Felix Salmon

HuffPo Live: The Fox News of the knee-jerk left?

August 13, 2012

Huffington Post Live launched today. Don’t call it streaming video: “it’s really a platform for engagement,” in the words of its founding editor, Roy Sekoff. What does that mean in practice? Let’s play Celebrity Google Hangouts! Here’s your host, Josh Zepps. Take it away, Josh:

The art of earnings reports

August 13, 2012

Arthur Brisbane, the NYT public editor, has a characteristically skittish column on earnings reports. He quotes lots of journalists (Dean Starkman! Gretchen Morgenson! Larry Ingrassia! Jim Cramer!), and ends with advice worthy of Polonius:

Dubious statistics of the day, cybercrime edition

August 7, 2012

I feel for Peter Maass and Megha Rajagopalan of ProPublica, who have spent 3,700 words and some enormous amount of time trying to track down the source of dubious cybercrime statistics. I went through something similar in 2005, looking at counterfeiting statistics: I can attest to how frustrating and thankless it is trying to follow footnote after footnote in a futile attempt to find something substantive amidst the exaggerated rhetoric.

Jonah Lehrer, TED, and the narrative dark arts

August 3, 2012

One of the most interesting takes on l’affaire Jonah Lehrer comes in a book review which was almost certainly written before any of the latest revelations: Evgeny Morozov’s hilarious and masterful dismantling of Parag Khanna in particular and the whole TED mindset in general. Whatever else you do this weekend, make sure to read it: you won’t be sorry. But this part is directly relevant to Lehrer:

Bloomberg with attitude

July 26, 2012

Bloomberg News has been run, since inception, along the lines laid out very clearly by its editor-in-chief, Matt Winkler, in The Bloomberg Way. But you don’t need to buy a copy of the book to know what the Bloomberg Way means: if you spend any time at all reading Bloomberg articles, you’ll know exactly how it feels to read them.

Jumping to conclusions, Malcom Gladwell edition

July 24, 2012

Back in 2009, when Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote Too Big To Fail, Moe Tkacik picked up on one particular anecdote: that Joe Gregory, who “loved being the in-house philosopher-king” at Lehman Brothers, was prone to handing out copies of Malcom Gladwell’s Blink to employees, and “had even hired the author to lecture employees on trusting their instincts when making difficult decisions”. Then Joe Weisenthal, reading Tkacik’s post, immediately reblogged it under the very TBI headline “GUILTY: Malcolm Gladwell Caused Lehman To Fail”.

How not to report on the poor and the wealthy

July 23, 2012

The media has not exactly covered itself in glory when reporting on money-related research of late. For instance, consider Martha White’s blog post at Time.com on Friday. Here’s the headline:

Media ethics and transparency

July 11, 2012

I’ve just been told that it’s International Media Ethics Day in September, which is so far away that I’m bound to forget to post something. But I have been thinking a bit about media ethics of late, and especially the ever-increasing list of rules designed to ensure that journalists are neither conflicted nor seen to be conflicted. And the more I look at such things, the more I come to the conclusion that all too often they do a very good job of banning harmless activity, while at the same time proving quite ineffective against situations which are far more ethically problematic.

When the Supreme Court leaks

July 2, 2012

On Thursday, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, you could hear the machinery creaking as pundits around the web felt the need to respond. I took the media angle, deducing from seven minutes of CNN (which I didn’t even watch) that “TV news is ultimately much more an arm of the entertainment industry than it is of the news industry”, and that “if you want to be a journalist, don’t work in TV”. And over at Bloomberg View, Stephen Carter declared that “the most fascinating aspect” of the 193-page decision — which I’m sure he hadn’t read in full — was the fact that it hadn’t leaked: