Media postsSaturday October 22, 2011
How the Daily Beast Screws Up Its Articles
I saw this article the other day on The Daily Beast. I was there for Andrew Sullivan but saw this.
Didn't click on the link but questions were inevitably raised about the use of (I assume) Paris Hilton:
- Does she represent the media's depiction of girls?
- Does she represent girls?
- Is she there because she's hot, you'll notice, possibly click on the link, and help the bottom line of the Daily Beast?
I'm guessing a bit of 1) but mostly 3).
Seriously, it's dopey enough having a media site like the Daily Beast talk up the problems of “the media.” But for the Daily Beast to then offer up the very thing it's condemning is a sign either of schizophrenia or a vast, horrible unscrupulousness.
Quote of the Day II
“Whatever the case, the last laugh has been his. Murdoch knows something that his assailants will seldom concede, and that renders their call for radical change, in the rapport between governance and the media, both tardy and redundant. The change has already happened; culture, media, and sport are not in Murdoch’s pocket, but the British, not least in their yen to watch soccer and cricket on Sky, have reached into their pockets and paid for his feast of wares. The country is in uproar just now, but outrage en masse functions like outrage in private: we reserve our deepest wrath not for the threat from without, which we fail to comprehend, but for forces with which we have been complicit. The British press has long revelled in the raucous and the irresponsible; that was part of its verve, and it was Murdoch’s genius, and also the cause of his current woes, to recognize those tendencies, bring the revelry to a head, and give the people what they asked for. He reminded them of themselves.”
Quote of the Day I
“That is why witnesses at the House of Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media, and Sport, which summoned Rupert Murdoch and his son James to appear on July 19th, were so taken aback. Almost the first move of the father, as the session began, was to cup his ear toward an interlocutor, and, with that tiny gesture, he broke the spell—the wicked charms that he had wreathed around the United Kingdom for decades. Here was no beast, no warper of souls or glutton for companies; here was an oldster, tortoise-slow on the uptake, with head drooping, shoulders slumped, rousing himself now and then to make a point by slapping the table before him. Though meant to sound decisive, the slap reminded some viewers of a grumpy grandpa asking when his Jell-O would be served.”
--from “Hack Work: A tabloid culture runs amok” by Anthony Lane in the latest New Yorker
The Real Culprit in the British Tabloid Scandal
The scope of the phone-hacking scandal that killed one of Britain's oldest tabloids, and has knocked from their perch some of Rupert Murdoch's most high-flying executives, including Rebekah Brooks and Les Hinton, keeps widening. Now Prime Minister David Cameron, who had a “cosy and comfortable” relationship with Murdoch's executives, meeting with them 26 times since May 2010. Now Scotland Yard, who apparently had evidence of the phone hacking back in 2006 but did nothing.
But the biggest culprit is hardly mentioned.
Not Murdoch himself. I'm talking about the people who actually buy this shit.
The tabloids do what they do, or did what they did (or will do again), for a reason: It makes money. People lap it up.
I remember working at a grocery store in the early 1980s and seeing people, mostly women, mostly fat, seemingly dim, who would buy one, two, five copies of U.S. tabloids like The National Enquirer, and its stories about celebrity scandals, real or made-up, and UFO sightings and the like. The whole thing made me shudder. What a waste, I'd think. How can you encourage that? I'd think.
I still think that. The tabloids may be intentionally appealing to the lowest common denominator, but it's our lowest common denominator. Save your outrage for the person next to you in the check-out line.
Married to the Beast: Andrew Sullivan and the Carrie Bradshaw of Websites
As soon as I heard about it, I had a bad feeling. She seemed too slick, he too homey. This feels wrong, I thought.
No, not Will and Kate. I'm talking Andrew Sullivan and The Daily Beast.
Sullivan was my main blog source for so long, a fiscal conservative who backed Obama early, memorably labeled Sarah Palin's nomination “a farce,” and gave us a blow-by-blow of the Iranian green revolution on a Saturday afternoon while the mainstream media slept. He was bald, bearded, British and frumpy, and thus seemed perfect for the Atlantic monthly site, which has something almost ink-stained about it. You get the feeling the folks there are still trying to edumicate us. You get the feeling its writers don't have to craft first sentences in accord with SEO best practices.
Not so the Daily Beast. It's a slick site whose slogan, “Read This Skip That,” borders on stupidity. It features slideshows, news on Will and Kate, forms of titillation.
You know the way Republicans are obviously privileged but portray themselves as put-upon? I get that same vibe, that same disconnect, but from a female perspective, on the Daily Beast. “Frat Culture's Woman Problem” in one corner, “What Turns You On?” in another. It feels like the Carrie Bradshaw of websites. It's all about her.
Here are the latest promiment headlines on the Atlantic site:
- Barbour Won't Run for President
- Is Congress Going Too Far to Protect Women in College?
- “Do I Have Knees?”
- America's Post-Ownership Future
- The Ongoing Disgrace of Gitmo
Here are the latest prominent headlines on the Beast:
- What Turns You On? New Book Finds Some Surprises
- Who's In, Who's Out? (At the Royal Wedding)
- Obama's Awful '70s Show
- Serial Killer Victim's Secret Life
- The Vote Igniting the Middle East
So what do you do when a friend winds up with someone who's obviously wrong for them? Play along? Smile?
I love you, Andrew, but ... I don't know. That place you're staying ain't you. I'll still check you out, but mostly I'll be hanging over here with the ink-stained wretches. While they last.
Andrew Sullivan, stuck on the Carrie Bradshaw of websites.