Posts from October 2003

What if the public hates public affairs?

What if the public hates public affairs?
: I dread Sunday mornings because TV and radio are filled with alleged “public affairs” programming, which is really just dutiful crap meant to appease bureaucrats and pressure groups. There are racial and ethnic segments that are essentially insulting to their apparent audiences (if the story is worth doing, then do it in prime time; don’t ghettoize it here). There are political round-tables that make me want to crawl under the nearest table and fall asleep (and you wonder why people don’t vote). And there are interviews with nut jobs pushing some nut view (just to stop them from bugging the newsroom, no doubt). I can’t stand any of it. Public affairs programming has absolutely no value to me as a member of said public.

But there are forever pushes for more of it: programming by quota.

The Washington Times (of all publications) reports on a study by the “Alliance for Better Campaigns” [beware “alliances” for they are the folks who fill Sunday morning with snoozes] arguing there’s too little public-affairs programming:

Broadcasters have relegated local public-affairs programming to the very bottom of the heap


: Can somebody explain to me how I can have 682 inbound blogs on Technorati and still not make the Top 100, where five have fewer than that? I’m getting a complex.

Dig a whole deep enough and you’ll find a blog on the other side

Dig a whole deep enough and you’ll find a blog on the other side
: Glenn Reynolds links to some pissiness about a CNN International feature about a Hong Kong blogger. Nevermind the complaints.

Big White Guy is a very good blog by an expat in Hong Kong. He gave us lively coverage during the Sars epidemic. He was ahead of all major media on the story of the Hong Kong story using swastikas in marketing. He blogs well.

No need to be jealous of somebody else getting airtime. What’s good for one is good for all here in this new world.

(You can watch the feature on his site.)

Gawker stalked


Gawker stalked
: For reasons that will become clear next week, I ended up hanging out with a half-dozen bloggers yesterday. You’ll note that no one blogged it; too intimidating. But I couldn’t resist pulling out the camera phone and stalking Gawker, turnabout being fair play. So here’s Nick Denton, hiding from the press. And there’s Choire Sicha reading Details — yes, Details.

: Note also that Denton is finally getting ready to take the wraps off of his high-class porn blog, Fleshbot.

Fair & awarded

Fair & awarded
: FoxNews founder Roger Ailes is named TV Journalist of the Year by Broadcasting & Cable. And they interview him. Choice quotes (and getaloada the Howell Raines story):

Q: What do you think Fox News’ contributions and innovations have been?

A: We’ve proved that we get larger audiences to cable news than anybody in American history, for one thing. We cover a broader spectrum than most people. We say it’s fair and balanced….

And we present broad views. We don’t eliminate it. Bias has to do with the elimination of points of view, not presenting a point of view….

Q: Is the public not smart?

A: They may not be as informed. They’re very smart, and they catch on quickly, and they can process different sources….

Q: So if Fox News is fair and balanced, then why do so many other people not believe it?

A: Because they’re getting their ass beaten.

Q: It’s not just CNN. It’s not just competition.

A: Look, we’re doing something that is forcing them


: Gary Wolf is writing a story about the Dean campaign for Wired and along the way, he’s blogging about it (a new and wise approach to reporting, by the way, for it will bring in new information and perspectives).

He just blogged a “retroactive manifesto” for the Dean campaign‘s online strategy — that is, acting as if you were planning what has happened, what principles would guide you? He puts together a good list from David Weinberger to Steven Johnson to Joi Ito [hat tip to Joi for this]. He’s now trying to figure out how to distill Clay Shirky into a paragraph.

And, Gary, don’t forget Glenn Reynolds from Bloggercon: Online, you have to give up control to gain power.

How to make the world job in journalism the best job in journalism

How to make the world job in journalism the best job in journalism
: Dan Okrent has just been appointed to the worst job in journalism: public editor (that’s the pronouncable, spellable, PC synonym for ombudsman) at the NY Times.

But I think I know how to turn it into the best job.

I know Dan from my days at Time Inc. and afterwards, when he headed up new media content. He’s smart and opinionated; I like and respect him. But I’ll just bet he’ll rub the Timesies the wrong way, for he can be gruff and he has no newspaper experience (which would help if you’re trying to figure out how a story gets messed up in such an organization). That will only make watching this more entertaining.

I thought this was the worst job in journalism: dealing on the one hand with too many Times-bashing natterers to count and on the other hand with Timesies, and being at the center of the gigantic circle-jerk that is journalism self-awareness.

But I see a new model for how to run the job in a memo — not, unfortunately, a column — that Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler wrote slashing Tina Brown’s debut in the Post:

Post ombudsman Michael Getler

And then they were Friends

And then they were Friends
: Stern also reports this morning — unbelievable but true — that Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt are going to the Middle East to bring peace. Sure enough:

Where presidents and prime ministers have failed, Hollywood hunk Brad Pitt and wife Jennifer Anniston hope their star power will work wonders in new roles as Middle East peace envoys.

Tinseltown to give a try, led by Brad Bitt (left) and his wife Jennifer Anniston.

They will team up with other actors such as Edward Norton, Jason Alexander and Danny DeVito on a private mission to help resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict.

‘The past few years of conflict mean that yet another generation of Israelis and Palestinians will grow up in hatred,’ said a statement from Pitt and Aniston. ‘We cannot allow that to happen.’

That’s what the Middle East needs: a laughtrack.

And that’s the wonderful thing about stars: They have no idea how stupid they are and they have no one to tell them.

: Meanwhile, did you see that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston’s production company just bought the rights to the story of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s murder? That’s what the war on terrorism needs: glamorous victims.