Monday, May 4, 2015 :(

This morning, Carly Fiorina announced her candidacy for president. Unfortunately, she did not register all relevant domain names, leaving available for opponents and trolls. Sure enough someone this morning registered the domain and created a page demonstrating how many people she laid off while at Hewlett-Packard.


Clintons and scandals (and a blast from the past)

Nomination politics:
News IQ

The Future of Journalism
  • Remember that you are in an exchange relationship:  you want something from the reporter, and the reporter wants something from you.
  • Mind the clock. Return phone calls and emails promptly.  Be on time.
  • Mind the calendar.  Know when other stories are most likely to eclipse yours.  Know when there is a vacuum that our story can fill.
  • Whenever possible, learn something about the reporter and news organization before the interview.
  • For important interviews and press conferences, rehearse with people who are willing to pose tough questions.
  • Decide what you want to say.  Write down two or three key points that you want to get across.  Segue to them whenever you can.  "But the real issue is...
  • Prepare sound bites (not bytes) ahead of time.
  • Know your stuff.
  • On TV, use gestures that complement your ideas.
  • For phone interviews (either for radio or TV), it is not cheating to use crib sheets.
  • Never get angry, except on purpose.
  • Listen carefully to the question, but never repeat the interviewer’s words unless they reinforce your message.
  • Make your language as simple as possible.  Avoid jargon.
  • If you don’t know the answer, just say so. If possible and useful, tell the reporter that you will provide the information shortly.
  • Deflect if you must, but never say the words "no comment."
  • Never assume that reporters will have the same understanding of "off the record" or "background" as you do.  Unless you have years of experience, just take it for granted that every single thing you say to the reporter (including "casual" conversation) is on the record.
  • Wherever possible, do favors for reporters.
  • When doing opposition research, make sure that there is primary-source documentation for everything.  Double-check and triple-check.
  • Do self-research and vulnerability studies.
  • Proofread all written material that you put online or send to the press.  Errors will count against you.
  • Never post anything (text, video, photo) that you would hesitate to defend in the future.
  • Never post anything while drinking.
  • It is okay to spin, but never lie.

The 2016 Snapchat Election

Snapchat recently hired Peter Hamby, a former CNN Politics reporter and the creator of Hambycasts. According to CNN, the goal of Hambycasts is to "take viewers to meet the players and places that drive American politics."

Snapchat has already created a "Discover" section of its app, which provides media outlets the opportunity to post their own snapchat stories on individual channels. During major events, Snapchat can also create "geofences" around certain locations. Users can opt to publish snaps sent in these locations. Snapchat editors then compile published images and videos into a stream that Snapchat users around the world can access. 

Jonathan Mahler of the New York Times wrote in an article here that "it’s easy to imagine Snapchat dropping a geofence around the Iowa State Fair during a candidate’s visit, or even around a presidential debate. Would these events be as popular among Snapchat’s users as a rock concert? Maybe not, but even a fraction of that viewership would be significant."

Mahler suggests that 2016 may be a Snapchat election. Buzzfeed and Politico both changed 2012 election reporting. Mahler writes, however, that Snapchat could change media further:

 "Snapchat has a particular sensibility — casual, fun, unforced. Content is delivered in colloquial shorthand. Bad news, and there isn’t much of it, might be followed by an “Ugh.” There is liberal use of emojis. This is not a tone that will be easy for middle-aged politicians to get right. And getting it wrong could be painful for everyone involved. Especially the candidates."

Hillary Clin--I mean, Bernie Sanders was on George Stephanopolous Yesterday

In a seven minute interview with Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist Senator of Vermont who recently announced he would seek the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2016, George Stephanopolous asked Bernie five questions about Hillary Clinton. In comparison, Republican candidates are rarely questioned about other GOP candidates on similar interviews. Is Hillary's reach this powerful?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

In Honor of Letterman's Last Late Show

Today the New York Times published this interview with David Letterman. The interview provides a personal account of Letterman's relationship with the audience, other hosts, and the greater media landscape that complements our discussion of entertainment media in class. The article links to prior media coverage of Letterman and highlight clips of the "Late Show."

In response to "Has doing the show taught you how much of yourself to give to an audience?" Letterman said: 
In the beginning, you think, I can’t wait to get on television. I’m going to straighten it out. Then people will be saying, “God bless you, Dave Letterman, we have been waiting for somebody to take care of television.” That’s how you feel. And now, I don’t feel that way.
If you're interested in Letterman's earlier interviews: here is a 1986 article with the New York Times and here is a 1989 interview with TIME Magazine. 

Entertainment, Baltimore, and the Future of the Media

A few more thoughts on social media
Jon Stewart goes after CNN for putting the White House Correspondents' Dinner ahead of Baltimore.

Class alum Tina Nguyen criticizes CNN coverage of Baltimore (and cites Pomona alum Conor Friedersdorf):

Pols on humor shows:
Criticisms of the Daily Show

Trust and Confidence




Americans' Trust in the Mass Media
Trust in Mass Media, by Party
Add caption

Trust in federal institutions:

Trend: Americans' Trust in the Three Branches of the Federal Government
Recent Trend in Trust in the Legislative Branch of the Federal Government, by Political Party

Recent Trend in Trust in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, by Political Party

Coverage of Baltimore Protests and Riots

The media coverage of the Baltimore riots has been interesting to follow because of the overemphasis on violence—"if it bleeds it leads". Coverage of looting and more violent protests diminishes the airtime for coverage of peaceful protests or community organized street clean ups. A young protestor, Danielle Williams, criticizes Thomas Roberts for MSNBC’s coverage of the unrest in Baltimore. "My question to you is, when we were out here protesting all last week for six days straight peacefully, there were no news cameras, there were no helicopters, there was no riot gear, and nobody heard us," Williams said. "So now that we've burned down buildings and set businesses on fire and looted buildings, now all of the sudden everybody wants to hear us."
This biased reporting has occurred across major news networks. “The Worst Moment of Fox’s Baltimore Coverage” an article on Mediaite, highlights Fox News Coverage of the Baltimore riots from Monday night. After focusing attention on buildings allegedly burned down by rioters, Megyn Kelly’s commentary shifted to an unrelated shooting in Brooklyn, New York. The network’s decision to pursue this story, insinuating that it was a related incident was extremely shortsighted:
“We’ve been keeping our eyes open for any related incidents, as we saw back during Ferguson, violence did break out in several other cities besides. Here you go. Here’s the Brooklyn live shot from overhead. So we will work to find out whether this is in any way connected to what we’re seeing in Baltimore. Which we don’t have confirmed.”
As Andrew Kirell of Mediaite confirms, the shooting was indeed unrelated to the Baltimore riots—the Brooklyn shooting was motivated by a local gang dispute.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Multiple-Topic Day!

First Couples and the Media (h/t Ben)

Playbook on the Brian Williams leaks.

Why senior thesis writers might seriously think about getting an upload exemption.  (Or, as Agent Coulson put it...)

Jim Tankersley writes at The Washington Post:
The number of news reporters in the Washington, D.C., area nearly doubled over the last decade, from 1,450 to 2,760. In Los Angeles it grew by 20 percent. In New York City, it basically stayed flat. Outside of those cities, in that same timeframe, one out of every four reporting jobs vanished – 12,000 jobs in total, according to the Labor Department.
Meanwhile, in the parts of the country that aren’t Washington or New York or L.A., nearly 20,000 new jobs sprung up in public relations, a 13 percent increase.

These are signs of the collapse of the business model for regional news outlets and of the forces pulling on journalists outside a few insulated cities. They are the reasons why, when it came to light this week that two new winners of the Pulitzer Prize had left their medium-sized newspapers for careers in PR, no one should have been surprised.
Survey of White House correspondents 

Happy 10th, YouTube!

Beware fakery!
Trust and Confidence




Americans' Trust in the Mass Media
Trust in Mass Media, by Party
Add caption

Trust in federal institutions:

Trend: Americans' Trust in the Three Branches of the Federal Government
Recent Trend in Trust in the Legislative Branch of the Federal Government, by Political Party

Recent Trend in Trust in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, by Political Party

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Required Viewing For Politics of Journalism (Except Maybe Seniors Finishing Thesis)

Every year, there exists a time for Washington to poke fun at itself: The White House Correspondents' Dinner. Here are the remarks from the two main speakers.

Cecily Strong, host of SNL note

President Obama himself

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Courtesy of Ben, Here is the Reagan Sketch

The Evolution of Politics and Entertainment on TV

Nixon on Jack Paar, 1963:


Mort Sahl (see Lichter, p. 8):

Sahl on The Hollywood Palace, 1967:

 Clinton on Arsenio, 1992:

Saturday Night Live:

Limbaugh anticipates The Daily Show.  A 1996 segment:

Demographics of news audiences

Where audiences fit on the spectrum

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How to Clean Up After Yourself

David Weigel writes at Bloomberg (h/t Jesse Blumenthal):
Ethan Czahor never even got to Miami. In February, the 31-year old developer became the chief technology officer for Jeb Bush's presidential exploratory committee. He was welcomed with a Time magazine exclusive, reporting on the cute code he'd created to promote a Bush speech, and how he'd cut his teeth on
Hours later, Czahor got a request for comment on his old tweets. He ignored it–he'd deleted some of them, anyway. "I wasn't hired to do any public social media outreach or any of that," he remembered last week in a conversation with Bloomberg. "It was a purely technical position."
Czahor's benign neglect failed to stop Andrew Kaczynski, a Buzzfeed reporter who toils in the social media salt mines, from finding 45 deleted tweets. They were mostly from 2009 and 2010, and mostly jokes.

It didn't blow over. One day later, after the Huffington Post dug up Czahor's old blog posts from his days as a campus conservative, he resigned. He declined media interviews, including one from Bloomberg. Czahor only returned, this month, when he had a product designed to save other millennials from his fate. Clear, an app that works as an add-on to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, is meant to "make sure situations like mine never happen to anyone ever again."

The free app allows users to scan their social media for a series of problematic terms, an idea that has appeared in speculative fiction from time to time–like the "spider repellant" in Christopher Buckley's Boomsday. A test run of the app, using my Twitter account, found that it was -849.5 percent "clear." This seemed to be bad. At least several times a week, the @daveweigel account had sent out something that the algorithm, backed up by IBM's Watson computer, found dangerous.
Continue reading: 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Final Paper

Answer one of the following:

1. Serious opposition research will encompass a candidate's college activities and writings. Describe what kinds of materials that opposition researchers could find (short of breaking into the registrar's office). With real-life examples, explain how they could use this material.  What can politically ambitious students do to protect themselves from future oppo?

2.  Compare these rules of online journalism with these rules of old-school journalism. How are they similar and different?  With specific examples, explain how online journalism is in tension with old-school journalism.  How would Robert Novak fare in today's online environment?

3.  Pick one of these cases and explain how film or television stories became part of the political dialogue. Tell how opposing sides reacted to the story, and explain the outcome:
  • I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
  • The 1983 TV movie, The Day After
  • Dan Quayle v. Murphy Brown.
  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • Wag the Dog
4.  Pick any of the announced or prospective presidential candidates for 2016.  Explain what lessons she or he should draw from Politics Is a Joke!  That is, in light of this candidate's record, personal characteristics, and political environment, what would be the best way to handle television humor?
  • Essays should be typed (12-point), double-spaced, and no more than three pages long. I will not read past the third page. 
  • Cite your sources. Use Turabian/Chicago endnotes. 
  • Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you. Return essays to the Sakai dropbox by 11:59 PM, Monday, May 4. Papers will drop one gradepoint for one day’s lateness, a full letter grade after that.

When the Big Apple isn't big enough...

... try running for President!

New York Post, "De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick":

Despite repeated claims to the contrary, Mayor Bill de Blasio is positioning himself to be the leftist “progressive” alternative to Wall Street-friendly Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president, a national party operative told The Post.
De Blasio’s hope, the operative said, is a “Draft de Blasio’’ movement will develop among progressive activists over the next several months that will lead to the mayor being able to defeat Clinton in the primary elections next year in much the same way leftist Sen. George McGovern successfully challenged the initially front-running establishment Democratic candidate, Sen. Edmund Muskie, more than 40 years ago.
New York Magazine, "Report: Delusional Mayor de Blasio Plots 2016 Presidential Bid":

Last week, New York's Chris Smith reported that Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning to insert himself into the 2016 presidential campaign to promote progressive issues. However, according to the New York Post, after just 16 months in office, the mayor has set his sights much, much higher. "With [Elizabeth] Warren saying she’s not running, de Blasio and his advisers are trying to position the mayor as the 'draft' candidate for the left in 2016. That’s why he refused to endorse Hillary last week," claims a "national party operative," who says the mayor's model is 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern.

Political Theater and its Coverage

Published today, this interesting Atlantic article speaks to the ways in which political journalists have taken to focusing on the 'drama' and 'theater' of the campaign trail of elections, as opposed to the substance of each candidate's platform.

I particularly like this quote, where the author writes "A great deal of political writing these days is indistinguishable from theater criticism: Its chief concerns are storyline, costumes, and the quality of public performances." The use of mixed metaphors, when relating political moves to theatrical performances, is something I have always found fascinating, and something I think that relates really well to where our discussion in class today will likely lead.

Find the article here:

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Chris Cillizza writes at The Washington Post:
Something called CareerCast puts out an annual ranking of 200 common jobs. This year, "newspaper reporter" finished 200 out of 200. So, last.
Here's the CareerCast explanation: "Readership has steadily moved from print publications, whether they be newspapers or magazines, in favor of online outlets. The resulting decline in advertising revenue has left newspapers -- and thus, newspaper reporters -- feeling the pinch."
And, just in case you are saying "well, sure, 'print reporter' might be a bad job but almost no one does just that anymore", which is what I did, then here are a few other rankings to humble you: Photojournalist (195), Publication Editor (137) and Social Media Manager (101.) (Hat tip to the indispensable Romensko for flagging the rankings.)
Here's the "good" news from CareerCast: "However, those with good writing skills often can find new employment in public relations, marketing, advertising and social media, where the outlook may be brighter."
At Pew last year, Alex Williams presented some data:
The number of journalism jobs compared to the number of public relations jobs.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The News and Entertainment Media

Kasich on Meet the Press

Five linkages between news and entertainment:

First, Back to media ownership: news and entertainment media usually belong to the same companies. In 1958, Edward R. Murrow said:
One of the basic troubles with radio and television news is that both instruments have grown up as an incompatible combination of show business, advertising and news. Each of the three is a rather bizarre and demanding profession. And when you get all three under one roof, the dust never settles. The top management of the networks with a few notable exceptions, has been trained in advertising, research, sales or show business. But by the nature of the coporate structure, they also make the final and crucial decisions having to do with news and public affairs. Frequently they have neither the time nor the competence to do this.
In a 2011 New York Times interview, then-anchor Katie Couric had to deal with this connection:
Since your new book, “The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives,” is about great advice, imagine that your boss, Les Moonves, called you on Christmas 2009 and said: “Charlie Sheen was just arrested for holding his wife at knife point. He has a history of this sort of behavior with women, but he makes a ton of money for the network.” What do you tell him?
Fire him.
Have you told him as much?
No. He hasn’t really sought my advice on Charlie Sheen. I hope what Charlie Sheen did wouldn’t be consistent with the values of this network. That’s probably an unrealistic response, but that’s my initial gut reaction. Luckily, that’s not my job.
Did you feel less proud going to work at CBS knowing that he was essentially a colleague?
I don’t really consider Charlie Sheen a colleague.
But news anchors and actors even belong to the same union -- which in turn supports policy initiatives to aid broadcast journalists.

Second, entertainment figures enter news and politics: Reagan and Schwarzenegger were hardly the first. In 1934, novelist Upton Sinclair ran for governor of California. And as we noted on February 18, there was a pop-culture counterattack:

Also see:
Newspeople sometimes involve themselves in the entertainment media. One major example is the movie Dave (1993):

Third, the entertainment media are subject to certain kinds of government regulation. At a Senate hearing, Frank Zappa pushed back.

Fourth, entertainment media are often vehicles for political and social commentary. As Good as it Gets (1997) was a romantic comedy-drama, not a political movie, but it did have a message about health care delivery in the United States (at about 4:20 in the clip):

Fifth, certain kinds of works are hybrids of the two: talk radio, TV interview shows, "fake news,"

Will Rogers pioneered 20th century comedy

A certain California governor in an early comedy sketch!

A guest that you would not have expected on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

What the Media Cover ... and What they Do Not

Rem Rieder writes at USA Today:
As journalism has been thoroughly disrupted by the digital revolution, one of the serious casualties has been coverage of state government.
It's not the sexiest of topics, hardly able to compete with Hillary's van tour stop at Chipotle, not to mention Madonna kissing Drake. But it's vitally important. Actions by state government deeply affect the lives of their residents. People need to know what their state officials are up to. And that's particularly the case with Washington paralyzed by gridlock and critical struggles playing out at the state level.
During my years as editor of American Journalism Review, we took a number of detailed surveys compiling the rosters of reporters assigned to all 50 statehouses. Each one showed a distressing decline. The most recent tally, by the Pew Research Center, found more of the same.
But here's some good news: Politico, the dynamo that revolutionized coverage of Washington — OK, not always in a good way — is taking the show on the road.
In 2013 Politico acquired Capital New York, which covers politics in New York, including the state capital in Albany. Now Politico is swallowing up Capital New York, rebranding it as Politico New York and merging the staffs.

More important, the D.C. juggernaut is stepping up its incursion into the world Outside the Beltway. This year it is launching new operations in New Jersey and Florida. And there are more outposts to come.
Robust coverage of the shamefully ignored state capitals is a major part of the mission. As has been the case since Politico launched in 2007 and rapidly became a big player in D.C. reporting, the company is thinking big, with a dollop or two of grandiose thrown in.
Jon Stewart discusses what the media are covering in depth:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

About Your Neighbo(u)r to the North

Here's the video I was talking about in class


Also find below a great set of cartoons from a hilarious website called Hark! A Vagrant.

The Front Page of Today's Glendale News-Press

The Story...

Conflict and Comparative Perspectives

The Hazards of International Journalism

Press Freedom:  the Big Picture

Contrasting US and International Perspectives

Comparing the Coverage of Obama's Decision to Remove Cuba from the List of State Sponsors of Terrorism

Over the weekend, President Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro, marking the first time the US and Cuba's leaders had met formally in more than 50 years. After the meeting, President Obama announced that he would ask Congress to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. It was huge decision that could lead to the further 'thawing' of relations between Cuba and the US, pending Congress approval of course.

Given our current topic of class discussion, I decided to investigate the difference between the way an American newspaper, The New York Times, and a foreign newspaper, The Guardian, covered the recent story. I found that the two articles, which are listed below, covered the story in pretty similar way, with each story summarizing Obama's statement along with the follow up remarks made by other members of the Administration. Both articles also discussed the history of the relationship between Cuba and America in depth and what possible responses Republicans would have to Obama's announcement.

The main difference between the two articles was the amount of attention paid to the Cuban perspective. The New York Times article did not mention any of the responses made to the announcement by the Cuban people, just members of the government, while The Guardian article had specific references to Cuban citizens' reactions to the news. Clearly, the foreign paper cared more about covering both sides of the story, not just the American perspective, which is primarily what the American newspaper's story presented. While this is not incredibly surprising, it is interesting that the foreign newspaper provides a much more comprehensive understanding of the story's impact in Cuba,   America, and around the globe.

The New York Times Article:

The Guardian Article:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chris Christie touches the 'third rail' of American politics

In a speech in New Hampshire, Governor Chris Christie spoke about a topic that most presidential candidates avoid-curbing social security spending. He proposed to raise the retirement age from 67 69, reduce benefits for those retirees earning greater than $80,000, and eliminating the benefit entirely for those retirees who earn more than $200,000 in retirement income. This speech was notable for it is rare for a likely presidential candidate to adopt such an unpopular policy position. Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, explains how this move changes the presidential race: "Mr. Christie is playing a leadership role that will force other people to say how they would fix it if they don’t like his approach.” As it relates to our focus on the media, Governor Christie may have increased the salience of social security spending as a campaign issue. Look for the media to ask presidential candidates about their reactions to Governor Christie's speech.

Will this move help or hurt Christie's chances for a presidential bid? I have always been told that social security spending is the 'third rail' in American politics that can kill a candidate's chances of winning any election if he/she speaks about it to the media? Some are saying that it could actually help him though. Terry Holt, a campaign strategist who worked on Bush's 2004 campaign said, "He has to distinguish himself from the rest of the field and tackling a tough issue helps to do that." What do you guys think? Good move or bad move?

Monday, April 13, 2015

International Perspectives I

The SNL take

The launch video:

Nate Silver's reality check

International News

Putin and public relations

War and Photoshop

Army media relations handbook

Hillary becomes one of us through Facebook strategy

We all heard about Hillary's announcement over the weekend. Beyond her video being a fantastic PR play, her staff has also populated her Facebook page with all her life events...making her seem like a real person. 

You can "like" the first time she met Bill in 1971:

#TBT to a her high school graduation or a cute baby pic:

Regardless of her policies, we can admit that this release is brilliant. For a person who can seem superficial and unapproachable, this was a great strategy for humanizing her through a medium used by most voters. 

"This story has a creepy headline and is missing the word 'rape'"

A writer I follow on Twitter, Irin Carmon, tweeted this recently regarding the new People Magazine profile of Mary Kay Letourneau, a former schoolteacher who was (twice!) convicted and served jail time for statutory rape for sexually assaulting one of her male students, first when he was 13 years old and again when he was 14 or 15. She became pregnant both times and now has two daughters with him.

I find it extremely discomforting that, as Carmon points out, the People story never uses the word "rape" or even "assault," despite the fact that the law and common knowledge are clear that a child of 13 is not capable of consenting to sex, especially with a 34 year old adult and really especially with an adult who holds a position of authority over him — she was his sixth grade teacher. And yet, People's article sounds like it describes an enduring romance, a forbidden love.

And then, this morning, the Daily Beast ran this story with a caption on Facebook asking if Letourneau should be given "a second chance."

The fact that the media find it at all appropriate to describe her story this way astounds me.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Why You Need to Proofread (and Not Just with Spellcheck)

The Boston Globe reports:
Due to an error in her years-in-the-making presidential announcement, Hillary Clinton’s campaign said Sunday that she has “fought children and families all her career.”
What the campaign meant to say of course is that she’s fought for children and families.
Clinton’s campaign quickly corrected the statement on its website and confirmed to that the former secretary of state has not been secretly fighting children all these years.
Here’s the excerpt from the original release:

China Develops New Internet Censorship Tool

Seeing as this week in class we're beginning our discussions on international affairs and perspectives, this article from the New York Times seemed especially relevant.

The article explains how China has recently developed a new tool, which researchers have named the "Great Cannon". This tool builds off of the "Great Firewall" and "allows China to intercept foreign web traffic as it flows to Chinese websites, inject malicious code and repurpose the traffic as Beijing sees fit."

The program could be enhanced later on to spy on anyone that accesses a Chinese website, or even a website that hosts a Chinese advertisement. 

The Times, however, points out, that this program is similar to the one used by the NSA and Britain's GCHQ, which can intercept and redirect web traffic. This may have consequences for US-China relations regarding censorship- Citizenlab researchers at the University of Toronto published a report that stated, “this precedent will make it difficult for Western governments to credibly complain about others utilizing similar techniques." 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

India in Cyberspace

A new article bears on next week's discussion of international media. Jayshree Pandya Ph.D*  has written "India in Cyberspace: The Contested Commons."  Here are opening grafs:
The revolution in information technologies, processes and connected computers is altering everything-- from how we communicate, make friends, to how we work, bank, shop and go to war. The emergence of this whole new world of cyberspace has given nations: its governments, industries, organizations, academia and individuals (NGIOA-I) great promise as well as great peril.

The evolution in cyberspace will offer India as many opportunities as it does challenges.

The world is undergoing a profound and lasting shift in the relative balance of power among nations: its government, industries, organizations and academia (NGIOA). The connected computers, information technology and digitalization capability of information that are revolutionizing every aspect of society have leveled the playing field and brought India an unprecedented possibility of progress. What needs to be seen is whether in the leveled playing field, India will be able to compete and lay a new foundation for lasting prosperity or decline.

In cyberspace, what is common to all is access to technology and information. But what is not common is how one uses that information—for what purpose and goals. While internet and connected computers have given nations the same starting point in access to technology and information, there are many other variables that determine whether a nation will be able to use the information to develop, progress, and succeed.

History says that there has never been a lasting empire or civilization. The world is full of the debris of past empires. Cyberspace has brought NGIOA to a juncture of revival and reformation or inexorable decline. It is a known fact that nations’ generally fall from within, and this fall is arguably due to being unable to take advantage of their society's huge potential for growth. What's more tragic is that this kind of failure is largely by design. Nations that are ruled by governments that destroy incentives, discourage innovation, and sap the talent of their citizens by creating a tilted playing field and robbing them of opportunities, will eventually die from within. Similarly, nations that have been built on exploitation will inevitably fail in cyberspace, taking an entire corrupt system down (which can often lead to immense suffering). So the question is, what can India do independently and collectively to improve its competitive and innovative position in the world, thereby tipping the scale of cyberspace in its favor? Let us begin this evaluation by understanding the global cyber trends.
(*Yes, Shree and Shivani are her daughters.)

Hannity Before All Else

A Politico article shows the power of big media powerhouses. When Ted Cruz and Rand Paul announced their presidential candidacies, on both days reporters were told to hold off publishing their interviews until 10 p.m. This is because big man Sean Hannity's Fox News show airs at 10 and Cruz and Paul both pinky swore their rights to their first interviews to Hannity. Fun fact is that Hannity is the second-most popular talk radio host after Rush Limbaugh.

It's interesting to see how the popularity of a single reporter can affect the flow of information...

Justice, State and Local Politics, Niche Media

Talking heads cover Clinton:

Rand Paul:


But the things that reporters focus on are not the things that matter most.

More on local government and justice:


The Decline of Statehouse Reporting.

How to follow California?

Niche Issues

An example from this morning.

The difficulty of covering fragmented jurisdiction:

John Oliver Interviews Edward Snowden

John Oliver's new HBO series Last Week Tonight builds on The Daily Show's brand to continue making fun of the news and conducting semi-spoof, semi-serious interviews. Last week, Oliver flew to Russia to interview Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker who fled the country nearly two years ago.

Watching the interview, viewers can see how-not-so serious news still brings value to viewers. Oliver matches his ridiculous questions with much more serious questions and, at times, tough criticism of Snowden. There are many times throughout the interview when Snowden looks very uncomfortable or grimaces, particularly one instances when Oliver asks him if he actually read ever document he leaked. The Oliver interview was arguably tough on Snowden than Brian Williams's NBC interview of Snowden last summer.  

Second, I wondered about the simple logistics of conducting the interview. How does an American journalist contact Snowden? How do they set up the interview? How do they bring all their equipment into Moscow? The entire process intrigued me.

Lastly, I found HBO's model interesting. While the NBC interview is broken into segments, each with their own advertisements, and tedious to watch, HBO made the entire episode easily available on YouTube. I could not tell if this was a public service given the importance of the interview, a ploy to get the young show more publicity, or a regular trend in new television shows. In any case, the entire interview is easily-accessible online for all to see.

State Capitol Coverage: Anti-LGBT Legislation in Texas

Related to our discussion of news coverage of state capitols, this piece from the Texas Observer covers a protest against the 20+ anti-LGBT laws that have been proposed in Texas this year. The rally was organized by GetEQUAL and took place at the Texas State Capitol this past Saturday. As the PEW study mentioned, the Texas Observer has been covering Austin statehouse for over 60 years and is categorized as a "non-traditional outlet". According to the “About” section on the Observer’s website, "The Texas Observer is an Austin-based nonprofit news organization known for fearless investigative reporting, narrative storytelling and sophisticated cultural criticism about all things Texan.”

The article quoted an interesting argument raised by Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, “Apple is here, Google is here, because the people who work for Apple and Google, they want to live here,” Adler said. “It’s real important that we not go down that path, and it is scary to me that our state Legislature right now is considering doing that.” It seems that Adler was implying the reason to protest these bills is primarily an economic motivation, assuming that individuals who work in the tech industry are millennials who prefer to live in an inclusive environment with non-discrimination ordinances. Attracting tech companies is an extremely important consideration for Austin, which, according to Adler, has 30% of the State’s patents and over half of the State’s venture capital. 

A number of Texas legislators have vocally opposed the passage of these bills, claiming that a bipartisan group will halt their passage.