Posts from October 18, 2004

Iraq is about people

Iraq is about people

: In this election, we are treating the people of Iraq like pawns, not unlike Dick Cheney’s daughter being used by both sides, except that her life isn’t at constant risk. All the talk is about WMDs and mistakes and foreign alliances and none of it is about people yearning to live free. It’s too easy to forget that the people of Iraq are living with terror as they also live with hope for a new nation; it’s too easy to ignore them… until you read their words. I have been remiss not reading their words enough lately.

So read Zeyad living with the loss of his friends to the terrorists:

Another acquaintance, a doctor called Zeyad Walid, was found decapitated in Yusifiya, southwest of Baghdad. He worked with a pharmacist, Zena Al-Qashtini, who was also found shot in the head. They were both kidnapped from a pharmacy in Harthiya by 10 armed assailants a few weeks ago at mid-day in front of a large crowd of customers. His brother abroad collected a ransom thinking he was kidnapped by petty criminals. Turns out that the pharmacy had previously sold some pharmaceuticals to the US army and this was their punishment for ‘collaboration’….

Now read Ali about the terrorists’ threats and the citizens’ bravery facing them:

This morning my uncle who

Falafel, anyone?

Falafel, anyone?

: FoxNews had on Ana Marie Cox and James Taranto to blather on blogs. David Asman sees AMC and fairly swoons, saying he’d never actually seen her before. My officemate started making falafel jokes. AMC had good lines about the “mystery bulge’ and how it was much more fun before we knew where the bulge was. Asman gulped. If you ever doubted that AMC is a class act, give her points for not making any obvious ass-man jokes.

TV explodes

TV explodes

: What’s fascinating about the Jon Stewart takedown of Crossfire is not just what he said but how his message got distributed.

Terry Heaton reports that there have been almost 400,000 downloads of the segment at iFilm (which is how I saw it) … in addition to countless (literally, countless) BitTorrent downloads. This was a flood of viral distribution that came from viral promotion.

Welcome to the future of TV!

In old TV, a moment like this came and if you missed it, you missed it. Tough luck. In new TV, you don’t need to worry about watching it live — live is so yesterday — because thousands of peers will be keeping an eye out for you to let you know what you should watch (we call that metadata now) and they’ll record it and distribute it.

The really stupid thing is that CNN didn’t do this themselves: Hey, we had a red-hot segment with tsunami star Jon Stewart strangling our guys with a bow tie; you should watch; here, please, look at this free download because it will promote our bow-tie boy and our brand and our show and give us a little of that Stewart hip heat. That’s what CNN should have done. Instead, they’ll charge you to deliver a videotape (what’s that?) the next day.

Listen to Martin Nisenholtz, head of NY Times Digital, at Web 2.0, saying that the best way to market a news brand may be to distribute its best stuff for free: a downright visionary view.

CNN should put up all its segments when they air because, after all, once they’ve aired, they’re just so much video fishwrap. Then it should allow viewers to download and distribute them. It should collect metadata — most downloaded, downlowed by whom, etc. — so you can get recommendations on what you want to watch. It should set up RSS feeds so you can subscribe to shows or segments or topics or the hottest segments: CNN goes podcasting! If CNN were bandwidth poor (which, of course, it’s not), it also could set this up on BitTorrent to save money. Hell every live TV and radio network should do that.

There’s no harm, there’s only the opportunity to have the audience promote and distribute your brand and content for you.

And, oh, yes, you can have ads, too. There’s revenue in them thar hills.

: Separately, a few commenters below have called out Stewart for continuing to hide behind his comedy-show status. I agree with them. Stewart is not providing fake news. He’s providing real news with an attitude. Just as he said to the boys at Crossfire: He’s part of the conversation now, too, and he doesn’t get a out just because we can hear his audience laughing.

: Updates: See John Dowdell on sync vs. async TV. See Doc. And Rafat .

President Blair

President Blair

: Joi Ito runs some blunt American reaction to The Guardian’s attempt to get Brits to influence the American election.

: FYI, I’ll be on BBC Radio Five Live tonight (between 7:45 and 8:30 p.m. New York time) to talk about the election and writing in Tony Blair.

Jersey swingers

Jersey swingers

: Way back in May, I said that New Jersey could become a swing state. So did John Podhoretz. I heard the cracking sounds of being out on a limb then but it’s turning out to be quite true. Hell, George Bush is coming to my turf today to give a big speech on terrorism, which will play here, considering how close we are to the action (my neighbors died… and terrorists are also my neighbors).

Jason Chervokas is worried about my state. Conventional wisdom is that the winner has to take two of three — Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida — but now it appears NJ is in the mix. Chervokas nominates me as a poster boy for the problem:

New Jersey may be the biggest problem of all. The northern part of the state is full of upper middle-class suburban voters who are center-left socially but who think Kerry is soft on terrorism, voters like Jeff Jarvis. Also, the nation’s wealthiest state is densely populated by the C-level managers and small businessmen who are among the Republicans most loyal bases. There is also a big base of Wall Street employees who stand to benefit from the flood of money into the markets that will come with the privatization of social security. Then there’s McGreevey’s implosion. While it may not be having a profound impact on Kerry’s numbers, it has taken away what would have been Kerry’s number one surrogate campaigner in the state. (I bet the Dems wish they had Corzine on the ballot in a special election now!) Kerry needs to do something quick in New Jersey because he can’t win the presidency without winning New Jersey. (Theoretically he could, if he took Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, but c’mon!).

But I’m not sure what Kerry can achieve. My guess is that his biggest problem is a loss of traditional support among upper middle-class women from the northern suburbs. Not so much the soccer moms, more the corporate wives. There’s little Kerry can say to them at this point that be a difference maker. Still, at least he should show up in New Jersey. Spend a day. Show the Jerseyites some love. Maybe it helps get out the vote.

This time four years ago, this Garden State was growing campaign signs like corn. Not now. One rabid Bushie in my neighborhood has a sign up. Nobody else does. Driving around less Republican neighborhoods, I see nothing. That tells me we don’t want either of them. We’ll hold our noses like we do going through the Elizabeth refineries when we vote.

Tom Watson (the American) agrees and says that Jason “targets uber-blogger Jeff Jarvis, reliably centrist and stubbornly (even annoyingly) on the fence so far, as emblematic of NJ voters Kerry needs.”

Technically, I’m not on the fence. I’m soft.

Tom prescribes a dose of Clinton Viagra: “So saddle up Bubba, and get him to NJ.”

Bubba: Let’s lunch.