Posts from July 2003

TV kills

TV kills
: Literally.

Ayatollah Fidel

ayatollah.jpg

Ayatollah Fidel
: Ayatollah Khamenei showed off a missile that can hit Israel. Get a load of the picture; he looks like Castro surrounded by his drab-green minions.

Iran’s supreme leader on Sunday inaugurated a new ballistic missile that brings Israel within range of the Islamic republic, hailing the event as a key moment in the defence of the Palestinian cause.

“Today our people and our armed forces are ready to defend their goals anywhere,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a ceremony for the elite Revolutionary Guards carried on state television.

“This divine force has answered all threats, and we are witnessing today that this divine force is now doing the same for the Lebanese and the Palestinian people,” he added in the ceremony to bring the Shahab-3 missile into service.

Divine force? A missile? Some man of God, this guy is.

I’m getting Gilmore a button that reads, “I’m a Jerk”

I’m getting Gilmore a button that reads, “I’m a Jerk”
: I’m tired of the Gilmore saga but I can’t resist the discussion in the comments at MemeFirst (which I’ll take out of context):

Matthew: As a well-known lawyer, I’d venture that sort of speech might not be protected, for the same kinds of reasons you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater….

I wonder if there’s a first-amendment satire defense for his badge?

You know, arguing that it’s aaaaaahrt.

Felix: I think airplane captains have the right to throw anybody they want off their plane (well, assuming it’s on the ground, anyway) for any reason: I’d be astonished to hear that Gilmore has any kind of constitutional right to free speech at 30,000 feet. If I don’t like what you’re saying in my house I can kick you out; captains similarly….

Charles: Dunno about in the ‘States, but certainly in the UK you can impersonate a (very) suspected terrorist, crash a party, kiss the second in line to the throne, and still not go to jail. Though he do get chucked out of the party, which may be more to the point.

: And go enjoy Richard Bennett’s comments on the button affair here.

Privatization

Privatization
: There’s a discussion starting in the comments, below, regarding privatization of the BBC. I’m in favor of it for a few reasons — most obvious is that government control of media in any form is a conflict. But I also believe that the open market is a good thing for media — and, no, not because I’m a free-market freak. I earnestly believe that it’s a good thing for editorial quality because it ties editors to their market — aka, their audience. If the audience doesn’t want to buy what you produce, you fail. I’ve long held that circulation directors of newspapers and magazines should report to editors and that editors should be both accountable for and responsible for circulation.

Is Howell Raines moving to the BBC?

Is Howell Raines moving to the BBC?
: The BBC scandal is sure starting to smell like the New York Times scandal. Now the staff is revolting:

Senior BBC executives seemed isolated from their own staff last night when the corporation implicitly accused David Kelly of failing to be entirely open when he appeared before MPs last week.

Andrew Gilligan, the journalist at the centre of the row, said he did not misquote Dr Kelly in his original report. Executives believe privately that the scientist, who committed suicide on Thursday, held reservations about Downing Street’s involvement in the notorious September dossier which he did not air to the foreign affairs select committee.

But journalists, editors and presenters contacted by the Guardian yesterday questioned – on condition of anonymity – the credibility of this stance. They expressed doubt about the positions of Gilligan and Richard Sambrook, the director of news, who has given unswerving support to the reporter since he learned that Dr Kelly was his source. A few even talk darkly of revolt. Support for Gilligan, outside the increasingly fraught confines of the Today programme where he is defence and diplomatic correspondent, is slipping away.

“It’s one thing if the top brass choose to go to the wall for Gilligan. It’s quite another if they expect us to do it too,” one insider said.

More blood on their hands

More blood on their hands
: The Guardian reports that the BBC could have prevented the outing of Kelly as its source but refused:

BBC bosses blocked a compromise which might have prevented the suicide of David Kelly, the weapons expert confirmed by the corporation yesterday as its source for the story of the “sexed-up’ dossier.

The Guardian can reveal that the BBC chairman, Gavyn Davies, and the director general, Greg Dyke, were made an offer in the days before Dr Kelly was identified, but turned it down because they were determined to give no ground in their battle with Alastair Campbell, director of communications at No 10.

So, once again, blame the Beeb, not Blair.

And, by the way, it was the BBC that was morally bound not to reveal its source, Kelly. The government had no such obligation; he wasn’t their source and, in fact, he was violating rules talking to the press. That’s the risk you take. And the release of his name by the government is an issue only because he committed suicide; that is something they could not be expected to have predicted. Kelly was a grown-up; he chose to talk to Gilligan.

Self-fulfilling punchlines

Self-fulfilling punchlines
: Proving his very own point that liberals are no fun, Frank Rich writes a story about liberals that is itself no fun.

Excuse me, I’m trying to listen to the transmission in my teeth

Excuse me, I’m trying to listen to the transmission in my teeth
: Further evidence that Larry Lessig is part of the tinfoil hat privacy nuts club: He takes the Gilmore airplane story seriously.

: I like Dan Gillmor, but I end up disagreeing with him about some things, like his paranoia about an airline taking pictures of passengers. I think it’s a good idea. Even Slashdotters agree with me.

: This privacy paranoia thing has gone too far. Way too far.