Monday, August 25, 2008

The Tradmed Dragon Must Be Fed

The traditional news media needs eyeballs in order to sell advertisements. They are not in the business of reporting the news -- they are in the business of attracting eyeballs to advertisements. So they need drama and drama requires controversy. So if you don't give them controversy by cleverly attacking your opponent every day -- they will manufacture controversy to attack you (to punish you for your failure to feed the media beast).

Exhibit A: witness Chris Matthews (and every other cable network's) relentless stoking of the mythical [nonexistent] Obama/Clinton feud today. IF YOU DO NOT GIVE THE TRADMED BEAST A JUICY CONTROVERSIAL STORY EVERY DAY THAT ATTRACTS EYEBALLS -- THEY WILL EAT YOU TO PUNISH YOU.

Ignore this advice at your peril: I imagine Al Gore and John Kerry are having a nice Heineken together at the Denver Holiday Inn Express right now instead of ruling the free world (I hope Bob Shrum picks up the $8 tab). I don't care who you are -- you cannot rise above it, you cannot stay above the fray, the tradmed beast is bigger than you and will eat you if you do not feed it. Word to your moms.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Essential reads

Both from (you might have to watch a short ad) but they are rocking it today.

Ya gotta read Glenn Greenwald's piece, "Vital Unresolved Anthrax Questions and ABC News." It is the definitive piece on what the new revelations today in the anthrax attacks say about this administration and ABC News' complicity in leading us into an unjust war. Key paragraphs:
If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks, then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab, sent by a top U.S. Army scientist at Ft. Detrick. Without resort to any speculation or inferences at all, it is hard to overstate the significance of that fact. From the beginning, there was a clear intent on the part of the anthrax attacker to create a link between the anthrax attacks and both Islamic radicals and the 9/11 attacks....

Much more important than the general attempt to link the anthrax to Islamic terrorists, there was a specific intent -- indispensably aided by ABC News -- to link the anthrax attacks to Iraq and Saddam Hussein. In my view, and I've written about this several times and in great detail to no avail, the role played by ABC News in this episode is the single greatest, unresolved media scandal of this decade. News of Ivins' suicide, which means (presumably) that the anthrax attacks originated from Ft. Detrick, adds critical new facts and heightens how scandalous ABC News' conduct continues to be in this matter.
I have a lot more to say about this development but it'll have to wait for another post.

Also of interest, "In Defense of Casual Sex" -- finally a thoughtful discussion about so-called "hook up culture" and how people just need to chill out about it. The piece doesn't really hit its stride until the second page and then, just like that, the McCarthyesque sexual panic of the older generation is dispelled in three simple sentences:
For all the anxiety about "hookup culture" the truth is that for many people older than 20, "hookup culture" will sound remarkably like, well, "college." Indeed, students shifted from dating to what was essentially hooking up during a wild time -- perhaps you've heard of it -- called the '70s. But, as the median age of marriage continues to climb, young women are spending a lot more time romantically vetting -- and being vetted.
Also brilliant in the piece:
I also discovered that a lot of young men are scared shitless -- of women, themselves and their future; that, contrary to our cultural imaginings, they are just as desperate to figure things out as young women. I found that a lot of the pains in the relationships of us 20-somethings can be blamed on cultural prescriptions for masculinity. Yes, there is the stud-slut double standard -- but there's also an expectation that men, unlike women, will not seek safe harbor in a relationship. No, they are supposed to bravely sail their ships beyond the singing sirens and silted waters of their quarter life until they miraculously hit land in the Real Adult World.
Finally, I've added the Jed Report to my blog roll -- dude is completely rocking it.