Posts from January 2004

Dear Joe letter

Dear Joe letter
: David Weinberger, an adviser to the Dean campaign, bids farewell to Joe Trippi. Dave is characteristically candid:

I am not inside the Dean organization enough to know what Trippi did wrong. I hear the TV ads sucked, and I’m more than a little disturbed that the campaign managed to spend all of the money it raised, but I also saw some things that Trippi did right. Real right.

Slow

Slow
: Apologies for the site being slow today. I check Insty, who comes out of the same factory of froth, and he’s slow, too. So I’m guessing it’s just the worm terrorists causing traffic hell.

Seeding

Seeding
: James Lileks writes about the lessons and prophecy of Dean and blogging and The Scream in his Newhouse column and he confesses to taking part in the Scream Meme with his remix:

I assembled one of the more popular songs. Within 36 hours it had been mentioned by The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal; it was played on NPR, Hugh Hewitt’s nationally syndicated radio shows in a hundred markets — and even made MTV.com. I didn’t mail the song to newspapers, or call up radio stations and offer payola. I simply seeded the URL in the comments section of a well-read liberal weblog and a well-read conservative one. And it was off. This is how information works today: You can go from the bottom to the top with no friction whatsoever.

Hmmm. I’m honored that he seeded the address on this blog. I wonder whether this was one of them and if so, was it the liberal or the conservative one, I never can tell.

Anyway, that ego break aside, James goes on to judge the significance of this:

Meaning? Well, weblogs make it tough for candidates to sell falsehoods, because there will always be a hundred dozen foes ready to feast on the lie…. Forevermore now, there’ll be someone watching who can tease an offhand remark however he pleases, post it to the Web and join the roiling conversation….

It’s not the e-mail. It’s not the blog. It’s not the Web sites. It’s the computers, and the people behind them, connected like never before. They won’t control the buzz this year. But in 2008? Count on it.

Two down…

Two down…
: BBC honcho Greg Dyke resigns. This is the same sanctimonious prig who lectured U.S. media: “For any news organisation to act as a cheerleader for government is to undermine your credibility. They should be… balancing their coverage, not banging the drum for one side or the other.” Mr. Dykes, for any news organization to act as a cheerleader against government is to undermind your credibility, wouldn’t you say?

Next: Bring us the head of Andrew Gilligan.

: UPDATE: The BBC apologizes to Blair.

Iraq to Howard Dean: Explain yourself

Iraq to Howard Dean: Explain yourself
: Iraqi blogger Ali writes an amazing open letter to Howard Dean following the candidate’s assertion that Iraqis’ “living standard is a whole lot worse now than it was before.”

Ali calls that “too irritating and insulting” and says, “I

Blogger du jour

Blogger du jour
: Nick Denton and I agreed tonight that Mickey Kaus is on a hot streak.

Farewell, Trippi

Farewell, Trippi
: Here’s another theory about what happened to Dean: Maybe the campaign became the star instead of the candidate. (And when people finally did see the candidate, they didn’t like what they saw.)

It’s fascinating reading the comments on Joe Trippi’s farewell post on the Howard Dean blog as he is kicked off the bus and replaced by a Gore Beltway boy.

Most of the comments are grateful tributes to Trippi from the community he brought together online. A few are snarky. A few try, gamely, to rally the troops for under the campaign’s new leadership. But all in all, it feels as if the campaign is sitting shiva for Trippi — or for the campaign itself. If I listen real hard, I think I can hear in the background:

Those were the days, my friend

We thought they’d never end

We’d sing and dance forever and a day

We’d live the life we choose

We’d fight and never lose

For we were young and sure to have our way

La la la la la la

Now when can you remember a campaign manager drawing this kind of cult of personality? The only personality that matters in a campaign, the only star, must be the candidate. But here Trippi became a star.

Or more accurately, the campaign and the campaigners became the star. It’s about them, not about the candidate. A few weeks ago, we would have said that as wondrous praise of the Dean online miracle: It’s about the people, not the politician.

But that turns out to be a big political mistake, for the voters don’t want to elect a bunch of bloggers with backpacks. They want to elect a leader.

No Jayson Blair

No Jayson Blair
: Emily Bell writes in the Guardian that Andrew Gilligan is no Jayson Blair.

Right. He’s worse.

Blair was merely a psychotic liar who didn’t bother trying to act like a journalist in the end and who only wanted to cheat to keep his job.

Gilligan is worse because he does try to act like a real journalist, even as he single-handedly devalues the credibility of the craft.

Gilligan is worse because he operates on an agenda — anti-war, anti-American, anti-Blair.

Gilligan is worse because he has defenders who share his agenda — BBC executives, numbnutty journalist unions — and who will fall with Gilligan and risk bringing down the BBC and, again, the credibility of jouranlism with them.

Gilligan is worse because he does not have even the same decency as a psychotic liar; he does not have the decency to save his network and his profession; he does not have the decency to quit now.

Gilligan is a bad reporter. He is poison to journalism. The last act of his bosses should be to sack him before they then quit.