Friday, February 11, 2011

Jason Linkins Channels Morning Joke

Apparently, for any of us that have criticized Arianna Huffington, and her Huffington Post, building her empire on the fingertips of unpaid writers, Jason Linkins, of HuffPo, today, tells us to all go back to our parents basements and eat cheetos in our underwear.

Or, that we are lazy sacks of shit who don't want "No daily hours, no deadlines, no late nights, no weekends ..."

Let's backtrack for a moment.

Also during this segment, Scarborough attacked liberal bloggers for correcting McCain’s error, saying they were probably “just sitting there, eating their Cheetos” and saying, “Let me google Anbar Awakening!” He added, “Dust flying — Cheeto dust flying all over. They’re wiping it on their bare chest while their underwear — you know, their Hanes.


Now, let swing back to today, and the Linkins lecture he doled out today on - you guessed it - Huffington Post;

Being a paid employee comes with many expectations and responsibilities. Let's run some of them down, shall we? First of all, there's this expectation that on a daily basis, you will show up and do work. In an office and everything! There you are subject to things like deadlines -- you actually have to produce writing on a regular basis. You receive assignments, from editors, that you are expected to fulfill in a timely fashion. You participate in editorial meetings. You coordinate your efforts with your colleagues. You try to break news. You try to cultivate sources. You go, whenever you are able, to where news is occurring.

Stop for a moment, class, everyone is not paying attention

Is the State of the Union tonight? You'll be working during that time. Is there a debate? Got a night of election returns coming? Plan on staying late. Did some madman just put several people in Tucson, Arizona in the hospital on a Saturday? Cancel your plans, because you've got to call in and get to work. You are, theoretically, on call, 24-7, to get the work done.
Those are the sorts of responsibilities, that, when they are fulfilled, entitle one to a "salary." And that's the life of the people who get paid to do original reporting and content for the site. And the content they produce is the most important content on the site. It's the stuff that is most widely read. It's the primary driver of everything else.

Does everybody follow that, class?

Big people do big, important jobs every day, and it's important to understand that, because when you grow up, you'll have to do big important jobs everyday, so you can get a paycheck.

Or not;

Here is where he channels Scarborough;

Now, people often wonder: why would anyone blog for free, at a place that pays other contributors? Please note, that part of what "free" entitles you to is a freedom from "having to work." No daily hours, no deadlines, no late nights, no weekends. You just do what you like when the spirit moves you.
Of course, there remain hundreds of contributors to The Huffington Post who do so for no other reason than that they want exposure. Now, the value of "exposure," in and of itself, is a subject for debate. And it should be! But nevertheless, we have hundreds of people who want to take something they've written and put it in front of potentially millions of people, instead of their Facebook friends or their Twitter followers.

And here, Linkins bends down, to fill our bowls with some more Cheetos, and tell us to be quiet and, someday, we can eat grown-up food;

I suspect that there are a lot of blogger-contributors who are of a similar mind to me. Still others probably like having a big megaphone for their hobby. Naturally, there will probably be people who want to graduate from unpaid contributor to employee -- and where they can make a case on merit, and assume all of the responsibilities of employees, such "promotions" will be considered. But it's a dramatic change in your life to go from somebody who's writing whenever they feel up to it, to someone who has to come in and make high quality contributions on a regular basis -- even when that sporadic writing is brilliant writing. And that's the sort of thing that has to be considered before that jump is made.

Got that class?

You'll have to make "dramatic change in your life" if you want to be somebody ("I coulda had class, I coulda been a contender...") - even if you are brilliant - to earn that paycheck.

No lightweights or Cheeto-eaters need apply.

If there is a Patronizing Hall of Fame, somebody needs to nominate Jason Linkins and his trivial post.

He's a lock to make it on the first ballot.

Bonus Riffs

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Top Ten Cloves: Things Ex-President Hosni Mubarak Might Do When He Steps Down

10. Nothing, until he sees the new "X-Men: First Class" movie

9. Maybe a trip to Los Angeles, as he sheepishly admits to having a crush on Lindsey Lohan

8. Has a hankering to do one of those Reality Shows, like Sarah Palin's Alaska Show

7. See if there's another opening at Current TV

6. Would like to lose a little weight - Plans on connecting with Kevin Smith, to see how he did it

5. If they can work out the kinks, might like to try having camera implanted in his head

4. Already talking with Arianna Huffington, about being the CairoPatch correspondent

3. Look into one of those $1,000 houses Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is offering

2. Join Faux News - Thinks he can make up stuff just as good as anyone else

1. Might give that posing shirtless on Craigslist, to pick-up woman, a try

Bonus Riffs

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Top Ten Cloves: Ideas For Mayor Dave Bing To Save Detroit

10. Tell those 400 Super Bowl Fans who got mushed, that you won't let them down, that you have 400 seats for them in Detroit

9. Get on the phone with Dolly Parton and see if the two of you can brainstorm "Detroitwood"

8. Help out the Egyptian protesters and see if President Hosni Mubarak would be interested in one of those $1,000 houses

7. Recruit LeBron James, so we can hear "... I'm bringing my talents to the Motor City"

6. Beat her to the punch and trademark the name "Sarah Palin",. you'll make millions

4. Announce that you're bringing in Christina Aguilera to sing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at all sporting events in Detroit - People will flock to the city, to see if she flubs the lyrics again.

3. Work out a deal with Faux News, and Glenn Beck, and offer Detroit as the first line of defense against the coming Caliphate

2. Call Tim Armstrong and see if AOL is still in the buying mood

1. Run a commercial: "Detroit ... Apply directly to your forehead ... Detroit ... Apply directly to your forehead"

Arianna Escalating Her Wage-Less Empire

Oh boy, I have to speculate the AOL purchase of Huffington Post is going to be a bonanza of great fodder, for weeks/months/years to come.

The World Wide Web is, still, buzzing with some great stuff, from multiple angles.

First off, in the "Told-You-So" Department, Greg Sargent, over The Plum Line, has the scoop on Arianna's plans to continue not to pay her writers, and it's called "Citizen Journalism";

Arianna Huffington is planning to use AOL's infrastructure to launch a major expansion of citizen journalism in advance of the 2012 presidential campaign, she tells me in an interview, sharing new details about her vision of expanded political coverage in the wake of the merger with AOL.
Huffington described her plan as "Jeffersonian," and she says she plans to use AOL's Web site, a network of sites that cover local news at the granular level, as a vehicle for expansion modeled on HuffingtonPost's 2008 "Off the Bus" coverage. "Off the Bus" made a splash when candidate Barack Obama was caught on tape suggesting that economically distressed voters are "bitter" and "cling to guns or religion," and if Huffington has her way, she will oversee a massive increase in such coverage next year.
"We are going to dramatically accelerate this in 2012," said Huffington, who discussed the idea on a conference call yesterday with employees. "We will have thousands and thousands of people covering the election. Covering the Repulicans. Covering the Democrats. Just being transparent about it."
Huffington -- who said high-level editorial staffing decisions were still being worked out -- also provided the first clear glimpse of her plan to graft the HuffPo vision on to the AOL infrastructure. "Patch already has professional editors," she said, adding that freelancers across the country would work with those editors "the way that the Huffington Post pairs young reporters with established editors. It's something we can also do at the local level."
The expansion of citizen journalism seems likely to expand the current model by which a massive amount of content is generated by unpaid freelancers who are looking to get their voices heard. If she gets her way, the site's current identity won't change, preserving the site's community feel but expanding it in new directions.
"The first thing I said about Huffington Post is that I don't want to talk to the choir," she said. "I wanted to use this platform to inform millions of people. Now that can be dramatically accelerated."

Cute, throwing in the "Jeffersonian" thing.

The third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, acquired and sold hundreds of slaves throughout his lifetime.[1] Jefferson first acquired slaves through his father's inheritance and by his marriage to Martha Wayles Skelton. According to one historian, Jefferson remained silent and did nothing to challenge slavery after the Revolutionary War era, America's most urgent and pressing social problem.[2] Jefferson's lavish spending left him in debt, and all but one of Jefferson's slaves that remained were sold after his death to pay his debts.[3][4][5] Jefferson today remains a complicated American icon and his writings and behavior on slavery are full of contradictions.[6] Jefferson, master of Monticello, relied heavily on slavery to support himself and his family's luxurious lifestyle.

Slaves ... Freelancers ...And, coming "Citizen Journalism" ...


It certainly is "Jeffersonian"

“It’s like Friendster buying Facebook.”

Meanwhile, it appears a majority of Huffpoers are despondent, feeling like Arianna sold them out

From this large sample, a whopping 81 percent (405) opposed the acquisition in terms that ranged from confused to pessimistic to, most frequently, downright livid. Only 19 percent (95) were optimistic, though many of those were far closer to neutral.
“We made HuffPost and we are being abandoned,” one aggrieved reader wrote. “They will aim for the center. That’s where the big money is.” Another added: “Corporate greed and intelligent analysis don’t merge.” Others couldn’t even bear to read the news: “I have no interest reading about yet another monopoly creation and the slow erosion of diversity in terms of news sources.”
Within hours after the merger was announced, Huffington Post readers had even made a game of one-upping each other with metaphors that conveyed the depth of their despair about the sale. “This feels like walking into my credit union only to find out it was bought by Bank of America,” one said. “[It’s] like Carol Channing taking over for Fergie in the Black Eyed Peas. Legendary, but past the expiration date by about 10 years,” another lamented. A user with the tech analogy might have been the closest to the broader sentiment: “It’s like Friendster buying Facebook.”

Last, but not least, we'll have to extend the "My Sister/My Daughter" thing to Arianna as well.

Dana Milbank, today, pulls back the curtain on the revolving door of Ariana's idealogy;

"It's time for all of us in journalism to move beyond left and right," Huffington said Monday on PBS's "NewsHour." "Truly, it is an obsolete way of looking at the problems America is facing."
That is almost exactly what Huffington said in 2000, when she was making her last ideological transformation, from a conservative Republican into a liberal icon. "The old distinctions of right and left, Democrat, Republican, are pretty obsolete," she told Fox News then.
It's a stock line for Huffington, but if she and Armstrong are taken at their word, they are planning a radical reshaping of what had become an important voice for liberalism and a gleeful participant in the left-right game. "It can no longer be denied: the right-wing lunatics are running the Republican asylum and have infected the entire country and poisoned the world beyond," Huffington wrote in her 2008 book, "Right is Wrong ."
I say this with admiration. Huffington deserves every one of those millions she'll be paid by AOL for creating this online sensation. She was once derided as "the most upwardly mobile Greek since Icarus" because of her many well-connected friends, but Huffington has earned her place as one of the extraordinary personalities of our time: an entrepreneur and writer who is always chasing the next big idea, wherever it is on the ideological spectrum.
Yet this is also why Huffington and her Web site are unlikely to remain as they were. Anybody who expects her to continue as a reliable voice of the left is a poor student of Huffington history.
But in the late 1990s, Huffington began to reinvent herself. She covered the '96 political conventions for Comedy Central with Al Franken. She broke with Gingrich. She disparaged Bob Dole. She promoted Warren Beatty for president. She published a book favoring campaign finance reform. In 2000, she hosted a "shadow convention" protesting both parties.
She later explained the "transformation" of her political views by saying the right had "seduced, fooled, blinded, bamboozled" her.
That's crazy talk. Nobody bamboozles Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington. If anybody was fooled, it was those who believed she would be a more enduring progressive than she was a conservative.


That be a whirlwind of changes.

But, as has been noted before,and what we offered up above, one change that won't occur is Arianna paying her writers.

Can't wait for all those "Citizen Journalist" posts, in 2012, about all the funny signs and costumes at the Conventions, and Tweets about "Where's the best place to eat?" and "I missed the Press Bus, can anyone give me a ride"

Bonus Riffs

Monday, February 07, 2011

HuffPo - AOL Dealbreaker Averted: "No Mushrooms"

Logging on today, I expected to be hit, like a tsunami, with Super Bowl news.

Instead, the conflagration was all about this;


I have always thought of AOL as the Horse--and-Buggy of the World Wide Web.

I mean, the bulk of their revenue comes from people still using dial-up services.

High Tech companies, Internet companies, and such have been booming, falling from the sky, like, say Google and Facebook, and many others, out there doing big, fast things, and there was AOL, looking out the garage door, polishing the reins, and longing to ditch the horse and get out there in the growing World Wide Web.

They've, seemingly constantly, been doing the "My Sister/My Daughter" thing, dealing with their troubles.

But, the deal was done, at the Super Bowl, and Arianna Huffington is now a media mogul.

Holy Cow!

Me thinks that, while Dallas is where the "I's" were dotted and the "T's" were crossed, she sealed the deal some months earlier;

Around the same time, I got an email from Tim Armstrong (AOL Chairman and CEO), saying he had something he wanted to discuss with me, and asking when we could meet. We arranged to have lunch at my home in LA later that week. The day before the lunch, Tim emailed and asked if it would be okay if he brought Artie Minson, AOL's CFO, with him. I told him of course and asked if there was anything they didn't eat. "I'll eat anything but mushrooms," he said.

For the saving grace of not serving mushrooms, Hufffington gets to do this millennium's first updated Charles Foster Kane thing, albiet, not in print, but on the World Wide Web, with her new Xanadu being good, ole AOL.

And there's plenty of good snark going on.

Somewhere, right now, Tina Brown is trying to sell The Daily Beast to Compuserve.
Swisher writes that Huffington and Armstrong's "motto" is "One plus one equals 11." Which, ha, Huffington better hope that's true if her writers are going to make AOL's insane pageview targets. To that effect, AOL content will be "integrated deeply" into the HuffPo site—alongside terrific HuffPo content like "What Time Does the Superbowl Start?" and "How to Date an Indian (Advice for the Non-Indian)." The new media landscape is going to rule.

Now, by contrast, the constraints on Huffington are much fewer. Lyons frets that “all those bright young things with the glamorous job of writing for the Huffington Post are being sent down into the belly of the AOL galleyship and assigned to an oar” — but the fact is that Armstrong bought HuffPo, and TechCrunch before it, precisely because his galleyship model of managing writers was a signal failure. Arianna gets much more bang for her buck — and has happier and more loyal employees.
Best of all, from Arianna’s point of view, is that all the extra investment she wants to make in editorial, starting with HuffPost Brazil, is going to be paid for not by rapacious venture capitalists looking for monster returns on their investment, but rather by befuddled and elderly AOL subscribers with broadband connections who don’t understand that they can cancel their $20-a-month subscriptions and still keep their AOL email address. That stream of cash won’t last forever, but it’s never going to interfere with Arianna’s editorial decision-making

I wonder who will quit first: the unpaid Post writers who aren’t making a dime from this deal, Arianna’s Hollywood buddies, or Arianna herself.

All you writers over on Engadget, TechCrunch, Moviefone, MapQuest, Black Voices, PopEater, AOL Music, AOL Latino, AutoBlog, Patch, StyleList, and others, prepare to lose your checks, and practice genuflecting, maybe even having to kiss Ariana's ring, mumbling gratefulness and gratitude for being able to write for such a great icon, for nothing.

! + ! = 11?

Sounds like some of Tom Lehrer's New Math

Bonus Riffs

Bonus Bonus Riffs

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Good Post Alert - How Much Super Bowl Is Too Much Super Bowl?

As the years go by, I have become less-and-less fond of Super Bowl Sunday.

Everything, and I mean everything, both related to the game, the NFL, and even family/friends and co-workers get over-hyped, with just about anyone you bump into, breathlessly, in anxiety-soaked voices, ask "Are you going to any Super Bowl parties?"

It may come in the not-too-distant future, that anyone not going to a "Super Bowl Party" will be banished to a leprosy-like island.

The NFL has long surpassed the label of "To Big To Fail".

It's a veritable money-printing machine.

Keep in mind, as the NFL tries to beat down the players' saleries, add more games, that with the money the NFL owners receive from television (and you can thank the former PR hack, and Commissioner Peter Rozelle for choreographing the NFL for television - the early 1960's Dallas Cowboys, perhaps thinking ahead to "Super Sundays", were the first to put numbers on the shoulders and called them "TV numbers"), that they could play the games in empty stadiums and no concessions, and still make a profit.

All this is a lead in to a good post, by David Roth, over on The Awl;

This is not exactly news, I know, but I've always believed that the bloat—more than a game encased within it, which either will be fun to watch or won't, but will still feature four 15-minute quarters—is the thing that puts people off about the game. The week of pump-it-up-when-you-don't-even-mean-it media coverage, all those thimblefuls of glib microanalysis, the leering reach for the nearest SEO-able semi-scandal—Did Player X RIP Player Y (VIDEO)?—all seem longer and louder and more desperate each year, and they will send you flipping to the Puppy Bowl if you're even remotely so inclined. The percentage of the Super Bowl broadcast given over advertisements expands exponentially—last year's Super Bowl featured seven more minutes of commercials than did 2001's. But this is what happens, it's what the market does: big things get bigger.
But the cellular division that powers this sort of overgrowth is not necessarily healthy, and long ago shaded towards decadent-unto-metastatic. That the Super Bowl is too hyped, too rich and too leveraged and branded and expensive and excessive is palpable, even in the corners most excited for it. It looks strong, of course, but these are steroid muscles—puffed up, built the wrong way, grounded in things that ruin.

If you can pull yourself away for whatever Animal Bowl is being fed into your television, or closedown the zillion tabs and take a break from watching the Super Bowl commercials, take a jump over to Roth's post

Bonus Super Bowl Riffs

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