August 18th, 2008

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Why I love mainstream media part whatever

The constant undertone in the media narrative of the race is that McCain is competitive when he shouldn't be, because the Obama campaign is somehow underperforming. This get repeatedly pretty constantly, with news that McCain is "tightening the race" or the race is "competitive" or even "practically even." Coupled with tales of Obama's fundraising talents and the ongoing media focus on the Clintons as constituting a second front for Obama within the party, the whole is designed to maintain that Obama is doing poorly when he should be doing well.

Maybe. But my gut sense is telling me there is not actually a heck of a lot of movement and hasn't been since the primary pretty much wrapped up. I expect to see patterns similar to what we saw in the primaries -- a lot of people waiting to see the candidates debate (I expect the conventions to be much more heavily watched than usual) and a lot of soft support and undecideds making up their minds in the last few days before the election.

There are simply too many wild cards right now -- especially in the question of voter registration, which the MSM is finally cluing into as a major Obama strategy. As in the primaries, everyone knows polling data this far out is highly suspect, yet people are obsessed with the "horse race" coverage (including its proxy, fundraising).

But as always, for media watchers such as myself, is the interaction between the MSM coverage (including its tendency to be uniform) and how broadcast media in particular shape the public opinion. As always, PEW does an excellent non-partisan job cutting through the nonsense and providing nice quantification on actual media coverage.

Waiting, waiting, waiting . . . . The Internet Radio Deathwatch.

Waiting for the FCC to finally issue some orders. I HATE waiting. But the FCC moves at its own pace.

Meanwhile, it looks like Internet radio may die.

I'm kinda sad about that. But I do feel a mild bit of Cassandrafreude in that I warned the independent artists they were killing themselves by siding with the Copyright Office and the big boys even if it meant a cut in royalties in the short term.

The issue isn't just the royalty fees. It is also the massively increased reporting requirements. It is rapidly driving out streaming for college stations and smaller community stations, who simply can't afford the royalties (radio pays no royalties for over the air broadcasting, but they pay for streaming like everyone else) or the reporting and screening requirements.

Congress has had legislation pending before it for over a year now to set royalty rates for internet radio as equal to those paid by satellite radio. But Congress won't act. Sadly, many members of Congress are now reduced to begging industry to solve its own problems to avoid needing to actually pass legislation. It's like shepherds asking wolves to negotiate in good faith with sheep because shepherds would really hate to have to start doing stuff. And about as effective.
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Which is worse, hubris or timidity?

I can't decide which is worse, the overweening pride of the Republicans, which consistently prompts them to bray of total victory even when the portents of doom are obvious to all so that the braying seems positively comic, or the astounding timidity of the Democrats who keep believing it.