CBS See’s Net as Useful

CNets Allure for CBS: Both Are Laggards – Bits – Technology – New York Times Blog

So CNet is finally being bought.

In January, I wrote a post called “The Problem With CNet: No One Wants to Buy It.” Every Internet and media company has looked closely at CNet. They are intrigued because it is a leader in its category of tech news and reviews, with some good technology and brands. But it is growing slowly, and its cost base is so high that its profit margins are meager. And the asking price, which hovered between $1 billion and $2 billion, scared off all the potential buyers.

So what is different for CBS, which announced today that it will pay $1.8 billion for CNet?

For one, CBS is also a company with well-known brands and sluggish growth. So CNet adds some luster to CBS, even if it would drag down other theoretical buyers like Yahoo.

Interestingly, on a conference call with investors this morning, CBS said that its own Internet properties — like Sportsline and the Web site for the Grammy Awards — are actually growing faster than CNet is.

Pretty good analysis of the brands and deal there.  Bascially CBS is paying an absolute crapload for some good domain names.  C-Net has been a solid ‘net brand for a long time, but never really jumped into the huge category.  I have serious doubts that CBS will do amazing things with the properties, but have tv.com and news.com in your stable of properties should be beneficial for an old-scheel TV business with a long term news brand.

Some of The Reasons I Can’t Vote for McCain

The Associated Press: McCain outlines vision of Iraq victory

“By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom. The Iraq War has been won,” he told an audience of several hundred here in the capital city of a general election battleground state.

I though we were going to be done with the “it is the way I say it is, reality be damned” attitude. Bush and the Neocons tried that “we make reality” thing, and we’ve seen the horrific results.

If he was saying, “By 2013, I expect oil to cost $201.30.”, then maybe I would believe in his prognostication skills. And for some reason I still don’t personally understand how it is my freedom being defended in Iraq (i.e. the frontline of the War on Terror). We now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Iraq was completely incapable of posing a mortal threat to the U.S. A mortal threat is the ONLY type of type for which pre-emption is even a slight, remotely possible useful strategy. Self-defense only works after the guy pulls the gun, not while he’s looking at the catalog.

And above all else about his “2013 or Defeat” stragedy (yes, that is spelled correctly) is that the Iraqis adamantly want us out by 2011.

Later, as he drove to the airport on his “Straight Talk Express” campaign bus, McCain was peppered by reporters with questions about the timetable. He and his aides insisted there was a difference between ending the war and bringing troops home and, as they criticize the Democrats, announcing a withdrawal upfront without regard for the military endgame.

“It’s not a timetable; it’s victory. It’s victory, which I have always predicted. I didn’t know when we were going to win World War II; I just knew we were going to win,” McCain said.

When this guy talks about World War II in the present tense, like he was there…it’s because he was. How old is this dude again?

The Vietnam veteran added: “I know from experience, you set a day for surrender — which is basically what you do when you say you are withdrawing — and you will pay a much a heavier price later on.”

Yes, much like how when we finally pulled out of Vietnam, Communism swept the world and now we are on our knees in front of the Global Communist Domination of SouthEast Asia, and there are Vietnamese blowing themselves up here nearly every day in their quest to kill the U.S.

Oh, wait…you mean we are at peace with them, and have good relations?

(CNN) — Visitors to Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam are struck by its frenetic pace, by the modern skyscrapers, by stores bulging with goods and by streets teeming with industrious Vietnamese.

At night young men and women cruise the neon-lit streets of the former Saigon on shiny Honda motorbikes, gathering in coffee bars, discos and restaurants where they are serenaded by the beeps and chirps of their cell phones.

[full story]

I wonder if McCain forgot all about that stuff and has some sort of alternate history in mind when he used Vietnam as a good reason to stay in Iraq.

And speaking on 9/11….

In particular, he sees a world in which the Taliban threat in Afghanistan has been greatly reduced.

He added: “The increase in actionable intelligence that the counterinsurgency produced led to the capture or death of Osama bin Laden, and his chief lieutenants. … There still has not been a major terrorist attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.”

We’ve already killed about 7 number threes, so this has happened already. I wonder if McCain was napping. The fact that he’s still talking about the Taliban points to serious issues regarding how bad Bush sucked…and why McCain sticking with Bush’s war policy is retarded at best.

There is one place McCain divides from Bush however…

McCain also pledged to halt a Bush administration practice of enacting laws with accompanying signing statements that exempt the president from having to enforce parts he finds objectionable.

You mean the Bush administration practice of wiping its ass with the Constitution? Yea, we should certainly stop doing that…I’d have more respect for the “Maverick” if he intended to prosecute them for those indiscretions, but my guess is a pardon is much more likely. And that’s why I can’t vote for him.

Helen Thomas on the Media and the War

People can handle the truth about war

That makes me wonder why the media have shied away from telling the story about Iraqi civilian casualties. News people and editors were more courageous during the Vietnam War. What are they afraid of now?

Who can forget the shocking picture of the little Vietnamese girl running down a road, aflame from a napalm attack?

And who can forget the picture of South Vietnamese Police Chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan putting a gun to the temple of a young member of the Viet Cong and executing him on a Saigon street?

I don’t remember any American outcry against the media for showing the horror of war when those photographs were published. Were we braver then? Or maybe more conscience stricken?

Of course, the Pentagon did not enjoy such images coming out of Saigon in that era. Most Americans found them appalling, as further evidence of our misbegotten venture in Vietnam. Americans rallied to the streets in protest and eventually persuaded President Lyndon Johnson to give up his dreams of re-election in 1968.

Some Americans believe the media were to blame for the U.S. defeat in Vietnam. Nonsense.

Johnson knew the war was unwinnable, especially after the 1968 Tet offensive and the request by Army Gen. William Westmoreland for 200,000 more troops, in addition to the 500,000 already in Vietnam.

The Pentagon made a command decision after the Vietnam War to get better control of the dissemination of information in future wars. That led then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to create an office of disinformation at the start of the Iraqi war. It was later disbanded after howls from the media.

More recently, we have seen the Pentagon’s propaganda efforts take the form of carefully coaching retired generals about how to spin the Iraq war when they appear on television as alleged military experts. The New York Times’ revelations about those pet generals have cast a pall over their reputations.

Too often in this war, the news media seem to have tried to shield the public from the suffering this war has brought to Americans and Iraqis.

It’s not the job of the media to protect the nation from the reality of war. Rather, it is up to the media to tell the people the truth. They can handle it.

Pretty nice rant from Grandma Thomas.  There has been a concerted effort, now well documented, for the Pentagon to control information that flows out of the warzone (embedding), and a concerted effort to spin that information when it gets here (GeneralGate).

In general (ha!), however, these are no more than delaying actions (perhaps that is their only purpose…) and the realities of war eventually filter in, as they did re: Abu Ghraib.   

War ain’t pretty.  It never has been.

The Media’s Campaign

West Wing: The Media’s Mini-Truths – International – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News

A journalist’s twin points of references should be the real and the important. But for months the focus of the election coverage was on trivia. Every insignificant detail got blown out of proportion, with every chipmunk becoming a Godzilla. According to a report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, over 60 percent of election coverage by the US media has been focused on campaign strategies, tactics or personalities — but not on actual political content.

 

Reporters focused the most attention on such pressing questions as whether Barack Obama was wearing an American flag lapel pin, whether John McCain had a mistress eight years ago or whether former first lady Hillary Clinton was incorrectly recalling her 1996 trip to Bosnia.

Clinton claimed to recall hearing sniper fire as her plane landed in Bosnia. In fact, as archive TV footage later showed, Clinton was actually greeted by a young girl who recited a poem on the tarmac. That may have been embarrassing for Hillary Clinton, but it is insignificant for voters.

Even the eccentric pastor from Obama’s church, Jeremiah Wright, is not worth the fuss. “God damn America,” he preached. So what? The priest at my Catholic church was a reactionary, while my class teacher was a communist. Perhaps the mad and the blind to the right and the left of our path through life are there simply to show us where the middle way is.

Solid criticism from the Continent on the U.S. Presidential Campaign.  Pretty striaghtforward criticism of the media focusing on the sizzle and not the steak.  When the majority of political coverage involved how the pundits feel about the candidates, rather than what those candidates themselves stand for, it’s not a good thing, particularly.

This is more symptomatic of how the U.S. public has been trained to consume media than anythning else, IMHO.  When the sizzle gets ratings and the steak makes people change the channel, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s the sizzle that gets the coverage.