aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
RELATED: Matting Rotated QuickTime Videos.
No future in “exclusives”
[S]omeone asked Sandy Malcolm of CNN whether they paid Jamal Albaughouti for his video from the Virginia shooting. She said that he just uploaded it. But then they contacted him and negotiated exclusivity and, it seems, payment. I criticized the notion of exclusivity and argued that they’d be better off putting the video out there with a CNN ID to take credit for having gotten it and to get the idea across that one can submit news video to them. I also argued that they should give their videos permalinks and allow them to be embedded (she said they’re working on such things). This video has set a record for CNN, Malcolm said, with more than 2 million views. It could have even more. And by the way, of course, the video is up on YouTube. The value of an exclusive today lasts about 30 seconds.
Brzezinski on the War on Terror
Hilary Benn’s comments sent me back to a WaPo OpEd by Zbigniew Brzezinski, Terrorized by ‘War on Terror,’ How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America:
The “war on terror” has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration’s elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America’s psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.
The damage these three words have done—a classic self-inflicted wound—is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare—political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.
He articulates the impact - a culture of fear that obstructs reason and is reinforced by “security entrepreneurs, the mass media and the entertainment industry;” exponentially increasing “targets for would-be terrorists” (we’re all targets now) combined with illusory and ineffective “security” procedures that waste hundreds of millions of dollars and contribute to a siege mentality; and fear-bred intolerance that undermines fundamental notions of justice. “Innocent until proven guilty has been diluted if not undone.” - and concludes:
The events of 9/11 could have resulted in a truly global solidarity against extremism and terrorism. A global alliance of moderates, including Muslim ones, engaged in a deliberate campaign both to extirpate the specific terrorist networks and to terminate the political conflicts that spawn terrorism would have been more productive than a demagogically proclaimed and largely solitary U.S. “war on terror” against “Islamo-fascism.” Only a confidently determined and reasonable America can promote genuine international security which then leaves no political space for terrorism.
Where is the U.S. leader ready to say, “Enough of this hysteria, stop this paranoia”? Even in the face of future terrorist attacks, the likelihood of which cannot be denied, let us show some sense. Let us be true to our traditions.
Local television news fails miserably again
The Atlanta braodcast affiliates have “correspondents” on scene at VA Tech. Like there’s no local news happening in Atlanta??? A craven ratings grab that deserves to fail miserably, it won’t and we’ll hear more about how they’re just giving us what we want.
Sometimes human beings just can’t help but look.
If the market-driven media had to cash in on the tragedy - and I know that they do, it is their nature - the least they could have done is send people to Georgia Tech or UGA or our little campus and show that this tragedy has sent a shutter through college communities nationwide.
But worse, in ”Copycat Effect,” Loren Coleman looks at how this kind of media behavior actually causes tomorrow’s headlines.
RELATED: Jack Shafer in Slate In Praise of Insensitive Reporters:
There’s a thin line between responsible journalism and outrageous sensationalism, and bloodfests like the one in Blacksburg tend to erase it. If the networks weren’t pinging Facebook for leads, if the New York Times weren’t compiling a ”Portraits of Grief” for the Blacksburg kids right now-as I bet they are-and if the story came to a close tonight on Anderson Cooper’s show, readers and viewers would riot. As reporters intrude into the lives of the grieving to mine the story, they should be guided more by a sense of etiquette than ethics. If they don’t risk going too far, they’ll never go far enough.
He makes many good points; in the end I’m not sure I agree.
Britain not trapped in the War on Terror
International Development Secretary Hilary Benn in New York:
Mr Benn risked a diplomatic rift by lecturing the White House about the need to develop a more intelligent response to the challenges posed by terrorism. He said relying entirely on “hard power” - military force or economic measures - would not work. What was needed, he said, was “soft power” - listening and finding common ground on values and ideas. Mr Benn said: “In the UK, we do not use the phrase ‘war on terror’ because we can’t win by military means alone and because this isn’t us against one organised enemy with a clear identity and a coherent set of objectives. It is the vast majority of the people in the world ... against a small number of loose, shifting and disparate groups who have relatively little in common apart from their identification with others who share their distorted view of the world. By letting them feel part of something bigger, we give them strength.” He said later: “Words do count and that is why, since this is not something we can overcome by military means alone, we need to find other ways of describing what the challenge is.”
Tony Blair has rarely used the phrase, but his official spokesman backed away from supporting Mr Benn’s criticism, saying diplomatically: “We all use our own phraseology.”
My copy of Trapped in the War on Terror is on loan to a friend; I’ve still not read it. I bought it after hearing its author, University of Pennsylvania Political Science Professor Ian S. Lustick, in a podcast speech from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. I urge you to listen too.
Obama fans in the Old South
You can definitely be sure from my e-mail address I’m not an Obama staffer, but I have a similar story to that of your earlier e-mailer. My dad grew up in Macon, Georgia in an all-white school he describes consistently as having gone to hell thanks to integration. He has never been personally racist to anyone of any background in his life, but he really thinks the world went to hell starting about 1960 and that civil rights went too far too fast. His dislike for the Sharptons and Jacksons of the world couldn’t be fiercer. The N-word is pretty much the standard noun many of his family members use to describe black people. His only vote for a Democrat in his lifetime was for Carter, out of Georgia patriotism.
I had the fun experience of watching Obama’s electrifying 2004 convention speech with him. My dad, who hadn’t heard of him, just said “He’s good.” As in, “ok, I liked this guy, but he’s a Democrat, so he must be a huckster. But he’s a talented one.”
Then, late last year, his updated view on Obama: “I think I could vote for him.” I could only turn around and smirk, once I’d picked my jaw up from the floor.