Posts from July 22, 2005

Baiting Bernie

Baiting Bernie

: James Wolcott, antimatter to Bernie Goldberg’s matter, taunts him in promoing an appearance on Al Franken’s show:

As many of you are no doubt aware, Al outranks me. He’s #37 on Bernard Goldberg’s list of the 100 people screwing up America–a book that should be more properly titled, Hey, You Liberals, Get Off My Lawn!–while I place at #64. Yet I’m not envious. If anything, I’m embarrassed that my ranking is as high as it is. I’ve only been screwing up America for a few paltry years while Oliver Stone and others who placed below me in this feebleminded gimmick of a fake book have spent decades of blood, sweat, and tears trying to undermine everything Goldberg holds dear in the studios of Fox News, where he seems to have set up a cot in the green room so that he can be always on call.

And, I know, by merely quoting that, I’ll be asked by commenters: “Haven’t you learned?” Oh, yes, I have.

Baiting Bernie

James Wolcott, antimatter to Bernie Goldberg’s matter, taunts him in promoing an appearance on Al Franken’s show:

As many of you are no doubt aware, Al outranks me. He’s #37 on Bernard Goldberg’s list of the 100 people screwing up America–a book that should be more properly titled, Hey, You Liberals, Get Off My Lawn!–while I place at #64. Yet I’m not envious. If anything, I’m embarrassed that my ranking is as high as it is. I’ve only been screwing up America for a few paltry years while Oliver Stone and others who placed below me in this feebleminded gimmick of a fake book have spent decades of blood, sweat, and tears trying to undermine everything Goldberg holds dear in the studios of Fox News, where he seems to have set up a cot in the green room so that he can be always on call.

And, I know, by merely quoting that, I’ll be asked by commenters: “Haven’t you learned?” Oh, yes, I have.

Digg terrorism

Tom Friedman says the State Department should produce an annual War of Ideas Report that would put the harsh glare of attention on those who use their words to incite terrorism, those who make excuses for terrorism, and those who bravely oppose it.

A fine idea. But I don’t think the State Department is who should do this.

Bloggers should. News organizations should follow. And I’d be delighted to see religious leaders join in.

This seems like a fine project for Global Voices or such a group.

Why not create the Digg of terrorism: We all get to nominate examples in each of Friedman’s categories and we all get to vote them up to the home page.

We all link to the worst of the worst to turn the spotlight on it.

Those who can volunteer to translate the offending material.

We convince news organizations to get RSS feeds of terrorism Diggs and report on those who are inciting and supporting the terrorists.

We pepper those associated with these inciters and excusers — their governments, their religious leaders, their media outlets — with protests: The whole world is watching.

The point is not to stop the speech. The point is to expose the speakers. And why rely on a government body, especially the U.S. State Department, to do this. Rely instead on the civilized citizens of the world.

Why, it even comes with cute slogans suitable for T-shirts: Digg out terrorism! Digg terrorism a grave! Digg dirt!

: Friedman preaches a wonderful sermon in that column:

Sunlight is more important than you think. Those who spread hate do not like to be exposed, noted Yigal Carmon, the founder of Memri, which monitors the Arab-Muslim media. The hate spreaders assume that they are talking only to their own, in their own language, and can get away with murder. When their words are spotlighted, they often feel pressure to retract, defend or explain them.

“Whenever they are exposed, they react the next day,” Mr. Carmon said. “No one wants to be exposed in the West as a preacher of hate.”

We also need to spotlight the “excuse makers,” the former State Department spokesman James Rubin said. After every major terrorist incident, the excuse makers come out to tell us why imperialism, Zionism, colonialism or Iraq explains why the terrorists acted. These excuse makers are just one notch less despicable than the terrorists and also deserve to be exposed….

Finally, we also need to shine a bright light on the “truth tellers.” Every week some courageous Arab or Muslim intellectual, cleric or columnist publishes an essay in his or her media calling on fellow Muslims to deal with the cancer in their midst. The truth tellers’ words also need to be disseminated globally.

Digg it.

The unstory

What’s most impressive about the nomination of John Roberts is how the White House made it into the unstory.

I don’t see the blogs going crazy. There isn’t much to say. Atrios very briefly had a moment’s hope that Roberts had a connection to Iran-Contra. Oops. Wrong John Roberts. Nevermind.

We’re not hearing scandals or scandalous opinions from the guy. We’re not hearing any particular protest that he’s the whitest white guy they could find.

The TV pundits and blathershows and the columnists aren’t using their scarce ink and airtime to probe every Roberts angle because there aren’t any.

As I mentioned below, Kos et al were already moving on — like the good political strategists they are — to figure out how to find victory in defeat. And they’re back to hammering the Rove story.

In an absolutely bizarre post today, PowerLine defends Roberts against gay gags (because he was once caught in plaid pants).

It is the unstory.

Nonetheless, Howard Kurtz’ Reliable Sources is talking about Roberts coverage and reaction on CNN this Sunday and I’ll be on. Gee, I hope they don’t think it’s going to be so quiet that they have to invite Bernie…..

The scarcity killer

One of the slides in my PowerPoint BlogBoy dance calls the internet a scarcity killler and contemplates what that means for media: when advertisers can always find somewhere else to advertise and when access to scarce airtime and presstime is no longer valued.

It doesn’t kill commerce but it changes the rules and the value. So, for example, the scarce commodity might not be paper but may be trust. And so those who establish trust gain value in the future.

At Always On, George Gilder went on a nice, hyperbolic riff on scarcity:

“TV is dying fast and it will be followed by Hollywood. These industries fed on scarcity. There are only a few channels available. TV was technology of tyrants. It fed this advertising model that has collapsed,” Gilder told an audience at the conference. “The thirty-second spot is just going to die. Nobody is going to watch any ads they don’t want to see.

“Book culture and blog culture can redeem a civilization,” he said.

Search me

I say it’s a good thing that New York police will start random bag searches on the subways.

Oh, I know it will be inconvenient when I’m late for a meeting and it’s 120-degrees down there and I fear there will be a line. Nonetheless, if and when the cops search me, I’ll thank them.

This morning on Today, they rolled out the “privacy” boogeyman. “Privacy advocates” were expressing concern. Who the hell are these “privacy advocates?” Name two. But listening to reporters, they seem to be everywhere. You just don’t know it. Because they’re very private.

And what precisely is the privacy problem? If the cops catch you carrying something illegal, well, you shouldn’t be carrying anything illegal. If they catch you carrying the latest Playboy — or, more embarrassing, Radar — then don’t worry; they’ve seen worse.

Are random screenings going to catch the next terrorist ready to kill people? We’ll never know. But it is worth the effort.

Digg terrorism

Digg terrorism

: Tom Friedman says the State Department should produce an annual War of Ideas Report that would put the harsh glare of attention on those who use their words to incite terrorism, those who make excuses for terrorism, and those who bravely oppose it.

A fine idea. But I don’t think the State Department is who should do this.

Bloggers should. News organizations should follow. And I’d be delighted to see religious leaders join in.

This seems like a fine project for Global Voices or such a group.

Why not create the Digg of terrorism: We all get to nominate examples in each of Friedman’s categories and we all get to vote them up to the home page.

We all link to the worst of the worst to turn the spotlight on it.

Those who can volunteer to translate the offending material.

We convince news organizations to get RSS feeds of terrorism Diggs and report on those who are inciting and supporting the terrorists.

We pepper those associated with these inciters and excusers — their governments, their religious leaders, their media outlets — with protests: The whole world is watching.

The point is not to stop the speech. The point is to expose the speakers. And why rely on a government body, especially the U.S. State Department, to do this. Rely instead on the civilized citizens of the world.

Why, it even comes with cute slogans suitable for T-shirts: Digg out terrorism! Digg terrorism a grave! Digg dirt!

: Friedman preaches a wonderful sermon in that column:

Sunlight is more important than you think. Those who spread hate do not like to be exposed, noted Yigal Carmon, the founder of Memri, which monitors the Arab-Muslim media. The hate spreaders assume that they are talking only to their own, in their own language, and can get away with murder. When their words are spotlighted, they often feel pressure to retract, defend or explain them.

“Whenever they are exposed, they react the next day,” Mr. Carmon said. “No one wants to be exposed in the West as a preacher of hate.”

We also need to spotlight the “excuse makers,” the former State Department spokesman James Rubin said. After every major terrorist incident, the excuse makers come out to tell us why imperialism, Zionism, colonialism or Iraq explains why the terrorists acted. These excuse makers are just one notch less despicable than the terrorists and also deserve to be exposed….

Finally, we also need to shine a bright light on the “truth tellers.” Every week some courageous Arab or Muslim intellectual, cleric or columnist publishes an essay in his or her media calling on fellow Muslims to deal with the cancer in their midst. The truth tellers’ words also need to be disseminated globally.

Digg it.

The unstory

The unstory

: What’s most impressive about the nomination of John Roberts is how the White House made it into the unstory.

I don’t see the blogs going crazy. There isn’t much to say. Atrios very briefly had a moment’s hope that Roberts had a connection to Iran-Contra. Oops. Wrong John Roberts. Nevermind.

We’re not hearing scandals or scandalous opinions from the guy. We’re not hearing any particular protest that he’s the whitest white guy they could find.

The TV pundits and blathershows and the columnists aren’t using their scarce ink and airtime to probe every Roberts angle because there aren’t any.

As I mentioned below, Kos et al were already moving on — like the good political strategists they are — to figure out how to find victory in defeat. And they’re back to hammering the Rove story.

In an absolutely bizarre post today, PowerLine defends Roberts against gay gags (because he was once caught in plaid pants).

It is the unstory.

Nonetheless, Howard Kurtz’ Reliable Sources is talking about Roberts coverage and reaction on CNN this Sunday and I’ll be on. Gee, I hope they don’t think it’s going to be so quiet that they have to invite Bernie…..