Posts from September 30, 2004

A one-person poll

A one-person poll

chart1.jpg: Here are my own post-debate poll results. I asked myself a battery of questions and the results:

I’ve said that I was a “likely Kerry voter” because you deserve to know my perspective as I write what I write here.

How likely? Weeks ago, I’d have put that at, oh, 85 percent: not wildly enthusiastic, perhaps, but OK with the decision.

Recently, that number has fallen to, say, 75 percent. I have become disturbed by Kerry’s efforts to turn himself into the antiwar candidate — while we are at war — and also troubled by his inability to run a compelling campaign (about which I agree with Joe Territo).

As for Bush, I never was a likely Bush voter because I disagreed with him on many fundamental issues. But during the last four years, I did support him as our President; I certainly supported the war on terrorism and I supported the war in Iraq. To my surprise, I saw circumstances under which I would vote for him (eg., if Howard Dean were the other choice). So there were times when I was 50-50 on Bush — surprisingly high for the likes of me. I became a possible Bush voter and that’s a big deal.

But I was OK with Kerry and glad he was not Dean and so I leaned his way. That’s not the strongest endorsement, I know. But it also reflected my post-9/11 political views; I believe it is time to pull together against a common demon and not to demonize each other. I seek the center. I’m militantly middle.

Tonight I rushed out of my kid’s back-to-school event and turned on the radio to hear the debate soon into it. And I got upset with Kerry from the first.

coke1.jpgKerry was pushing his Coke-commercial view of a world marching together hand-in-hand and I don’t buy it. I don’t buy that the U.N. or Old Europe will come into Iraq to save our skins — or to fight for democracy or the rights of the Iraqi people. If you say that Bush mislead us to think we’d find WMDs in Iraq then perhaps you also should say that Kerry misleads us to think we’ll ever find a French butt on the line there. I fear the consequences of giving these countries what amounts to veto power over what we must sometimes do; the result will be paralysis.

In this new era of terrorism and of our role as the sole superpower, I want to see a new vision and strong strategy for foreign policy. The Kumbaya gambit won’t cut it.

I heard Kerry criticize the war over and over without hearing a clear plan for winning it — and a clear will to win it. I also did not hear Bush give a clear plan for winning this war — but at least I still hear his will. It’s not that Kerry flipflops. It’s that I don’t hear iron will. And in a time of war — war against terrorism — we need a leader with iron will.

At the same time, will alone won’t win the war. Great planning and great execution and tireless diligence will win this war. And we don’t have that today, either. That is Bush’s failing.

Many others were able to blog the debate as it occurred. In some ways, I am glad I had to catch the debate in bits and just listen. I listened to what it did to me. And it made me more unsure about Kerry. He sounds more like Howard Dean and I didn’t want to vote for Dean. He had my likely vote; it was his to lose. He hasn’t lost it … yet.

I spun around the dial to hear all the spin and on FoxNews, the conservative commentators were saying that it was a close debate and that it may tighten the race, which is to say that they thought Kerry did OK.

Screw their spin. Raze their spin zone.

There is no single score. Each and every voter who watched this debate was looking for something different and scored it differently. I was looking for a resolute Kerry with a clear vision for a foreign policy that will protect us. I didn’t hear it.

So how likely am I now? Peg me at 65 percent and note the trendline. The next debates and the next weeks matter. The election isn’t over for me or for millions and millions of voters. We’re the real pollsters and our results are not in yet.

Upper hand

Upper hand

: Dumb question: Why (on NBC, at least) is Bush 10 percent higher on the screen than Kerry?

: ALSO: I don’t mean to dwell on the inconsequential but we had NBC on one TV and CBS on another and they weren’t in sync. It sounds as if one of them is using a delay. What, are they afraid one of them will drop the F bomb?



: Tony Blair is getting a hospital procedure for the same heart wackiness I have: palpitations and irregular rhythm.

In a parallel universe

In a parallel universe

: I’m at my son’s school, stealing a moment’s wi-fi and bandwidth as I wait for back-to-school night to begin. It’s fun. But I’m madder and madder that this district did not reschedule this to allow us voters to watch the debates tonight. This is one heckuva lesson in priorities to give our own children. Arrrrrgh. See you after the instant replay.



: Dan Froomkin calls on all bloggers to fact-check the debaters tonight. Your editor has spoken. Now get to work.

I don’t care what you say, just spell the URL right

I don’t care what you say, just spell the URL right

: columnist and NYU j-prof Adam Pennenberg makes what I think is a spurious prediction regarding GoogleNews and online news publishers:

As it turns out, however, Google has a problem that is nearly as complex as its algorithms. It can’t make money from Google News.

So while other online publishers like Yahoo News and MSNBC earn tens of millions of dollars in revenue each year and continue to grow, Google News remains in beta mode — three years after it launched — long after most of the bugs have been excised.

The reason: The minute Google News runs paid advertising of any sort it could face a torrent of cease-and-desist letters from the legal departments of newspapers, which would argue that “fair use” doesn’t cover lifting headlines and lead paragraphs verbatim from their articles. Other publishers might simply block users originating from Google News, effectively snuffing it out.

Who says so? From the way that’s written, this doesn’t appear to be reported, for there is no one quoted, not even an unnamed source. This seems to be just his speculation — and if so, he should say so.

Now I don’t pretend to speak for the industry or even, in this case, my employer and I’m not a copyright laywer and don’t play one on TV. But…

Every online news publisher I know is eager to get links from GoogleNews, just as they’re happy to get links from Drudge (which is the No. 1 referrer of traffic to both the New York Times and the Washington Post, last I knew). It’s free traffic, free marketing, new audience. Many news sites that require registration even implemented what we call the Drudge exception, allowing readers who come from Drudge or who come directly to a story from a link to see that story without having to register. The only problem with this for some publishers is that it’s not necessarily sellable traffic; it may be out-of-market traffic coming to a local site with local advertising. So there’s a small cost of that bandwidth. But for most every publisher out there, traffic is good. Period.

GoogleNews merely takes a headline and a snippet and then links to the original source. That is a service to the source and to the reader.

That’s not to say I don’t have problems with GoogleNews and its questionable choice of some “news” sources and questionable exclusion of others.

And that’s not to say that publishers don’t have another, bigger, and ultimately unsolvable problem with Google itself:

Google is as brand-killer. Time and again, I’ve seen that consumers find the information they want via Google without being very aware of who ended up providing that information: They ask a question; Google takes them to the answer; they leave, satisifed; they don’t pay attention to where they were. This can harm brands that get advertising based on syndicated research that asks consumers how often they visit or how aware they are of a brand; they may well visit a brand’s site but if they don’t pay attention then the brand doesn’t get credit in the survey and looks smaller than it is. In spite of that, I can’t imagine a publisher who wouldn’t want to come up in Google searches; hell, they all pay companies in the new industry of search-engine optimization to make sure they come up higher and higher in those searches.

Publishers will have other problems with Google as it enters their spaces. Google is entering local. It will enter directory advertising. It has entered shopping. I wouldn’t be surprised if it enters classified.

But GoogleNews merely sends links to news sources, who can then profit from that traffic with advertising.

It’s important to challenge Penenberg’s assertion — and ask what his source is — because what he says has an even greater impact on bloggers, who quote original sources at greater length than GoogleNews (and often critically). Most bloggers don’t profit from that; but they will. And it’s important to note that bloggers are performing an important function of fact-checking, pushing, and goading news media and we need to protect that.

: See also Rex Hammock and /.

Atta boy

Atta boy

: Months ago, Jay Rosen urged media and campaigns to raze spin alley and now it’s happening as Jay praises the NYT’s Adam Nagourney for staying away from the spinsters; he’ll watch the debates on TV, just like the rest of us, just like a citizen.

Civics class

Civics class

: My kid’s school scheduled back-to-school night tonight. Great timing. So I’ll be late watching the debate. Tell me what happens….

: UPDATE: Thanks to my diligent commenters, the reviews are already in. I don’t even have to bother watching the tape tonight:

Let’s see…

The Dems think Kerry won.

The Repubs think Bush won.

Old media agrees with the Dems.

Talk-radio agrees with the Repubs.

The pajama-wearing ankle-biters are divided over who won, but really defend their positions well.

Michael Moore is a jackass.

That pretty much covers it.