Curley in Amber (Or, Reason # 54,765 Why AP is DOOMED.)

by matttbastard

Speaking of media dinosaurs, it would appear the Associated Press is once again eager to hasten its own extinction:

I’ve tried to avoid speaking out regarding reports about the Associated Press’ plans for the future. I’ve done so because AP executives and board members have a habit of saying lots of things that are later “corrected” after they stick their fingers in the air and discover the wind is blowing another direction. So I assume everything I hear that’s attributed to “someone at AP” is merely a trial balloon.

However, the article in the New York Times today about AP (or, if you prefer, “the” AP) “cracking down on unpaid use of articles on the web,” attributes the insanity it reports to the CEO of the AP — by name. As he was going on record with the New York Times, I have to assume that he means what he’s saying.

In other words, I feel fairly confident now that it’s okay for me to start calling a nut a nut.

Here’s a quote from the NYTimes.com story:

“Tom Curley, The A.P.’s president and chief executive, said the company’s position was that even minimal use of a news article online required a licensing agreement with the news organization that produced it. In an interview, he specifically cited references that include a headline and a link to an article, a standard practice of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, news aggregators and blogs.”

In other words, what I just did — quote the New York Times and point to the article — would be considered a copyright violation by AP if the point was to an AP story. To quote and link to that story would require me to have a licensing agreement with AP. That policy, of course, is nuts.

And I’m not even saying it’s nuts from a legal “fair use” standpoint or nuts because AP reporters quote and link to bloggers all day everyday. And I won’t even explain why it’s nuts because of the traffic-driving dynamics and economics of advertising revenue that results when I point to an AP story on, say, my hometown newspaper’s website.

I’m just saying “it’s nuts.” And it’s nuts that Tom Curley doesn’t understand why it is nuts.

BTW, remember this little teapot tempest from the stiff-spined TECHNICAL GENIUSES @ AP?UNAUTHORIZED!!!1

Yep — still embeddable.

Golf. Claps.

Methinks some jaunty grave-dancing music is in order:

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In the Kitchen with Ron and Co.

by matttbastard

Shorter Associated Press: “‘The world’ = an Italian op-ed scribe, some guy in France, an Egyptian civil servant, and Hugo Chavez.”

*blink*

Y’know, one would think a purportedly reputable, mainstream news organization would tap into ye olde expense account and commission an opinion poll to, y’know, semi-accurately measure global opinion. Kinda like these outlets did, in order to gauge the domestic mood prior to Obama’s inauguration, instead of simply splicing together a handful of anecdotes.  But that’s precisely the sort of unnecessary clutter that Ron Fournier’s revoultionary “make shit up” policy swiftly cuts through, like a freshly-sharpened bowie knife slicing a thick hunk of canned ham.

It's evolution, baby!

Mmmm, canned ham.  Followed by donuts and coffee for dessert. Now that’s a surefire recipe for success.

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Dear Associated Press

by matttbastard

1992 called–it wants its appalling lack of journalistic ethics and standards back.

No, seriously–you keep making shit up, with no apparent interest in sifting through unfounded allegations and baseless conjecture to find a nugget of fact. Hint: continually filing meat-free stories with breathless headlines like “Senate-for-sale case threatens new chief of staff” is a good way to brand yourselves as the Fox Newswire. Not to say that you’ve collectively lowered yourselves to the histrionic level of Professional Obama Haters (yet); but the desperate Blagobamarahmbogate obsession is getting a bit pathetic.

At this point, it seems that the primary source fuelling most of the recent unfounded allegations and baseless conjecture regarding Blagobamarahmbogate is–wait for it–the Associated Press. As Steve Benen said, “[a]s serious as Blagojevich’s problems are, it sounds like the Obama/transition team angle is a dud. There’s just nothing there.” So why, in the middle of the worst economic downturn since 19-fucking-29, do you insist on flailing and floundering with great speculative ado over, um, nothing?

Newsflash: there’s no clutter left to cut through, kids; you’ve totally eviscerated the biggest obstacle to successfully implementing Ron Fournier’s new mandate: your credibility.

in fairness and balance,

matttbastard

PS: George Stephanopolus would like to formally apologize for taking the wind out of your sails today. Not that this latest no-shit-revelation will be enough to stem the speculative bluster emanating from your Washington Bureau. But one can always hope you’ll now start charting a new course.

(I know, and a dapple-fucking-grey pony.)

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What Sully Said

by matttbastard

"Oh yes, with sprinkles!"
"Oh yes, with sprinkles!"

New Political Animal head honcho Steve Benen has penned the ultimate smackdown of Ron “keep up the fight” Fournier’s bullshit op-ed-masquerading-as-analysis re: the newly announced Obama/Biden ticket (sample dingleberry of wisdom: Biden “talks too much”–yep, that’s why they pay Ron the big bucks, folks), both of which y’all should check out (assuming you haven’t yet done so). But I want to highlight something that Andrew Sullivan also noticed regarding Fournier and his blatant (if inconsistent) use of “aggressive Republican spin”:

Last spring…Fournier was lambasting Obama for arrogance [link added–mb]. Now, apparently, it’s a lack of confidence. Whatever works, I guess. But please, get a blog.

From “ooz[ing] entitlement” to lacking confidence–apparently even the DC bureau chief of the Associated Press has trouble keeping GOP talking points straight. Forget blogging — methinks Fournier should just get out of the beltway entirely, maybe score himself a nice quiet job behind the counter of Dunkin’ Donuts.

Whatever works, natch.

Related: Jack and Jill Politics rounds up a cross-section of responses to the veep announcement from POC commentators; Jimmy Orr Peter Grier provides a more, um, traditional (read: analytical) analysis; Cara is underwhelmed, skdadl is optimistic, publius is “psyched” and Hilzoy is thankful Obama didn’t pick Bayh (aren’t we all); Delaware native Shawn Mullen paints an informative (if at times fawning) portrait of Biden; various reactions from NARAL, Hillary Clinton, and Howard Wolfson, who notes that Obama’s pragmatic, traditional veep choice “gives an opening to the McCain campaign to pick a woman or make an out-of-the-box selection.”

Update: This is interesting:

The Washington Bureau Chief of the Associated Press, Ron Fournier, may command speaker’s fees of up to $10,000 per appearance.

As of this writing, Fournier appears to be available for booking through the All American Talent & Celebrity Network‘s website. I called to confirm that he was still listed with the agency, but I haven’t heard back yet.

According to his speaker bio, Fournier co-wrote a book called Applebee’s America with Bush’s former chief strategist Matthew Dowd and former high-level Clinton adviser, Doug Sosnik. Appropriately enough, the 2006 book is a treatise on political marketing for politicians, captains of industry, and mega-church pastors.

AP’s ethics policy on outside appearances:

OUTSIDE APPEARANCES:
Employees frequently appear on radio and TV news programs as panelists asking questions of newsmakers; such appearances are encouraged.

However, there is potential for conflict if staffers are asked to give their opinions on issues or personalities of the day. Advance discussion and clearance from a staffer’s supervisor are required.

Employees must inform a news manager before accepting honoraria and/or reimbursement of expenses for giving speeches or participating in seminars at colleges and universities or at other educational events if such appearance makes use of AP’s name or the employee represents himself or herself as an AP employee. No fees should be accepted from governmental bodies; trade, lobbying or special interest groups; businesses, or labor groups; or any group that would pose a conflict of interest. All appearances must receive prior approval from a staffer’s supervisor.

h/t Steve Clemons

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