Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Who Feeds Glenn Beck?

February 20, 2010

The Daily Beast’s John Avlon examines Glenn Beck’s Dark Past. What struck me was this passage of the article:

Beck’s newfound firebrand politics and effectiveness in driving the news cycle had some old friends scratching their heads. “I never got the impression that Glenn is as naturally curious as he appears to be to be bringing the information forward that he is,” said Jim Sumpter. “I don’t know if Glenn’s being fed or if Glenn’s really the driving force. I have no idea. If he’s the driving force, that’s a Glenn Beck I never saw. If he’s being fed, then the showmanship that goes into all of this is classic Beck. Now if Glenn is the showman and the driving force behind bringing the information to the forefront, then, then I think we’re probably looking at near genius in terms of what he’s doing … [but] I don’t think this is Glenn. The catalyst in this thing is not Glenn. Glenn’s the vehicle, not the catalyst.”

In other parts of the article there are other testimonies of surprised former colleges. They aren’t surprised by Glenn Beck’s success because they always thought he was a terrific showman, they are surprised of the field: politics.

Rather than moaning on a daily basis that Beck is a liar and a cheat, his media opponents would be well inspired in doing a little investigative journalism and find out by whom and how the topics of his radio and cable shows are selected. Who is, or are, his puppet master(s)?


Kristol on Gay in Military: Blatant Bigotry

February 4, 2010

The Economist makes the case much better than I would:

I’M NOT sure why I continue to read Bill Kristol’s work. He seems to get most things wrong, but I have a perverse fascination with his logic, largely because it is so unsound. So today I found myself picking through Mr Kristol’s latest Weekly Standard editorial, in which he makes the case for maintaining the “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy that allows gays to serve in America’s military only if they keep their sexual preference under wraps. Mr Kristol’s argument is familiar. It rests on the notion that some soldiers are homophobic and, therefore, any change to the policy might negatively affect morale. Yet he presents little evidence to back up his claim. Because I am startled by his blatant, unsupported, anachronistic bigotry, I thought I might amuse myself by offering up Mr Kristol’s article in full, peppered with pointed interjections from myself.

Robertson Once Again Despicable

January 13, 2010

Congrats to Glenn Beck

January 11, 2010

Crazy and Crazier

January 5, 2010

Glenn Beck sparing with WorldNetDaily over birthers. When Glenn Beck thinks you are nuts, you really are beyond repair.

Internet Content: Free Doesn’t Mean Costless

November 26, 2009

The recent announcement that News Corp and Microsoft were in discussion over a deal where Microsoft would pay News Corp for removing itself from Google’s indexing, stirred up the internet.

The most vociferous are the “information-wants-to-be-free” crowd, most of whom are to young to have known a world without the web, who are genuinely confused about the nature of Google Inc. They see searchability by Google as equivalent to participation in democratic society—and any resistance to offering up one’s content to exploitation by Google Inc. as resistance to the natural openness of interactive media and bottom-up civilization.

Douglas Rushkoff at The Daily Beast shares my point of view on the matter and argues it better than I ever would:

As an early cyberpunk, I see their point—as well as the confused logic informing it. Greedy monopolists controlled media for a long time, and formed huge conglomerates with interests beyond providing people with the content they needed. Media companies moved into the business of delivering eyeballs to sponsors, instead of content to readers. Recording companies bilked the artists who created the music. Taking content for free seems justified when it is being taken from big bad companies. And making content ourselves, as well as distributing it freely to one another, is now correctly understood as a basic human right.

But we can’t confuse our actual right to make and distribute content freely with Google’s perceived right to freely exploit the content everyone makes. Google is not in this for the fun of it; they make money off their searches. By making our content available to Google, we make Google’s searches more valuable. If we don’t feel our content is being made more valuable in the exchange, then we don’t have to accept this searchability as some precondition of Internet citizenship.

Another aspect of the “information-wants-to-be-free” crowd is that they don’t seem to realize that Google is the only one making revenue out of the current model:

Advertising is certainly one option. But when Google becomes the meta-frame around all the content in everyone else’s publications, then Google’s ads are the only ones that really matter. Google’s ads are the ones that show up when we are searching for content, and open to suggestion. That’s the Internet equivalent of the moment we are flipping through the magazine—not the time we are spending when we deep inside an article and oblivious to the extraneous information beckoning from beyond its borders. Once we have clicked on the article and are brought to the interior of the publication on offer, we go into content mode—reading, rather than searching for relevant information, including ads.

Since the search engine is now extracting the ad revenue that used to go to the content provider, it makes sense that the search engine should pay some of that forward.

Finally, regarding freedom and Big Google:

Our labor is not free. Open source is a beautiful way of collaborating; but what’s happening on the free Internet is more akin to the “crowdsourcing” of journalists and other content creators by advertisers who no longer have to pay them—only the search engines that parse their articles. Why must everything we create or do be presumed free for everyone to use, in any context, and open to comments from anyone in the world? Searching me, and what I create, should be a privilege enjoyed by those to whom I offer it—not a right bestowed onto every person, company, and government on the planet.

Openness of this sort is not freedom. It’s the forced relinquishing of everything we do to the hive, and to Google. We end up with fewer new ideas, less original content, and more links, copies and regurgitations of yesterday’s ideas. The people and companies who index ideas end up getting the money, while the people who actually have ideas and waste their time creating content end up broke.

This last quote addresses the one concern I have with Google’s current attitude: the pervasiveness of it. Google’s management seems to this day oblivious to concerns and complaints regarding the intrusive nature of their operating mode.

Fox News Threatens Pink Slips For On-Screen Errors

November 23, 2009

After a rash of mistakes and apologies over the past weeks, Fox News has sent a memo to employees announcing a new “zero tolerance” policy for on-screen errors.

FishBowlDC obtained the memo, sent last Friday, which warns mistakes could lead to written warnings, suspensions and termination.

The network is also going to “zero base” its news production, according to the memo.

That means we will start by going to air with only the most essential, basic, and manageable elements. To share a key quote from today’s meeting: “It is more important to get it right, than it is to get it on.” We may then build up again slowly as deadlines and workloads allow so that we can be sure we can quality check everything before it makes air, and we never having to explain, retract, qualify or apologize again.

Call me stupid. I will never believe that the incident on Hannity’s show, where footage of Glenn Beck’s 9/12 protest were used to illustrate Michelle Bachmann’s much smaller event hence deceiving the audience, was a mistake.

News Corp & Microsoft Discuss Blocking Google Indexing

November 23, 2009 reports:

Microsoft has had discussions with News Corp over a plan that would involve the media company being paid to “de-index” its news websites from Google, setting the scene for a search engine battle that could offer a ray of light to the newspaper industry.

The impetus for the discussions came from News Corp, owner of newspapers ranging from the Wall Street Journal of the US to The Sun of the UK, said a person familiar with the situation, who warned that talks were at an early stage.

However, the Financial Times has learnt that Microsoft has also approached other big online publishers to persuade them to remove their sites from Google’s search engine.

News Corp and Microsoft, which owns the rival Bing search engine, declined to comment.

If a deal is struck between Microsoft and News Corp, this could have huge consequences. In effect, other news content providers could follow suit which would bring Google to revise its stance regarding complaints from news organizations that Google doesn’t financially participate in news gathering. To this day Google has been pretty dismissive of those complaints.
I am curious to see what gives.

Beck Guest-Hosts Daily Show

November 6, 2009

Glenn Beck brings his well needed wisdom and insight to The Daily Show viewers.

Palin vs Johnston: Who’s Selling His/Her Body?

October 29, 2009

In a recent lash out at the father of her grandson, Sarah Palin accused him of selling his body in reference to his appearance in Playgirl. It’s ridiculous on its own but becomes hilarious if you remember how Sarah Palin got her first taste of (relative) notoriety: