Give it A Rest Already, Damnit! NPR Basically Faux-Shanked Because It’s Free

Keith Olberman. Juan Williams. Joe Scarborough. Jeez. We’ve already exhausted this topic, the one about commentators apparently not allowed to have personal opinions (just go to their Twitters if you want to find out what they’re really thinking; it’s not like there’s an entire show built off of snark or anything).

The LA Times reports that with the advent of the new Republican House majority, public funding for NPR may be in jeopardy.

No doubt many seek a refuge from the silliness and ideological histrionics increasingly gripping the rest of media. That would have been clear to anyone who has actually listened to NPR news, as opposed, say, to getting a caricatured view of it from ideologues on cable television and AM talk radio

CLEARLY the author of this column, James Rainey, is totally not Republican. But he has a point. NPR serves as the neutral brain food for those people who just want to get the cold, hard news without the commentary beating them over the head every five seconds.

Memory Bank Monday (11.16-11.22)

*A weekly roundup of articles I find interesting but am too lazy to write about

1. Twitter Killed Media Criticism The Beast reports that Twitter is actually a threat to press criticism by providing an outlet for journalists’ subjective voices.

2. Think again before you post your criminal activities on Facebook! Gothamist reports that NYPD are now regularly checking social networking sites to catch criminals.

3. Rupert Murdoch to create iPad only Newspaper with Apple’s Help.

Speaking about iPads, Karl Lagerfield confused it with Facebook:

Facebook is a flawless object. It’s for me like a Brancusi. As I told you, I got one as a gift in gold — in white gold. And the BlackBerry too, and the iPod. I have all those from a gift, I wouldn’t buy it. But somebody gave me all those things in white gold. They are beautiful objects on the table — they are stunning. I don’t use them because I don’t have to use them.

4. Can Blockbuster use TV to save itself? The company says it will spend $15-$20 million on an ad campaign.

5. UNICORN MEAT MAGICK!! (this has everything to do with the internet and possibly nothing to do with journalism. Happy Thanksgiving!)

And You Thought McCarthyism Was Shoved Under the Mattress…

Well, as bedbugs are rearing their ugly heads nationwide (the Waldorf-Astoria?!! If the Hilton family brand is tainted, who the heck knows what other despicable obscenities could afflict us?!?), so are efforts to censor—wait for it—

The Internet.

The Combatting Online Infringements and Counterfeit Act (COICA) Internet Censorship and Copyright Bill uses IP addresses to create a blacklist of censored domains. According to eff.org, the Attorney General can place any “infringing” site on this blacklist.

Some things that are under the infringement umbrella include one-click hosting sites (Dropbox, MediaFire and Rapidshare), MP3 blogs and mashup sites (SoundCloud, MashupTown and HypeMachine), and sites that advocate p2p tech and piracy (pirate-party.us,  p2pnet, InfoAnarchy , Slyck and ZeroPaid).

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)(1998) “prohibits circumvention of access control technologies employed by copyright owners to protect their works.”

“The DMCA also puts anonymous speech in jeopardy; misusing its subpoena power, copyright holders can attempt to unmask an Internet user’s identity based on a mere allegation of infringement without filing an actual lawsuit or providing the user any constitutional due process.”

The COICA bill actually passed through the Senate judiciary committee 19-0 this week, and while Epicenter claims it will “never pass the Senate before the end of the current Congress,” it’s still a pretty imminent worry.

This is an issue that will not be solved immediately and will continue to be a problem as long as people are making art and using the internet. However, what is frightening is that the internet has always been free territory, and the government’s attempt to regulate it is really alarming. If this bill passes, who knows when America’s internet will become a mine pit of censorship like China?

Memory Bank Monday (11.9-11.15)

*A weekly roundup of things I find interesting but don’t feel like writing extensively about

This isn’t specifically about journalism, but it’s an excellent 11 minutes about the importance of education change in America. Really well-made and worth a watch.

1. What does Joan Didion think of Blogging?

2. On publishing photos of the dead, ethical or not?

3. A World Of Tweets is a realtime map locator of all the places people are tweeting from in different countries. Pretty cool!

4. Facebook Declares War on Google The advent of Facebook email is increasingly solidifying Facebook’s hardening grip on the interwebz.

Cable Days Are Numbered (File Under Endangered, Extinct)

GigaOm compiled a list of Cable’s quarterly losses and found that for the first time, satellite subscriptions hadn’t increased enough to make up for them.

What does this mean?

It means that there’s no consumer reshuffling between multichannel services (cable v. satellite).

“From our point of view, expecting users to pay $125 to $150 a month, and continuing to raise those rates 5 to 10 percent every year, isn’t a sustainable business model. At some point, those users will find alternative, cheaper ways of getting the content they want, and now there are plenty of ways to do so.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the television dilemma pans out.

Memory Bank Monday (11.2-11.8)

*A weekly roundup of interesting links that I’m too lazy to write about. But you should totally check ‘em out!

1. What is 4G, anyway? Gizmodo explains.
2. AT&T U-Verse unable to come to an agreement with Scripps; cancels Food Network, HGTV and others Pertains to a lot of what we’re dealing with in class regarding television/broadcast wars
3. Facebook shows midterm election voter turnout This is pretty interesting–there’s a lot of potential with this is they can find a way to verify voters
4. Magazine Copies Entire Story from Web; Tells Writer She Should Pay Them for Publishing it This is just too ridiculous not to post.
5. Twitter Ranks Top 25 U.S. NewspapersIf you were to rank the Top 25 U.S. newspapers by Twitter followers, the order would be much different than if you were to rank them by circulation.”

The Airtime vs. Advertising Dilemma

I am not an American sports person. I could never get into baseball (maybe if I went to a game?), and while I once harbored deluded aspirations of becoming Burke Catholic’s next football star (yup), the only sport I really enjoy is soccer. World Cup soccer, to be more specific.

So I think this article will be the closest I’ll ever get to making some kind of scrutinizing comment. Apparently, Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher says that ESPN officials asked him to use up his timeout calls in order to run more ads.

Now, I have a few things to say about this.

First, shows on television are commodities, and like all things, are owned and manufactured by some greater being who ultimately wants mass consumerism of said commodity.

Second, here’s an abridged history: a tv show is like a startup company. It originates from humble beginnings, at first thankful to anyone who pays attention to it. Think Facebook. Think Twitter. Remember when not too many people were on it? Then as it gains popularity, the greater being becomes greedier and welcomes advertising offers, promotion deals, etc…

Jon Pessah revealed a lot of this when he spoke about ESPN’s migration from serious sports investigative journalism to pure entertainment. And that’s the kicker, here. Entertainment. Even the most thrilling cold case investigative exposes are packaged to entertain the audience.

So what does this have to do with the advertising aspect? Not too much except the fact that ESPN decided to meddle with the game voids the reality of it. A faux timeout is the same thing as staging, rendering the game equivalent to a tv show.

ESPN can do whatever is wants with its non-live shows, but interfering with something that is supposed to be in real-time, something that a majority of the American public takes extremely seriously in order to get a little more funding discredits it.

Later on, reporters said that Fisher was “joking” about the whole thing. Ohhhhkay, ever hear that the truth comes out in the form of a joke? What a makeshift coverup.