Thursday, April 25, 2013

Social Media 'Lost in Space'; Maureen Dowd in the NY Times


Maureen Dowd of the NY Times is a favorite of mine.

Here she writes, eloquently, about the deluge of information and chatter, some of it not accurate, and how many of us have been taken in, reluctantantly, by the fog of social media.

With the Boston Marathon bombings and its subsequent aftermath in our rear view mirror, Dowd provides a glimpse into the modern-day reality of communications and its conduits. It is a bit of a reality check.  I thought it was a magnificent piece and wanted to share it and see what you think.

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41 comments:

  1. So what.

    Her thoughts, eloquent as they may be, are just an organized version of the same cynicism and concern for the media that many of your own blog responders (I'll take the opportunity to exclude myself) have voiced at one point or another. You're just giving her props because she has a pedigree and cache.

    When is it going to be blog responder appreciation day? Hmmmm?

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    1. I'm giving here "props" for a subject matter I care about deeply and her excellent writing skills. Period. Maybe you should have another cup of coffee. HMMMMM.

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    2. I totally disagree!

      Dowd is no Queen Bee.

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    3. "Blog responder appreciation day?"

      NO WAAAAAY! Not from Rich anyone.

      To him, we're not even as good as chopped liver and we're a lower form of life than cockroaches.

      Delete
  2. Maureen Dowd could write circles(blindfolded) around anyone who posts here.
    That said, I happened to be on the air last friday(for Karel's syndie show), when the capture of the charming bomber #2 was underway. My producer, Aaron, who is in Minneapolis was giving me the law enforcement scanner traffic through Reddit. Before CNN or anyone else had it, we were able to tell our audience about the suspect being in the boat and many other details...given, however with an abundance of caution that it was based on scanner traffic, not any official law enforcement statement. Very interesting.

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    1. Thank you, Christine.

      Maureen Dowd seems far more interested in promoting herself than in promoting a real message of gender equality. Her movement actually serves to ratify the privilege white, upper-middle class already have.

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  3. She seems to think she can remedy social paradigms with a new kind of club — a combo gabfest, Oprah session and corporate pep talk. (Where’s the yoga?)

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  4. Maureen Dowd has a grandiose plan to become the PowerPoint Pied Piper in Prada ankle boots reigniting the women’s revolution — Betty Friedan for the digital age.

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    1. My perspective on the world is different than yours - obviously. Let's not rake yet another woman over the coals in the name of feminism just because her world looks different than yours did.

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  5. One of Maureen's friends from her Harvard days told Vogue that the brainy, beautiful, charming, stylish, happily married 43-year-old mother of two has an “infectious insistence.” (She would have to, having founded Harvard’s aerobics program in the ’80s, wearing blue eye shadow and leg warmers.)

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  6. Maureen is
    more played out
    than one of
    Aaron Sorkin's
    coke spoons.

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  7. I rarely, if ever, feel compelled to read whatever it has New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has written.

    Of all the reasons to attempt to surmount the Times' paywall, she ranks fairly low, having long lapsed into "schtick." And we know all to well that Rich can't stand "schtick."

    However, as an editor of mine once cautioned, taking the time to critique Dowd comes at the cost of doing hundreds or thousands of more relevant things. I see his point.

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    1. Look, you really can't blame Dowd for getting into the spirit of "everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn't I?"

      She's sat there, watching her colleagues grow in esteem making the same arguments, paying little consequence for them.

      Chances are, the "x-factor" here is actually a simple matter of institutional sexism -- once the same arguments are flowing forth from her keyboard, they suddenly look rancid.

      Delete
    2. "Schtick," you say? Maybe. Whoever attempts a similar feat of whimsy will have all of the critiques that have been laid at Dowd's doorstep read back to them, verbatim.

      I hope, anyway!

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    3. Say what you will, Maureen Dowd is doing something!

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  8. Dowd has become enamored with the idealized New York-Washington corridor vision of politics.

    Dowd’s dream that Obama could have been an idealized and idolized President that could enact the dream liberal agenda is just that: dreams and fantasies.

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    1. Well, if you are going to post other's words, you may as well give them credit!
      Your first sentence comes directly from Doug Mataconis.

      http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/maureen-dowd-discovers-that-barack-obama-is-neither-andrew-shepherd-nor-josiah-bartlett/

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  9. There's a sucker born every minute, and Rich's effusive praise of Dowd is proof positive.

    So, what, then, is the good thing that Dowd has done, potentially, for America?

    Does she pen anything but copious bilge or senseless fluff pieces?

    Funny that she's regarded by so many in "progressive" circles as an influential thinker and has amassed so many followers. Rich, as usual, has a lot of explaining to do here.

    I'll get ripped, no doubt, for my obvious lack of political correctness and for not bowing to the liberal media elite. So be it if that's my fate.

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  10. Funny, but I'm not shocked nor surprised that all these comments have absolutely NOTHING to do with Dowd's column. This ISN'T about Maureen Dowd, who I like, especially her writing even if I happen to disagree with her at times, based on subject matter.

    This is not one of those cases. I hope we can respond to the gist of what she writes about here, as opposed to her public and private persona which I could care less about given the events in Boston.

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    1. Maureen exemplifies one of the paths to success.

      Her talents allow her to reliably produce 2 or 3 well written and insightful op-ed pieces for the NY Times every week.

      But, she is never likely to equal Hilary Clinton's achievements. Nor is she likely to nurture a large family to happiness and success. But she doesn't have to.

      Delete
  11. As a single, female entrepreneur who started a business with $400 and has grown it over 20 years with no loans or “connections,” women's resentment toward Maureen Dowd puzzles me.

    Too many women – and I include my former self – are out of the loop when it comes to realizing how much we undercharge and undervalue ourselves. This costs us tremendously.

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  12. I did an hour on this topic, loosely, this past sunday. Granted, I was more concerned with the "internet not being such a good thing", but I touched on its affect on the media; the desire to be "first...but wrong", etc. etc.

    That said, I generally don't like her, or her columns because so often it's more a piece for the sake of entertainment, bordering satire, than it is actual news. Her oft-focus on GWB/Cheney was so matter-of-fact and after-the-fact, as well as wrong, that she became hard to stomach. I do appreciate her concerns, though.

    But I largely agree with the obvious premise of her piece, and would take it further.

    There's this assumption by many that "terrestrial radio is dead." It's not dead. In fact, the ability for a radio station to change, and more to the point, a host, on the fly and with the news is evidence that the spoken word/not-over-produced news/entertainment medium is very much alive and well. That it can deliver news as quickly to the masses as a tweeter feed, etc. A commentator can long-form the short-tweet, and point out it's flaws. That freedom is not available on television, which to me is becoming more destroyed by twitter/social media than radio is. Not entertainment programming, but NEWS programming.

    I far more trust Aaron Katerksy's voice right now than I do John King's.

    And in the interest of stupidity, I'll disclose, Aaron and I are friendly. - DW

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  13. Here's a thought they, as Christine mentioned she was getting "scanner traffic", what's the point? And what is the scanner traffic itself is imperfect? By the mere fact you chose to use that information you are basically suggesting that being first is in fact important. Now maybe your producer Aaron is highly skilled at monitoring these devices, and discerning what in fact is accurate and reliable, but either way you're pretty much following the lead of what the other outlets are doing since I'm assuming they too have scanners (I could be wrong).

    But to the real point, how fast does everyone NEED to know? Does the audience really need scanner updates, or inaccurate twitter updates? So you find out at work, or you wait til you get home, or it comes in the morning paper, what's the difference?

    If we're looking at this from the point of view of entertaining radio, I can't see why being first matters at all. If a talk radio host is competing with the networks/cable for "first" info, that to me seems like a complete misunderstanding of what a host should be doing. If it's KGO/KCBS, or a news service, then I could understand why they'd want to be first on the scene, but even in that case they should be more concerned with being accurate. Unless there's a real fear that being 5 minutes late is going to lose them audience share. I cant' really say. I haven't studied the data, or even know if such exists, of how quickly audiences are swayed by first reports, and then from that point make taste selections because of it.

    ANYWAY...I believe a talk radio host can cover this story as an entertainer completely having day old news. And I believe a news station can pride itself in being accurate, and doing the right thing, by being 30 minutes late. - DW

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    1. dear DW...I was a reporter for several decades. Reporters, newsrooms,and a few cop junkies used to be the only ones listening to scanner traffic. Now that information is distributed worldwide,very quickly, by such sources as Reddit. You didn't read what I wrote carefully enough( something I suspect may be an ongoing issue with you). I pointed out that I described the scanner traffic and where we were getting it and the credibility questions that always attach to scanner traffic. In this instance,the information turned out to be correct. The goal for journalists( and I realize you are just a self-described "entertainer" who can talk about anything endlessly even without preparation, and that you think callers are unnecessary to advance your brilliance) is to get the story right and to get it first. That is and always will be the name of the game, did you just discover this?

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    2. See Christine, that's why I nearly fell asleep the day we worked together: because you think you're a reporter on the air, I guess. I just read that.

      You also might be right about me not reading what you write carefully enough because you write so much worthless stuff I generally tend to just glance over it. Over and over and over defending every position you take on this message board. It's kinda painful.

      The "name of the game." Funny. I don't think you get the game, but that's me.

      And now let me introduce everyone on this page to the endless diatribe about all the things you've done in life which you will now regurgitate...uhhhhgain...

      Delete
    3. Dw...I know you say none of this matters to you..this goal of journalism to get stories both right and first in a competitive marketplace.Imagine, if you might,a situation evolving in your own neighborhood(perhaps a place like Watertown,MA.) A suspected killer with nothing left to lose is hiding somewhere within the ten block radius from where you live. You think people(viewers and listeners) should have no interest in knowing timely whether this dangerous individual has been captured or not."Let them wait to hear the next day", you say,"what's the hurry?" And for the relatives and loved ones of the folks under seige,who happen to live somewhere else,let them wait a few days to see how it all turned out. The capture of this particular fellow gripped the entire nation of media consumers(that translates to ratings,revenues and continued employment for journalists and other broadcasters)
      Your analysis is yours, and it is just plain wrong. good day

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    4. DW:

      It's best not to get into these exchanges. Christine is always right and will let you know about it in as snarky and condescending manner as possible.

      We've only begun to catalog what the media got wrong in this case: first, it was the Saudi bomber, then it was a missing Brown student who was the bomber, then it's a couple of dark-skinned guys who'd been arrested. No wait....no one's been arrested. The multitude of errors was just plain comedic.

      If you live in the 10 mile radius, then listen to law enforcement and follow what they tell you, not some hack on CNN or the radio who has incomplete information.

      This will likely fall on deaf ears, but I've said my piece.

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    5. Do tell us about the "couple of dark-skinned guys who'd been arrested/unarrested?"

      Perhaps you are also unaware, that people in a heavily populated part of the world, like Boston, or San Francisco, typically have relatives and loved ones elsewhere who want to know what is going on. Are their loved ones in harm's way? The local police won't be talking to them, will they? The initial Dowd piece was about the interrelationship between old/new tools of news gathering. Can you address that?My original comment was how we used, on syndicated radio, the reddit feeds of scanner traffic, with the admonition about what they might or might not mean. It turned out that the information was good on some things(the boat hiding spot) and wrong about others(the boat owner was female). You can tell your audience about the differences between sourced material and non-sourced material or you can wait until no ones cares or is listening.

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    6. Obviously reading comprehension isn't one of your strengths.

      My point is/was that the media reported a quite a few falsehoods, may of which originated on places like Reddit.

      Listening to the scanner reports would have led you to believe that the suspect was armed, which subsequently turned out not to be the case.

      DW's original point was: does it really matter if you're the first and isn't it more important to get it right.

      Youtube link of John King's erroneous reporting
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDcWOPx0xAc

      Anyway, I am done on this topic...Peace

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  14. Most of the objections to Dowd's writing are based on a double standard. No one is forcing anyone to read it.

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  15. Dowd is the last person to credibly comment on the subject, given her own history.

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    1. Fair and BalancedApril 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      HUH? What are you referring to? Please explain what about her own history undermines her credibility?

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  16. Dowd is a bulletin board for the ramblings of the far left.

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  17. Did she send this column to the Obama administration for approval?

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  18. Can we drive a stake through the heart of this bullshit talking point about Maureen Dowd once and for all?

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  19. I tend to agree with Maureen on this. I don't know what you want to hear. I am sure that you are reading me correctly and my opinion is shaped but what I am seeing.

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  20. as for the conservatives who want to bash her information, you probably watch a lot of steve emerson. while i don't care much for dowd, here's betting her track record on accuracy FAR surpasses any conservative in the media. FAR.

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  21. Fair and BalancedApril 25, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Why all this animosity toward Maureen Dowd?

    She's written a thoughtful commentary about changes in the nature of news communications these days. I don't believe there's anything objectionable about her observations. It seems like some you Neanderthals who comment here just have a problem with a smart, provocative, east-coast woman.

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  22. I won't go into the details because there's probably a character limit and I would exceed it, but "Social Media" is the biggest dud and ponzi scheme in history. Businesses everywhere are piling onto this nonsense that it's revolutionizing (and especially MONETIZING) everything. It's about five percent real, 95% shell game. But the social media gurus keep writing books and starting "companies" that tell you you can conquer the world with social media, because it beats getting a real job.

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  23. Well, honestly, Rich, I don't know what impressed you so. I didn't think her column was anything more than the usual Dowd drivel, which is to say the obvious as though no one thought of it before. BUT the first letter below her (at least as of when I looked) said a lot more in less space than she did, so I'm reproducing it here:

    The element of "news" that turns me off (certainly my TV) is the endless bathos-athon we have been wallowing in since September 2001.

    If news TV had its way (and it mostly does), we would be in Terrorism-All-The-Time mode -- reporting on it, imagining it, remembering it, and endlessly, sickeningly, hysterically "memorializing" it.

    Our air time is becoming a series of annual remembrances of some kind of horror, bells tolling, uniforms marching, bands playing, eyes weeping. Our cities are becoming dotted with lugubrious architectural memorialana that serve as emotional lodestars as well as tourist magnets.

    Our national conversation is mired in imagery of horror, mass public slaughter and collective victimhood.

    Are these the unavoidable consequences for a country that spends more on war, military and weapons of mass destruction than all the developed nations combined, whose child poverty rate is virtually last, whose economic and class inequality is dead last?

    If we did not spend so much of our public/private/news/broadcast/internet time and attention on terror, horror and death, we would have to start looking at the problems that plague our souls.

    Terror and its endless "news" cycle has become the circus that has taken our minds off our bread and butter, and all the facets and concerns of a worthy life that go along with it.

    Pauline in NYC

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