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5/8/2005
24 ‘TILL “24″
CATEGORY: "24"

With only three nights to go in the series (the finale will be a two hour long roller coaster ride, thank God!), I thought I would try a new feature for Sunday night in which you, my loyal “24″ fanatics, can give me your wildest, funniest, and/or most outrageous speculation on how Jack is going to save the United States for the fourth straight year.

First, some speculation from me and a set up:

1. Who’s the mole? Who gave Marwan the trasponder codes for the football? Where did all the American mercs who are helping Marwan come from? How were they able to kidnap the Secretary of State way back in the beginning of the show?

My guess: AUDREY HELLER!

2. Will Marwan be able to launch the nuke? What city is targeted?

Yes, and say goodbye to D.C. As if to prove the show’s conservative tilt, the writers will nuke Washington and fullfil a secret fantasy that conservatives have harbored for more than a generation.

3. Is Paul really dead?

Yes, but would it suprise you if when the episode started tomorrow night his heart magically started to beat again?

Get the idea? Give me your best and I’ll do a post tomorrow night before the show with the best speculation!

By: Rick Moran at 3:43 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (7)

THE FUTURE OF BLOGS (OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE WONKETTE)
CATEGORY: Blogging

It’s often been said that blogs are “new media.” I guess so. I mean, you can say that blogs are new media in the sense that no one has ever challenged the primacy of the mainstream media before. And the ease with which you can start a blog, build traffic, get noticed, and have your ego stroked by a multitude of sycophantic admirers offering you wealth, fame, and sex is truly amazing.

Well…maybe not the sex…

But ever since the much discussed and reported impact that blogs had on the 2004 Presidential election, it’s become de rigueur to talk of a “Blog Revolution” as if legions of geeky, bespectacled pajama clad fanatics are about ready to storm the moss covered walls of the MSM.

Maybe that’s why the New York Times is so worried:

The thing about influence is that, as bloggers well know, it is only a matter of time before people start trying to hold you accountable. Bloggers are so used to thinking of themselves as outsiders, and watchdogs of the LSM (that’s Lame Stream Media), that many have given little thought to what ethical rules should apply in their online world. Some insist that they do not need journalistic ethics because they are not journalists, but rather activists, or humorists, or something else entirely. But more bloggers, and blog readers, are starting to ask whether at least the most prominent blogs with the highest traffic shouldn’t hold themselves to the same high standards to which they hold other media.

Ethics? Us? Be real! I’m one of those bloggers who insist that we don’t need a code of ethics. If there’s one thing the blogosphere does extremely well it’s promoting sites with a distinctive voice and the talent to express it in unique and entertaining ways. Whatever ethics we have, we bring to the table ready made, forged by our life experiences and upbringing. We hardly need any advice on promulgating a “Code of Ethics from a group that collectively speaking has the moral standards of my pet cat Aramas.

At least Ari has several redeeming features; he can be extremely pleasant company, he’s very affectionate, and he doesn’t have a liberal bias.

And that’s not the Times’ only complaint. It seems that when blogs brought down both Eason Jordan and Dan Rather, we didn’t play fair. We didn’t call them first!

But Mr. Rather’s and Mr. Jordan’s misdeeds would most likely not have landed them in trouble in the world of bloggers, where few rules apply. Many bloggers make little effort to check their information, and think nothing of posting a personal attack without calling the target first - or calling the target at all. They rarely have procedures for running a correction. The wall between their editorial content and advertising is often nonexistent. (Wonkette, a witty and well-read Washington blog, posts a weekly shout-out inside its editorial text to its advertisers, including partisan ones like Democrats.org.) And bloggers rarely disclose whether they are receiving money from the people or causes they write about.

First of all, does Mr. Cohen (whose piece appears on the Time’s editorial page and is, hence reflective of its thinking) really believe that Dan Rather would have taken a call from “Buckhead,” the Free Republic poster who first raised questions about the authenticity of the TANG documents? Or a blog called “Little Green Footballs?”

Yeah sure. And once that “blogmob” got going (thanks for the new blogword Adam) can you imagine two or three thousand bloggers all calling Black Rock wanting to get in touch with Dan Rather?

The New York Times just doesn’t get it. I don’t really blame them because it takes a leap of imagination beyond their extraordinarily short-sighted and outmoded view of who and what blogs are to envision a media that really is self correcting. And the reason for the ease with which blogs are self corrected is simple; the blog universe really is a big place. Evidently, much bigger than Mr. Cohen and the Times are able to imagine. If they could see beyond their myopic view of news dissemination, they’d realize all the things Mr. Cohen wishes blogs had like verification procedures, a corrections regime, full disclosure of conflicts of interest, and a “clear wall” between editorial content and advertising are already in place and have been functioning quite well thank you.

Bloggers like John Hawkins plug their advertisers all the time and nobody would even think of accusing John of mixing into one of his posts a paean to his T-Shirt company (unless, like Ace he does it as satire.) And Nick Coleman of the Minneapolis Star-tribune tried to tar and feather the boys at Powerline with the accusation that they’re being paid by the conservative think tank The Claremont Institute, a charge they’ve not only denied but threatened to sue the Unhinged One over.

When it came out that the “Daschle V Thune” site was a paid organ of the Senator’s campaign, blogs both left and right came down so hard on the bloggers who ran it that they may have been chased out of the blogosphere all together. I haven’t seen or heard of John Lauck, the proprietor of Daschle V Thune since November.

Would that such punishment could be meted out to the MSM when one of their undisclosed affiliations with the Democratic party came out.

At this point, one would think that the Times would quit while they’re at least even. No such luck:

Many bloggers who criticize the MSM’s ethics, however, are in the anomalous position of holding themselves to lower standards, or no standards at all. That may well change. Ana Marie Cox, who edits Wonkette, notes that blogs are still “a very young medium,” and that “things have yet to be worked out.” Before long, leading blogs could have ethics guidelines and prominently posted corrections policies.

Bloggers may need to institutionalize ethics policies to avoid charges of hypocrisy. But the real reason for an ethical upgrade is that it is the right way to do journalism, online or offline. As blogs grow in readers and influence, bloggers should realize that if they want to reform the American media, that is going to have to include reforming themselves.

Evidently, since I haven’t written down and published my ethical guidelines I’m “in the anomalous position of holding [myself] to lower standards, or no standards at all.” He’s right, of course. I’m a shameless hussy about this blog. Being a polemicist, I make no bones about the fact that I’m conservative and biased about everything I write. What else would you expect from a site named “Rightwing Nuthouse?” I mean, it’s not like I’m trying hide anything! Now, if I’d called the site “Leftwing Whackjob” and then put out a lot of rightwing propaganda, The Times could then accuse me of acting shamelessly.

And if I were the Times, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening any time soon.

Some, like Nick Denton, publisher of Gawker Media which includes Gizmodo, Wonkette, Fleshbot, and a half dozen other blogs pooh-pooh the idea of a blog “revolution:”

At a time when media conferences like “Les Blogs” in Paris two weeks ago debate the potential of the form, and when BusinessWeek declares, as it did on its May 2 cover, that “Blogs Will Change Your Business,” Mr. Denton is withering in his contempt. A blog, he says, is much better at tearing things down - people, careers, brands - than it is at building them up. As for the blog revolution, Mr. Denton put it this way: “Give me a break.”

“The hype comes from unemployed or partially employed marketing professionals and people who never made it as journalists wanting to believe,” he said. “They want to believe there’s going to be this new revolution and their lives are going to be changed.”

(I do believe in blogs, I do, I do, I do believe in blogs)

I can see Mr. Denton’s point. If I had Skankette as an employee, I’d wonder about the future of blogs too, not to mention the future of western civilization especially if he thinks what the Skanker does is what blogging is all about.

It’s not, of course. The best blogs are either traffic cops (Glenn Anderson) or advocates (The Capn’, Malkin, etc.). The Smelly One may be a liberal, but she rarely deviates from a rather tiresome formula that’s at the same time conversational and condescending. And the penis jokes. Don’t forget the penis jokes.

Denton did get one thing right:

Other critics of the blog movement wonder whether the hoopla over the commercial viability of blogs - particularly as publishing ventures - is overstated. “Blogs primarily excel at marketing and promotion for companies or individuals,” Mr. Phillips of I Want Media said. “I think blogging can catapult unknown writers, and it can give them a platform if they’re talented. But as a stand-alone business, I think the jury is still out on that.”

I think he’s spot on there. Blogs as on-line opinion magazines are probably a pipe dream. But what if a blogger could come up with a neat little niche e-zine idea? John Henke may have come up with a viable product with his “The New Libertarian.” Using his blog to promote his writing, John may have hit upon a new business model that, if successful, will be much imitated. I’d love to see his progress six months from now.

Six months from now will seem like an eternity in the blogosphere. With Pajamas Media ready to launch and Blogger News Network off the ground, it seems pretty clear that this revolution - a revolution that some are still denying or wanting to go away - will continue on its merry way, oblivious to the naysayers and serial deniers until a truly authentic “citizens brigade” of new media disseminaters gets the respect it already so richly deserves.

UPDATE

Tim Worstall is a very clever fellow. I have to say that because Mr. Worstall has given many of the same arguments that I’ve made above for why Adam Cohen should take a remedial course in Blogs:

Blogs are quite rightly not held to those standards of “ethical journalism”. Only what comes out of the system, after the unsupported allegations, the rants, the foam-flecked screaming, only after the filtering process provided by 8 million blogs shouting at and correcting each other, only that should be considered ethical journalism. Each individual blog post, he is correct, is simply the unsupported word of a partisan (given the financial rewards currently available, there is no one doing this who doesn’t have some kind of bee in their bonnet) but the system as a whole works very well. It’s an economic thing (not a great strength of NYT writers I know, but try some Hayek), that information is distributed. It doesn’t matter how many thousands of reporteers and fact checkers the NYT has (or any other organisation), how many sources they speak to, how often they refine their words, 8 million blogs have access to more information than they do. (HT: Instapundit)

Tim also has a different take on The Skanker…sex jokes but a different part of the anatomy:

It would be quite wonderful to see a piece on blogging that did not include Ms. Cox but apparently anal sex jokes really are the way to the MSM’s heart. Not sure who that says most about actually.

And Greyhawk makes the same point I made about Mr. Cohen’s clueless suggestion that we bloggers contact our prey before devouring them:

He’s trying to create the impression of blogs as being akin to The National Enquirer, of course. And I’ll note that I didn’t call Mr. Cohen before writing this. You see, I have his commentary before me now - he’s on the record. That’s what blogs do when dealing with media outrages, respond. I suppose I could contact him for clarification on this point: is he really clueless about the blogosphere, and therefore wrong in his accusations, or does he assume his readers are clueless, and is willing to deceive them?

I think Mr. Cohen is right. Someone should track down his home telephone number so that we can all call him for his response to the 10,000 blog posts that are going to fisk this idiot’s lights out.

Do you think he’ll get it then?

By: Rick Moran at 8:42 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (10)