December 27, 2007

Shame on NBC News.

At 7:26 this morning, Central Time, I received a "breaking news" email from CNN, saying "Ex-Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has died, according to media reports." After quickly putting up a post, I thought the best way to see the unfolding news would be television. To my surprise, the 3 network news shows were not covering the story. All were either running commercials or doing the usual morning show material about your family's health or some American crime scene. I shifted to CNN and Fox News. Fox had Greta Van Susteren reminiscing about the time she spoke to Benazir Bhutto, so only CNN was seriously covering the story.

After a while, I went back to see if the network shows had caught up, and only ABC had. Most shocking was the "Today Show," which I set to record on my TiVo and filmed — crudely, sorry — to show you how appalling it was:



As you can see, Matt Lauer and Ann Curry are horsing around on the street, Matt introduces the news reader, and she proceeds to tell us that Benazir Bhutto has been wounded.

The next story is about a murder investigation in Washington, followed by the tiger escape in San Francisco, a pit bull mauling, and then — replete with photos of shoppers riding escalators — the way some people go to the store after Christmas.

It goes on. There's Willard Scott with the weather. There's a festive weather map of America dotted with snowflakes and Mr. Sun wearing sunglasses. Local weather. I stop the video at this point, but the embarrassment continues.

They go to commercial and return with a long story about colds and herbal tea. A long commercial break follows, and then we see Matt Lauer, sitting in front of a silver-wrapped package and silver balls, warmly sympathizing with us about the travails of celebrating New Year's. He's got a lovely lady in a low-cut top next to him on the sofa and, on the coffee table, there's a line-up of champagne flutes filled with champagne and other champagne-like drinks. Now, it's a pre-recorded segment on "all things bubbly." Back to Matt: Can he tell the difference between $5 sparkling wine from a can and $100-a-bottle Dom Perignon? That's got to be a more important question than whether Benazir Bhutto has died and what might happen in Pakistan. It is now 8:26 Central Time — an hour after the CNN email. Matt takes the taste test and guesses. The lady (Jenna Wolfe) giggles and says "Now, I don't remember which one I gave him." So they can't even get the idiotic champagne tasting right! Matt acts like it's just really funny.

Commercials. Local weather again. Commercial. Video of a cheerleader getting knocked down by football players. It's just one of many video clips that "caught our attention this year," we're told by a pretty woman sitting on the sofa, flanked by two pretty women and — over to the left — Willard Scott. Now, it's back to the story of the girl who survived the plane crash. The women murmur and coo mindlessly — "ooh," "mmm," "heartbreaking." And — you know what? — there is a coach who has helped his team overcome adversity. They chatter about what to do for New Year's. Why not cook something with your kids? They have some recipes for you. Willard says he likes to be with the family on New Year's Eve — "make cookies, drink cocoa." More weather from Willard. More local weather. Commercials. Plane crash survivor. Commercials. That coach who helped the team. Commercials. Those recipes. Commercials. Local news (about the weather). Commercials.

Finally, it's the top of the hour, 9:00 Central Time, and we see a picture of Benazir Bhutto, with the dates 1953-2007. Matt Lauer and Ann Curry are on the sofa, and Matt says he's back now with more. "In just a moment, we're going to have the latest on the suicide bombing today in Pakistan that killed former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. We're going to have a report on that in just a couple of minutes." And also more on that tiger attack. And that plane crash survivor. It's "nothing short of miraculous."

What an embarrassment!

131 comments:

Freder Frederson said...

Shocking, not one mention of Survivor or Project Runway--what were they thinking!

oldirishpig said...

Nothing matters except what happens here in the center of the universe, the USA. How can the silly events in some far-off place possibly have any relevance to us? It's beyond shameful; it's dangerous.

tightspotkilo said...

They've already got their Christmas week programming lined up, and there's no room for unscripted world events.

Katie Bee RN said...

I really hope you weren't expecting much from the "Today" show, our authority on all things ridiculous. That's why I stick to the BBC for news. You don't see many champagne tastings or cheestastic features on their news broadcasts.

tightspotkilo said...

They've already got their Christmas week programming lined up, and there's no room for unscripted world events.

Ann Althouse said...

"Shocking, not one mention of Survivor or Project Runway..."

Well, they had a former contestant from "Top Chef" in the champagne segment, but I was too disgusted to mention it.

Pogo said...

They cannot discuss it, because it means acknowledging the world is in fact a dangerous place, that we need to be in Iraq and Afghanistan, that we need to fight and right now.

"We are reluctant to admit that we owe our liberties to men of a type that today we hate and fear -- unruly men, disturbers of the peace, men who resent and denounce what [Walt] Whitman called 'the insolence of elected persons' -- in a word, free men."
-- Gerald W. Johnson

"Those who 'abjure' violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf."
-- George Orwell.

"Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
--Frederick Douglass

George said...

According to their spokespeople, US networks are relying on just a handful of reporters to cover what could well be the world's most critical crisis [in Pakistan in 2007]. ABC alone, boasts two full-time producers in Pakistan: Gretchen Peters and Habibullah Khan. Philip Reeves, NPR's man on the story, is based in New Delhi. (Sariah Nelson, reports on the region from Kabul.) NBC opened a bureau in Islamabad two years ago but flew in Richard Engel, Middle East Bureau chief and correspondent to cover the crisis. CBS told us they retain one regular camera crew and use local or flown-in reporters "depending on the story." CNN has a bureau in Islamabad, but declined to offer details. Fox News may not have understood the question.


The number of foreign correspondents at U.S. newspapers had dropped from 282 in 2000 to 249 in 2006...the number of foreign bureaus at the three major networks had "dropped significantly since 9/11. ABC, NBC and CBS all had six foreign bureaus by the summer of 2003, according to American Journalism Review, after ABC and NBC cut seven and CBS cut four bureaus since the 1980's.

LutherM said...

The coverage on CNBC was timely, and, for a business/financial channel, better than adequate - with a live report from Pakistan.

The Bergall said...

Blame the producers - they run the program.....

Verso said...

Ann,
Thank you for the excellent summary of the absolutely disgraceful state of American media. The entire enterprise is just a gigantic joke. They should be ashamed of themselves, and people besides the few like you should be ashamed they put up with it.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

That's because the Today show is not news. As this latest example shows, it is just glorified "infotainment."

Freder Frederson said...

They cannot discuss it, because it means acknowledging the world is in fact a dangerous place, that we need to be in Iraq and Afghanistan, that we need to fight and right now.

I just love when hardcore conservatives quote dedicated communists. What is your point Pogo, that our policies in Pakistan have borne fruit because it seems to me that our blind support of Musharref has been an unmitigated disaster. Remember, Pakistan was one of three countries in the world (along with our other best buds Saudi Arabia and the UAE) that recognized and supported the Taliban in Afghanistan. And they have done precious little about the Taliban and AQ hanging out in the tribal areas.

Dollars to donuts this assasination will be used as an excuse to cancel elections and extend military rule--which of course hasn't curbed the militants at all but just suppressed the moderate opposition.

SteveR said...

Had they cut away to real coverage of the event, they would have been besieged by complaints. Most people don't want real news, and don't even know enough to locate Pakistan on a map.

Neutral observer said...

Yes! SHAME on NBC for not being a 24-hour news channel. And how mortifying and awful it must have been for you, Ann, to find out that only the 24-hour news channel was actually providing 24-hour news.

What a pity you could not just switch the channel and avoid the problem! I hope it didn’t ruin your whole day, professor. If it did, you could always go our and buy more gadgets to make yourself feel better about who you are.

And who knows, maybe the NBC executives will decide that they should convert to 24-hour news and all rush to apologize to you. Yeah, that’s it. You are owed another apology!!!

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Freder, our policies WRT Pakistan have been an unmitigated disaster since its inception, so why expect that the current policy be any different? Or the policy of the next administration? You are lying to yourself if you think it will.

tightspotkilo said...

It is true that the networks have cut way back on their news departments, and it was overseas correspondents that took the first cuts. So it's not surprising that they are not geared up to cover the story on the spur of the moment.

Besides, is there any doubt that the talking heads will soon be pontificating ad nauseum about it and the meaning of it? Trust me, it's coming.

Middle Class Guy said...

What country do you think you are living in. Don't you realize that the assassination of the tiger by the SFPD is more important than a mere hero who tried to change the lives of others for the better? Jeeez!

Freder Frederson said...

Freder, our policies WRT Pakistan have been an unmitigated disaster since its inception, so why expect that the current policy be any different? Or the policy of the next administration? You are lying to yourself if you think it will.

I don't expect them to. I was just trying to figure out what point Pogo was trying to make. He seems to be saying violence is a good thing.

Ann Althouse said...

Neutral observer said..."Yes! SHAME on NBC for not being a 24-hour news channel. And how mortifying and awful it must have been for you, Ann, to find out that only the 24-hour news channel was actually providing 24-hour news."

The network news was once respected and would break into even completely non-news shows to give breaking news. But the Today Show is a news show, even if a lightweight one. And when something very important has happened, there should be serious coverage. Not everyone has cable, and indeed broadcast television has a special government license that entails a requirement of serving the public interest. Moreover, after misreporting the story, saying BB had been wounded, it was imperative to correct it as soon as possible.

Pogo said...

He seems to be saying violence is a good thing.

I am saying that violence is sometimes necessary in fighting evil, such as this barbarianism, yet the modern left seems to believe otherwise.

They are perpetual adolescents in a world desperately in need of grown-ups.

this assasination will be used as an excuse to cancel elections and extend military rule
Democracy per se is a guarantee of nothing at all; the majority can vote in a reversal of democracy soon enough.

Pakistan currently lacks the cultural institutions to sustain the real utility of having the vote. Democracy is a means, not an end.

Roger said...

It is a rare day when I agree with Freder about anything--but with respect to his first post--right on. And our failure to deal with the danger that is pakistan is a remarkable failure of American policy (Freder's later posts). We have continued to feed the beast (apologies to Taitania) and as nearly as I can tell received only grief from the Pakistani government; they have aided and abetted terrorism against the west; they cannot control their borders nor their jihadists--It may well be the current government is our best hope--but if so: that's pretty grim.

Paco Wové said...

"Yes! SHAME on NBC" [yap yap yap]

Ahh, the AJD sockpuppet chorus returns!

Cedarford said...

mcg - What country do you think you are living in. Don't you realize that the assassination of the tiger by the SFPD is more important than a mere hero who tried to change the lives of others for the better? Jeeez!

1. I wouldn't call her a hero. More a variant of "Cold Cash" Jefferson, Gov. Edwards, Duke Cunningham, Ivan Boesky, the Russian Oligarchs, and Jack Abramoff all rolled up into one supremely corrupt Bhutto family. The reason radical Islam took off under Haq was as a backlash to Bhutto's father. Her own period of rule was also kleptocratic, and led to military rule to clean up her mess and damage to democracy.

2.As for the tiger story, I think it will be followed closely because for now it is a big mystery and "whodunit". How did she get out? Did she attack just the people that were taunting her? How do we better protect one of the world's rarest, most beautiful, and most dangerous threatened species?
That story has legs, as they say.

As for the media, unfortunately our "business model" for private scetor success in media ventures ill-serves the public. They are ratings driven. They know what works for their target audiences at various times of the day - from relatively indolent women in the morning that have 30-40 points less IQ than an Althouse but 11 times the purchasing power as a demographic vs. Althouse's demographic - all the way up to the target demographics of the late evening sports, political junkie, and SkineMax fans.

Media conglomerates have also figured out Americans will suck up the courtroom-style groundless speculations of lawyers in all matters, and a panel of law school grad talking heads mindlessly parsing global events sounds intelligent and informed to layman, but is orders of magnitude cheaper than maintaining overseas bureaus of journalists and producers educated in international affairs and immersed in foreign priorities.

You already hear the slant of the lawyer-reporters - how will a future criminal trial happen, what is the impact on "rule of law? Throw in "nukes!, nukes!" which are not in political party control but in the military's fairly reliable hands...but lawyers in the MSM and cable know how to be John Edwards alarmist and bark and clap their flippers on cue when stimulated with the dangling herring fish.

Saul said...

If it ain't a Britney-related story, it ain't worth running.

former law student said...

I always hated the nonstop coverage of what is essentially a single event, not breaking news, without any new information. How many ways can you slice it up? Bhutto was assassinated. It was after a rally. A gun and a bomb were used. She was the opposition leader and former Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was born the same year as Tim Allen, the star of all three Santa Clause movies. Pakistan is the home of the Islamic bomb. They look like Hindus, but they think the US is the Great Satan. Despite this, we have let millions of Pakistanis live in the US, where they code our software and drive our taxis.

Forget watching TV if you want to hear this same story repeated every five minutes; listen to NPR or ABC instead.

rhhardin said...

Right, it's not a news show. Even the news shows are not news shows.

They're audience-attracting shows under the guise of news seriousness, which is only a marketing draw.

``You are serious people because you are watching this news.'' The audience likes it, and likes the flattery.

The 20% of the population that likes this crap is the only audience they can reliably draw, news or no news. So they're the only audience they can sell to advertisers.

If that business model doesn't work, nothing else will.

There's no actual market for hard news. Think city council meetings.

The result is that this 20% of the population edits the public debate on everything.

ZPS said...

Well, Bhutto was no Anna-Nicole.

I don't expect that cheesefest to give me news...what should've happened was they should've been interrupted by an NBC NEWS SPECIAL REPORT w/ Brian Williams. But they know their audience...Americans don't care about world events.

Isn't there some statistic that says 98% of Americans can't point to Pakistan on a map? This is either Americans' fault or the media's fault...I blame the American people for turning into worthless zombies. I make a choice every day to stay informed and become engaged...what's stopping everyone else?

Thanks for a great post. When I heard the news this morning, this site was one of the first places I went to because I knew I could count on you for a timely, interesting reaction.

rhhardin said...

Imus with a substitute host (Mark Simone?) had 3 interviews about it. That show is taken to have a serious audience.

rhhardin said...

Also covered by Limbaugh with a substitute host.

It's curious where you find the news and where you don't.

There's an audience for one-off hard news, but sadly not good enough to support a daily news show through the days where nothing much happened.

Imus, and Limbaugh, talk about something other than news on those days, but count on the seriousness of their audiences.

vnjagvet said...

One of the real and dynamic stories is the way each of the candidates for president (and their staffs) handle this situation.

I suggest that this will have a reasonably significant effect on the nomination process.

rhhardin said...

I threw out my TV in disgust in 1971, being tired of being addressed as a woman.

Women ought to be tired of being addressed as women as well, as I guess most of them are. But there's enough left to support the news biz.

Ann Althouse said...

former law student said..."I always hated the nonstop coverage of what is essentially a single event, not breaking news, without any new information."

But I was waiting for the FIRST STATEMENT that she had died!

"How many ways can you slice it up? Bhutto was assassinated. It was after a rally. A gun and a bomb were used. She was the opposition leader and former Prime Minister of Pakistan."

I wanted to hear analysis of what it will mean for Pakistan and the world.

Paddy O. said...

The contrast here seems to be made between showing a Survivor update or breaking in with news about Bhutto's assassination.

Seems like that's a pretty big, and false, divide.

Other than caring because this is a Big News Event, why should most Americans really care? How does this affect their lives? How does this change anything?

If a breaking news event has to begin by first explaining to most everyone who the primary people are then it seems like it's not exactly pressing for the audience. And it's not because the audience are ignorant, bumbling, silly people. For the most part the audience is filled with people who have much more immediate and pressing stresses in life and fretting over Pakistan's continuing government crisis just doesn't fit into most people's regular lives.

This is a big deal, of course, for all sorts of reasons. But they're not reasons that have some kind of immediate impact or will really guide how I vote (a press release does not a president make) or anything else.

And honestly I get pissed off when the news interrupts something I'm enjoying watching to tell me about something that has absolutely no interest to anyone other than news junkies.

If a bomb exploded in LA or there's a massive fire down the street or Hillary Clinton has been shot then tell me that.

It's not really breaking news if it's, sadly, not surprising. And worrying about things that have little bearing on my life or on my own personal problems just adds stress and often gets people to obsess over things farther away than close to home. They leave off fixing what they can to wring their hands over something that sounds so important and feeds into a supposed Cosmopolitan global understanding.

People care about what's important to them, and really for the great majority of people in this country going to a zoo and expecting safety is more important than the death of a foreign opposition politician.

And people who value and stress over what's important to them personally, I think, have a lot better sense of priorities.

NBC news was right not to break in.

There, I said it. Now off to Wal-Mart...

Shan said...

Perhaps not as egregious but shame on Andrew Sullivan: his blog has no mention of the event. As president of the Oxford Union, same as Bhutto, I'd like to hear if he'd had any contact with her, or could provide some analysis. Instead, we get fluff on the Spears sister getting pregnant.

Paco Wové said...

"How does this affect their lives? How does this change anything? "

Stocks lose ground after Bhutto death

Oil and gold prices rose following the news.


Gee, Paddy, I can't imagine.

And that's the way it is said...

Ann, I'm old enough to remember Roger Mudd reading the CBS Morning News in the 1970's (I was a very young news junkie)

The beginning of the end was when Cronkite retired from CBS and Roger Mudd was not chosen as his replacement.

Now we have Katie Couric (insert Mr. Yuk! sticker)

I've turned to the BBC and the News Hour for news and information as a result.

This is my summary of passes for today's morning 'News':

"If I needed to be entertained in the morning, I'd be married!"--Adam Young

You can quote me on that if you want.

Shan said...

I don't think many Americans under a certain age rely on the networks for news, anyway. I'd rather go online, where I can read newspapers in Pakistan, for example, or read other international coverage. Do that many people really rely on broadcast networks for thier news?

titusad said...

I am surprised you even watch the Today Show.

I understand it has a certain appeal for a segement of the US population but think the entire program is mush for the brain. As evidenced by what they were discussing in the clip you posted.

I also agree that you can only watch so much of 24 hour news as the recycling and talking heads become mind numbing.

I like NPR.

Freder Frederson said...

People care about what's important to them, and really for the great majority of people in this country going to a zoo and expecting safety is more important than the death of a foreign opposition politician.

And that people people think that being mauled by a tiger at the zoo is more important than the death of Bhutto is supposed to make us feel better about the American people exactly how?

Even Ann got over her obsessions with other peoples boobs (although she couldn't resist mentioning a low-cut blouse in the post), reality shows and her own standing in the blogging community long enough to realize that this is a very important story.

George said...

From a new interview with Wafa Sultan, the L.A.-based, Syrian-born psychologist...

FP: What do you think about the poll conducted last May among U.S. Muslims that revealed that one in four younger U.S. Muslims support suicide bombings? How come almost none has heard of this and the media didn’t even seem to mention it?

Sultan: I am not surprised to learn the results. I must acknowledge that young Muslims in the US who believe that suicide bombing is justified are well-versed in their religious teaching. The idea of becoming a Shaheed (martyr) by means of suicide is indeed deeply rooted in the Islamic belief system. The Quran states:

“Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods, for theirs (in return) is the Garden (of Paradise ): They fight in His Cause, and slay and are slain” (9/111).

I believe that Muslim clerics in the US have explained this verse in the same way that the clerics in Syria had explained it to me at young age. Growing up, I had always believed that suicide bombing was justified for the cause of being a martyr.

The poll results should motivate us to come up with firm ways to face this crisis. We should inspect what is being taught at Islamic schools and mosques here in the US to identify and treat properly the causing factors of this epidemic.

Simon said...

Paddy O. said...
"Other than caring because this is a Big News Event, why should most Americans really care? How does this affect their lives? How does this change anything?"

Why should they care? Perhaps because Pakistan has nuclear weapons, a hotbed of Islamic extremists, and a fraught relationship with the similarly-nuclear armed neighbour India.


And that's the way it is said...
"I've turned to the BBC and the News Hour for news and information as a result."

The BBC's news coverage is atrocious, which is to be expected: state run news services must please their masters or risk being cut off. Even when I was living in England it was unbearable - Channel 4 News is much more effective and well-researched.

Simon said...

Oh do fuck off, Freder. If you have such boiling contempt for the author of this blog and everything she posts, stop coming back. Another ADS victim whipping around the vortex comes back for more; Simels can't be far behind.

EnigmatiCore said...

We love dirty laundry.

Freder Frederson said...

Oh do fuck off, Freder. If you have such boiling contempt for the author of this blog and everything she posts, stop coming back.

Oh Simon, you know I am a masochist. I just love subjecting myself to the pseudo-intellectual musings and failed artist pretensions of our hostess. The only thing I love more is being abused by the endless string of misfits who post here, especially our resident Nazi Cedarford, and of course you, our pretentious, British pretend lawyer.

Besides, if I didn't hang out here, it would just be a 24-hour Ann love-fest. What fun would that be? For some reason, even though Ann has repeatedly accused me of being a troll and even told me to screw myself, I have not yet crossed that invisible line that makes me a persona non-grata and banned forever.

peter hoh said...

My guess is that the real producers were off on holiday and the show was staffed by a bunch of 23 year old assistant producers who didn't understand the gravity of the situation.

Back in the early 80s, my brother was an adjunct journalism prof at a state college. He was appalled that the students who wanted to become reporters were not familiar with current events. My guess is that the situation has not improved over the past twenty-five years.

former law student said...

Sorry Ann, the story of her death was on the radio when I woke up. I never watch TV in the morning. As to your other point, I have never found instant analysis particularly helpful or insightful: consider the low added value of the instant analysis after a state of the union address.

And that people people think that being mauled by a tiger at the zoo is more important than the death of Bhutto is supposed to make us feel better about the American people exactly how?

Everybody is like this. What happens in your neighborhood/town/country/region is much more important than what happens halfway around the world. Here, people can visualize going to SF -- one of the world's most popular tourist destinations -- or going to an American zoo, and people can visualize being mauled by a tiger. Few Americans can picture themselves visiting scenic Rawalpindi.

Trumpit said...

I assassinated my TV in a terrorist attack (I unplugged it). I get my news from around the world on the internet. For one thing, it forces me to read and to think. For both serious discussions, art, and some stress-relieving fluff, I turn to Althouse. If Althouse is on top of the latest breaking news stories of major importance, then so should the major networks. I guess the TV executives are too busy counting their money from all the commercials they're running to care. It's more obscene than using the F-word, which the censors will bleep. The censors are always awake, but evidently the "show" must go on regardless of catastrophic world events that sadly this country helped produce. My TV shall remain unplugged, until Althouse appears in prime time on NBC to give them the verbal thrashing they deserve.

Paddy O. said...

Freder, if it's a 24 hour Ann love-fest here that you're trying to interrupt why argue with my point that was disagreeing with Ann? I think you're coming up with pseudo-intellectual reasons on the fly, equating intelligence with contrariness.

That Americans don't care makes me feel better because I'm hoping that they are using their attention today to devote themselves to problems they can address and which help their immediate situations. If those in Pakistan worried less about the United States and global religion and more about how to feed, clothe, and help their immediate families more than I'd bet there would be less chaos there.

Families go to zoos. Parents are concerned that going to a zoo might be a risk. Most people in this country have been to a zoo so can identify with the situation. So it becomes both interesting and threatening and informational for future plans. Thus people care. Just like they care about ice storms and weather in midwest towns, even if they live on other parts of the country. It affects them. I'm glad people are worried about what affects them more than what doesn't.

Simon, you are saying why Pakistan is important but I'm not clear on why the assassination of an opposition politician who has already barely been allowed in the country has an immediate "breaking news" quality to it for 99% of Americans. If Musharraf were assassinated, and the country was taken over by Islamic extremists who as their first order of business threatened to use the nuclear weapons against India or Israel or US forces in Afghanistan, then I would see it as breaking news.

As it is this is news that may or may not at some point possibly progress into something that might possibly more or less vaguely affect the lives of most Americans.

It's news, to be sure. But not really breaking news. And I can find Pakistan on a map.

Simon said...

Trumpit said...
"I assassinated my TV in a terrorist attack (I unplugged it). I get my news from around the world on the internet. For one thing, it forces me to read and to think."

I'd agree with that much. The best remedy to media bias "is to read widely, critically, and often."

jeff said...

"Besides, if I didn't hang out here, it would just be a 24-hour Ann love-fest. What fun would that be?"

Or, and this will sound crazy, you could present an opposing viewpoint with examples and informed commentary.

That will require some thought on your part.

Simon said...

Paddy:
"Freder, if it's a 24 hour Ann love-fest here that you're trying to interrupt why argue with my point that was disagreeing with Ann? "

You don't understand, Paddy. It's not good enough to just disagree with her - to the ADS mob, anyone who isn't routinely cussing her out is an Althouse sycophant. Agreement = love fest. Respectful disagreement = love fest. Disagreement = love fest. Contempt = love fest. To the ADS victim such as our man Freder, you're either a sycophant or a goodthinker, and to qualify as a goodthinker, you've got to routinely call her drunk, stupid, breast obsessed and an affront to the ivory tower. The "D" is, after all, for "derangement."

As to the matter at hand, Bhutto's assassination shortly before the scheduled election introduces further instability into an already volatile situation. A crack in a dam is as much breaking news as the dam itself giving way if enough people may be swept away if the former turns into the latter.

reader_iam said...

Boy, this is sure unmasking the idiots in the Althouse comments community.

Freder Frederson said...

and to qualify as a goodthinker, you've got to routinely call her drunk, stupid, breast obsessed and an affront to the ivory tower.

And don't forget the greatest insult of all--"conservative". (except of course when she wants to be named as best conservative blogger by some other blogger).

Smilin' Jack said...

Shame on NBC News.

Well, to be fair, Islamic politicians getting assasinated by terrorists is rather dog-bites-man these days.

As for what happens next in Pakistan and the region, no amount of pundit analysis would tell us. It's one of those nonlinear butterfly-effect situations that are inherently impossible to forecast--just too many variables. And prediction is made even more difficult by the fact that many (most?) of the parties involved are insane.

jeff said...

Bold choice Freder. Thinking can be difficult for some people. Best you take baby steps.

Jill said...

But why does this surprise anyone? This is the stock of television news in general, let alone the fluffy morning shows. If it doesn't happen between 7 AM and 7:30 AM, it won't get covered. That's their "hard news" time and everything else is fluff.

Of course cable news has been all man-eating tigress, all the time for the last three days, and I'm sure they resented like hell having to break into that story and the one about Paris Hilton being written out of old Barron's will to cover something as "Math is hard!" as what the assassination of an opposition leader in Pakistan means.

And these are the same so-called "journalists" who say bloggers aren't "serious" the way they are.

Freder Frederson said...

Or, and this will sound crazy, you could present an opposing viewpoint with examples and informed commentary.

Well, if you'll notice in between my derisive comments about Ann, Simon, Fen, Cedarford, et. al. I do present an opposing viewpoint. My main complaint about Ann is how unserious she is and how she rarely makes her opinion known except on frivolous topics like Survivor and American Idol.

Go back and check the postings. There is no doubt what my position is on torture and interrogation methods are. I defy you to tell me where Ann stands on it.

Also, tell us Ann's opinion on global warming. Again, mine is a lot clearer than her complete non-committal to the topic (all we know is that she really hates polar bears).

Even her courageous stance on the war doesn't seem to be deeper than a gut feeling that we need to kick somebody's ass.

jeff said...

"My main complaint about Ann is how unserious she is and how she rarely makes her opinion known except on frivolous topics like Survivor and American Idol."

You really see zero difference between the function of a personal blog and a news outlet? You see no difference in the roll of throwing topics out there and in reacting to them? Your complaint seems to be that she will not configure HER blog to fit your standards.

Pogo said...

nil Postman wrote of this in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He argued that the shift from print to broadcast degraded news, political debate, art, public discourse, and thought itself.

TV's tendency to present everything as entertainment is epitomized in its And now this!! format, switching instantly from murder to sports to politics to weather, which Althouse documents here. As a result, meaning is lost by the avalanche of successive bits of infotainment.

Wrote Postman: “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny ‘failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.’ In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”

Pogo said...

When did Freder switch from derisive argumentation to whole hog derangement and pecksniffery?

What a waste. Do these guys all take classes in crap creation?

Trooper York said...

I think the correct answer to this problem is to put the people of Pakistan in a zoo.

Hoosier Daddy said...

My main complaint about Ann is how unserious she is and how she rarely makes her opinion known except on frivolous topics like Survivor and American Idol.

Well pox upon her for not conforming her blog to meet your personal standards.

Maybe you can enlighten us as to what obligates her to divulge and entitles you to her opinions on anything?

Freder Frederson said...

Your complaint seems to be that she will not configure HER blog to fit your standards.

True, my complaint is that she will not configure her blog or her level of seriousness to that which is appropriate for a professor of law at a top 30 law school. It is disgusting that someone who is so unserious and is so lacking in conviction, opinion and unable to to come to an intelligent conclusion (and is apparently too intellectually lazy or uninterested to find out) whether or not waterboarding is legal, teaches Constitutional Law at a major university.

Simon may call it ADS, I call it concern about the state of legal education.

Pogo said...

that she will not configure her blog or her level of seriousness to that which is appropriate for a professor of law ...blah blah blah etcetera

Althouse's law: the first commenter who says You, a law professor is an idiot.

Freder Frederson said...

Maybe you can enlighten us as to what obligates her to divulge and entitles you to her opinions on anything?

If I were sitting in her constitutional law class and she couldn't even explain what the state of the law is with regards to torture, I would be pissed that I had spent thousands of dollars for her worthless course. Is it too much to ask that we get some of her legal expertise on this blog rather than "I don't know or I don't know enough about it".

Constitutional law is her freaking speciality!

Pogo said...

If I were sitting in her constitutional law class
And when did you first begin to notice that you were not, in fact, sitting in her class, Freder?

Or has that not yet occured to you?

Simon said...

Freder Frederson said...
"And don't forget the greatest insult of all--'conservative'. (except of course when she wants to be named as best conservative blogger by some other blogger)."

You're the one who's obsessed with that word and applying it to someone who it isn't descriptive of. If she ever wants to come over to my side of the fence, that's find by me. And as you well know, she's never campaigned for "best conservative blogger" - she was nominated for "Grande Conservative Blogress Diva" and put her own spin on why she ought to get it while expressly disclaiming being a conservative.

Freder Frederson said...
"I do present an opposing viewpoint."

Ignorance is not a point of view. You want to revisit the U.S. Attorneys story? I really can't think of an intelligent contribution you've made in the last six months, if not longer.

jeff said...
"[Freder's] complaint seems to be that she will not configure HER blog to fit [his] standards."

It's a combination of jealousy and the left's Orwellian instinct to control. Don't think that Freder et al want to stop at having people conform their speech - that leaves too much room for people to think for themselves.

reader_iam said...

True, my complaint is that she will not configure her blog or her level of seriousness to that which is appropriate for a professor of law at a top 30 law school. It is disgusting that someone who is so unserious and is so lacking in conviction, opinion and unable to to come to an intelligent conclusion (and is apparently too intellectually lazy or uninterested to find out) whether or not waterboarding is legal, teaches Constitutional Law at a major university.

LOL.

You pompous ass.

Freder Frederson said...

the first commenter who says You, a law professor is an idiot.

Yeah well, I know she wants to be an artist, but she needs to give up on that dream. She is a law professor, and a pretty successful one. If she wants to blog as a starving artist/reality show junkie
she should post under a pseudonym. But no, she flaunts her status as a law professor, yet when people expect her to act seriously and have serious opinions, she wants to be treated like a frivilous little girl.

She can't have it both ways.

Paco Wové said...

Your envy is truly pathetic, Freder.

John Stodder said...

This reminds me of...

The world is a business, Mr. Beale; it has been since man crawled out of the slime. Our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality - one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock - all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.

When Tom Brokaw and Barbara Walters ran the Today Show, they would have cut to the real news asap.

jeweejewish said...

she flaunts her status as a law professor, yet when people expect her to act seriously and have serious opinions, she wants to be treated like a frivilous little girl.

She can't have it both ways.


Sure she can. She could post a picture of her hairdryer with the following caption "It's my hair dryer. It really makes me think" and the regulars here would ooh and ahh.

And if you call her on her shallow silliness, you get banned for "bad faith" and have your comments deleted.

Like mine are about to be again...

Simon said...

Freder Frederson said...
"She is a law professor, and a pretty successful one."

Well, I said in my 14:01 comment that you hadn't made an intelligent contribution in six months, so it's good to see you finally step up to the plate and say something undoubtedly true. Shame you had to spoil it with the rest of the twittering.

howzerdo said...

Freder, I rarely comment here, but I have to ask you this. Is there a litmus test for everyone's blog and level of seriousness, or only law professors at top 30 law schools? I am an adjunct education professor with an unknown blog where I write about my dogs, animal rights, historic preservation, organic gardening and teaching, among other things, although never about American Idol. Sometimes I even try to be funny, but I am not in the habit of giving my opinion about vouchers, charter schools or teacher's unions. Is this OK? If so is it because my blog isn't popular? My status as an adjunct? My field being education rather than law? The fact that my university is not top 30? Is there a litmus test of "appropriateness" for accountants who write blogs? How about doctors? Nurses? Retail clerks? Farmers?

Freder Frederson said...

And if you call her on her shallow silliness, you get banned for "bad faith" and have your comments deleted.

But apparently that means you envy her. ADS is really AES.

Trooper York said...

Hey pal, leave accountants out of this or we will have words.

Ann Althouse said...

titusad said..."I am surprised you even watch the Today Show."

Obviously, I don't or I wouldn't have been as horrified by it as I was.

I get my news on line or on the radio from NPR or BBC. I haven't been a consumer of TV news for many years. It's too inefficient.

But today, I had the feeling that I could watch the world response in real time (as I had on 9/11, to note the most obvious example). I decided to check, for blogging purposes, to see what the three networks were doing. The Today Show looked so bad that I started recording it on TiVo. When I saw that at 8:01, they were only saying she was wounded, I decided to devote a big post to it.

I'm especially disgusted to see that this is what is made for women. And here, one of the most important women of my lifetime was deemed unimportant to women.

Hoosier Daddy said...

If I were sitting in her constitutional law class and she couldn't even explain what the state of the law is with regards to torture, I would be pissed that I had spent thousands of dollars for her worthless course.

Well Freder, that pretty much sums it up. You are not sitting in her constitutional law class spending thousands of dollars. You're sitting where ever, spending nothing so I guess you get what you pay for.

Freder Frederson said...

Freder, I rarely comment here, but I have to ask you this. Is there a litmus test for everyone's blog and level of seriousness, or only law professors at top 30 law schools?

Well, no. If Ann stuck to American Idol and her pictures, fine. I wouldn't even stop by. But she also regularly posts on politics, global warming, torture and other hot button topics. She also loves to deride left wing bloggers for their stance on the issues. Yet, while she has very strong opinions on who should win American Idol, when it comes to torture or politics it is hard to tell what the hell she thinks.

Recently, in a post on waterboarding, I asked her flat out if she thought waterboarding was illegal. She gave a non-answer. What is she, trying to be appointed AG?

jeff said...

"True, my complaint is that she will not configure her blog or her level of seriousness to that which is appropriate for a professor of law at a top 30 law school."

Ah, so your complaint is that some one in her position is to be denied entertainment or fun unless it passes the freder test. Truly bizarre.

jeff said...

"If I were sitting in her constitutional law class and she couldn't even explain what the state of the law is with regards to torture, I would be pissed that I had spent thousands of dollars for her worthless course."

And are you sitting there? How much you paying to participate in this forum?

jeweejewish said...

Recently, in a post on waterboarding, I asked her flat out if she thought waterboarding was illegal. She gave a non-answer. What is she, trying to be appointed AG?

That's nothing, Freder.

When I suggested that, practically and morally, there was no reason not to anally rape the detainees at Gitmo -- because, like waterboarding, it neither kills nor leaves permanent damage -- she went all "oh that's beyond the pale. Bad faith!!! You're banned!!!! Never darken my towels again!!!!!"

jeff said...

"And if you call her on her shallow silliness, you get banned for "bad faith" and have your comments deleted." does not in fact equal "and if you are a complete and total asshole and offer nothing but insults and a 3 year old's viewpoint into world affairs and have your comments deleted.

I think we are starting to see where you are confused.

Simon said...

Freder Frederson said...
"Well, no. If Ann stuck to American Idol and her pictures, fine. I wouldn't even stop by. But she also regularly posts on politics, global warming, torture and other hot button topics."

In other words, as we've pointed out on numerous occaisions, it isn't that you don't want her blogging about topic X, it's that you only want her blogging about topic X if she's going to do it your way. Which brings us back to what others have said about you upthread.


"She also loves to deride left wing bloggers for their stance on the issues."

It's hard to resist picking low-hanging fruit, and it's hard to imagine a lower bunch of fruits than some of the left wing bloggers.


"[W]hen it comes to torture or politics it is hard to tell what the hell she thinks. Recently, in a post on waterboarding, I asked her flat out if she thought waterboarding was illegal. She gave a non-answer. What is she, trying to be appointed AG?"

She's made it pretty clear that if you want a detailed symposium on law, you're in the wrong place. Much to my chagrin, frankly, because I find her perspective on legal questions fascinating. But you take what's offered or you leave. And come to think of it, why is it that you seem to think you're entitled to know "what the hell she thinks"? Y'all just can't let it be whatever an individual wants it to be, can you - every blog has to be another soldier in the fight against the evil rethuglican christofascist machine. Why is it that the left seems to treat blogging as some kind of dick-measuring contest - "come on, everyone, slap your opinions out on the table and we'll get out the ruler, we'll make sure everyone cares enough about the topics that matter, comrades!"

Pogo said...

There's this great book I read recently called The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't by Robert I. Sutton.

It is pertinent to blogs, by changing the words just a bit:

"Assholes—those who deliberately make co-workers [bloggers and commenters] feel bad about themselves and who focus their aggression on the less powerful—poison the work [blog] environment, decrease productivity, induce qualified employees [bloggers and commenters] to quit and therefore are detrimental to businesses [blogs], regardless of their individual effectiveness" and attention should be paid to weeding out these unpleasant individuals.

Sutton has an interesting blog, too.

reader_iam said...

Speaking of heads being up asses, here's Sen. Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, today:

"Bhutto’s death will “call into issue the judgment: who’s made the right judgments,” Axelrod said. “Obviously, one of the reasons that Pakistan is in the distress that it’s in is because al-Qaeda is resurgent, has become more powerful within that country and that’s a consequence of us taking the eye off the ball and making the wrong judgment in going into Iraq. That’s a serious difference between these candidates and I’m sure that people will take that into consideration.”
... “She was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq, which we would submit, was one of the reasons why we were diverted from Afghanistan, Pakistan and al-Qaeda, who may have been players in this event today, so that’s a judgment she’ll have to defend,” ... .



Benazir Bhutto's assassination is Sen. Clinton's fault!!! So vote for Sen. Obama.

Jeez. I guess part of the strategy of having Axelrod around is that, by comparison, Sen. Obama will seem more serious.

Simon said...

Freder Frederson said...
"True, my complaint is that she will not configure her blog or her level of seriousness to that which is appropriate for a professor of law at a top 30 law school."

Well, at least you admit it: your problem is that this blog doesn't fit your image of what a law professor should be doing. Why, it's been at least five minutes since she decried the federalist society, and I'm pretty sure that Silvio doesn't have one of NOW's "Stop Souter or Women Will Die" bumper stickers...

You know what, I think I'm done going around in circles with you today, Freder. You are not worth the time or effort any more, even for amusement value. You're a pathetic waste of oxygen, and I'm going to deputize Bill Hicks to do my talking to you from now on - Bill has a message for you. Just substitute "ADS" for "advertising and marketing." Jackass.

jeweejewish said...

I'm going to deputize Bill Hicks to do my talking to you from now on - Bill has a message for you. Just substitute "ADS" for "advertising and marketing." Jackass.

Simon, the irony of you quoting Bill Hicks to Freder is almost breathtaking.

Considering that Hicks hated your sort of wingnut crapola with every fiber of his being....

Poor bastard...at least he died before the current administration had the chance to totally break his heart for what they've done to America...

Freder Frederson said...

"come on, everyone, slap your opinions out on the table and we'll get out the ruler, we'll make sure everyone cares enough about the topics that matter, comrades!"

Man Simon, who pissed in your cornflakes this morning?

In other words, as we've pointed out on numerous occaisions, it isn't that you don't want her blogging about topic X, it's that you only want her blogging about topic X if she's going to do it your way.

All that I'm asking Simon, is that if she blogs about topic X, she at least have an opinion on it. I don't think that is too much to ask. I would think that the reason she blogs about things she finds interesting and presumably has formed an opinion on. Yet amazingly, when asked to explain her sometimes cryptic posts, all we get is vague, noncommital answers.

PD Shaw said...

MSNBC had fairly decent coverage when I turned on the tube around 7:45 central. I don't know if that helps or hurts NBC, but it didn't really occur to me to check out the networkds.

At that time, CNN seemed to have the best coverage from Pakistan. MSNBC had coverage from Washington (interviews with Albright, a state department official and Gen Clark (?)) Fox had the OJ Simpson angle (???)

jeff said...

"All that I'm asking Simon, is that if she blogs about topic X, she at least have an opinion on it. I don't think that is too much to ask."

Sometimes she just throws things out there. You know how she blogs. None of this is new. Either deal with it or go away. No one here owes anyone more than they are willing to give.

"Considering that Hicks hated your sort of wingnut crapola with every fiber of his being....

Poor bastard...at least he died before the current administration had the chance to totally break his heart for what they've done to America..."

He died in '94 dipshit. So now you are speaking for dead men? He didn't like a great many things.

Pixelkiller said...

I've had a dish for about 11/12 years. I don't get the "networks" unless I pay extra. I wont so I don't. I haven't missed them. (Well, I do miss This Simpsons).
I'm shocked that so many still think they'll get "news" on network TV news. I heard it on Fox about half an hour after it happened. I went to the computer and got everything that was known. (granted, still not too much). But as I surfed the internet, more came in. Hey, better than reading it off the wire.

Jim O'Sullivan said...

It's not news show anymore. They know damn well by now that people who are actually interested in the news switch to cable when something is breaking, if they were not already watching cable or listening to radio. They know they have an audience full of airheads, and they must keep the airheads tuned in.
Those of us who do things like, you know, comment on blogs like this have trouble remembering that 90% of the American people couldn't name the Secretary of Defense.

Brent Greer said...

Ann,
I'm surprised they didn't take time to remind us once more that they are using "green" lightbulbs on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. I noticed the NBC happy talk also and switched to CBS which finally caught on that this was a huge story with significant implications for the U.S.

Simon said...

Pogo - and Freder's without doubt one of Sutton's certifiables.

JJ - People play the U2 song "One" at weddings. You lose the right to the final say over what a piece of art means the moment you put it in the public domain. Once it's out there, it means what it means to each individual who perceives it. I think Hicks was smart enough to understand that. By the way, don't get too comfortable, you're not staying long.

Jeff, I'll concede the point that Hicks would have loathed people like me, which is something I'm fine with. I imagine that a young Lars Ulrich would have eaten a bullet if he thought some white collar conservative schmoe like me would be humming along while listening to "Ride the Lightning" at a sensible volume in his minivan. One imagines that if Tina Fay had any reaction at all to my thinking she's cute, it'd be horror. Personally, I rather like that. ;)

jeff said...

Pogo, I checked out that website. I can think of some of my old managers at one particular previous job that could have taken that test.
http://electricpulp.com/guykawasaki/arse/

jeff said...

"Jeff, I'll concede the point that Hicks would have loathed people like me, which is something I'm fine with. "

Not sure where you are getting my name in relationship to his feelings about you. However, from what I have read, a lot of his opinions may have been chemically based. Even if he did loath conservatives, as one myself it isn't something I would lose any sleep over. Feelings trump logic in many people.

howzerdo said...

Freder, so your litmus test of "appropriateness" is only for Ann Althouse? Because the style of her posts on some subjects doesn't meet with your approval? Although in this case your reasoning is still confusing. I thought her opinion was crystal clear. She has a low opinion of NBC's morning coverage of Bhutto's assassination. You're the one who brought up Survivor and Project Runway, in comment #1 no less.

jeweejewish said...

jeff said...


He died in '94 dipshit. So now you are speaking for dead men? He didn't like a great many things.


Oh, this is rich. Have you ever actually heard a Bill Hicks album? Or seen him on TV or in a club?

Then you'd know that if there is one thing certain in this short sweet life, it's that he didn't like wingnut idiots like you, Simon, and George W. Bush with an almost religious passion.

jeff said...

"Not sure where you are getting my name in relationship to his feelings about you. "

Ah, I get it. Even so, it's difficult to speculate on how someone might feel about things 13 years after his death. Who knows how he would have been impacted by 9/11. Or just being 13 years older and off of drugs and booze. Using him as a club to bludgeon idealogical opponents over topics that didn't exist while he was alive is dishonest debate. Then again, coming from that particular source, I suppose its to be expected.

jeff said...

"Then you'd know that if there is one thing certain in this short sweet life, it's that he didn't like wingnut idiots like you, Simon, and George W. Bush with an almost religious passion."

That would be a pretty non-inclusive club, dipshit. Which would have included you. See, I can speak for dead people also. However, if your familiar with his work, I think I can state that with the same accuracy of your statement.

jeweejewish said...

Even so, it's difficult to speculate on how someone might feel about things 13 years after his death. Who knows how he would have been impacted by 9/11. Or just being 13 years older and off of drugs and booze.

Right. He would have turned into Dennis Miller. Sure. Absolutely.



If you believe that, I have some bridgefront property in Brooklyn I'd like to interest you in.

Pogo said...

ah, the anti-establishment anti-corporate angry young man schtick comedy of Bill Hicks.

A narrow appeal, to be sure. Many comedians grew out of that phase. Hard to say where he's stand at 45 years old. A decade of work and family can change a man. Angry old men aren't as funny, sorta like Fonzie still trying to pick up chicks in a Diner at 55.

But claiming you know where he'd stand now is funnier than Hicks ever was, though.

Freder Frederson said...

You're the one who brought up Survivor and Project Runway, in comment #1 no less.

It was meant to be ironic.

jeff said...

"Right. He would have turned into Dennis Miller. Sure. Absolutely."

Yes, Dennis Miller was really the only person ever changed by twin effects of getting older and 9/11. I forgot where I mentioned Dennis Miller, point that out for me. Or changed by getting older. Or by getting married and having a family. Or by taking care of his parents as they aged. Or by a million things that happen to us as we get older. My point remains that you have no idea what he would be feeling 13 years after his death. So did he hate arrogance? If so, how do you reconcile the hatred he would have had towards you?

Trooper York said...

This just shows that you don't know what you are talking about. David Walentas owns all of the bridgefront property in Brooklyn.
He even bought out the Watchtower building. He is not selling any soon (unless you are refering to a condo). Please change your snide comments to manhattan bridge front property. All the best.

JCooperNYC said...

Gee Wiz, I've been on the internet since 1994 with my first 486. I used to belong to a group on MIRC, 40up intellichat. I found it very interesting that name calling was part of the chat when people disagreed. Well, I've only been reading this blog for three days and it's nice to know some things haven't changed in 17 years.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Well, no. If Ann stuck to American Idol and her pictures, fine. I wouldn't even stop by. But she also regularly posts on politics, global warming, torture and other hot button topics"

So according to the Freder's of the world, who assume the mantle of the arbiters of taste, a blogger should only express interest and post in a narrow spectrum of topics?

I'm a financial advisor/stock broker but guess what I'm also interested in lots of other subjects including music, art, anthropology, science fiction, computer games, cooking, politics etc. I guess according to Freder I should only post about Sharpe Ratios, Alphas, Betas, standard deviations and the composition of the various Dow components.

How freaking shallow!! Can't you just skip over the topics that are of no interest to you? I do.

internomania said...

"Where were you when they shot JFK?" Or the NYC blackout (the first one), or 911, or the Shuttle explosion in the late 80s (I was in Physics class at University). Where was I when B.Bhutto was Bombed? On Instapundit, within 15 minutes of it happening. Heck, 911 took me 35 minutes to find out about, even though I live on the Island. I slept through it until I got a cell phone call (finally) from my girl, who was walking home, 85 blocks. I turned on the TV and told her it was just hype, since all I was seeing was the re-runs, but then they fell, for real. We sort of hated those "ugly" towers, culturally, but after they fell, Pearl Harbor had come to Manhattan, and here are the same lowly (envious and crazy) Kamikaze-religion creeps trying to ruin the future of Western Civilization, again, and so what do we do? We take notice!!! What does that tell you about the media folk? They are simply grown up children, in the bad sense of being spoiled and immune to actual news. What our world needs more of is grown up children akin to Einstein or Winston Churchill.

Yet! When, for once is the Net community going to finally start ignoring such outrageous buffoonery in an old and dying industry, in other words stop being critics of real reportage, and start just taking over their jobs (and incomes) on their own way to becoming the next Tabloids in 20 years, when Google finally launches real news, and has reporters within fifteen helicopter minutes of any event on Earth? Blog blog blog. Outrage. It's not like you couldn't get the news on Drudge within the speed of light.

My point is a psychological one. Sure, the old TV-based media is still (literally) toasting each other during *real* world events, but that was just business. Darwinian economics. They got more ad revenue that way, period, and the idealist owners lost out to the Tabloids and went bankrupt about the time that Entertainment Tonight appeared (I wont quote references since it's just a general metaphor).

I will paraphrase your blog entry. "So like...I saw this...uh...bum (I mean "Homeless Person") on the street screaming for food money but he was like...SO FAT!!!...what's with THAT?!" What I mean is, nobody cares what you care about people who don't care.

Now consider a young person, age 14-25, who grew up getting their news on the Net. They did not suffer Champaign tasting tack. They got it straight up, seconds after it happened. All is well, but the "blogosphere" had nothing to do with it. Drudge Report/Google News. End of story. I just got up late and saw it on Instapundit first. Same thing.

Ken Begg said...

Surely what draws Freder here is all the response he gets. If you guys really want him to go away, follow the first rule of blogs: Don't feed the trolls.

Paddy O. said...

one of the most important women of my lifetime

Now I'm interested. I follow the news fairly decently and know enough to have a sense of what's going on over in Pakistan (even though my initial reaction was more "wait and watch" than "oh no!"). I wouldn't have thought that someone would consider Bhutto one of the most important women of the last decades.

I want to hear more. Is it that she was a woman leader in a Muslim country or is there more to it?

boinky said...

BBC WORLD had constant coverage early this morning (in the Philippines)...they are better than CNN International, which is the worst of both worlds: Full of Anti American Brits without the news being as good as the BBC....

Smilin' Jack said...

It's not just Today-watching trogs who don't care about Bhutto. Right now on the NY Times site, the Bhutto story is #9 on the list of the 10 "most popular" articles. #2 is an article on the importance of washing your face every day.

rhhardin said...

Other than caring because this is a Big News Event, why should most Americans really care? How does this affect their lives? How does this change anything?

``Most'' Americans aren't the question. The Americans in question are the ones who come to watch the ``news'' every day, day in and day out. These are soap opera women, and the news given to them is the soap opera they come for.

There are enough of them to support the news biz, and not enough of any other group, for people don't actually care about daily hard news unless it's a biggie.

It's the only group that the news biz can cater to, so cater they do.

Most Americans are disgusted, but they don't count, because they don't pay the bills in the news biz.

rhhardin said...

I'm especially disgusted to see that this is what is made for women. And here, one of the most important women of my lifetime was deemed unimportant to women.

The fact is that 40% of women watch it.

The solution is not politically correct yet, but it's to ridicule these women to shame them out of it.

The media will follow its audience. It cannot lead.

rhhardin said...

Pit Bull mauling

That's the traditional news story.

See Vicki Hearne on the media and the classic pit bull story, ABC 1987.

former law student said...

When Tom Brokaw and Barbara Walters ran the Today Show

I'm glad someone else noticed the steep decline in the Today Show once that bimbo Jane Pauley replaced Babs. The hypocrisy of those who decried Mrs. Doonesbury's replacement with the transcendently beautiful Deborah Norville still rankles.

But remember: what made the Today Show a national institution was the garrulous Dave Garroway and a chimp.

reader_iam said...
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reader_iam said...

Hitchens on Bhutto.

Blake said...

So, all of Freder's posturing boils down to "You, a law professor"?

He wants Althouse to come clean, to confess, to reveal all?

Performance art claims another victim.

Kev said...

It was interesting to come back to this thread after several hours and see that it went off on a Bill Hicks tangent for a moment.

I went to high school with Bill. He was always in the talent show at school, but until his senior year, it was always in a band of some sorts; his first talent was as a rock guitarist. Then I saw him in the talent show again as a senior, and the comedy act was almost fully developed at that point. (I was amazed at the things he got away with saying at school, because his act, even at that point, was rather raw.)

After he graduated, I saw him several times at a local comedy club (along with an up-and-coming Sam Kinison) and knew that he would get wide recognition; it was always great to see him on Letterman in later years. Needless to say, he left us way too soon.

Incidentally, the neighborhoods that we both grew up in were pretty conservative and Leave It to Beaver-ish, so maybe that's the source of what he was railing against at times.

Jib said...

"Today," in particular, moved away from news a long time ago. I awoke when my wife got home from work this morning and I flipped on NBC, yet I didn't know Bhutto died until I fired up my computer. The Today Show never adjustedto the news...they continued showing their soft programming.

Mutaman said...

"Imus with a substitute host (Mark Simone?) had 3 interviews about it. That show is taken to have a serious audience."

Right.

10 minutes of commercials.

Imus announces the time.

Imus mumbles some stuff that is incomprehensible.

Imus announces the time.

10 more minutes of commercoials.

et cetera, etcetera. Very serious audience, all three of them.

By the way, if Ann was so upset with the NBC programing, why'd she keep watching it?

Blake said...

I think she made it pretty clear why: While she wasn't looking, someone cranked up the stupid on the AM talk shows.

Sort of a "train wreck" situation.

Ricardo said...

Ann:

Aside from the substance of the post (with which I agree).

One of the things at which you excel, is "making a point" while "painting a canvas of stream-of-consciousness thought." This post was another wonderful example of your skill, used to perfection.

Thank you.

LoafingOaf said...

"I wouldn't have thought that someone would consider Bhutto one of the most important women of the last decades."

She was important in that she was a major force in creating the Taliban and bringing nukes to Pakistan. Thanks in part to her those, two evils may soon be brought together, and she will be all the more important if her actions wind up causing the deaths of many millions of people. Gee, thanks. What's more? She was as crooked as a barrel of snakes.

It's too bad that in the wake of 9/11 our White House's policies with respect to Pakistan have been such a failure, allowing al Qaeda to flourish while Dictator Musharaf
cons us all. Apparently Bush has recently started adopting some of the policy suggestions Barrack Obama made in his speech on Pakistan (such as conditioning aid to Pakistan on Pakistan cracking down more vigorously on al Qaeda). Maybe Bush should've focused more on Pakistan years ago, since that's where Bin Laden and the other masterminds of 9/11 are allegedly hanging out free as birds. This woman was killed in short order after her return to Pakistan, but no one has touched a hair on Bin Laden's head. I guess that's a sad commentary on the state of Pakistan and the state of Bush's foreign policy.

former law student said...

She was important in that she was a major force in creating the Taliban

No. According to the discussion I've heard in the wake of the release of "Charlie Wilson's War," that would be us. We armed the Afghans to repel the Soviets, then walked away. The Taliban filled the power vacuum we helped create.

This woman was killed in short order after her return to Pakistan, but no one has touched a hair on Bin Laden's head.

Are you volunteering to be a suicide bomber? I'm pretty certain Bin Laden does not appear in front of large public rallies, so your plan may not work as well as you think.

LoafingOaf said...

No. According to the discussion I've heard in the wake of the release of "Charlie Wilson's War," that would be us. We armed the Afghans to repel the Soviets, then walked away. The Taliban filled the power vacuum we helped create.


What is the "no" to? You're saying she didn't back them in the '90s? The Taliban was a Pakistan creation and Pakistan officially backed them all the way until the USA threatened Dictator Musharaf right after 9/11.

What you're talking about are unintended consequences of U.S. foreign policies. Yes, we left Afghanistan in a state that helped the Taliban take it over. I'm not sure that it's just the USA that is to blame for this. Blame can go around the world, and to the United Nations as well. But Pakistan actually created the Taliban, directly helped them take power, and then gave them their backing. The USA's blame was mostly just not being able to foresee the future.


Are you volunteering to be a suicide bomber? I'm pretty certain Bin Laden does not appear in front of large public rallies, so your plan may not work as well as you think.

I'm also pretty certain that both Pakistan and the USA have not done anywhere near as much as they should have in trying to capture or kill the actual perpetrators of 9/11. If the focus had been there but Bin Laden and his right-hand men still eluded us, so be it.

ElasticGuy said...

Whoever compared the BBC news service with Channel 4 news really does need to return here to see what's going on...........C4 news is on twice a day for a total of 90 mins inclusive of the commercials of couse........BBC is on for 24 hours and no commercials.....don't mix the two!