Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Watching the great man 

Back from the forum with Scott Johnson and Eric Black, a few observations:
  1. Having a cold while moderating isn't too big a problem. In fact it's good because I just didn't want to talk very much with my shredded voice. But it might have made me timid in dealing with one rude member of the audience who thought it OK to blurt out his uninvited question.
  2. Scott did a great job getting his point out in the 20 minutes we had allotted him, covering the 61st Minute and the Swift Boat stories. The one thing I learn from being around Scott and John Hinderaker is that lawyers think about things differently than social scientists do. Not better always, but sometimes better and always different. Even though I've heard the story several times now, the manner in which Scott builds up evidence is a beautiful to watch. I don't quite understand fully the beauty of legal argument, but I believe it exists. I saw this as well when the first question was about one of PowerLine's posts on the "Terri Schiavo talking points memo" without managing to read the entire thread of posts on Schiavo. Scott neatly put it back in context.
  3. Eric Black looked worse by comparison, though I think most of us would versus Scott. For about twenty minutes I thought he had done well enough giving a positive outlook for the MSM. He did suggest that newspaper profits were up, and that the biggest issue for them was to find a model that derives revenue from the many eyeballs that get their news from the newspaper's website. I think that's whistling past the graveyard. The New York Times reports how newspapers are spending large amounts of cash trying to drive ad revenue back from direct and online marketing. While bloggers aren't capturing lots of those dollars, they certainly are not helping newspapers maintain market share.
  4. Black's last ten minutes were spent, however, in a tawdry descent into Bush hatemongering. I saw Scott taking notes and I fully expect him to have something more to say. But Black's repeated use of "confirmation bias" was little more than calling the blogosphere an echo chamber and calling bloggers hypocrites. I thought it spoiled the rest of his lecture, and it unfortunately invited more of the questions to be about press coverage of Bush than about blogs and journalism, which was supposed to be the point.
Douglas from Crossword Bebop was there and was liveblogging, and hopes to have a cleaned up transcript of the event soon over at MOBANGE. There's an unedited set of notes there now.

UPDATE: Douglas now has pictures! We should note the presence of eminent bloggers Craig, Peg, and Eva, who sat side by side, and here's a shoutout to Peace in our Time -- get blogging again, sir! And Douglas' picture reminds me to thank that last blog's owner (IIRC) for a copy of the inaugural issue of the Minnesota Republic, "The U of M's Conservative Voice." It takes over for the Minnesota Patriot. No website yet, but a nice-looking magazine complete with Cox and Forkum cartoons.