Gone To Since 1984

And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.

George Carlin

  • June 28, 2011 1:56 pm

    On Complexity

    Dave Weigel (via two Tweets):

    Anyone else bored with these campaign launch weeks that focus on tiny gaffes? […] You get more heat for flubbing a founder’s name than for saying tax cuts always up revenue.

    Jay Rosen replies:

    Of course you do. Why? The sweet spot is a mistake that allows the press to prosecute the error without sounding too political.

    I think it’s a bit more than that. While I agree that the political calculation enters into it, there’s also a strong bias towards the simplest construction possible. John Wayne != John Wayne Gacy. Haw ha.
    This is much easier to write than an explanation of exactly why it is that a certain package of cuts is more likely to impact poor and elderly than another, or to explain, with facts, figures, and charts just why it is extraordinarily likely that revenues will not increase subsequent to a tax cut in these United States using any current/future circumstance you wish to model. You’re just not going to fit that into a tweet, or even a 90 second NPR focus piece. The several sentences that emerge from the four paragraphs you wrote will, inevitably, come off as political shorthand. And the angry letters will pour in. Better just to do he-said, she-said and be done with it. Conservative message discipline in commercial media: achieved.

    This is the fundamental GOP advantage. Death tax, death panel, tax and spend, short form birth certificate, taxed enough already! It’s hard to think of any conservative sloganeering in the past 20 years that a) is longer than 140 characters —and— b) actually holds up to intellectual scrutiny. Yet neither of these facts matters. In fact, it’s this emphasis on message simplicity that has ultimately captured the willingly compliant, stenographic impulses of the modern media. Who wants to do a bunch of research, after all? Stephanopoulos knew he was going to be asking about John Quincy Adams. Why not be ready to follow up? He receives a salary that is likely in the millions of dollars per year and has a staff, but (apparently) can’t be bothered to call up Wikipedia? Bob Schieffer, likewise quite well paid, also can’t be bothered to pick one issue on which Bachmann has notably lied and really hold her feet to the fire about it, not allowing a “well, we should really be talking about Obama…” dodge? Instead, we’ll just note the pattern of systematic lying on the website somewheres. Journalism!

    This is precisely how George W. Bush ended up with the Oval Office. How’d that work out for everyone? Then why are we as a nation so desperate to repeat the experience?

  • March 21, 2011 12:48 pm

    "If you want to pay the New York Times to read the news using both their iPhone and iPad apps, in theory, you should be their ideal customer — you’re willing to pay, and you’re looking forward, technology-wise. But you’ll save money by getting several pounds of paper that you don’t want delivered to your doorstep every week."

    John Gruber, crystallizing the fundamental problem with the New York Times’ paywall scheme. Or, as Jay Rosen might put it: the print guys won.
    The paywall was supposed to be all about beginning a gradual transition away from the strictures of the printed Times (and everything that implies for the costs of operating under that overall business model). Instead, it seems to be a continuation of that model at any cost, well after said model has proven to be unworkable. Pining for yesterday won’t bring it back any sooner.

  • November 20, 2010 11:02 pm

    TSA Enhanced Pat Downs : The Screeners Point Of View

    Molester, pervert, disgusting, an embarrassment, creep. These are all words I have heard today at work describing me, said in my presence as I patted passengers down. These comments are painful and demoralizing, one day is bad enough, but I have to come back tomorrow, the next day and the day after that to keep hearing these comments. If something doesn’t change in the next two weeks I don’t know how much longer I can withstand this taunting. I go home and I cry. I am serving my country, I should not have to go home and cry after a day of honorably serving my country.

    It’s just as bad for them as you might imagine. Read the whole thing.

    (via Instapaper)

  • September 28, 2010 2:29 pm

    I am not a Journalist

    Jay Rosen, chair of the Journalism Institute at NYU, recalls the auld tale of how and why he didn’t end up working as a journalist:

    In April I was supposed to contact [Buffalo Courier-Express editor] Doug Turner about a starting date. I did so by calling his office. He wasn’t in and didn’t return my call. I called him again. No call back. I called him a third time. Nothing. Thinking he was too busy to answer his phone, I wrote him a note. He didn’t reply to my note. I wrote him a second note. Again, no reply. Now it’s mid-May and I have graduated from college. Turner ignored my third note, too. But why? In my desperation and confusion I went down to the newspaper and headed straight to his office.

    “Do you remember me? You wanted me to quit school and come to work for you. You promised me a job after graduation. Now you won’t even talk to me… What is going on here?”

    Turner wouldn’t look directly at me. He said, “There’s an explanation, but you’ll have to sue me to find out.” Then he picked up the phone and had the security guard escort me from the building.


    A few years later, through a friend who had a friend who worked at the Courier-Express, the mystery was solved. My case was a newsroom legend. It turns out that the job I had [separately] applied for, “Northeast Daily: General Assignment Reporter…” was for an opening at the Courier-Express. Yes. But I didn’t know this because in the standard format for those ads the newspaper was never named. You applied to a box number. The employer was described vaguely. What you were supposed to do is write on the envelope, “Do not forward to the Dayton Daily News” if you worked at the Dayton Daily News and didn’t want your boss to know you were on the prowl for something better. But I didn’t know any of that.

    Not only had I stupidly applied to the newspaper that had already offered me a job, but it was my job they were advertising in Editor and Publisher! Yes. Turner had to post the opening to fulfill legal requirements; in reality he had reserved that slot for me [based on a prior verbal agreement]. When he got my application he obviously considered it an act of disloyalty, and that’s why he ceased all communication. So I lost my job by applying for my job.

    and then, as if that’s not enough of a story, he gets this quote from the editor in question, whose memory of these long-ago events is spotty:

    We’re both aware fortunately that the events you describe happened more than 30 years ago. I wish that my recollection of my conversations with interns such as yourself was as firm as those with whom I worked closely for a year or two. Yet “sue me for it” does sound like me in those days.

    And I have to disagree, Jay: you are one hell of a journalist. You just don’t play one professionally.

  • July 26, 2010 4:23 pm

    The Afghan Wikileaks

    Jay Rosen makes some important points, among them is:

    as Julien Assange, founder of Wikileaks, explained last October, if a big story is available to everyone equally, journalists will pass on it.

    “It’s counterintuitive,” he said then. “You’d think the bigger and more important the document is, the more likely it will be reported on but that’s absolutely not true. It’s about supply and demand. Zero supply equals high demand, it has value. As soon as we release the material, the supply goes to infinity, so the perceived value goes to zero.”