Posts from November 19, 2004

How do we fight the FCC

How do we fight the FCC

: I’m on David Lawrence’s show right now talking about how we can all fight the FCC. I want to hear your ideas. How do we all tell the FCC to butt out of our culture and get away from our First Amendment?

I’ll file friend-of-the-court brief with any network willing to fight them. I’ll send them call-your-bluff complaints. I’ll file FOIA requests to expose their uninvestigations. I’ve sent letters to my legislators telling them not to vote for the indecent indecency bill when it comes back (in January). What else?

Media on media

Media on media

: I’m supposed to be on David Lawrence’s show tonight at 7 PT, 10 ET.

Why conservatives should kill the FCC and defend free speech

Why conservatives should kill the FCC and defend free speech

: The other night on Aaron Brown’s show, I argued with the Heritage Foundation’s Rebecca Hagelin over the FCC and the First Amendment (I attacked the first and defended the second, which only logically follows these days but she argued for more government regulation of speech from the agency). Today, someone sent me a wonderful post from the Heritage Foundation’s very own weblog agreeing with me. In other circumstances, that last sentence might scare me. But today it only makes me gloat.

First, it points to a great post by James Gattuso, which says:

But the real question is who should decide this question: five members of the FCC, or 300 million Americans with their remote controls? There

Insult our culture, you insult us….

Insult our culture, you insult us….

: Last week, a review of a children’s movie in The Times was filled with bizarre poltical and anatomical references.

This week, we have A.O. Scott looking for profound meaning in SpongeBob SquarePants (but, thankfully, not finding any):

The loud, silly innocence of Mr. Hillenburg’s imaginary world, where double entendres seem to bubble up and dissipate faster than you can catch them, is a welcome antidote to the self-seriousness and brutality that rule so much of the popular culture.

I am fed up with these overarching generalizations about popular culture. The other night on Aaron Brown’s show, the lady from the Heritage Foundation and Aaron himself went on about the coarseness of our — our culture … that is to say, us. Now we have this critic, who ought to know better, making another ovarching generalization about self-seriousness and brutality.

Well, there are brutal movies and there are children’s movies.

Folks: It’s not one culture. That is the lesson of the internet. That is the obvious lesson of the nichefication of media and entertainment: We get choice, we use it. See Jarvis’ First Law of Media. So you can’t generalize about all of our culture. And when you do, you generalize about all of us. And that’s intellectually lazy and dishonest.

You are what you buy

You are what you buy

: Ken Mehlman, Bush campaign manager, reveals the bottom-line marketing strategy that led him to victory. It’s the exact same strategy that sells cars: market segmentation.

No, we are not a red v. blue nation. We are Volvo v. Lincoln nation.

“If you drive a Volvo and you do yoga, you are pretty much a Democrat,” Mr. Mehlman told an assembly of the nation’s Republican governors here. “If you drive a Lincoln or a BMW and you own a gun, you’re voting for George Bush.” …

“We did what Visa did,” Mr. Mehlman said. “We acquired a lot of consumer data. What magazine do you subscribe to? Do you own a gun? How often do the folks go to church? Where do you send your kids to school? Are you married?

“Based on that, we were able to develop an exact kind of consumer model that corporate America does every day to predict how people vote – not based on where they live but how they live,” he said. “That was critically important to our success.”

He said that is what led him to the conclusion that supporters of Mr. Kerry had a preference for Volvos over Lincolns, and yoga over guns.

In addition, Mr. Mehlman said the Bush campaign had moved beyond simply placing advertisements on traditional television and radio networks. For example, he said, Mr. Bush began placing advertisements on in-house networks at private gyms, guaranteeing a captive audience of what he described as receptive voters.

“Because our demographic studies and analysis showed us that a lot of young families get information not at the 7 o’clock news but at the 7 o’clock workout before they got home,” he said.

Politics is just a product, in this view.

Now this is press transparency

Now this is press transparency

: The Times (of NY) rounds up all the sex scandals at The Spectator in London:

“Someone should bottle that magazine’s tap water,” wrote The Guardian in an editorial this week, referring to the three erotic scandals that have enveloped The Spectator in recent months, involving, among others, its editor, associate editor, publisher, former receptionist, one of its columnists and the home secretary.

I keep saying we need to humanize journalism here. So that’s what we need: Some good, juicy, public affairs!

: Update: The editor in question, also an MP, has a blog (thanks to the commenter)

Stern on Letterman

Stern on Letterman

: Howard Stern mentions my little scoop on the FCC on Letterman’s show tonight: “An ex-TV Guide writer went and researched. Three people complained. Three people.”

Damn. Wish I’d recorded that.

: It’s a serious talk and a good talk. Howard discusses the problem of the FCC and free speech and Clear Channel and creativity. Random quotes:

“This is my way of checkmating the United States government,” he says.

“This guy Michael Powell… he’s telling us what we can hear,” he says. Later: “How can we have a democracy how can we have an open exchange of ideas?”

“My fellow broadcasters are not standing up for me.”

“In five years, satellite radio will be dominant in radio broadcasting.”

On getting satellite radio: “I believe it is a political movement.”

Dave: “In many ways, you pioneered terrestrial radio.”

Howard: “And now I’m here to destroy it.”

On making fun of racists: “I think the show actually has a high moral value.” Dave asks: “Is there a segment of the audience that may not get it… that may have its prehistoric beliefs reinforced?”

Dave: “How come President Bush won the election?”

Howard: “Had I been on in more markets in the country, I believe we would have had an effect on the election.”

“I can’t syndicate my show anymore. Radio stations are deathly afraid of the religious right… and Michael Powell…”

“Bababooey is coming. Everybody is coming over to the new place.”



: I have another theory about Mel Karmazin’s arrival at Sirius: I think he’ll try to engineer a merger with an earthbound radio company — possibly even Infinity (since Viacom is making noise about falling out of love with radio and, as Fred says, Mel’s still in love with it).

: Sirius also managed to buy a spot on David Letterman tonight, as Stern appears ther.e