Comments

  1. I commented over at JC’s so I won’t reproduce it here. But I’ll add that I think where the mainstream media is concerned: “Fact checkers have left the building.”

    The problem, as with online content, is everyone has such a short attention span and wants to get something out NOW. Hopefully readers who DEMAND accuracy will force content providers to at least make some effort in that direction. I’m cautiously optimistic.

    Also: I’m not sure most publications want to point out errors in an interviewees remarks. In an interview you are giving the person the floor to say whatever he/she has to say. You might run it right next to a piece from someone with a contrary position, but for the publication to follow an interview with “Well THAT was a load of cr*p.” sounds like a sure fire way to not get any more interviews.

  2. I commented over at JC’s so I won’t reproduce it here. But I’ll add that I think where the mainstream media is concerned: “Fact checkers have left the building.”

    The problem, as with online content, is everyone has such a short attention span and wants to get something out NOW. Hopefully readers who DEMAND accuracy will force content providers to at least make some effort in that direction. I’m cautiously optimistic.

    Also: I’m not sure most publications want to point out errors in an interviewees remarks. In an interview you are giving the person the floor to say whatever he/she has to say. You might run it right next to a piece from someone with a contrary position, but for the publication to follow an interview with “Well THAT was a load of cr*p.” sounds like a sure fire way to not get any more interviews.

  3. True, Zell is clueless about newspapers and Google. However, he’s not quite as dumb as he may seem from that quote. He made billions for himself by selling Equity Office Properties, but he only spent a few hundred million of his own money on Tribune. Most of the deal was financed by debt and “equity” in the form of an employee stock purchase plan. It’s a clever structure that gives him lots of power without him having to take much risk. Even if Zell runs the Tribune properties into the ground on his quixotic quest against Google, he will hardly feel the pain. He’ll still be a multi-billionaire while the employees and creditors will be left holding the bag. Calcanis needs to get his facts straight!

  4. True, Zell is clueless about newspapers and Google. However, he’s not quite as dumb as he may seem from that quote. He made billions for himself by selling Equity Office Properties, but he only spent a few hundred million of his own money on Tribune. Most of the deal was financed by debt and “equity” in the form of an employee stock purchase plan. It’s a clever structure that gives him lots of power without him having to take much risk. Even if Zell runs the Tribune properties into the ground on his quixotic quest against Google, he will hardly feel the pain. He’ll still be a multi-billionaire while the employees and creditors will be left holding the bag. Calcanis needs to get his facts straight!

  5. WGBH’s Beat the Press edition of Greater Boston covered the Zell story this week. A point made by one of the panelists is that Zell made his fortune in real estate and speculation. He know’s when to buy a distressed property and he knows when to flip it. By his own admission, he does not have an acute understanding of media business models and his first moves at Tribune will be to appoint a team of industry veterans to run Tribune for him.

    His remarks are a bit like a declaration of war but no one can say if he will follow through. At best it seems like he is employing a shake down as a tactic for renegotiation of the terms by which Google and Tribune do business.

    American media has always been undertaken as a business first and public service second. Google’s success seems to be an example where public service has come before the bottom line, to the benefit of both shareholder and citizen. It may make sense, from a business perspective, to put the public interest first. Zell, doesn’t seem to get it, because he comes from the Monopoly world of realtors. Buy low. Sell high. Cover all the angles. Squeeze out competition.

    Let’s hope that the market eventually exposes that model as fraud for good.

  6. WGBH’s Beat the Press edition of Greater Boston covered the Zell story this week. A point made by one of the panelists is that Zell made his fortune in real estate and speculation. He know’s when to buy a distressed property and he knows when to flip it. By his own admission, he does not have an acute understanding of media business models and his first moves at Tribune will be to appoint a team of industry veterans to run Tribune for him.

    His remarks are a bit like a declaration of war but no one can say if he will follow through. At best it seems like he is employing a shake down as a tactic for renegotiation of the terms by which Google and Tribune do business.

    American media has always been undertaken as a business first and public service second. Google’s success seems to be an example where public service has come before the bottom line, to the benefit of both shareholder and citizen. It may make sense, from a business perspective, to put the public interest first. Zell, doesn’t seem to get it, because he comes from the Monopoly world of realtors. Buy low. Sell high. Cover all the angles. Squeeze out competition.

    Let’s hope that the market eventually exposes that model as fraud for good.

  7. Sam Zell is misinformed

    Yeah? Tell that to the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse…Google settled you know. And the legions of library material, that Google saw fit to scan first, making you opt-out. Not to mention the lawsuit happy YouTube. Content-stealing is Google’s middle-name. Aggregation of data, is still stealing…others have had to pay subscription fees for such use. Free Lunch Internet Kiddies, crybabying for eternal waffles.

    I think he’s dead on. Tho it will take an industry-wide stance to stick.

    And feh, for Jason’s “defense”, mashing things up on blogs, isn’t the same as creating real content.

  8. Sam Zell is misinformed

    Yeah? Tell that to the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse…Google settled you know. And the legions of library material, that Google saw fit to scan first, making you opt-out. Not to mention the lawsuit happy YouTube. Content-stealing is Google’s middle-name. Aggregation of data, is still stealing…others have had to pay subscription fees for such use. Free Lunch Internet Kiddies, crybabying for eternal waffles.

    I think he’s dead on. Tho it will take an industry-wide stance to stick.

    And feh, for Jason’s “defense”, mashing things up on blogs, isn’t the same as creating real content.

  9. Robert: This is an interview, and the stuff Zell said about Google was a quote. This is Zells opinion. Why should Washington Post improve their fact cheking? What they could do, of course, is to bring in an opposing view. But that’s not the same, is it?

  10. Robert: This is an interview, and the stuff Zell said about Google was a quote. This is Zells opinion. Why should Washington Post improve their fact cheking? What they could do, of course, is to bring in an opposing view. But that’s not the same, is it?

  11. Any suggestion that The Washington Post should have challenged Zell’s assertion that Google makes money from Google News is short-sighted. Google makes plenty of money from Google News.

    By driving up links to newspaper Web sites, loads of remnant inventory is created on those sites. Since local advertisers have no interest in these one-off page views, the remnant space is most often filled with Google AdSense ads. This isn’t coincidence. Google understands the effect of driving up remnant inventory via Google News.

    All multi-billion dollar companies are in it for the money, Google included. They’re not featuring Google News prominently on their ever-so-sparse home page just to be nice.

    Read more about why Zell is right, and Jason is wrong, on my blog.

  12. Any suggestion that The Washington Post should have challenged Zell’s assertion that Google makes money from Google News is short-sighted. Google makes plenty of money from Google News.

    By driving up links to newspaper Web sites, loads of remnant inventory is created on those sites. Since local advertisers have no interest in these one-off page views, the remnant space is most often filled with Google AdSense ads. This isn’t coincidence. Google understands the effect of driving up remnant inventory via Google News.

    All multi-billion dollar companies are in it for the money, Google included. They’re not featuring Google News prominently on their ever-so-sparse home page just to be nice.

    Read more about why Zell is right, and Jason is wrong, on my blog.

  13. JX: I communicated poorly. What the Washington Post should have done is had someone called Zell on his bullshit.

    There are no ads on Google News. And the links that are there point to the newspaper’s Web sites themselves. So, who’s making money off this? The newspapers!!!

    http://news.google.com/

  14. JX: I communicated poorly. What the Washington Post should have done is had someone called Zell on his bullshit.

    There are no ads on Google News. And the links that are there point to the newspaper’s Web sites themselves. So, who’s making money off this? The newspapers!!!

    http://news.google.com/

  15. JX: my opinions here are fact checked by my readers. Thanks for saying that blogs are more accurate than the Washington Post! I couldn’t have said it better. :-)

  16. JX: my opinions here are fact checked by my readers. Thanks for saying that blogs are more accurate than the Washington Post! I couldn’t have said it better. :-)

  17. As usual, Doc Searles counterpoints Coulter.

    You’d expect anything less? But well, as usual, only one of us is right, the myopic Cluetrainish hippie-dippie post-drug-phaze-out hubris colors his views. The internet free lunch mentality can’t all sustain the advertising glut, tons of Web 2.0 spinmisters aren’t doing the math.

    And what Zell said is his OPINION, you “fact check” such on the EDITORIAL pages, or have you guys forgotten how real reporting works? Maybe could do an sidebar analysis piece, but in a report, you report. I worked on a Daily, earlier in my media ‘career’, the “overhead” and “middle management” are usually called Editors, and there is a REASON why they are needed, perhaps could be more efficient with less infighting, but such is true with anything. It takes serious legwork, and a supporting cast, to do real investigative pieces, spoon-fed blogger crybabies nothwithstanding.

  18. As usual, Doc Searles counterpoints Coulter.

    You’d expect anything less? But well, as usual, only one of us is right, the myopic Cluetrainish hippie-dippie post-drug-phaze-out hubris colors his views. The internet free lunch mentality can’t all sustain the advertising glut, tons of Web 2.0 spinmisters aren’t doing the math.

    And what Zell said is his OPINION, you “fact check” such on the EDITORIAL pages, or have you guys forgotten how real reporting works? Maybe could do an sidebar analysis piece, but in a report, you report. I worked on a Daily, earlier in my media ‘career’, the “overhead” and “middle management” are usually called Editors, and there is a REASON why they are needed, perhaps could be more efficient with less infighting, but such is true with anything. It takes serious legwork, and a supporting cast, to do real investigative pieces, spoon-fed blogger crybabies nothwithstanding.

  19. Whew. Finally a non-shrill voice, good points Lucas.

    let them index our home page and section fronts. But not the stories. For those, they’d have to pay a licensing fee.

    Agree.

    doing this for every article on his sites is no longer fair use and becomes grand theft.

    If they could make that legal argument stick…certain percentage of the story and a certain percentage of the total.

    demanding the AP stop providing our stories to non-contributing members

    Well, good solution, but you’d have to get all Wire Services to agree, as the other Wires would step in. Near impossible feat, as everyone’s hammered out their own deals.

    But the branding damage is the greater evil…

  20. Whew. Finally a non-shrill voice, good points Lucas.

    let them index our home page and section fronts. But not the stories. For those, they’d have to pay a licensing fee.

    Agree.

    doing this for every article on his sites is no longer fair use and becomes grand theft.

    If they could make that legal argument stick…certain percentage of the story and a certain percentage of the total.

    demanding the AP stop providing our stories to non-contributing members

    Well, good solution, but you’d have to get all Wire Services to agree, as the other Wires would step in. Near impossible feat, as everyone’s hammered out their own deals.

    But the branding damage is the greater evil…

  21. Percy Defends Zell Against Unjust Calacanis, Scoble Attacks

    One of the things about blogging that drives me batty is when one of the heavyweight tech geek bloggers goes after me or one of my billionaire pals. I’ve experienced the wrath of the tech geek set, and it ain’t pretty.Yesterday, my pal Sam Zell, who…

  22. Shrill?
    Coulter, you way too defensive.

    I wrote that Searles has counterpoint to your opinion.

    I have read your arguements thru the years w/ Searles, and your heated rhetoric is entertaing to read.

  23. Shrill?
    Coulter, you way too defensive.

    I wrote that Searles has counterpoint to your opinion.

    I have read your arguements thru the years w/ Searles, and your heated rhetoric is entertaing to read.

  24. Yeah, Coulter, those dirty hippies sure are messing everything up, aren’t they.
    You’re a hoot to read.

    Yeah, of course you “fact check” on the editorial pages.NOT.
    You got it backwards.
    Editorials are for opinion, articles are where the reporter fact checks.
    When Safire, for example, writes something in his editorial column thats proved wrong, the editor says editorial content is opinion.
    Reporters have a responsiblity to find out the facts, not a he said she said thing.

  25. Yeah, Coulter, those dirty hippies sure are messing everything up, aren’t they.
    You’re a hoot to read.

    Yeah, of course you “fact check” on the editorial pages.NOT.
    You got it backwards.
    Editorials are for opinion, articles are where the reporter fact checks.
    When Safire, for example, writes something in his editorial column thats proved wrong, the editor says editorial content is opinion.
    Reporters have a responsiblity to find out the facts, not a he said she said thing.

  26. Robert: Do you agree with Jason Calacanis and not with Sam Zell? I agree with both. They do not really contradict eash other because they are talking about different aspects of the science of making money.

    Jason Calacanis comments are only descriptive. Whereas Sam Zell comments look for a better prescription.

    Jason is explaining what happens today and Sam is explaining what is wrong.

    You and Jason seems to argue that audience = money. Well it is actually monetizable audience = money. The current Google model of audience = money is bad. It is horrible to see news sites full of confusing Adsense. Many times it is not immediately clear what is an ad and what is content.

    The monetization of content could happen at indexing level as Google has shown. So it is bad that Google news does not contain ads. I would much rather have indexing sites have ads, and then share this money with the sites being indexed. Why? Because it as at an indexing site, I narrow myself down by telling what I am looking for. Therefore an ad at an indexing site is 10 times monetizable than an ad at the content site. Therefore I will have to suffer 90% less ads.

    I do not know Google deals with various news channels, but I could guess that Google wants to convert them into commodity. This is bad, bad, bad for societies.

    News should not become commodity but indexing should. As a matter of fact, many other content types should not become commodity either.

    Web 2.0 is at the beginning and it will undoubtly have profound impact on society. It is not clear to me what kind of social impact it will have. I do not want to disrupt the pillars of our liberty, and news is one of them. Jason comments is only descreptive. But it is Sam who may be actually thinking how to change things here. It is a big “may be” but we should not discard him on the obvious side.

  27. Robert: Do you agree with Jason Calacanis and not with Sam Zell? I agree with both. They do not really contradict eash other because they are talking about different aspects of the science of making money.

    Jason Calacanis comments are only descriptive. Whereas Sam Zell comments look for a better prescription.

    Jason is explaining what happens today and Sam is explaining what is wrong.

    You and Jason seems to argue that audience = money. Well it is actually monetizable audience = money. The current Google model of audience = money is bad. It is horrible to see news sites full of confusing Adsense. Many times it is not immediately clear what is an ad and what is content.

    The monetization of content could happen at indexing level as Google has shown. So it is bad that Google news does not contain ads. I would much rather have indexing sites have ads, and then share this money with the sites being indexed. Why? Because it as at an indexing site, I narrow myself down by telling what I am looking for. Therefore an ad at an indexing site is 10 times monetizable than an ad at the content site. Therefore I will have to suffer 90% less ads.

    I do not know Google deals with various news channels, but I could guess that Google wants to convert them into commodity. This is bad, bad, bad for societies.

    News should not become commodity but indexing should. As a matter of fact, many other content types should not become commodity either.

    Web 2.0 is at the beginning and it will undoubtly have profound impact on society. It is not clear to me what kind of social impact it will have. I do not want to disrupt the pillars of our liberty, and news is one of them. Jason comments is only descreptive. But it is Sam who may be actually thinking how to change things here. It is a big “may be” but we should not discard him on the obvious side.

  28. Robert wrote, “JX: my opinions here are fact checked by my readers.”

    What? You must be kidding. This is a stunning indictment of your blog. If you expect to be a trusted brand where people go to interact and trust what they read, you must have some semblance of fact checking other than readers firing back.

    This makes the content of your blogs no more trustworthy than the National Enquirer. Throw it up against the wall and then apologize if anyone corrects you.

    My goodness.

  29. Robert wrote, “JX: my opinions here are fact checked by my readers.”

    What? You must be kidding. This is a stunning indictment of your blog. If you expect to be a trusted brand where people go to interact and trust what they read, you must have some semblance of fact checking other than readers firing back.

    This makes the content of your blogs no more trustworthy than the National Enquirer. Throw it up against the wall and then apologize if anyone corrects you.

    My goodness.

  30. Scoble may well have important things to contribute about certain issues that are related to specific aspects of computer technology, maybe less so about writing. It does seem that what he throws out to readers about more general social issues are really more in the realm of The National Enquirer, as Herm has suggested. Or at least simplistically naive.

    Geekdom doesn’t automatically translate into socially nuanced wisdom, an issue about which scientistic technocrats are too often by definition completely unaware with regard to what they write about and discuss. Let me suggest, just for the sake of consideration, that Mr. Zell just might know more about the topic of his opinions, and why he’s throwing them out, than most of the blogger pundits who probably couldn’t get a job sweeping the lobby of the Trib building. Okay, the latter was too mean, and I take it back.

    But not my point that Zell probably knows quite a bit more than the blogger blabbings comprehend. There simply are reasons beyond just the might of the sword that come into play when one tries to understand how Zell came to be a billionaire, and it’s not simply, as an earlier blobber threw out, just because he knows how to leverage.

    Finally, I’d not be too unhappy, to tell the truth, to see Zell take almost all of the Tribune properties down the road to ruination. As it is, the Tribune is not much more than a stuffy, archaic right-wing rag that does more damage than good. And further, when Zell sells the Cubs, Chicago might one day have a Cubbies team that it doesn’t have to cry over as an annual ritual.

    Who knows, maybe he could throw Mayor Daley into the sale, or at least find a way to trade him and the Chicago City Council to another fair city.

  31. Scoble may well have important things to contribute about certain issues that are related to specific aspects of computer technology, maybe less so about writing. It does seem that what he throws out to readers about more general social issues are really more in the realm of The National Enquirer, as Herm has suggested. Or at least simplistically naive.

    Geekdom doesn’t automatically translate into socially nuanced wisdom, an issue about which scientistic technocrats are too often by definition completely unaware with regard to what they write about and discuss. Let me suggest, just for the sake of consideration, that Mr. Zell just might know more about the topic of his opinions, and why he’s throwing them out, than most of the blogger pundits who probably couldn’t get a job sweeping the lobby of the Trib building. Okay, the latter was too mean, and I take it back.

    But not my point that Zell probably knows quite a bit more than the blogger blabbings comprehend. There simply are reasons beyond just the might of the sword that come into play when one tries to understand how Zell came to be a billionaire, and it’s not simply, as an earlier blobber threw out, just because he knows how to leverage.

    Finally, I’d not be too unhappy, to tell the truth, to see Zell take almost all of the Tribune properties down the road to ruination. As it is, the Tribune is not much more than a stuffy, archaic right-wing rag that does more damage than good. And further, when Zell sells the Cubs, Chicago might one day have a Cubbies team that it doesn’t have to cry over as an annual ritual.

    Who knows, maybe he could throw Mayor Daley into the sale, or at least find a way to trade him and the Chicago City Council to another fair city.

  32. Hmmmm..Let’s see…trust the opinion of a successful billionaire, or trust the opinions of circle-jerking bloggers? Hmmm…tough choice..but I think I’ll take my chances with the billionaire.

  33. Hmmmm..Let’s see…trust the opinion of a successful billionaire, or trust the opinions of circle-jerking bloggers? Hmmm…tough choice..but I think I’ll take my chances with the billionaire.

  34. > Why should we care? Well, he’s a billionaire
    > who owns lots of newspapers. With guys like
    > this in charge I sure can understand why
    > newspapers are in business troubles.

    but still.. why should we care? :)
    let the dinosaurs die. Outdated business models either evolve or become extinct.

  35. > Why should we care? Well, he’s a billionaire
    > who owns lots of newspapers. With guys like
    > this in charge I sure can understand why
    > newspapers are in business troubles.

    but still.. why should we care? :)
    let the dinosaurs die. Outdated business models either evolve or become extinct.

  36. LayZ: ahh, so we should let billionaires run their mouths off, even if they aren’t very accurate? Got it. Glad to know you think the wealthy should run society and the rest of us should shut the heck up. Got it.

    Herm: >This is a stunning indictment of your blog.

    Huh? This is why I still have open comments here. The audience is smarter than I am and certainly likes pointing out how smart they are sometimes. As this thread points out.

  37. LayZ: ahh, so we should let billionaires run their mouths off, even if they aren’t very accurate? Got it. Glad to know you think the wealthy should run society and the rest of us should shut the heck up. Got it.

    Herm: >This is a stunning indictment of your blog.

    Huh? This is why I still have open comments here. The audience is smarter than I am and certainly likes pointing out how smart they are sometimes. As this thread points out.

  38. Editorials are for opinion, sure, but “fact checking” someone else’s opinions, via a report, is rampant bias, as you report what happened. An error of direct fact, should be corrected, but a supposed “fact check” over someones else’s opinion is another matter altogether, and really, that type of Eastern Establishmental smuggy “fact checking” is one of the root causes of the problem. You “fact check” by balance, by getting other quotes, or by doing a real analysis piece, this was a standard fare, report what-happened send-up, nothing more. No grand conspiracy, as much as Doc likes conjuring such boogeymen up.

    Coulter, you way too defensive.

    Well, sure I play up the overtly flowerly dance too (as otherwise you go unread), but by ‘shrill’ I was narrowing in on the blogger wolf-pack character assassination style, find some supposed noob and dump on him for “not getting it”, as opposed to really examining the issues.

    but I think I’ll take my chances with the billionaire.

    Likewise, but an actual winning Cubs team would be the end of it all. Irony. No greater loyalty than a Cubs fan, toast to the Billy Goat.

  39. Editorials are for opinion, sure, but “fact checking” someone else’s opinions, via a report, is rampant bias, as you report what happened. An error of direct fact, should be corrected, but a supposed “fact check” over someones else’s opinion is another matter altogether, and really, that type of Eastern Establishmental smuggy “fact checking” is one of the root causes of the problem. You “fact check” by balance, by getting other quotes, or by doing a real analysis piece, this was a standard fare, report what-happened send-up, nothing more. No grand conspiracy, as much as Doc likes conjuring such boogeymen up.

    Coulter, you way too defensive.

    Well, sure I play up the overtly flowerly dance too (as otherwise you go unread), but by ‘shrill’ I was narrowing in on the blogger wolf-pack character assassination style, find some supposed noob and dump on him for “not getting it”, as opposed to really examining the issues.

    but I think I’ll take my chances with the billionaire.

    Likewise, but an actual winning Cubs team would be the end of it all. Irony. No greater loyalty than a Cubs fan, toast to the Billy Goat.

  40. PS – That Percy Walker blog is a hoot, had forgotten about it, since the Forbes “investigative” dust up. Heh.

  41. PS – That Percy Walker blog is a hoot, had forgotten about it, since the Forbes “investigative” dust up. Heh.

  42. I’m with LayZ. Tech freaks have an orgasm anytime someone can be mocked for cluelessness. I have a mind to buy the entire Internet and dump it in the ocean.

    Thanks for reading, Christopher.

  43. I’m with LayZ. Tech freaks have an orgasm anytime someone can be mocked for cluelessness. I have a mind to buy the entire Internet and dump it in the ocean.

    Thanks for reading, Christopher.

  44. @24 “LayZ: ahh, so we should let billionaires run their mouths off, even if they aren’t very accurate? Got it. Glad to know you think the wealthy should run society and the rest of us should shut the heck up. Got it.”

    Well, that’s not what I said, but thanks for misinterpreting. My point is, when it comes to business decisions, I’ll go with a proven commodity over an unproven one. You and Calacinis get back to me when you make your first billion.

  45. @24 “LayZ: ahh, so we should let billionaires run their mouths off, even if they aren’t very accurate? Got it. Glad to know you think the wealthy should run society and the rest of us should shut the heck up. Got it.”

    Well, that’s not what I said, but thanks for misinterpreting. My point is, when it comes to business decisions, I’ll go with a proven commodity over an unproven one. You and Calacinis get back to me when you make your first billion.

  46. @27. Thanks, Mr. Walker. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s gotta be a reason people like Gates, Buffet, Redstone, Geffen, Diller, and the like get invited to the Allen & Co Sun Valley Conference and tech geek “a list” bloggers don’t, right?

  47. @27. Thanks, Mr. Walker. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s gotta be a reason people like Gates, Buffet, Redstone, Geffen, Diller, and the like get invited to the Allen & Co Sun Valley Conference and tech geek “a list” bloggers don’t, right?

  48. I have a mind to buy the entire Internet and dump it in the ocean.

    Can you do the same for the Bay Area? ;)

  49. I have a mind to buy the entire Internet and dump it in the ocean.

    Can you do the same for the Bay Area? ;)

  50. Content is not king. Content indexes are king. People don’t want content; they want good content–and that is not the Tribune the LA Times, or the CW on KTLA.

  51. Content is not king. Content indexes are king. People don’t want content; they want good content–and that is not the Tribune the LA Times, or the CW on KTLA.