Scripting News for 10/3/2006 “For the last two years I think all of us have worked very hard, for free, to try to bolster a Republican majority that hasn’t deserved our support. I’ve given hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours of my time, and I’m deeply ashamed of having been a part of this movement.” This post makes my heart swell with pride to be an American. The long cold war inside the US may be coming to a close. We may have different personal values about the role of government, about religion, but can we agree on some basics, like respect for the individual, respect for the Constitution, love for the country we were given by our ancestors. Let’s work together to regain the greatness of our country. 

Lance Knobel asks some interesting questions about iPods.  

PodCamp West, November 18-19, San Francisco.  

Valleywag has a list of who was invited to Om Malik’s latest party.  

New header graphic, the world-famous RSS Couch.  

Baseball post-season playoffs are underway, with Oakland at Minnesota, St Louis at San Diego, and Detroit vs the Yankees in NY. The Mets series against the Dodgers starts tomorrow in NY. 

Jeff Jarvis: “I would be eager to see hundreds of thousands of us contact our school districts today to find out the state of their security, in light of the latest rash of tragic murders in schools across the country.” 

I don’t know Marc Pincus, but his story makes a lot of sense, and it’s exactly why I rarely do interviews with professional reporters. If I have something to say I publish it on my site, and hope people who are interested find it. I can’t depend on reporters to accurately represent what I say.  

I spent a few hours trying to install the SlingBox software on my Vaio this evening, and gave up. I did at one point get a TV picture showing up on my laptop and that was pretty exciting, but then they wanted me to install the new version of the software, and from that point on, nothing worked. In the process the software got hosed and no longer works. The instructions for installing the hardware are strictly for hobbyists, I can’t imagine someone non-technical making any sense of it. I also felt they should have provided specific guidance for the settop box I have. Maybe they try to do too much? Also, as luck would have it, I bought my unit a day before they announced their new products. My bad luck, and I guess theirs too, I’m reviewing something that’s obsolete. But then I bought something that’s obsolete. 

10 responses to this post.

  1. Dave, your press policy puts you approximately in the company of our president, for better or worse, and Steve Jobs, for better or worse.

    The problem with that stance is that no one can put you on the spot with tough questions. Yes you can answer tough questions on your blog, but you can also ignore them.

    Which is fine and your right. But would you feel comfortable if this were the only way Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, the U.S. president, the house speaker, the house minority leader etc. communicated?

    Blanket statements about professional reporters, by the way, make about as much sense as blanket statements about bloggers.


  2. Looks like I pressed a button.

    In any case, you’re wrong about the President and Steve Jobs, both of them talk with reporters, regularly.

    If you read my blog (I think you do) you’ll know that I’m moving in the direction of becoming more private, so my statement is far from a blanket statement about professional reporters, it’s more of a statement about me, and my goals.

    If you want my opinion, this is a really sloppy post of yours. you got almost nothing right.


  3. Dave — That was definitely not meant as an attack. Frank discussion! I am not saying you are GW Bush as many of us in Berkeley perceive him, just trying to make a narrow observation on PR strtegy. Let’s depersonalize this! I like you and your blog.

    Anyway: Bush does interviews — but rarely. Very rarely, for a president. He tries to make most of his communication through controlled channels. (Note that I’m not saying this makes him a bad guy. People may judge him for other reasons, but if all his opponents complained about was the communications policy, the opposition would not be nearly so fierce.)

    I would say the same for Jobs.

    This sentence definitely hit a button: “I can’t depend on reporters to accurately represent what I say.” That’s over the top. If you said “most reporters” I would hardly raise an eyebrow. But all reporters? Reporters a professional class?

    Hey, I’ll get over it. It’s just one sentence. I just don’t think it’s fair. I wouldn’t make it about programmers, or bloggers, and would certainly get flamed if I did. (Even if most programmers write buggy code and most bloggers, myself included, are pretty damn boring and not worth the time.)


  4. New Yorker writer Ken Auletta on Bush and the press:

    “Bush has held only eleven solo press conferences, fewer than almost any modern President. Over a comparable period, his father held seventy-one and Bill Clinton thirty-eight. The Bush White House claims that they have answered thousands of press questions, but the bulk of those answers come from the handful of questions allowed a couple of times a week after photo opportunities, and from joint press conferences, where the President gets only one-quarter the number of questions and few follow-up questions are permitted.”

    My fear is that restrictive communication policies will become more common. You are definitely not the first blogger I have heard talking about answering press inquiries mostly through the blog as a matter of policy.

    The bigger concern is that people won’t recognize the good reporters who are out there. They do exist! And shutting out most direct interviews reporters as a matter of policy can really hurt them.


  5. Ryan, that’s my opinion. I think the *process* is at fault, but again that’s my opinion. The format of the news story is an accomodation to limits of news papers, electronic news doesn’t have the same limits. For example, the Washington Post article about Pincus and Gunty should have links to the stories they’re referencing so we can see for ourselves what the fuss is about. No links. I think that’s an integrity issue, it’s so basic.

    Anyway, you can help your cause by starting a link blog where you point to examples of good journalism. I promise to subscribe to it. My experience with interviews I’ve given is taht they don’t help me tell my story, they tell a story that the reporter wants to tell. I have no particular interest in helping (or hurting for that matter) the reporter’s cause. Time is limited, so I spend my time doing things that help my cause, or amuse me.


  6. Hmmm, lots to think about! Fodder for a blog post, surely.

    I respect your right to your opinion, and to have it heard and thought about.


  7. Posted by Michael Calore on October 3, 2006 at 10:33 am

    Hey Dave,

    Thought you might like to know: RSS + Baseball = totally killing me today


  8. Posted by Don Jackson on October 3, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    Looks like Sling Media offers a 30 day refund policy, see:

    So, if you want the new model, seems like you could make that happen.


  9. Quite a turnaround for kowalski, the blogger. I see Michelle Malkin and others aren’t making any excuses either. Enough is enough. Even if folks don’t renounce their party affiliation, a good thing that can come of this is breaking down of partisanism. Liberals can help by not piling on this issue — concentrate on Iraq.


  10. You can count the number of women invited to Om’s party on one hand. Some party.

    — Bret


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