White Noise: News Form Inside the Media Bubble
You can bike if you want to
“Safety Bike” mania has taken over the web through the viral technology known as YouTube and leapt up to CNN, where the viewer-generated content show “News to Me” picked it up over the weekend of Jan. 19-20. A production of CrimethInc, the “Safety Bike” was engineered and filmed in October 1998 by Greensboro’s Mark Dixon and friend Christopher Huggins. The three-minute video, complete with a heavy Germanic classical music soundtrack, features scenes of welding, spray-painting and a test performance that is by turns amusing and astonishing. A vertical metal hoop augments a standard bicycle frame aligned to the curvature of the wheels. Through several attempts, viewers can see assistants turning the bike into a roll, a completed summersault with the two wheels back on the ground and an incomplete revolution that results in the bike toppling to one side. By Monday, the video had notched 48,053 views, generated 69 comments and even prompted an admirer to post his own YouTube video commenting on the original.
Whenever I’m researching an article that has anything to do with the history of Greensboro, I invariably come across a piece on the same subject written years ago by Greensboro News & Record veteran Jim Schlosser. And it is invariably better written, more thought out and more meticulously sourced than anything I could ever produce. Schlosser announced his retirement from the front lines of daily newspaper journalism last week after 41 years as the N&R’s go-to guy for all things compellingly local. Thank god – now maybe the rest of us stand a chance. According to N&R Editor John Robinson’s blog, they’ve got a few Schlosser pieces in the can and after they run, Schlosser will return as a columnist. We’re looking forward to it.
That’s inked up
I’m not sure presidential candidate Ron Paul actually embraces his reputation as a wing nut, but there it is. Examples of outside-the-boxness include flying a campaign blimp all over the country, hating Rudy Giuliani and floating an idea to fund time travel by “print[ing] more money.” But the nuttiest idea to come out of Paul’s campaign had to be this: The Paul camp reportedly offered light heavyweight Roy Jones Jr. $50,000 to sport a back tattoo reading “Ron Paul for president” during this past weekend’s bout with Felix Trinidad. Jones didn’t go for it.
Calling out Romney
Reporters on the presidential campaign trail have been rightfully criticized as “stenographers to power.” They dutifully take down the quotes the candidates give them. The spin and dissembling generated by the handlers comes too fast for the poor, under-gunned reporters to sort through. Before you know it, the contest is over and some imbecile is standing at the top of the heap. Associated Press reporter Glen Johnson decided to stop playing along at a press confab with Mitt Romney on Jan. 17, in a priceless piece of political theater captured on YouTube. “I don’t have lobbyists running my campaign,” the candidate says. “I don’t have lobbyists that are tied to my -” To which Johnson responds, “That’s not true. Ron Kaufman’s a lobbyist.” After the press conference, Romney walks around the crowd and hovers over Johnson, telling him: “He’s not running my campaign. He’s not running my campaign… Listen to my words. Let’s you and I talk.” Then Romney’s traveling press secretary, Eric Fehrnstrom, jumps in, saying, “Hey Glen, save your arguments. You’re being argumentative with the candidate. It’s out of line…. Save your opinions and act professionally.” Northeastern University journalism professor Dan Kennedy comes to Johnson’s defense on the Media Nation blog: “If you watch the video, you’ll see that Romney tries to hang his argument on a technicality, saying that Kaufman isn’t ‘running’ his campaign. But it is simply a matter of objective fact that Kaufman is ‘tied’ to Romney’s campaign (as Romney started to say), and at a very high level…. How much garbage can [Johnson] be expected to listen to?”