Not Every Body Is Created Equal

Is it still summer?

The last time I looked up, it was Memorial Day. Now it’s almost August.

Winter runs on dental-chair time. Summer travels at the speed of vacation.

I have been going to the beach more, after not having been for a while. The beach is no longer your mother’s beach.

Everyone on the beach seems to have a tattoo. Some of the tattoos start where the sun does shine and disappear into the void where the sun don’t shine.

This made me wonder:

How does the tattooist get into the chasm?

How does the tattooist get out of the chasm? Is this a hard-hat area?

Bodies at the beach have changed. Bodies at the beach fall into two general categories:

Bodies that are bathing in the sun.

Bodies that are basking in the sun.

Bodies that are basking in the sun that take up more sun.

There are also many more abs at the beach. There are six-pack abs, two-pack abs and keg abs. People with keg abs also tend to take up more sun.

While bodies have grown, beach attire has not kept up.

Many are dressed in next to nothing. Beach attire is proof that next to nothing is not created equal.

On some, the more next to nothing one wears, the better it looks.

On most, the more next to nothing one wears, the longer one should stay in the water.

Speaking of which:

You notice a lot of people standing in the water but very few swimming off by themselves. This is the “Jaws” affect.

People who have seen the movie “Jaws” don’t see themselves as swimmers. They see themselves as hors d’oeuvres.

Another popular pastime at the beach is slathering.

Slathering protects one from the sun’s harmful rays. So does shade, but no one seems to have gotten that memo.

Kids are slathered so much that they look like sticks of chalk with hair.

Older people are also big on slathering. This is because when they were kids and went to the beach, they didn’t look like sticks of chalk with hair.

As a group, teenagers are not big on slathering. They say slathering makes it hard to get a really awesome tan. To them, life’s a beach, and then you fry.

Read Jim Shea’s blog at http://www.courant.com/tooshea.



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Kristin Cavallari Can’t ‘Bear’ Wedding Dress Anguish

Reality TV star Kristin Cavallari posed for an exclusive Life Style magazine photo shoot in which she tried on wedding dresses just days before her fiancé, Chicago Bears player Jay Cutler, broke off their engagement.

kristin-cavallari2.jpg

Cavallari is seen in gorgeous gowns by Anne Bowen and Mon Cheri Bridals, telling Life Style, “I want a romantic, mystical wedding, with lots of flowers.”

Now, an insider close to Cavallari, 24, revealed to the magazine Cutler, 28, called off the wedding because he wanted Kristin to move to Chicago and put aside her career. “He told her that she needed to commit to him, and to move to Chicago,” the source said.

The football player’s family also wanted the couple to start a family right away. “Jay’s family was pushing Kristin to get pregnant immediately. Kristin knows she’s too young for kids right now.”

Still, the former “The Hills” star is heartbroken over the split. “Kristin really loved Jay. She is devastated.”

kristin-cavallari1.jpg