Mar
30
2012

The One Graph That Explains Why Copyright Is Too Long

Infinite Copyright Is Killing Culture

From Matthew Yglesias (3/30/12), one simple chart that illustrates why copyright terms are way, way, way too long for the good of the culture: Books published before 1923 are in the public domain; we read a lot of them (based on Amazon shipping figures). Books published in the past 10 or 20 years or so are in copyright, but are still in high demand; they're making a lot of money for publishers and are encouraging a supply of new books. Between these two periods, there's a vast desert of books that are still in copyright but are in very low […]

May
16
2011

More Evidence of Gingrich's Idea-Spewing

Last week, Washington Post reporter Dan Balz explained that Newt Gingrich was "an idea-spewing machine" and a "one-man think tank"–even warning that "a keen intellect can also translate into the appearance of intellectual superiority." Well OK. A few days in Balz's paper, readers learned that in a recent speech Gingrich called Barack Obama a "food stamp president." Which I think must be some wonky think tank rhetoric. Matthew Yglesias also noted that in the same appearance, Gingrich advocated a return to Jim Crow-era voting laws, saying: "But maybe we should also have a voting standard that says to vote, as […]

Feb
18
2011

Chris Christie's Not Telling the Truth–Ugly or Otherwise

New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie is the object of intense devotion among some on the right (Glenn Beck in particular). No surprise, then, that he'd get a lot of attention for going to Washington and delivering a stern lecture about how to fix the deficit. And no surprise that he'd talk about Social Security. It has nothing to do with the deficit, but that's another matter. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank was on hand to cheer on Christie's message (2/16/11). Christie pokes fun at his weight, which apparently makes his truth-telling even more appealing: But his physique also works […]

Jul
26
2010

Leaked Reuters Memo Suggests Reporters Should Keep Their Ideas to Themselves

Reuters editor-in-chief David Schlesinger sent a memo to staffers on July 8 with the subject line "How Social Media Impacts Your Professional Life," suggesting new rules for journalists' private expressions of opinion. So far, the memo seems to have only been discussed on a German language media blog (Ruhr Barone, 7/22/10). Jumping off from the cases of Dave Weigel and Octavia Nasr, who had to leave jobs at WashingtonPost.com and CNN, respectively, after their online communication became controversial, Schlesinger declares that " in a linked and searchable world, your online persona can reflect on how or even whether you can […]

Apr
20
2009

WSJ Distorts Tax Rate for the Rich

Reading Wall Street Journal reporter Gary Fields' "point that a family making slightly over $250,000 doesnâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t necessarily feel all that 'rich' when it comes to facing a tax hike from Barack Obama," Matthew Yglesias (Think Progress, 4/17/09) dubs his story "The Not-So-Compelling Plight of the Somewhat Rich" and notes that "what the story doesn't do is put this issue in the appropriate context of what an increase in the marginal rate really implies": If you raise taxes on "people making over $250,000," that means an increase only in the 250,001st dollar and onward. It's not, in other words, as if […]

Apr
14
2009

We Want the Washington Post to Be More Than an Official Echo Chamber

Washington Post reporter Paul Kaneprofferedwhat blogger Matthew Yglesias aptly called a "full-throated defense of journalism-as-stenography." Kane had been criticized by Media Matters that he had quoted Sen. Olympia Snowe (R.-Maine) as saying that Barack Obama's use of the filibuster-avoiding budget reconciliation tool would make it "infinitely more difficult to bridge the partisan divide" without noting that Snowe had backed budget reconciliation when it was used by George W. Bush.Asked in a WashingtonPost.com chat to defend himself against this criticism, Kane responded: I'm sorry, whatâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s to defend? Someone tell Media Matters to get over themselves and their overblown ego of righteousness.We […]

Feb
27
2009

NYT Slams Gore for Relying on NYT

Think Progress blogger Matthew Yglesias (2/25/09) hits the Washington Post for "standing behind the claim that up is down if George Will says that is"–and then spreads some of the blame around: Meanwhile, one of the Post's main competitors in the world of papers with potential to attract a national audience is the New York Times. So faced with a humiliating abrogation of basic responsibilities by its competitor, does the Times take the opportunity to pour some salt in the wounds? No! Instead, out comes Andrew Revkin with a false-equivalence article painting Will with the same brush as Al Gore. […]