“Wisely invested”

PARK CITY, Utah — Mitt Romney’s campaign held its daily strategy session Saturday 2,076 miles from its Boston headquarters. And this time it had some very special guests.

Eight hundred top donors gathered in the ballroom of a resort here to watch the presentation: the Romney campaign for president is organized, efficient and run like a business. In other words, their money is being wisely invested.

Figuratively or literally.

Poltical tweeps under the microscope

Nice post from Nieman Lab on how people are acting like journalists on Twitter. Caught my eye because that’s exactly what I do. This is basically the concept of content curation in PR, a role established enough now that people can list it as previous experience on their resume and apply for jobs that request it.

Here’s what they’re doing:

Now, Metzgar and Ibold are still in the process of evaluating tweets — 250 so far, but ultimately 2,500 — for journalistic behaviors. For example, do these Twitter users verify the information they’re sharing? Do they simply assert information? Do they affirm preconceived notions? Or do they demonstrate some other special-interest approach?

Former Nieman Foundation curator Bill Kovach and Project for Excellence in Journalism director Tom Rosenstiel developed this evaluation framework — verification, assertion, affirmation, and special-interest —  in their book Blur. (For the purposes of their study, Metzgar and Ibold added a “none of the above” category.)

Researchers are also evaluating tweets for political rhetoric using three categories: attack, acclaim, and rebuttal. Their early findings have yielded some interesting results. Metzgar and Ibold find the most prevalent journalistic mode among their politically-oriented sample is assertion, which Kovach and Rosenstiel characterize as placing the “highest value on immediacy and volume and in so doing tends to become a passive conduit of information.” (Sound familiar, web users?)

… cool. But pretty limited. I’d like to see a more comprehensive study of the sharing and fact-checking methods that the various tribes use on Twitter. It’d be interesting to have someone steeped in online blog reading (like many of those adorning my roll to the right) check how different readers of different sites interact and promote information. This is only a preliminary study (from “30,000 feet”) as the article notes, so I’d love to have a look at what it’s like when they get more time and data.

Also, this made me smile:

Regardless of political orientation, tweets were likely to be “scandal-oriented with emotional charge.” (Again, sound familiar, web users?)

As did this, though for a different reason:

What may be more telling is how both of these highly engaged Twitter groups — in addition to an “overall disregard for verification” — ignored traditional media, and one another. In instances when Twitter users did attempt to provide verification, it often came in the form of a link to an outside source. But rarely was that source a traditional journalistic outlet.

Given how ‘traditional’ journalistic outlets have failed us during the past couple of decades, I’m OK with that.

How to succeed in journalism

Came across this the other day, via Driftglass. The entire piece is worth reading just to remember how egregiously, arrogantly, dismissively, entirely wrong these people were, especially the NYT’s Most Reasonable Conservative™. But of all the howlers in the piece, this graf still takes it:

My third guess is that the Bush haters will grow more vociferous as their numbers shrink. Even progress in Iraq will not dampen their anger, because as many people have noted, hatred of Bush and his corporate cronies is all that is left of their leftism. And this hatred is tribal, not ideological. And so they will still have their rallies, their alternative weeklies, and their Gore Vidal polemics. They will still have a huge influence over the Democratic party, perhaps even determining its next presidential nominee. But they will seem increasingly unattractive to most moderate and even many normally Democratic voters who never really adopted outrage as their dominant public emotion.

In other words, there will be no magic “Aha!” moment that brings the dream palaces down. Even if Saddam’s remains are found, even if weapons of mass destruction are displayed, even if Iraq starts to move along a winding, muddled path toward normalcy, no day will come when the enemies of this endeavor turn around and say, “We were wrong. Bush was right.” They will just extend their forebodings into a more distant future. Nevertheless, the frame of the debate will shift. The war’s opponents will lose self-confidence and vitality. And they will backtrack. They will claim that they always accepted certain realities, which, in fact, they rejected only months ago.

It just defies words.

The Paper of Record

Bill Keller can spend 1300 words making an argument. It takes one Google search and about 10 seconds to make him look like an idiot.

Gonna be a loooong year.

So it begins…

My, my, that didn’t take very long. From the front and center article on Politico (no link for them):

American politics has become so angry and divisive that it favors candidates who appeal to extremists and eccentrics, and even are extremist and eccentric themselves.

The nonstop circus of modern campaigns, meanwhile, has left the county’s most accomplished and capable people on the sidelines, with scant interest in running for office.

Or so the argument goes.

But something strange—or rather something normal—is happening in 2012.

One of the most familiar refrains from this age of polarization—that rhetorical bombast and ideological zealotry are what carry politicians to the top—is running headlong into the reality of Barack Obama versus Mitt Romney.

The general election will pit one exceptionally self-contained, self-disciplined, self-motivated man against another with precisely the same traits.

Voters have a choice between two men whose minds gravitate to rationality and logic—both of whom have expressed disdain for the disorder and surliness that pervade modern governance.

Sigh. Yeah, because it’s not like Mitt Romney has embraced right-wing views on immigration or tax policy or social safety net policies or foreign policy or… you get the point.

Meanwhile, that radical in the White House is proposing to raise the top marginal tax rate by… 4%… and that top rate is the lowest it’s been since the 1930s (first few Reagan years excepted).

Gonna be a looooong six months, folks…

Only Chris Wallace can go to China

Had some time to flip around the TV channels when I got home yesterday and came across this, which I can’t figure out how to embed, so I’m linking.

Can’t imagine Ryan getting questioning of this type on Meet the Press or any other bobblehead show. Especially note how Wallace questions the amount of revenue Ryan’s plane will raise and how it continues to cut taxes for the wealthy. Wallace does even better to repeatedly question Ryan about which deductions he’s going to excise, pretty much aping the main question that progressives on the Intertoobz have been wondering.

Obviously, the interview suffers from all the usual things that make cable TV interviews stupid and unenlightening, but on a very graded curve, I’d give the interview a B+ and Wallace an A-.

Tech Journalism?

Quick item for today: read this, a good article from Nieman Lab. Has some good stats about mobile media consumption the news biz. Also, I think the idea of tech giant (Google, Amazon, maybe even Apple) purchasing a legacy news organization is really interesting. Seems like it’d be dumb as rocks from a business perspective but who knows.

Also, if you missed this from Brendan Nyhan over at CJR on the Etch a Sketch flap that’s been setting the “news” world on fire, read it. Best take I’ve seen yet.