posts about or somewhat related to ‘criticism’

Image Management
Beyonce Knowles has banned press photographers from her ‘Mrs. Carter’ concert tour in an attempt to prevent unbecoming photos of herself from being used by the media. This appears to be a response to unflattering photos published by Gawker and Buzzfeed from the singer’s Superbowl performance.
Now, Beyonce’s personal photographer, Frank Micelotta, is the only one officially allowed to capture images of Beyonce during her concerts. The press is then given a link to an “official” website where they must register to download “approved” images.
In an article in Slate, Alyssa Rosenberg points out the quandary of celebrities censoring — or otherwise trying to completely control — their pictures:

"[Beyonce is] turning the media into a distribution machine for whatever message she wants to send, rather than accepting that others have the right to judge the tour, as a product she’s offering up."

FJP: Pop stars aren’t the only ones practicing the dark arts of image control.
Earlier this winter Politico published an article about the Washington press corps’ frustration with their access to the White House. Part of that criticism was the Obama administration’s use of social media to bypass them with images and information posted directly to the public.
For example, the White House Flickr gallery is made up of photographs by Pete Souza, the official Obama administration photographer. Souza captures and even stages pictures of the president — like Obama’s moment of silence photo op held in honor of the Boston bombings — and many of those images have been used by the news media.
Is it acceptable that politicians can craft their own image, but not celebrities? And how authentic can journalism be if everyone gets their images from one, tightly controlled source?
Sort of related: Attorney, Carolyn E. Wright, points out in  Slate’s Manners For The Digital Age podcast: if you’re in a publicly-accessible area, and you don’t have an expectation of privacy, you’re fair game to be photographed.
Famous people, beware: as long as the media have their will, they’ll get you on camera their way — be you Obama, or be you Beyonce. — Krissy
Image: Beyonce from the Super Bowl, via Pocket-Lint.

Image Management

Beyonce Knowles has banned press photographers from her ‘Mrs. Carter’ concert tour in an attempt to prevent unbecoming photos of herself from being used by the media. This appears to be a response to unflattering photos published by Gawker and Buzzfeed from the singer’s Superbowl performance.

Now, Beyonce’s personal photographer, Frank Micelotta, is the only one officially allowed to capture images of Beyonce during her concerts. The press is then given a link to an “official” website where they must register to download “approved” images.

In an article in Slate, Alyssa Rosenberg points out the quandary of celebrities censoring — or otherwise trying to completely control — their pictures:

"[Beyonce is] turning the media into a distribution machine for whatever message she wants to send, rather than accepting that others have the right to judge the tour, as a product she’s offering up."

FJP: Pop stars aren’t the only ones practicing the dark arts of image control.

Earlier this winter Politico published an article about the Washington press corps’ frustration with their access to the White House. Part of that criticism was the Obama administration’s use of social media to bypass them with images and information posted directly to the public.

For example, the White House Flickr gallery is made up of photographs by Pete Souza, the official Obama administration photographer. Souza captures and even stages pictures of the president — like Obama’s moment of silence photo op held in honor of the Boston bombings — and many of those images have been used by the news media.

Is it acceptable that politicians can craft their own image, but not celebrities? And how authentic can journalism be if everyone gets their images from one, tightly controlled source?

Sort of related: Attorney, Carolyn E. Wright, points out in Slate’s Manners For The Digital Age podcast: if you’re in a publicly-accessible area, and you don’t have an expectation of privacy, you’re fair game to be photographed.

Famous people, beware: as long as the media have their will, they’ll get you on camera their way — be you Obama, or be you Beyonce. — Krissy

Image: Beyonce from the Super Bowl, via Pocket-Lint.

Why False Rumors Spread on Twitter During Times of Crisis
Yasuaki Sakamoto, assistant professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology, conducted an experiment in behavioral psychology to test rumor-spreading on Twitter during times of crisis. The original hypothesis was that if a person read a rumor-tweet and then read a rebuttal tweet that criticized the rumor immediately afterward, the rumor-tweet would then have lower perceived importance, anxiety, and overall accuracy — meaning a person would be less likely to continue spreading the rumor-tweet.
To test this, 87 Japanese undergraduate and graduate students were exposed to 20 rumor-tweets and then 10 rebuttal-tweets about the 2011 Japan Earthquake. 
The researchers discovered that when someone’s tweet is met with a criticism, it gives the tweet less credibility — making a person less inclined to spread the tweet associated with a criticism. The amount of people who stopped rumor-tweets actually increased 150% when people were exposed to rebuttal-tweets. 
So, basically  the original hypothesis was right. When people hear opposing views, they will be less inclined to spread rumors during a crisis. Spectacular. Funny thing, though…
via iRevolution:

“Whether a receiver is exposed to rumor or criticism first makes a difference in her decision to spread the rumor. Another interpretation of the result is that, even if a receiver is exposed to a number of criticisms, she will benefit less from this exposure when she sees rumors first than when she sees criticisms before rumors.”

So, even when someone is exposed to another point of view after she’s exposed to a rumor, the perceived importance, anxiety, and accuracy of the rumor will still be higher than that of the new opposing point of view. She’ll STILL be instinctually inclined to spread the rumor-tweet just because she heard it first.
With that in mind, one can assume that in times of crisis (when people’s perceptions are most likely influenced by belief or emotions), these people will be inclined to believe the first thing they read regardless of its validity. 
FJP: So, how do we attempt to solve this issue? 
Verily is a platform (currently in development) that will directly connect rebuttal-tweets to rumor-tweets with the intent of decreasing the spread of rumors during disasters. 
Verily’s plan to connect contradicting tweets is a step in the right direction, but even if a rebuttal-tweet is a criticism, it doesn’t mean it’s a valid criticism. Is it any better if people believe the second tweet they read, if it’s just as incorrect as the first one?
How do we make sure that these tweeters can think critically and/or draw their own conclusions about a rumor-tweet without the helpful contradiction of rebuttal-tweets?  
Michael Shammas of The Huffington Post thinks integrating philosophy into American education is the answer:

While some philosophies obviously conduce toward peace more than others, while some philosophers (Marcus Aurelius) seem kinder than others (Nietzsche), the open-minded study of different philosophies at least opens one up to the possibility that one is wrong. One realizes, like Socrates did, that knowledge is anything but certain, that true wisdom lies in realizing how much one does not know, in understanding that our knowledge of the universe (and therefore of earthly things like politics) is utterly inadequate, perhaps comparable to the area of a pin’s tip against a table. This realization makes one less angry when confronted with opposing views, replacing counterproductive anger with productive curiosity.

Is it better to combat ignorance and gullibility in the schools, or in the cyber-streets? Both? Both. — Krissy
Image: iRevolution

Why False Rumors Spread on Twitter During Times of Crisis

Yasuaki Sakamoto, assistant professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology, conducted an experiment in behavioral psychology to test rumor-spreading on Twitter during times of crisis. The original hypothesis was that if a person read a rumor-tweet and then read a rebuttal tweet that criticized the rumor immediately afterward, the rumor-tweet would then have lower perceived importance, anxiety, and overall accuracy — meaning a person would be less likely to continue spreading the rumor-tweet.

To test this, 87 Japanese undergraduate and graduate students were exposed to 20 rumor-tweets and then 10 rebuttal-tweets about the 2011 Japan Earthquake.

The researchers discovered that when someone’s tweet is met with a criticism, it gives the tweet less credibility — making a person less inclined to spread the tweet associated with a criticism. The amount of people who stopped rumor-tweets actually increased 150% when people were exposed to rebuttal-tweets. 

So, basically  the original hypothesis was right. When people hear opposing views, they will be less inclined to spread rumors during a crisis. Spectacular. Funny thing, though…

via iRevolution:

“Whether a receiver is exposed to rumor or criticism first makes a difference in her decision to spread the rumor. Another interpretation of the result is that, even if a receiver is exposed to a number of criticisms, she will benefit less from this exposure when she sees rumors first than when she sees criticisms before rumors.”

So, even when someone is exposed to another point of view after she’s exposed to a rumor, the perceived importance, anxiety, and accuracy of the rumor will still be higher than that of the new opposing point of view. She’ll STILL be instinctually inclined to spread the rumor-tweet just because she heard it first.

With that in mind, one can assume that in times of crisis (when people’s perceptions are most likely influenced by belief or emotions), these people will be inclined to believe the first thing they read regardless of its validity. 

FJP: So, how do we attempt to solve this issue? 

Verily is a platform (currently in development) that will directly connect rebuttal-tweets to rumor-tweets with the intent of decreasing the spread of rumors during disasters. 

Verily’s plan to connect contradicting tweets is a step in the right direction, but even if a rebuttal-tweet is a criticism, it doesn’t mean it’s a valid criticism. Is it any better if people believe the second tweet they read, if it’s just as incorrect as the first one?

How do we make sure that these tweeters can think critically and/or draw their own conclusions about a rumor-tweet without the helpful contradiction of rebuttal-tweets?  

Michael Shammas of The Huffington Post thinks integrating philosophy into American education is the answer:

While some philosophies obviously conduce toward peace more than others, while some philosophers (Marcus Aurelius) seem kinder than others (Nietzsche), the open-minded study of different philosophies at least opens one up to the possibility that one is wrong. One realizes, like Socrates did, that knowledge is anything but certain, that true wisdom lies in realizing how much one does not know, in understanding that our knowledge of the universe (and therefore of earthly things like politics) is utterly inadequate, perhaps comparable to the area of a pin’s tip against a table. This realization makes one less angry when confronted with opposing views, replacing counterproductive anger with productive curiosity.

Is it better to combat ignorance and gullibility in the schools, or in the cyber-streets? Both? Both. — Krissy

Image: iRevolution

How We Talk About North Korea
Via Alex Pareene:

[North Korea] is the sort of story that our news media is absolutely awful at covering. Most people on cable news are brainless idiots hired primarily for their ability to talk on camera for long periods of time without saying “uh” that often, and even when they have a simplistic-but-workable grasp of domestic affairs they rarely know shit about the rest of the world. North Korea is a secretive hermit state that even the CIA can’t penetrate, and every report on the capabilities and motivations of the primary actors there will by necessity involve a lot of guesswork…
…This rampant uninformed speculation seems harmless until you recall the sort of effect hysterical uniformed speculation has had on America’s foreign policy in the past. It became clear in the run-up to the Iraq War that the news media was a very useful tool to get the public on board with wars. Through insinuation and misdirection, the false notion that Saddam Hussein was in some way responsible for 9/11 was spread with very few examples of actual lies from the administration — they just made the suggestions and let the idiot-media run with it.

Via Jack Shafer:

Like sportswriters, political reporters, financial news staffers, reporters on the police beat, and other breaking-news artists, foreign correspondents must tell their story with economy and describe what has happened as opposed to why something happened. “Typical Mindbending $#*! By the North Koreans” may accurately describe the latest provocation or retreat by Pyongyang, but it’s not the way breaking news generally gets framed…
…A brief survey of North Korea news clips reveals a spate of clichés… Pyongyang reliably remains defiant; talks have resumed or been proposed, canceled,or stalled, while a U.S. envoy seeks to lure the North back to those talks to restart the dialog; North Korea is bluffing,blustering, or is engaging in brinksmanship; tensions are grim, rising, or growing—but rarely reduced, probably because when tensions go down it doesn’t qualify for coverage; North Korea seeks recognition, respect, or improved or restored relations, or to rejoin the international community, or increased ties to the West that will lead to understanding; deals with North Korea are sought; North Korea feels insulted and is isolated by but threatens the West; the Japanese consider the North Koreans “untrustworthy“; the West seeks positive signs or signals or messages in North Korean conduct but worries about its intentions; diplomats seek to resolve, solve, respond to, overcome, defuse, the brewing, serious, real crisis; the escalating confrontation remains dangerous; the stakes are high, but the standoff endures.
The reliance on stock phrases indicates a lack of imagination on the part of foreign correspondents (and their editors), who if they are serving old wine they should find some new bottles from which to decant it. But it also confirms Shafer’s First Law of Journalistic Thermodynamics, which states, “Copy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form.” North Korea coverage reiterates itself in language that is as pale as dead coral because, of course, the North Koreans insist on echoing themselves, even when acquiring new weapons, such as nuclear bombs and missiles. We’re in no position to ask the North Koreans to speak their minds more articulately (or honestly) but we’re within our rights to ask our favorite hacks to dump the hackneyed.

Alex Pareene, Salon, Pretending to Know about North Korea.
Jack Shafer, Reuters, The Enduring Cliche’s of North Korea Coverage.
Image: Korean peninsula at night, 2012, via NASA/Wikimedia Commons.

How We Talk About North Korea

Via Alex Pareene:

[North Korea] is the sort of story that our news media is absolutely awful at covering. Most people on cable news are brainless idiots hired primarily for their ability to talk on camera for long periods of time without saying “uh” that often, and even when they have a simplistic-but-workable grasp of domestic affairs they rarely know shit about the rest of the world. North Korea is a secretive hermit state that even the CIA can’t penetrate, and every report on the capabilities and motivations of the primary actors there will by necessity involve a lot of guesswork…

…This rampant uninformed speculation seems harmless until you recall the sort of effect hysterical uniformed speculation has had on America’s foreign policy in the past. It became clear in the run-up to the Iraq War that the news media was a very useful tool to get the public on board with wars. Through insinuation and misdirection, the false notion that Saddam Hussein was in some way responsible for 9/11 was spread with very few examples of actual lies from the administration — they just made the suggestions and let the idiot-media run with it.

Via Jack Shafer:

Like sportswriters, political reporters, financial news staffers, reporters on the police beat, and other breaking-news artists, foreign correspondents must tell their story with economy and describe what has happened as opposed to why something happened. “Typical Mindbending $#*! By the North Koreans” may accurately describe the latest provocation or retreat by Pyongyang, but it’s not the way breaking news generally gets framed…

…A brief survey of North Korea news clips reveals a spate of clichés… Pyongyang reliably remains defiant; talks have resumed or been proposed, canceled,or stalled, while a U.S. envoy seeks to lure the North back to those talks to restart the dialog; North Korea is bluffing,blustering, or is engaging in brinksmanship; tensions are grim, rising, or growing—but rarely reduced, probably because when tensions go down it doesn’t qualify for coverage; North Korea seeks recognition, respect, or improved or restored relations, or to rejoin the international community, or increased ties to the West that will lead to understanding; deals with North Korea are sought; North Korea feels insulted and is isolated by but threatens the West; the Japanese consider the North Koreans “untrustworthy“; the West seeks positive signs or signals or messages in North Korean conduct but worries about its intentions; diplomats seek to resolve, solve, respond to, overcome, defuse, the brewing, serious, real crisis; the escalating confrontation remains dangerous; the stakes are high, but the standoff endures.

The reliance on stock phrases indicates a lack of imagination on the part of foreign correspondents (and their editors), who if they are serving old wine they should find some new bottles from which to decant it. But it also confirms Shafer’s First Law of Journalistic Thermodynamics, which states, “Copy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form.” North Korea coverage reiterates itself in language that is as pale as dead coral because, of course, the North Koreans insist on echoing themselves, even when acquiring new weapons, such as nuclear bombs and missiles. We’re in no position to ask the North Koreans to speak their minds more articulately (or honestly) but we’re within our rights to ask our favorite hacks to dump the hackneyed.

Alex Pareene, Salon, Pretending to Know about North Korea.

Jack Shafer, Reuters, The Enduring Cliche’s of North Korea Coverage.

Image: Korean peninsula at night, 2012, via NASA/Wikimedia Commons.

Media Criticism
Via Adam Schweigert.

Media Criticism

Via Adam Schweigert.

Thinking through #NBCFail
First, from Bryan Curtis via Grantland:

Every four years, we come together as a nation, united by a common purpose. We all want to bag on NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics. NBC’s promos are too mushy. Its talking heads are too pro-American. The sports are too, um, delayed. Twitter, home of the hashtag #NBCFail, is now the place we go faster, higher, snarkier. Americans might hate-watch the Oscars, we might pound our keyboards during the Super Bowl, but only at the sight of Bob Costas and company do we speak with such a homicidal, enraged voice.

Second, Salon’s Michael Barthel digs through LexisNexis and confirms that there are always stories about NBC tape delays. It’s just that this year there are a lot more of them (a projected 546 by the end of the week versus 38 during the entire 1992 Barcelona games).
Barthel has his culprit. It’s a Twitter thing:

[W]hat seems to be happening is that editors are monitoring Twitter, seeing that the tape delay issue is a much bigger news story than they thought, and consequently running far more news stories about it than they ever had before. In some ways, this would seem to confirm the utopian idea that the Internet gives consumers unprecedented power to talk back to big corporations and get them to correct faulty products, whether those be electronics or media coverage. But… Twitter is an unrepresentative sample of the population. If the higher volume of news stories about tape delay is being driven by the prevalence of the issue on Twitter, then this is not correcting news coverage. Rather, it is being distorted by a biased and self-interested group of technological elites. Twitter is serving as a “virtual public” for journalists eager to give the public what they want. But the virtual public seems to be far different from the real one.

Barthel’s critique then is that Twitter isn’t a representative demographic that news editors should necessarily follow. Instead, it’s a “virtual public” rather than an “actual public” and that virtual public is a well healed, technologically savvy one.
While the larger point of not mistaking the virtual for the actual holds, Twitter’s demographics have largely flattened. If you take a look at the Pew Internet May 2012 Survey you see that the largest percentage of users within groups are those making less than $30,000 per year, or are non-Hispanic blacks, or are between the age of 18 and 29.
So it’s not that Twitter is still the playground of a “self-interested group of technological elites.” It’s that users cluster on Twitter how they unfortunately cluster most everywhere: like follows like and we end up in an echo chamber.
For example, media and technology people follow media and technology people and in doing so are rubbing up against the same links, trends and sentiments. And that’s where our editors get into trouble with a quick look — rather than an in-depth analysis — of what’s happening in social media. There are too many people who’ve insulated themselves inside likeminded thought bubbles.
I bring this back to Bryan Curtis though for a last word. Our #NBCFail issue is that innocently enough we can believe in the Olympic ideal. The reality though is that that ideal can’t be commercially met:

We go ballistic on NBC because we get snowed by the Olympics ideal. We want to believe in “faster, higher, stronger.” In an internationalist jamboree in which the director of the Trainspotting toilet scene salutes the National Health Service. The Olympic ideal might be sanctimonious, and built on a mountain of financial bullshit, but it’s an appealing ideal all the same.
It has nothing, however, to do with NBC. The network paid $1.2 billion for the broadcast rights to the London Games. It’s got to use every trick — tape delay, schmaltz — to recoup its investment. If we get mad at NBC, it’s because we’re staring at the giant gap between ideal and reality. It disappoints us to learn that, for NBC, the Olympics serves the exact same purpose as Sunday Night Football.

Something about that seems about right. — Michael
Michael Barthel, Salon. Stop tweeting about NBC!
Image: Media mentions of tape delay issues, Seoul 1988 - London 2012, via Salon.

Thinking through #NBCFail

First, from Bryan Curtis via Grantland:

Every four years, we come together as a nation, united by a common purpose. We all want to bag on NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics. NBC’s promos are too mushy. Its talking heads are too pro-American. The sports are too, um, delayed. Twitter, home of the hashtag #NBCFail, is now the place we go faster, higher, snarkier. Americans might hate-watch the Oscars, we might pound our keyboards during the Super Bowl, but only at the sight of Bob Costas and company do we speak with such a homicidal, enraged voice.

Second, Salon’s Michael Barthel digs through LexisNexis and confirms that there are always stories about NBC tape delays. It’s just that this year there are a lot more of them (a projected 546 by the end of the week versus 38 during the entire 1992 Barcelona games).

Barthel has his culprit. It’s a Twitter thing:

[W]hat seems to be happening is that editors are monitoring Twitter, seeing that the tape delay issue is a much bigger news story than they thought, and consequently running far more news stories about it than they ever had before. In some ways, this would seem to confirm the utopian idea that the Internet gives consumers unprecedented power to talk back to big corporations and get them to correct faulty products, whether those be electronics or media coverage. But… Twitter is an unrepresentative sample of the population. If the higher volume of news stories about tape delay is being driven by the prevalence of the issue on Twitter, then this is not correcting news coverage. Rather, it is being distorted by a biased and self-interested group of technological elites. Twitter is serving as a “virtual public” for journalists eager to give the public what they want. But the virtual public seems to be far different from the real one.

Barthel’s critique then is that Twitter isn’t a representative demographic that news editors should necessarily follow. Instead, it’s a “virtual public” rather than an “actual public” and that virtual public is a well healed, technologically savvy one.

While the larger point of not mistaking the virtual for the actual holds, Twitter’s demographics have largely flattened. If you take a look at the Pew Internet May 2012 Survey you see that the largest percentage of users within groups are those making less than $30,000 per year, or are non-Hispanic blacks, or are between the age of 18 and 29.

So it’s not that Twitter is still the playground of a “self-interested group of technological elites.” It’s that users cluster on Twitter how they unfortunately cluster most everywhere: like follows like and we end up in an echo chamber.

For example, media and technology people follow media and technology people and in doing so are rubbing up against the same links, trends and sentiments. And that’s where our editors get into trouble with a quick look — rather than an in-depth analysis — of what’s happening in social media. There are too many people who’ve insulated themselves inside likeminded thought bubbles.

I bring this back to Bryan Curtis though for a last word. Our #NBCFail issue is that innocently enough we can believe in the Olympic ideal. The reality though is that that ideal can’t be commercially met:

We go ballistic on NBC because we get snowed by the Olympics ideal. We want to believe in “faster, higher, stronger.” In an internationalist jamboree in which the director of the Trainspotting toilet scene salutes the National Health Service. The Olympic ideal might be sanctimonious, and built on a mountain of financial bullshit, but it’s an appealing ideal all the same.

It has nothing, however, to do with NBC. The network paid $1.2 billion for the broadcast rights to the London Games. It’s got to use every trick — tape delay, schmaltz — to recoup its investment. If we get mad at NBC, it’s because we’re staring at the giant gap between ideal and reality. It disappoints us to learn that, for NBC, the Olympics serves the exact same purpose as Sunday Night Football.

Something about that seems about right. — Michael

Michael Barthel, Salon. Stop tweeting about NBC!

Image: Media mentions of tape delay issues, Seoul 1988 - London 2012, via Salon.

Gore Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012

Select images to view.

Bypassing the NYT Paywall, Redux Edition

Yesterday I reblogged a Reuters post that reports that The New York Times will limit free articles to 10 per month. After the repost I linked to a short video we created a while ago about getting around the paywall. To make sixty seconds short, it shows that you just need to delete everything after the “?” mark in the URL and reload the page to access any article you want.

Here’s some criticism for doing so:

  • Via Morgan Little from the LA Times: Seems a bit off for @the_FJP to be advocating paywall workarounds…
  • Via OnTheChangGang: Don’t be a jerk, if you really want to support journalism and journalists pay to gain access to their hard work and efforts. C’mon use your mind grapes where do people think the money for salaries and investigative stories come from?
  • Via SammyStokes: or you know, you could pay for a subscription so the world’s most important newspaper doesn’t go under.

I should say that the criticism is more or less valid. I should also say that my language (“FJP: Paywall got you down? Here’s our 60 second tutorial on getting around it.”) doesn’t help.

Here’s what I should have written if I was thinking at the time:

  • The New York Times has about 450,000 digital subscribers. Good for them. I set my parents up with both digital and print editions.
  • The New York Times has about 30 million unique visitors a month. Thirty million, if you do your math, is much larger than 450,000, impressive as that number may be.
  • This simple hack of removing everything after the “?” mark in order to access articles tells us that the New York Times is still focussed on the 99% of traffic that isn’t subscribing, and is trying to figure out how to monetize nytimes.com to make sure that those non-subscribing uniques can still access, share, and distribute content so that they can grow that number.
  • This leak is basically a punt on monetizing the 99% aside from the (considerable) revenue they’re pulling in from advertising and other related businesses.

And so, with that as my backstory to posting a link to a video about how easy it is to get around the NYT paywall, I wrote shorthand about how to do so.

Sometimes when you’re in the weeds you forget the forest for the trees but my link to circumventing the paywall is part of a larger and longer discussion that’s been going on at the FJP about paywalls and how they might work.

The New York Times is very much aware of how leaky their paywall is. It is very much aware that deleting a string from a URL gives anyone access to their content. This is a both a design and business decision that I can’t imagine they’re very much worried about. Otherwise, they’d close this gap.

So, in the meantime, I’ll post again — with the caveat that if you can afford a subscription, purchase a subscription — if you want to view a New York Times article but have bumped up against your monthly allotment, follow the instructions posted here.

If the New York Times wants to shut down this access they can do so quickly and easily. Until then, have at it — Michael

Now imagine if Bon Appetit, instead of The Little Owl, ran with a cover photo of some Kamakaze Kool-Aid Roll from Monster Sushi or wherever. Well, that’s essentially what’s going on here with Groupon, a national brand is giving national attention to a local joint that doesn’t deserve it, and as a result, a lot of people’s money is being misallocated. It’s anti-economic. Groupon is the invisible hand of capitalism sucker punching good restaurants that deserve to succeed and helping out mediocre venues that deserve to fail.

Ryan Sutton, Bloomberg critic, on why he started The Bad Deal (it’s a Tumblr):

We have to hit the deal sites back, and hit them back hard. That’s why I started The Bad Deal, because daily deals don’t have any major critical counterweight, nothing to consistently keep them in check.

Via Eater.

Jon Stewart on how the media drives consensus on our top-tier candidates: “Even when the media does remember Ron Paul, it’s only to reassure themselves that there’s no need to remember Ron Paul.”

Update: Over at Salon, Steve Kornacki comes in with a counterpoint and says Ron Paul isn’t getting the media shaft.

Stephen Colbert on the Norway terror attack: “Some say these false reports of Muslim involvement were a widespread failure of the media, but I say that by going with their guts these journalists were able to get the story they wanted and scoop reality. And even if there was a rush to judgement, we must not repeat that mistake by rushing to accuracy.” 

On Language: What is a Terrorist Anyway?
Via Glenn Greenwald:

In other words, now that we know the alleged perpetrator is not Muslim, we know — by definition — that Terrorists are not responsible; conversely, when we thought Muslims were responsible, that meant — also by definition — that it was an act of Terrorism…
What [this means] is what we’ve seen repeatedly: that Terrorism has no objective meaning and, at least in American political discourse, has come functionally to mean: violence committed by Muslims whom the West dislikes, no matter the cause or the target.  Indeed, in many (though not all) media circles, discussion of the Oslo attack quickly morphed from this is Terrorism (when it was believed Muslims did it) to no, this isn’t Terrorism, just extremism (once it became likely that Muslims didn’t).
That Terrorism means nothing more than violence committed by Muslims whom the West dislikes has been proven repeatedly.  When an airplane was flown into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, it was immediately proclaimed to be Terrorism, until it was revealed that the attacker was a white, non-Muslim, American anti-tax advocate with a series of domestic political grievances… That is why, as NYU’s Remi Brulin has extensively documented, Terrorism is the most meaningless, and therefore the most manipulated, word in the English language.  Yesterday provided yet another sterling example.

Twitter post: @MazMHussain

On Language: What is a Terrorist Anyway?

Via Glenn Greenwald:

In other words, now that we know the alleged perpetrator is not Muslim, we know — by definition — that Terrorists are not responsible; conversely, when we thought Muslims were responsible, that meant — also by definition — that it was an act of Terrorism…

What [this means] is what we’ve seen repeatedly: that Terrorism has no objective meaning and, at least in American political discourse, has come functionally to mean: violence committed by Muslims whom the West dislikes, no matter the cause or the target. Indeed, in many (though not all) media circles, discussion of the Oslo attack quickly morphed from this is Terrorism (when it was believed Muslims did it) to no, this isn’t Terrorism, just extremism (once it became likely that Muslims didn’t).

That Terrorism means nothing more than violence committed by Muslims whom the West dislikes has been proven repeatedly. When an airplane was flown into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, it was immediately proclaimed to be Terrorism, until it was revealed that the attacker was a white, non-Muslim, American anti-tax advocate with a series of domestic political grievances… That is why, as NYU’s Remi Brulin has extensively documented, Terrorism is the most meaningless, and therefore the most manipulated, word in the English language. Yesterday provided yet another sterling example.

Twitter post: @MazMHussain

Earlier this year NPR’s On the Media host Brook Gladstone released “The Influencing Machine”, a history of media and journalism illustrated by Josh Nuefeld.

Actually, “illustrated” leaves us descriptively short: it’s a comic book romp that traces modern journalism back some 2,000 years to the shysters of yesteryear.

Here, Gladstone tackles the idea that the media is manipulating us.

Not true, she says, instead, media culture is a hall of mirrors. One where we just don’t really like the reflection that is us.

Rachel Maddow and Bill Moyers on News Corp., corporate media, power and influence.

Bill Moyers: 

This is how societies, particularly democracies, self destruct. We have seen the danger of the collusion between private power – Rupert Murdoch’s empire and the police… We have also seen the danger of collusion between political parties and powerful media conglomerates. I mean both parties in England caved to Murdoch. The politicians were cowed. They would not stand up to him. And that, too, is what happens to democracy when the political class becomes frightened of and in league with these incredibly powerful media conglomerates.

The Daily Show: Jon Stewart and John Oliver take on the News of the World phone hacking scandal.