Journalists are continually bombarded with rumors, often scurrilous. They are not news. Rumors only become news when they are confirmed, cross-checked and responded to by the target of the attack.
In this bi-modal model, there is "news." And there is "not news"--a black sump of information that the public does not get to learn (though journalists eagerly talk about it amongst themselves). One problem that when Klein's gatekeepers vigilantly protect the borders of "news", they consign a lot of relevant and verified information (e.g. who is spreading what about what) to the black hole of non-news. Some journalists are so frustrated by their inability to convey the real story under Model One that they resort write thinly veiled campaign novels!
Why not a tri-modal model? In this Model Two there are a) Klein's confirmed and cross-checked news; b) unconfirmed, mainly Web-borne unverified scuttlebutt that everyone also gets to learn about; and c) things the public never knows about, perhaps because they are unchecked, highly damaging, and once loosed can never be completely recalled (i.e. unverified rumors of wife-beating or child porn, etc.) or because reporters only learn of them on an "I won't report this" basis.
The main objection to Model Two is the fear the public won't be able to handle category (b)--the unverified scuttlebutt. But over the past few cycles, haven't the voters put these fears to rest? They rallied around Bill Clinton despite all sorts of public rumors. They elected Arnold Schwarzenegger despite scandalous groping stories. Most recently, they've continued to support John Edwards despite the National Enquirer'sreport of a cheating scandal (and his on-the-record denial). The electorate seems reasonably capable of i) considering the source ii) supporting a candidate while holding in their minds the possibility that a scandalous rumor might be confirmed; and iii) putting the confirmed scandalous rumors into perspective.
I'm for Model Two. Let the public know most of the things journalists like Klein talk about amongst themselves--like that (hypotheticall) Hillary agents are running around saying they have the goods on Obama.
I also think Model Two is where free public debate is going, whether Klein likes it or not.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I have seen the new nose ("front clip") for the Pontiac Solstice. It's ugly! They've styled it along the tongue-thrusting lines of the G6 GXP. If I had a cell phone camera I'd be rich. ... The Solstice, which is not an expensive car, is currently gorgeous-but-unreliable. Maybe GM will fix its "drive system" problems (according to Consumer Reports) when they are changing the nose. ... That's a common pattern: A car looks pretty much perfect when it's introduced--but by the time they have the bugs out they've tragically "refreshed" the styling. ...[True of people too!--ed A get-up-and-get-a-beer line.]