aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Praise for the MSM
I’ve been mulling over my earlier post, wherein I gently chided bloggers I admire for claiming too much credit in the Microsoft reversal. As if on cue,
Joe Gandelman Jack Grant at The Moderate Voice says, “If you are interested in blogging at all I highly recommend reading...” this Pennywit post:
...liberals like to rave about the corporate media. Meanwhile, conservatives constantly find grist for their “liberal media” theories. And liberal and conservative bloggers both enjoy getting up on the High Blogging Horse to rant at the old media for just not Getting It, whatever “It” might be.
But I have to ask:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ How many bloggers are bona fide experts on their subject, whether that subject be sports, arts, or health-care policy?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ How many bloggers march, unarmed, into a warzone and send reports back to the American public?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ How many bloggers track down sources and hound those sources until they consent to an interview?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ How many bloggers slog through a two-hour town hall meeting and write up the results (schools and sewers) for a waiting public?
A few bloggers do some or all of the above, but those bloggers are in the very small minority. Most bloggers, in fact, are commentators, not reporters. They aggregate other people’s work, rely on other people’s reporting, and build opinions based on hard work of professional journalists.
YES! I aggregate and comment. I appreciate, admire, read and enjoy professional journalists. I criticize too. But always what I try to do is deliberate. Blogging for me is a process: to document, develop and deepen my thinking. And also to engage; not solely to engage. It all adds up to a creative outlet that I enjoy.
I’m a news junkie. I read magazines and newspapers. I watch TV and listen to the radio. And I read blogs. The reason I love blogs is because they are another media mode, they add another dimension and they are endlessly diverse. I don’t read blogs instead of the mainstream media or because they are better.
Spokane, WA, Mayor James West “was known as RightBi-Guy in a chat room through Gay.com.” The NYTimes:
People in the state were shocked, in part because Mayor West is a staunch opponent of gay rights, and recently threatened to veto a measure passed by the City Council that would grant benefits to domestic partners. He once promoted a bill in the Legislature to outlaw teenage sex, gay or straight...He has opposed virtually all gay rights measures, and once insisted that a resolution praising women of all races and sexual orientation - on International Women’s Day - would not pass if the reference to orientation was not taken out.
Meanwhile, from the chat:
“Remember, I’m very closeted. No one knows I like guys,” he wrote. “It’s just that the openly gay guys are a little over the top for me. I don’t really like the in-your-face attitude some guys have. And the massive political agenda either.”
Obviously tormented. The closet is a place infused with shame. Spokane is understandably upset. But will they recognize their sense of betrayal is not about him being gay but rather about the closet? Probably not. We need to help people see that the closet is the problem. Closet cases are dangerous.
Hogzilla party tonight
Postponed from March. Should be fun…
O’Reilly: Sinking like a stone
...a CNN insider says: “FNC should be less concerned with Zahn’s performance and more concerned with the fact that O’Reilly continues to hemorrhage viewers month-over-month since October.” Here are the monthly averages:
October: 3,166,000 / November: 3,080,000 / December: 2,610,000 / January: 2,478,000 / February: 2,391,000 / March: 2,320,000 / April: 2,178,000 / May-to-date: 2,096,000
One million down, two million to go.
Microsoft backs down promising broad support for legislation
Microsoft, faced with unrelenting criticism from employees and gay rights groups over its decision to abandon support of a gay rights bill in Washington state, reversed course again yesterday and announced that it was now in support of the bill.
But even better, in his email to employees, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, went further:
After looking at the question from all sides, I’ve concluded that diversity in the workplace is such an important issue for our business that it should be included in our legislative agenda...I’m proud of Microsoft’s commitment to non-discrimination in our internal policies and benefits, but our policies can’t cover the range of housing, education, financial and similar services that our people and their partners and families need. Therefore, it’s appropriate for the company to support legislation that will promote and protect diversity in the workplace.
Accordingly, Microsoft will continue to join other leading companies in supporting federal legislation that would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation - adding sexual orientation to the existing law that already covers race, sex, national origin, religion, age and disability.
Some bloggers are giving John Aravosis the bulk of the credit (and discounting the role of the Human Rights Campaign, the Times says the organization’s new president, Joe Solmonese, met with employee groups). I agree that John played a significant role, and think the Crooks and Liars * video * did too.
But the role of the Microsoft employees and The Stranger (which published the first story) should not be underestimated. It took guts for employees to criticize the company (I think it was smart, even admirable, for Ballmar to allow criticism--Steve Jobs wouldn’t) and the feisty alternative weekly did precisely what we want an independent press to do.
This as an example of everyone playing their role just right. Interested and affected parties, working through all of the modern media tools at their disposal--bloggers, big media, the alternative press--along with private and political advocacy groups, were able to affect just change.
John is away but I expect upon his return he will share the credit and remind us that it’s not over. We all have to keep up the good work.
UPDATE: John’s reaction, from Morocco.
If you hate waiting on hold, and navigating through phone system menus to Find-a-human, you’ll value this link sent to me by a colleague yesterday. Thinking it was too good to be true, I went looking to find out more.
Want to help? If you would like to volunteer to help me administer this database, please send email to . Volunteers will be able to see new pending entries which they will then call to validate, and once validated, they will have permissions to change that record to “approved”, making it visible to everyone. Volunteers should have their own website…
The site was last updated in April, so evidently it’s kept up to date. Thanks Paul!
That was fast. Will Tiger Problems Hurt Apple?
Since Apple Computer loosed Tiger, more formally known as Mac OS X 10.4, the operating system has had numerous reports of problems, mainly with networking bugs.
As more individuals and companies install Tiger and tinker with its features, will more issues put some rot in Apple’s reputation in the marketplace? Will enterprises that seemed Mac-bound suddenly put a halt to those plans?
Even the article concludes, the answer is no. But they do like to take shots and are primarily peeved about the showmanship and secrecy that surround Apple product launches.
There are some networking problems with Tiger that bug enterprise users but “won’t even be a concern for” the consumers who are Apple’s base. Apple’s quick to put out fixes and our enterprise, aware of such issues with any major release, is waiting for the fall to upgrade anyway.