Of all the great ideas Jay Rosen has had, I never really understood what made this one anything but self-evident.  Fact-checking the news in real, or-near real-time, has been an obvious need for over 20 years, and the technology to do it was old school even before blogging, Twitter and Facebook.  It's just that no one did it.

But sometimes it takes a famous journalism professor and social media geek to make the MSM see the obvious thing.  And actually making them DO the obvious thing is a remarkable achievement; especially in this era of entrenched mediocrity in almost everything. With assists from people like me on Twitter, Jay Rosen hammered this idea home with Meet The Press, ABC, and just about anyone else that would listen. Jake Tapper finally did.

  1. Read The Brief ABC/Jake Tapper Post…

  2. Then Read Jay Rosen's Idea That Inspired It

But in fact the whole Sunday format has to be re-thought, or junked so the news divisions can start over with a new premise.  Of course the problem is that the people who would have to make that decision are the same people whose entire knowledge base and skill set lies in producing the "old" style of political television. That is what they know, so that is what they continue to do. I guess it's not hard to understand complacency of this kind.  But do they really think we don't notice the growing absurdity of bringing to a common table people who agree on nothing?

Bags of kudos to Rosen for putting it on paper in his typically cogent way, and to Jake Tapper for having the good sense to nibble at his master's reigns and try something different.

This entire project is near and dear to my own work, so I have a vested interest in seeing ABC do this for more than a week.  But even if I didn't, it would still be a big interest of mine.

There are clues to our future in projects like this, on many levels. So I will tune in to this on Sunday, and see if I can help it gain a little traction.

Please Retweet this post below using green button below.  This "experiment" deserves everyone's support.



About Politifact.com   —  a project in which its reporters and editors "fact-check statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists and interest groups"

About Jay Rosen — Jay Rosen is a press critic, a writer, and a professor of journalism at New York University.  He is a strong supporter of citizen journalism, encouraging the press to take a more active interest in citizenship, improving public debate, and enhancing life. His book about the subject, What Are Journalists For? was published in 1999. Rosen is often described in the media as an intellectual leader of the movement of public journalism

Further Reading

Press Think (NYU) Rosen's Journalism Blog  — Today we say media instead of "the press." But it's a mistake. The press has become the ghost of democracy in the media machine, and we need to keep it alive.

Jay Rosen:  He Said, She Said Journalism: Lame Formula in the Land of the Active User

In March, CNN made stunning announcement that Erick Erickson, editor of the ultra-right Tea Party screed Redstate.com (owned by Eagle Publishing, owner of malodorous HumanEvents.com) would be a regular panelist on the new "John King's USA" program.  We get the media we deserve, and I was loath to roll over for one more indignity. I got a little worked up about it.

So We Made A Video About CNN's Latest Farce

My video partner, Oilwellian and I felt this reckless erosion of CNN's responsibility was so egregious that it needed a simple polemical response that called attention to it. 

Enough is Enough — How You Can Help


Educate Time-Warner Stockholders

Show them just how fast and loose CNN executives, Jon Klein and Sam Feist are being, You can be sure their stockholders have no idea what kind of unhinged propaganda they are presenting to the American people in their pursuit of a few of Fox New's ratings points.

PLEASE RETWEET this post (see below), so a viral pressure might goose @CNN to stop this Fox-chasing nonsense and try being a real news network again.  It took them two years to admit the Lou Dobbs mistake, so I don't have a lot of hope that they'll can this stupid Erickson idea too soon. But at least this exposure can make it painful for them. We have only 24 hours left to make video go viral (and get special notices on YouTube). Your RTs and emails would help a lot.

IT'S IMPORTANT:  Even though John King USA's show is pretty boring (King was never mister magnetic), and the nepotism shown by using his wife Dana Bash as the show's (Republican friendly) Congressional reporter makes the show a laughing stock,  that doesn't mean this farce should stand, unassailed until the inevitable cancellation. The experience may make CNN just a bit more sensitive to the fact that the Tea Party ain't the only Americans fired up, lately.

Some of us are just disgusted with the corporate wrecking ball that American capitalism—and our media—have become. It's time we just said no, and meant it.




@DumpCNN ~ @shoq ~ @stopbeck ~ @Oilwellian


I have already invested a fair amount of time being the partisan crasher on Twitter on this issue, but it's just not something we can afford to shrug off after a few days of whining.  The right assumes, as CNN's Jon Klein did, that "progressives never get too worked up about anything".

In Retrospect, Our Video Was Too Kind

The right has screwed up this nation too thoroughly for us to just acquiesce to CNN giving a platform to the latest overrated stooge of concorporate hegemons.  As the past few years have proved, they own or control most of this nation where it counts, and even when progressives score gains (as we just did with Health Care Reform), there is still a huge question mark hovering over the future of the United States. A recovering economy will not mask the near-kleptocratic nature of what our modern predatory-capitalist-system-run- amok has become.

Through one of many proxies like Redstate, the corporate and conservative elites use massive private funding networks to distribute professionally crafted propaganda masking as "grass roots" efforts.

Their work is designed to prey on the emotions and fears of an almost fundamentalist fervor amongst the ignorant Teahadist soldiers they are whipping up across the nation. The primary goal is to convince these gullible—or just rich, mean, racist, or stupid—people, that the administration that inherited the burden of fixing the economic malaise they created, are actually the people who caused them in the first place.   And when you have a 24 hour news channel (Fox News) devoted to such efforts, it's really not all that hard to sell such foolishness to the proles.

This professionally-crafted and marketed lying has gone on far too long—and it's wrecking this nation. And yet, as I type this, the US Chamber of Commerce is gearing up to spend more millions of dollars in local elections. Precisely the kind of spending secured with the kind of right-wing propaganda that HumanEvents, Redstate, and Erick Erickson represent (often literally).

Below, I have created one of my "capsules" to provide some background on CNN's latest gift to the nation, and to the right wing groups and strategies that have crippled it: Erick Erickson.


Overview of Erick Erickson

There is not much about this creep to like. Let's just say he's a man of average means, who now has way above average influence in a Republican party that respects only results, regardless of outcomes. A full picture of him will emerge from the materials, herein.



Redstate is a property of one of the most loathsome right wing publishing enterprises in the world.

  Parent & Related Organizations


   Previous Lessons CNN Didn't Learn From

   The Growing Threat Of The US Chamber of Commerce

   More From Shoq

Who Says: Narrative Authority In a Fragmented World

Jay Rosen tweeted this seminal post by Megan Garber, articulating what the web and digital media are doing to authority memes and journalism's role in this bizarre new world.

Since the need to manage the tangled and competing taxonomic hierarchies of such a Narrative Big Brother has been my professional fascination for years, I couldn't help but notice.  

I think it's required reading for every journalist, citizen, media theorist, media guru, social media consultant, politician, educator, and student. Ok, ok….make that everyone that can fucking read.

Transparency needs to be about fostering conversation rather than ending it.

Megan Garber

Read: Who Says : CJR.

In an inadequately brief, but crucially important review or what is sure to be an even more important and discussed book, Ellen Ullman, asks, "is the wisdom of  the crowd, actually a lie?" 

A self-confessed "humanistic softie," Jaron Lanier is fighting to wrest control of technology from the "ascendant tribe" of technologists who believe that wisdom emerges from vast crowds, rather than from distinct, individual human beings. According to Lanier, the Internet designs made by that "winning subculture" degrade the very definition of humanness. The saddest example comes from young people who brag of their thousands of friends on Facebook. To them, Lanier replies that this "can only be true if the idea of friendship is reduced." 

Having been in information technology since the early 1980s, I have watched this "crowd wisdom" legend grow and grow, and the almost automatic assumption that the wisdom of the crowd is always right or will bear fruit not only terrifies me, but I can see the mob mentality it often encourages in the web sites and social networks empowering the  Tea Party movement that is so actively gnawing at our national fabric.

I am a big fan of social networks, and some useful methods and mechanisms that come from crowd wisdom. But they all have limits. They can lower the cost of producing information and  knowledge, but they cannot replace the value of a single human mind, with sufficient understanding of the coincident facts and issues, which can analyze the information and put it to good use in ways that will extend, enhance or illuminate our human condition. 

This is the very reason why my own interests and career have focused on developing techniques and applications  which human beings can use to more easily do what they want to do naturally and intuitively. And that is to organize information in cohesive structures which make understanding anything—and sharing that understanding—a whole lot easier.  You know, kinda like a next-gen version of… of… a book?

I'd love to write more on this, but as the related article below predicts, my fragmented attention span is already diverted to Twitter, the Olympics, bitching about David Gregory's toolism,  and.. wait for it… some productive work.

Rebuttal & Commentary

What to reject when you're rejecting… the wisdom of crowds — @JayRosen_NYU writes an excellent (and snarky) rebuttal to many of Lanier's concerns and premises.


Jaron Lanier says Internet has fallen short

Is  Google Making Us Stupid? — by Nicholas Carr —  What the Internet is doing to our brains" is a magazine article by Carr which is highly critical of the Internet's effect on cognition.

Flattered and confused 

The always brilliant Nicole Sandler, formerly of Air America Radio, has asked me to join her for a conversation on her new show, tonight at 7:30 EST. 

The audio & video streamshttp://radioornot.com

Hashtag  #shoqradio

CALL IN (join us): (213) 291-9410

I have no idea why, or what we will talk about, but so long as I'm not expected to vote Republican, I'll try anything… once.

I'd Like Your Help

Unless Nicole shuts me down, I'd like to experiment with Twitter interaction a bit than most radio guests do. So feel free to Tweet anything to the Twitter Gametag  #shoqRadio, if you think it's relevant to the discussion.  And more importantly, listen for questions or cues I put out, asking for things you might look up and respond with answers or link resources.  Naturally, I can't promise I'll be able to use anything you tweet, so don't guilt me out later :)

If you want either of us to read a link on the air, it's far easier if you register the URL with a bit.ly "custom alias," so that this:

http://bit.ly/b1dmhB  becomes this: http://bit.ly/gametag

If you tweet that custom tag, remember to turn off your Twitter Client's shortening service, or it will try to shorten the custom tag (and that would be a bad thing).

Also, if you tweet to us, please remember that talking, reading and tweeting can be hard, so keep those tweets short and simple.  Sending two brief and clear tweets is  better than a complex tweet.


I have done radio twice in my life, and both times concerned Twitter.  One reason I love Twitter is that I can take my time and say what I want to say, and can compose at my leisure. If I was great at speaking extemporaneously, I'd probably get laid more. 

So bear with me, and don't expect the snarks to roll off my tongue as they sometimes do from my fingers.  Also, when I speak, I get serious about the shit that makes me mad. There's a lot of that, lately, so brace for it :)

Cover me, I'm goin in…

I missed "Why this Decade Sucked," by Ed Edroso, back in December. Wish I hadn't. While it's over the top in spots, by and large, it's spot on,  and reminds me of Norman Solomon's words in the mid 90s, when he quite rightly warned that the Internet would empower the status quo, while projecting a mass delusion that it was challenging it.

"We should have known from blogging's early successes what was really going to become of it. Those successes were not about enlightenment — elucidating issues, or spurring debate — but about taking down public figures obnoxious to bloggers."