Posts from January 2004

Analog 1, Digital 0

Analog 1, Digital 0
: David Isenberg has a unique perspective on the switch atop the Dean campaign: The nethead was displaced by the Bellhead.

: Meanwhile, Richard Bennett is characteristically blunt as he assesses the situation:

So what is happening? Briefly put, Dean’s problem is the Deaniacs. The Internet-driven campaign has enabled him to amass a large following, but they’re primarily unbalanced people, fanatical followers, extremists, and wackos. In my experience with Internet-enabled activism, these are the kind of people most attracted to online chat and email wars, so an organization that’s going to use these tools to recruit has to prune the weirdos before they run off the mainstream people you need to reach out to the undecided mainstream people whose support you really need in the voting booth.

Figures

Figures
: The one big media company Larry Lessig defends is the BBC.

Spreading

Spreading
: Now a U.S. airline — Continental — has canceled a flight along with BA and Air France because of terrorism warnings.

…blame me I voted for…

…blame me I voted for…
: Aaron Bailey gives Dean supporters helpful tips on how to remove a bumper sticker.

Public suicide

Public suicide
: The BBC is performing public suicide. Just read the British press today.

Even the pro-BBC, anti-Blair, anti-American, anti-war Independent reports a “civil war” in the company:

The BBC was at war with itself yesterday, as rival factions began to attack each other over competing versions of the events that triggered the worst crisis in the corporation’s long history.

Some of its senior managers turned on the journalist Andrew Gilligan, whose flawed reporting began the crisis, claiming that if he had not resigned last week, he would have been disciplined and possibly sacked….

Others within a divided BBC want its acting director general, Mark Byford, to continue the battle with the Government….

The Telegraph reports on managers turning on Gilligan — at long frigging last! This wouldn’t have happened if his managers had tried managing him and his editors had tried editing him a few months ago!

The Observer also calls it “civil war.” And it gives us a long tick-tock on the release of the Hutton report, showing BBC officials circling their wagons in desperate defensiveness. This under the headline, “It’s war.” The BBC is at war with itself and at war with the governmet.

: Meanwhile, at the BBC’s own news site, the story is virtually gone; just one teensy headline and a defensive one at that, with ousted boss Greg Dyke attacking Hutton. In every other corner of British news media, this is a huge story; at the BBC, it’s being buried. Now that’s news judgment.

:We are witnessing the death of the BBC, for the BBC doesn’t want to save itself. It would rather fight with itself and with the government than serve its audience and learn from its mistakes and move on. That’s because the BBC has utterly and completely lost sight of its mission and reason for being: serving and informing the public.

: In my comments below, Silver said it well:

The whole affair points to the vast difference between press in the free enterprise system and press sponsored by government.

Why was the NYTimes contrite over Blair? Because if they lost their credibility, they lost their revenue.

Why won’t the Beeb be contrite over this? Because every Brit with a TV pays their salaries (through an unbelievably stupid tax).

The world no longer needs the Beeb, and the Brits should not have to pay for it. Let the free market system determine the veracity of their reporting. The Beeb, as a ward of the state, should be abolished.

:Journalism cannot prosper, let alone survive, inside government. It is such an obvious oxymoron.

The BBC is inside the government, so it fights the government hardest.

The BBC does not have to answer to the market, so it ignores the market, also known as public, the audience, the citizenry.

The BBC thinks because there is also public anger at the Blair government, that means the public is for the BBC and the BBC isn’t even self-aware enough today to see that it is positioning itself as a direct player in politics — an utterly impossible position for a news organization, but one the BBC is welcoming.

The BBC thinks it is answerable to no one, not the market, not the audience, not Hutton, not journalism.

The BBC has turned into the monarchy of news — just as big and rich and meaningless and useless.

This will kill the BBC.

: I deeply regret this. Until very, very recently, I held the BBC in the highest esteem. When I was young, I even dreamed of working for them.

But now the BBC will get the fate it deserves.

It deserves to lose all public subsidy. It deserves to be thrown out in the marketplace to fend for itself. It deserves to face new competitors that will beat it at every measure. What Rupert Murdoch did to CNN with FoxNews, Rupert Murdoch will eagerly do to the BBC, just watch.

But the BBC brought this on itself. The BBC committed suicide.

The ideal blog reader

The ideal blog reader
: David Galbraith lists his wishes for Kinja, the coming blog reader.

One pill make you…

One pill make you…
: Bill Maher notes that the SuperBowl will be sponsored by competing Viagra sequels and says:

It’s more than a little ironic that, just a week after the President uses the State of the Union Address to rail against performance-enhancing drugs, we hold a Steroid Bowl brought to you by – you guessed it – performance enhancing drugs.

It all comes back to the “what’s-your-pleasure” hypocrisy in this country. If your pleasure is the slurry, cheery buzz of an apple martini, you’re legal and accepted. If it’s the serene, introspective buzz of a joint or, say, the warm, itchy buzz of Vicodin, then you’re illegal and unaccepted. If you want to risk taking a pill to get your penis hard, “ask your doctor,” but if you want to risk taking a pill to get your biceps hard, pee in this cup and turn in your locker room key.

We all have our reasons for ingesting what we ingest. We are a nation dependent upon drugs to act as an antidote to everything from our boredom and depression to our impotence and the poisoning effects of our toxic food supply. To arbitrarily single out certain drugs and certain drug users as immoral, while others skate (and profitably I might add) is a complete hypocrisy.

Hmmm. Sounds like the Rush Limbaugh defense fund.

Anil is right that Maher is finally turning his blog into a blog.

The boy off the bus

The boy off the bus
: GQ has a long and timely (thanks to the Internet) profile of Joe Trippi. Jim Treacher sends it to me, wondering whether it reveals he is an ass or the perfect subject for another West Wing — “Not that the two are mutually exclusive, I guess…”

I don’t know what to make of reports that Trippi pocketed 15 percent of Dean’s ad buy. (Has that been verified? Where did the report start? What do other campaign managers do? Anybody have the facts on this?)

It’s also too soon to know whether Trippi will be seen as the genius who changed politics forever (likely) … or the fool who wasted all of The People’s money to lose Iowa and New Hampshire and frontrunnerdom (possible) … or the victim of a bad candidate (likely). I won’t be surprised to see Dean and the Deany Babies (wasn’t that a ’60s beach band?) trying to blame Trippi.

If I were Trippi, Zach Rosen, Zephyr Teachout, Matt Gross (who’s not visble on the blog, by the way), the minute the Dean Campaign sputters to a stop, I’d set up a consulting shop to tell politicians and companies how to exploit this new bottom-up world (see below). Rather than taking the Carville path of punditry, why not make a fortune? It matter whether they were right or wrong; doesn’t matter whether Trippi is an ass; they’d make a mint.