Is this discussion about Santa's race the dumbest three minutes of television news to air this week? If it isn't, I don't think I want to watch the dumbest three minutes of television news to air this week. The climax of this clip sums up Fox News's advice to minorities everywhere: "Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn't mean it has to change." And she follows that up with this beauty: "I mean, Jesus was a white man, too."
I know some people who claim that Megyn Kelly is really smart, and that she considers her role at Fox News to be performance art. I just can't buy that.
Glenn Beck points out that Time magazine once made Hitler man of the year. So why, he asks, don't they make Ted Cruz man of the year? Because Time is a bunch of fascists, that's why! That logic totally checks out.
Incidentally, Time did choose Ted Cruz as a runner-up to Pope Francis for Man of the Year, and they ran a fairly positive profile of Cruz, too. But they didn't place him on the same pedestal as Hitler, so Glenny is upset. Poor, poor Glenny.
In this news anchor's defense, EVERYBODY looks at sexy bikini babes before they broadcast the news. It's an industry standard. Unfortunately, this particular anchor forgot to clear his browser. (Oh... don't forget that last one!)
The PS4! It's out, everybody! Did you stand in line? No? Me neither. The new console went on sale Friday and, according to Sony, sold over a million on its first day. One of those was sold to this annoying person who microwaved it, and another to an annoying person who smashed it in front of a group of people who were waiting in line at a Best Buy. Yes, really. No, neither of those videos are worth watching.
I am not getting a PS4, because it's $400 and I have actually found that the games I've been most excited about are out for 3DS and PC? Is that crazy? Pokemon? The new Zelda game? Also it's $400?
Fortunately, I've learned everything I need to know about the new console from this YouTube video of NPR legal correspondent and everyone's adorable great-aunt Nina Totenberg, who someone at NPR convinced to make an unboxing video, despite her apparently not liking or understanding videogames and thinking the unboxing video concept was "pretty boring." Go for it, Nina!
Local news stations use live shots like Mayor Rob Ford uses crack cocaine: (allegedly) A LOT! They seem to think it makes them look more "involved" in a story, when in actuality they're usually just in the dark standing next to an empty lot where nothing is happening. (HEY NEWS STATIONS! THAT MAKES YOU LOOK LATE TO THE STORY.)
Anyway, the good thing about live shots is that they often go terribly, hilariously wrong—providing viewers with countless hours of laughter... as in this case where a Detroit reporter drops the mother of F-words live on-air. Sooooo... thanks live shots! Never, ever stop.
Welcome to the new Blogtown feature "Oregonian Comment of the Day"—in which I will present a comment from the Oregonian's comment sections, utterly without context, until (A) I get sick of it, or (B) reading the Oregonian comment sections completely and ruthlessly drains me of whatever meager will to live that I still possess. One of those things will probably happen pretty quickly.
Kyle you are pawn in the pathetic game being played by Democrats. Instead of adressing the issue of healthcare like in your case pre existing conditions on a case by case basis making the system better we get this piece of fecal matter legislation which had to be passed with parlimentary tricks in the middle of the night. To add insult to it all numbers were distorted and americans were flat out lied too inorder to get it passed even with the smoke and mirrors. I am sorry for your condition but you will not get one once of positive thoughts nor one ounce of patience from me escpecially when dealing with a president and party who has treated those who have different opinions or political views with utter contempt and disdain! —don1946
Gavin McInnes ranted all over a Huffington Post video chat in the most tired, men's rights-y way imaginable:
Women are forced to pretend to be men. They're feigning this toughness. They're miserable. Study after study has shown that feminism has made women less happy. They're not happy in the work force, for the most part. I would guess 7 percent [of women] like not having kids, they want to be CEOs, they like staying at the office all night working on a proposal, and all power to them. But by enforcing that as the norm, you're pulling these women away from what they naturally want to do, and you're making them miserable.
McInnes says that the "natural" order is that men are tough and women are on earth to shape life, which is basically just religious talk without the God thrown in, a lazy argument gesturing toward evolution by someone who doesn't understand evolution. And in any case, has humanity ever been interested in doing what's natural? Show me naturally occurring pants and then we can talk about humans being interested in following nature.
I've never been a fan of the Vice aesthetic as imagined by McInnes, and I hated his memoir with a burning passion, but this douchey rant really identifies McInnes as someone to be safely ignored. If he's throwing around flimsy ideas like this, he's got nothing left to offer.
This week was the official start of the Oregonian's digital-first strategy announced by they parent company Advance Media back in June. It was such a strange move, since the Oregonian has proven to be good at many things, but digital wasn't one of them. It was like Trader Joe's announcing it was going to be an all-produce store.
As expected, it's not an impressive start. The worst part is, they shouldn't be bad at digital! Advance Media owns Reddit, Ars Technica, and Wired, among other impressive digital properties. They know how to own websites. So why does OregonLive.com look like it's aimed for toddlers? Beige with rounded corners as if meant to be the home of generic, inoffensive cartoons. What it lacks in design, it makes up for with horrible pop-ups and a very long treasure hunt called "Find The News." I want to use it. I want to read the news. It's just so difficult.
If you go beyond OregonLive, things only get worse. I subscribed to weather e-mail updates for most of the last year and got day-old weather reports more often than not. Tech support told me three different times it was fixed without anything changing, proving that they also couldn't predict the past.
While they're cutting back on the thing they do well (printing newspapers and bringing them to people) they're adding more inept digital features. You can now get a look-alike edition of the paper at MyDigitalO.com. My. Digital. O. Have you guys never seen the Internet? The absolutely first test any product needs to pass is "does it sound like a porn site?" This sounds more like a porn site than Bang Bus, which one could possibly think was about driving to Hammer School.
But even if you can convince yourself it's okay to click on, you're rewarded with the paper in the least convenient format I've seen for anything on the web. It takes several minutes to load and then appears as if like they e-mailed you a .pdf of the paper but they thought Acrobat looked too nice and was too easy to navigate.
Again, this isn't malice. I'm just venting frustration because I want so badly for them to do this right. I want them to succeed. Because if they don't, I'll have to read Portland Tribune for my hard news.
Remember when we could watch thoughtful, honest political commentary without the need to distract from the horror by peppering it with jokes? That's kinda what Bill Moyers is—The Daily Show, but without the laughs. And man does he nail it.
When Republican Rep. Raul Labrador (ID) starts to whine about how Anderson Cooper is "taking sides" in the government shutdown debate, Da Coop delivers a beautifully calm and reasoned smackdown, reminding the crybaby that "when you're not on Fox News or MSNBC—you get contentious interviews." (By the way, all Cooper was asking was why the House Republicans are trying to destroy Obamacare, when they were the ones who voted for it. Good contentious question, silver fox!)
Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Fox News has unveiled their new "news deck" which must be seen to be be believed. Their "information specialists" have 55" touch screen tablets that can display UP TO 4 TWEETS AT ONCE!
Watch their introduction and explanation of the "thinking" behind this instant failure. It's everything wrong with everything, all at once.
This makes me kinda bummed because FashioNXT has a lot going for it. But this e-flyer that was just posted on Facebook is unignorably terrible. Between tackiness and grammar, I'm counting at least six things wrong with it.
Come on, guys. You can do better than this.
1980s movie cafeteria slow clap to the New York Daily News who wins the "Best Newspaper Cover Depicting the Current Crop of Assholes in Congress" award of the day. Here's their cover which gives a nod to Netflix' political drama House of Cards:
Thanks to Slate who also adds:
A new Quinnipiac poll out this morning highlights just how unpopular the House strategy has been: By a 72-22 margin, voters opposed Congress shutting down the federal government to block the implementation of Obamacare. Even though Americans were divided on the merits of the healthcare law itself—with 45 percent in favor and 47 percent opposed—they were against the idea of Congress cutting off funding for the law, 58 percent to 34 percent.
In other words, TURDS.
Knowing that there were no recent shootings or murder trials involving young white women, I foolishly thought that CNN might have something informative on the government shutdown. Instead, they had a story about how some WWII veterans had to move a partition out of the way to visit the WWII memorial, and a corresponding interview with U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who concluded that the barricading was "a White House decision."
Next, an interview with Jon Huntsman, who—surprise!—blames both parties. "We're the party of Lincoln, we're the party of Roosevelt, we're the party of Reagan," Huntsman concluded, along with some other meaningless slop. It doesn't really matter what Roosevelt he's referring to, as long as his message effectively confused the issue for more people. We'll never know, though, because CNN didn't bother to ask.
Next, an interview with District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray, about his absolutely audacious assertion that employees of the District of Columbia should be treated as state workers in the eyes of the government shutdown, and therefore be allowed to continue working.
Lastly, we turned to the truly oppressed: People whose weddings were displaced from National parks. Then I turned it off.
It's no secret that former Mercury columnist and one of the funniest, smartest people alive, Ian Karmel, loooooves the Portland comedy scene. It's also no secret that Ian doesn't think Willamette Week likes the Portland comedy scene very much. (Correction: They might like it if they thought it actually existed.) For those who miss Ian, here's a clip from his passionate screed on the subject which he posted to his Tumblr yesterday.
Portland is full of outstanding comedy. Am I being self-serving pointing this out? Am I being self-serving trying to get the Willamette Week to cover comedy? Fuck it, maybe, but to be frank there isn’t a goddamn thing coverage from the Willamette Week can do for me at this point in my career. I’m writing this because I love Portland, I love Portland’s comedians and it’s become increasingly evident that the Willamette Week doesn’t have a stand-up comedy problem, they have a problem with stand-up comedy.
The Willamette Week’s coverage of Portland’s stand-up comedy scene demonstrates not an actual curiosity, but a determination to start at a preconceived, jaded, stereotyped conception of a stand-up comedian and work backwards from there until the story fits the basic, boring box they’ve built for it.
Ouch! And trust me, there's much more. Read the rest here!
Like this Japanese reporter.
The Portland Tribune has reported something of interest in the recent saga over Right 2 Dream Too's relocation from Old Town. Something a bit close to home.
Jim Redden, in his "Sources Say" column, quotes from what he says is an August email, sent from Commissioner Amanda Fritz to Right 2 Dream Too and others, that discusses a bit of media strategy:
“I believe both you and I desire to talk to Street Roots and the Mercury first, when the time comes, to appreciate their attention and concern on houselessness issues.”
Redden offers this up as as a suggestion Fritz was shopping for favorable media coverage, at a time when other reporters were looking into the story. He also notes, sorely, "for the record," that his paper was the first to publish a story on the effort, back in October 2011.
"Government transparency and equal access don’t appear to be high on her list, according to sources involved in the negotiations," he says. "Favorable press, on the other hand, rates way up there."
Okay. Fine. Here's the thing. He's right about one thing. The Mercury was the first and, for a time, only outlet with quotes and details from Fritz confirming what was then a tentative relocation offer. I'm sure other reporters noticed, especially when, from what I've read, Fritz was still declining to comment. I also quoted from internal emails from Right 2 Dream Too. I always figured both of those things spoke for themselves.
But, on the other hand, the negotiations and Fritz's role in them weren't exactly closely guarded state secrets.
Her office 'fessed up to plans to help way back in June, when I thought to ask. Other potential sites had been mentioned. Olive branches to city hall, despite a lawsuit filed by the site, had been reported. And not every source who knew a few details about the deal was, in media jargon, "close to the negotiations." Remember, Fritz had several meetings on this in her office in late July and early August. People talk. And sometimes even to reporters.
Moreover, city hall routinely plays (always temporary) favorites with the media all the time—sending statements to one reporter or another before all the others, or leaking things that wouldn't otherwise be public, setting off a media feeding frenzy in the leak's aftermath. Often times, it's because a reporter happened to start asking first or because it involves a development on a beat a reporter has been working closely. Redden should know this very well.
I've not seen the email Redden is citing. But I can't fault Fritz's reason for her willingness to talk to the Mercury and Street Roots. It's a pretty good one. She wrote down that she and Right 2 Dream Too wanted to talk to us first because of the issues we cover and for the way we've covered them.
Street Roots does it better and smarter than anybody. But we've been on the beat for years—long before Right 2 Dream Too was a glimmer in Michael Wright's and Ibrahim Mubarak's eyes. That's not changing.
First you have to identify the problem:
“The Post is famous for its investigative journalism,” [Bezos] said. “It pours energy and investment and sweat and dollars into uncovering important stories. And then a bunch of Web sites summarize that [work] in about four minutes and readers can access that news for free. One question is, how do you make a living in that kind of environment? If you can’t, it’s difficult to put the right resources behind it. . . . Even behind a paywall [digital subscription], Web sites can summarize your work and make it available for free. From a reader point of view, the reader has to ask, ‘Why should I pay you for all that journalistic effort when I can get it for free’ from another site?”
To summarize the article (haw-haw), Bezos says at the end that he thinks he experience has to be about readers and not advertisers. That sounds about right to me; it seems that when newspapers start flailing, all of their decisions are made based on a spreadsheet and not a reader's perspective. So let's see what Bezos does. I don't think this is a problem with a single easy solution, but I do think that it's a problem that can be solved with a number of new approaches, and Bezos seems to understand that.
Yesterday TIME published an interesting look at some new media studies which suggest that a people increasingly get their news from social media sites, they're more likely to encounter positive articles:
Researchers are discovering that people want to create positive images of themselves online by sharing upbeat stories. And with more people turning to Facebook and Twitter to find out what’s happening in the world, news stories may need to cheer up in order to court an audience. If social is the future of media, then optimistic stories might be media’s future.
That might be kind of a problem, as you can imagine, considering the amount of grim shit in the world. They also found that up and down voting is disproportionately influential, with even a single up vote increasing "the likelihood that someone else would like a comment by 32%, whereas a down vote had no effect. People don’t want to support the cranky commenter, the critic or the troll. Nor do they want to be that negative personality online."
Interesting in the context of Blogtown—or no, wait: I, Anonymous. But it goes even deeper, parsing different kinds of negativity and positivity too:
“Take two negative emotions, for example: anger and sadness,” Berger says. “Both of those emotions would make the reader feel bad. But anger, a high arousal emotion, leads to more sharing, whereas sadness, a low arousal emotion, doesn’t. The same is true of the positive side: excitement and humor increase sharing, whereas contentment decreases sharing.”
So be nice, be funny, or be mad. Why does that feel like we're back to square one?
Trolls are just getting more and more aggressive and uglier, and I just came from London where there are rape and death threats... I feel that freedom of expression is given to people who stand up for what they say and not hiding behind anonymity. We need to evolve a platform to meet the needs of the grown-up Internet.
Comment anonymously in comments!
Angry at CNN and NBC for their respective plans to produce a Hillary Clinton documentary and biopic, the Republican National Committee voted Friday to bar the two networks from 2016 Republican presidential debate coverage, essentially leaving the debates in the hands of Fox News and their highly partisan right-wing moderators. And there's a growing consensus among progressive pundits that this would be a good thing!
Writing at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum argues that ideological moderators would make the primary debates both more substantive and more entertaining. Conservative moderators would ask the questions the conservative Republican base wants to hear, while the rest of us would get to writhe in joy/horror at the answers. Over at the American Prospect, Paul Waldman effectively argues that "primaries are supposed to be partisan"—it's the party that is choosing its candidate, not the nation. And writing at Lawyers, Gun & Money, Scott Lemieux suggest that little would be missed by cutting fairness and balance out of the picture:
The thing about more ideological pundits is that at least they care, care about actual politics. They’re far more likely to be informed and to ask relevant questions. Cutting “neutral” journalists largely or entirely out of primary debates is almost certainly a good thing.
And what's good for the elephant is good for the donkey. In the service of better informing Democratic primary voters, the DNC should follow the RNC's lead and adopt a more partisan primary debate format themselves, starting by cutting Fox News out their coverage. Indeed, progressives disappointed with President Obama's performance in office might wonder how different the 2008 Democratic primary would have turned out had the candidates been forced to parry questions coming at them from the left?
Of course, the general election debates are a different matter. The general election audience deserves more fair and balanced moderation. Or if that's impossible (and it probably is), at least a fairly balanced mix of partisan moderators determined to keep both sides honest.
It reads like an Onion story: Successful male entrepreneur raises $6.5 million in venture capital to start a feminist website which, he says, he plans to "make a fortune" off of.
Sadly, it's not a joke.
Yesterday Bryan Goldberg, founder of Bleacher Report, announced that he has launched a new website called Bustle, which is going to do what "Jezebel, Refinery29, and PopSugar" do, but with a profit. He says he "aims to completely transform women's publishing" and has hired "talented women with experience at Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Daily Beast, and Seventeen" to lead the editorial team.
He says, "Are there many great women's websites out there? Absolutely. Are many of them attracting huge audiences and mainstream advertisers? No."
Is that what's been missing? Pop-up Tampax ads with dancing ladies in colorful dresses? Finally! A man has come to rescue the feeble feminist blogging industry with his cutting-edge concepts!
Don't worry, he's not going to be a voice on Bustle—he's leaving that to the women. Goldberg says:
My job, as CEO, is to hire the right people. My job is to know a lot of engineers, editors, venture capitalists, and salespeople — and to bring them together. Knowing the difference between mascara, concealer, and eye-liner is not my job.
Oh for fuck's sake, dude. Seriously? Do you want us to hate you? Saying shit like that will really make us hate you. To make him even less likable, Goldberg has also gotten a kick out of working in a female-dominated environment. He's taken to Twitter to express just how kooky these adult "girls" can be:
The Washington Post Co. has agreed to sell its flagship newspaper to Amazon.com founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos, ending the Graham family’s stewardship of one of America’s leading news organizations after four generations.
Bezos, whose entrepreneurship has made him one of the world’s richest men, will pay $250 million in cash for The Post and affiliated publications to the Washington Post Co., which owns the newspaper and other businesses.
I'd assume that Bezos is going to take this opportunity to experiment with the idea of what a newspaper is. This will be interesting to watch, if nothing else.
Also, here's Bezos's letter to employees of the Washington Post:
I won’t be leading The Washington Post day-to-day. I am happily living in “the other Washington” where I have a day job that I love. Besides that, The Post already has an excellent leadership team that knows much more about the news business than I do, and I’m extremely grateful to them for agreeing to stay on.
There will of course be change at The Post over the coming years. That’s essential and would have happened with or without new ownership. The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy.
We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about – government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports – and working backwards from there. I’m excited and optimistic about the opportunity for invention.
Nieman Journalism Lab's Adrienne LaFrance says that Gawker CEO Nick Denton is adjusting the commenter/reporter relationship:
Tonight Gawker is rolling out a new kind of reblogging functionality to Kinja so that readers can top the articles they share with their own headlines and introductions. (It’ll first enable Gawker Media staffers to re-top stories; that power will roll out to all readers soon.) “Publishing should be a collaboration between authors and their smartest readers,” Denton told the Lab earlier this year. “And at some point the distinction should become meaningless.”...The idea is to give anyone the ability to reframe an existing article for any audience. Think of it like super-aggregating: You can share an entire article rather than just quoting excerpts or linking to the original, but you can also top it with your own headline, lede, and commentary. “For instance, say a story was written for gamers — they can translate it for a more general audience,” Denton said. “And, if that URL is shared, it is shared with the new headline and intro.”
This is an interesting idea that could take the idea of blogging—citizen journalism—to the obvious next level. I get the sense that Denton would like to completely obliterate the idea of authorship. Which would certainly make running Gawker a cheaper prospect. And I think it could be a correct assumption about the future of news and blogging; the internet's remix culture hasn't yet penetrated text the way it's gotten into images and video, but it's only a matter of time before block quotes and bylines start to break down and text becomes a crowdsourced proposition.
The cover of the new issue of Rolling Stone (on sale this Friday) features a moppy haired and doe-eyed young man staring directly into the camera. He's very handsome, with the slightest smile on his lips and relaxed posture. The lighting is soft and warm, casting a glowing, golden hue all around him. If you weren't paying attention to the news for the past three months, you'd likely assume he is the music industry's latest heartthrob—the new John Mayer or maybe even Bob Dylan's grandkid. But he's not a heartthrob, he is, as the text below his face says, a monster—he is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old man suspected of assisting in the Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured over 250 others.
People are outraged that the magazine would not only put Tsarnaev on the cover, but portray him in such a romanticized way, in a space generally graced by attractive rockstars and actors. Businesses have already announced they're boycotting the issue, including CVS/pharmacy. They said "CVS/pharmacy has decided not to sell the current issue of Rolling Stone featuring a cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect. As a company with deep roots in New England and a strong presence in Boston, we believe this is the right decision out of respect for the victims of the attack and their loved ones."
Right or wrong, this is the most I've heard anyone talk about the magazine in years—there's no doubt in my mind Rolling Stone knew exactly what they were doing when they chose to feature Tsarnaev over, say, one of the other names featured on the cover like Willie Nelson, Jay-Z, or Robin Thicke. None of those guys would've made the magazine's name trend on Twitter for the last 24 hours. You can read the accompanying cover story here. They begin the story with an editor's note:
Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens. –THE EDITORS
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