Let Me Distract Myself By Thinking About Something Less Depressing than Trump. Let Me Think About... L. Cornelius Sulla!
Ten Years Ago at Grasping Reality: June 19, 2008

June 18, 2008: Ten Years Ago at Grasping Reality

Atlantic Monthly Death Spiral Watch (Outsourced to the Poor Man Edition): If the Atlantic Monthly survives the new media hurricane in any form whatsoever, it will be because it maintains and strengthens its reputation as a good filter of information.... The Poor Man explains, slowly and patiently and politely, why publishing Gregg Easterbrook is the road to destruction....

Easterbrook cilps 5 words from page 2 of this report as evidence that the NAS was cautioning against making any policy decisions. Seventy pages later, in a chapter titled “Recommendations”, you find this:

Despite the great uncertainties, greenhouse warming is a potential threat sufficient to justify action now.

Ten pages of immediate policy recommendations follow. Again, this report came out 15 years ago...

Does anybody think Howell Raines ever had any business being a journalist?: Perhaps the Strangest Article I Have Read, Ever (Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?): Howell Raines on Jim Romanesko.... There are, I think, only three "facts" I did not already know--and I don't know much about Jim Romanesko or Poynter:

  1. Poynter pays Jim Romanesko $170K a year.
  2. Jim Romanesko turned down an offer to jump to Brill's Content five years ago.
  3. awker's "readers tend to speak of Romenesko more as a historical figure than a must-read. 'I don’t feel obligated to check it daily since a lot of the news doesn’t directly relate to me,' says a young New York-based reporter at a major newspaper.... 'Romenesko... provides a great top-line summary for a dying industry--an invaluable tool for that master’s thesis 20 years from now on the fall of paper'..."

And, of course, this third is not a "fact." Howell Raines has no magic surveillance machine with which he takes the pulse of what Gawker's readers say. And we all know how worthless is Howell Raines's ability to find one reporter who--anonymously--will serve as a sock puppet and do Howell Raines's bidding by saying that Jim Romanesko is a has-been about to be consumed by the monster he created. It would be something--but not much--if the "young New York-based reporter at a major newspaper" were willing to be named. It would be considerably more if Howell Raines had made some effort to demonstrate that the views of his sock puppet were in any sense representative or influential....