Dear Arianna, I Give Up

Dear Arianna I have pretty much given up on blogging for you. I know this is not on your radar screen but maybe it should be.

The last straw was the failure to publish this piece on Afghanistan. It languished in my queue for weeks and finally was so out of date that it made no sense to leave it there. I tried to delete it but could not. I have given up reminding your blogteam that a piece of mine has been languishing for weeks.

I think there is something wrong with the mechanics but I have never been able to unearth someone to check.

It is the height of egotism to believe that one’s thoughts are too original for HuffPo and are being singled out for censure. I do not believe that. What I do believe is that my pieces stack up with the thoughts of others who seem to have no trouble getting heard.

I offer you a large archive of failed attempts to get recent pieces posted. I won’t hold my breath.


Comment On: Why Joe Biden Should Resign

Biden will not resign. He is being loyal. This post will raise the issue. Fine. But his resigning would be the worst thing of all.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


Barack Obama Must See Michael Moore’s New Movie (and So Must You)!

Barack Obama Must See Michael Moore’s New Movie (and So Must You)!


Arianna, please stop saying “Obama must”.. The man is a grown up. The President does not need to be addressed this way. It feels patronizing. The article is fine. Michael Moore is great. Your piece doesn’t require the headline. Best, S

Read Arianna’s Article at HuffingtonPost


COMMENT ON: Lessons in Leadership: Why Obama Needs to Brush Up on His FDR

Responding to Arianna Huffington’s Instruction to The President at HuffingtonPost

Once again, Ms. Huffington has taken it upon herself to instruct the President. I find this to be endemic among those who will say in the next breath that they voted for him. Some of us who voted for him are old enough to realize what the stakes are in this Presidency. And how large the proposed changes are.

If half the energy devising nostrums to edify our President was directed to interpreting his agenda to a largely uninformed public, one might be encouraged by the rise of new media. Instead it seems all too often to veer off into silliness and drama.

We seem to have a chorus of ambivalent damnation with faint praise. Or the obverse — faint praise with damnation included. Even Nobel prize winners and distinguished academics fall prey to this tendency, so don’t take it personally.

The President will succeed because a large majority knows what nattering is, regardless of who or where it comes from. What is not nattering is what will win Obama’s battles. It is called organizing and mobilizing and informing people about what he proposes and what we support.


The Argument for A Page Rank Like Pay Solution Web Wide If Arianna is Right The Current Efforts to Create A Paid Content Option Will Fail

Ah, well, Arianna is probably correct in saying consumer habits have changed and that the barely hidden effort underway to consolidate media into a sort of pay-for-content union will fail.

It is hard to work out the economics of any effort top monetize a Web operation.

My own musing is that the only way a paid option will work is if it relates to all Web content, rewarding the originators of content according to a highly complex formula determined by a CSPAN-like panel. Uncompensated content would be paid for by a Web wide charge required of all ISPs. In other words, Roadrunner (my ISP) would charge me so much a year and that money would go into a pool to reward ALL uncompensated content on the Web.

The complex formula would reward The New York Times and its paid reporters vastly more than it would reward an aggregator or a blogger who opines on the news and runs excerpts of it. Static information sites such as theological or philosophical archives would be rewarded at a different rate than sites in these fields which had a good deal of original content, daily updates and so forth.

My premise is that everything will ultimately be done online. Some things will support themselves with ads. Some things with fees. The areas that are not adequately compensated at present — the blogosphere, the news providers, Huffington Post writers like me — would receive from the global pool.

Clearly this ISP related micro-payment model would need to weight things like traffic. inbound links and so forth, somewhat in the way Google creates its iffy but important page rank. We need something universal, intelligible and fair.

I see no other way to proceed.


Arianna Huffington’s Strange Aversion to Obama

Arianna Huffington seems to be becoming an MSNBC regular and MSNBC seems to have cast anything like reliable reporting to the winds.

Yesterday afternoon Barack Obama said just what he intended to do on health care and Roger Simon of Politico, a few minutes later, on Hardball, suggested that the President needed to do just these things. Such ignorance is pathetic. I didn’t tune in to see if it was repeated on a successive tape of the “show”. Simon also left out a whole list of other things Obama said. Obama is an inconvenience to the media. He says what he thinks. They could not report as they do if they listened.

Now it seems Ed Schultz, who is apparently miffed at being called an over-reactor, features as an apparent ally — Arianna Huffington. I think she and a number of MSNBC regulars, including the usually sensible Joan Walsh, are infected wth a virus I cannot identify. Well, maybe I can. Maybe is the virus that made it impossible for limousine liberals to escape the noose prepared for them by the likes of Dick Nixon.

I mean folk who operate not out of real need or self-interest but out of altruism, sometimes accompanied by preening self-regard. Their posture, depending on their wealth and celebrity, is what may have inspired Bob Dylan to speak of the executioner’s hand as “well-hidden”. Though in recent years the need to hide malevolence seems to have diminished.

Now Joan and Arianna and Ed Schultz would not execute anyone on death row, but they darn sure do not recognize the power of their words when dealing with one Barack Obama, who happens to be the President of the United States.

I honestly believe it is because they have no real interest in whether he succeeds or not, regardless of the sympathetic look in their TV eyes when they enunciate his shortcomings. If they were interested, they would start looking at the actual things he has said and done and at the language of what has been produced on the health care front, instead of pontificating on the President’s problems as though he was just a bystander buffeted by friend and foe.

Jack Kennedy was given a massive honeymoon by the media, even when he was doing things that turned out to be terrible. Now Arianna and Joan and Ed and Chris, and the whole sorry family of talking heads on MSNBC’s PM lineup, with the sometime exception of Rachel Maddow, feel they can beat up on President Obama while decrying the racism that others are showing. Ouch!

If Arianna has legitimate reasons to conclude that the President has mismanaged, she has not offered a proper brief. In fact, I think it is more a matter of whether she has mismanaged.

Someone commented here that HuffPo is tabloid journalism and I am reluctantly forced to agree. Even tabloids come up with an occasional gem. So does HuffPo.
But, over all, it really does participate in the pall of mediocrity that lies over our national life today.

Huffington Post is set up to favor celebrities and close out bloggers whose points of view are iconoclastic or at odds with conventional wisdom. Fortunately, there are efforts underway to provide an alternative that will hopefully carry on a tradition of fair journalism and a clear division between reporting and opinion.

Obama has been more than open and fair to Huffington Post. I am not suggesting that Arianna thank him. But I find it a tacky pursuit to become a talking head on MSNBC at a time when that channel is systematically throwing away the standards set by at least some of its past luminaries. Its sad ratings compared to FOX represent a compelling reason for new management.

It is bad enough to have no public intellectuals without having an increasingly mindless commentariat.


COMMENT ON — Arianna: White House Must Draw Line In The Sand On Health Care (VIDEO)

Keith and his guests have become a form of silliness and drama (to use two Obama terms) during this recess season. Oddly, the White House and the Obama administration has played this whole thing right and all the folk on the left and right who are busily trying to make each day a crescendo of angst (and succeeding) are helping the President to choose his proper moment to reiterate what has always been the case. The following post got more or less buried but it makes the point:

Read the Keith-Arianna Article at HuffingtonPost