Educating Ezra Klein

A mostly political Weblog.
Aug. 7 2007 2:14 AM

Educating Ezra Klein

A left whippersnapper tutored by his readers about teachers' unions.

(Continued from Page 12)

"It's the equivalent of the networks broadcasting the Kennedy and Nixon debate in 1960," said [Kathleen Hall] Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania ... [E.A.]

Historic! In the same WaPo piece, CNN defends its decision to choose the video questions itself:

"As much as I wish we could use the voting method of YouTube, I just don't think it's realistic," [CNN Washington bureau chief David] Bohrman said. If the number of views determined the videos asked at the debate, then candidates could study the most-viewed videos and game the system, Bohrman explained.

This seems like a problem CNN could easily handle if it really wanted to. For example, the network could commit itself to running, say, 20 of the top 50 video questions, chosen at random. If a candidate could study all potential top-50 videos without going insane, maybe he or she should be president. ...

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P.S.:  It's also possible, as WaPo notes, to devise ways for viewers to rate videos that don't rely on "most-viewed" statistics, which probably skew too far toward funny-but-silly videos . But it wouldn't be the end of the world if they had to answer one asking "if Arnold Schwarzenegger is a cyborg." ...

P.P.S.: I was booked last week for a CNN/YouTube pre-debate hype special today, but yesterday the producer called, said "we need to trim a bit," and un-booked me. It's not at all uncommon to get bounced from shows, so for all I know they needed to trim a bit. ... 2:55 A.M. link

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hmm. I'm an air-paranoid, and maybe the experts have learned something about asbestos exposure since 1989, but it was troubling to come across this quote from a NYT story about the asbestos-spewing steam pipe explosion in Gramercy Park  in that year:

Even one day's exposure to fibers in the air can increase the risk of lung cancer, said Dr. Irving Selikoff of New York's Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and ''one week of exposure is enough to more than double the lung cancer risk.''

Are we sure that, "For any commuters caught in Wednesday's blast, though, the health risk was essentially zero"? ...  3:27 P.M.

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