Posts about News


Harry Belafonte calls Bush “the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world.” He also said that millions of Americans support Venezuelan Hugo Chavez. This from UNICEF’s goodwill ambassador. With goodwill like this….

98.5% of blog comments now illegal reports that it is now illegal to anonymous annoy people online:

Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.

It’s no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it’s OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison.

The way we’re headed — from the PC left and the religious right — it surely will soon be a crime to offend, too.

: See much discussing and updating and debating in the comments about the true import of this. I still find the use of the word “annoy” troubling and, well, annoying. But mainly, I found writing that headline amusing.


Umair Haque reviews the state of TV news in America:

Now that I’m in the States, when I make the mistake of trying to watch some news, I get, instead, a dose of catastrophically stupid anchorbots yelling at each other (or better yet, at me). You know the score – O’Reilly, Anderson Cooper, Paula Zahn, etc…

This is a mini case study in why Media 1.0 is dying such an agonizing, painful, awful death. I mean, here in SF I get about 10 news channels – and I still can’t get any news. All I can get is screaming, shouting, honeymoon murders, infotainment, blah, blah. Not to mention about 30 mins/hr of ads.

Forget strategy for a second. We don’t need any economics to tell us why media’s dying anymore: (how can I put this nicely) it sucks. Beyond sucks. It absolutely blows. There are no words to express the suckage anymore.

Well, that’s perhaps too much of a blanket condemnation. But I have had the experience of having cable news on just to have something on and then looking back after two hours to realize I didn’t learn a damned thing new.

Tragic error

One terrible lesson of the West Virginia mine tragedy is that you can’t trust the news. You never could; it has always taken time to see whether stories pan out, to get all the facts, to find out the truth. But now, in our age of instant news and ubiquitous communication, the public sees this process as it occurs. It’s not the news that’s live; it’s the process of figuring out what to believe that’s live. Now, indeed, everyone is a reporter and an editor and the public is learning, as reporters learned, that they need to find their ways through the fog of news. The next time I hear someone being haughty about professional news vs. citizen’s news, I’ll remind them of the West Virginia tragedy, where news traveled ahead of the facts, where everyone was horribly wrong.

: Thanks to a reader, here is a clip of Anderson Cooper learning this morning that the 12 miners had not survived but had died.

: LATER: Here’s a BBC story that quotes this post.


This is getting ridiculous: The AP is treating the NSA’s use of web cookies as if it is Big Brother spying. They’re just cookies.

: And the Guardian piles on. What a nonissue. Every advertiser sets cookies that last into the next universe. The unchecked assumptions about (1) privacy and (2) government spying come together in an absurb meme.