Taking the pajamas off

Now I’m even more confused about Pajamas Open Source Media. I just tuned in from Munich to their Rockefeller Center event and they’re into a panel about fashion. The first person says she doesn’t blog and thinks blogging is absurd and never reads them and is liberal and feels like Ann Coulter in a room of Democrats. What is it with the fashion? How is this going to be open source? What did they need $3.5 million for once the lunch is paid for? Oh, and by the way, are they paying Judy Miller to speak? What’s it all about, Alfie?

: And now they’re entering into a politics panel with the oh-so-fresh question: Who’s a blogger?

Perhaps they should have called it Brigadooon Media.

: It’s getting more and more absurd: Now on the webcast, as they file out to lunch, there’s a combo playing Making Whoopee.

No, they got rid of the guy who was doing that.

: The sound has gone off. I was going to blog Judy and Glenn. Instead, it’s late over here and I’m going to dinner. I’ll try to record the feed in case it starts up again.

: I’m hearing a bit of Miller. She describes the scene in prison as “a bad c movie: bad girls in jail.” She says that none of her other sources, whom she sought to protect from “fishing expeditions” in the grand jury, did not discuss the Plame affair; I hadn’t heard that before and wonder why it was an issue. She says Drudge, Salon, et al are becoming “virtual MSM” facing the same challenges as big media, including “questions about their reliability,” business, and government pressure. She complains about some blogs: “The most irresponsible of them conjuring up million-dollar book contracts that I did not have, unfortunately, and still do not have.” She said some bloggers were “vicious and irresponsible.”

She talks about the shield law in Congress and how it should cover more than msm journalists but can’t cover all. Then she suggests how bloggers should get covered: “Bloggers who want to be part of the MSM club… are going to have to start abiding more religiously… to certain rules of the road… that would have prevented some of the stories that were circulated about me.” It’s all about Judy. She then presents five rules:
1. Be honest about how you are and what your agenda is and who’s funding you. She says we “don’t have to look far” to find examples of bloggers who are now. Who, Judy? I hope someone presses that. If you’re going to throw out that accusation, back it up with facts. Good reporting, you know.
2. Try to reach the subjects of stories for comment before publishing. “This is journalism 101.” But here’s web 102, Judy: those sources as often as not can and do respond on their own sites.
3. If a subject denies what you say and has evidence, “say so; it might actually be true.”
4. If you make a mistake admit it. Ohhhh, boy, isn’t that the juicy one. How come it took you so long to admit your mistakes? And have you yet fully? She said the Times does this through editors’ notes and she doesn’t entirely approve of them.
5. If you are wrong, keep going until you get it right.

Jay Rosen is asking a question and we cannot hear on the webcast. DAMN!

It ends with Rosen saying her case would not have been covered by the federal shield law as it stands. She said her lawyer thought she would be.

: LATER: I asked Jay and he emailed me what he said:

I asked her why she continued to speak out for a federal shield law before journalism groups, legal groups, television audiences and Congress without mentioning that her case would not have been covered by the law’s protections; and I reminded her that Bill Keller agreed (he said it on the PBS Newshour) she would not have been covered, which is why he described her action as civil disobedience: what you do when you run out of legal protections.

Why would you not mention that? I asked (adding that her remarks today were a perfect example) especially since it bears on the question of how good a spokesperson you are for the law.

Her answer? Same answer she gives anytime she is in a jam. Keller is wrong. I am wrong. Her case would be covered, and her lawyer told her so. The only exceptions, she said, are urgent matters of national security.

Basically, this is a falsehood. Everyone knows there is never going to be a federal shield law without an exception for revealing the identity of an intelligence agent (which can cause death to those under cover.) This is one of the reasons (but there are several others) her case would not have applied. “It’s not the only thing I disagree with Bill Keller about,” she said with a chuckle. What’s amazing is that Keller made his comments in July when he was still strongly defending Miller and speaking of her actions with a certain awe.

  • Well, is it at least amusing? Did you get a good goodie bag? I find it funny how the whole “I blog! Look at me!” is exactly like “I e-mail! I’m hip!” from 1995. Any other examples of launch party hyperbole Jeff?

  • Oh, man, I forgot that you wouldn’t be here.

  • As best I can figure out, all the fashion stuff is a sop to tell advertisers that there is money to be made here, really, it’s a very traditional ads-to-demographic business model. That’s the only thing which makes sense.

  • corvan

    It is sort of interesting that they will have Judy Miller in hand on the heels of Bob Woodward’s testimony. It will be intersting to hear any comments she might make on that. I wonder if the folks at the NYT, who drove the Plame story and called for the Special Prosecutor, have any thoughts on that. Maybe an intrepid media reporter could ask them. While he’s at it maybe he could make an effort to find out just how many other journalists knew Plame was CIA before Novak mentioned her name. It appears that is going to be relevant to the trial now.

  • Doesn’t sound particularly confusing to me… it’s a network of blogs (they’re calling it an “affiliation”). Webcartoonists create networks for pretty much the same reasons: advertising and exposure. I’m kinda sorry they dropped the “Pajamas” part, although I guess that was a little too cute.

  • I had to remove a link to a Yahoo news story, because I was getting a caution that my post was spammy:

  • There’s nothing to be confused about.

    You’re listening to the sound of a trainwreck.

  • APF

    And now they’re entering into a politics panel with the oh-so-fresh question: Who’s a blogger?

    Not to apologize for OSM, but isn’t this “oh-so-fresh” question one you beg nearly every day–on this blog and in seemingly every venue you’re invited to speak out on?

  • Wow…

    “Help, help! I’m being obsessed!”

    Think you’re making too much of that patent issue, DennisThePeasant. A radio show’s attempt (knowing only what you published on the subject, it’s “in process”) to patent the phrase “open source” isn’t going to be a likely barrier to other entities using variations such as “open source media”. Since “open source” is a common internet phrase, I doubt if simply patenting “open source” by itself would stand up in court, anyway. It would be like McDonald’s trying to lay exclusive claim to the word “hamburger”.

    Snark is not a good barometer for determining the success of a venture. The webcomic network I belong to has been doing very well, despite years of unending vitriol aimed at it from various quarters.

  • corvan

    I’m still waiting for an intrepid media reporter to give the NYT a call. Any intrepid media reporters out there?

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  • As for Judy Miller, I see this note at Instapundit:

    I’LL BE AT THE OPEN SOURCE MEDIA conference today, debating shield laws with Judith Miller.

    *Debating*. By contrast, the National Press Club invites Joe Wilson to speak and only asks him pre-arranged softball questions.

    Sounds to me like there’s little to be confused about, and that the OSM has considerable more ethics than the incurious MSM.

  • corvan

    Nope, apparently there are no intrepid media reporters out there. Wonder why?

  • APF: And at every event where I’m asked to discuss that I say that it’s overdone.

    Carson: The original invite, I think, said Glenn would introduce Miller. Firestorm ensued. Now it’s a debate. Fine. But I don’t think the shield law is the good topic for a debate with Miller if you want news.

  • “former Pajama partner-turned biggest Pajama critic Dennis the Peasant”


    Well, that explains a lot.

    The problem with the whole networking thing (and I speak from experience) is that while it can be tremendously beneficial overall, it can also be very disturbing for an individual participant. People are invited, people are dis-invited; members are discussed, private discussions are leaked. And there’s no way to avoid hurt feelings and petty jealousies.

    And unlike a more rigid top-down corporation, a network of independents can’t just enforce the kind of iron-grip necessary to keep it looking like a smooth and seamless organization. Independence necessarily means disruption. Therefore, the disruptions and seeming errors are to be expected.

  • Carson: The original invite, I think, said Glenn would introduce Miller. Firestorm ensued. Now it’s a debate. Fine. But I don’t think the shield law is the good topic for a debate with Miller if you want news.

    OK, didn’t know that. Still, one can hardly dismiss the fact that Miller is newsworthy, in any case. The fact that you or others may find her repulsive is really besides the point. Many of us find Joe Wilson repulsive, but wouldn’t question the National Press Club simply for inviting him to speak.

  • what makes her newsworthy is not her stand on shield laws.
    in fact, that wouldn’t make any journalist newsworthy.

  • Jane Finch

    As a confirmed shoe expert who believes one can simply never have too many pairs of good black pumps, I think that “The Manolo” is weird and annoying…I read 3 posts on his blog and that was it. And I have no idea how his literary affectation translates into “journalism” of any sort.

    However, The Manolo is what PJ Media is all about, isn’t he…like Charles Johnson et al, a niche blogger who appeals to a specific audience but at the end of the day is no journalist.

  • Carson Fire:

    You don’t get it. This isn’t about using the phrase “open source” or “open source media”, it’s about what your company does business as…

    You can’t do business as Open Source Media if there’s another entity out there who has already incorporated and doing business under that name. That’s why you do the search in every state/country you plan to do business in.

    Just as you couldn’t go out and incorporate and do business as “Dell Computer” even if your name is Waldo Dell and you’re building computers (that work), you can’t go out doing business as “Open Source Media” if there is another outfit out there doing business under the same name in the same industry.

    I’m a CPA with a firm in Ohio, and I had my attorney run a search of all businesses in Ohio with the name or a similar name to ensure I didn’t have potential infringement issues. It is standard operating procedure, as any attorney can tell you.

    You’re right about snark not being the barometer of a business venture, but if you read my posts, as well as the ones I’ve linked to, I’ve provided enough in the way of facts to back up everything I’ve said. The same goes for my “snark” about their virtual office, the signing of Luke Ford, their NY telephone number, etc.

    Before you criticize me for snark over substance, get your facts straight.

  • Carson, if you want more information about Dennis’s previous relationship with Roger and Charles, you should read Dennis’s own site.

  • Carson Fire:

    I have made my motivation about what I doing very clear from the start, and I make absolutely no apologies for it.

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  • corvan

    Jeff, I’m curious, have you expressed even a third of the contempt for Mary Mapes that you have for Judy Miller? Why do you hate Miller so personally and so passionately as well? And do you know anyone who would be willing to ask the NYT how many reporters knew Ms. Plame was CIA before Robert Novak said so. Is there some reason you can’t ask the question?

  • Ian

    Amen Jeff.

  • corvan

    Oh, and the Walter Duranty thing, you think you could ask NYT why they still cling to Duranty’s Pulitzer? If so, why not?

  • No apologies required or requested, DTP. You’ll have to bear with me. My interest level in Pajamas/OSM is fairly low. My interest in the soap opera surrounding it is almost nil.

    But you have to understand, to a casual visitor, your homepage looks like the homepage of a stalker. It is literally a solid wall of non-stop verbiage on Pajamas/OSM.

    You do have some legitimate, factual criticism (which is fair enough), but there are also long parodies with pictures illustrating fictional Pajamas/OSM members.

    It is such overkill, I’m still not sure at this point if it was worse when I thought you were just mocking them for the sake of mocking them, or if it’s worse because you have personal issues with them beyond dispassionate criticism. I would be worried about Jeff Jarvis, for instance, if his homepage was full of nothing but post after post of nothing but Dell complaints, to the exclusion of all else. We would probably suspect that he had an unhealthy mania on the subject.

    Again, that’s nothing to apologize for, but don’t assume that everybody knows you and your history with Pajamas/OSM.

    You can’t do business as Open Source Media if there’s another entity out there who has already incorporated and doing business under that name.

    You could be right, DTP, because I’m not saying you’re necessarily wrong. But I think you are making it more it than it is.

    I do not accuse you of “snark over substance” — I said that snark is not a good barometer. What I mean about that *precisely* is that Pajamas/OSM’s success will not ultimately be determined by how hard they can be ridiculed.

    You may, for instance, be right about “Open Source Media”, but your relish and glee about a perceived misstep is palpable. *That’s* the snark. Meanwhile, if Pajamas/OSM *do* have to change their name, it may result in nothing worse than a, er, well, a name change. I’m assuming that if an entity is claiming OSM, then they will begin with a formal request to cease and desist, a lawyer letter, right? And if they are not sued, and a name change doesn’t actually hurt them, does it matter if you’re laughing about it?

  • It’s a complete misuse of the words “open source”. A complete and disengenuous misuse. Others here might not have a problem with it.

    But this I know – thousands of software engineers have worked hard at defining the meaning of those words – and advancing the ideas behind that definition. I realize the media heads here don’t know that. But there is a lot of blood on the wire over those words.

    Related links:


    The fact that OSM apparently trademarked the words “Open Source Media” just might set a number of people off.

  • Karl, according to DennisThePeasant, the bloggers are trademarking “OSM”. It is the radio show that registered simply “Open Source”, as the name of the radio show is “Open Source”. (and don’t take my word for it, DennisThePeasant has posted the data)

  • He’s arguing how it is wrong via the law – I’m arguing it’s wrong because as I said – thousands of open source software engineers, if they understood that this was going on – would be up in arms. This should be on Slashdot. In fact, I’m going to post it. Doubt I’ll get it thru however.

  • Corvan:
    I wrote many posts against Rather (Mapes was a fellow traveler, mostly) as well as an op-ed in the NY Post and elsewhere.
    I’m rather tiring of you putting out your tests. Let’s just talk about issues.

  • No, I understand, Karl. More specifically, you say: The fact that OSM apparently trademarked the words “Open Source Media” just might set a number of people off.

    But according to DennisThePeasant, the bloggers are not *apparently* or *actually* trademarking the words “Open Source Media”, just “OSM”. It is the *radio show* that preceded it that apparently has paperwork in the works to grab “open source” itself.

    If techies value the usage of the phrase, they should be more concerned about the radio station trying to lay claim to the phrase itself. The bloggers seem to be more interested in matching “MSM” directly with “OSM”, and using “Open Source Media” as a motto (DTP’s characterization).

  • There – I did submit it to Slashdot. Wonder if it will get to the home page? In anycase, I personally find those words, without anything approaching a creative commons license attached to them, are marketing bullshit.

  • I don’t know – a small radio show using the words versus the Google influencing power of hundreds of bloggers? Who would you be more concerned with?

  • While OSM did fire Luke Ford for porn-blogging, it doesn’t have any problem with Gerard van der Leun, the former president of penthouse.com and current author of American Digest, so it’s not clear what their sensitivity to porn really is. Ford has never been an actual pornographer, he’s just somebody who writes about the industry, while van der Leun was until quite recently a very successful purveyor of dirty pictures.

  • Ah – here we go:

    Don’t steal the open source brand

    Not only that – they use .org!

  • Oh, and their copyright page is a whoot! Soooo open. Yes so ‘open’.


    2. Our Site and all its contents, which includes, but is not limited to, text, graphics, photographs, logos, video and audio content, is protected by copyright as a collective work or compilation under the copyright laws of the United States and other countries. All individual components of Our Site, including, without limitation, articles, content and other elements comprising Our Site are also copyrighted works. Additionally all of the weblogs linked to by us are likewise protected. You must abide by all additional copyright notices or restrictions contained on this site and our linked weblogs.

    3. You may not reproduce, distribute, copy, publish, enter into any database, display, modify, create derivative works, transmit, or in any way exploit any part of this site. The only exceptions to this are that you may download material from Our Site for your own personal use, provided such download is limited to making one machine readable copy and/or one print copy that limited to occasional articles of personal interest only. No other use of the content of Our Site is permitted. Please contact our Sales Department if you wish to have rights other than those stated above.

    Of course, I just may have violated their copyright policy right there. But so will Google. And just about every RSS reader out there. Oh look at that… there isn’t any.

    Wow. No RSS. No commnets. Restrictions on quoting any part of it.

    Yeah. Not only is this anti-open source – it’s anti blogging.

  • All Things Beautiful Trackbacked with Blogging To Differ at Pajamas OSM Media

  • corvan

    Jeff it’s not a test. It’s a fact. You have used much more invective on Judy Miller than you used on Mapes, even when Mapes showed up on television to claim that her story was well sourced and perfectly true. Yet you follow Judy Miller about rather closely. I can’t help but wonder why? I also would assume that knwoingly covering up the deaths of millions would be a reall issue as well. Especially when one of the parties complicit in the cover-up refuses to return a prize awarded their employee for for said cover-up. That’s not an issue to you? If not why not? Do you have some sort of realtionship with the Times or something?

  • Carson Fire:

    All I can say is I’ve had exactly two complaints about what I’m doing in the last month. My traffic, as of today, has increased tenfold over the past month. My links and backtracks have increased twentyfold. Nearly all of it coming from Liberal/Left sites who despise Roger and Charles even more than I (some of it is amazingly vicious). As I am a member of the VRWC, they aren’t there to bask in my political orientation.

    Bottom line? Dirt seems to sell… And you may find this hard to believe, but Roger Simon and Charles Johnson have pissed off a whole lot of people who wanted to get involved in PJM/OSM… he didn’t cheat them, he just dropped them the moment they were no longer of any use to him. I’ve got a folder stuffed with emails from bloggers complaining about how badly they were treated by Roger. And lots of them are happy I’m doing what I’m doing.

    Roger and Charles had the choice of compensating myself and our fourth partner for dealing with as they did and they chose not to do so. I wanted my pound of flesh, and this is how I chose to get it. People have killed over less money that I’ve lost in this deal, and given that, he’s lucky it was me he screwed, rather than someone with a real mean streak and a gun.

    I have repeatedly embarrassed them, and I have been told by someone within the OSM circle who has DIRECT knowledge that at least one of Roger’s venture capitalists reads my blog every morning… That’s what got Luke Ford fired and got OSM’s New York telephone number working. So chances are, tomorrow Roger’s going to be getting a telephone call about whether OSM has a legal problem involving trademark infringement. That’s the whole point of what I’m doing right now… showing the world that the boy wonders are winging it.

    And if it isn’t pretty, well, it isn’t pretty. I can live with my part in it.

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  • corvan

    Dennis, you realize how deranged that sounds don’t you?

  • Karl: Slashdot will love it if you market it right. Seemingly 99% of /. commenters (and all the owners) are unthinking leftists, so the angle that Rethuglican K-K-Fascists are misusing the term “open source” will go over big there.

  • Deranged?

    I’m shocked.

  • Right, Dennis, deranged. I’ve enjoyed your rants and linked to them, but you are rapidly descending into “needs to get a life” territory.

    PJ has made all sorts of silly mistakes and managed to come to their opening day with more enemies than Bush, but there it is and so what? Now the question is whether they succeed or fail in the ad selling business, and if you’re right they’ll fail, and that will be your reward.

    By complaining about them all over the internets you’re also making buzz for their business, which is really quite ironic.

  • Richard:

    Come on…

    It would never occur to anyone that I would carry this through to the Launch date and then let it go?

    And the only people who think bad “buzz” is better than “no buzz” are those in Hollywood. How’s that industry doing these days?

  • Ian, for me this has little to do with the left vs right thing and far more to do with precedent and “getting” the web. Whether it be from the left, or right, the naming of this organization is a move that smacks of ignorance and media-huckersterism. It is oh-so old-schoolish as to be ironic.

    Oh and Open Source Media – the *real* OSM, has posted about this here:

    They bring up creative commons licensing rightly because they GET what that those two words mean.

    That bit of the licensing I posted previously which – Jeff – you probably should remove because it is probably in violation of – shows just how….


    this thing is.

    Open source? Bullshit. That’s what it is.

  • EverKarl

    The bit on fashion probably is tied to the Manolo being part of OSM. And while a prior commenter did not “get” the Manolo, he’s already making six figures doing it, so there must be an audience for it. I’m not championing it, just noting it.

  • I don’t know, I’ll stick with Memeorandum.

    I wish them all the best, though.

  • It would never occur to anyone that I would carry this through to the Launch date and then let it go?

    Every ax-grinding reaches a point where additional efforts will only degrade the blade, Dennis. Others are reacting to Open Sores now, and will judge it on its merits. Your personal beef is obviously very interesting to you, but perhaps a bit less so to others.

    But in any event, this is Mr. Jarvis’ blog and it’s impolite to use up too much of it on issues of limited relevance to others. Note that I’m basically on your side, and that I’m simply commenting on your methods.

  • Just on the outside looking in, and have been observing for some time. This thing looks worse every minute. (Who knew I’d wind up agreeing with James Wolcott on ANY thing?)

  • I don’t normall do this – but couldn’t help it.

  • All I can say is I’ve had exactly two complaints about what I’m doing in the last month.

    I’m not really complaining, just sort of… amused and astounded.

    You don’t seem to be reporting on OSM/Pajamas so much as actively working for its defeat. Regardless of popularity or pageviews, that’s kind of sad, but you seem to have your reasons.

    By the way, while we’re on the subject of infringement, I notice that in the masthead of the DennisThePeasant blog, there is a prominent display of a character name (Dennis the Peasant), trademark line (“Help, help! I’m being repressed!”), and a photograph (Michael Palin as Dennis the Peasant) from a copyrighted film (Monty Python and the Holy Grail). I trust DennisThePeasant is not just using that material assuming some sort of fair use (in that it constitutes the identity of his entire blog), and that he has obtained the proper permissions for doing so.

  • Karl, your post led me to some other links, and I have to say that — as someone fairly unconcerned about OSM/Pajamas and their detractors — Ann Althouse seems to be far more on point about the real weaknesses of the venture:

    But what do you think of the new Open Source site? Is it fun to use and workable? I notice a lot of flabbiness in the writing.

    And why should anyone care what these bloggers think? Who are they? Unless you’re already sold on blogging, the teasers are laughable: “Blogger Joshuapundit seems quite unhappy,” “War to Mobilize Democracy is ‘nervous,'” Anything They Say “is pleasantly surprised.”

    She seems to have got under their skin, too. These weaknesses go much deeper than silly debates over names and trademarks, or who they’re inviting to speak at a function. I visited the OSM site yesterday, and as she suggests, its not particularly fun *or* workable. Nothing about it was inviting, and I was loathe to surf anywhere past the homepage.

  • So OSM has launched, and the overwhelming reaction from the blogosphere has been flak for the name and the lack of a decent business plan.

    That’s a start. But when are people going to start asking how it is that a load of people with a desire to go legit in the world of political commentary could affiliate themselves with a website whose special brand of bigotry has made it a household name for rabid right-wing racism against Arabs?

    LGF is one of the key weakpoints in this whole enterprise. Guys, look up: there’s an elephant in the room!

  • All this noise and no one covered the obvious reason for such an enterprise…gee, something pretty important is going to happen in 2006, and people will probably be spending a lot of money online (on blogs), and there’s really no established hub for conservative sites except for fringers like LGF and Freep…where will the GOP through money for their ads?

  • The hub isn’t what’s important. What’s important are the spokes. And in this case there are very influential ones among them, with thousands of subscribers each and thousands of readers each. This amounts, very much, to a Google influencing link-farm.

    Question is – what does that mean?

  • It means more people will read Dean Esmay’s crazy ideas about AIDS, for one thing, as well as Hugh Hewitt’s and LaShawn Barber’s crazy ideas about Intelligent Design, and the LGF community’s recipes for BBQ’d Arab will reach a wider audience. Aside from that, not much. OK, we might nuke Mecca too, but that’s far from certain.

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  • BeautyAddict trackbacked:

    Attack of the Fashion Bloggers

  • Where’s the beef?

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