Posts from December 2003

Online film awards

Online film awards
: The Online Film Critics Society released its annual film awards and got coverage in the Hollywood Reporter and thus Variety. I thought this must the be from BlogCritics but, no, it’s another group. Lesson to bloggers: Form societies and give awards and get press.

The most dangerous President?

The most dangerous President?
: Howard Dean is flailing like a loser. Here’s his latest slap at the President:

From Iraq to homeland security to public health, President Bush’s “reckless” habit of placing “ideology over facts” has resulted in “the most dangerous administration in my lifetime,” Democrat Howard Dean charged over the past two days.

The “most dangerous administration” in his lifetime?

This guy is so over-the-top that he makes Democrats have to defend George Bush.

The “most dangerous”?

OK, let’s gander at the Presidents since 1948, the year of Dean’s birth:

: Harry Truman. Dropped the first atomic bombs. Overaw the Korean War. I’d call that dangerous.

: Dwight Eisenhower. Military man. Many find that dangerous on its face.

: John F. Kennedy. Damned near bluffed his way into a couple of nuclear confrontations. Dangerous.

: Lyndon Johnson. Well, my generation thought he was mighty dangerous. He was going to send us to our deaths in Vietnam.

: Richard Nixon. In my book, the most dangerous. Tried to bring down the presidency.

: Gerald Ford. Dangerous mainly to himself.

: Jimmy Carter. Not dangerous. Not terribly effective, but not dangerous (except to interest rates).

: Ronald Reagan. Well, I won’t start a holy war on this one. Suffice it to say that some think he’s a saint but others think he’s the opposite — and I’d bet those people would prefer Bush to Reagan (I would).

: George H.W. Bush. The Republican Carter: Not dangerous, not effective.

: Bill Clinton. Well, I liked him.

Go ahead: Play the Howard Dean Game with others and I’ll bet that few if any over voting age who’ve washed in the last week who will come to the same conclusion Dean did. I’ll bet that most will vote for Nixon.

It sounds as if Dean is trying to revive the ’60s (and turn Bush into Nixon). But these aren’t the ’60s. What’s uppermost on our minds today is not a war we declared — no matter how much you wish that were the case, Howard — but, instead, the war that was declared against us, by terrorists. This is more like World War II. If this were 1940 and a Republican called Franklin Roosevelt “dangerous,” would you tolerate that or think it disloyal?

Criticize the President and the administration all you want, Dean, by all means, have at it.

But don’t ever forget that the real danger is out there among the people who want to bomb our White House, not stay in it. If you can’t remember that, Doc, then I won’t feel safe with you in that White House. If you get elected, come November, I’ll be paraphrasing you: “the capture of Saddam election of Howard has not made America safer.”

: UPDATE: Josh Marshall says the Dean is also “playing the defection card and that crosses the line.”

: UPDATE: Roger Simon says he’s flailing because he’s terrified of Hillary. Yup. I keep saying that: Hillary to the rescue.

Our real friend up north

Our real friend up north
: Kathy Shaidle, one of my very favorite webloggers at Relapsed Catholic, just became even more of a favorite thanks to the op-ed piece she wrote for the Dallas Morning News. Go read it (I set up an account: username:, password: weblogs):

…Well, I am a recovering liberal, and Sept. 11 is my dry date.

That morning, my leftist life flashed before my eyes. I remembered to my shame all of those “Yankee, go homes” I had chanted as a Reagan-era peacenik. And rolling my eyes at the tacky teddy bear memorials at the Oklahoma City bombing and muttering, “You would think a building never had blown up before.”

How sophisticated I was. And how sick….

I have taken to wearing a Stars and Stripes scarf. When asked about it, I explain that I use it to strangle old draft dodgers.

I really want to buy a gun (somehow) just so that I can refuse to register it.

I even have developed a taste for iced tea.

No, I am not entirely friendless. I have “met” new pals online: fellow Canucks equally outraged by the World Trade Center attacks and appalled by the matter-of-fact “they asked for it” attitude that permeates elite Canadian culture….

I believe I am on the right side of history now. Just on the wrong side of the border.

Thank you, Kathy.

: Update: And here is part of the reason Kathy denies her Canadianess: a column by Toronto Star editorial page editor emeritus Haroon Siddiqui that shrieks:

As the year of the war on Iraq draws to a close, the larger perspective that emerges is clear: George W. Bush, a small man in a big job, has dragged America into one of its darkest chapters.

Mean critics

Mean critics
: Rowan (“Mr. Bean”) Atkinson checked himself into a shrink shop because of depression caused by bad reviews for Johnny English.

When I was a critic, I got the occasional mewling letter from a star (e.g., Alan Thicke) begging me to lay off. I preferred the angry ones (e.g., Bill Cosby). [via IT&W]

‘Involvement journalism’

‘Involvement journalism’
: AOL sends out a press release touting what it calls “involvement journalism.”

To complement the member’s personalized news experience, AOL News offers multiple opportunities for members to join in the larger news debates and connect with other members through polls, message boards, chatrooms and AOL Journals (blogs), creating a more enhanced, shared experience….

“We’re changing the way people consume and experience the news,” said Lewis D’Vorkin, AOL’s Editor-in-Chief for News and Sports. “AOL’s unique format allows us to create a dynamic, interactive experience that our members trust and value. AOL News brings members the news they want in their preferred format and incorporates multiple voices through shared storytelling elements. As a result, not only do members get the news, but they can also see how others are reacting and gain different perspectives on world events. It’s a strategy we call involvement journalism.”

Sounds good. If only they meant it and did it.

Go to the AOL news page and all you see from the audience is a tiny box with a tiny quote on, today, Michael Jackson, one user at a time. It’s the man-on-the-streetization of the people, the worst of tokenism.

They talk involvement. They don’t mean it.

But they could. AOL has all the tools that would allow its audience to become truly involved. They could use weblogs (aka journals) to edit the news from their perspective: See the world through the lense of someone like you. They could use bulletin boards to let their huge audience set the agenda for debate: Start a movement for health-care reform on AOL. They could use scientific polling of their diverse audience to see what America really says about issues: Who cares how it plays in Peoria; how does it play on AOL?

They could do all that if they meant it when they said “involvement journalism.” But they don’t. Too bad. [via Lost Remote]