Sam Zell’s Year End Gift

February 16, 2009

Sam Zell, owner of the Tribune Company and the Chicago Cubs, typically creates a year-end “gift” that he posts on the internet. These are generally interesting to see and are posted at this website.

I just noticed that the 2008 edition is not up on the site. I suppose he’d like to keep his head low, what with his suspicious financial dealings, the state of his current business (filing for bankruptcy protection in the final fortnight of 2008), and his implicated status in the Blagojevich fiasco.

I’ve furthermore noticed that you need a password to view these, which I don’t recall as previously being the case.


Media Bias for McCain

August 17, 2008

Blog in the headlines, concerning media concern for McCain:

So Why Do Americans Still Believe John McCain?

Although some of these points would appear to be valid (circa February 2000), it really is hard to draw a comparison with the racket Obama has going.

Consider the gap in coverage between the two.

Obama vs. WSJ and the Supermajors

August 17, 2008

Probably a little better than my recent post on the topic:

What is a ‘Windfall’ Profit?

Drudge Report at the Political Junction

July 10, 2008

How Matt Drudge Rules the (Political) World

This article addresses an important point about media bias that is rarely discussed on street corners: the selection of certain stories and the consideration they are given. Air time and print space are limited resources.

it is well worth reminding yourself of how much power Drudge has to push a particular storyline or a broader narrative in the race.

While the story would almost certainly have gotten attention due to its salacious nature, make no mistake: Matt Drudge made that story and ensured that it dominated the world of political journalism for at least 24 hours.

As should be noted, my use of the word “bias” is not necessarily negative. Everything contains bias, sometimes unintentional and sometimes simply by its nature. As I said, air time and print space are limited resources — someone has to make decisions.

The second major reason for Drudge’s influence, according to the Fix’s informal poll of Drudge-ologists is his ability to sniff out a potentially big story when others — including reporters — miss it at first glance.

Fairness Doctrine

June 28, 2008

Reinstitution of the “Fairness Doctrine” has been in the news lately, with Speaker Pelosi voicing support for it. Senator Obama’s campaign is voicing some kind of opinion on it, as noted in this article.

What that opinion is isn’t at all clear to me.

Americans and Their News Media

June 4, 2008

Here’s a post from a blogger observing the media’s treatment of Barack Obama.

I try to view this impartially and simply assess the situation. It appears to me that one can make a case that NBC does in fact have a bias toward Obama. On the whole, the numbers do show that he is getting the most face time. Whether this is a convincing case is a decision left to the listener. I caught a podcast of Meet the Press today, which included this week’s interview with Harold Ickes, adviser to the Clinton campaign. Tim Russert was certainly aggressive — as he often is — but I do believe the conversation was slightly more unpleasant than usual. I don’t blame Russert; this campaign is becoming more bitter because of its prolonged nature and the evaporating rationale for its continuation. Someone has to ask these questions.

The end result, regardless of any emperical evidence, is that both of the Democratic Party’s factions are beginning to dig in their heels and come to final conclusions. It appears clear that the Clinton campaign will claim that yes, Obama won the delegates, but we won the popular vote (or some mathematical derivative thereof). Furthermore, the belief that the media exercised undue influence will persist.

There is evidence that people, whoever they may be, are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the news media. Here is the excpert from the most recent Pew Research survey:

Most Americans (56%) have an unfavorable opinion of the news media, while just 40% express a favorable view. Positive opinions of the news media have declined since March 2007; at that time, 49% expressed an unfavorable view while 45% had a favorable opinion.

Women hold more favorable views of the press than do men, and Democrats hold more favorable views than either Republicans or independents. Conservatives are much more negative in their assessments of the press than are moderates or liberals.

I believe it safe to presume that this due in large part to election coverage this season. The only contingent to have a net favorable view of the media is “Democrats,” by 4%. The seemingly related “Liberal” category was close, but still holds a negative view of the media.

The Economist Blogs

June 4, 2008

The Economist has a rather well-developed and flourishing set of blogs up on their website. In fact, the Economist has a great website all around and you can read a wide variety of topics without taking physical possession of their magazine. In typical fashion, nearly all blog posts seem to be made by “The Economist,” the same prolific genius who authors all of their works.

The section on “Democracy in America” carries some keen observations on my favorite form of government in my favorite country/continent. This one leaves one thinking of lolcats, however:

Nice campaign. Be a shame if something wuz to happen to it.

One of the things I notice about the Economist is that they shift into editorial mode with nearly no warning. Their readership tends to expect this, I believe. (I also believe that their readership is fairly consistent and loyal, which may make this observation slightly less remarkable). These readers tend to expect a healthy dose of Anglo-Saxon ultraliberalism, delivered ever so gently…yet never veiled.