Newspapers and iPads

Will the iPad save the New York Times? It seems digital subscriptions did not work well until tablet computers became popular. Now the NY Times is excited that they have nearly 800,000 subscribers to their digital version. Seems like the rise in digital subscription has increased with the popularity of iPad and other tablet computers.

The bonus is, you don’t have to walk out onto your driveway in your pajamas to pick up the morning paper delivery.

NYT Up To Nearly 800K Paid Digital Subscribers, Plans New Food And Opinion Apps | TechCrunch.

Is “violent political rhetoric” the problem?

This past Saturday, a shooter attacked U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords that left 6 people dead and 14 injured. In less than an hour after the shooting left-wing pundits were blaming the shooting on Sarah Palin and the right wing while erroneously reporting that Giffords had been killed.

There is no evidence that any political rhetoric – left or right – had an influence on the shooter (may his name be blotted out). It is appalling that less than an hour after the shootings, left wing pundits were blaming Sarah Palin without knowing anything about the shooter or his motives employing a classic version of the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy while ignoring the same rhetoric that comes from the left.

Now that more is coming to light, we know that the shooter had no definable political views – he even counts The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf among his favorite books. Furthermore, the shooter held his grudge against Rep. Giffords since 2007, long before Pailn (the supposed catalyst) was on the national stage.

The attack of a politician by a politically ambiguous mentally ill person follow is a long established pattern in this country that goes all the way back to the assassination attempt of Andrew Jackson by an unemployed painter. One of the reasons the attacker gave for his attempt on Jackson life was that “money would be more plenty” with Jackson dead. Noticeably similar, the shooter in this case also fixated on currency issues in his writings and statements.

John Hinkley was no more incited by Jimmy Carter’s warnings of Ronald Reagan being a “radical” and “hawk” that would endanger peace than the shooter on Saturday by any conservative rhetoric.

But what if the rhetoric was less heated? Michael Medved reminds us what happened in times where that was the case:

Killings often occur in placid political climates of consensus – as with the assassinations of popular, young centrist presidents, Garfield and Kennedy, following elections in 1880 and 1960 when major candidates largely agreed on issues. Fierce rhetoric doesn’t cause shootings, any more than consensus politics guarantees safety for our public figures.

Already the left is resorting to attempts to restrict speech. Attacking the wrong problem is worse than doing nothing at all by condemning those who were not culpable for any crime. Overt threats are one thing. Restricting speech that we don’t like because it is ambiguously “inflammatory” only serves those who want to silence those with whom they disagree.

How important are newspapers?

President Obama has never met a bailout he didn’t like. The latest bailout idea is for the newspaper industry. President Obama said that journalism “is absolutely critical to the health of our democracy.”

He is right on that point. Despotic regimes protect themselves by restricting the flow of information to their citizens. The press has been a check against abuses of power. We do need journalism.

Where he is wrong is in thinking that propping up a dying industry and in placing too much emphasis on a medium that is nearly obsolete. Newspapers are not the only home of journalism. Journalism will continue to exist even when newspapers fold (heh heh).

Even for those who like their newspaper, a government bailout is the worst solution. It will only hasten the demise of newspapers. The reason that journalism is important to our democratic republic is that newspapers (even those that are unabashedly support the President’s agenda – I’m looking at you New York Times) are independent of government interference. That will not be the case when they get government money.

Pravda was entirely funded by the Soviet government and was never seen as a credible source of journalism. Any U.S. newspaper that takes government money will compromise its journalistic integrity and nullify the very reason it exists. Government money can only turn a journalistic organization into a propaganda arm…(cough)PBS(cough).

Newspapers are not the only hope for maintaining our republic and will be completely irrelevant if they take any government money.

What is she?

Former NFL quarterback Steve McNair was shot and killed in July 4th in an apparent murder-suicide by a woman he was “dating” who was not his wife. News reporting have been referring to the woman as McNair’s “girlfriend.”

Meanwhile, South Carolina’s governor, Mark Sanford, is receiving much deserved scorn for his extra-marital affair with an Argentine woman whom new agencies refer to as his mistress.

Wonder why they felt the need to sanitize it for McNair?

Some parents don’t get it

And neither does some news writers. A 16-year-old girl was driving and lost control of her vehicle. Her injuries were fatal.

Yesterday’s headline:
Girl in Fatal Wreck Sent Text Message Moments Before Crash

At first glance, it seems this is sad case of not watching the road. The girls mother even says she hopes the accident will make other people think before texting and driving. Yes, a common sense lesson for all of us. But wait, if you read the story, there was an even bigger law violation here.

“Authorities say [the girl] had been driving drunk and was speeding.”

That’s what you call burying the lede. Instead, we get a morality lesson on the dangers of texting and driving. Admittedly, not too smart. But don’t you think the bigger cause of her death was the her driving drunk and speeding?

Racism rears its head

Yesterday I enjoyed watching the NFC and AFC championship games. The Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts both advanced to the Superbowl. It was only in watching the post-game coverage that I realized this Superbowl is now considered historic as both coaches are African-American. Never before has an African-American head coach made it to the Superbowl.

That the game analysts felt it necessary to discuss the coaches’ ethnicity seems racist to me. African-Americans have achieved enough that it should no longer be news that someone who has accomplished something great has a dark complexion.

It seems that true equality for African-Americans will arrive when the first African-American to accomplish something is not referred to as “the first African-American to….”

Journalists don’t know?

Hugh Hewitt interviewed Time correspondant Michael Ware about Ware’s reporting in Iraq. What most interested me in the interview is that Ware is incapable of making any judgements about events unless he has personally witnessed them. And even then, he can’t make judgements because he wasn’t there to see the alternative.

Are Iraqis better off now than under Saddam? Ware doesn’t know because he wasn’t there under Saddam. So Hugh then asked if Russians were better off under Stalin or Krushev. Ware again couldn’t answer because he wasn’t there.

Why is he even a reporter? His facts are useless. He can report but, following to his logic, we can’t make any judgements based on the information he provides. Yet people are making judgements on the information coming from Iraq. Quagmire! Another Vietnam!

The press is useless when reporters have no sense of history. Are Iraqis better off now? I’m reminded of a comment I heard about our search for WMD. Of course we couldn’t find any WMD. Everywhere we dug, we found a mass grave.

Update: Welcome Hugh Hewitt readers. And please vote for my entry “The Thinker” (entry #82) on Painting the Map Red contest. I really want the radio.

Batman vs Al Qaeda

Legendary comic book author Frank Miller is writing a graphic novel that he refers to as “a piece of propoganda,” where “Batman kicks al Qaeda’s ass.”

Cool. There was a time when comic books and entertainment media in general were unabashedly pro-American. Not only that, they weren’t afraid of naming our enemies. Captain American fought against the Nazis. John Wayne fight everyone.

Now Hollywood is so afraid of not being politically correct, they change characters in movie adaptations. Remember the movie The Sum of All Fears? The plot is that terrorists detonate a nuclear device in the U.S. In the original book it was Islamic terrorists. The movie would have none of that in a post 9/11 world. They decided that it would be better to make them neo-nazis. Okaaay.

It’s good to see an author who is not afraid of recognizing where the real threats are in the world and sending a message that they should and can be stopped.

(hat tip: Michelle Malkin)

Why are they scared?

Blogging is getting more and more influential. Each side of the blogosphere has had an impact. Senator Trent Lott had to resign as majority leader when he made a comment in support of Strom Thurmond that sounded as if he was supporting segregation. Had not blogs on the the left made a stink, it would have died down.

CBS was made to look foolish when memos it used in a news story criticial of President Bush were proven to be false within hours of the story airing thanks to the guys at Powerline Blog.

Most recently (and perhaps most dramatically) the liberal government in Canada was ousted in the last election thanks to Captain’s Quarters, an American blogger, who exposed political corruption in the Great White North.

So what happens when people become influential and others feel threatened? The threatened people insult them. Makes you wonder, if three successful lawyers like the guys at Powerline are “afraid of dealing with people in real life”, what does that make people who draw cartoons for a living?