Archive for August 4th, 2008

August 4, 2008

The Politico: Success and failure

An item today on the Politico‘s success as a news organization, but Ezra Klein notes its apparent failure as a business model:

The success of Politico actually seems like an incredibly discouraging sign for the media. . . . A year-and-a-half after launch, it’s getting 3.5 million unique visitors per month and 25 million page views. And yet not only is it unprofitable, but 60 percent of its revenues come from advertising in the 27,000 circulation print version. In other words: Politico got the online readership it dreamed of, but it hasn’t come even close to figuring out how to monetize it.

OK, to start with, the failure of online advertising to create the kind of revenue stream needed to sustain a full-scale news operation is not news. This goes back to the era of the dot-com bubble, when Salon.com got a huge investment and a lot of hype and produced nothing but red ink — or should that be “red pixels“?

In their defense, the Politico made some bad business moves during its first year of operation, hiring more staffers than it actually needed (including Amy Doolittle, a feature writer who’d done excellent work at The Washington Times) and then laying them off. So it may be that, with further streamlining to trim costs, they may yet become profitable.

Also, it must be pointed out that the Politico is part of a larger communications company that owns TV stations, etc., and if they can get some synergy happening, the Politico might be sustainable so long as its unit losses are relatively small compared to the overall profitability of the parent firm.

Still, Ezra’s basic point is solid. The collapse of print news circulation and advertising has not been matched by the development of comparable profit opportunities online, and thus the news business is hurting. (Note that Klein is, himself, employed by the American Prospect, a non-profit funded with donations from rich liberals.)

My former boss Fran Coombs has some nostalgic thoughts about “The Front Page” and old-fashioned newspaper competition. Washington, D.C., is one of the few places left in America where you still have multiple newspapers (and other news organizations) racing to capture the “scoop.” The news business thrives on that kind of competition, and unless we can develop new revenue models to fund reporting, the industry must suffer.

August 4, 2008

Expats for Obama

(Via Hot Air.)

August 4, 2008

Obama: Captain Planet

Saw part of this speech today:

Our changing climate is placing our planet in peril. . . .
When it comes to our economy, our security, and the very future of our planet, the choices we make in November and over the next few years will shape the next decade, if not the century. . . .
Without a doubt, this addiction [to oil] is one of the most dangerous and urgent threats this nation has ever faced — from the gas prices that are wiping out your paychecks and straining businesses to the jobs that are disappearing from this state; from the instability and terror bred in the Middle East to the rising oceans and record drought and spreading famine that could engulf our planet. . . .
Will we be the generation that leaves our children a planet in decline, or a world that is clean, and safe, and thriving? . . .
For the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, we must end the age of oil in our time. . . .
Along with the cap-and-trade program I’ve proposed, we will reduce our dangerous carbon emissions 80% by 2050 and slow the warming of our planet. . . .
So there is a real choice in this election – a choice about what kind of future we want for this country and this planet. . . .
We can watch other countries create the industries and the jobs that will fuel our future, and leave our children a planet that grows more dangerous and unlivable by the day.

Buzz Lightyear for President! Only the Space Ranger of Star Command and the Interstellar Alliance can protect you from Emperor Zug! What a bunch of apocalyptic hooey . . .

UPDATE: Further analysis:

. . . peril . . . turmoil . . . the most dangerous and urgent threats this nation has ever faced . . . a threat that goes to the very heart of who we are as a nation . . . melting our glaciers and setting off dangerous weather patterns . . . our families and our economy suffer and our future is put in jeopardy . . . crisis we have no control over . . .

Holy crap: He’s running as Al Gore!

UPDATE II: Linked by Dean Barnett at Weekly Standard, whose reaction to today’s speech is … well, required reading:

Terrific. The guy who lacks a single day’s experience in the private sector is going to transform our entire economy.

Except, I wouldn’t say Obama’s got no private sector experience. There was, after all, his magical book deal.

UPDATE III: Linked at Conservative Grapevine.

UPDATE IV: Captain Planet recyles . . . Bill Clinton’s 1992 promise of a “middle-class tax cut”!

August 4, 2008

No ‘surge’ of hookers . . .

. . . for the GOP and Democratic conventions, police say:

As the Twin Cities and Denver gear up for four days of politics and parties during the Republican and Democratic national conventions, advocacy groups in both cities are getting set to combat what they believe will be a surge in prostitution.
But police in both cities say that the groups are mistaken and that research indicates there will be no increase in the sex trade. . . .
St. Paul police spokesman Tom Walsh said his department discussed the issue with police in New York and Boston, which hosted the 2004 Republican and Democratic conventions, respectively.
“And what they have reported to us is that is that there is not an increase in that kind of traffic,” Walsh said. “There is so much going on, I don’t know that there is a lot of unstructured time to be involved in any other activities. … Is it something we are going to monitor? It is.”
Lt. Ron Saunier of the Denver police said that while police in that city have set up several committees to deal with problems anticipated during the Aug. 25-28 Democratic convention, there’s no committee on prostitution. “I have not heard of any information at this time about increased prostitution during the event,” he said.

The Republicans will have a lot of blonde, busty women buzzing around, but those are just the wives of the Texas delegates. The Democrats will be too busy snorting coke to bother with prostitution.

August 4, 2008

Nancy says ‘no’

No drilling for oil, ever, as long as Pelosi and the Democrats control Congress. If I were asked, “What’s the one way Democrats might possibly blow this election?” this might be it.

August 4, 2008

McCain 47%, Obama 46%

Slept late and woke up to this:

This is the first time McCain has enjoyed even a statistically insignificant advantage of any sort since Obama clinched the Democratic nomination on June 3. . . .
A week ago today, Obama had a three-percentage point lead and the candidates were even among unaffiliated voters. Today, McCain leads 52% to 37% among unaffiliateds.

Allah: “It has to be the ads.” Perhaps. Or perhaps weeks of relentless pounding by Team Maverick have gradually made Americans aware of the fact that Obama is a liberal who has only been in the Senate for three years and whose energy “plan” consists primarily of a Carteresque “windfall profits tax.”

On the other hand, maybe Gergen’s right: It’s all about the “code.”

UPDATE: Gallup has the trend moving the other way, with Obama now ahead 46%-43%, but that’s registered voters, not “likely” voters as in the Rasmussen poll. Big difference.

UPDATE II: A good way to verify that I’m not just engaged in self-validated gloating is to check the lefty bloggers:

I’ve had a bad feeling about the direction of the campaign for the past couple weeks. . . . The latest tracking polls seem to indicate that McCain’s negative attacks are having an impact. The corollary is that Obama’s response hasn’t been working, or at least it hasn’t been enough.

The lefty makes the good point that national polls can be misleading because, ultimately, it comes down to getting to 270 the Electoral College and, as Allah noted, “The same Rasmussen poll puts the electoral college at Obama 273, McCain 227.”

However, if Obama melts down in national polls, he’ll also go down with swing voters in swing states — and it’s these voters who are being targeted heavily by McCain’s attack ads. So a steady downward trend for Obama nationally would, eventually, be mirrored in swing-state polls. It would just take more time, because (a) Obama began with a substantial lead in most swing states, (b) states are not polled on a daily basis, and (c) Obama’s targeting his own ads in these swing states, too, so that voters are being whipsawed by attack-and-counterattack.

The current poll trend means mainly that Obama’s under pressure. His foreign trip was a flop that gained him nothing, while fueling the “arrogance” narrative. A negative poll trend takes the wind of “inevitability” out of his sails, and puts him on the defensive.

This is the point in the campaign when screaming matches at headquarters start to break out, where fingers of blame are being pointed, and people start looking for a scapegoat. Let Obama slip a few more points, and you’ll start hearing “shakeup” rumors.

August 4, 2008

You’re guilty of murder

You never even heard of Luis Ramirez. You’ve never been anywhere near Shenandoah, Pa. But don’t try to deny it, says liberal columnist Walter Brasch:

On a street in Shenandoah, Pa., deep in the heart of the anthracite coal region, six White teens took their racial hatred to a higher level. They confronted 25-year-old Luis Ramirez, an undocumented worker, and beat him to death. . . .
Unindicted co-conspirators are millions of Americans and the far-right mass media. . . .
But now, self-aggrandizing politicians and media talk show hosts and pundits, who erroneously believe they are populists, spew hate-filled torrents of bigotry and fear-mongering.
I don’t know if the six teens who murdered Luis Ramirez listen to talk radio, watch Fox News, or read web blogs and anonymous call-ins and letters to the local newspaper. They don’t have to. Their community does.

Right. And immediately after watching “Fox & Friends” this morning, I’ll go perpetrate whatever hateful atrocity Steve Doocy suggests. (He’s like that, you know.)

Brasch’s “argument” reminds me of the Matthew Shepard case, which caused liberals everywhere to blame the murder on the “Religious Right,” even though there wasn’t a scintilla of evidence that the two petty hoodlums who killed Shepard had ever had anything to do with either religion or the Right. The great thing about liberal belief, as Thomas Sowell has said, is that it renders evidence irrelevant.

UPDATE: Linked at AOSHQ headlines, which explains all the great comments.

August 4, 2008

Quote of the Year?

“McCain should return the $4,600 that the Hiltons donated and tell them to buy panties for their daughters.”
Don Surber

August 4, 2008

Black reporter ousted at McCain event

By Secret Service:

Tallahassee Democrat senior writer Stephen Price on Friday was singled out and asked to leave a media area at the Panama City rally of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain.
Price was among at least three other reporters, and the only black reporter, surrounding McCain’s campaign bus . . . when a member of the Arizona senator’s security detail asked the reporter to identify himself. Price had shown his media credentials to enter the area.
Price showed his employee identification as well as his credentials for the Friday event.
“I explained I was with the state press, but the Secret Service man said that didn’t matter and that I would have to go,” Price said.
When another reporter asked why Price was being removed, she too was led out of the area.

Having covered Hillary Clinton three times and John McCain once on the campaign trail, I can tell you that the security for McCain’s event was much more . . . uptight, I guess you’d say. In Wilkes-Barre, they had “crime scene” tape set up so nobody could get within 50 yards of the McCain bus. And reporters were not exempted.

There must be some training academy where Republican campaign staffers are taught to treat reporters like dangeorous scum. Team Maverick’s use of Secret Service to hassle reporters is apparently an innovation that will be studied closely by GOP operatives in future campaigns.

August 4, 2008

Race more important to black voters

So says Juan Williams:

In a Wall Street Journal poll last month, 8% of white voters said outright that race is the most important factor when it comes to looking at these two candidates — a three percentage point increase since Mr. Obama claimed the Democratic nomination. . . . Race is even more important to black voters: 20% say it is the top factor influencing their view of the candidates. . . . All this contributes to the idea that the presidential contest will boil down to black guy versus white guy.

Maybe David Gergen can explain this.