Category Archives: media

Fragility

Lower-Otay-Dam-DisasterThe NYT published a rather mild piece on climate policy written by its new “conservative” hire Bret Stephens. The consensus claque went nuts. Dana Nuccitelli, who was in on the fraudulent Cook et al consensus paper so often cited, put up a spectacularly unhinged piece at the Guardian rallying the troops and denouncing Stephens as a “hippy puncher”. Subscription are being cancelled as we speak.

The, more or less, instant over the top reaction to a not terrifically radical suggestion that the more strident claims of the climate alarmists need a second look is not surprising. In fact, it is pretty much the only reaction the climate alarmists can have.

The problem climate alarmists have, along with the fact fewer and few people take climate alarmism seriously, is that their coalition is fragile. At one point, I would say about a decade ago, the need to “do something” about “climate change” as a motherhood issue. After all, the science was certain and the time for debate was over. People who were unwilling to accept the innate truth of the IPCC reports and the urgent need for expensive action were “deniers” and entirely excluded from the scientific or policy discussion. The alarmists knew The Truth.

As Stephens points out in his piece, 100% certainty is almost always an indication of a cult rather than any sort of actual truth. And the problem with complete certainty is that there is no flexibility. Either the claim is correct in every particular – which is very unlikely – or it is not. So, for example, the decade old consensus position that the world was growing warmer and warmer and that increases in CO2 were responsible for that warming was a hostage to fortune which was very unlikely to survive. One cooling year could be waved away as “weather”; declining estimates of temperature sensitivity to CO2 were just obscure enough that they could be ignored or suppressed; but the overall claim and the consensus which surrounded it were and are extremely vulnerable to contradiction or even mild doubt.

On the science side the greatest threats were the inadequacy of the climate models and the advent of the “hiatus”. The models entirely failed to project any circumstances in which temperature ceased to rise when CO2 continued to rise. However the hiatus created exactly that set of conditions for what is now looking like twenty years. (Right this instant, last year’s El Nino, broke the hiatus. However, rapidly cooling post El Nino temperatures look set to bring the hiatus back into play in the next six months to a year.)

The economic side is even worse. It turns out that renewable energy – windmills and solar – costs a fortune and is profoundly unreliable. Governments which went all in for renewables (see Ontario) found their energy prices hockey sticking and the popularity plummeting without, as it turns out, making even a slight impression on the rise of CO2 concentrations.

The economics of climate change and its “mitigation” are a shambles. And it is beginning to dawn on assorted politicians that they might have been railroaded with science which was not quite ready for prime time.

Which makes it all the more imperative for the Nuccitelli and DeSmog blogs of this world to redouble their attacks on even mildly sceptical positions. Had the alarmists been less certain their edifice could have easily withstood a recalibration of the science and a recalculation of the cost/benefits. But they weren’t. They went all in for a position which claimed to know for certain that CO2 was driving world temperature and that there was no other possible cause for an increase or decrease in that temperature.

The problem with that position is that it was premature and very brittle. As lower sensitivity estimates emerge, as other, non-CO2 driven, temperature controls are discovered, consensus climate science becomes more and more embattled. What had looked like a monopoly on political discourse and media comment begins to fray. The advent of Trump and a merry band of climate change skeptics in the regulatory agencies and in Congress, has pretty much killed any forward motion for the climate alarmists in the US. And the US is where this battle will be won or lost. However, the sheer cost of so called “carbon reduction” schemes in the UK, Germany and the rest of Europe has been staggering and has shown next to no actual benefit so scepticism is rising there too. China has both embarked on an embrace of climate change abatement and the construction of dozens of coal fired electrical generation plants every year.

What had been a climate change thought monopoly a decade ago has fractured along dozens of scientific, economic and policy lines. Some of the more intelligent alarmists realize that if dissent is not snuffed out ferociously it will spread. Heterodox science will appear in respectable journals,  non-conforming scientists will be invited to appear before Congress (as happened a few weeks ago), the costs and limited to non-existent benefits of renewable energy and carbon taxes will be closely examined; once the thought monopoly is broken the collapse of the climate change scam is inevitable.

Speed the day.Lower-Otay-Dam-Disaster

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Bully! A Splendid Little War

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So The Donald has sent in the cruise missiles in response to the Syrian sarin gas assault on its own people.

Sending 59 cruise missiles with conventional warheads and then sitting down to dinner with the Chinese President pretty much establishes Trump as a “tough guy”. But will he be smart enough to leave it at that?

In a very real sense, Trump has redrawn the “red line” which Obama and Kerry allowed to fade to palest pink. Served notice that “there is a new Sheriff in town” to quote an awful lot of pro-Trump blogs. Which, I suspect, most international players had already noticed.

The question is whether Trump is able to enjoy an American casualty free battle and move on to the next thing on his agenda. Obama demonstrated in Libya that regime change may, or may not, be for the better. Generally, it seems to be a bad idea in the Middle East simply because the next regime may be worse than the one you “changed”. During the campaign, Trump seemed to get that. Does he now?

Assad needs to go. Murderous barbarian and all. However, he needs to go when there is some idea of a better thing to replace him. That might be a new regime or it might be the carve up of both Syria and Iraq and the end of the Sykes-Picot travesty which has haunted the Middle East for nearly a hundred years.

Regime change could be accomplished with a lot of money, a few Russian Spetsnaz and a dozen bullets. But what then?

Unwinding Sykes-Picot is a much larger and, strategically, more intelligent enterprise. Defeat ISIS and then carve out the Sunni, Kurd and Shia enclaves being sensitive to the worries of the Turks and the position of the minorities. That is the work of a negotiator and a statesman. And it is something which will involve Putin as well as Trump. No bad thing that.

Right at the moment, Russia is hanging on by a thread. Demographically, economically it is in huge trouble. For Putin to survive he needs to seem indispensable. Trump can give him that. Putin can give Trump essentially nothing. Other than his nukes and his special forces, he is the Tsar of a gradually dying nation and only massive help from America can really save him. Monkeys can climb a very long way up trees, it is the getting down part which is tricky.

Syria offers Putin the opportunity to act as and be seen as a statesman.  With Trump’s help, he can open the book on Sykes-Picot and facilitate the reformation of Syria and Iraq into a loose confederation of ethnically and religiously homogenous statelets. Between the Americans and the Russians, all of the factions can be brought to the table and, with luck, disarmed and sent on their way. None of the resulting states will be heard of again for generations.

Trump has played the first card of a strategy which will likely take a few years to play out. By being willing to punish actions which are against all agreed-upon international norms Trump makes it clear that hard power is a real thing for America again.

Trump knew the world was watching and he gave them a show. Now we’ll see what he does with the attention.

 

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The Long Good Bye

Vancouver Sun, David Beers, The Tyee

Hold The Presses!

It’s been a brutal three weeks of dread, tears, and colleagues suddenly forced to see each other as threats to their own jobs. That’s the picture painted by sources who were inside the recently merged Vancouver Sun and Province newsroom after layoffs were announced and the sorting of survivors and casualties began to unfold.

The cuts are nowhere near done, and with each round the newsroom is getting older, whiter and less versatile, said the sources.

The season of fear opened with word from Postmedia headquarters on March 10 that 54 employees, including 29 journalists, would be cut from its Vancouver-based operations, the Pacific Newspaper Group (PNG). The announcement was a startling blow, say inside sources, because when the last cuts — 20 per cent of positions across the company — were achieved with 38 buyouts at PNG just two months earlier in January, management gave the impression that would be it for a good while. “No one expected this so soon,” said a source. “We thought we’d hit the targets.” the tyee

David Beers who I know and respect was laid off from the Vancouver Sun back in 2001 and went on to found The Tyee which I have written for. The Tyee is entirely web based and supported by BC labour and assorted lefty funding organizations as well as its readers. So it is no surprise to read “If the latest cuts do happen, say insiders, the sparse newsroom will be populated mainly by grey-haired veterans with few around them to mentor. There will be fewer people under 35, and fewer people of colour.”

However, the fact is that the old newspaper model stopped working about 2001 when David, who could well have led the charge to make the Vancouver Sun, at least, useful in a digital age, got the boot.

The era of mass readership newspapers and mass viewership television is drawing to its natural close. And, yes the internet does have something to do with this. But at a number of different levels.

First off, the old cash cow of classified advertising was destroyed by Craigslist and its imitators. Classified ads were nice because they were straight revenue with no “service” component and no serious requirement for the sorts of metrics advertising agencies want.

Display advertising was also hit. Why buy a $15,000 full page ad that just sat there when you could go on line and incentivize customers in hundreds of interactive ways you could actually measure?

Yes, there are still car ads and still real estate ads but those come with the price of service copy and, frankly, if you want to reach someone under 35 is this your best ad spend?

The “movie” pages dwindled, book advertising (yes, that was a thing) shrank, business “appointments” notices – a great source of revenue because they were full price – began to be concentrated in business-focused publications. The governments still advertised but more and more of their budgets were going online where they could measure results.

It is all very well to say ““The old white guys in Armani suits in Toronto don’t.” understand journalism, but the problem was a lot deeper than an absence of journalistic understanding. The old guys – and not just at Post Media – have no idea what to do in the face of the internet and the world it created. They have yet to realize that information is no longer consumed the way my ninety one year old mother consumes it.

A lot of those old guys kept using their Blackberries after the iPhone arrived. They did their computing (aka browsing the net) on their laptops or desktops and were thrilled that their “phone” could receive email. They completely missed the fact that the kids were wondering around with high powered computers in their pocket which could, but seldom did, make phone calls.

They missed smartphones as tools of media consumption but they also missed the impact of digital on content creation. Beers’ article contains a good deal of lamentation for the “newsroom” and copyeditors and the sad fact Post Media centralized is page composition in Hamilton with the inevitable errors that has brought. All of which was outmoded thinking when David was laid off back in 2001.

Leading edge boomers took their cue from their parent’s generation: the people who won the purely mechanical World War II. Organization, heirarchy, unions, careers, pensions were all baked into that system. Unions and management spent years fighting over new technology, the end of hot metal composing, the use of freelancers and pretty much any innovation which changed the top down structure of the newspaper publishing business. Reading Beer’s article you can see how vestiges of this structure remain with the effect of ensuring that senior people are laid off last and those under 35, POC, people never stand a chance. Seniority is the mantra of the old craft unions and it is not quite dead at Granville Square.

There is simply no reason, in an age of Smartphones and WordPress based online publishing, for there to be a newsroom at all. A section editor with a laptop can and should be feeding his or her section with the best material freelancers pitch. Payment per word – ideally electronically – with daily and weekly budgets and news budgets set by way of a conference call or Skype. (Which, interestingly, is a model The Tyee used to a large degree from the go.)

The ritual of copyediting is a brilliant luxury and I am old enough to notice its absence and thank my lucky stars for Grammarly for both my occasional pieces and my professional writing. It is not perfect, but it is pretty good and the pro level is excellent. But it is easy enough to have material freelancers write sent to a freelance copyeditor before publication.

All of which assumes the end of the “print edition”. Something which should have happened a decade ago as the iPhone was launched. From time to time I go to a coffee shop or a pub: people are reading up a storm. On their Smartphones or laptops. I honestly cannot remember the last time I saw anyone under 40 reading a newspaper. And that was true five years ago. Dead tree newspapers are done and have been for quite a while. Their only purpose may be in the community format where they can act as wrappers for the flyers which still make a bit of money.

Beers makes a direct connection between the hollowing out of the newsroom and a decline in the value and usefulness of the content. I think he has a point there but not as much of a point as he would have had a decade ago. The problem is that the audience for general content, the meat and potatoes city desk news, fires, car crashes, criminal trials, the goings on at city hall, school news and such like, has fragmented. In a city like Vancouver, with a 50% recent Asian immigrant population, my “old white guy” news is unlikely to be of much interest to a person living almost entirely within a literal and figurative, ethnic enclave. Business news might have a following but, again, that following may be fairly seriously undercut by the fact that where “old white guy” business people look to Toronto and New York, successful Chinese business people may look to Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai. Arts and entertainment? Same problem and exacerbated by the fact the internet has rendered the idea of a general culture laughable and entirely fragmented the “youth market”.

Having a great newsroom when next to no one wants straight, objective, news about the quotidian affairs of the city, province or even country they are living in is essentially beside the point. It is not that people are uninterested, it is rather that they have their news fix on Google or Facebook. (Facebook is particularly corrosive to the idea of general news because people will share Facebook news with other people who are deeply interested in that topic. A general newsroom cannot possibly compete.)

I hate to see people lose their jobs. I especially hate to see people lose their jobs because the owners of the company they work for lost the thread a decade or more ago. But the reality is that the world has moved on from the print newspaper. David Beers recognized that when he founded the Internet only Tyee in 2001.

The bright lights at Post Media or the Toronto Star or the Globe and Mail might want to give him a call.

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Press Out

By convention the major news networks and several newspapers and organizations form the White House Press Corps replete with office space in the West Wing and daily press briefings from the “Press Secretary”. This convention goes back to the end of the 19th century and has become more formalized with the passage of time.

Need it continue?

I think it is fair to say that the establishment media in the US has been universally hostile to President Elect Trump. Editorially that would be one thing, but it is pretty clear that the reporters and opinion columnists (and is there really a difference any more?) can’t stand Trump. And Trump cordially returns the favour calling out dishonest reporters and what he sees as biased coverage.

Perhaps it is time for there to be a bit of distance between the President and the Press. Physical distance. Setting up a briefing room and offices for the Press Corps in a basement at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the street from the White House would make clear the Press Corps’ status in a Trump Presidency. And a weekly rather than daily briefing would be more than sufficent to cover the routine matters an Administration has to announce. Yes, the media would howl. But so what?

At the moment Trump can get any coverage he wants or needs when he wants or needs it from any number of non-traditional media outlets. Breitbart, Daily Caller, Drudge…Hell, the Daily Mail does a better and less biased job of covering Trump than the US mainstream media.

“Draining the swamp” means more than kicking the lobbyists out of government, it also means breaking up the media cabal which has enabled the swamp to fill up in the first place. Dumping the Press Corps into a basement half a mile from the center of power will make their actual importance very clear.

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How does Trump still have supporters?

Andrew Coyne summarizes the state of bien-pensant Canadian opinion in a largely fact-free screed on Trump.  (Here, behind the NPs flimsy paywall. Use incognito mode.)

Having entirely bought into the DNC/MSM account of Trump’s many failing poor Andrew just cannot imagine how anyone could be supporting Trump…but they are. How can that be?

If your information comes from the New York Times and the Washington Post as well as CNN, this is a real question and one which is likely perplexing. After all, through that lens Trump is a loud mouthed, know nothing, groping, nogoodnick. And he is running against a tough, experienced, qualified woman who has tirelessly worked for the good of America at home and abroad. A woman who herself wonders “Why am I not 50 points ahead?”. And a woman who enjoys a commanding lead in the polls.

A decade ago Coyne was smart enough that he would have wondered if this black and white story could possibly be true. Now success and laziness have robbed him of the critical capacity he used to have.

A little rooting around would have given Coyne a more balanced perspective and might actually answer his question.

Part of Trump’s support is actual support. People who, for various reasons, simply like Trump and like his policies. There are a lot of Americans who do not like open borders, have lost their jobs to what they see as ill-conceived trade policy, think that police lives matter just as much as black ones and are leery of America assuming the role of “world policeman”. These are not crazy positions, they are not especially right wing and they are racist only if you are willing to rob that word of any serious meaning. Coyne suggests that 2 in 5 Americans inexplicably support Trump. I would think that his explanation is in those basic positions.

However, for Trumpogedan (similar to Brexit) to happen, Trump needs another 5-10% of the vote. Here we have the people who may vote for Trump not because they support him or his policies but rather because they do not want to see a criminal and her co-conspirators/enablers anywhere near the White House. (Were I an American voter this is where I would fall.) Alternatively, there are also a lot of voters who see Hilly as the embodiment of the crony/special interest/pay to play politics which have corroded the American Republic for decades. Here a vote for Trump is, in the fat bastard Michael Moore’s memorable phrase, a Molotov cocktail tossed at the Establishment.

When I look at Trump I see many of the flaws Coyne does but I don’t see contempt for the rule of law or a deep sense of entitlement. I don’t see a person who routinely lies to Congress, the FBI and the American people. I don’t see a person surrounded by layers of flunkies for whom any means are justified in protecting her privilege. And I don’t see in Trump a person who, for whatever reason, has converted a supposedly independent media into a Praetorian guard.

What Coyne might see if he managed to get outside the NYT/WP/CNN bubble for a few minutes is that for all the Red Hat Yahoo fervour for Trump, there is also a growing, “no hat”, contingent of Americans who realize just how dangerous Hilly, and what Hillary privately stands for, actually is.

Frustrating as the MSM’s decision to feature every Democratically connected bimbo who was ever within a hundred feet of Trump for the “Grope of the Day” piece, intelligent people are able to find and read the Wikileaks emails for themselves. These are, so far, not about smoking guns, rather they are about a cast of mind, a deep contempt for ordinary people, a field guide to influence peddling and a revelation of a woman, and the group surrounding her, never once asking what was right, merely asking what would fly, what they could get away with, what they could hide.

The Wikileaks emails are unlikely to influence low information voters on either side. And with the full press information suppression job being done by the media, they will probably not reach many of the nice, college educated, ladies supporting Hillary. But they may reach a few.

Andrew Coyne was shocked and appalled by Brexit. The little people, the bigots, the un-educated defeated the sorts of people Coyne is convinced should be running things. If Trump wins, and there is a good chance he will (“weighted” polls notwithstanding), poor Andrew may have to take to his fainting couch. But the hardest thing for Andrew and his ilk to accept is that, for good reasons, Trump will get votes from people who are well educated, intelligent and absolutely convinced that Hilly is a real threat to the Republic.

Update: via Instapundit here is a computer science prof at Yale who has swung round to Trump:

I’ll vote for Mr. Trump—grimly. But there is no alternative, no shadow of a responsible alternative.

Mr. Trump’s candidacy is a message from the voters. He is the empty gin bottle they have chosen to toss through the window. The message begins with the fact that voters hear what the leaders and pundits don’t: the profound contempt for America and Americans that Mrs. Clinton and President Obama share and their frightening lack of emotional connection to this nation and its people.

David Galernter, WSJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trump Panic

Andrew Coyne has gone full RINO in todays National Post, “We’re Staring into the Abyss of a Trump Presidency” (use incognito mode to defeat the NP paywall). Coyne points at all of the possible people to blame for this terrible mess and, of course, fails to notice that the American electorate has simply had enough of the current political system. That idea, the idea that people independently of elite opinion have weighed the system and found it wanting is beyond Coyne as it is beyond most of the commetariat.

Trust Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain how people who seem intelligent, as Coyne often does, can misunderstand the basics of the political world.

The Intellectual Yet Idiot is a production of modernity hence has been accelerating since the mid twentieth century, to reach its local supremum today, along with the broad category of people without skin-in-the-game who have been invading many walks of life. Why? Simply, in most countries, the government’s role is between five and ten times what it was a century ago (expressed in percentage of GDP). The IYI seems ubiquitous in our lives but is still a small minority and is rarely seen outside specialized outlets, think tanks, the media, and universities — most people have proper jobs and there are not many openings for the IYI.

Beware the semi-erudite who thinks he is an erudite. He fails to naturally detect sophistry.

The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When Plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. (medium)

Coyne and his ilk parted company with what one might refer to as “regular” people years ago. From Global Warming to Brexit to mass hidden unemployment to pro-refugee policy they have ceased to hear anything outside their shrinking bubble. The fact they can make assorted, sophisticated, arguments in favour of elite policy, from either the left or the right, proves terrific rhetorical dexterity. But it does not change the actual facts on the ground.

For Intellectuals Yet Idiots words are reality. Which means that it is a knock down argument to yell “Racist” or “Bigot” at someone with whom you disagree. But what happens when that no longer works? When people refuse to accept the labeling, hectoring and judgement of their intellectual “betters”?

In a word: Trump. Or Brexit. Or the collapse of the EU.

Coyne needs to get out more. He is smarter than he sounds in his NP article; but the poor man is entirely isolated. Isolation creates cluelessness.

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Enter the Dragon

001The French language debate – a rite in which each leader demonstrates his or her grasp of French and Quebec issues – turned up something interesting. Mulcair and Trudeau think the niqab is perfectly suitable attire for taking your citizenship oath: Harper and Duceppe don’t.

Neither, it turns out, do 80% of Canadians and 90% of Quebecers. There’s a fine old fight going on at Dawg’s blog in which Dawg himself says,

The niqab, after all, is just synedoche for the Muslim presence in Canada. In the service of hatred and fear, articles of ethnic clothing are completely interchangeable.

The electorate has become a mob. And how easy it was. dr.dawg

While I certainly don’t agree that the electorate has become a mob, I think Dawg is exactly right when he says that the niqab has become “synedoche for the Muslim presence in Canada” (synedoche means a part which represents the whole (yes, I had to look it up too)).

All of a sudden the people of Canada have the opportunity to express their views about Muslim immigration. Perhaps not directly – after all the niqab is not a particularly good proxy for Islam as it is not required religiously and not all Muslim women feel compelled to wear it – but far more overtly than the topic has ever been broached before.

Dawg ascribes all manner of sinister motives to Harper, his Aussie advisor and the CPC in bringing this up at all. For all I know this may very well be an exercise in wedge politics. If it is then it is about time that this wedge be tested.

Immigration policy in Canada has never really been put to any sort of popular test. Nor has the ruling class’s conviction that the only thing which matters about Islam is Islamophobia. Dawg lines up nicely with the ruling class and, in the lively comments, states,

There IS no legitimate debate about the degree a government should be prepared to extend human rights to minorities. Rights should never be up for debate, and frankly I don’t give a damn what Chantal (Hebert) says to the contrary. dr dawg

Apparently, well over 80% of Canadians disagree with this position.

Partially, I think, the debate turns on whether one sees Muslim immigration as just another instance of immigration or if one sees such immigration, particularly from the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia, as potentially more problematic than other sorts of immigration.

There are thousands of Muslim immigrants to Canada who lead rich, full integrated lives as Canadians. I am thinking particularly of the several hundred thousand Ismailis who arrived as refugees in the 1970s and have gone on to build vibrant, integrated communities all over Canada.

However, there is a growing minority of Muslims who have moved to Canada but who seem incapable of leaving their old countries, customs and culture behind. The burkas at Walmart are one thing, the demand for segregated swimming times another, the terrorism and support for Sharia law yet another.

Over at Dawg’s the argument seems to be that even noticing that there are Muslim immigrants who do not integrate well into Canadian society is bigoted or racist. Which it may well be; but Canadians have the right to at least discuss how they would like their country to evolve. Should we welcome immigrants from parts of the world where anti-Semitism is matter of fact? Where women are treated as chattels? Where support for the barbarity of Sharia law is a religious duty?

Harper – perhaps by design, perhaps by accident – has given Canadians the opportunity to discuss and, maybe, vote based upon their particular answer to the question of whether, in general, we should accommodate the religious, cultural and political demands of Islam.

I suspect he has won the election by giving Canadians that choice.

[And, as a bonus, I rather doubt that there are any Canadians other than the editorial board of the Globe and Mail, who don’t take a certain satisfaction when convicted terrorists are stripped of their Canadian citizenship. Just as few Canadians lamented when various Nazi war criminals lost their citizenship.]

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Clarkson Gone?

The Telegraph has a leak saying Jeremy Clarkson is getting the boot. Grounds are a verbal and physical assault on a junior producer which the BBC could not tolerate. (Nor should they.)

As with any leak it is wise to wait for the official announcement. And to hear what the actual evidence is. If Clarkson is being sacked I have to guess that there is pretty compelling evidence which goes beyond a “fracas” with a bit of “handbagging”. I have to assume that Clarkson went well beyond an annoyed harangue and was in full on bully mode. But we’ll see what the evidence actually is.

I thoroughly enjoy Top Gear and no question Clarkson makes the show. I find the BBC management as dismally luvie and left wing as most of the commentary suggests it is. But if Clarkson really did throw his not inconsiderable weight around and barracked his subordinate – much less hit him – then Clarkson has to go. If he takes Hammoon and May over to Netflix and puts out a car show I’ll watch it and so will my boys. But he really should have known better. 

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Rebel, Rebel…

Ezra rides again.

http://therebel.media/

Now here’s the thing. Ez has published a magazine and put on a nightly TV show. He apparently has some backing. He has name recognition.

The question is whether he has taken the proper lessons from the fact that neither of these two operations were successful? A good rant once in a while in the style of Rex Murphy is grand;but there needs to a lot more than that.

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Sun TV is dead

Word arrives of Sun TV’s demise.

I don’t watch TV so this is an abstract blow. I watched enough of Sun to know that I didn’t like it any more than I liked the Sun newspapers. It was certainly a dissident voice in the wasteland of Canadian television. But it missed Marshall Mcluhan’s point about television being a cool media. Worse, it lacked the vision which has driven Fox to the top of the cable heap.

Television is dying. Viewership is dropping, ad revenues are down. It’s dying because no one has time and no one wants to be talked at. Talked with, perhaps. My phone offers me a thousand and eleven news sources, raw video of events:the opinions I can develop myself.

Sun’s critical mistake – other than having the production values of community TV, was to miss how mainstream, lefty, media works. The opinion is embedded not overt.

I love Ezra and Brian Lilley. For five minutes at a time max. Which leaves 23 hours and change to do serious reporting, regional coverage, round tables, celebrity bs, culture, media, books and call ins. Plus serious business reporting when the market is open.

None of that happened. Or,if it did, no one knew about it.

Taking several million dollars and running a conservative flag up a pole is a worthy endeavour. Everyone at Sun deserves a heartfelt pat on the back. But the reality is that marketplaces decide what works and Sun TV never did.

It is encouraging that BCF noted that Ezra was sitting with Moses Znaimer at the Mark Steyn event. Znaimer is the smartest guy in Canadian television bar none.

Sun TV was an attempt to change the channel. It failed. The need remains but it has to be smart, slickly produced and Internet aware. Sun TV, whatever its ideological virtue, was ham handed, as slick as Brian’s do, and Internet poison. These are people from the dying newspaper business trying to revive the dying television business and it showed.

The market is never wrong… On to the next thing.

UPDATE:Lots of smart commentary floating around the Canadian net. Thanks to Blazingcatfur, Five Feet and Mark Steyn for linking.

Creating conservative media one needs to keep a couple of things in mind. Toronto is not Canada. No, really. The Internet is here to stay and it has changed everything. Real news leads, opinion follows. Conservatives are busy people. They will watch smartly packaged news and business reporting. The success of BNN demonstrates this. Television is dying so don’t be television…look to VICE as a model. Fixed costs are your enemy, freelancers your friend. There is a lot of underutilised studio space all over Canada. Slick production is about style, the 70’s are over. Technology let’s you shoot studio quality on a DSLR and edit on your phone. Use it or find someone who can.

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