Back in the day, bloggers who didn't do any reporting like Mickey Kaus and Jeff Jarvis and probably Glenn Reynolds used to spend a great deal of time talking about how the blogs (specifically their blogs) would soon supplant the "Main Stream Media" forever. Well, some years have passed, and the MSM is in dire straits, but blogs have not really made much of a dent in CNN and the New York Times' market share, eyeballs-wise, and the boundary-blurring has manifested itself mainly as old school publications getting a little more "webby" in tone and content. There is one metric, though, that has bloggers pulling ahead of their MSM counterparts: jail time! The Committee to Protect Journalists just released its 2008 prison census, and as you can see in the attached pie chart, internet people finally make up a greater share of the journo prison population than snooty newspaper jerks. Way to go, internet, and Burma! [CPJ]
God, remember when this seemed like another tossup? All the "insiders" say this one's Obama's. Smart Republicans are looking for good 2012 candidates. Over at InTrade, traders are betting heavily on an Obama victory. As you can see, after an odd September dip (one that wasn't relfected in other market prediction sites), Obama's up to nearly 74. [InTrade]
What role did race play in the crisis that led to the proposed bailout? What role did it play in the defeat of the bailout? The first topic has been argued and discussed for a while now—with vicious theories first proposed by far-out wackos bubbling up to "respectable" media people and even some congress members. But today brought a number of more reasoned responses to those who'd "blame the Blacks" explicitly or implicitly. The second question, though, hasn't been touched on. How did black congresspeople vote? And, uh, what about the Jews? You can see the result in that handy chart above, along with an explanation of What It Means. (It's not purely pointless provocation.) Oh no! The financial sector exploded! The market is, uh, failing! "What do we do" is the response of, like, economists. Politicians know the important question is "WHO DO WE BLAME." So liberals jumped on deregulating Conservatives and President Bush and evil Wall Street fatcats and so on. Conservatives, oddly, also blamed most of those people, except for a small but vocal subset who blamed this collapse of everything on... poor black people?
John McCain's been hammering home his "Obama's a celebrity" angle for weeks now. The not-so-hidden message behind those ads is an old and effective one-Obama is the candidate of Europeans and Hollywood nutjobs. Get it? Now Democrats are upset that Obama's not fighting back hard enough. Meanwhile, the polls remain infuriatingly even. Attached, a graph of InTrade market predictions closing prices for Obama over the last couple months, measuring how likely an Obama victory is. As you can see, the polls are nearing a statistical tie but Obama's still the odds-on favorite to win. Here's the thing, though-nothing that happens in the campaigns between now and the conventions means a damn thing. We're in stasis. Silly season. It's media Groundhog Day, replaying and debating the same stories and narratives over and over again. Sometimes they'll switch the players around-now McCain's on top! But we're still in the post-primaries hangover. Once that campaign finally ended, Obama got his requisite little bump and then things evened back out. But the campaign stories now are just an excuse to pass the time. The citizens who care about politics were already energized by the primaries. As those dragged on, the likely voters all made up their minds. The undecideds and uninformed maybe grew briefly interested or invested, but by the end they were burned out. The campaigns they don't want to energize everyone again until the final leg of the battle, so for the most part they're treading water (Obama) or just throwing shit out to see what sticks (McCain). The majority of Americans, even the ones who probably will vote this year, are not going to pay attention again until the conventions provide something interesting to look at. Those of us who are still obsessing over every little campaign detail are just torturing ourselves. The polls will remain in stasis until Denver and St. Paul, then we get to actually see where this godforsaken nation is heading. In the meantime, enjoy your stupid Paris Hilton videos and tire gauges and trips to Sturgis and surprisingly pleasant Entertainment Weekly interviews (McCain loves Viva Zapata, the forgotten Elia Kazan/Marlon Brando collaboration. Obama says Shrek 3 was "not as good at the original.").
Today, the Associated Press announced that Barack Obama is officially the Democratic nominee for President. Which means that the Hillary Clinton campaign is finished. It's been a long, long time. Two years, actually! We first tracked the history of the Clinton campaign back in April, when it was just probably doomed. Now it's time to revisit that history, this time with a big fancy chart. The data points are Barack Obama's closing prices on political futures betting site InTrade. The higher the closing price, the more likely investors think his nomination is (with 100 being dead-on certainty). Click to enlarge the chart, and to re-read our April history explaining the significance of the dates mentioned. Now updated with relevant "May" and "Early June" information!
Last week (or a century ago), Barack Obama got in a bunch of trouble for making a "gaffe", which is a inside joke/cliche word political journalists use when a candidate accidentally (and inelegantly) says something he or she actually believes, and then the journalists beat up on the candidate for a month or so over it. His gaffe was that he said white blue-collar people seek solace in cultural identifiers like religion and guns when the economy fails them. Regardless of whether you find that to be a condescending notion, it seems harder to argue with his statement that these voters are "bitter," because everyone in America is "bitter" these days. Still, it became known as "bittergate," and it topped the headlines last week just as Hillary's snipergate did the week before. Obama is an elitist, we were told, over and over and over again. Elitist! And latte-sipping! Someone (Dowd?) probably called him "effete," too. After a full week of hammering this point home, that Obama is elitist, Hillary pulled ahead of Obama in the national polls for the first time in months, finally. She pulled ahead one point, on Saturday. And on Sunday, Obama was back ahead by 2. Pennsylvania's primaries are tomorrow (FINALLY THANK JESUS) but they won't solve this horrible horrible mess.
When Facebook isn't invading privacy, it's occasionally rolling out features we don't despise. Their new application Lexicon culls words and phrases from users' walls to create fun charts. In the "party tonight" "hangover" match-up, the latter curiously tends to spike shorty after the former. (Click image to enlarge). Another comparison reveals that people "lol" way more than they "omg." Well, if the kids don't have god, at least they have laughter. Hit up the comments with other fun conclusions about the modern era drawn from the Facebook lexicon. [via Fimoculous]
A collective "HOLY SHIT" was heard round the media world yesterday over the news that New York Governor Eliot "Spitz" Spitzer paid for play with painted harlots in the Mayflower hotel. A classic political sex scandal with all the fixin's is a welcome break from droll primary coverage. After the jump, a graphical breakdown of media reaction to 3/10/08.
Those mythical "swing voters" love O: The Oprah Magazine (advantage: Obama!) and the Hallmark Channel (advantage: Hillary!) and Nascar.com (advantage: Hephaestus, the god of fire!), according to Advertising Age and "an Experian Consumer Research analysis of Simmons National Consumer study." AdAge's Ken Wheaton says the results of the study ought to lead the Dems to nominate Hillary Clinton, because she'll appeal to "Conservative Democrats"—who are apparently educated women who watch Lifetime and spend no time on the scary internet—because these women "might have liberal views on immigration and the environment, but tend to be pro-life and religious." Pro-life, unlike both Dem candidates, and religious, like both Dem candidates. See how it works? Oh, and there's a fancy explanatory PDF. Click to enlarge the relevant bits. [AdAge]
We all know those distinguished students of Ivy League colleges aren't having any sex, just writing about it constantly, but are they partying? Yes. Yes they are, according to this chart created by Dartblog. At least they are at Dartmouth, which is miles ahead of the other schools in terms of alcohol infractions per thousand students. Which actually probably means that the Dartmouth administration is just way, way more dickish about it than the rest of the graphed colleges. [Dartblog via IvyGate]
Internet cartoonist Dorothy Gambrell produced this lovely Valentine's Day graph measuring the most popular Google results finishing the phrase "my love is a...." Of possibly more amusement potential is the list of "answers with one listing in the top 100 Google results." Have a vaguely depressing Valentine's Day! [Very Small Array]
It's no secret that Bill "Papa Bear" O'Reilly is a media punchingbag. So when Intern Mary heard about his recent claim that homeless veterans don't exist, she began to wonder if Bill's comments were taken out of context and spun into oblivion by crazed bloggers like they always seem to be. Does Bill only talk about patriotism and veterans when he's trying to make a point? Yearning to discover the real Bill, she dove into Billoreilly.com once more to find out just what Bill has said about vets in the past. The results of the search, in handy chart form (along with representative samples!), after the jump.