Time for a new Netflix?

The original Netflix business model was clever. You would queue up the films you wanted. They would mail you a DVD of a film that you would mail back after watching. It was easy. There were no due dates and no overdue fees. All it required for them was to purchase DVDs and stock a warehouse with them, with little other overhead since once you purchase a DVD, you can rent it out as many times as you like. It is little wonder that these low overhead costs drove the brick-and-mortar Blockbuster out of business.
[Read more…]

Russiagate and the new Red Scare

Katie Halper interviews Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone and Aaron Maté of The Nation about how much of the mainstream media glommed onto the Trump-Russia collusion story, predictably called ‘Russiagate’, for so long to the exclusion of many other important stories, and left themselves wide open to the kind of blowback that they are now experiencing because of the Mueller report seemingly saying (at least as far as the released short summary goes) that there was no such collusion. The entire interview is well worth reading but here are a few excerpts. (MT refers to Taibbi, AM to Maté, and KH to Halper.)
[Read more…]

In praise of limited runs

There are periodic protests by fans of some TV shows when they are canceled. The latest is about Netflix canceling the series One Day At A Time after three seasons because it said it attracted an insufficient audience. I had not heard about this show until the cancellation protest and people wrote in support of the show saying that it was well-written and funny. It is a reboot of a show of the same name that I watched when I was in graduate school and had the same general outlines of a single mother raising two children, and it even had the same theme song and the same name for the building supervisor. Part of the reason for the protest is that the reboot was one of the rare shows that featured a Hispanic cast, in this case a family of Cuban origin. An added bonus was Rita Moreno as the grandmother.
[Read more…]

Media reckoning following the Mueller report

I have not been following the details reported in the media of the Mueller investigation, finding it to be largely speculative and short of facts. Matt Taibbi has an exhaustive analysis of how the media got the Trump-Russia story so horribly wrong that it ended up enabling Trump to take a victory lap that will last forever. The fact that all we have seen is the summary provided by the attorney general that said that Mueller could not completely exonerate Trump will be ignored, and the fact that no further indictments were issued will be highlighted by Trump. By hyping the Russia collusion angle so heavily on the basis of so little hard evidence, Taibbi says that this is the biggest US media debacle since the Iraq WMD story, though that had far worse human costs.
[Read more…]

Public shaming

Piling on someone whom the internet has decided is worthy of public shaming is now a commonplace phenomenon. John Oliver has an excellent segment on when public shaming is justified and when it is horribly wrong.

The second half of this segment features an interview with Monica Lewinsky who was viciously and unjustifiably slut-shamed twenty years ago. She has weathered the storm that surrounded her and which could have easily destroyed her. Remarkably, she seems to have come through that ordeal and the interview reveals her to be a delightful person who deserves an apology from all those who attacked and ridiculed her.

The US is targeting independent journalists

I have written before about how so many mainstream media outlets in the US serve as propaganda arms of the US government, especially when it comes to reporting on foreign government who have been deemed to be hostile to the US or when the US is planning to invade those countries. The examples are so many that only the most fervent apologists (which includes many in the media and punditocracy) could possibly deny it. The latest target of such propaganda is Venezuela where it is clear that a covert war is being waged against that country.
[Read more…]

Another crushing parliamentary defeat on Brexit for Theresa May

The British parliament today resoundingly defeated by a margin of 391 to 242 prime minister Theresa May’s revised plan for Brexit. The feeling seemed to be that the new deal did not significantly differ from the previous one that she lost by an even heavier margin. Apparently she had expected a loss but hoped to contain the margin of defeat to less than 50 so this has got to hurt. Again the main sticking point was the so-called ‘backstop’ on Northern Ireland.
[Read more…]

Carlson gets his hat handed to him by Bregman again

I blogged yesterday about the interview that Fox News personality Tucker Carlson had with Dutch historian Rutger Bregman where he was reduced to hurling childish insults. The interview had actually taken place last week and it looks like Carlson had hoped to bury it. But Bregman’s side of the interview was recorded in a studio at his end and he released it, taunting Carlson to also release it. So now Carlson had to respond. And he did but rather than showing the interview on his show or even explaining why he would not to his audience, he took the cowardly way out and did it online.
[Read more…]

The National Enquirer business model is blackmail

The failed attempt by the tabloid to blackmail Jeff Bezos has put a bright light on the way that they do business. It was a fairly open secret that they would threaten to report dirt on celebrities unless the celebrities gave them exclusive access for other stories but now the details of such stories are coming out, with former employees of the parent company AMI, including those who did the investigations for them, willing to speak out.
[Read more…]