Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Legal Ease

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Someone has filed some kind of legal complaint designed to get Obama disbarred.

The full text is here. The essence of the complaint is that Obama used illegal drugs and had outstanding parking violations, but didn’t disclose either on his bar application. The parking violations (a whopping $200 worth–can you believe it?!) I suppose were a no-no, but the funny thing is, the bar application didn’t require him to disclose drug use. The question is

Have you ever, either as an adult or juvenile, been cited, arrested, accused, formally or informally, or convicted of any violation of any law other than moving traffic violations.

(Yes, there is a period at the end.) So, was Obama busted for doing drugs? No. So did he have to disclose anything? … No. That’s the intelligent man’s response, anyway. The stupid man’s response is … well, I’ll let you read the complaint for that part.

Here are some other highlights. Please pay particular note to the atrocious grammar and editing as you keep in mind that this is an apparently official complaint, actually submitted.

By this time in his life he was very mature and sophisticated person that he either did or should have given a great deal of consideration to his response to question 18 a great deal of consideration. He has not disclosed if he consulted with anyone, such as Illinois attorney
Michelle Robinson(later his wife) before answering the question.

Just for reference regarding illegal drugs, this might be relevant.

The Respondent knew that he had incurred multiple violations. These fines exceeded the $200.00 reporting threshold for a total of $400.00. Between October 5, 1988 and January 12 1990, violations included failing to put money in meters, parking in a resident-only area, blocking a bus stop, and multiple tickets in the same day for exceeding the time limit at a meter. At this time he was living at 365 Broadway, Somerville, Massacustts, 02144. The substance and frequency of his disregard for legally valid rules demonstrate a contempt for the rules. He obviously felt he was above the rules that “the common folk” were expected to follow. All the time that he was supposed to be attending to learning the law, he contemptuously thumbed his nose even at simple parking rules. Do as I say, not as I do! The fines and penalties went unpaid for almost two decades. He asks others to obey the law yet he is too good and it is beneath him to pay lowly parking fines. Its all about expediency, parking rules don’t apply to the “important people” and its too inconvenient and time consuming to bother with finding a legal parking space. He is so smart and virtuous that merely electing him will end the illegal war in Iraq but finding a legal parking space near the elitist law school it too taxing for him.

This obviously isn’t going to go anywhere, but it’s fun to watch them try.


Written by Homo Œconomicus

August 27, 2008 at 2:04 am

What Price Truth?

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PR responds to churnalism charges.

The power of PR. The PR response somehow wiggled its way up the charts to be the first Google hit, ahead of the LRB article that is causing all the fuss. That’s good.

Next, watch as PR works its magic powers on your perception of reality…

Yes, there has been an increase in PR people over the last ten years and yes, companies and organisations are now realising the importance of PR at the board room level, how they need to manage their reputations and present themselves to their stakeholders. I believe that much of this actually comes from the public. We want to know the story, we want to be communicated to, we want transparency and we’re all too ready to cry ‘watch dog’ if something goes wrong.

Okay, maybe not so magic. I mean, come on. “We”? It’s almost like a new version of the “weasel we” – ingratiating, chummy, overly familiar, with the intention of creating a false cameraderie. The ploy is so transparent, however, that I can’t imagine this woman is actually very good at what she does.

Maybe that’s why she got stuck writing the blog?

Written by Homo Œconomicus

March 15, 2008 at 8:57 am

Posted in Media

What Price Love?

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Nice watch, honey.

Written by Homo Œconomicus

March 13, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Economics, Media, Politics, Sex

Russian journalist fired

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Russian journalist Anastasia Samorotova was fired from the RBC Daily for running a story on Nov. 28, 2007 titled “From the Buffet Table to the Toilet” in which she described the new restrictions on lower- and mid-level government officials from speaking to the press. (The title isn’t about the quality of the food served in the state press service building, by the way. Journalists can eat and use the bathroom in the state press service building, i.e., they can’t actually talk to anyone.)

The manner of her firing was ingenious and so Russian. She was given a series of impossible tasks, like getting quotes from high government officials at night (i.e., while they’re asleep). After she failed to perform a certain number of tasks, she was told she could quit or get fired, as per her contract. She quit. She seems pretty bummed in her recent blog entries, but least she’s alive.

Just for fun, I’m appending the entirety of the article for which she got fired. You never know how long it will stay online.

От буфета до туалета

Премьеру PR не нужен

Как стало известно РБК daily, в правительстве России разрабатывается положение, согласно которому чиновникам среднего и нижнего звена будет запрещено общаться с прессой. На вооружение, похоже, взят опыт работы кремлевской администрации, где несанкционированное общение журналистов с чиновниками, за исключением пресс-службы, давно исключено. Эксперты полагают, что информационный штиль вокруг фигуры премьера необходим для поддержания стабильности в период выборов.

Изменение режима работы правительства с прессой произошло уже через пару недель после назначения Виктора Зубкова премьером. Ранее открытая для журналистов трансляция традиционных заседаний кабинета министров была объявлена закрытой для прессы. Журналистам было разрешено слушать вступительное слово премьера, а после нескольких часов ожидания задать вопрос основному докладчику, но не премьеру. Зубков не балует журналистов так называемыми подходами к прессе. Экс-премьер Михаил Фрадков тоже не выходил к журналистам комментировать итоги заседания, но время от времени приглашал на закрытые брифинги. Кроме того, Михаилу Фрадкову во время его поездок по стране можно было ввернуть любой, даже каверзный вопрос и получить живой комментарий. Нынешний премьер практически не доступен для прессы.

В итоге журналисты, ранее получавшие информацию «из первых уст» или с заседаний правительства, переключились на общение с чиновниками меньшего ранга — в ведомствах и профильных департаментах. Этот факт вызвал озабоченность у премьера. Как стало известно РБК daily, в правительстве планируют в течение двух ближайших недель выработать новые правила работы чиновников со СМИ. Предполагается «ограничить беспорядочное хождение прессы по Белому дому», а также ввести прямой запрет на общение с чиновниками, за исключением вице-премьеров и министров. «Не все государственные чиновники по закону о госслужбе имеют право выступать ньюсмейкерами, — пояснил РБК daily один из авторов новаций. — Чиновники нередко сами не подозревают, что выступают в роли ньюсмейкера». По мнению источника, пресса была избалована режимом Фрадкова. Любопытно, что последнее, что высказал экс-премьер в прощальной речи, — это пожелание Зубкову быть открытым для прессы.

Глава правительственного департамента пресс-службы, информации и протокола Александр Жаров сообщил, что для журналистов созданы «максимально комфортные условия работы», и сотрудничество с прессой, по его мнению, «эффективно и не требует коррекции». А один из чиновников с негодованием заявил: «Пресса имеет право ходить в пресс-службу и от буфета до туалета — что еще нужно?»

Генеральный секретарь Союза журналистов России Игорь Яковенко считает ограничение на общение чиновников с прессой нарушением Конституции. «Можно ограничивать распространение государственной или коммерческой тайны, — разъясняет Яковенко. — Но нельзя запретить вообще общаться с прессой». Генеральный директор Центра политической информации Алексей Мухин считает, что премьер Зубков сейчас не заинтересован в пиаре. «Цены растут, выборы приближаются. Ему необходимо работать без шума и пыли, а именно — удержать стабильность ситуации в сверхчувствительный период передачи власти от президента к преемнику», — говорит эксперт. «Огромное количество журналистов на самом деле не вполне журналисты, а представители различных бизнес-группировок», — одобряет тактику правительственных чиновников директор Института политических исследований Сергей Марков.


Written by Homo Œconomicus

January 2, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Media, Politics, Russia

Internal Consumption Engine

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The New York Times is running a story on the OSCE’s decision not to send observers to the upcoming presidential elections in Russia, and, specifically, Putin’s remark that he has evidence that this decision was taken at the behest of the US State Department.

The OSCE flatly denies this, stating that the reason for the decision was the Russian government’s unwillingness to provide any visas to the organization.

I predict that this is as far as the discussion will go. In other words, statement, counter-statement, end.

Why won’t Putin counter the OSCE’s reason regarding the visas? Because Putin’s statement is exclusively for internal consumption within the Russian media, where the OSCE’s explanation will not be given any air time. To someone inside Russia, then, the matter is closed. Putin spoke, the media reported. Without some kind of statement from Putin, the media can’t act, since it’s not allowed to think on its own.

For the rest of us, of course, it looks ham-fisted, but that shouldn’t be surprising.

Written by Homo Œconomicus

November 26, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Posted in Media, Politics

Eye in the Sky

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A piece of lukewarm reporting from KPRC in Houston on an unmanned aircraft test supposedly done with NO MEDIA ALLOWED. The newshounds were on the scene, however, although the questions raised were no more serious than whether this technology will be used for speeding tickets, and will these things crash in our schools?!

Questions I’m not entirely uninterested in, but still, the possibilities are a lot scarier than speeding tickets. With the ability to monitor the population comes the likelihood of that ability being abused.

Bin Laden – 3 USA – 0

Written by Homo Œconomicus

November 25, 2007 at 5:09 am

Posted in Media, News, Politics

Cause and Effect

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A response (Steven Rose) to a response (Christopher Hitchens) to the ongoing Amis drama. Hitchens provides a back-handed defense of Amis, stating, as the title of his piece imaginatively puts it, that Amis is not a racist. Leave out the digressions and the article does little more than quibble over definitions.

Bravo. Very courageous of you, Mr. Hitchens, as always.

What Hitchens ignores, however, is what is really intellectually offensive about what Amis said: collective punishment. It’s always been the Fascists that think collective punishment works. During WWII, the Japanese government instituted a system in which families were grouped by neighborhood block. If one person in the block were found to be a spy/traitor/enemy-sympathizer/etc., punishment would be meted out to all members of the block. This incentive to self-monitor and self-regulate was, as can be imagined, fairly successful. Similar methods of collective punishment were used by the Nazis, with similar short-term success.

Therefore, I suggest to Mr. Amis and Mr. Hitchens that they make a proposal to the governing authorities in the UK to institute a similar plan. Messrs. Amis and Hitchens can find details of the German and Japanese systems in their own copious brains, or if that fails, on the internet. That the kind of collective punishment envisioned by Mr. Amis, defended by Mr. Hitchens, is prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention is, well, irrelevant, isn’t it? The Geneva Conventions are so September 10th.

So, Mr. Amis, put your money where you mouth is, and let’s do this thing!

Written by Homo Œconomicus

November 24, 2007 at 4:15 pm