Bloggers have a way of swarming. And a swarm is pretty much what happened when one blogger pointed out a factual error in a recent post from Washington, D.C., bureau chief Jay Carney on Time's new Swampland blog. Rick Perlstein at The New Republic outlines the play by play here. In a nutshell, what happened is this: after one blogger found an error, other bloggers took a close look at Carney's post and pointed out a few more in the comments section. Eventually, "the commenters unraveled the entire foundation of Carney's argument."
There was, as typically accompanies these types of dustups, some rude back and forth between author and commenters. But ultimately, writes Perlstein, "Carney was rude and wrong. The barbaric yawpers of the netroots were rude and right."
The whole tiff is but one example of how bloggers are ushering in a "new, more uncomfortable media world," writes Perlstein, "one in which, to judge a piece of writing, we must gauge not the status of the writer, but his or her words themselves, unattached to the author's worldly rank." And that's "all right" with him.
If you're like most Web users, you likely won't read too much further beyond this sentence. I could be held personally accountable for this, of course, but I'm not going to do that to myself. The more likely reason is that you, like most of us, probably have an Internet attention span akin to that of a small insect. Or a highly rambunctious 2-year-old.
At least as far as writer Dave Cohn is concerned, whom we discovered via Mediashift. He has dubbed this malady "Internet Multitasking Syndrome."
(Do not WebMD-search that term. It is not medical. Cohn made it up and he is not a doctor.)
Scooter Libby isn't thrilled about it, but television journalists and bloggers alike were glad to hear that the judge in Libby's trial agreed to make the eight-hour recordings of Libby's grand jury testimony available to the public. That's right : Libby's disembodied voice will now be available for all of us to enjoy with our very own ears.
(AP Photo/Dana Verkouteren)
Judge Reggie Walton had been "worried that jurors could be influenced by outside media buzz" if the tapes were released, but he ultimately decided to release them later today, writes the Associated Press.
Making evidence presented to a jury publicly available is generally supported by federal law, but in high profile cases, judges "occasionally have released only written transcripts or have delayed public disclosure until the trial's end."
Since there are no cameras allowed in the courtroom, the release of the audio material will add to broadcasters' -- and online media's -- ability to cover the case in a more complete way. Said a lawyer representing the AP and several broadcast networks: ``It certainly helps the broadcast media. But it helps other outlets, too, now that you've got newspaper Web sites, with opportunities for greater use of audio and video.''
Two point six million is a figure you're going to hear a lot today. That, of course, was the cost of a 30-second Super Bowl advertisement this year. With numbers like that, it's no wonder there is a veritable avalanche of news today about which ads hit the spot and which didn't.
The issue that's eating up the most headlines is this year's trend of amateurs producing content for big-time advertisers.
And the financial reality of that arrangement surely has some Madison Avenue employees shaking in their boots by now. Frank Ahrens pointed out in the Washington Post last week (and again on NPR) that a typical 30-second ad for the Bowl costs upwards of $1 million to produce. How much did it cost Weston Phillips, who produced the winning Doritos ad? About $13. Doritos also had to pony up for the prize money -- $10,000 plus a plane ticket to Miami for the Super Bowl. Still a lot less than $1 million.
The "ic" not heard 'round the world apparently had enough staying power in the news cycle for President Bush to address it at a gathering of House Democrats in Virginia this weekend.
He told the crowd: "The last time I looked at some of your faces, I was at the State of the Union, and I saw kind of a strange expression when I referred to something as the Democrat Party. Now, look, my diction isn't all that good. I have been accused of occasionally mangling the English language. And so I appreciate you inviting the head of the Republic Party."
Yuk, yuk. Bush continued his speech by referring correctly to the "Democratic Party" several times.
Demonstrating that American politicians are not the only ones to make oopsies in public, Time takes note of a recent statement by Japan's Health Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa.
During a speech on the country's declining population, he "referred to Japanese women of childbearing age as 'baby-making machines.' He went on to explain that arresting population decline was difficult 'because the number of baby-making machines and devices is fixed [in the population]; all we can do is ask them to do their best per head.'"
Political adversaries called for Yanagisawa's resignation, and he "apologized repeatedly," but has refused to resign.
Each week we invite someone from outside PE to weigh in with their thoughts about CBS News and the media at large. This week, we asked Camille Elhassani, the Deputy Program Editor at Al Jazeera English in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was news director and advisor to Al Iraqiya TV in Baghdad. Prior to that she was at ABC News for six years. She is an Iraqi-American and lives in the Washington, D.C., area. Here, Elhassani argues that saying Americans aren't interested in foreign news is circular logic – the less they know about it, the less they will care. As always, the opinions expressed and factual assertions made in "Outside Voices" are those of the author, not ours, and we seek a wide variety of voices.
Other contributors have written on "Outside Voices" about the need for more international news on CBS. But the point is worth saying again.
I spent time this week watching different CBS News programs and came away feeling ill-informed about the world. I learned what's happening in Congress, the White House, with schools and the Super Bowl… but I didn't get a sense of what's happening in the world. Events overseas affect Americans and our interests abroad – economically, politically, and increasingly, militarily.
That's why Elizabeth Palmer's report on last night's "Evening News," which takes a look at Syria's Al-Zawraa TV, is well worth watching. Al Zawraa is banned in Iraq, but is distributed via satellite throughout the region. It's content is "hardcore anti-American propaganda," as Palmer says in the piece, and it is also "one of the most powerful calls to arms" for those who "dream of joining the jihad against American forces."
You can read the story here or click on the video player above to watch it.
What are the acceptable terms of interviews with rarely interviewed government officials? Earlier this week we took note of some comments from Gareth Butler, editor of the BBC's "The Politics Show." He wrote that a recent interview with British Prime Minister Tony Blair involved far fewer "shenanigans" from the PM's office ("you can't ask questions about this or that, you can only have x minutes, it has to be such-and-such a location") than most people assumed occurred with such rare sit-downs.
We asked Scott Pelley, who recently conducted a lengthy interview with President George W. Bush for "60 Minutes," about what the terms were – if any – for that exclusive. Pelley, who just returned from Iraq, was able to respond to us today. Here's what he told us in an e-mail:
The White House knows it cannot impose any limits on the scope of questioning. As a result, they never ask for such limits.
The limit they can, and do, impose is on time. When we did the interview at Camp David they were very strict. We had 10 minutes for the walk and talk and 20 minutes for the sit down.
In both venues, a White House staffer stood behind the president holding up time cards (5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, etc.) so that I could see them. The time restraint is a clever way to curtail follow up questions.
Every interview with a president is, foremost, a time management game. To compensate for this, a good interviewer narrows the scope of the interview and allows himself time for follow ups. I call this going "narrow and deep." When people ask me, "Why didn't you ask him …?" -- that's my answer.
After every interview with the president, I spend the next several nights, sleepless, thinking about what I should have asked.
If you are a reader of the Public Eye comments section, you might have noted that some commenters tend to get very … fired up, let's say, about certain issues. That type of enthusiasm (and typically colorful use of the English language) sometimes tends to be the case when it comes to communication between news outlets and their audiences.
In the interest of such interactivity, The San Francisco Chronicle has unveiled a new feature in which the paper highlights some of the comments that readers make – via voicemail – that don't make it into the paper as letters to the editor. It's called, "Correct Me If I'm Wrong...".
And in one of the feature's first editions, the paper has a little fun.
One recent submission was an example of such a fired up commenter, who took issue with the paper's use of the phrase "pilotless drones" in a photo caption. He's quite miffed about it, actually. You can listen to it here.
Someone else, upon hearing that reader's complaint, took issue with the complaint itself in another voicemail.
Then someone went to YouTube and slapped together a music video looping some choice phrases from the original complaint. Someone else chose clips from the complaint and turned them into ring tones. And now, we're blogging about it.
As you'll see, politicians are not the only ones whose virally distributed inappropriate statements can come back to haunt them.
The Internet: So Hot Right Now: In case you haven't heard, new media is being taken very seriously in campaign 2008. AdWeek speaks to some campaign media folk who spell out just how seriously: "This part of the campaign is no longer going to be the ugly stepsister," said John McCain's media director. But that doesn't mean old media is entirely getting the shaft. One former Hillary Clinton Senate campaign staffer said television is still very much in the game: "It is still a TV business. TV still puts the politician in front of people, and their personality and image are more controllable. That is the advantage over all other media."
Going All 'SAO' On The Press: You might have thought there was some kind of official standard set by reporters in referring to an anonymous source as a "senior administration official." You'd be wrong. As The Politico's Mike Allen writes in his explainer on the origins, uses and abuses of the term, "the answer to how someone gets to be a senior official is: It depends." And from whence did this overused term come? Allen taps CBS News' Bob Schieffer, who said it evolved from "senior American official," a term used to describe those close to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the early 1970s:
"'Senior American official' would say things that Henry Kissinger couldn't be quoted on, but he laid out what was happening and what the other side was going to have to do and other things that would have been awkward if Kissinger had been quoted as saying them. It sort of ballooned, and then you'd get back to Washington and you'd wind up with 100 people in a room and you'd have some official come in and brief as a 'senior administration official.' It's been abused for a long, long time."