ScrimismsPresently suffering a dearth of witticisms

October 2008

Links and Musings26 Oct 2008

From “Palin’s ‘going rogue,’ McCain aide says”.

Apparently there are complaints from within the McCain camp that Sarah Palin is trying to position herself for a 2012 run at the presidency. Unfortunately for McCain, this means she’s been going “off message”, promoting a “Palin/Joe the Plumber ‘12” ticket at the expense of “McCain/Palin ‘08”. I know she isn’t the first VP candidate to do this kind of thing, but given how much of a liability she’s turned out to be for the McCain campaign already, it’s surprising she’d actively try to compound things. I wonder if McCain is still happy with his choice of running mate…

There’s an article in the New Yorker called The Insiders: How John McCain came to pick Sarah Palin, and it lets the air out of the popular notion that McCain found an outsider-governor to pluck out of obscurity and place on the national stage. It seems Sarah Palin has been working on getting noticed by conservatives in Washington for some time. This puts her in a new light, but doesn’t change the fact that she’s not remotely qualified for the presidency. I can’t imagine she’d manage to win the nomination in 2012, and if she did, I can’t imagine Obama wouldn’t wipe the floor with her in the general election, unless his first term ends up being a disaster. But the prospect of Mrs. Palin “sticking around” past this November if McCain loses is going to take some getting used to.

Musings05 Oct 2008

We’re having to learn all sorts of already well-known truths for ourselves. To whit: A CNN “Citizen Journalist” (read: anybody at all) “reports” that Steve Jobs of Apple has has a heart attack. Apple’s stock falls. Apple shouts loudly that this is a hoax, the SEC starts investigating, and now, according to CNET, the whole concept of “citizen journalism” needs some scrutiny.

Ya think? While I’m all for everybody having a voice (you are reading this on my blog, after all), we should only take those voices as seriously as they merit. That one anonymous user posting on a website can set all of the above wheels in motion is clear we’ve forgotten what we already supposedly know: be careful of your sources, especially on the internet.

One could perhaps hope that enough fuss (the SEC is involved, for crying out loud) of this kind could lead to the revelation that actual journalism, backed by reputation, transparency, and fact-checking is useful, and can cut through the noise to provide mostly-reliable information (nobody is perfect, I am the first to admit). If we’re really lucky, we might even rebuild the news-gathering systems we’ve so blithely torn down in favor of the “entertainment news” of Fox and the Daily Show, and the helter-skelter “citizen journalism” of blogs. And if we do rebuild them, it’ll probably be for all the same reasons we built them in the first place.

From the above PCWorld article:

“The frame ‘citizen journalism’ itself is a little on the toxic side for me,” Tompkins says. “Can you go down to the bus stop and talk to a ‘citizen physician’? If I work on my garbage disposal, am I a ‘citizen plumber’? The whole notion that anybody can be a journalist I think is wrong-minded, because journalism as a craft does mean something. It actually embodies a conduct and a standard of truth-telling that I think still are important.”

Musings02 Oct 2008

She didn’t even answer the questions. She was like one of those dolls that spouts a random canned phrase every time you pull the cord. By the end, the doll seemed to be breaking down.

Is anyone else getting tired of the word “maverick”?