Get PJ Media on your Apple

Ed Driscoll

The New, New Journalism

Happy 14th Blog-versary to Kaithy Shaidle!

July 24th, 2014 - 2:05 pm

Glenn Reynolds’ Instapundit began in August of 2001. Pushback against the MSM’s formula coverage of 9/11 resulted in the first wave of new blogs arriving shortly thereafter. But a year prior, Kathy Shaidle began her first blog, and has been going strong p***ing off all the right left people strong ever since:

After writing about crazy evil Muslims 24/7 since 9/11, I decided to (mostly) leave that topic to my husband.

Life is too long to read and write about their bullshit anymore unless I feel so inclined.

It’s like how I (mostly) gave up blogging about religion, and turned the original site, RelapsedCatholic, into FiveFeetOfFury.

I can’t foresee what I’ll be blogging about 14 days or weeks or years from now, but I’m pretty sure I’ll still be here (despite the “Death of the Blog” that I’ve been hearing about since, well, about three years after I started…)

Thanks again for sticking around, for reading my stuff at other sites, like Taki’s and PJMedia, and for reading my books (and saying nice things about them.)

Your support amazes me.

It’s always fascinating to go back to what was being written in the late 1990s, 2000, and pre-9/11 2001 to remember how simpler and much more optimistic things seemed back then. (James Lileks’ first Bleats should be placed in a time capsule for what day-to-day life in the late 1990s was like.) Of course, it helped that there was still optimism over how the then-still nascent World Wide Web would transform, well, if not the world, at least how we got our news and pop culture.

Of course, what we didn’t know is that the nightmares that would haunt us in the coming decade were even then being crafted, both internationally:

And domestically:

Not to mention another topic that would dominate the news cycle of the past decade:

Because pop culture had started to fracture thanks to the initial breakup of mass media in the 1990s, that decade never had the feeling of a unified overculture that the 1980s had, and while we were living it, the nineties seemed remarkably chaotic. But today, it’s obvious that 1990s-era nostalgia is rapidly growing. It will be fascinating to watch Hillary Clinton attempt to profit from it, even as she denounces all of the ways her husband’s policies — either on his own, or attempting to steal the GOP’s lunch — made it happen.

Free Salondotcom!

July 16th, 2014 - 7:46 pm

“Twitter Shuts Down Hilarious Salon Parody Account,” Robby Soave writes at Reason’s “Hit & Run” blog:

At approximately 5:50 P.M. EST, it became known that Twitter had shut down @Salondotcom, a hilarious parody of Salon run by The Daily Caller’s opinion editor, Jordan Bloom, and his roommate, Rob Mariani. @Salondotcom constantly tweeted fake headlines that perfectly aped Salon‘s everyone-is-racist-and-Republicans-are-worse-than-Hitler shtick.

Found via Glenn Reynolds — who had his own run-in with the Kafka-esque labyrinthine nature of the Twitter gulag a couple of years ago, and who, despite having over 31,000 Twitter followers and arguably inventing micro-blogging 13 years ago, still doesn’t have a Twitter-verified account.

“In late 2009, Screenwriter Roger L. Simon and filmmaker Lionel Chetwynd sat down with legendary director Paul Mazursky to discuss Hollywood’s penchant for stereotyped portrayals of Jews,” as a segment on PJTV’s Poliwood.

Seeing ‘em Jump

May 20th, 2014 - 6:33 pm

What motivates a person to enter politics? In the midst of an interesting breakdown of his landmark 1970 article “Radical Chic,” as part of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard’s “Annotation Tuesday” series, Tom Wolfe explains one big reason. But first, early in the liner notes, Wolfe first mentions his theory of “Information Compulsion:”

[T]his is my one contribution to psychology: There’s something called “information compulsion,” which makes you feel good when you supply information to someone. You got a few little status points because that person needed what you knew, and you gave it to him. On the other hand, if you’re asked something that you can’t answer, you think, What are you coming to me for?

And with that as background, much later in the interview, interviewer Elon Green asks Wolfe, “Do you think that’s why powerful people, despite it not being in their best interest, will talk to journalists?”

Yeah, I think so. I remember talking once to Abe Ribicoff. When I was a graduate student, they have these weeks where distinguished people come and make themselves available to all kinds of student organizations. We had a little thing called the American Studies Club. During the course of the week, Abe Ribicoff agreed to come. I asked him, very naively, “What is it that motivates politicians? Is it the money, the power? What is it? The publicity?” And he said, “Well, it’s certainly not the publicity. You get so used to it that you just expect it.” And then he said, “Unless you’re an idiot, it’s not the money.” And he says, “You find out that even at the federal level, you don’t really have that much power. There are very few people who you can point to, and say, ‘You do this and you do that.’” But, he said, “The real kick is seeing them jump.” I said, “Seeing them jump?” “Yeah,” he said. “You come into a room and everybody jumps up! Everyone offers you whatever seat you want. If you even hint that you might be hungry, 10 people want to go out and get you something from the restaurant.” He said, “Seeing ’em jump. That’s what it’s all about.” Of course, this was a student organization, and there was no one there with even an interest in publishing it. But he was really letting you in on something there, and you could really get a kick out of your own sophistication, if you say something like that.

Which sums up quite a bit about today’s politicians, and perhaps even our bloated and ever-expanding class of permanent bureaucracy, and their sheer paranoid bug-eyed terror in response to anyone who wished to take that frisson of joy of “seeing ‘em jump” away from them.

Read the whole thing, which in addition to the above conversational detour is quite fascinating, considering the impact of that period on today’s politics is still being felt. Far from divesting themselves of radical chic, Democrats have wallowed in it, to the point where the New York Times runs fawning profiles of former Weatherman Bill Ayers and his kin, former matinee idol Robert Redford recently directed a film in defense of the radical chic, Ayers helped birth Obama’s political career, and the Black Panthers’ namesake successors advertised on Obama’s Website in 2008, and were tacitly defended by his attorney general. And share some fascinating interconnections:

(Part two of that video is here.)

Pages: 1 2 | 11 Comments bullet bullet

The Passing Parade Grows Larger

April 23rd, 2014 - 2:20 pm

Ezra Levant of Canada’s Sun News calls it “a riveting collection of stories chronicling the lives of the men and women who helped shape the 20th century,” and he’s right. For a perfect snapshot of what life was like among the overculture – in the media, in pop culture, and in politics in the last and first decade of the new and old millennium, simply read the profiles Steyn has crafted for his Passing Parade. The book is an anthology of his obits, written for National Review, the Spectator (both its UK and American incarnations), the London Telegraph, and until 2007, a monthly staple of the Atlantic. That the Atlantic traded Steyn for a multi-year dalliance with leftwing former Brit Andrew Sullivan is a classic example of ideologically-driven managerial incompetence. The following year, Excitable Andrew assumed the role of America’s Foremost Uterine Detective, and the Atlantic, even after Sullivan left in 2011 for first the Daily Beast and then (at the moment at least) a solo career last year, seemed doomed to live out the epic 86-year old curse of the Boston Red Sox after they discarded Babe Ruth in 1919.

And at the moment, not even Xenu can save them.

For everyone else, check out Mark Steyn’s Passing Parade, finally on Kindle, and updated with numerous obits added since its initial publication in 2006 on dead tree, ranging from Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Eugene McCarthy, to Bob Hope and Alistair Cooke, to Evel Knievel and Tupac Shakur. (The last pair are joined by the leitmotif of Mark quoting the lyrics of Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schoen.” Coincidence? You be the judge!)

I never posted anything to mark the 12th anniversary of my blog last month, but this Tweet by Rob Nebbell, aka N.Z. Bear, found by Moe Green, sure brings back memories. I’m there at about nine o’clock on the above chart. As for how I made it into the Blogosphere, well, an article I wrote on the nascent Blogosphere, based on interviews with a few of the same folks in the above chart — and written almost the same time as  Rob’s was crafting it — has you covered.

And while my blog is positively paleolithic, if you really want to feel old, just watch:

As I posted in the comments at Ricochet in response to the above video, if you really want to blow the minds of these impressionable tykes, hand ‘em a 12-inch laser disc.

shaidle_confessions_failed_slut_cover_4-9-14-2

“Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you,” Flannery O’Connor famously said was her motto, and certainly Kathy Shaidle’s writing lives up to that ideal. As she told me during our new interview, “I grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, being born in the ‘60s, and in those days, it was all about free love and women should be able to have sex just like men and casual sex is great.  And let’s all read Cosmo’s sex tips and ‑‑ and sort of recreate Sex and the City in our actual lives,” the author of the popular Five Feet of Fury Blog, and a frequent contributor to PJ Media, Taki’s Magazine, and other Websites says.

Kathy’s new book, Confessions of A Failed Slut, an anthology of several of her related articles, “is my story of having tried and failed to live up to these social messages that were just everywhere when I was growing up, and finding that deep down, I wasn’t really temperamentally or morally, shall we say, cut out for a life of nonstop, no-fault, casual sex, and just sleeping around and pretending not to care, and doing the walk of shame and all that stuff.”

During our 29-minute interview, Kathy will explore:

● How the Love Boat, that weekly video voyage of the Hollywood damned, caused Kathy to begin seeing the world is “though a Gen-X filter of self-defensive snark.”

● Why Glen Close’s character in Fatal Attraction is “one of the most misunderstood females on film.”

● Why today’s women in rock and pop make the first generation of women in punk rock seem positively chaste by comparison.

● How TV’s Dr. Phil caused a Twitter storm when his show tweeted, “If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her?”

● In a pop culture obsessed with sex, why does it seem like the male metrosexual is so…asexual?

● Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean somebody of the opposite sex isn’t out to meet you: Going undercover in the 9/11-“Truther”-themed InfoWars Internet dating site.

● How to break free of the Nanny State’s crushing group hug.

And much more. Click here to listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(29 minutes and 7 seconds long; 26.6 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 8.32 MB lo-fi edition.)

If the above Flash audio player is not be compatible with your browser, click on the video player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.

Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 | 13 Comments bullet bullet

RIP Noel Sheppard, 53

March 29th, 2014 - 11:05 am

Noel Sheppard was with Newsbusters at its start in 2005, becoming its associate editor. “It must be said that no blogger here was more prolific and more popular. We’ll have more to say in the coming days,” Brent Bozell writes:

Our Noel Sheppard passed away yesterday (Friday) morning at about 5:00 AM. Say a prayer for the soul of a man we’ll all miss professionally, and many, many of us will miss personally as well. Noel was not just a force of nature, he was a very good man.

How quickly this all happened. Just two months ago, Noel wrote about suddenly getting cancer at 53 called “Cancer’s Ray of Hope.” Nine days ago, he wrote us and said he was interested in writing about his “progress” — and he put “progress” in quotes. We were all wishing for better news, and really couldn’t imagine this was a battle that would end this way.

Noel,  a fellow financial planner turned new media maven, lived about an hour from me in Northern California, and stopped by my house once in the fall of 2008 to record a segment for PJTV during its rough-and-tumble very early days. The following year, when Walter Cronkite passed away, we recorded this segment of my Silicon Graffiti video blog together, with Noel appearing via Web camera:

That was in 2009. Never in a million years did I think I would be blogging about Noel’s passing as well, or so quickly afterwards. RIP to a great blogger and media critic.

Update: Much more from Noel’s friends and colleagues at Twitchy.

More: A tribute to Noel from Matthew Sheffield, the creator of Newsbusters.

Raaaaaacism Straight Up!

February 17th, 2014 - 7:57 pm

Or the lack thereof, as “Liberals Can’t Name Single Example Of Tea Party Racism” in the above video:

Know why? Because there isn’t one.

In the video [above], liberals are asked if the Tea Party is racist. All of them say yes.

When they’re asked a follow up question to name a specific example, none of them can do it.

Seems rather odd that a protest movement that has supported Herman Cain, Mia Love, Allen West, and Tim Scott, and who are extremely conversant in the works of black pundits such as Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, and PJTV’s own Alfonzo Rachel would be racist, but the media will never ask anyone a specific question to quantify their vague claims. (My favorite is the woman who when pressed sputters that the tea party is racist towards women because of the pro-life stance of many Tea Party members.)

Somewhere, the late Andrew Breitbart, who loved to ask protestors to get specific in their charges, is enjoying the above video, which is reminiscent of his 2010 pushback against the Purple People Beaters of the SEIU:

Presumably, Andrew is also enjoying the expansion of his sprawling namesake Website with yesterday’s editions of “Breitbart Texas” and “Breitbart London.” I wish they’d also launch some version of “Big Education,” which Andrew talked about bringing to fruition in the months before he passed away. Attacking media bias is one thing, but to truly change the culture, the source of the elites’ dominant ideology should be targeted for criticism and pushback as well.

Related: “WHITE SUPREMACIST BACKFIRE – SPLC Needs to Apologize for Anti-O’Keefe Smear,” from Hating Breitbart director (and PJM alumnus) Andrew Marcus today at Gateway Pundit.

Infighting on the Pages of the Washington Post

February 16th, 2014 - 2:42 pm

A staple rule of journalism is “Don’t **** where you eat.” (You can fill in the asterisks with whatever four-letter word you like.) At the New York Times, Maureen Dowd isn’t going to disagree with Paul Krugman, who isn’t going to disagree with Thomas Friedman. It just isn’t done, both out of professional courtesy, and basic survival instinct. The same is true in television journalism — when conservatives pointed out that Dan Rather had cooked the books during the scandal known as Rathergate, his then-fellow over-the-air nightly news anchors Tom Brokaw and the late Peter Jennings both circled the wagons to defend their fellow dino-journalist from those whom they perceived as rabble conservative upstarts.

Last year at the Washington Post, Ezra Klein and his fellow Juicebox Mafiosos at the Post and Slate — still owned by the Post at the time — did attack superstar journalist Bob Woodward on his home turf. The reason was that Woodward dared to point out that the Sequester was the Obama administration’s idea, thereby destroying a key leftwing talking point: that rightwing bomb throwers wanted to shut down the government.  (Only inside the Beltway and on the JournoList is shutting down the government seen as a bad thing.)

But even with that precedent at the Washington Post set by the left, it’s still rather surprising to see the libertarian-themed Volokh Conspiracy blog, having only recently taken the Boeing to become ensconced at the Post, attacking another longtime Post grandee, E.J. Dionne, in a post titled “Dionne v. Hayek,” by Volokh conspirator Todd Zywicki:

Last week, E.J. Dionne Jr. penned a column in the Washington Post that blamed adherence to the tenets of the Austrian school of economics for gridlock in Washington. Well, sort of. He seemed to say that Austrian economics simultaneously was an obscure set of ideas of which no one has heard (except Ron Paul) and is yet powerful enough to provide the rallying cry for the Republican Party in Washington. More important, he says that Austrian economics is troublesome as a practical matter by blocking activist-government Keynesian-style interventions and deficit spending that would spur the economy and bring about greater wealth redistribution, but Austrian economics is wrong as a theoretical and historical matter. (As an aside, listening to the recording of Ron Paul’s speech, it doesn’t sound like he says “We’re all Austrians now.”  He says, “I’m waiting for the day when we can say ‘We’re all Austrians now.’”).

Dionne’s column is problematic in two ways.  First, he completely misrepresents the central argument of Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, which seems to be his central target. Second, he fails to accurately reflect the debate over the historical record of Keynesianism during the Great Depression and in particular the “stagflation” episode of the 1970s, which shattered the Nixon-era consensus on the wisdom of Keynesian economics.

Read the whole thing, if only to get to what is perhaps the most damning sentence in Zywicki’s blogpost. As he notes, “it isn’t evident from the column that Dionne has actually read The Road to Serfdom itself, as opposed to just reading commentators on the book who have also fundamentally misunderstood the book.”

As Stacy McCain quips in response, “Liberals Hate Books They Don’t Read:”

Margaret Thatcher famously remarked that the problem with socialism is that, “sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money”. However, we might add, liberals never run out of bad arguments for failed policies.

Meanwhile, Russ Roberts of Cafe Hayek wonders what Dionne has been smoking:

I guess he forget that $820 billion “stimulus” spending. That spending somehow got through the political system despite the obsession conservatives have with Austrian economics. Keynes is dead but somehow, between 2009 and 2012, federal deficits were over a $1 trillion every year. We’ll see about 2013, it may be less. That government spending as a percentage of GDP was only 25% in 2009 and above 24% in 2010 and 2011–the highest levels since WWII–was evidently due to lawmakers being in thrall to Austrian thinking.

If only it were so.

And as Glenn Reynolds adds, “Even with Hayek dead for decades, Dionne is still overmatched.” But what would Hayek himself think about all this? Perhaps his 1975 comments (found via Ace) on leftwing dashboard saint John Maynard Keynes and his ignorance of basic economic principles help to answer that question:

And what does Dionne think about being attacked in his own (virtual) pages? I have no idea, but I think we can all picture the steam shooting out of his ears. But assuming the Volokh Conspiracy aren’t ejected from the Boeing, congrats to new owner Jeff Bezos on allowing actual debate at what once a largely closed-loop system.

I Approve of This Krony Capitalism

February 1st, 2014 - 12:37 pm

Andrew Wilkow of The Blaze interviews veteran TV producer John Papola, the creator of the brilliant “Kronies” video and toys, who previously produced the Keynes vs. Hayek rap videos you may have seen as well. As Papola tells Wilkow, “May these reach more people than kids who have The Road to Serfdom on their desk.” They also suggest that more videos are on the way, with possibly a GI Joe-style cartoon series running on Beck’s The Blaze channel, and/or a follow-up that explores corruption in local government, “The Muni Kronies.”

Papola tells Beck himself in another interview that the goal with the Kronies was to send a message that transcends the canyon-sized left-right divide: “Whatever you think the role of government should be, you certainly don’t want it to be corrupt. The question is, and the center of the debate is, what’s the source of that corruption?”

forgotten_man_graphic_novel_2-1-14-2Speaking of subversive ways to inculcate radical, way out there, lunatic ideas into, as Rush would say, “the yoot of America,” — i.e., freedom, democracy, and small government, Amity Shlaes really buries the the lede in her recent post at Ricochet. It’s titled “The Condescension of Paul Krugman,” but about 12-paragpraphs in, she offhandedly writes:

Despite the anxiety it produced in the private sector, the authorities seemed to relish playing with power. A feud over Dr. Krugman’s favorite area, monetary policy, illustrates this.

Marriner Eccles, the new chairman of the Federal Reserve, preached looser monetary policy. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, by contrast, favored budget-tightening. The Eccles-Morgenthau row infuriated their fellow officials, as artist Paul Rivoche shows in the drawing here, a cartoon picture from our forthcoming illustrated version of my own history of the era, The Forgotten Man (Click on the photograph to see a larger version). The two officials, especially Morgenthau, were more concerned with putting each other down than with what transpired outside Washington as a result of their squabble.

I haven’t read a comic book since I sold off my Batman collection at age 13 (I know, a fortune p***ed away, to borrow an ’80s-era Elayne Boosler leitmotif), but a comic book — sorry, graphic novel edition of The Forgotten Man? Count me in. (To bring this post full circle, after World War II, General Motors once distributed a comic edition of Hayek’s Road to Serfdom — and then a quarter century later, completely forgot the advice they once proffered.)

Click over to Amity’s post at Ricochet to see a page from the upcoming book. For my interview last year with her on Coolidge, her “prequel” to The Forgotten Man, click here to listen.

And finally, if you missed it last week, here’s the original “Kronies” video. Each character also has his own video, online here:

(Via RD Brewer at  Ace of Spades.)

The Ewoks Get Shirts!

December 30th, 2013 - 9:32 pm

Congratulations to ten years in the Blogosphere to Ace of Spades. As Stacy McCain writes:

Back when I was working the national desk at the Washington Times, I’d read Ace of Spades and say, “Wow. That looks like fun. He’s writing about politics and making dirty jokes. I could do that.”

So after I actually quit my job and started blogging, Ace’s inspiration was alway there. R.D. Brewer takes us on a trip via the Wayback Machine to the AOSHQ Primitive Era, before he got all respectable and shit.

George W. Bush was in the White House, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, Howard Dean was running around Iowa as if he were a Serious Contender, and it was safe to ridicule Democrats while making masturbation jokes.

Good times, my friends, good times.

Alas, Karl Rove’s Permanent Republican Majority proved to be not quite so permanent, and the Era of Grim Seriousness has overtaken us. Ace still manages to crack a joke now and then, but we’ll probably never return to the carefree days of yore.

Read the whole thing, and then drop by Ace’s blog to congratulate him for ten years of Blogospheric awesomeness. That’s just the f***ing way it is.

Monster Chiller ObamaCare Theater

October 31st, 2013 - 12:42 pm

Unlike most of what Count Floyd proffered to Melonville and tri-city area viewers on SCTV, the future under Obamacare really is berrrry, berrry scary, boys and girls. (Just ask those living in Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing’s country.) In the meantime, this video from Remy of Reason TV is an exceptionally well-done Halloween treat.

To paraphrase Daniel Greenfield, government is magic — black magic.

(Saul Alinsky, who dedicated his best-known book to Ol’ Scratch would agree, right?)

9/11: A Look Back

September 11th, 2013 - 11:42 am

Street view of Ground Zero after Islamofascist terrorist attack, 9/18/2001. (Photo by Larry Bruce / Shutterstock.com.)

12 years ago today, at about 6:45 AM pacific time, my wife and I were awoken by a phone call from a friend in England, who told us, “Turn on the TV!”

“Huh? What channel?” My wife asked blearily asked.

“Any channel.”

As I wrote in 2005 (link goes to Wayback machine; even so, linkrot is a definite possibility with any of the following links):

That’s how the day began for my wife and I–and quite possibly, you too. In a Blogosphere retrospective, Lorie Byrd of PoliPundit was kind enough to include this post from the year after, which collects a bunch of items I wrote about 9/11. (When I saw her link, I updated it with a couple of more items, and replaced a couple of previously expired hyperlinks.)

If a writer as great as Virginia Postrel can look back on March 11, 2002 and conclude, “Much of what I wrote on this site six months ago, now seems banal or confused, although I can’t say I’d take anything back”, then keep similar thoughts in mind when reading my work about that day.

PoliPundit also has a look back on what has changed since that terrible day, and Orrin Judd links to what has become one of the most important and iconic photographs of the day, entirely because of the Blogosphere and other grass roots Websites–and equally entirely despite the best efforts of the legacy media to block it. (The PJ Media homepage has a retrospective slideshow of many additional photos. The simple fact that the Blogosphere exists is itself a testiment to 9/11, of course.)

Not everything has changed though. In his speech about the event nine days later, President Bush said, “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”. On October 1st, Rudy Giuliani added:

On one side is democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human life; on the other is tyranny, arbitrary executions, and mass murder.We’re right and they’re wrong. It’s as simple as that.

And by that I mean that America and its allies are right about democracy, about religious, political, and economic freedom.

The terrorists are wrong, and in fact evil, in their mass destruction of human life in the name of addressing alleged injustices.

For many Americans, 9/11 was the end of much moral equivalency when it comes to dealing with evil–but as Roger L. Simon notes, sadly, there’s still a fair amount of what Paul Johnson, in Modern Times called moral relativismleft in many who should know better.

Update: Speaking of moral relativism, events such as this and this, happening so closely to the anniversary of 9/11, help to define exactly what the term means.

Sharply contrasting the meaning is a decision by Alex Tabarrok.

A look back at some our 9/11-related posts over the years:

And finally, Joe Biden describes 9/11 as “bittersweet.” To paraphrase JWF’s response, I remember vividly the first half of the word — what exactly were the “sweet” aspects of the day? Elsewhere, Moe Lane compares and contrasts the first Tweets of the day today from the two presidential candidates, Joel B. Pollak of Big Government explores “9/11: A Clinton Legacy,” and John Yoo asks the unthinkable: “What If Obama Had Been President on 9/11?”

(Originally posted last year; date of anniversary updated in lede.)

When I first saw the above Tweet, I had assumed that the blacked out logo on the crashed passenger jet was some sort of crude redaction done in Photoshop or one of its cheaper knock-off imitation programs. Nope, it’s a 1/1 scale 3D redaction, done by the airline itself in a misguided effort aimed at avoiding bad publicity:

Thai Airways President Sorajak Kasemsuvan said that “the matter is under investigation,” NBC reported.

He also said, “The captain took control of the aircraft until it came to a complete stop, and passengers were evacuated from the aircraft emergency exits.”

The passengers who were injured were sent to area hospitals for treatment. The airline reported that their injuries occurred mostly during evacuation from the aircraft.

In an effort to protect the company’s image, workers blacked out the Thai Airways logo on the tail and body of the plane, The Huffington Post reported.

Thai Airways official Samud Poom-On said that covering up the logo was a normal practice for the airline after an accident. The official initially said the practice was mandated by Star Alliance, but the global airline group said it had no such policy, The Huffington Post said.

Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon said it was too early to comment on what caused the accident, The Huffington Post reported.

It was the second mishap in less than two weeks for Thailand’s national carrier, according to The Huffington Post.

Has Barbra Streisand ever flown Thai Aiways? Because whether they know the phrase or not, the airline is becoming intimately familiar with what’s commonly called “the Streisand Effect,” and how it exponentially magnifies bad or inconvenient news.

kennedy_mtv_book_cover_8-26-13-1

If you were a red-blooded American teenager in the 1980s, chances are at some point, you not only wanted your MTV, you wanted to work there, either behind, or ideally in front of the cameras. Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, better known simply as “Kennedy,” was someone who lived the dream, becoming part of the second wave of VJs to arrive at the television network, when it was still (usually) showing rock videos.

However, Kennedy had an at times bruising run there, when it was discovered that she was – gasp! – a conservative. As she mentions in her new and thoroughly enjoyable book, The Kennedy Chronicles: The Golden Age of MTV Through Rose-Colored Glasses. Things got particularly grim at the 1994 MTV Video Awards:

[Roseanne’s] joke that Kennedy was backstage performing oral sex on Rush Limbaugh sparked Kennedy’s mock fellatio performance on a microphone while standing next to New York City Rudy Giuliani. Later, when fellow VJ Bill Bellamy asked her if she wanted to say anything to Roseanne, she responded: “Roseanne, ease up on the Prozac, and by the way, Rush Limbaugh says you give [much better oral sex].” Roseanne later wrote Kennedy a letter saying she was one of the few people that had ever stood up to her “and she had a lot of respect for me,” Kennedy said in an interview. “It was such a nice letter, one of those kind moments that taught me a lot about class and supporting a lot of women.” Although the incident almost got her fired, Kennedy points out that MTV had approved Roseanne’s joke because it appeared on the teleprompter.

Fortunately, though, she survived Roseanne’s disgusting sucker punch (and Roseanne would only go downhill from there), and left the network in 1997 on her own terms. She’s now a DJ at L.A.’s ALT 98.7, creates videos for Reason TV, and contributes to John Stossel’s show on the Fox Business Channel. And she’s still on great terms with her fellow VJs from the period, as well as MTV News host Kurt Loder, who also contributes to Reason.

During our interview, we’ll discuss:

● How Roger Ailes gave a surprising assist to her early MTV days.

● How she was able to smuggle her conservatism into the perilously liberal world of MTV.

● How Kurt Loder helped her make the transition from conservative to libertarian.

● The confining worldview of many left-wing rock artists.

● Why “Zappa Family Values” aren’t an oxymoron.

● Why so many musicians suffer from what Keith Richards calls LVS – “Lead Vocalist Syndrome.”

● Young people and libertarianism in 2013.

●How the media world today differs from the MTV era.

And much more. Click here to listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(17 and a half minutes long; 15.9 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 4.79 MB lo-fi edition.)

If the above Flash audio player is not be compatible with your browser, click on the video player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.

Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 | 9 Comments bullet bullet

He Chose…Poorly

August 22nd, 2013 - 7:11 pm

“So Some Numbskull is Trying to Get Stacy McCain’s Blog Shut Down?”, Bryan Preston asks at the PJ Tatler. “By trying to shut Stacy down, his enemies have only drawn more traffic to his site.”

Play along at home! Don’t be surprised if you do better — much better — than the vox populi Michelle Fields interviews for Next Generation TV.

Or as John Hinderaker writes at Power Line:

Like nearly all such man-in-the-street videos, it is also depressing. How in the world can these people not know about Benghazi, Fast and Furious, etc.? It is one more reminder that if corrupt scammers are the brains of the Democratic Party, low-information voters are its heart and soul.

At least for the moment.

(Via American Glob.)

12 Years of Instapundit

August 10th, 2013 - 5:32 pm

Everybody has their story of how they discovered the Blogosphere; for lots of people, it was via Instapundit.com, which turned 12 years old this week. Here’s my take (originally published in 2011), a visit to the Jurassic days of the early Blogosphere.

Ten years ago, when I was making my living as a freelance writer, and writing four to six articles a month to magazines in various fields — back then mostly “on dead tree,” I had only just started to write for political Websites. I had submitted an article on the Mies van der Rohe exhibition then ongoing at New York’s Museum of Modern Art to National Review Online, and then followed up with an article on the Computer History Museum, then at Moffett Field in northern California. I was always doing Google vanity searches on my name, to see who was linking to my articles online.

Shortly after the piece on the Computer History Museum went up at NRO, I found it had been linked to by something or someone called “Instapundit.” I had seen Weblogs before, but they were always of the “I went to the mall and bought a great pair of Nikes” or “I had a really great date at Applebee’s last night” variety of daily diaries.

And I had seen self-published e-zines, in the form of Virginia Postrel’s Dynamist.com, KausFiles, and maybe Andrew Sullivan in whatever incarnation he was then currently in, plus of course the self-published Drudge Report, and had thought about launching a Website of my own, but these looked like they were beyond my then-meager Web skills. Designing a page template? FTP’ing up new pages every day? I didn’t know of any programs that automated that sort of thing.

But what set Instapundit apart, at the time, was that it was on Blogger. In fact, as Glenn Reynolds mentions in his new video at PJTV celebrating the tenth anniversary of his pioneering blog, his original URL was indeed instapundit.blogspot.com.That little Blogger Button in the corner of Glenn’s Weblog made all the difference. It suddenly became obvious that the platform of Blogger.com and the content it held were two very different things. While the vast majority of blogs on Blogger.com’s Blogspot hosting site were daily diaries, in reality, a blog could be anything.

And it helped that Glenn picked a catchy name for his nascent enterprise. As marketing gurus Al Ries and Jack Trout once wrote, there’s reason why we remember Apple as the first personal computer, and not the Altair 8800 or the IMSAI 8080. Because Apple had the name that made computing sound simple, easy to learn, and reliable, and not something you needed Wehner von Braun and Stanley Kubrick to walk you through. Similarly, the name Instapundit instantly explained the purpose of this new Website. Want news? Want opinion? What it fast? Who doesn’t, in the age of the World Wide Web? Well, this is your Website.

Once I saw the short “hit and run” style of Instapundit, the light bulb went off for me, as it did for hundreds, possibly thousands of other would-be bloggers back then: you could point readers to a story, and interject a short comment, but you needn’t hold yourself out as an expert on a particular topic. You were essentially an Internet traffic cop, directing traffic to the hot story of the moment, and blowing the whistle on those stories were the journalist got it wrong. And unlike a magazine article, which typically is of a fixed word count to fit into an existing page space in-between advertisements, a blog post could be any length, as we’ve seen from Glenn’s short one sentence (occasionally even one word) posts, to 5,000 word essays that Steven Den Beste routinely used to post in the first half of the previous decade. Or a blog could be devoted primarily to photos or video.

In other words, it was immediately obvious there was a whole new freeform style that had opened up, when I clicked on Instapundit around September 3rd or 4th of 2001.

And then the next week, the world changed. As Bryan Preston writes at the Tatler:

It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Glenn Reynolds started InstaPundit.com. His blog was the first I ran across in the chaos of 9-11, and I was instantly hooked by his calm, reasonable, patriotic and liberty-focused take on the horrors of that day, and he way and speed with which he assembled opinion and reaction from all over the world. The way he dissected and destroyed media memes was a lifeline to sanity. InstaPundit was a revelation to me. Later I would start my own blog, JunkYardBlog, inspired and led by Glenn’s work. Thousands of other bloggers out there have been similarly impacted and inspired by Glenn Reynolds, and millions of readers have too. Glenn Reynolds is the blogfather to the blogosphere itself, among the right and libertarian blogs.

Right from the start, Glenn’s list of permalinked Weblogs were worth clicking on in and of themselves, just to see who was out there in this new world of journalism.

In early 2002, as I was planning to launch Ed Driscoll.com, originally simply to promote my magazine articles, I decided to use the Blogger.com interface to allow for easy access of the site, but with a different color scheme to differentiate myself from Glenn. (The hat design, based on a Trilby I had picked up in London in the summer of 2000, and swanky ’50s font came a couple of years later, when I commissioned Stacy Tabb to update my Weblog.)

Pages: 1 2 | 2 Comments bullet bullet

All Hail the Amazon Post!

August 5th, 2013 - 11:59 pm

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, purchased the Washington Post today for $250 million. Here are some quick thoughts, and a round-up of reaction around the Interwebs. First up, to put Bezos’ purchase price into perspective, Mark Steyn writes:

Re Jeff Bezos buying The Washington Post for $250 million, I mentioned here yesterday that in 1999 The Worcester Telegram & Gazette (that’s in Massachusetts) sold for $295 million.

Fourteen years later, one of the media’s A-list titles – the establishment paper of the capital city, the one that took down a president and made Woodward, Bernstein and Ben Bradlee the Holy Trinity of American journalism’s First Church of Itself – can barely command 80 per cent of that price.

No other industry’s management is in quite such poignant inversion to its self-regard.

And as Allahpundit adds at Hot Air:

Per DrewM, the combined value of the Washington Post and Boston Globe these days is more than $100 million less than the least valued major league baseball team — or, if you prefer, half the amount that the Qatari royals paid for Current TV. If you’ve got $250 million to play with, what’s a better use of your money, a yacht with all the trimmings or the political influence that comes with owning the paper of record in the capital of the most powerful country in the world?

Naturally, the Post, which once prided itself on being the greatest investigative paper in the world, suddenly has no clue what its new owner’s politics are, as  Mark Krikorian writes at the Corner:

The Post story on its sale to Jeff Bezos notes toward the end that the owner of Amazon “has given little indication of his ideological leanings over the years.” It then goes on to say that “he and his wife have regularly donated to the campaign of Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash)” and that he is in “the top ranks of financial backers of gay rights in the country.” I think that gives a pretty clear indication of his ideological leanings. His leftism is no surprise, given the political inclinations of our elites, but it’s hilarious that the reporter, Paul Farhi, and his editors could list those data points and then not draw the obvious conclusion. I don’t think it was disingenuous — they just see liberalism as the natural state of thinking people, and not as any kind of ideological leaning. And that’s why, despite Bezos’s business acumen, the Post will likely continue down the path of clueless, parochial liberalism, and keep hemorrhaging readers.

At least until the announcement that the Democrats’ “Mistress of Disaster” Jamie Gorelick joined their board last year, Amazon has always maintained a far quieter political stance than the in-your-face “Progressivism” of Google, which Allahpundit believes might tone down some of the increasingly reactionary leftwing stances of the Post in recent years:

Ace thinks Bezos will keep the Post reliably Democratic in orientation. I don’t know. It may be that he cares less about shaping the news than about the challenge of building a news outlet that succeeds online where others have failed miserably. If I were him, I wouldn’t want any political grief from a comparatively tiny asset like the Post bleeding over into my main business. He just bought himself a lot of cachet. All he can do now is annoy half of his Amazon customers by wielding it in a manner that’s too politically antagonistic.

Perhaps a good indicator on what if any changes will occur at the Post will be if any of the JournoListas are given their walking papers. Speaking of which, Matthew Yglesias reassures his fellow left-wing readers at Slate that Bezos did not also acquire that asset in his transaction:

The news just broke that Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is buying the Washington Post. Two points to make about this. First, Slate is a property of the Washington Post Company but is not part of the Washington Post. Neither it nor Foreign Policy nor the Root have been sold. In fact, Bezos isn’t even buying the building in which the Post is currently located. Second, I’m reading a lot of jokes on Twitter about Post subscriptions and Amazon Prime tie-ins, but to be clear Bezos personally is buying the Post. Amazon is not buying anything. Bezos is a personally wealthy man, and newspapers sell for cheap these days—he’s paying “only” $250 million for it—while Amazon the company has a market capitalization of $136 billion.

A further thing to understand about this is that even though the Washington Post Company is obviously named after the daily newspaper, the paper is a rather small part of the company. As of this morning the Post Company was a diversified conglomerate with interests that included education (primarily Kaplan), cable television (Cable One, which is a major operator in some unfashionable parts of the country), hospices, and even industrial equipment. Obviously the company is going to have to be renamed, and on a symbolic level, this is a major change in the company’s identity and in the Graham family’s relationship to the city of Washington. But from a corporate viewpoint, this represents the sale of just one asset out of many.

Bezos didn’t also assume the Post’s “endless legacy pension costs,” TechCrunch reports:

Print revenue is drifting downwards, as circulation slips. In the first half of 2013, the Washington Post saw its daily circulation decline 7.1% to 447,700.

It’s difficult to tell how much money the Washington Post loses, if any. The larger and now all-but -former newspaper division lost $49.3 million in the first two quarters of 2013. However, of that loss, $39.7 million was related to pension expenses. Also, in the first half of 2013, $19.6 million in “early retirement and severance expense” was recorded.

If there had been no retirement costs, and we deducted the pension expenses, the newspaper division would have been profitable, it appears.

Turning to pensions, a SEC filing states that:

[T]he Purchaser shall assume all liabilities that relate to providing post-retirement welfare benefits to Post Employees, and the Seller shall retain all liabilities that relate to providing post-retirement welfare benefits to Former Post Employees.

So, Bezos will not be responsible for endless legacy pension costs. And, according to AllThingsD, Bezos will be given “what amounts to $50 million” to help with the costs of newly acquired employee’s pension promises. That sweetens the overall deal, and lowers its effective price.

By the way, Jeff Bezos and Egon Spengler of Ghostbusters both agree: Print is Dead. “Bezos In 2012: People Won’t Pay For News On The Web, Print Will Be Dead In 20 Years,” TechCrunch reports in a separate post on how Bezos might start changing the layout of his new electric train set:

Before Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million, he had some choice words for the ailing print news industry. In a wide-ranging interview with the German paper, Berliner-Zeitung, the newly-minted media mogul said at the time that no one would bother paying for news online and print would be dead in 20 years (translation from our awesome writer, Frederic Lardinois).

“There is one thing I’m certain about: there won’t be printed newspapers in twenty years. Maybe as luxury items in some hotels that want to offer them as an extravagant service. Printed papers won’t be normal in twenty years.” said Bezos. That’s a pretty long timeline (think what happened in technology since 1993), but it does given an indication that Bezos may pressure his new newspaper to accelerate abandonment of their print version.

And, while I hate to lean too much on Allahpundit’s item at Hot Air on the Post sale, it’s worth flashing back to the 2004-era “Epic 2014″ video he mentioned, which we linked to a bunch of times during the early freeform days of Ed Driscoll.com, and which forecasted the state of the media world a decade out — AKA, next year. Bezos’ forecast that printed newspapers will ultimately only exist as luxury items dovetails well with Epic 2014′s prophecy for the New York Times — though they might be want to get going, if they still want to make their prediction come true next year….

At Reason, Matt Welch adds:

Who knew that 2013′s first billionaire-libertarian-buys-major-American-newspaper story didn’t involve the name Koch? And how far the once-infallible business model of newspapering has fallen….

Bezos, who was named one of Reason‘s “35 Heroes of Freedom“ in 2003, has contributed money in the past to the Reason Foundation, the 501(c)3 nonprofit that publishes this website. Reason on the Amazon founder here.

Will the professional left tune out the Post as result of Bezos’ purchase? Has Obama given it his tacit blessing, given that he visited Bezos’ Amazon.com less than a week before its founder’s latest acquisition? Will conservatives boycott Amazon now that its founder owns the second-most prominent DNC house organ in the country? We’ll know soon. In the meantime, the Daily Caller has fun sticking the shiv in. How will the husk of the Washington Post that Bezos didn’t purchase make its money? “Washington Post Co. looks to deathbed care provider as last hope.”

One huge reason the Post was sold, and at such a deep discount, is that, as TechCrunch notes, online classified advertising has slipped dramatically there: 

Online advertising revenue for the newspaper division rose 25% in the second quarter. However, online classified revenue fell 7%. What does all that mean? Essentially that the online portion of the Washington Post is growing at a decent pace, even as one of its revenue streams – online classifieds – stutters.

The MSM began to really hemorrhage money when Craigslist stole what was once a huge source of revenue for newspapers — their classified ad revenue. Beyond the loss of ad revenue of all sorts, to get a sense of why the Washington Post, which, as Mark Steyn noted in our quote at the top of this post, once “took down a president and made Woodward, Bernstein and Ben Bradlee the Holy Trinity of American journalism’s First Church of Itself” is now in such a (comparatively) feeble state, it’s worth flashing back to the laundry list post I wrote back in 2010, “Studying the Washington Post Kremlinologist-Style,” which I’m reprinting on the following page.

(Bumped to top.)

Pages: 1 2 | 10 Comments bullet bullet