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Talking Points Memo and Intelligent Tracking Prevention

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Prevent Cross-Site Tracking

I’ve been fascinated by the discussion about Apple’s new anti-3rd party cookie moves, especially in Mac OS X High Sierra and in iOS 11. The digital advertising companies are freaking out of course, but I don’t have much sympathy for their position.

 

The biggest advertising organizations say Apple will “sabotage” the current economic model of the internet with plans to integrate cookie-blocking technology into the new version of Safari.

 

Six trade groups—the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the 4A’s and two others—say they’re “deeply concerned” with Apple’s plans to release a version of the internet browser that overrides and replaces user cookie preferences with a set of Apple-controlled standards. The feature, which is called “Intelligent Tracking Prevention,” limits how advertisers and websites can track users across the internet by putting in place a 24-hour limit on ad retargeting.

 

 

(click here to continue reading Every Major Advertising Group Is Blasting Apple for Blocking Cookies in the Safari Browser – Adweek.)

Apple Coffee Thermos

Apple answered:

Apple responded to that criticism this afternoon by fully explaining what they are doing for the consumer and standing up for themselves.

“Apple believes that people have a right to privacy – Safari was the first browser to block third party cookies by default and Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a more advanced method for protecting user privacy,” Apple said in a statement provided to The Loop.

“Ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad tracking companies to recreate the majority of a person’s web browsing history. This information is collected without permission and is used for ad re-targeting, which is how ads follow people around the Internet. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature detects and eliminates cookies and other data used for this cross-site tracking, which means it helps keep a person’s browsing private. The feature does not block ads or interfere with legitimate tracking on the sites that people actually click on and visit. Cookies for sites that you interact with function as designed, and ads placed by web publishers will appear normally,” the company said.

 

(click here to continue reading Apple responds to ad group’s criticism of Safari cookie blocking.)

Apple Logos

Josh Marshall, the publisher of the long-time political blog, Talking Points Memo, has some thoughts about Intelligent Tracking Prevention, and thinks, in general, it will be good for sites like his. 

Here’s where it gets especially interesting to any publisher. We rely on tracking in as much as tracking is now pervasive on the ads running on basically every website, including TPM. But really tracking has been a disaster for publishers, especially premium publishers.

Here’s why.

I’ll use TPM as an example. But it’s only for the purposes of illustration. The same applies to countless other publications, particularly quality publications as opposed to content farms. TPM has an affluent, highly educated, generally progressive audience. They also tend to be political influencers. Our readers also have a strong brand affinity with TPM. Our core audience visits day after day. All of those attributes make our audience very desirable for many advertisers. So great, even though we’re small, advertisers want access to that kind of audience. So we can command good rates.

Tracking has shifted that equation dramatically. (And again, TPM is just here as illustration. This is an industry-wide phenomenon.) Let’s say we take the whole core TPM audience, this set number of people. They have these attributes I mentioned above. Tracking now allows the ad tech industry to follow those people around the web and advertise to them where they choose. So an advertiser can identify “TPM Readers” and then advertise to them at other sites that aren’t TPM. Or they can find a group that has the attributes that I describe above and track them around the web regardless of which site they’re on. You don’t have any reason to care about that. But we care about it a lot because it basically takes from us any market power we have. Tracking means almost all publishers are being disintermediated in this way. This is one big reason the platforms and the data vendors are scarfing up all the new revenue.

So in many ways, disruptions in tracking are good for publishers. Actually basically in all ways it’s good. In this way, we have a vaguely common interest with Apple since we see our business future as tied to paid services, memberships, etc. Apple does too. In practice, the little players have the least ability and resources to protect themselves during periods of market chaos. But in theory at least, if Apple’s self-interest led it to disrupt the cookie architecture and wreak havoc in Google’s business model, that would likely be good for publishers.

(click here to continue reading What’s Apple Up To? – Talking Points Memo.)

A visit to TPM.com this morning brought up sixteen 3rd-party cookies as reported by Ghostery. Cookies from Amazon, Google, Facebook, as well as sites I’d never heard of, like Adsnative, Krux Digital, RevContent and others. /shrug…

Written by Seth Anderson

October 22nd, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Posted in Advertising,Apple,Business

Tagged with ,

A Sean Hannity Conspiracy Theory Finally Went Too Far

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Don't Forget to Suffer In Brooding Silence
Don’t Forget to Suffer In Brooding Silence.

We live in a new world, a world where advertisers don’t want to be associated with toxic scum like Sean Hannity. Finally!

Sean Hannity has been peddling his Roger Ailes-inspired schtick for a long, long time. Fear, hatred, anger, and related emotions are the currency Hannity and his ilk traffic in. But these days, there is a precedent for consumers to directly contact the advertisers for these shows, and pressure the corporations to withdraw their support. Sometimes the corporation is enlightened enough to act on their own.

Cars.com, Casper, and several other companies pulled advertising from Sean Hannity’s Fox News program Wednesday as the host continued to push a conspiracy theory about Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee staffer who was killed in Washington, DC, last year.

For days, Hannity has been peddling a theory that Rich’s killing was ordered by the Clintons in retaliation for leaking DNC emails to WikiLeaks. Police have said his death was the result of a robbery gone wrong.

“Cars.com’s media buy strategies are designed to reach as many consumers as possible across a wide spectrum of media channels,” a Cars.com spokesperson said in a statement to BuzzFeed News when asked about Hannity’s focus on the conspiracy.

“The fact that we advertise on a particular program doesn’t mean that we agree or disagree, or support or oppose, the content. We don’t have the ability to influence content at the time we make our advertising purchase. In this case, we’ve been watching closely and have recently made the decision to pull our advertising from Hannity,” the company added.

After learning its commercials ran on Hannity’s show, Crowne Plaza Hotels said it terminated its relationship with its third-party ad-buying agency.

“We do not advertise on Fox News, Hannity or any political commentary show. We have a specific do not advertise list for this type of programming. Unfortunately, our expectation to adhere to this list was not met by a third-party agency. Since we learned of the airings, we addressed the issue immediately and terminated our relationship with the agency. We have no plans to advertise on Fox News for the foreseeable future,” the company explained.

Ring, a video doorbell company, and Peloton, a cycling studio, announced that they had directed their media agencies to stop advertising on the show.

Mattress companies Casper and Leesa Sleep also said Wednesday that they had pulled ad buys from the show. Casper said it was “reassigning the allocation.”

The decisions came after Rich’s brother sent a letter to Hannity’s executive producer pleading for the show to stop spreading rumors about Rich’s death. On Tuesday, Fox News retracted a story tying Rich to Wikileaks and wrote in a statement, “The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require from all our reporting.”

(click here to continue reading Sean Hannity’s Seth Rich Obsession Just Cost Him Several Advertisers.)

Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic
Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic

Corporations want to sell their goods and services, not support hate speech. Thus in the last few years there have been several instances of advertisers fleeing toxicity: Sandra Fluke vs. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Breitbart, Bill O’Reilly, and probably other incedents too. The right wing tried these tactics on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show, but without much success, so far.

Media Matters added:

Fox News’ two decades of peddling bigotry, misogyny, and extremism are finally coming home to roost. After former president and CEO Roger Ailes was forced out last year, Fox News parted ways with Bill O’Reilly and co-president Bill Shine last month after their central roles inside the network’s workplace culture of sexual harassment and racial discrimination were put in the spotlight and advertisers started to flee.

At Media Matters, we know Fox News. We’ve spent more than 10 years watching the network profit from a dangerous mix of hate, lies, and propaganda. Ad buyers may think that because Fox dropped O’Reilly and some of the old guard executives who enabled him, it’s safe to get back in the water there. But we know that the network’s new prime-time lineup — featuring the likes of Sean Hannity, Eric Bolling, and darling of the “alt-right” Tucker Carlson — is just as bad. They’re committed to the same “culture war” racism and misogyny that made Fox culture toxic in the first place — and as a federal investigation into shady practices at Fox ramps up, there are no indications yet that this network is any less risky for advertisers than it was before.

The bottom line is this: When companies knowingly advertise alongside hate, they incentivize and enable more hate, and they put their reputations on the line. Like our ads say, “It’s one crisis after another with Fox. Don’t forget: Hate, misogyny, and racism are bad for business.” Advertisers beware.

(click here to continue reading Media Matters Launches “Know What You’re Sponsoring” Ad Campaign Targeting Buyers At Upfronts.)

Hannity had been one of the main purveyors of a widely discredited theory that DNC staffer Seth Rich was shot and killed near his home in Northwest Washington last year because he had supplied DNC emails to WikiLeaks. District police say Rich died in a botched robbery. His parents have pleaded with news outlets to stop speculating about his death.

Facing a wave of criticism over its reporting, Fox News retracted an article on Tuesday that said Rich made contact with WikiLeaks before he was shot.

At first Hannity refused to follow suit, telling listeners on his radio show, “All you in the liberal media, I am not Fox.com or Foxnews.com; I retracted nothing.” On his Fox News show Tuesday evening he said he would back off the story “for now,” but he continued to post cryptic tweets about Rich’s death.

The left-leaning media watchdog Media Matters published a list of Hannity’s sponsors on Tuesday — a move many interpreted as a call to boycott his show.

Hannity responded in a series of tweets saying “liberal fascists” were trying to bring him down.

(click here to continue reading Sean Hannity loses advertisers amid uproar over slain DNC staffer conspiracy theories – The Washington Post.)

This Man Was Talked To Death
This Man Was Talked To Death

Even some at Fox question why Hannity is allowed free reign…

Fox News staffers have told CNNMoney that they are frustrated and embarrassed by Hannity’s peddling of the conspiracy. “It is disappointing because it drags the rest of us down,” one senior Fox News employee said earlier this week. Several staffers have also questioned why Fox News leadership continued to allow Hannity to spread an unproven theory on the network.

The most common theory circulating among staff is that Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, doesn’t want to run the risk of losing Hannity by upsetting him. Fox News has already lost its two biggest prime time stars — Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly — in the span of just five months. Losing Hannity would be a crushing blow to the network, these sources said.

(click here to continue reading Sean Hannity’s conspiracy theory puts pressure on Fox – May. 24, 2017.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Seth Anderson

May 25th, 2017 at 9:01 am

Posted in Advertising,Business,politics

Tagged with ,

Transactional Journalism Is Not Journalism

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Planet Hillary

Planet Hillary 

I don’t really fault politicians, or other media manipulators for asking, the shame is on the alleged journalists for accepting the quid pro quo. 

Margaret Sullivan, the very good Public Editor of the New York Times, writes, in part:

Here’s an ugly term: Transactional journalism — also known as a quid pro quo.

Hardly an unfamiliar idea, it came up this week with the disclosure that a writer for The Atlantic made a deal to use a particular word — “muscular” — in describing a 2009 speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in order to get an advance copy of the speech. Her aide also required the writer, Marc Ambinder, to favorably mention a State Department delegation attending the speech.

In emails that were made public by Gawker, Mr. Ambinder agreed (“got it,” he wrote of the instructions from Philippe Reines of Mrs. Clinton’s staff) and received his advance copy. The practice rightly was termed “corrupt” by Erik Wemple of The Washington Post, though he gave Mr. Ambinder credit for “appropriate contrition.” (The Atlantic has appended an editor’s note to the article.)

(click here to continue reading Times Reporter: ‘I Would Never Cut a Deal Like That’ – The New York Times.)

Yeah, well The Atlantic appended this weasle-worded note to the original article:

Editor’s note: On February 9, 2016, Gawker called the reporting of this post into question. It is The Atlantic’s policy never to cede to sources editorial control of the content of our stories.

That’s a pretty thin defense, wouldn’t you say? Does it really apologize? Does it admit that what Gawker reports is accurate? 

Laughing At Your Airs
Laughing At Your Airs

The New York Times reporter who covered the exact same speech also used the word, “muscular” but pinky swears he didn’t sell his soul, just that he was unoriginal:

A New York Times reporter, Mark Landler, whose article on the speech also used the word “muscular” and also mentioned the delegation, told me in the strongest terms on Wednesday that he had not made any sort of similar arrangement and would not do so. “That would be a very serious breach of journalistic ethics,” Mr. Landler told me by phone.

Earlier, in an email, he wrote: “No, I would NEVER cut a deal like that. My use of the word muscular may have reflected a lack of originality, but it did not reflect collusion

Juxtaposition
Juxtaposition

Gawker has more details of the transaction:

Hillary Clinton’s supporters often argue that mainstream political reporters are incapable of covering her positively—or even fairly. While it may be true that the political press doesn’t always write exactly what Clinton would like, emails recently obtained by Gawker offer a case study in how her prodigious and sophisticated press operation manipulates reporters into amplifying her desired message—in this case, down to the very word that The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder used to describe an important policy speech.

The emails in question, which were exchanged by Ambinder, then serving as The Atlantic’s politics editor, and Philippe Reines, Clinton’s notoriously combative spokesman and consigliere, turned up thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request we filed in 2012 (and which we are currently suing the State Department over). The same request previously revealed that Politico’s chief White House correspondent, Mike Allen, promised to deliver positive coverage of Chelsea Clinton, and, in a separate exchange, permitted Reines to ghost-write an item about the State Department for Politico’s Playbook newsletter. Ambinder’s emails with Reines demonstrate the same kind of transactional reporting, albeit to a much more legible degree: In them, you can see Reines “blackmailing” Ambinder into describing a Clinton speech as “muscular” in exchange for early access to the transcript. In other words, Ambinder outsourced his editorial judgment about the speech to a member of Clinton’s own staff.

(click here to continue reading This Is How Hillary Clinton Gets the Coverage She Wants.)

and finally:

Speaking of journalistic ethics and practices, it would have been decent of Breitbart’s reporter to reach Mr. Landler for comment before going the route of innuendo.

(click here to continue reading Times Reporter: ‘I Would Never Cut a Deal Like That’ – The New York Times.)

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, etc.

Breitbart is trash, to be blunt.

Written by Seth Anderson

February 10th, 2016 at 5:05 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Spain’s Google News Shutdown Is a Silly Victory for Publishers

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Daily News
Daily News.

As we suspected, having traffic to Spanish news sites drop by 5%-15% is kind of a big deal…

We call it the “Google News bump.” When a story on WIRED.com gets a link on the front page of Google News, traffic skyrockets. Readers click. Ads are served.

But in Spain, at least, the Google News bump is no more. On Tuesday, Google shut down Google News in Spain in response to a law that requires news aggregators to pay a fee for the right to post snippets of stories. Big Spanish publishers pushed for the law, but their math is hard to fathom. Without Google News, they get no bump, nor do they get any fee. Trying to stick it to Google is an understandable impulse, a resentment fed by the company’s monolithic influence over the web. But all the shutdown really shows is how powerless traditional publishers really are.

But where I work, at least, a 5 percent traffic dip wouldn’t exactly be something to celebrate, much less lobby lawmakers to effectively codify. And as GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram says, the damage could be worse. The chief data scientist at Chartbeat, a web service many publishers use to monitor real-time reader traffic, told Ingram that the average falloff in the hours since the Google News shutdown was more like 10 to 15 percent.

(click here to continue reading Spain’s Google News Shutdown Is a Silly Victory for Publishers | WIRED.)

and as many people have noted: removing all Google News traffic benefits the larger media companies at the expense of the smaller media companies. Google News links to both: sites you’ve heard of, and sites you haven’t. If you don’t regularly visit the websites of smaller news organizations, you probably won’t.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 18th, 2014 at 11:14 am

Posted in Advertising,Business

Tagged with ,

Phony Class warfare theme

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Class Warfare
Class Warfare

Sometimes I forget that the Chicago Tribune is a Republican-friendly newspaper. On many topics, they are decent source of non-biased news, but every so often, the visage slips. Last Friday, the print edition of the Chicago Tribune had this inflammatory headline:

“Democrats up class war ante”

The online version available today has slightly toned down the headline, but not much

Illinois Democrats went all-in Thursday with their election-year class warfare theme as Speaker Michael Madigan pitched the idea of asking voters to raise taxes on millionaires, Senate President John Cullerton advanced a minimum-wage increase and Gov. Pat Quinn compared wealthy opponent Bruce Rauner to TV villain Mr. Burns.

(click here to continue reading Illinois Democrats go all-in on class warfare theme – Chicago Tribune.)

Either way, calling Democratic Party initiatives to reduce income inequality, slightly, as class warfare is offensive, and straight out of Frank Luntz’s dictionary. Circa 2008, Frank Luntz started labeling every economic-related Democratic Party position “class warfare” whether or not it actually applies.1 Raising the tax on millionaires isn’t going to bankrupt the millionaires. Increasing the minimum wage isn’t going to force Bruce Rauner to sell off one of his many, many mansions. No Democratic politician is calling for the guillotine to be rolled out, though plenty of us peons chuckle at the idea. 

As Senator Bernie Sanders has been saying for many years, the real class warfare is being waged ruthlessly by the 1% on the rest of us. Focusing on tax breaks for corporations, flat tax proposals, allowing someone like Mitt Romney (or Bruce Rauner) to pay tiny amounts of income tax; these are tools of the rich, these are actual battles of class warfare. Cutting food stamps is class warfare, cutting education assistance is class warfare, cutting Social Security is class warfare, eliminating the minimum wage is class warfare, you could make a big, long list.

“What kind of nation are we when we give tax breaks to millionaires but we can’t take care of the elderly and the children?” Sen. Bernie Sanders asked on Monday. He was reacting to a new report that more than 18 percent of Americans last year struggled to afford food. Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, are calling for deeper and deeper cuts in food stamps, a program that provides help mostly to children and seniors. We are living in “a very ugly moment,” the senator told the Rev. Al Sharpton.

 

Later Sen. Sanders ripped Republicans for claiming that the problem is that children get too much help from the federal government, “These are the same people who want to eliminate the estate tax, which applies to only the top three tenths of one percent of all Americans, which is the richest of the rich, then they are going after kids. The politics of this, Al, is what they are trying to do is deflect attention away from income and wealth inequality. Attention away from the fact that the rich are doing extraordinarily well, and tell their supporters that the real problem in America is that children are getting too much help from the federal government, and that’s the kind of mentality that we have got to fight back against.”

(click here to continue reading Paul Ryan Quivers as Bernie Sanders Outs the Dirty Secret Behind His Poverty Propaganda.)

Of course it buys happiness
Of course it buys happiness

Speaking of wealthy class warriors, check out this list (from the Tribune, in fact) of some of the properties that the Republican candidate for Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, owns

There’s the 6,870-square-foot Rauner mansion on a half-acre lot in Winnetka; two units, including a penthouse, in a luxury high-rise overlooking Millennium Park; a waterfront villa in the Florida Keys with a 72-foot-long pool; ranches in Montana and Wyoming; and a condo in an upscale Utah ski resort.

Most carry price tags well into the seven figures. But topping the list is a penthouse in a landmark co-op building along New York’s Central Park, which property records show Rauner bought in 2005 for $10 million.

Rauner has amassed a larger stable of high-end residences than Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee whose plentiful and opulent homes lent ammunition to foes who portrayed him as an out-of-touch elitist.

Rauner dismisses any such comparison to Romney…

Rauner said he likes recreational properties where he can practice land or water conservation. He often buys and pastes parcels together in areas he thinks are beautiful to “have an investment that appreciates over a 20- to 30-year period.”

That includes his property in Wyoming, he said, where he grows barley, alfalfa and winter wheat.

When he takes his family West, they most often go to his New Moon Ranch in Livingston, Mont., near Yellowstone National Park. It sits on hundreds of acres of grazing and cropland and includes a nearly 6,000-square-foot home, according to property records. It has five bedrooms and four baths and is currently valued by the Park County, Mont., assessor at $2.2 million.

In the winter, Rauner and his wife, Diana, have their pick of both hot and cold weather getaways. For snow sports they have a condominium in the luxury Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, east of Salt Lake City, purchased in 2003 and currently valued by the assessor there at $1.75 million.

The Rauners also own an oceanfront home in Key Largo, Fla., currently worth almost $7 million, according to property records there. It has a private boat dock, four bedrooms, four baths, 5,370 square feet of ground-floor living space and a patio nearly half that size.

The Rauners also have a New York penthouse on Central Park in a century-old Beaux Arts style building known as The Prasada. They paid $10 million for it eight years ago. A billionaire neighbor recently put the adjoining penthouse up for sale and is asking $48 million, according to realty postings.

In Illinois, Rauner holds title to three homes in Cook County, including two condominium units on East Randolph Street. Records show Rauner paid more than $1.2 million for the smaller unit in late 2008, where one of his daughters now lives.

The Rauners bought the penthouse unit a couple of months earlier, in August 2008, for $4 million, according to county records. …

The Rauners still own their Winnetka house and consider it their primary residence. Its current market value is estimated at $3.3 million by the Cook County assessor’s office.

(click here to continue reading Bruce Rauner has many million-dollar homes and a campaign that touts frugality – Chicago Tribune.)

Footnotes:
  1. I’m not sure Frank Luntz is the first to use this talking point, but he came up with Death Tax, and other Republican “hits”, so it stands to reason []

Written by Seth Anderson

March 25th, 2014 at 10:07 am

Shirky: ‘We are indeed less willing to agree on what constitutes truth’ | Poynter.

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Earlier today…

in most places for most of history, publicly available statements have been either made or vetted by the ruling class, with the right of reply rendered impractical or illegal or both. Expansion of public speech, for both participants and topics, is generally won only after considerable struggle, and of course any such victory pollutes the sense of what constitutes truth from the previous era, a story that runs from Martin Luther through Ida Tarbell to Mario Silva, the drag queens outside Stonewall, and Julian Assange.

There’s no way to get Cronkite-like consensus without someone like Cronkite, and there’s no way to get someone like Cronkite in a world with an Internet; there will be no more men like him, because there will be no more jobs like his. To assume that this situation can be reversed, and everyone else will voluntarily sign on to the beliefs of some culturally dominant group, is a fantasy. To assume that they should, or at least that they should hold their tongue …

Via:
Shirky: ‘We are indeed less willing to agree on what constitutes truth’ | Poynter.
[automated]

Written by eggplant

October 20th, 2012 at 7:34 am

Posted in Links

Tagged with , , , , ,

links for 2011-01-08

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  • An article on Friday about a legal dispute between American sunken treasure hunters and the government of Spain, in which the treasure hunters are using some of the confidential diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks, referred incorrectly to the release of those cables. WikiLeaks has 251,287 cables and has released all of them to several news organizations; it has not released all of them publicly. (According to the State Department, about 2,700 of the cables have been made public to date.) The error also appeared on Dec. 4 in an article about the cables and in an Inside The Times capsule summary for that article.
    (tags: NYT wikileaks)
  • LEED-bashing Reaches New Heights In Fast Companyby Lloyd Alter, Toronto  on 01. 7.11DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE   Image credit swanksalot via Creative Commons
    Platinum LEED
  • Attribution: www.flickr.com/photos/swanksalot…This product uses the Flickr API but is not endorsed or certified by Flickr.
    Turn Approaching - TRI-X 400

Written by swanksalot

January 8th, 2011 at 7:00 am

Posted in Links

Tagged with , ,

Jon Stewart’s Advocacy Role in 9/11 Bill Passage

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It was a pretty powerful show, I know it moved me, so kudos to Jon Stewart for toning down the slapstick for a few moments. I think it made a real difference.

Did the bill pledging federal funds for the health care of 9/11 responders become law in the waning hours of the 111th Congress only because a comedian took it up as a personal cause?  And does that make that comedian, Jon Stewart — despite all his protestations that what he does has nothing to do with journalism — the modern-day equivalent of Edward R. Murrow?

Certainly many supporters, including New York’s two senators, as well as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, played critical roles in turning around what looked like a hopeless situation after a filibuster by Republican senators on Dec. 10 seemed to derail the bill.

But some of those who stand to benefit from the bill have no doubt about what — and who — turned the momentum around.

“I don’t even know if there was a deal, to be honest with you, before his show,” said Kenny Specht, the founder of the New York City Firefighter Brotherhood Foundation, who was interviewed by Mr. Stewart on Dec. 16.

That show was devoted to the bill and the comedian’s effort to right what he called “an outrageous abdication of our responsibility to those who were most heroic on 9/11.”

(click to continue reading Jon Stewart’s Advocacy Role in 9/11 Bill Passage – NYTimes.com.)

The footage is at DailyShow.com, here if you hadn’t yet seen it.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 26th, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

links for 2010-12-20

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  • How many of these cables, rather than being the unvarnished facts which reveal the public lies are actually another layer of lies from bureaucrats trying to appease their bosses? It’s funny how transparency can reveal all sorts of unexpected things isn’t it? If only there were professional people who gather facts and research issues and interview subjects who could be called upon to investigate such things.
    (tags: media wikileaks)
    Facts_are_fulsome_Vegas.jpg

Written by swanksalot

December 20th, 2010 at 7:02 am

Kass Is A Bit Clueless

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John Kass has a point in his passionate defense of the Chicago Tribune; I have no doubt most reporters just do their jobs without resorting to Clear Channel-esque frat-house shenanigans, and admonitions to “show yer tits” as Tribune executives allegedly did. But his tired cliche about bloggers shouldn’t have made it past the editors. It was a cliche ten years ago, and even more so these days. The folks who are professional bloggers1 are just as much part of the 21st century media as ink stained wretches at daily newspapers.2

Looking up at the Chicago Tribune

I told you what the Chicago Tribune is not. Now let me tell you what it is. It’s reporters, photographers and editors, analysts and designers, and others who help us with the work. Our newspaper is just one part of Tribune Co., and what the corporate bosses do is separate from what we do.

Chicago Tribune reporters work in difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions. They do not blog from mommy’s basement, cutting and pasting what others have reported, while putting it under a cute pen name on the Internet.

(click to continue reading Kass: Frat house atmosphere in the Tribune? Not in the newsroom. – chicagotribune.com.)

Randy Michaels is going to leave the Tribune, by the way, and while the New York Times recent story was probably the catalyst, there certainly were non-basement-dwelling bloggers involved too.

 

Randy Michaels, Tribune Co.’s embattled chief executive, has decided to resign his post at the Chicago-based media company and intends to leave the company before the end of the week, sources close to the situation said.

He will be replaced by a four-member office of the president that the sources said would comprise Eddy Hartenstein, president and publisher of the Los Angeles Times; Tony Hunter, president and publisher of the Chicago Tribune Media Group; Nils Larsen, Tribune Co.’s chief investment officer; and Don Liebentritt, chief restructuring officer.

The development comes after weeks of turmoil at the bankrupt company, brought on by assertions that Michaels and his management team displayed boorish behavior and fostered a sexist, hostile work environment. Even as the Tribune Co. board met Tuesday to discuss Michaels’ fate in light of the crisis, new complaints by current and former employees were emerging.

Michaels’ departure may have become inevitable when the New York Times newspaper ran an unflattering report earlier this month that colored the company as a sexist “frat house” increasingly populated with former Michaels associates from the radio industry.

That perception seemed to be confirmed several days later when Lee Abrams, whom Michaels handpicked as his chief innovation officer, sent all employees an e-mail containing a link to a video of a newscast parody with nudity and profanity that he labeled “Sluts.”

(click to continue reading Tribune’s top exec poised to resign – chicagotribune.com.)

 

Footnotes:
  1. most decidely not me, nor any of my ilk, but the bloggers who write seriously []
  2. another cliche, of course, no journalist gets their hands dirty changing typewriter ribbons any more []

Written by Seth Anderson

October 19th, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Posted in Business,Chicago-esque

Tagged with , ,

links for 2010-10-12

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  • It is the policy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce not to distribute or make public information about our members. To find out if a specific company is a member, you will have to contact the company directly.

    The_man_who_knew_too_much_1934_poster.jpg

    Secrets, secrets, I guess not many want to be associated publicly with this shady partisan organization

  • The answer should be apparent: We need to run from the “tough on crime” policies of the 80’s and 90’s. It’s time for greater emphasis on alternative sentences, an end to mandatory minimums and increased good time. There should be more spent on prisoner re-entry programs and prevention and less on prisons.
    (tags: crime Drug_War)Reefer Madness.jpg
  • In our apartment building, the windows are cleaned professionally once per year. According to the window cleaners, if you don’t do this, the windows could brown. Is this true? Or was this just a sales tactic? It is true. If your windows are not cleaned often, at least an average of four times a year, the sun will bake the dirt onto the glass and ruin them.
    (tags: diy)
  • The Waldseemüller map, printed in 1507, depicted the New World in a new way—”surrounded on all sides by the ocean,” in the words of an accompanying book—and named the continent for the Florentine merchant who had sailed down its eastern coast.

    Wish this was a bigger reproduction though

    (tags: maps history)
  • What is the andersonville galleria? The andersonville galleria, in the heart of the thriving Andersonville retail corridor, is a retail market building that currently features over 90 tenants offering apparel, jewelry, artwork, home furnishings, giftware, accessories, antiques. fair trade, and gourmet treats.

    The andersonville galleria is located at 5247 N. Clark Street, in Chicago, which is right in the heart of Andersonville

    (tags: chicago arts)
  • We called Senator Coburn’s Washington office to find out his annual operating budget. His assistant revealed that Coburn’s office has an estimated annual budget of $3 million, and that none of that recurrent funding has led to a cure for cancer.

    That is, as of 2008 or so, this country spent about $5 million funding political science research, and about $3 million funding Tom Coburn.AssholeBadge.jpg

  • Those of us in the industry have watched a series of ill-timed decisions wreck a lot of careers in the past few years, so it’s hard for me to get specifically exercised about Zell and Michaels (and you may have noticed a rash of mismanagement in other industries over the same period that, like, brought the national economy to its knees). Zell, Michaels, et al certainly deserve what Carr gave them. But the rot’s a lot deeper
    (tags: media)
  • Hang out in airports, coffee shops, or other laptop-friendly spots for a while, and you’ll find “Free Public Wi-Fi.” NPR explains that “Free Public WiFi” was never free, and never public, and not actually a Wi-Fi service. It likely started as a joke or prank, but then spread around the world because of a quirk in pre-SP 3 versions of Windows XP:
    Matisse - Dance (2).jpg

Written by swanksalot

October 12th, 2010 at 7:01 am

Fees Go Undisclosed in Medical Journals

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Conflict of interest in the media? and in the health care industry too? Shocking!

Entre nous

Twenty-five out of 32 highly paid consultants to medical device companies in 2007, or their publishers, failed to reveal the financial connections in journal articles the following year, according to a study released on Monday. Multimedia

The study compared major payments to consultants by orthopedic device companies with financial disclosures the consultants later made in medical journal articles, and found them lacking in public transparency.

“We found a massive, dramatic system failure,” said David J. Rothman, a professor and president of the Institute on Medicine as a Profession at Columbia University, who wrote the study with two other Columbia researchers, Susan Chimonas and Zachary Frosch.

(click to continue reading Consultant Fees Go Undisclosed in Medical Journals, Study Finds – NYTimes.com.)

Trust us, in other words. Or not. Since there are no real repercussions, in this field, or in others1, what is going to change?

People's Friend, People's Journal, Sunday Post, Dundee Courier

Like this2

Tom Ridge, was on MSNBC’s Hardball With Chris Matthews, offering up his own recovery plan. There were “modest things” the White House might try, like cutting taxes or opening up credit for small businesses, but the real answer was for the president to “take his green agenda and blow it out of the box.” The first step, Ridge explained, was to “create nuclear power plants.” Combined with some waste coal and natural gas extraction, you would have an “innovation setter” that would “create jobs, create exports.”

As Ridge counseled the administration to “put that package together,” he sure seemed like an objective commentator. But what viewers weren’t told was that since 2005, Ridge has pocketed $530,659 in executive compensation for serving on the board of Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear power company. As of March 2009, he also held an estimated $248,299 in Exelon stock, according to SEC filings.

Moments earlier, retired general and “NBC Military Analyst” Barry McCaffrey told viewers that the war in Afghanistan would require an additional “three- to ten-year effort” and “a lot of money.” Unmentioned was the fact that DynCorp paid McCaffrey $182,309 in 2009 alone. The government had just granted DynCorp a five-year deal worth an estimated $5.9 billion to aid American forces in Afghanistan. The first year is locked in at $644 million, but the additional four options are subject to renewal, contingent on military needs and political realities.

In a single hour, two men with blatant, undisclosed conflicts of interest had appeared on MSNBC. The question is, was this an isolated oversight or business as usual? Evidence points to the latter. In 2003 The Nation exposed McCaffrey’s financial ties to military contractors he had promoted on-air on several cable networks; in 2008 David Barstow wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning series for the New York Times about the Pentagon’s use of former military officers–many lobbying or consulting for military contractors–to get their talking points on television in exchange for access to decision-makers; and in 2009 bloggers uncovered how ex-Newsweek writer Richard Wolffe had guest-hosted Countdown With Keith Olbermann while working at a large PR firm specializing in “strategies for managing corporate reputation.”

These incidents represent only a fraction of the covert corporate influence peddling on cable news, a four-month investigation by The Nation has found. Since 2007 at least seventy-five registered lobbyists, public relations representatives and corporate officials–people paid by companies and trade groups to manage their public image and promote their financial and political interests–have appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, CNBC and Fox Business Network with no disclosure of the corporate interests that had paid them. Many have been regulars on more than one of the cable networks, turning in dozens–and in some cases hundreds–of appearances.

(click to continue reading The Media-Lobbying Complex | The Nation.)

Corruption is endemic in our corporate culture.

Footnotes:
  1. like the generals who are always trotted out as experts on the television news shows, while simultaneously being paid big bucks by defense contractors []
  2. which I may have blogged about before, or not, who can remember []

Written by Seth Anderson

September 14th, 2010 at 7:07 am

I Will Miss Bill Moyers

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The Bill Moyers Journal was one of the few news shows I watched with regularity1. I will miss him as he retires at the end of this month.

Yellow Line Fever

Thanks to all of you who wrote to express your disappointment and dismay at hearing me say last week that the JOURNAL will be coming to an end with the April 30th broadcast. My team and I were touched by your messages, but I want to disabuse those of you who fear that we are being pushed off the air by higher-ups at PBS pointing to the door and demanding that we go. Not so. PBS doesn’t fund the JOURNAL; our support comes from foundations and our sole corporate funder, Mutual of America. Together they’ve given me an independence rare for broadcast journalists. Our reporting and analysis trigger controversy from many quarters, as any strong journalism will, but not one – not one! – of my funders has ever mentioned to me the complaints directed their way. They would continue their support if I were to stick around.

I’m leaving for one reason alone: It’s time to go. I’ll be 76 in a few weeks, and while I don’t consider myself old (my father lived into his 80s, my mother into her 90s) there are some things left to do that the deadlines and demands of a weekly broadcast don’t permit. At 76, it’s now or never. I actually informed my friends at PBS of my decision over a year ago, and planned to leave at the end of last December. But they asked me to continue another four more months while they prepare a new series for Friday night broadcast. I agreed, but said at the time – April 30 and not a week longer.

It wasn’t easy deciding to close the JOURNAL. I like what I do, I cherish my colleagues, and my viewers remain loyal and engaged. I will miss the virtual community that has grown up around the broadcast – kindred spirits across the country whose unseen but felt presence reminds me of why I have kept at this work so long. But it has indeed been a long time (almost 40 years since I launched the original JOURNAL in 1971), and that’s why I can assure you that my departure is entirely voluntary. “Time brings everything,” an ancient wise man said. Including new beginnings.

[Click to continue reading Bill Moyers Journal: Bill Moyers on Retiring from the JOURNAL]

art drama et al

And I guess it’s too late for Bill Moyers to run for President. Oh well.

Footnotes:
  1. probably the only one, if you don’t count Jon Stewart’s Daily Show []

Written by Seth Anderson

April 22nd, 2010 at 10:00 am

Posted in Arts,politics

Tagged with , , , ,

Torture supporters at The Washington Post

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Marc Thiessen, remember him, has leveraged his pro-torture policy positions into quite the secondary career

By publishing a book that clearly and unapologetically defends the Bush torture regime, Marc Thiessen catapulted himself from obscure, low-level Bush speechwriter into regular Washington Post columnist, joining fellow torture defenders Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol. Today, Thiessen’s column defends the Liz-Cheney/Kristol smear campaign against DOJ lawyers and says this:

Yet Attorney General Eric Holder hired former al-Qaeda lawyers to serve in the Justice Department and resisted providing Congress this basic information. . . . Some defenders say al-Qaeda lawyers are simply following a great American tradition, in which everyone gets a lawyer and their day in court. Not so, says Andy McCarthy . . . . The habeas lawyers were not doing their constitutional duty to defend unpopular criminal defendants. They were using the federal courts as a tool to undermine our military’s ability to keep dangerous enemy combatants off the battlefield in a time of war.

So any lawyer who represents accused Terrorists and argues that the Government is violating constitutional limitations in its Terrorism policies is — all together now — an “al Qaeda lawyer” (even if those detainees were innocent, as most were). Worse, these “al Qaeda lawyers” — which includes large numbers of long-time members of the U.S. military — are “undermining our military’s” efforts to keep us safe.  That sounds like treason to me. It’s great to see the leading newspaper in the nation’s capital serving as the primary amplifying force for this McCarthyite smear campaign.  Does it get any more reckless and repugnant — or primitive and stunted — than that? Does The Post have any standards at all?

[Click to continue reading High standards at The Washington Post – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com]

Umm, rhetorical question, of course.

Written by Seth Anderson

March 15th, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , ,

Harper’s Magazine in Trouble

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Ru-oh. I’ve subscribed to Harper’s Magazine continuously since the 1980s; it has shaped me in all sorts of subtle ways. I can’t imagine a world without it, but apparently, I better quickly grok the idea.

Newstand on State Street circa 1996

In a rambling 40-minute monologue that left many attendees perplexed, John R. MacArthur, 53, talked about the problems facing Harper’s: readership was down 35,000, newsstand sales were plummeting, the only direct-mail piece that seemed to work was 20 years old. Worse, Harper’s seemed irrelevant — “the mainstream media is ignoring it to death,” he said — according to people who were at the meeting.

What he did not address was the chief concern on everyone’s mind: two days earlier, without warning, he had fired the magazine’s well-liked editor, Roger D. Hodge, in a five-minute conversation as Mr. Hodge was finishing his breakfast croissant.

The episode has sent ripples through the placid magazine, which has long been an outlier in the fast-paced New York publishing world.

Harper’s is a nonprofit that relies on the support of Mr. MacArthur’s foundation. As advertising revenue in publishing has declined, many organizations have considered that foundation model — combining traditional revenue with donations — to finance quality journalism. But as the Harper’s situation shows, no publishing model is immune to change — especially when one influential person runs the place.

[Click to continue reading Rick MacArthur Shakes Up Harper’s as Sales Fall – NYTimes.com]

Lewis Lapham is like my third grandfather, but he’s no longer editor, and hasn’t been for a few years. I have no solution to proffer, just hope Harper’s doesn’t vanish. Harper’s is also one of the few magazines I subscribe to that I want to keep after I’ve read: I have several years worth of back issues. I know I shouldn’t keep them – what’s the point, right? Very rarely would I think to go browse an old issue, but still, they feel substantial, so I keep them on a shelf until they fall victim to one of our periodic house cleaning purges. We subscribe to plenty of periodicals, but most are ephemeral, of the moment. Harper’s Magazine isn’t.

Written by Seth Anderson

January 31st, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Posted in Advertising

Tagged with , ,