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Diagnosis: Reform (Capital Eye)
For some individuals, how Congress aims to reform America’s health care system is literally a matter of life and death. For some industries, it could mean the difference between weathering the economic storm or shuttering their businesses. Nobody knows yet what the shape or scope of the final bill will be. It may not even make it to President Obama’s desk. But one thing is certain: The American health care system is set to get a lobotomy and diverse special interests are spending big bucks to make sure they’re in the surgery room when it happens.
Just so you’ll know what the parasites are protecting by these donations to Congress:
CEO Compensation: Who Said Health Care is in a Financial Crisis? (by Doctor K at WebMD, thanks to DCblogger at Corrente)
Those of you who are struggling to pay for your generic medicines or wondering why the doctor is charging you a $5.00 co-pay, give some thought to these facts about how our health care dollars are allocated. At the end of this post, there is a list of 23 health companies I found on Forbes.com, what the CEO was paid in 2005, and the average paid to the CEO in the past five years. Imagine adding vice presidents, Board of Directors, stock holders and the other 200-300 other companies all cashing in on your health. [TOTAL 2005: 559.8 mil, TOTAL 5-Year: 14.9 billion]
Bill Clinton Sees Hope for Health Care Changes, This Time (New York Times)
As he watches the new Democratic president take on the issue that stymied him 16 years ago, Mr. Clinton has concluded that Mr. Obama has a better chance than he did, both because of the way the new proposals are structured and because of a national mood that is more supportive of major action. “He’s got a better Congress, a more receptive climate,” Mr. Clinton said in a recent interview. “He also has, frankly, a better — at least more politically saleable — set of proposals.”
So why is Obama listening only to Blue Dogs, Republicans, and, like Tom Daschle and Bob Dole, servants of the health insurance parasites who make so much money by taking our money and then denying us coverage and care?
Daschle Folds on Federal Public Health Care Plan (The Note, ABC News)
In an attempt at bipartisanship, three former majority leaders of the U.S. Senate, Tom Daschle, Howard Baker, and Bob Dole, offered their solution today to the biggest obstacle to achieving health care reform — a public option… In a blow to President Obama and many of his Democratic allies in the health care fight, the plan recommends that there be no federal public option, but rather state or regional public-sponsored networks that would compete with private health plans, according to the summary released today by the Bipartisan Policy Center. “If you want to stop this thing dead in its tracks, or dead on arrival, in my view you put the public plan in it,” Dole said when asked whether there were any non-negotiables to deal with when drafting the bipartisan recommendations.
Daschle beds down with the enemies of health care reform (by Alegre)
There’s absolutely no excuse for them to fail in getting at least a public option into a reform package. This is the kind of thing we elected them to do – health care reform. It’s what people have said they wanted in poll after poll after poll. If the Democrats in Congress fail to push for a public option and push it hard – and if the WH fails to demand it – then it’s time we started asking the obvious question… What in the hell did we elect all of those Democrats for last November? [Emphasis added.] This should be a slam dunk dammit. We don’t need high-profile Democrats bedding down with Republicans to scuttle reform. We need them to grow a spine and get this thing done and done right.
Republicans try to obstruct health care bill. (Think Progress)
[Wednesday], the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee began marking up Sen. Ted Kennedy’s (D-MA) Affordable Health Care Act. Republicans, who pushed for the incomplete HELP legislation to be studied by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and then pretended that the agency scored the entire bill, tried to obstruct the effort by complaining that the CBO had not yet scored the full proposal. During the hearing, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) argued that the hearing be postponed until a full cost-analysis is available.
The GOP then maneuvered to introduce a host of amendments simply as a delaying tactic. Rather than offering constructive improvements that could lower costs and expand coverage, a good number of the GOP’s proposed amendments do nothing to solve the health care crisis. The Wonk Room has the run-down.
Senate Committee Delays Health Care Effort (Political Wire)
The Senate Finance Committee “has postponed the markup of its health care reform bill until after the Fourth of July recess,” Roll Call reports. The markup was expected to begin next Tuesday.
House Republicans Unveil Thin Health Care Plan (Political Wire)
Roll Call: “House Republicans presented a four-page outline of their health care reform plan Wednesday but said they didn’t know yet how much it would cost, how they would pay for it and how many of the nearly 50 million Americans without insurance would be covered by it.”
Taking the Hypocritical Oath (by Paul Krugman)
I know it’s a tough competition, but this just might be the most hypocritical thing I’ve seen in the past year: “On Monday, Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced the ‘Preserving Access to Targeted, Individualized, and Effective New Treatments and Services (PATIENTS) Act of 2009,’ a new bill prohibiting Medicare or Medicaid from using ‘comparative effectiveness research to deny coverage.’” How bad is it? Let me count the ways.
1. Politicians who rail against wasteful government spending are taking action to prevent the government from reining in … wasteful spending.
2. Politicians who warn that the burden of entitlements is killing the federal budget are stepping in to block … the single most painless route to reducing the growth of entitlements.
3. They’re doing it in the name of avoiding “rationing of health care” … but they’re specifically addressing taxpayer-funded care. If you want to go out and buy a medically useless treatment, Medicare won’t stop you.
4. These same politicians are, of course, opposed to efforts to expand coverage. In other words, it’s evil for government to “ration care” by only paying for things that work; it is, however, perfectly OK, indeed virtuous, to ration care by refusing to pay for any care at all.
The Bipartisanship of Fools (by E.J. Dionne)
Where did we get the idea that the only good health care bill is a bipartisan bill? Is bipartisanship more important than whether a proposal is practical and effective?… It’s one thing to compromise to pick up votes, which one hopes is what Baucus is doing. It’s another to compromise in exchange for nothing at all. The first is bipartisanship with a purpose. The second is the bipartisanship of fools.
This can’t be good:
Dem, GOP centrists meet in secret (The Hill, thanks to Susie at Suburban Guerilla)
Centrist House lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are working together privately on healthcare reform. The talks have been so secretive and politically sensitive that some members interviewed by The Hill refused to name other legislators involved in the bipartisan effort.
“Centrist”, of course, means corporate bought hack.
New Poll Shows Tremendous Support For Public Health Care Option (Campaign for America’s Future, thanks to Susie at Suburban Guerilla)
Eighty-three percent of Americans favor and only 14 percent oppose “creating a new public health insurance plan that anyone can purchase” according to EBRI, a conservative business research organization. [Emphasis added.] This flatly contradicts conservatives’ loudest attack against President Obama’s plan to provide quality, affordable health care for all.
Obama Boost: New Poll Shows 76% Support For Choice Of Public Plan (by Sam Stein at the Huffington Post)
New poll numbers from NBC/Wall Street Journal produce two major and potentially conflicting story lines when it comes to the Obama administration’s efforts for a health care overhaul. On the one hand, the American public overwhelmingly favors a choice between getting insurance coverage either through the private market or a government run option. Indeed, 76 percent of respondents said it was either “extremely” or “quite” important to “give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance.”
Poll: On Health Care, Public Trusts Insurance Companies More Than GOP Leaders (by Greg Sargent at The Plum Line)
Wow. With the health care debate gearing up, some new numbers from Gallup suggest that the public doesn’t exactly have a tremendous amount of confidence in Republican leaders on the issue… Only 34% are confident that GOP leaders Congress will make the right decisions about health care reform — less than the insurance companies (35%) or the pharmaceutical companies (40%). By contrast, more have confidence in Dem leaders (42%), and even more trust Obama (58%).
So why do Republicans keep winning the day? How do we continue NOT getting what most of us want?
HOW WE STAY BAREFOOT AND PREGNANT: (by Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler)
How does your nation discuss major issues? Very, very poorly. Consider two more reports about health cares costs, found in [Wednesday’s] Post and Times. The Post assembled a trio of scribes to compile its report. They spoke about mammoth possible costs involved in reaching full coverage… It might cost quite a bit, the trio of scribes report… There’s nothing “wrong” or inaccurate about this news report. But in accord with established Hard Pundit Law, this report omits the most significant Big Giant Fact about our health-care system: On a per capita basis, we’re already spending twice as much as comparable nations which get better health outcomes and already have full coverage! [Emphasis added.]
Surely, any sane person can see the enormous big-picture relevance of that Big Fact. But this Huge Giant Fact simply never appears in our discussions of health-care “overhaul.”… Nor have [Americans] heard any liberal journal or interest group telling them this in a disciplined way–or much of anything else, for that matter… Our big career liberals tend to slumber and doze. By contrast, pseudo-con “think tanks” and Republican pols aggressively push anti-government spins. [Americans] have heard from the right. From our side? Perhaps not so much.
For more than eight years now, I’ve tried to make the point that we on the left need a media strategy. How many times will we allow ourselves to be outflanked, out-strategized, and overrun by a small minority of right wingers, before we start fighting back in a smart and coordinated way?
Another kindred spirit:
The Bi-Partisan Repudiation of the Left (by Peter Daou at Consider This News)
[I]f you look back at the Bush and Clinton years, rightwing hate found its biggest platform on major media outlets, who gladly provided national soapboxes to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and others, while elected Democrats said or did precious little about it and ran away from the ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ mantle like the plague… [Y]ear after year, the traditional media and political establishment, including Democrats, allowed a parade of liberal-bashers to poison the national dialogue and to demonize a large segment of the population. The results are manifested today. And it continues…
Reporters and pundits who chuckle at hate radio hosts or regurgitate their words, and Democrats who fail to mount a vigorous defense of progressive ideology – or worse, happily shun the left – should consider the ramifications. I took heat for disagreeing with the ‘elevate Limbaugh’ strategy orchestrated by senior Democratic strategists and assisted by the White House. But I feel more strongly than ever that haters like Limbaugh, Hannity and O’Reilly should be marginalized, not legitimized and elevated. After all, words can have deadly consequences. Anyone who thinks it’s helpful to mock the “far left” – especially when that term is used overbroadly to describe a wide swath of dedicated progressive activists – is ignoring the results of the unmitigated assault on liberals and liberalism, a campaign of hate that has calcified the kind of blind hatred that ultimately leads to violence.
Action Alert: June 25th demonstration Washington DC (by DCblogger at Corrente)
Can’t come to Washington DC on June 25? Could you visit the district office of your Senator or Representative? If you can’t take time off from work, see if you can get a lunch time appointment, assuming your office is near your representative’s office. Ask them to support single payer. In person visits are the gold standard of citizen action.
At least one Republican makes sense:
Sen. Johnny Isakson thinks a public plan competing against private health care programs is a ‘good system.’ (Think Progress)
On Monday, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) told the Georgia Public Broadcasting News that although he opposes a single-payer system, he would support a system where there is competition between public and private health care programs: “ISAKSON: Having private competition, facilities like Emory that are private, public like Grady competing with one another is a good system. What we have got to guard against is becoming a single-payer government system. You take competition out of health care and you’ll have less quality and a higher cost.”
Click through to listen to the audio.
Holy #*&%@$!!!!! ANOTHER Republican makes sense:
Frist On Using Reconciliation Process To Pass Health Care Reform: ‘It’s Legal, It’s Ethical’ (Think Progress)
On May 1, Congress passed President Obama’s budget, which included language allowing for the use of the budget reconciliation process to pass health care reform with a simple majority in the Senate. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) said any use of budget reconciliation by Obama would be “regarded as an act of violence” against Republicans, and likened it to “running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River.” Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) made similar remarks, while Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) called reconciliation a “purely partisan exercise.”
But at least one Republican recognizes that the use of reconciliation — while rare — is not unprecedented or unethical, let alone “an act of violence.” On Bill Bennett’s radio show [Tuesday] morning, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said of budget reconciliation: “It’s legal, it’s ethical, you can do it.” Further, Frist said that he believed Obama would be able to get a health care package passed this year:
WATCH: Conservative Media Paranoia Over Health Care Reform (by Brian Frederick & Karl Frisch at County Fair, Media Matters for America)
Boortz fear monging: “Obama’s health care plan is going to end up killing people” (County Fair, Media Matters for America)
GOP Planning Televised Counter-Attack Against Obama And ABC News (by Greg Sargent at The Plum Line)
The Republican National Committee, furious with ABC News for granting the Obama administration airtime to discuss health care, is planning to use its in-house TV studio to air a counter-attack starring GOP members of Congress, according to an internal RNC memo I’ve obtained. [Tuesday], after ABC announced that they would be broadcasting wall-to-wall coverage next Wednesday from the White House featuring Obama answering audience questions about health care, the RNC slammed ABC for planning to air “a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda.” ABC dismissed the criticism.
Now, however, the RNC is planning to respond — on the air. In a memo sent to GOP press secretaries on the Hill that a source sent over, the RNC wrote: “…The RNC TV studio will be available the entire day of June 24th. Please RSVP at your earliest convenience as space is limited.” Read the full memo here.
Bruce: ABC News “turned into Monica Lewinsky … no more is it interns servicing the president, it’s an entire network” (County Fair, Media Matters for America)
FLASHBACK: When Fox News boasted about its “unprecedented” access to the Bush White House (County Fair, Media Matters for America)
Suddenly ABC News has become “state controlled” media because it’s working closely with the Obama White House on a primetime program. At least that’s how Michelle Malkin and her friends explain the world to their outraged readers. So if ABC News is now government controlled, what did that make Fox News in 2008? “FOX News’ Bret Baier was granted unprecedented access by George W. Bush as the president begins the final year of his extraordinarily consequential tenure. This historic documentary – shot in high definition – takes you inside the Oval Office, to the president’s Texas ranch, aboard Air Force One and into his private sanctums in the White House residence.”
Urge to surge (by Paul Krugman)
So I’ve been reading stories about a “surge” in housing starts. And it’s true that starts were up 17 percent over the previous month. But here’s the thing: new-home construction has come to a virtual standstill, so even large percentage changes mean only a handful of extra homes started. If we’re building 6 homes a month nationwide, and that goes to 7, it’s a 17 percent rise — but makes almost no difference in real life. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, but here’s what housing starts actually look like:
Only a Hint of Roosevelt in Financial Overhaul (by Joe Nocera, New York Times)
On Wednesday, President Obama unveiled what he described as “a sweeping overhaul of the financial regulatory system, a transformation on a scale not seen since the reforms that followed the Great Depression.” In terms of the sheer number of proposals, outlined in an 88-page document the administration released on Tuesday, that is undoubtedly true. But in terms of the scope and breadth of the Obama plan — and more important, in terms of its overall effect on Wall Street’s modus operandi — it’s not even close to what Roosevelt accomplished during the Great Depression. Rather, the Obama plan is little more than an attempt to stick some new regulatory fingers into a very leaky financial dam rather than rebuild the dam itself. Without question, the latter would be more difficult, more contentious and probably more expensive. But it would also have more lasting value…
Everywhere you look in the plan, you see the same thing: additional regulation on the margin, but nothing that amounts to a true overhaul. The new bank supervisor, for instance, is really nothing more than two smaller agencies combined into one. The plans calls for new regulations aimed at the ratings agencies, but offers nothing that would suggest radical revamping. The plan places enormous trust in the judgment of the Federal Reserve — trust that critics say has not really been borne out by its actions during the Internet and housing bubbles.
More notes on the regulation plan (by Paul Krugman)
1. Cheers for the extension of regulation, including capital requirements, to all “Tier 1 FHCs” — which, in the report’s jargon, means any financial institution, whether or not it’s a conventional bank, that might have to be rescued in a crisis.
2. Damnation with faint praise for the 5% “skin in the game” provision: it’s just too weak. George Soros, who should know, says it should be at least 10 percent, probably more.
3. Cheers for the poke in the eye to right-wingers eager to blame the Community Reinvestment Act.
Some Lawmakers Question Expanded Reach for the Fed (New York Times)
Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said the central bank’s failure to be a tough-minded regulator over the last decade had left him and other lawmakers without “a lot of confidence in the Fed at this point.”… Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who until recently was publicly supportive of an expanded role for the Fed, said a significant number of lawmakers have raised concerns and that it would probably be one of the harder issues to resolve.
Banks Brace for Fight Over Consumer Protection Agency (New York Times)
On Wednesday, President Obama proposed creating a federal agency that would require banks, mortgage lenders and credit card companies to provide consumers with a more nutritious diet, financially speaking. But what is good for consumers may not always square with what is good for banks. And the banking industry — which says it stands to lose billions of dollars — is bracing for a fight as the administration’s plan to overhaul the way the industry is regulated heads to Capitol Hill.
Banks don’t need no stinkin’ nutritious diets!
Where Credit Is Due (by Ryan Chittum, Columbia Journalism Review, book review of Fool’s Gold: How the Bold Dream of a Small Tribe at J.P. Morgan Was Corrupted by Wall Street Greed and Unleashed a Catastrophe by Gillian Tett)
I can’t imagine there’s a better vehicle to tell the story of credit derivatives—the financial instruments that laid the groundwork for the financial crisis—than the one Gillian Tett uses in Fool’s Gold. The author, a top reporter and columnist for the Financial Times, views the whole mess through the prism of a single company: JPMorgan Chase. As Tett sees it, the firm essentially invented the credit derivative, proselytized for it, and then avoided most of the excesses it enabled, only to watch it send the entire industry into a free fall.
That Tett has written a readable book about credit-default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, asset-backed securities, and so on, is itself an accomplishment (though it ain’t exactly beach reading). But she has a good story here, too, taking us inside the genesis of the crisis.
Buy it here.
Why the official Iranian election results are suspect (McClatchy)
In American politics, it would be as if President George W. Bush won re-election over Sen. John Kerry in 2004 by taking Kerry’s home state of Massachusetts, doing surprisingly well in liberal New York City and besting his 2000 vote totals by 40 percent.
Thousands of Iranians march in defiance as death toll reaches 32 (McClatchy)
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators flooded Tehran Wednesday in the fifth day of protests to demand the annulment of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election, and more nationwide protests appeared to be in store.
Rep. Rohrabacher: Obama Is A ‘Cream Puff’ For Not Interfering In Iran (Think Progress)
[Tuesday], President Obama explained his relative public silence with regard to the situation in Iran, saying, “It’s not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling, the U.S. president meddling in Iranian elections.” Later in the day, on Radio America’s Dateline Washington, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) responded to Obama’s measured statements on Iran by calling him a “cream puff” and predicting that under Obama’s leadership “things” will get “very bad, very quickly”:
Report: Hillary And Biden Want Obama To Talk Tougher On Iran (by Greg Sargent at The Plum Line)
A fascinating detail from this morning’s New York Times piece on the debate about President Obama’s response to events in Iran: “Even while supporting the president’s approach, senior members of the administration, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, would like to strike a stronger tone in support of the protesters, administration officials said.”… [F]or now the tell seems to be that administration officials are leaking on such a sensitive matter. Republicans who’ve been hammering Obama’s handling of the Iran crisis and are persuaded it’s a political winner for them seem likely to grab on to this to give their criticism legs.
Someone in Iran (Probably the Government) Isn’t Good at Photoshop (by Gabriel Snyder at Gawker)
A picture that shows that some Photoshopping was used to make the crowd at a pro-Ahmedinejad rally look bigger is racing around the Internet right now. We have no idea where it’s from (anyone read Farsi?) but everyone’s screaming propaganda! Which it probably is! But the Internet is full of fake shit, which people mostly (if they’re smart) just ignore. Last July, when Iran docotored a missile test photo to make it look 33% scarier, it ended up on the home page of the New York Times, a place that has a general disregard for fake shit.
Is Obama’s ‘Prolonged Detention’ American? (by Nat Hentoff)
We may have to find out how strong a shelter the Constitution will be under a plan being considered by President Obama for “a new legal system” that can indefinitely confine – possibly in American “Supermax prisons” – certain terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, and not only there. They cannot be tried in our civilian courts because they have been tortured (preventing evidence against them being admitted) or because as NPR’s Ari Shapiro puts it, they “would compromise sensitive sources and methods.” Like, he adds, if they’ve been tortured, the assumption could be “they’re dangerous because they’ve been tortured.”
Holder: Indefinite Detention Will Include Measures Of Due Process (by Sam Stein at the Huffington Post)
Eric Holder asserted on Wednesday that terrorism suspects indefinitely detained by the United States would be granted opportunities for due process, both before and during their detention. But he declined to detail how and where such appeals could take place, telling members of Congress that such specifics had yet to be agreed upon by the administration.
Is getting some opportunities for due process anything like being a little bit pregnant?
Attorney General Holder reminds Sessions who’s boss. (Think Progress)
[Wednesday] morning, Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-AL) slammed the Justice Department’s release of Bush-era memos authorizing the use of torture on terrorist suspects, telling Holder that his “predecessor, Judge Mukasey, and Mr. Hayden,” the former Director of National Intelligence, “didn’t approve of that at all.” Holder reminded Sessions that Mukasey and Hayden were no longer in charge.
Click through to watch the video.
Let’s hold Bush officials accountable for torture (by Anthony Romero and Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, Salon)
Torture is a crime and the United States engaged in it. Those are two indisputable facts. Given the mountains of evidence already in the public domain, any effort to deny or soften that harsh and devastating reality is either disingenuous, uninformed or a result of the human instinct to avoid painful truths. But one of the things that allows our democracy to endure is that time after time, no matter the misdeed, we have been willing to look ourselves in the mirror, acknowledge our wrongdoing and hold ourselves accountable.
Both of the authors of this piece chose professions devoted to protecting democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law. One of us is an Army prosecutor who resigned from six pending Guantánamo cases due to ethical failings of the tribunal system, and the other is the leader of the premier civil liberties organization in the U.S. We both understand that the process of self-examination and accountability has been, and remains, the only way to move forward and regain our moral and legal grounding.
Holder Wants As “Complete A Report” On Bush Lawyers As Soon As Possible (by Sam Stein at the Huffington Post)
Attorney General Eric Holder restated his intention on Wednesday to release a comprehensive report, declassified to the fullest extent, on the legal advice provided by the Bush administration in its authorization of enhanced interrogation techniques. Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder said that delays in releasing the findings of the Office of Professional Responsibility’s (OPR) investigation into former President George W. Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) was the result of administrative obstacles and not political foot-dragging or objections from the CIA
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: “It’s the President’s Justice Department.” (by bostonboomer at The Confluence)
I’ve been waiting for the W.O.R.M, but so far nothing. In his daily press briefing [Wednesdy], Robert Gibbs responded to a question by Jake Tapper on the Justice Department’s brief supporting the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): “Q Does the President stand by the legal brief that the Justice Department filed last week that argued in favor of the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act?… MR. GIBBS: Well, again, it’s the President’s Justice Department. And again, we have the role of upholding the law of the land while the President has stated and will work with Congress to change that law.” In other words, yes, the President agrees with the argument that essentially draws an analogy between incest and same sex marriage–the same argument used by the Bush Justice Department!
Limbaugh still littering discussion of Obama and DOMA with mockery of gay community (County Fair, Media Matters for America)
Robertson: Countries that embrace homosexuality go “down into ruin,” end “up in the garbage heap of history” (County Fair, Media Matters for America)
Obama’s Ratings Remain High (Political Wire)
Despite the theme that President Obama’s honeymoon may be over, Political Wire has learned that a new Pew Research poll will be out shortly that shows President Obama’s approval ratings remain high despite some policy concerns. In addition, as global threats rise, Obama gets generally good marks on foreign policy.
CREW POSTS DETAILS AND COPIES OF THE MISSING WHITE HOUSE EMAILS RELEASED BY ADMINISTRATION (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington)
Nearly two years after Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sued the Bush White House for both its refusal to restore the millions of missing White House emails and its failure to put in place an effective electronic record keeping system, the White House has finally released documents that support CREW’s allegations.
NSA analyst ‘improperly accessed’ Bill Clinton’s e-mail through domestic surveillance program. (Think Progress)
The New York Times reports today that members of Congress are increasingly concerned about the extent of the NSA’s domestic surveillance program, particularly the overcollection of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans. An anonymous former intelligence analyst tells reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau that during much of the Bush years, the NSA “tolerated significant collection and examination of domestic e-mail messages without warrants.” Reportedly, one of the accessed domestic e-mail accounts belonged to former President Bill Clinton:
Six Democrats join GOP in overturning Obama administration’s efforts to cut F-22 funding. (Think Progress)
Last April, Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended capping production of the F-22 Raptor at 187 planes. Gates said the move was part of a series of changes in defense spending that he called “no-brainers.” (The F-22 has never seen action in either Iraq or Afghanistan.) [Tuesday], the House Armed Services Committee “threw a wrench in the Obama administration’s plans to end” the F-22 program, voting 31-30 on a measure marking up the Defense Department spending bill that would “add $369 million in extra funding to keep production of the Air Force’s most advanced jet alive.” Six Democrats … joined 25 Republicans in voting for the amendment.
Lieberman Bounces Back (Political Wire)
“Seven months after nearly becoming politically irrelevant, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is working closely with a president he actively campaigned against and is playing a leading role in moving major pieces of legislation through the upper chamber,” The Hill reports. In the wake of Sen. John McCain’s loss in the presidential election, “many political analysts said Lieberman was done. Defying the pundits yet again, Lieberman survived a major effort to take away his Homeland Security Committee chairmanship. And his political stock has spiked.”
Joe Lieberman was Obama’s mentor in the Senate. Obama ASKED that the neocon Lieberman be his guide.
Senatorial Affair Revealed Thanks to Housing Crisis (by Pareene at Gawker)
Why did Republican Senator John Ensign’s sexual dalliance with a married former staffer get revealed now? Because of subprime mortgages and the Nevada housing crisis! Ensign’s affair was with Cynthia Hampton, his reelection campaign treasurer. Hampton’s husband was an administrative assistant [to Ensign], which is awkward. Even more awkward: the Hamptons are broke, and maybe defaulting on their shitty mortgage. “…A review of public records shows that the Hamptons in 2006 took out a $1.2 million mortgage on their Las Vegas home, at an interest rate of 8 percent.”
I don’t see the connection.
Ensign Doubled Salary of Mistress (Political Wire)
“The one-time mistress and campaign treasurer of Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) saw her salary double during the time of the affair,” the Las Vegas Sun reports. In addition, the woman’s 19-year-old son was paid $5,400 by a political operation controlled by Ensign.
Ensign quits Senate GOP leadership post (AP)
Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada has stepped down from his leadership post one day after admitting he carried on a marital affair with a woman who was on his campaign staff. Ensign conveyed his decision in a phone call with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who said he had accepted the resignation. Ensign was chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, the fourth-ranking spot in the leadership.
Shouldn’t he resign his seat, too? That’s what he demanded of Clinton—but not of Vitter.
Louisiana Democrats Use Ensign Affair To Go After Vitter (by Sam Stein at the Huffington Post)
Citing Sen. John Ensign’s resignation from his GOP leadership position after copping to an extramarital affair, Democrats are now calling on David Vitter — another Republican with past marital misconduct — to drop his own post within the party. Presented with the right news hook, the Louisiana Democratic Party put out a press statement on Wednesday afternoon, urging its home state Senator to drop his title as Deputy Whip of the Senate GOP… The press release is the furthest that any Democratic politician or institution has gone in trying to reap political advantage from Ensign’s marital difficulties. In the day since the news broke, fellow Nevadan, Majority Leader Harry Reid, has said that the matter is private
The Deal with God (Political Wire)
“The Republican Party didn’t make a deal with the devil,” the Las Vegas Sun observes in the wake of Sen. John Ensign’s (R-NV) admitted affair. “It made a deal with God, or at least people who said they were God’s representatives — a certain class of very political and ideological preachers… The deal, engineered by Republican operatives such as Lee Atwater and Karl Rove, went like this: Be against gays and abortion and for prayer in the schools, and in return, those preachers would proclaim the GOP the party of God and deliver millions of suburban and rural voters — enough to win elections for three decades.”
“But the deal carried a risk: Any behavior by Republican officeholders or public figures that seemed at odds with a certain kind of Old Testament morality — a tryst in an airport bathroom, a painkiller addiction, a sexual harassment lawsuit — and voters might feel betrayed and manipulated. And the deal would collapse.”
Nonsense. When it’s a Republican who’s caught fooling around, the right wing bullies the media into leaving it alone. When it’s a Democrat, the right wing bullies get weeks and weeks of mileage on how immoral Democrats are.
Republican Senator Seeks Details on Possible First Lady Involvement in IG Firing (Fox News)
A top Republican senator is asking whether First Lady Michelle Obama’s office played any role in last week’s firing of former service program Inspector General Gerald Walpin. The concern, one of several surrounding Walpin’s sudden dismissal, stems from the timing of a staff switch in the first lady’s office. Just days before Walpin got the boot, the White House announced Michelle Obama’s chief of staff would be appointed senior adviser to the agency Walpin was responsible for monitoring. Michelle Obama said at the time she and her outgoing staffer, Jackie Norris, would work closely going forward. With accusations now flying that the Walpin firing was politically motivated, the personnel change only adds to the list of questions Republicans have for the president.
Yes, I know it’s Fox News. Is this their attempt to create a ruckus similar to Travelgate? I don’t know, but what I do know is that the steady drip, drip, drip of manufactured scandals on the foreheads of Americans during the 90s is a big part of what made it possible for George Bush to be given the presidency in 2000. And for Hillary Clinton to be mercilessly trashed by so-called progressive blogs in 2008.
Madigan Urged to Consider Senate Bid (Political Wire)
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) “is under pressure from top Democrats to abandon her long-expected campaign for governor and instead seek President Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat next year, a switch she’s seriously considering,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Madigan’s political director said she will probably decide “within four to six weeks” whether to run for governor, Senate, or a third term as attorney general.
[Madigan] Met With Obama on Senate Run (Political Wire)
Lynn Sweet reports that Illinois Attorney General List Madigan (D) “is getting more serious” about making a U.S. Senate bid “but has a few conditions. If Madigan is to get in the Senate race, she wants an endorsement from Obama when she announces and she wants the Democratic primary field to be cleared of rivals.” One sign Obama might be open to her conditions: The AP reports Madigan met with the president last week at the White House. Meanwhile, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) “is waiting to see what Madigan does before deciding to run for the Senate, governor or stay put. If Madigan runs for Senate, Kirk, if he seeks higher office, would consider governor. If Madigan goes for governor, the Senate race would look better.”
Bush Ends His Silence (Political Wire)
Apparently six months of staying quiet was long enough for former President Bush. The Washington Times notes that Bush fired a few shots at the Obama administration yesterday during a Pennsylvania appearance. “Repeatedly in his hourlong speech and question-and-answer session, Mr. Bush said he would not directly criticize the new president… Several times, however, he took direct aim at Obama policies as he defended his own during eight years in office.”
Former SC official apologizes for racist remark aimed at Michelle Obama (McClatchy)
Former state election director Rusty DePass issued an apology Wednesday for his comments last week linking an escaped gorilla with the ancestors of First Lady Michelle Obama.
Schwarzenegger won’t agree to still more tax increases (McClatchy)
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told Democratic legislative leaders Wednesday that he will not sign the budget plan adopted by a joint legislative committee.
PolitiFact to take a closer look at TV/radio pundits’ claims (St. Petersburg Times via Poynter Online)
The St. Pete Times’ PolitiFact invites TV viewers and radio listeners to submit claims they’d like to see vetted. “It’s hard to know how well this may be received by fans, who seem mostly to watch pundits telling them what they want to hear,” writes Eric Deggans. “But I admire PolitiFact for trying to bring a little sense and accountability to an increasingly hysterical arena.”
Great, now we need scorecards for those same pundits. Americans need to know if Rush Limbaugh, for example, lies 99.9% of the time.
Current TV show aims to tell stories ignored by MSM
Stories on Current TV’s Vanguard program have highlighted kidnappings in oil-rich Nigeria, the Mexican drug war, the risks taken by Somali refugees and lessons that can be learned from this recession. Jailed journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling work for the show.
Garber calls Stewart’s attack on CNN “a rare misstep”
By criticizing CNN for using social networking sites to report what’s going on in Iran, Jon Stewart “turned himself into a caricature: he fashioned himself as the crotchety Luddite who opposes new media platforms not on their merits, but because they’re new,” says Megan Garber. Stewart’s attack on CNN was “a rare misstep for The Daily Show’s normally trenchant media criticism,” she adds.
I’m sure that Jon Stewart won’t mind in the least being called a caricature. Or a character. Or even a fake newsman, which is what he calls himself.
Kurtz explains why he didn’t mention his CNN job when defending the network
Eric Alterman recently scolded Howard Kurtz for not mentioning, while defending CNN, that he collects a paycheck from network. “That was an oversight and won’t be repeated,” Kurtz tells Andrew Alexander. “In the online chats, we often discuss my CNN role week after week, as readers ask about, and sometimes criticize, my program. So my impression is that the connection is well known.”
Obama: ‘I’ve got one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration.’ (Think Progress)
During an interview with President Obama that aired on CNBC [Tuesday], chief Washington correspondent John Harwood said, “When you and I spoke in January, you said — I observed that you hadn’t gotten much bad press. You said it’s coming.” Harwood added that since then, Obama still hasn’t received much critical press and wondered if his administration isn’t being “sufficiently held accountable.” Obama, however, disagreed: “…It’s very hard for me to swallow that one. First of all, I’ve got one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration.”
Click through to watch the video.
Fox Newser Arrested in Central Park Cyclist Incident (John Cook at Gawker)
Don Broderick, the Fox News Channel news writer accused of hitting a cyclist in Central Park earlier this month, dragging him four blocks, and fleeing the scene, has been arrested, according to an NYPD spokeswoman.
‘Next Time I’ll Rip Your F—ing Head Off’ and Other Charming Stories of Fox News’ Road Rager (by John Cook at Gawker)
We keep hearing more from people who once worked with Fox News writer Don Broderick. Even before he was accused of dragging a cyclist through Central Park, former colleagues tell us, co-workers were afraid to be around him… “He’s a creep and a bully,” says one of three former Fox Newsers who spoke to Gawker. “He really is crazy. People are frightened to turn their backs to him. The fact that he still works there is mind-boggling.” Neither Broderick nor Fox News returned calls for comment.
Boortz dubs Obama “Hugo Obama or Barack Chavez” (County Fair, Media Matters for America)
Limbaugh declares “Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton … make millions of dollars trading off of imagined racism” (County Fair, Media Matters for America)
WND’s Porter: If we don’t stop Obama “dictatorship … we’ll lose our lives” (County Fair, Media Matters for America)
In her June 16 WorldNetDaily.com column, radio host Janet Porter writes that the Obama “dictatorship must be stopped. And it must be stopped now. If we don’t, we’ll lose more than our strongest ally in the Middle East and the free market – we’ll lose our lives.”
Where are the conservative investigative journalism outlets?
Daniel Glover says it’s easy to take a potshot at the AP for liberal bias when it inks a deal to distribute the investigative reporting of what he calls left-leaning nonprofits. But, he points out, it’s hard to find conservative investigative journalism being produced on a consistent basis. “There are bright spots,” though, he says.
Huh? They’ve got stink tanks out the wazoo and a ton of oppo research that ALWAYS gets into the mainstream media.
Media Matters for America headlines
In Iran, Fewer Journalists Each Day
The visas for many of the foreign journalists in Iran are expiring this week, depriving the world of independent sources of information about the violent protests that erupted after the disputed presidential election.
NPR editor: Iran wants journalists out so they can crack down
Many of the journalists who went to Tehran to cover last Friday’s election are there on one-week visas, and the country is rejecting requests for extensions, report Brian Stelter and Richard Perez-Pena. The visa for NPR’s correspondent in Tehran expires today, says NPR senior foreign editor Loren Jenkins. “I think they want everyone out of there so they can crack down.”
Dan Rather: Tehran, Twitter, and Tiananmen
Massive protests, government crackdown, and media blackout – Tehran today sounds like Tiananmen Square two decades ago. But Dan Rather, who covered the China massacre, says the shift in the media landscape over the last two decades means there’s no comparison.
The Media Can Profit from Twitter’s Big Week (by Larry Kramer at The Daily Beast)
Raw, unfiltered, and without any known standards to follow, news on Twitter from nonprofessional journalists can be inaccurate and even dangerous. But even knowing that, the public is quickly gravitating toward interactive social networks and devices like Twitter.
“There’s a potential dark side to the Twitter revolution”
Jack Shafer wonders how long before the secret police start sending out organizational tweets — “We’re massing at 7 p.m. at the Hall of the People for a march to the Hall of Justice!” — and bust everybody who shows up?
Civic-Minded Chinese Find a Voice Online
Furor over a stabbing case has demonstrated the Internet’s potential as a catalyst for social change.
UK Gets Broadband Guarantee, P2P Clampdown In Big Govt Reforms (Paid Content)
The UK is getting new anti-piracy measures, a nationwide household broadband guarantee and reforms for its failing commercial public-service broadcasters in Digital Britain, a long-awaited and wide-ranging grand government policy paper. Amongst the interventions, unused cash from a digital TV switchover fund will encourage telcos to give 2Mbps to rural areas, while persistent illegal downloaders will get warnings and may have their internet connection throttled. But the BBC is unhappy that some of its funds will be used to fund the infrastructure roll-out and new multi-media news consortia.
In Germany, Google Will Erase Street View Data on Request (Mashable)
AP writes: “Google had agreed to erase the raw footage of faces, house numbers, license plates and individuals in Germany who have told authorities they do not want their information used in the service.” This is important from the aspect of privacy. If the image is only blurred, and Google still keeps the unblurred imagery internally, it’s possible for Google to give the imagery to the court if ordered… This is a small victory for groups and individuals who are concerned over Street View invading their privacy, since courts in most other countries have been satisfied with Google’s policy of merely blurring the imagery upon request.
RadarOnline slapped with labor citations regarding octuplet watch
California’s top labor official Tuesday slapped four citations on the celebrity gossip website that has been chronicling the life of octuplets mom Nadya Suleman and her 14 children… [O]n Tuesday, the office of the state labor commissioner issued four citations against RadarOnline, alleging that it had not obtained an entertainment permit, filmed 2-month-old Noah and Isaiah Suleman outside hours approved by the state labor code, and did not have a studio teacher on site to ensure the infants’ health and safety… RadarOnline officials had no comment but said on their website: “Like any other news-gathering organization, Radar-Online.com is not required to obtain permits nor is it restricted to certain hours in its news-gathering operations.”
Vegas newspaper to comply with narrowed subpoena
A Nevada newspaper reported Wednesday it will comply with a narrowed federal grand jury subpoena seeking information about the identity of two people who posted Web site comments about a criminal tax trial. The Las Vegas Review-Journal said the U.S. attorney’s office in Las Vegas reduced its demand for information to “two comments that might be construed as threatening to jurors or prosecutors.”
Web beats TV, radio as preferred news source
The Internet is by far the most popular source of information and the preferred choice for news ahead of television, newspapers and radio, according to a new poll.
There’s too much negativism about journalism, says EveryBlock co-founder
“Frankly, I think it’s going to be great,” Daniel X. O’Neil said at last weekend’s Chicago Media Future Conference. “I swear to God we’ll look back ten years from now and we’ll all be making an insane amount of money and we’re going to look at each other and we’re going to say, ‘Hey, you were there that day! Remember, we all thought we were screwed?’ No, we’re not. Everything’s great.”
Why didn’t Temple do at the Rocky what he now says newspapers should do?
That’s what some people are asking, and John Temple admits it’s a good question. “Think of what I’m writing as lessons from being in the trenches for many years, wishing I could have done things differently,” says the former Rocky Mountain News editor and publisher. “I’m not pretending I have the answers. I am saying what I would try to do if I were in a situation where all forces could align.”
Media Sector Mergers Seen Few and Far Between
Takeovers in the media sector are likely to be few and far between until at least next year, especially given the high gearing and shaky cashflows of many firms in the industry, bankers and financiers said on Wednesday.
Meet The People The Knight Foundation Thinks Can Save Journalism (Paid Content)
One wants to build a database for public records. Another plans to launch street-corner newscasts. A third wants to develop a tool to turn numbers into something more visually exciting than charts. They are among the projects getting parts of the $5.1 million that the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is disbursing to push the envelope on community reporting. It’s the third year of the foundation’s five-year, $25 million Knight News Challenge, an international contest to fund digital news projects.
Click through for more winners.
NY Times/ProPublica Team Wins $719,000 Knight News Challenge Grant
A project to build and maintain a crowdsourced database of primary source material for use by investigative reporters was awarded a Knight News Challenge grant of $719,000 Tuesday, pairing old media stalwart The New York Times and non-profit news upstart ProPublica.
Las Vegas Sun parent creates a “hip and fun” TV news show
“If ‘The Daily Show,’ the Travel Channel, the Food Network and E! were to try to do a daily local show in Las Vegas, this is what it might look like,” Greenspun Interactive editor Rob Curley says of 702.tv. “We’ll … tell you what the governor’s latest vetoes are in Carson City, doing it in a way that puts a smile on your face or makes you chuckle a little.”
Claim: Private equity firm didn’t buy Blethen Maine Newspapers for the real estate
“We bought it for the newspapers, we intend to operate the newspapers, and the investment thesis is that the upside will come from the newspaper assets,” says Peter S. Brodsky of HM Capital Partners. “However, the real estate aspect of the transaction helped us get comfortable with the downside. If all doesn’t go well, we felt there was some value to the real estate – it helped us secure financing, as banks certainly were interested in learning what downside was.”
Boston Globe Bidder Will Work With Union
Stephen Pagliuca, a managing partner at Bain Capital private equity firm and an owner of the Boston Celtics basketball team, has emerged as a potential buyer for the Boston Globe and is said to be willing to discuss working with union leaders.
What happens to Massachusetts State House coverage if the Globe is sold or closed?
Adam Reilly writes: “Answers to these questions depend, to a large extent, on whether you see the current State House press corps as a) diminished but still robust, or b) as a fatally compromised shadow of its former self. Take the latter tack, as plenty of political veterans do, and it’s hard to be optimistic about how State House journalism might weather a reduced Globe presence on the Hill.”
Possible Snag in Tribune Sale of Cubs
Nearly six months after Tom Ricketts, a billionaire corporate bond investor and member of the founding family of TD Ameritrade, submitted the winning bid to buy the Chicago Cubs from Sam Zell’s Tribune Company for $950 million, key parts of the deal remain open.
News Corp. Sells Weekly Standard (Paid Content)
Philip Anschutz’s Clarity Media Group is buying the conservative opinion magazine The Weekly Standard from News Corp., the LATimes reported. Terms were not disclosed. The magazine was started in 1995 and edited by Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes. While the project was close to News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch’s heart, the fact that The Weekly Standard had a circ of only 83,000, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, won’t mean that Murdoch will lose any of his influence with political decision-makers. After all, as owner of the Wall St. Journal, Murdoch has a much wider audience of influencers through the paper’s editorial pages than even more popular political magazines.
USA Today Publisher Says He Regrets Not Charging for Paper’s iPhone App (by Will Sullivan at Poynter Online)
Once the genie is out of the bottle, it’s hard to put it back in. That’s a lesson newspaper publishers have learned when it comes to the Web and one that USA Today Publisher David Hunke recently addressed in regard to mobile news. The Associated Press reported: “In fact, Hunke said he regrets that USA Today didn’t start by charging for the newspaper’s iPhone application, which is free to download. ‘I’m not sure we realized what we had,’ he said. ‘I think that’s a value readers will be willing to pay for.’”
Publication of Holden Caulfield Novel Delayed
A federal district judge in Manhattan ruled on Wednesday that Holden Caulfield, the querulous, precocious protagonist of J. D. Salinger’s most famous work, “The Catcher in the Rye,” will exist at least a little longer solely in a state of permanent adolescence, unburdened by the cares and recriminations of age. The judge, Deborah A. Batts, said a new book that contains a 76-year-old version of Caulfield cannot be published in the United States for 10 days while she weighs a copyright infringement case filed by lawyers for Mr. Salinger. The lawyers contend that the new book, published in Britain, was too derivative and that Mr. Salinger’s most well-known character was protected by copyright.
Time is advised to spruce up its Kindle edition
“Why not hire a graphic designer, a programmer and an editor, give them a small budget, and put out the best damn Kindle newsweekly you can?” writes Paul Smalera. “Why not deliver the magazine to users not when the issue hits newsstands, but when it hits the printing press? For that matter, why not include a midweek update with the arts and culture essays that have already closed for the week, and a few Kindle only stories or sidebars? Call it Time Ahead.”
New Digital Distribution Network for Men’s Health?
Men’s Health has introduced an iPhone application that uses new software capabilities to sell additional content directly through the app itself. The approach, which Apple says appears to be a first for magazines and even media companies, could open up a new digital distribution channel.
PlanetOut, Here Networks Merge
Here Networks on Wednesday completed a merger with the struggling PlanetOut to create a new company called Here Media. Here targets the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender population through the Advocate and other magazine titles as well as through movies via Here Studios and Here Films.
“Planet Money” considers different revenue models
“One of many possibilities raised has been the possibility, like many not-for-profits, of having a for-profit fundraising arm,” says Adam Davidson, one of the “Planet Money” host/producers. But, he adds, “I can say with 100-percent assurance that our core goal is to be a not-for-profit, mission-driven company.”
Special effects outsourcing grows in India
Outsourcing to India, long dominated by software engineering and back-office work, is expanding in new terrain: special effects for movies.
Johnny Depp and Universal Want You to Rob a Bank #bankraids (Mashable)
We’ve now seen a plethora of brands and businesses try creative social media marketing campaigns to get the word out about their products or promotions… Now the movie business is hopping on the social media marketing train and leveraging the viral elements of hit Twitter games like Spymaster. Universal Pictures has just launched Bank Raids, an online game and microsite that marries the 1930’s Chicago gang milieu with Facebook and Twitter to promote the upcoming movie Public Enemies.
Interview: Part II: Jeff Zucker: Live Streaming Top Events Devalues Olympics (Paid Content)
In the two years since Jeff Zucker became president and CEO of NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), he’s shifted the digital strategy more than once; played an important role in creating the joint venture dubbed “ClownCo” by doubters and transforming it into Hulu; approved putting thousands of Olympic hours on broadband; and stared down Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) over iTunes pricing. During the first part of his interview with paidContent, Zucker said NBCU will make more than $1 billion from its combined digital efforts. In this second installment of edited excerpts, Zucker goes into more detail about some of those efforts including Hulu’s future, why we won’t see live streaming of primetime Olympics events, international plans, his dislike of premiering shows online and more.
Weather Channel Plans Flurry of New Programs
The Weather Channel is trying to draw an audience in primetime, one of its lowest-rated time periods, with a slate of original shows. It is also banking on star power — in the form of widely recognized weatherman Al Roker — to boost ratings in the morning.
N.J. Housewives Are Ratings Gold for Bravo
The Real Housewives of New Jersey (3.5 million viewers, 1.9 adults 18-49 rating) was the highest-rated season finale for the network’s entire Housewives franchise to date. Housewiveswas higher rated than any show on cable or broadcast Tuesday night.
Vapidity, apparently, sells.
Worst Driver Set for Travel Channel
The Travel Channel has picked up reality competition show called The Streets of America: The Search for America’s Worst Driver. Based on an international format, the show puts bad drivers through a series of challenges to find the worst of the bunch.
Ad Rate Stalemate Freezes Usually Hot TV Network Sales Time
Declining audiences, an extremely fragile economy, and bankruptcy filings by cash-strapped U.S. automakers — traditionally among the biggest TV advertisers — have made it more difficult for network advertising executives this spring to sell commercial time.
NBC Taps Microsoft For Ad-Sales System
General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal will use technology from Microsoft Corp. to sell commercial time on its broadcast and cable-TV networks in a process similar to the sale of online advertising. The change marks the latest development in a broader effort to refine the purchase of TV ad time.
EA COO John Pleasants: ‘Going Digital’ Is Key To Returning To Profitability (Paid Content)
There was a time when Electronic Arts was the game-company stock to own—with the most cutting-edge games and tons of cash on the books. But over the past few years, it has lost much of that luster. EA posted a $120 million loss for the most recent quarter—its fourth consecutive quarter in the red—and has laid off about 1,100 employees in the process.
While some analysts argue that now more than ever EA needs to focus on what it does best—retail sales—the company is instead testing out a bunch of new and unproven distribution channels (like digital downloads) and business models (like micro-transactions). In an interview with paidContent, COO John Pleasants says EA’s emerging digital strategy, which includes social gaming, virtual goods and even distributing games via OnLive, will get the company back in the black. He offered some hard numbers on micro-transactions, pre-paid game cards and insight into upcoming social-gaming acquisitions, as proof of why EA’s plan to generate at least $500 million in digital direct-to-consumer revenue this year isn’t just wishful thinking:
Perez Hilton Toning Down To Cash In
Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton plans to launch a kinder, gentler, and more advertiser-friendly new site in the next couple of months. That’s the hot gossip from Henry Copeland, founder and CEO of BlogAds.com, which handles operations and ad sales for the wildly popular site PerezHilton.com.
Huffington Post: Acquisition Bait, Now More Than Ever (by Ryan Tate at Gawker)
It’s official: Betsy Morgan says she was indeed pushed out as the ineffectual CEO of the Huffington Post. But to what end? The new regime is downplaying profitability in favor of revenue growth — the ideal ramp for a sale. HuffPo co-founder Ken Lerer tells the New York Observer that the new CEO, Eric Hippeau of HuffPo investor Softbank, “thinks this isn’t the time to be profitable-it’s the time to invest.”… Hippeau tells the Observer he’s “not here to fix” the publication, “I’m here to grow it… we’ll have deep partnerships with major players, which goes beyond content-sharing.” Maybe one of these “deep partnerships” will take the problem of making money as an independent business off HuffPo’s plate for good.
Bing Keeps Growing: Has Microsoft Finally Cracked Search? (Mashable)
In its second week since launch, Microsoft’s new Bing search engine has continued its steady growth, according to comScore. Bing is up about 3 percentage points in both average daily penetration among US searchers and their total share of search results pages (which indicates the percentage of all actual searches, though is not an exact measure), compared to the week prior to launch. Bing now has 16.7% searcher penetration and a 12.1% share of search results pages among all US workday searches. Those numbers are also both up compared to its first week in the wild.
Google’s paying attention:
Google to Bing: We’re a Decision Engine Too! (Mashable)
If you visit[ed] the Google homepage [Wednesday], you will find, beyond the nifty Firebird ballet logo, a link that says “Discovering the web: Explore the world of Google search.” The resulting page, “Explore Google Search,” explains an array of Google’s blended search capabilities. It’s almost certainly a reminder by Google that it is also a “decision engine” with features to match. The “Explore Google Search” page itself is useful for novices and experts alike. It succinctly explains, with accompanying video, 16 different Google search features.
Add Context to Stories with Google Experimental Search (by Amy Gahran at Poynter Online)
When you want information, often the context of that information is as important as the content. That’s why lately I’ve been playing with Google’s Experimental Search options… For instance, last night a journalism student asked me when I’d first heard the term “entrepreneurial journalism.” I honestly couldn’t recall, but her question made me curious. So I activated the “alternate views for search results” experimental search, which includes a time line view option. I searched for the phrase “entrepreneurial journalism” and got [a] time line chart showing when that term started getting really popular online. (It appears to have been around the mid to late 1990s.)
Keeping a True Identity Becomes a Battle Online
Some well-known names find they have to work hard at keeping squatters from claiming similar-sounding Web addresses.
What Display Meltdown? Big Brands Actually Upped Their Spending In Q1 (Paid Content)
Spending forecasts for display ads have been particularly grim—but new ad sales data from Nielsen actually shows that some of the biggest brands actually spent 27 percent more on display ads in Q109 vs. Q108. And one of their primary spending targets was YouTube, as display ad impression volume on the site jumped by nearly 580 percent year-over-year.
Survey: Elderly, poor narrow broadband service gap
Some groups that have lagged in signing up for high-speed Internet service, like the elderly, the poor and rural residents, have started to gain on those who have had a head start, according to a new survey. Those conclusions come as the government is set to decide how to spend $7.2 billion in stimulus money on expanding the availability of broadband. Broadband usage among those 65 or older grew from 19 percent in May 2008 to 30 percent this April, the Pew Internet & American Life Project said Wednesday.
Apple Fills in Some Gaps With Latest iPhone
Succumbing to consumer demand, Apple will finally add basic features like voice dialing and an improved camera.
AT&T relents on iPhone pricing for upgraders
AT&T Inc. will allow some current iPhone owners to upgrade to a new model at the same price as new buyers when it is released Friday. Wednesday’s announcement comes after AT&T took some criticism from iPhone owners who felt that its prices were unfair.
iPhone 3.0 excels at Wi-Fi hotspots
Thanks to improvements in the iPhone OS 3.0 software update released Wednesday, connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot with your iPhone or iPod touch should become almost as easy as roaming on the cellular network.
Tennis ace Sharapova unveils blinking phone dress
Former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova presented a prototype dress to reporters that is designed to light up when the wearer’s mobile telephone rings.
Doh! Homer Simpson gives driving directions
“Woo hoo! You have reached your destination!” Homer Simpson, star character of U.S. cartoon show “The Simpsons,” is ready to take you where you want to go.
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