Posts Tagged ‘media’

ReadWriteWeb has a post on Forrester Research’s study about consumer trust of information sources.  It puts corporate and personal blogs at the very bottom (with 16% and 18% trust respectively), with personal email from a friend coming in at number one (with 77% trust).  Forrester suggests that corporate blogs shut down shop unless their blog is doing a good job of generating good will and/or leads.

This study bothers me on many levels.  As Michael Bernstein points out in the comments:

“Trust” is a 4 or a 5 on a 5 point scale, that is, anything above neutral. This means that lots of people could slightly trust a source and it would show up above something which a smaller number of people trust quite a bit and others are neutral on.

Also, the study compares information sources like email from friends and social networking profiles of friends to corporate and personal blogs. I ranted about this a bit on The Noisy Channel, which I’ll just reproduce here:

Comparing “personal blog” or some random “corporate blog” to “personal email sent from a friend” is pretty much like comparing “advice from gin-soaked hobo” to “what your mama always said.” The fact that Forrester can get away with presenting something like this and suggesting businesses act on it to shut down their blogs bothers me. It seems to me that 16-18% trustworthiness is not bad when you consider that much of the time you do a Google search for some product you hit a splog. That’s probably the only experience 80% of people have with blogs. Of course, that’s wild speculation, but this straw man study has gotten under my skin. :P And I do acknowledge that there is a huge amount of untrustworthy information in blogs, but I’m not sure that it’s much different from other user-generated content.

I agree that corporate blogs that are just reproductions of press releases (as Daniel Tunkelang at the Noisy Channel points out) are garbage. That is the wrong way to run a corporate blog. Google has a very good approach. They promote work they are doing by getting employees to blog about their personal projects (at least the Google blogs I read, there are surely exceptions). It comes across as real and beneficial. The value is that they keep you up-to-date on what they are doing with actual content. When that changes to become shameless promotion and unveiled attempts to drive sales, the blog is going to suck. GitHub’s blog is a another good example of a corporate blog done right.

Moving on, Daniel Tunkelang again offers some useful insight:

I think the interesting question for companies is not whether they should publish corporate blogs, but rather whether they should encourage their employees to publish personal blogs that relate to the work the company does. … I think that companies are often too conservative, and incur an enormous opportunity cost in the name of protecting trade secrets. Letting employees blog (and, more generally, publish) not only provides the companies with free marketing, but also provides employees with an avenue for personal development.

My cynicism prevents me from getting my hopes up here, but that would be nice.

There is a fine line between conspiracy theory and reasonable deduction. Most would agree it is insane to believe that a group of elite men have existed since before the founding of the United States with the purpose of ruling the world from secret. Most would agree that it is insane to believe that 9/11 was staged by people in the US government. But there are all these little coincidences out there that hint at something deeper going on. When we place them all side by side it seems almost reasonable to believe in the conspiracy theory, but the problem is that we have access to a limited set of the data. If we sampled from the distribution of coincidences again, we might come to a completely different conclusion. This is part of the difference between believing in a conspiracy theory and coming to a reasonable conclusion from the facts.

So consider these “coincidences” [source]:

  • The owner of MSNBC and NBC is General Electric, who also owns Raytheon
  • Raytheon is a defense contractor
  • General Electric has a vested stake in Yucca Mountain
  • GE and its affiliates have contributed to the main democratic contenders (Clinton, Obama, Edwards)
  • GE and its affiliate employees have individually contributed nearly $70,000 to those candidates
  • NBC has consistently excluded Kucinich from presidential debates
  • Kucinich opposes the War in Iraq and opening Yucca Mountain

In the latest presidential debate, NBC stated its criteria for selecting candidates was being ranked in the top four. Since Bill Richardson exited the race, much to my pleasure, Kucinich was now in the top four. NBC extended him an invitation only to rescind it two days later. Kucinich sued on violation of contract and won. NBC appealed and Kucinich lost. NBC claimed their first amendment rights were infringed by being forced to include Kucinich. Corporations have first amendment rights?

So is it right to conclude from these series of “coincidences” that NBC and its corporate masters have conspired to affect the election by removing from consideration candidates who would not be financially beneficial to them? Or is it a reasonable deduction to conclude from the facts that GE has a vested interest in making sure candidates who will support their goals are given media attention, which translates directly into votes? If you will not agree with that, then surely you must agree that by excluding Kucinich, they materially affect the distribution of votes in the election.

Oh yeah, McCain

Posted: 28 November 2007 in Uncategorized
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McCain and Rudy sittin in a tree
Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

I sometimes forget John McCain is running for president. The guy came in second last go-round (2000) against W, but this time he just can’t seem to get his foot out of his mouth. CNN is reporting on a Florida poll that puts him in a distant third (tied with Fred-freakin-Thompson) to Giuliani’s fairly decisive first.

Time to drop out, buddy. Time to hang that crazy hat on the walls of Congress alongside John Kerry and Joe Lieberman. Yeah the media collects your soundbites when you beat on the empty drums you collectively call your heads, but no one is listening. You may now join the ranks of the Marginalized.

I received this email today from Dennis Kucinich’s election campaign (below the jump). It’s a quick poll where you choose your top 3 candidates (democratic) for president if you had to vote today. So I voted Kucinich, Gravel, and Edwards. The (optional) reason I gave was that Dennis is the only principled candidate and is neither a warhawk nor a corporate stooge. The only thing wrong with him is that he’s not good for advertising revenue and so mainstream media outlets ignore him completely. Considering the massive load of dung that constitutes 99.9% of NBC, ABC, and CBS, 100% of CNN and 110% of Fox’s news coverage, this probably isn’t such a bad thing. It should give people pause, at least, if the media allowed them to think for themselves for 8 seconds.

And we all know that ain’t gunna happen.

Anyhow, please Kucinich a hand and vote for him in that poll.


As someone who has been getting the New York Times headlines by email everyday since 9/11, the announcement to get rid of their archaic pay-to-view Times Select service is great news.  Duncan Riley over at TechCrunch thinks this will herald the end of an age when content wasn’t free (aka Web 1.0).  The Wall Street Journal was recently acquired by News Corp, so speculation has been running high that the owners of MySpace will wise up to the new world order of the intertubes and kill their pay for content service too.

While this would be a good thing, it really won’t impact me all that much since I would only have read the occasional story locked behind the Times‘ barricade.  I don’t read the WSJ at all (possibly because it’s pay-to-view), so that won’t affect me either.  What I want to see lose their pay-to-view statuses are science magazines like Scientific American and New Scientist.  These guys are still clutching onto this old model like a drowning man on a life preserver.  As Duncan pointed out, you can still make money without imposing these draconian restrictions.

An Example Annoyance

Well, I didn’t get a chance to listen to Edwards last night on MSNBC, since I apparently can’t work a TV anymore. I thought I was watching MSNBC, it was actually NBC and then after Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island made the Democratic response and there was no John Edwards, I realized my mistake. Thanks to the wonders of the giant tubes that make up the interwebs, I was able to watch his speech:

I was pretty happy about the speech, though it came off as disappointingly weak at the end. He made a convincing, fairly non-aggressive case against prolonging the war, arguing from simple practicality. It seems this approach could possibly be better at persuading conservatives and fence-sitters than saying that Bush and the military are terrorists (ala Rosie O’Donnell). And yes I know she didn’t actually say that. What was weak in Edwards’ speech was the whole “timeline” business. It annoys me whenever I hear it. It’s so open-ended. If by timeline, he means in three weeks, then I can live with that.

Another problem here is that while Edwards has come out on the side of peace, he still voted for the war: a serious failure in judgment. And I don’t even listen to Obama (aka Obomba) when he chastises other candidates for voting for the war. Based on his long history of voting to prolong W’s endless war, I have little doubt that Obama would have been right there with his “aye” raised high when called upon to vote to overthrow a sovereign nation whose leadership we installed.

It returns to the fact that there is only one choice: Dennis Kucinich. Electability is a term invented by the corporate-sponsored media. Real electability is what happens when you actually go out and vote with your mind and heart instead of voting because of what some plastic face on a TV screen tells you to do. Dennis Kucinich is the only one who has opposed this war at every turn, the only one who has a real plan to bring our troops home. Edwards was right when he said the only way to force a political solution between Shiites and Sunnis is for us to get out of there. Kucinich has been saying that all along. We should hold all of these democrats accountable and vote for the only one with the clarity of mind and morals to do what was right from the very beginning and elect Kucinich.

Giuliani = Hamas?

Posted: 17 August 2007 in Uncategorized
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Sometimes journalists say the damnedest things. “Giuliani’s Gaza Analogy” caught my attention because I haven’t been following the Republican candidates very well and was curious what his take on Israel/Palestine was. Alec MacGillis goes through some moderately interesting points about Giuliani’s 17-page foreign policy proposal, trying to say that he will deviate from the neo-con stance that democracy should be established whenever and wherever we go, regardless of the cultural and political climate in the countries we (will) invade and/or influence unduly. Personally, I think this is whitewashing. Just because he recognizes that democracy won’t take root in a place like Iraq or that it will elect “terrorists” in a place like Palestine doesn’t mean he has left neo-con behind.


Mt. Everest, that bastian of adventure that draws thrill-seekers and wall street brokers with nothing else left to accomplish alike, is three times more likely to kill people over 60. No kidding. Actually this shouldn’t be as obvious as it seems to be, since apparently old people adjust to higher altitudes more quickly and have more experience. So why do they die? Who freakin knows. Thanks to Wired’s less-than-completely-informative-article, I’m in the dark. They hint at the proliferation of older people in these expeditions, but really shouldn’t that have been adjusted for in the statistics?

However, there is an up side. Fun facts:

  • 1.5% of climbers under 60 die attempting Everest
  • 5% of climbers over 60 die
  • 31% of climbers under 60 make it to the top
  • 13% of climbers over 60 make it to the top

Just something to consider if you’re old and seeking to conquer the world’s tallest mountain.

My friend John (the Wrathful Dove) pointed me to a great article today about Barack Obama, who is turning into quite the warhawk. This comes as no surprise. All of the mainstream candidates are clones of W with a different set of pretty noises to placate one special interest or another (be those the religious right, gays, fiscal conservatives, pro-abortion, wev). War is a business and big business backs all of the mainstream candidates. By pocketing them all, they ensure a win-win.