Posts from October 2003

Howard Stern says…

Howard Stern says…
: Howard says the reaction of some New Yorkers he knows to the California fires is odd. Try to talk to them about the fires, try to get them to care, and they say, “9/11.”

Yes, it’s hard to beat even our tragedies.

Weblog internationalism: blog bridges, blog mobs

Weblog internationalism: blog bridges, blog mobs
: One of the most exciting aspects of weblogging for me is the international nature of it.

Webloggers link to news from sources around the world with different viewpoints (see Steven Johnson’s study of Technorati headlines).

And webloggers manage to make connections across any borders — national, ideological, religious, linguistic — here. See Martin Roell and Ton Zijlstra on making such connections via this post.

The most gratifying moments I’ve had with this weblog have been such moments on blog bridges. Early on, I tried to make use of my bad German to read German blogs; I linked to them (see my blogroll); they linked to me; conversations and, I hope, friendships followed. And now, when I link to something, I find it popping up in German blogs quickly either because of me or another blog bridge on either side. I have been captivated by the story of Iranian bloggers carrying on a true revolution (rather than our couch revolution) and I’m delighted to have met many of them online. Most recently, I’m gratified to see a new Iraqi blogger, Zeyad, giving us a fresh perspective from Baghad at HealingIraq. See other links in this post below and various posts inbetween.

That is all good: new communication, new connections, new understanding, new information, new relationships, new power.

That is all something that could not happen before blogs.

: But, of course, there is a bad side, too. That’s no surprise. This weekend, I linked to various European blogs that had critical things to say about anti-Americanism and this began to bring out Europe bashing to match the America bashing.

What’s most curious about this is that online, Americans and Iranians and Iraqis are getting along better than Americans and French and Germans. Perhaps we’re too close, too familiar. Perhaps there are other, more complex reasons. Whatever.

My point — a quite simplistic one, in the end — is that we need to guard against bashing … or the assumption that criticism is the same as bashing.

I link to some German sites that are critical of anti-Americanism from Ted Honderich or Michael Moore, below, and people come on and engage in inane German bashing. That doesn’t do anybody any good and certainly doesn’t advance the discussion. On the other hand, when I criticize Jacques Chirac for dumping on us, I’m accused of bashing. That, too, doesn’t advance the discussion.

The great potential of this medium is to create connections that could not exist before. Let’s not disconnect.

Here ends my Mister Rogers moment.

Well, it’s one way to keep the little nippers in line

preschool.jpgWell, it’s one way to keep the little nippers in line
: Drove by this sign in the ‘burbs, chortled, then suddenly realized that I now have my handy-dandy phone cam and so I did a Uie, pulled up, snapped the shot, and here it is. And who says the quality of journalism will not improve…

War zones

War zones
: Blogger Chris Albritton raised money from his readers to send him to report from Iraq.

Josh Marshall is raising money from his readers to send himself to report from a far more treacherous place: the New Hampshire primary.

I want to dedicate this trip entirely to blog coverage so I want to fund it with reader support, reader subscriptions. That

Tall people unite!

Tall people unite!
: Howard Sherman reports on the invention of a life-saving device: The Knee Defender, a small bit of rubber that will prevent the rude oaf in front of you on an airplane from leaning her/his seat back and banging our knees, threatening our laptops, spilling our drinks, and inducing claustrophia. I’ll take one!

Michael Moore is to Jerry Lewis as…

Michael Moore is to Jerry Lewis as…
: Deutsche Welle reports that Michael Moore is bigger in Germany than he is in the U.S.:

His diatribe against U.S. President George Bush Stupid White Men sold nearly 1.1 million copies in German

The myth of the anti-war Democrats

The myth of the anti-war Democrats
: David Broder bursts the bubble of those who think there is a mass movement among Americans and particularly Democrats against the war:

Since Dean has emphasized his early opposition to the war in Iraq as his calling card in the race, it is easy to assume that his antiwar stand and his criticism of Lieberman, Gephardt, Kerry and Edwards for supporting the resolution authorizing the use of force must account for his strong showing — especially in New Hampshire.

Wrong. When the Democracy Corps team asked whether voters in those three states wanted a Democratic nominee “who opposed the Iraq war from the beginning” or one “who supported military action against Saddam Hussein but was critical of Bush for failing to win international support for the war,” voters in all three states chose the second alternative. Dean’s position was preferred by only 35 percent of the likely voters in the New Hampshire Democratic primary — fewer than supported it in Iowa or South Carolina — while 58 percent chose the alternative….

The fact that Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire are not reflexively opposed to our involvement in Iraq is underlined by the poll finding that, by a margin of 54 percent to 38 percent, they favor a nominee who “reluctantly supports” Bush’s $87 billion aid request over one who opposes it — while Iowa and South Carolina voters lean slightly the other way.

If it’s not his early antiwar stand that is powering Dean, what explains his lead in the Jan. 27 primary? The Democracy Corps poll strongly suggests it is the fact that the New Hampshire primary electorate — including many of those independents — is overwhelmingly liberal on social issues on which Dean has identified himself….

In short, it is cultural forces — far more than anything else — that explain Dean’s appeal in New Hampshire, forces that may tug the other way when the race moves to more typical battleground states.

We, the people, see things in grays. We, the people, are smarter than we’re portrayed to be. This is a complex issue and we, the people, know it. We’re being painted in black-and-white but it’s a false picture.

The editorial we

The editorial we
: Back on July 9 and July 10, I said that the audience’s news judgment — as reflected in Technorati and Blogdex — does not match the news judgment of big news organizations and that’s a problem for the big guys. I suggested that someone study the differences:

It would be interesting for an academic out there to chart the top stories on, say, Blogdex vs. the top stories on Google News (which, though automated, tracks professional news organs). I say you’d then be tracking the interests of the audience (with bloggers as an imperfect proxy that is improving as the universe grows) vs. the interests of the pros.

Well, Steven Johnson did just that for his Discover Magazine column, comparing GoogleNews headlines — which rise by their use in big media — with Technorati headlines — which rise with their links from bloggers:

So how do the Technorati headlines compare with the old-fashioned ones? On major news events