Category: Media

Election Day 2012 in hindsight

Well, that about does it. Billions of dollars, millions of voters, thousands of workers and hundreds of small, dumb, inexplicably high-profile issues. But at some point, we were bound to get to the actual election. Candidates campaigned, voters voted. And then, almost as quickly as it began, it was over.

(Just kidding, nothing about this felt like it happened quickly; it’s easy to forget now that it’s in our rearview mirror, but this election was a nightmarish hellscape that began years ago and felt like it lasted for decades. And you have approximately five minutes to digest this one before we begin the long, slow slog toward 2016.)

President Obama was reelected (you already know this, obviously, but I still had to mention it early).

The map.

As expected, the Democrats held onto the Senate, while the Republicans retained control of the House. (Republicans also snagged another governorship, giving them 30 at the moment.)

To watch, in case you were asleep: President Obama’s victory speechGovernor Romney’s concession speech.

To read, in case you don’t feel like sitting through two speeches because you have already heard enough speeches for a lifetime: The transcript of President Obama’s speech. The transcript of Governor Romney’s speech.

Continue reading

Disney bought “Star Wars,” will make more “Star Wars” movies

I’ve been mildly busy with all things Hurricane Sandy (by which I mean “reporting on Hurricane Sandy,” and also not having power, and so obviously I hope everyone suffering to whatever degree from the storm is doing as well as possible) (I am sure you are now 100 percent okay, now that someone wished you well on a blog), but anyway I had to note this craziness: George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4 billion dollars.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and “evergreen” Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

There are three major components to consider here. First, the “Star Wars” angle, which I will return to in a moment, which in hindsight makes it kind of silly that I listed it first but whatever, moving on. Also, there’s the ILM/Skywalker Sound angle, which means Disney just acquired the visual effects goliath responsible for the spectacle you saw in “Jurassic Park,” the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies and, obviously, the “Star Wars” films.

The “Star Wars” thing is the biggest part of this whole story, because of this: Continue reading

BlackBerry Shaming

Still using a BlackBerry? The New York Times would like you to know that while everyone is free to make their own choices and we’re all special snowflakes, if you are using the phone you are a weirdo, because the device is a “magnet for mockery and derision.”

Does the Times issue BlackBerries to its employees? Is this some sort of cry for help from a member of the newsroom? Anyway, if you need to read the story but are still using a BlackBerry, make sure you download the New York Times app.

“How tall is this guy?”

Holed up in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, Osama bin Laden sat at a computer and set down his thoughts in a long letter dated April 26, 2011, to Atiyah Abdul al-Rahman, his third-in-command and the link to his far-flung and beleaguered followers—the man he addressed as Sheikh Mahmud. It was the al-Qaeda leader’s sixth spring of confinement in Abbottabad. His hair and beard had grown white. Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, bin Laden’s life had shrunk to the cramped and crowded space of the upper two floors of a house behind high walls.

— Mark Bowden’s “The Finish,” an account of the hunt for and killing of Osama Bin Laden, hits bookstores on Tuesday. Vanity Fair has a very Mark Bowden-y excerpt online, if you are interested in giving that a read.

The Bubble

Chrystia Freeland wrote a very interesting story for the New Yorker recently about the bizarre disdain so many of the super-rich feel toward President Obama. (That was the story where a billionaire said he would accept higher tax rates, but only “if he was treated with respect, and the government didn’t squander his money.” Just like how you get to decide what kind of taxes you want to pay, based on your particular feelings w/r/t the government, any imagined victimization and, pivotally, where your money winds up going. You know, it’s much how if you, Average Person, are opposed to wars, you can just say you think spending money on wars is squandering your money, and your tax rates might decrease. Like magic!)

Anyway, Freeland, editor of Thomson Reuters Digital, wrote a new book about the rise of the extraordinarily wealthy (as opposed to the merely rich) called “Plutocrats.” Reuters has an excerpt here.


The Rise of Bleacher Report

Perhaps uniquely among journalistic entities, Bleacher Report has a “blanket policy” forbidding its writers from seeking out and breaking news…. Bleacher Report is designed to engage in the far more lucrative practice of pouncing on news broken by others, deploying its legions of writers to craft articles — or better yet, multi-page slideshows — linking to its own voluminous archives, and supplanting original stories on the Google rankings. Breaking a story is no longer valuable: owning it is.

SF Weekly has a very interesting story out about Bleacher Report, the highly-trafficked, generally-reviled sports site. If you were curious about how Bleacher Report got to be the site you always run into when Googling anything related to sports, you’re in luck.

Nikki Finke’s Live Blog Was The Worst Live Blog In The History of Live Blogs

Nikki Finke — founder, editor-in-chief, CEO and head chef over at Deadline — fancies herself quite the snarky blogger. We know this because she live-blogs awards shows, but she calls it “live-snarking,” because she is just that sharp and acid-tongued. And I suppose that’s also because she is bad at live-blogging things, because instead of discussing the event she is supposed to be discussing, she just rambles incoherently.

So let’s give Finke’s “live-snarking” (SNARKING, Y’ALL) of the 2012 Emmys the FJM treatment: Continue reading

The New USA Today

USA Today, the candy-coated periodical of choice for business travelers, unveiled a redesign this week to coincide with its 30th anniversary. The new-look publication hit newsstands (or, more accurately, the floors of hotel hallways) today. (Look, a copy spotted out in the wild!) The paper’s Web site and mobile apps were also overhauled.

Party Of One

Jodi Kantor’s story about the President’s competitiveness has gotten a lot of attention, primarily because it fits into (a) a narrative of the President as someone who is good at lots of things (as his supporters see it) or (b) a narrative of the President as a huge egotist (as his detractors would say).

For me, it brings something else to mind: Can you imagine being the kind of person who would run for President? And not just “run for President” in the quixotic sense. I mean being the kind of person for whom the presidency is an achievable goal, and being the kind of person who would then devote countless years toward achieving that goal, and being the kind of person who would see all of the obstacles and drawbacks and downsides and still want that job.  Continue reading