Posts from October 12, 2004

The Daily Stern: Together again?

The Daily Stern: Together again?

: Defamer has what it carefully labels a completely unverifiable rumor du jour: that Viacom is thinking about buying Sirius satellite to get Howard Stern back.

Well, I’m a Stern fan but even I wouldn’t say that they’d do it just to get Howard back. They’d do it to get a piece of the sky — and the future — so they’re not stuck down on earth — in the past. Sirius is the one to buy because it is cheaper and just took on a bunch of debt; a Viacom investment makes sense.

Stern has been talking about ways the companies could work together. He also vowed this morning to stop talking about satellite or else he’ll find himself off the air. (A colleague here thinks Viacom has to take him off six months before the end of his contract so he doesn’t lead up to his Sirius launch with the full power of broadcast behind him.)

Note also that Les Moonves was on Letterman last night, talking about Stern at length.

Says Defamer:

The crazy chatter further holds that Viacom co-president/future galactic dictator Les Moonves was so despondent over Stern’s departure from his loving embrace (and over the possibility that the FM portion of his empire will be decimated) that Stern will now get to do his plain, old, over-the-air radio show in a new, commercial-free format. The upshot: Stern gets to keep his huge audience, Viacom finally shows they aren’t taking him for granted, and Moonves gets Sirius’ satellite pipleline to eventually deliver mind-control rays for his coming invasion Viacom content into the world’s automobiles, assuring there is no place where we will be safe from Real World and Everybody Loves Raymond reruns.

: UPDATE: The voice of experience says no way.

Times fight

Times fight

: In his Sunday column, Dan Okrent named one specific letter-writer for sending bile to The Times. I chose not to name the name (though I did Google him) because this is their fight and I don’t know where this he-wrote-she-wrote will land (and I then took Okrent to task for more generally criticizing bloggers as the muse of poison-pen-letter writers). But the named name just left a comment on this blog and so I’ll bring it out and quote him in full. First, here’s what Okrent wrote:

But before I turn over the podium, I do want you to know just how debased the level of discourse has become. When a reporter receives an e-mail message that says, “I hope your kid gets his head blown off in a Republican war,” a limit has been passed.

That’s what a coward named Steve Schwenk, from San Francisco, wrote to national political correspondent Adam Nagourney several days ago because Nagourney wrote something Schwenk considered (if such a person is capable of consideration) pro-Bush. Some women reporters regularly receive sexual insults and threats. As nasty as critics on the right can get (plenty nasty), the left seems to be winning the vileness derby this year. Maybe the bloggers who encourage their readers to send this sort of thing to The Times might want to ask them instead to say it in public. I don’t think they’d dare.

And now here’s what Steve Schwenk — and I presume it to be him — left as a comment below:

For a man who bemoans the absence of civility on the left, Okrent sure has a strange way of dealing with it.

He not only distorted what I said in my e-mail, but he called me a coward and told the entire country who I am and where I live after very effectively making me out to be a monster.

My kids were terrified by the never ending phone calls and hang ups. My daughter asked what we should do if a mob came to the house to get us. And needless to say, the humiliation I now have to experience in responding to the repeated inquiries about whether that was really me will go one for weeks. Did I mention that I am looking for a job?

The worst part is that the bastard completely distorted what my e-mail said and why I was complaining. He left out the 99% that raised legitimate questions and focused only on the sensational words of anger I regretfully used.

Thanks, Daniel Okrent. And thanks, to you too, “Adam.” I all but pleaded with them not to do it, that it would really harm me and was an unfair response to a private e-mail. Okrent’s assistant hung up on me and Nagourney laughed me off, like it was his right to harm me since he works at the NYT and thinks he’s a star.

And they wonder why people are angry.

And you can see what I said below.

Well, Schwenk does say that he is regretful about the words he used.

The object lesson is that this is where anger and mud inevitably leads: to bile and venom and words or actions regretted.

It is our role in this new medium of communication to get people communicating before it gets that far.

: UPDATE: Some additional thoughts above the filthy fray, above.

: Schwenk’s open letter to Okrent. Chris Nolan’s post about it.

Bandwidth envy

Bandwidth envy

: David Isenberg, who knows whereof he snarks when it comes to telecom, responds to my spectrum lust.

(If the telcos wanted to, they could do 600 times faster for about the same price.)

(Cable itself is poised to run 600 times faster than cable. Like dude? Moore’s Law?)

(Oh, right, I forgot that without scarcity there’ll be nothing to sell.)

Mask chic

Mask chic

: I’ll predict that we’ll soon see people wearing masks all around America. As soon as the flu starts spreading here and millions are left without vaccinations, every sneeze around us — and I dodged plenty on the subway this morning — is like a germ fart. I’ll just bet folks will start wearing masks and we’ll end up looking long Hong Kong under SARS.

For shame, GoogleNews

For shame, GoogleNews

: GoogleNews is pointing to this kind of crap.