Meta-Commentary

Models

Posted in media, politics by Adrian Arroyo on July 28, 2010

Model 1 and model 2 are in competition with each other, and model 1 is outperforming model 2. Adherents of model 2 have a professional obligation to adjust their model to make it more competitive with model 1.

Chuck Todd, James Risen, Jeff Goldberg et al., are examples of folks who, I assume, recognize that there is a problem but are hostile to innovation. Traditional media–for whatever value of that term you prefer–need not ape its competitors, but it has to do something. At the moment, “doing something” seems to be viewed as a betrayal of journalistic integrity, which is the sort of self-defeating logic that can only end in failure.

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Chuck

Posted in media, politics by Adrian Arroyo on July 28, 2010

Chuck Todd joins the debate on Journolist, the listserv that ended Dave Weigel’s time at the Washington Post. The point that Chuck makes is that Journolist provides the right wing with a tool to tar the media as liberal:

There are clearly some on the right who are interested in delegitimizing a lot of the mainstream media for either their own gain or for something else, and they’re using this as their gotcha moment.

Apparently, Chuck Todd feels it would be irresponsible to speculate as to what that benefit or motive is, but he admits its existence. The situation is fairly simple: the right is playing by an entirely different set of rules than Chuck Todd is, and if he wants to push back against that he has to actually push back against it.

Journolist was, among other things, an attempt to do that. It failed, but the basic insight remains: Defending your territory requires action against an aggressor, not observation of that aggressor’s existence/aggression combined with a vague hope that people will draw the conclusion that favors you.

Abulia

Posted in work by Adrian Arroyo on July 27, 2010

On a cold New England evening, Jessica’s severe abulia imperiled her new relationship; an argument over the merits of caesar vs cobb salad precipitated a week of wintry silence.

(The third part of an ongoing series in which the writer attempts to use a word circled in David Foster Wallace’s American Heritage Dictionary appropriately)

Audience

Posted in media, politics by Adrian Arroyo on July 15, 2010

There’s an odd conflict inherent in a career as a political journalist. Advancement in the field is based on the opinions of other people in the field, who consume your output in a manner that’s completely different from the broad mass of readers. Thus, most successful political journalists are “journalist’s journalists” rather than “reader’s journalists.” That’s the case in most careers, but the role of journalists as shapers and arbiters of our public discourse makes the skew somewhat more problematic.

Ablaut

Posted in work by Adrian Arroyo on July 12, 2010

The thick Geechee accent of my guide clouded the ablauts I had used to ford these lowcountry conversations. Soon, we two–citizens of the same nation–found ourselves reduced to the graceless art of point and pantomime.

(The second part of an ongoing series in which the writer attempts to use a word circled in David Foster Wallace’s American Heritage Dictionary appropriately)

Ablative Absolute

Posted in work by Adrian Arroyo on July 6, 2010

The forced compartmentalization of city life so crowded his head with personalities that each of his friends encountered him as a kind of ablative absolute: from his circumstances, identity emerged.

(The first part of an ongoing series in which the writer attempts to use a word circled in David Foster Wallace’s American Heritage Dictionary appropriately)