blue bits. red rocks.


And this is what I’d also like to say to Nate Silver: Victory is yours. It has already been accomplished. Dude, you worked for the New York Times and you left it voluntarily — to work for ESPN, 80% of which is owned by Disney and the other 20% by Hearst. In 21st-century America, it is not possible to be any more inside than this. You cannot stick it to the Man — you are the Man. It’s best that you, and people in similar positions, realize that as soon as possible; and forego the illusion that you have some outsider status that exempts you from criticism like that presented by Emily Bell. Whether you agree with Bell’s argument or not, get used to it: you’re going to hear a lot more along those lines as long as you continue to be the Man. Text Patterns

The medium is the message, and because the camera sees but doesn’t think, it substitutes the personal for the impersonal; whether in Hollywood restaurants or Washington committee rooms, the actor takes precedence over the act. What is wanted is a flow of emotion, not a train of thought, a vocabulary of images better suited to the selling of a product than to the expression of an idea. Narrative becomes montage, and as commodities acquire the property of information, the amassment of wealth follows from the naming of things rather than the making of things. Crowd Control: Political Revolt and the Accumulation of More

Now I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible. I used to engage with the media knowing that some of it would be adversarial, but now it’s superfluous at best and toxic at its worst. If MSNBC went off the air tomorrow, what difference would it make? If the Huffington Post went out of business tomorrow, what difference would it make? Arianna Huffington accomplished what she wanted to accomplish. She created this wonderful thing. And what have they done with that? They want clicks, I get it. They’ve gotta have clicks for their advertisers, so they’re going to need as much Kim Kardashian and wardrobe malfunctions as possible. The other day, they had a thing on the home page about pimples. Tripe. Liberal and conservative media are now precisely equivalent. Alec Baldwin

In Cronkite’s day, we were already coming to the end of the “Mad Men” moment that submerged the possibilities and vitality of millions of women, people of color and gay Americans. We now frequently substitute for that anachronistic community a cosmopolitan atomism, celebrating both our diversity and individuation. Let’s take some of each: What we need now is a cosmopolitan community, at least when it comes to talking to each other. If we’re not going to pretend anymore that Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw have all the answers, then we’re going to have to create a new civic culture, and figure out a way to somehow respect, yet criticize each other at the same time. The End of America’s Fake Consensus

Does anyone truly believe that the way they treat the press is imperiling their security, or that America couldn’t prosper even if it was as friendly to the press as Finland? Does Team Obama believe that the terrorists are going to win in Sweden, New Zealand, and Iceland because their balance is too press-freedom friendly? The United States Just Finished 46th in a Press-Freedom Contest

Nobody knows exactly when it happened. But at some point between Teddy White’s The Making of the President, 1960 and the Willie Horton ads in 1988, political journalism in this country lost the plot. When it got overly interested in the inside game, it turned you and me and everyone who has to go into the voting booth and make a decision into an object of technique, which it then tried to assess. We became the people on whom the masters of politics practiced their craft. Then political journalism tried to recover an audience from the people it had turned into poll numbers and respondents to packaged stimuli. Tricky maneuver. Behold how badly our political journalists have lost the freakin’ plot

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We boomers grew up in a golden age of journalism that, ironically, was undermined by the generally wondrous advances in electronic media that have freed us to wander out of the paternalistic firelight of journalist-professionals. Inevitably, along with the good aspects (e.g. being able to research any topic independently and gather points of view from all over the globe) we have also seen wretched things like the consolidation of millions of rivetted followers, stoked on monochrome opinion and hate, via subsidized cable and radio “news.” Systems that create, in effect diatribe-based “nuremberg rallies”. Given the addictive allure of indignation — and freed from any Fairness Doctrine requirement to show all sides — we had all the ingredients for a genuine plague of outrage. Have a look and then grasp that this destruction of adult discourse in the United States was almost entirely deliberate, sabotaging the political negotiation and problem-solving systems that had served the republic for two centuries. There is no clearer case of treason. CONTRARY BRIN

Fairness isn’t our problem. Our problem, on a much larger scale, is willful ignorance. Humans come with a built-in ability to disregard or disbelieve facts because they’ve been presented by people with whom we disagree philosophically, as if anything that contradicts our preconceived notions of a person or situation or issue cannot be true. O’Reilly unfair? Yes. But it shouldn’t matter.

Romanticism and technology, as we shall be suggesting, are mirror images of each other, both being products of man’s dominance over nature and of the noetic abundance which had been created by chirographic and typographic techniques of storing and retrieving knowledge and which had made this dominance over nature possible. Walter Ong

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