Wednesday, February 01, 2012
A few weeks ago we spoke with former Federal Communications Commission adviser Steven Waldman about the FCC's proposed regulation that would require local television stations to disclose political ad buys online. Although the information is technically available to the public (interested citizens can physically view the file at the station), the move to online would make it far more accessible. But the National Association of Broadcasters didn't seem too enthusiastic about the proposed changes.
In a recent article in the Columbia Journalism Review, Waldman discusses how the local broadcasters reacted to the FCC proposal:
A comment filed by the stations owned by the major TV networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and Univision) suggested that researchers should not expect their task to be made easier by the Internet. “Research by its nature requires the expenditure of effort,” they wrote. And for reporters, “a certain amount of leg work is eminently practical.” (One almost expects them to next blurt out, “in my day, we didn’t have no new-fangled Intertubes; we had to go to the damn library and they should too!)
It’s almost as if these companies—did I mention that they’re news organizations?—believe their first obligation is to offer creative character-building obstacles to getting information, not to better inform the public.
You can read Waldman's full article here.
Monday, January 30, 2012
You've probably seen this by now -- the latest Romney attack ad on Newt Gingrich that features neither Gingrich or Romney (or at least not until the disclaimer at the end). Instead, it's all Tom Brokaw, from a 1997 NBC Nightly News segment.
NBC has now asked that Romney pull the video, with Brokaw adding that he feels "extremely uncomfortable" with the use of his likeness. On today's Brian Lehrer Show, ABC chief White House correspondent Jake Tapper weighed in on the controversy:
Here's the full Tapper response from today's Brian Lehrer Show:
What do you think? Fair use on the part of the Romney campaign? Over the line? Let us know in the comments!
Friday, January 27, 2012
On the Media has reported plenty on both our show and our blog about Righthaven, a company that buys copyrights on newspaper stories and images and then sues bloggers who repost them either in part or in full. They've had an incredible run of bad luck in the last six months, culminating in their assets being seized in order to pay off court debts, and an investigation by the Nevada State Bar. One of those seized assets was their website, righthaven.com, which was sold to a mystery bidder earlier this month for a paltry $3,300. The bidder is now a mystery no more.
Friday, January 27, 2012
A few weeks ago, I pitched Bob and Brooke on my idea for an iPhone app that gives you ideas for iPhone apps - plus some of the ideas that would be in my app. (They were skeptical.) I then asked listeners to send along their own great ideas for apps by emailing me.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Having failed to adequately adapt to the digital age, Eastman Kodak Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week. Kodak had long been struggling: First, with the advent of digital cameras and then, with the emergence of smartphones that threatened to make even those devices obsolete. Most recently, drawn out intellectual property litigation added another drain on the company coffers. One-time rival Fujifilm began diversifying decades ago, branching out into manufacturing optical films for LCD screens and producing cosmetics. Yes, cosmetics. Apparently anti-oxidants developed to preserve collagen-containing photos also do wonders for the skin. Kodak, however, preferred to keep all of its prints in one stop bath, so to speak.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
On this week's show we ran a story about the Chinese toy maker In Icons and its plans to release a Steve Jobs action figure. Perhaps good news for the legions of Apple fans, the news was less warmly embraced by Apple itself, who threatened legal action against the toy manufacturer.
But as PC World reported yesterday, In Icons has stopped production on the controversial doll. Tandy Cheung, the Hong Kong businessman behind the doll said in a statement that "though we still believe that we have not overstepped any legal boundaries, we have decided to completely stop the offer, production and sale of the Steve Jobs figurine out of our heartfelt sensitivity to the feelings of the Jobs family."
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
On this week's show, U. Nebraska journalism professor Matt Waite admits to having childlike fascination with drones. He recalls being at a conference in San Diego last summer, where a demo video for the Gatewing X100 left him positively giddy.
Sunday, January 08, 2012
Today marks ten years since the passing of Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy's. [Full disclosure: The "Frosty," the restaurant's signature frozen dessert, is a particular favorite of our host, Bob Garfield.] Thomas gained fame not only as Wendy's CEO, but also as its folksy TV pitchman, appearing in more than 800 ads. Though his legacy was tainted by some bad calls, it's hard to overstate his skill as a businessman and marketer.
This anniversary got me thinking about the TV spokespeople I remember most vividly. I came up with a list of ten who've made an indelible impression on my psyche, for better or for worse.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
The history of the publicity stunt has never been proud, but if the recent tide of sham celebrity weddings and "leaked" private photos leaves you longing for something grander, stranger, more ghoulish, or more elephantine, look no further than January 4, 1903. Today marks the grim anniversary of Thomas Edison's electrocution of a Coney Island elephant named Topsy as part of a media campaign to discredit George Westinghouse and his alternating current. At the time, Edison's direct current reigned supreme, but AC was proving much more efficient and posed a significant threat to his dominance. Edison attempted to portray AC as extremely dangerous and first demonstrated its lethal effects by publicly roasting several stray cats and dogs. When Luna Park Zoo needed a way to dispose of Topsy, their increasingly violent elephant, Edison offered his assistance.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
This week we re-ran a 2010 interview between Bob and B.R. Myers about the near omnipotence of North Korea's propaganda machine. Citizens, according to Myers, had little access to international news under Kim Jong-il. Unsurprisingly, the tradition continues under his son -- but here's a case where government censorship appears pointless and reflexive.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
I'd say we get an email at least once a week from a listener asking us why Bob pauses when he says "edited...by Brooke" at the end of every episode. Even as a member of the OTM staff, that question will remain one of life's great mysteries, like the sound of one hand clapping, or why people dislike cilantro.
Comic artist Tyler Crook (you can find him on his website and on facebook) has obviously spent a considerable amount of time thinking about Bob's weekly pregnant pause and has drawn a cartoon imagining what happens in the studio during recording. It's pretty great.