Tuesday, September 23, 2008

If you don't fix the cracks, the rats can get in and infest the place

For many years I have felt like I was shouting into the wind about the decline in news media. It is most visible to me in broadcast, but consolidation and demand for profit have dealt the print media multiple blows over the years and from my perspective it seems like they have been in a weakened position, unable to compete or fully deliver on the mission the once charged themselves with.

That weakness has come to be exploited more and more by the powerful but now apparently its time to attempt a killing strike, at least in one jackass' mind.

Its rare to hear of someone quite this arrogant, but the tone of the McCain campaign begins to make more and more sense after listening to McCain chief strategist Steve Schmidt speak about our press this morning.

This is what he said in part...
“Whatever the New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization, This is an organization that is completely, totally, 150 percent in the tank for the Democratic candidate, which is their prerogative to be. Everything that is read in The New York Times that attacks this campaign should be evaluated by the American people from that perspective.”

He also indirectly implied that they were on par with blogs, using the term "blogosphere", and called them "pro Obama Advocacy organization"

Here is a recording of the audio...

This all came after a CNN reporter ask Rick Davis an "uncomfortable" question...
At this point it should be noted that Rick Davis is Mr. McCain’s campaign manager, and at one time had been paid nearly $2 million by Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac to head a group devoted to defend the mortgage giants against the imposition of stricter regulations. He was a deregulation wank for the failed groups that desperately NEEDED to be regulated! This on top of the fact that they have been running ads blasting Obama for having "friends" involved in those groups... Yeah, I wonder how they even know that... Maybe because McCain's campaign manager actually headed a lobbyist group that worked directly with them!

Here is my main point, on all this.

The mainstream news media can not afford to have the public perception be that they are anything less than near PERFECT. They have to strive constantly for the highest standards at all times because if they don't it will give bastards like this a large enough flaw in their armor to stick their knife in and twist. This attack was on the New York Times but recently he has made comments similar in tone about many other news outlets reporting stories that he didn't care for.

He feels like he can say things like this, even about a well respected news organization, because a good percentage of the people will believe him completely and many more of us will consider that there may be some truth in it!

I want that to sink in... We have gotten to the point were people don't trust integrity of the news... and it didn't take much. It should not be this easy for someone like him to feel like he can go on the attack against the mainstream media! Part of the blame goes to news organizations themselves, for allowing a slackening of the rules and a blurring of opinion/news/entertainment to raise readership and ratings, and part of the blame goes to us for letting it happen and not demanding better.

We as people that enjoy a free-ish press should stop taking it for granted and expecting it to entertain us like a puppet show. We should demand it to be better and support it when it is.

Some interesting related links:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The little things that drive me nuts once again prove that they can be huge problems under the right conditions...

For years I have complained to anyone that would listen that a large quantity of content on the web is not dated and therefore useless. if soeone posts a review of an Apple Airport Extreme, how the hell am I going to guess what firmware revision they have if they don't mention it specifically and if they don't date the post? I would love to be able to sort searches by date, but since so much information has no indication of when it was posted or created and there is really no one following any standard to indicate this information in metadata consistently. Its a mess for the person trying to find content.

Well it has happened, that mess has caused a major issue.

Old story on bankruptcy wipes out shares of United Airlines

United Airlines Tallies Damage From False Stock Report

"Frank Ahrens, business reporter at The Washington Post, tried to figure out what happened."

FRANK AHRENS, BUSINESS REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: "The simple answer is, it was a Google search. And Google discovered a six-year-old story on the Web site of a South Florida newspaper that did not have a date on it.

And, so, when Google found it, it applied the date of the search, put it on that story, popped it up on Google news. A human being saw it, took it as being a fresh story, "United Declares Bankruptcy," punches it into Bloomberg. It hits Wall Street.

And, within a matter of minutes, more than 15 million shares had traded. And United Airlines, already shaky, had lost 75 percent of its value."

Holy Crap! Sometimes I hate that I can predict the future... As more and more "stuff" gets dumped on the web, its only gonna get more confusing folks...ugh.