....LMB: "Truth and Kosequences"....

April 05, 2004

(Jake winces at title)

I don't usually write about the goings on of the blogosphere, but I feel compelled to say something here.

Long story short: last week, four "civilian contractors," employees of Blackwater USA, were killed in Iraq. Seems that the fellows were mercenaries, or something very similar. Kos of the Daily Kos blog wrote an angry post last week in response in which he said "they are there to wage war for profit. Screw them," and people went apeshit.

Right-winger bloggers now decided that this one comment showed the true nature of the left, uncaring of human life and America and whatnot. They then went on a campaign to get all of the folks who advertise on Kos' site (mainly political candidates in various state elections) to cancel their ads. Several did. John Kerry's website removed its link to Kos'. Some liberal bloggers demanded that Kos retract his comments and apologize. Then things seemed to finally die down.

First off, you can read a longer summary with some interesting analysis here. I found the author's "compare and contrast" between blogs and talk radio to be intriguing (maybe since I do both): blogs have memory (cuz of their archives) while radio is emphemeral, and that this in turn may lead to the more extreme rhetoric on radio (because there's no record of the words after they are uttered).

Second, what's the big deal? Does anyone really like mercenaries? They're hired killers, right? If ever tried for war crimes, they wouldn't even have the benefit of "I was only following orders," just "but he was gonna give me a dollar!" I don't find "screw hired killers" to be a particularly controversial statement.

Third, I don't care what Kos said, and don't understand why everyone's making a big deal of it. Was it an insensitive thing to say? Sure, but so what? That's what the comments section is for; you don't like what he said, you call him and asshole and a France-lover and you're done. I guess some folks see him as a "voice of the left" and part of the left-liberal blog community, and don't want any of the ire aimed at Kos to splatter onto themselves. Maybe I don't care because I've never felt myself a part of that community, as they're a bit to the left of Al Gore and I'm a bit to the left of Gandhi.

Fourth, as Steve Gilliard points out, this event points out the scummy, cowardly, "no friends" nature of party politics. By all accounts, Kos' site has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for various Democrats in the past year, and yet at the slightest hint of controversy they'll drop him like a bad habit. Fuck those guys.

As I mention, my politics are much more radical than those of Kos and his readers, but I think he has done some pretty amazing things. He started a blog, used it to help energize and organize tens of thousands of Democrats, raise money for their candidates, and launch the blogging careers of the amazing Steve Gilliard and Billmon. But most impressive to me, Kos his personal site into a community site. Most people who gain some amount of power keep it to themselves, but Kos opened his site up to complete strangers to contribute.

In conclusion, screw all mercenaries.

Posted by Jake at 12:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

The thing is, they (the politicians) already got their money. Kos is now a potential liability and that's the way the rat bastards play the game (no loyalty among thieves). I agree the whole thing is ridiculous, but I also think that Kos should have known the score.

Posted by: Damelon Kimbrough at April 5, 2004 12:31 PM

I think that Kos did know the score before he posted. I point to the fact that he has not apologized for this post. I haven't read his blog long enough to know if he responds much to comments on his posts, but he seems to stick by what he says. I applaud him for being blunt.

Posted by: TheLibrarian at April 5, 2004 03:15 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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