September 26, 2004

Whose Fault? [12:33 pm]

While others are covering the media breakdown that this campaign seems to be engendering, I found these two articles to be worth reading, for background if nothing else. The perception that somehow the failure of “big media” is not their own fault is not surprising in this era of reduced responsibility everywhere, but it’s surprising to see self-flagellation in any form — and the implication that it’s all the Internet’s fault is just goofy:

  • Washington Post: The Media, Losing Their Way

    When the Internet opened the door to scores of “journalists” who had no allegiance at all to the skeptical and self-disciplined ethic of professional news gathering, the bars were already down in many old-line media organizations. That is how it happened that old pros such as Dan Rather and former New York Times editor Howell Raines got caught up in this fevered atmosphere and let their standards slip.

  • New York Times: Fear and Laptops on the Campaign Trail

    The news media helped create the modern campaign, and now they seem to be stuck in it. The bloggers, by contrast, adapted quickly. By the time the Republican convention rolled around in August, they had figured something out, staying far, far away from that zoo down at Madison Square Garden. They had begun to work the way news people do at manufactured news events, by sticking together, sharing information, repeating one another’s best lines. They were learning their limitations, and at the same time they were digging around and critiquing and fact-checking and raising money. They still liked posting dirty jokes and goofy Photoshopped pictures of politicians, but they had hope, and more than a few new ideas, and they were determined to make themselves heard.

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The Reach of Constitutional Law [12:25 pm]

Free to Clone

This election year, the debate over cloning technology has become a circus — and hardly anybody has noticed the gorilla hiding in the tent. Even while President Bush has endorsed throwing scientists in jail to stop ”reckless experiments” (and has tried to muscle the U.N. into adopting a ban on all forms of cloning, even for research), it’s just possible the First Amendment will protect researchers who want to perform cloning research.

Dr. Leon Kass, the chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics and a cloning foe, would like to keep that a secret. ”I don’t want to encourage such thinking,” he said during the council’s July 24, 2003, session. But the notion that the First Amendment creates a ”right to research” has been around for a long time, and Kass knows it.

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Sticker Art [12:20 pm]

Download, Peel and Stick, and All the World’s a Gallery

Inspired by graffiti, posters and the communal culture of the Web, stickers are gaining wide attention as an artistic phenomenon, academics and practitioners say. Hand-drawn, stenciled or screen-printed, the images float on the Internet, available for downloading, printing and pasting in ways that the creators could only have imagined. And as they make their way around the globe, from one e-mail in-box to the next, one cultural context to another, their meaning tends to morph.

Now that broadband users can send large graphics files in an instant, stickers are a very fast-moving medium. A sticker can be created Monday morning in New York, e-mailed to a stranger in Paris and affixed to the back of a trash receptacle on the Champs-Élysées in the early afternoon.

My personal favorite: Obey Giant

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