Posts from December 2003

Fun while it lasted

Fun while it lasted
: Blogshares shuts down.

Weblog pioneer ‘missing’

Weblog pioneer ‘missing’
: Mike Wendland reports on a mystery.

Howard Dean, media meddler

Howard Dean, media meddler
: Howard Dean says he’d “break up” media companies. This is the worst of political pandering: Big media companies have been made into the boogeymen du jour and so he announces he’ll go after them. No legal basis. No constitutional justification. Just because they’re there.

Drudge gives us a pretty damned scary transcript of Dean’s appearance on the Chris Matthews show:

“The essence of capitalism, which the right-wing never understands — it always baffles me — is, you got to have some rules,” Dean explained to Matthews and students at Harvard.

MATTHEWS: Well, would you break up GE?


DEAN: I can`t — you…

MATTHEWS: GE just buys Universal. Would you do something there about that? Would you stop that from happening?

DEAN: You can`t say — you can`t ask me right now and get an answer, would I break up X corp…

MATTHEWS: We`ve got to do it now, because now is the only chance we can ask you, because, once you are in, we have got to live with you.



MATTHEWS: So, if you are going to do it, you have got to tell us now.


MATTHEWS: Are you going to break up the giant media enterprises in this country?

DEAN: Yes, we`re going to break up giant media enterprises. That doesn`t mean we`re going to break up all of GE.

What we`re going to do is say that media enterprises can`t be as big as they are today. I don`t think we actually have to break them up, which Teddy Roosevelt had to do with the leftovers from the McKinley administration.

Dean explained how “11 companies in this country control 90 percent of what ordinary people are able to read and watch on their television. That`s wrong. We need to have a wide variety of opinions in every community. We don`t have that because of Michael Powell and what George Bush has tried to do to the FCC.”

Matthews continued:

“Would you break up Fox?”


MATTHEWS: I`m serious.

DEAN: I`m keeping a…

MATTHEWS: Would you break it up? Rupert Murdoch has “The Weekly Standard.” It has got a lot of other interests. It has got “The New York Post.” Would you break it up?

DEAN: On ideological grounds, absolutely yes, but…


MATTHEWS: No, seriously. As a public policy, would you bring industrial policy to bear and break up these conglomerations of power?

DEAN: I don`t want to answer whether I would break up Fox or not, because, obviously


MATTHEWS: Well, how about large media enterprises?

DEAN: Let me — yes, let me get…


DEAN: The answer to that is yes.

I would say that there is too much penetration by single corporations in media markets all over this country. We need locally-owned radio stations. There are only two or three radio stations left in the state of Vermont where you can get local news anymore. The rest of it is read and ripped from the AP.

MATTHEWS: So what are you going to do about it? You`re going to be president of the United States, what are you going to do?

DEAN: What I`m going to do is appoint people to the FCC that believe democracy depends on getting information from all portions of the political spectrum, not just one.

Translation: He’s going to meddle in news. He’s going to decree who can and can’t own media outlets. He’s going to break up companies for sport and political pandering. He’s not concerned with the First Amendment. He’s not concerned with the realities of the media business today (if you don’t allow some level of consolidation, then weak outlets will die).

Yes, I work in big media. But I don’t own it. I just work in it because I love news and media and I cherish the lack of government involvement in media in this country; I cherish our freedom of speech; I am a First Amendment absolutist. I do not want to see government meddling in our free speech.

This isn’t Europe, Howard. Not yet, anyway.

: Full transcript here. Drudge mixes up the order but gets the quotes.

: LGF finds more howlers from the same interview, including this:

DEAN: Iran is a more complex problem because the problem support as clearly verifiable as it is in North Korea. Also, we have less-fewer levers much the key, I believe, to Iran is pressure through the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is supplying much of the equipment that Iran, I believe, most likely is using to set itself along the path of developing nuclear weapons. We need to use that leverage with the Soviet Union and it may require us to buying the equipment the Soviet Union was ultimately going to sell to Iran to prevent Iran from them developing nuclear weapons. That is also a country that must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons much the key to all this is foresight. Let

Citizen journalists

Citizen journalists
: Tim Porter sends us to a wonderful feature at The Brownsville Herald: A gaggle of reporters goes out into the community and asks for public records and then reports what happens. Great reading. And, as Tim says, anyone can do this; any citizen has the right to open records. So go to your town hall. Ask for the salary and expense records of your public officials. Then print the results on your weblog. Watch what happens.


: I’m not whether to hug him or hire him. Well, I don’t think I’ll do either. So instead I’ll just link to this post about interactivity from a VC, Fred Wilson:

I know a lot of bloggers who turn off comments. They don’t want to have to police all that reader generated content. I know how they feel. I’ve had to delete at least 10 vulgar or hateful comments from my blog since I started blogging in late September.

But I blog because I want to stimulate thought. I want that feedback. And I get a lot of it….

My point is this. The Internet is a two way medium. That’s a big deal. Don’t ever forget that. Your audience aren’t just your readers; they are your knowledge base, your customers, your vendors, your supporters, your antagonists, and most everything else.

So leave the comments on. And listen. And learn.

Amen, blogging brother, amen.