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It’s Trampling Time

Less than three weeks after reporting three preventable deaths on Black Friday, the media is back to feeding the holiday shopping frenzy.

YOU'LL HAVE THAT SCARF OVER MY DEAD BODY

YOU'LL HAVE THAT SCARF OVER MY DEAD BODY

Um.  Yeah.  There are 10 days left until Christmas.  And if you don’t shop, like a lot, before then…  you don’t want to know what happens when the clock reaches zero.  You really want to know?  Well, it involves toothless elves who don’t like the sound of tortured squirrels writhing in pain half as much as they like giving you a root canal before they chew your arms off.  That’s right, they eat your arms, bones and all, with no teeth.

There are two types of headlines that are popular this year:

“OMG There Are Sales!  Hurry Or You Might Not Get 25% Off This Merch That’s Been Marked Up 50%!”

or

“OMG There’s A Recession!  Maybe You Shouldn’t Be Shopping So Much?”

We just can’t win.

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Posted by on December 16, 2008 in Current Events

 

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What a Waste of a Primary

The Daily Show seems to have portrayed the demographic game perfectly in this clip. The interviewees they show are clearly not cool which being politically profiled, and the piece is a nice tongue-in-cheek way of looking at something I was complaining about early this season.

Link via Feministing.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2008 in Entertainment

 

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Bill Nye Photos

Here are a couple of the photos from the breakfast I mentioned.

nye1_small.jpg

nye2_small.jpg

More recently, our class had a media training workshop where we practiced constructing clear messages, using sound bites, and performing camera interviews. It’s sort of terrifying to be on camera speaking as an ‘expert’ about something that in reality you don’t feel that confident about.

We watched a number of examples of good and bad interviews. One excellent example of what not to do came from an interview of Bob Dole by Katie Couric during the 1996 presidential election (sorry, I can’t find a video of it). Dole was downright combative rather than focusing on the issues that were important to him. But it’s tough. I’d probably blow up at a reporter who accused me of anything, too.

I think I could do a good job as the journalist too, though. I like asking questions and being critical of the responses (in a constructive way, of course). I like listening. Maybe there’s a career in sci-comm or policy for me after all.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2008 in Alchemy, Photos

 

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Projection and the Will of the Electorate

“… voters are finally focused on who they think will be the best commander-in-chief…

… Now that senator McCain is clearly the nominee, democratic voters are taking their decision very seriously…”

– Hillary Clinton on Today, this morning

It’s a bit tiring to hear everyone (McCain, Clinton, Obama, the media, everyone) constantly explain why people voted for who they voted for. I believe many people have unpredictable reasons for voting the way they do, and to say that they voted for the candidate they did for a particular reason trivializes the complex set of issues underlying these elections. Furthermore, statements like this seem to imply that before, voters were not focused on who will be the best C.I.C., or taking their decision seriously. This isn’t directed in particular at Senator Clinton, rather I’m just bored of seeing this filter constantly applied to election results.

I know that candidates have to do this – it’s to their advantage to interpret their success as a portent of something larger, and then to project that interpretation onto our monitors and our brains.

But the media doesn’t have to do it (do they?). They don’t have to interpret every single voting block’s majority as a swing for a particular reason. When CNN tells me that voters chose experience over change yesterday in Texas and Ohio, I don’t want to believe them. It may be true that Clinton is correlated with experience, and Obama is correlated with change, but that doesn’t mean that votes for one or the other correlate the same way; and if they do correlate that way, there’s no way to deconvolute that from the affect of the media. Does this make sense?

Anyways, I’m often a big fan of controversy, so I’m not unhappy to see the nomination process carry on a bit longer.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2008 in Garbage In, Garbage Out

 

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