Posts from November 2003

Out of office:

Out of office:
: A sublime post from Heiko Hebig:

Out of Office AutoBlog

I am currently away. If urgent, read another blog.

Baghdad Broadcasting Company, a model for us all

Baghdad Broadcasting Company, a model for us all
: Greg Dyke, chief chutzpah officer of the BBC, lashes out at U.S. TV news war coverage as he accepts a dubious award in New York:

News organisations should be in the business of balancing their coverage, not banging the drum for one side or the other. This is something which seemed to get lost in American reporting of the war,” said Mr Dyke.

He said only four out of 840 experts interviewed on US news outlets during the conflict opposed the war and the situation would not have been tolerated at the BBC.

“Telling people what they want to hear is not doing them any favours. It may not be comfortable to challenge governments or even popular opinion but it’s what we are here to do,” he said.

Yo, Doc, cure thyself!

What an incredibly blind/deaf/dumb comment to come from Baghdad Broadcasting, of all places.

Balance? The BBC exhibits as much balance as Christopher Reeve on a tightrope.

Telling people what they want to hear? That’s exactly what the BBC did and quite cynically, I might add.

Experts? What experts? Name two. That is the kind of ridiculous faux stat I’d expect to hear from, oh, American talk radio, not the head of the vaunted BBC.

And Greg, I have two words to remind you of: Andrew Gilligan.

But what’s even more pathetic is his lack of awareness about the business reality of TV news — yes, business reality:

In a robust defence of public service broadcasting Mr Dyke said TV was not “just another commodity” like Starbucks or Coca-Cola and disagreed with those who said it should be left to the market.

“Television is only different from coffee or Coke if we recognise that fact. If we treat TV like these things, it will become like them. We end up with nothing more than a briefly enjoyable experience devoid of any lasting value,” he said.

Face it, mate: News — especially TV news — is already a commodity. Cable — and, in your case, satellite — and the Internet already accomplished that.

The wave of the future is to admit your perspective — and, lord knows you have one (in fact, denying that you do is the worst single blow to your credibility — and to let the audience decide how to look at a story.

If you came out and said you were against the war because somebody had to be, somebody had to give that perspective — well, I might disagree but I would respect the honesty of that and the vision. But no.

You’re a dinosaur, Dyke. But worse than that, you’re a dishonest one.

Brown-paper blog

Brown-paper blog
: Halley Suitt is offering to sell blushing bloggers copies of Penthouse for a slight (100 percent) profit.

Oh, yes, she has a story in there and she’s autographing it. I wonder whether this could be the last issue. That’d make it really valuable.

Otherwise, Halley should talk to Fleshbot about a new revenue stream.

EId

EId
: As I drove into Jersey City this morning, I saw people converging on a large mosque in all varieties of formal and foreign dress. It’s the start of Eid. And then I got to work and found email from Zeyad, who tells me:

By the way, today we are celebrating the first day of the Id holidays and the atmosphere in Baghdad is very different. People everywhere. I haven’t seen such celebrations since before the war. It’s all really fun. Anyway, I’m off to a party right now. so see you later.

Welcome relief.

They call it old Europe for a reason

They call it old Europe for a reason
: A remarkable projection in today’s NY Times David Brooks column:

Working off U.N. and U.S. census data, Bill Frey, the indispensable University of Michigan demographer, projects that in the year 2050 the median age in the United States will be 35. The median age in Europe will be 52. The implications of that are enormous.

Europe, the land of yesterday. The continent of old farts. The next Beatles sure won’t come from there. They will come from, oh, Iran.

Rush hour

Rush hour
: This morning, I came into the World Trade Center in rush hour, in a fairly crowded train. As soon as the train came into the site, the train went completely silent; most people looked outside; some just looked off. I wonder how long that will last. Maybe forever. Maybe it is our way of paying our respects.

Spin spam

Spin spam
: Tonight’s presidential debate (I saw the last half) just proves Jay Rosen’s points. The candidates don’t answer a damned question; they stick tape carts in their mouths and hit “play.” And afterward, on MSNBC, Chris Matthews goes on about who “won.” What he should be doing is saying, “You guys didn’t say jack! You wouldn’t answer the questions. You didn’t advance the debate. You didn’t advance the conversation. You wasted our damned time.” That’s the unspun zone.

European anti-Semitism

European anti-Semitism
: The Guardian asks the tough question: “The ‘new’ anti-semitism: is Europe in grip of worst bout of hatred since the Holocaust?”

“Anti-semitism has become politically correct in Europe,” said Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident and minister in Ariel Sharon’s government….

But it is the “new” anti-semitism that most disturbs some Jewish leaders because they say it emanates from influential groups such as academics, politicians and the media and is dressed up as criticism of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

It is time to honestly face this spectre. This isn’t Europe-bashing. It is a warning we must heed…. this time.