Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Facebook’s phony claim that “you’re in charge.”

It simply isn’t true that an algorithmic filter can be designed to remove the designers from the equation. That assertion melts on contact, and a New York Times reporter who receives such a claim from a Facebook engineer should somehow signal to us that he knows how bogus it is. In today’s New York Times, […]

Why do they give us tenure?

That’s what I asked Jeff Hancock, the Cornell University professor who collaborated with Facebook on its ‘emotional contagion’ study, which subtly manipulated the news feeds of users to see if happier inputs made for sadder outputs. I also listened closely as he spoke of being in the center of an internet storm. Conclusion: I am […]

First Look Media: a personal update

In November of last year, I said that I was joining First Look Media, Pierre Omidyar’s start-up, as a (paid) advisor. Today, I am announcing that I am no longer involved in First Look. There is no drama and not much of a story to it. After the first six months of giving shape to […]

Some old-fashioned blogging in the link-and-comment style

Bring back the fun. Scott Rosenberg — who literally wrote the book on it — says blogging is enjoying something of a revival lately. Nicholas Carr senses a mood of exhaustion with what he calls Big Internet. By Big Internet, I mean the platform- and plantation-based internet, the one centered around giants like Google and […]

When quoting both sides and leaving it there is the riskier call

If the weight of the evidence allows you to make a judgment, but instead you go with “he said, she said,” you’re behaving recklessly even as you tell yourself you’re doing the cautious thing. It’s my job to notice when a piece of standard brand pressthink “flips” around and no longer works as intended. I […]

“Wrong side of your Orwell, mister editor.” The New York Times falls down on the word torture.

These are my discussion notes to The Executive Editor on the Word ‘Torture’, a letter to Times readers from Dean Baquet, August 7, 2014. “It’s time to celebrate that the newspaper of record is no longer covering for war criminals.” That’s what Andrew Sullivan, who has kept watch on this story, wrote Thursday. The news he was celebrating: the New York Times […]

The production of innocence: tale of two headlines over Gaza

“Members of Congress fall over each other to support Israel,” the AP said on Twitter. Then the AP decided that it could not say that. Why? It’s early in the game. I have only been writing about this concept for four years. Okay, nine. Whatever! I keep at it. This is a work of pressthink […]

First Look Media shifts direction some

And has none of this figured out. Pierre Omidyar published a blog post today that gave an update on First Look Media, the company he started with Glenn Greenwald and others and backed with $250 million of his own money. Nine Months in, First Look is Still Very Much a Startup. As regular readers of […]