Everyone is talking about the fact that Kaplan ran a Dinesh D’Souza piece about how Obama suffers from anti-colonial anger. I’m not going to link to it, but Steve Benen discusses it at length here, noting that even Howard Kurtz criticized it.
Felix Salmon finds that Forbes, which ran the original D’Souza rant, is now auctioning off blog space on their site to the highest bidder; presumably this means we can expect a new Forbes blog on the environment run by Exxon-Mobil.
Neither Forbes nor the Washington Post is a money-making entity (I don’t know if Forbes ever has been one) and each will only survive until its owner pulls the plug on what is by now nothing more than an expensive vanity project. Forbes has always been a joke, as Salmon puts it “Forbes editors are by necessity a craven bunch: the magazine side has to do whatever Steve Forbes (who’s the publisher, as well as the editor in chief) tells them to do, no matter how bonkers or wingnut it might be.”
But couldn’t the Washington Post die with a little dignity?
My question is this: What photographic evidence of unseemly activities by which top Kaplan/WaPo executive is Fred Hiatt in possession of that keeps him employed?
@arguingwithsignposts: I’ve learned to never underestimate the power of an irrational obsession.
When people stay in place inexplicably, it’s that they either fit into one; or they are one.
Fred Hiatt tells us why:
If Villagers talk about it, its worth publishing. This is the only criterion for ink on the WaPo editorial page.
If you wanted death with dignity, then the paper should have been buried with Kay Graham back in 2001. The entire enterprise went to complete shit shortly thereafter.
You forgot the C.R.E.A.M. tag, which seems especially apropos in this case.
Forbes? What’s that?
@Maude: I think it was the first corporation to run for public office, back in 1996.
There’s really nothing more to say about the WaPo any more, except don’t read it or link to it. I stopped months ago and apparently haven’t missed one goddamned thing. Dignity my ass. DIAF, neocon fuckers.
But it will be a fun Saturday night in Columbia SC tonight.
As already mentioned, that ship has sailed.
With the ascension of Sparkle Princess Kathleen Parker to the pinnacle of journanimalism that is CNN Prime Time, they don’t actually know they’re in decline. Poor bastards.
Davis X. Machina
The saddest thing I’ve ever seen in politics was in 1996, in a New Hampshire parking lot, during the primary, behind some talking heads who were killing time chatting on cable before a debate somewhere — an organized group of ten or twelve frat boys, all in regulation blue blazers, khakis and Topsiders, jumping up and down and yelling “Freezin’ for a reason! Steve Forbes!”
I wonder what became of their lives…. what stories they tell themselves to explain it away….
My new theory is that sometimes, when people know they have something to answer for, and they can’t face it, they bitch louder than anyone and there is no dignity.
I formed this theory today, after listening to Act One of this This American Life episode, “Crybabies“.
The show itself doesn’t put forth that theory; it just pretty much marvels at the phenomenon. But that is my hunch, and it rings a bell with previous observation. Really do listen to Act One, it is infuriating and hilarious.
@Davis X. Machina:
I’m guessing that they went on to work at one of the big investment banks, and have been spending the time since 1996 destroying the American economy. It fits with their behavior back then.
DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.
I thought about it, but I am not totally sure this is a sound money-making decision. It seems more like a desperate attempt to make money…or something.
Honestly, I don’t know why they would run something like this. Even Tunku is horrified by it.
DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.
She is one of their better columnists. I don’t find her that objectionable, she’s better than Bobo or Chunky Bobo.
The Post has been dead since 2001, when Katharine Graham died. It just hasn’t realized that it’s a zombie yet, eating the brains of the Villagers to stay animated.
Mike in NC
Ain’t gonna happen. They’ll first add Jonah Goldberg and Michelle Malkin to their All Star stable of wingnut pundits.
As for Dinesh D’Souza, he’s a self-loather who wishes he was born Prescott Addington Vanderbilt IV.
@DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.: Of course it’s not a sound money making decision – there aren’t any for the newspapers that don’t involve risk, courage, and vision. Anyone with those traits was kicked out of the boat ages ago, when they first started sinking. The only ones dumping money into newspapers are the Medicare/Tea Party crowd. Catering to them is a fools errand, as most of them will be dead in a decade. The GOP is making the same mistake.
But this is all about trying to keep revenues flowing, and has nothing at all to do with journalism. It may not be financially smart in the long run, but that doesn’t mean it’s not financially motivated.
DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.
You’re right, it is financially motivated, that much is true.
@Allan: Spitzer/Parker interviewed D’Souza and she pointed out his errors just as Spitzer did.
BTW…I don’t have cable but I did watch that interview on line.
It started out, I’m told, as a way for its founder (the current owner’s father, Malcolm) to meet hot young “creative content” hustlers back when most “respectable” gay men were deeply closeted. In the Mad-Men context, a fugly old rich man wining & dining a string of pretty, much younger male employees was much more socially palatable when the old guy owned a high-profile ‘business’ title than if he had to resort to the old ‘modeling agency’ figleaf. It continues because the current owner found out, to his sorrow, that it was more cost-effective and far less ego-bruising to present his Brilliant Insights only in front of captive audiences whose paychecks depend on how loudly they applaud. So it’s gone from providing social cover for a closeted bisexual to providing intellectual credibility to a dimwitted heir… the arc of Modern Conservatism in miniature.
Davis X. Machina
@Roger Moore: Perhaps, if they actually went to work for Steve, Son of Malcolm, there’s some comfort to be had. But if they’re just ordinary cogs in the machine, it’s got to rankle. There’s being a tool, and being a tool!, and getting captured on camera being a tool!.
Forbes didn’t get within pissing distance of a single delegate. Finished behind Lamar! Alexander in NH. And the guy who beat Lamar! and Steve, Son of Malcolm, BobDole, got beat himself like a Woolworth’s toy drum by Pat Buchanan, for chrissake.
It’s one thing to sell your soul to the Devil Faust-style, in exchange for wealth, and knowledge, and hot babes. This was like selling your soul to the manager of your Jiffy-Lube, in exchange for a lifetime of free oil changes. It’s beneath whatever is below pathetic.
I think it is unlikely the WaPo (or the NYT) will die in our lifetimes, no matter what money drains they become. It’s an “institution” thing. The PTB just couldn’t admit that newspapers as ancient and venerated as these have outlived their usefulness.
Also son Donald still runs the thing, much as he has disgraced the family legacy by his manner of doing so. Since from all indications he’s a rightwing asshole, he will no doubt fight the noble cause of assholery to the bitter end.
I am old enough to remember when the NY Post was actually a decent newspaper, before Murdoch bought it in the ’70s and turned it to shit. AFAIK it has never made money, but old Rupie has kept it on life support for 35 years now and it’s shittier than ever.
Where would you like your internet delivered?
You know who else was anti-colonial?
This is one of those topics where your initial reaction to the phrase is – hell yeah! who isn’t pissed about colonialism? But then the article will – so I assume – gently walk the reader through the complexity of international relations, and the nuance and subtlety such an enterprise entails. And it will then categorically state that Obama’s resentment and knee-jerk refusal to use US Powah! hurts Americans and is indicative of a lack of leadership, both domestically and throughout the world.
I mean, it’s a truism that the US only uses it’s power to promote good? Anyone disagree?
Deleted. Double post.
@Davis X. Machina:
It’s beneath whatever is below pathetic.
Distressingly inadequate was in one dictionary and might work but would require the use of a pretty strong addition to end up at Fuckingly, distressingly, inadequate.
Couldn’t the Washington Post die with a little dignity,……..A little late for that.
At least the fact that Forbes is selling its space off to the highest bidder is public knowledge now. That is in some sense a small step forward.
Speaking of pride going before a fall, Krugman has a very perceptive piece on the problems with modern mainstream equilibrium macroeconomics:
My only quibble is that the math you need for the neoclassical equilibrium macroeconomics doesn’t seem all that advanced to me. Basically you make a little toy model of the economy with a representative consumer, consumer goods producer, basic goods producer, gummint and a bank, sometime you might split one of those categories, say consumer into liquidity constrained and the richy rich who are not.
Note that this approach of assuming a whole economic sector can be modeled like it is an optimizing economic agent assumes ridiculously strict and unrealistic aggregation conditions are fulfilled.
Then you set up their intertemporal optimization problem, and assume each sector/agent solves it. Then you assume an intertemporal equilibrium of each sectors planned productions, sales and consumption holds. Actually, no one know at all how to verify whether the economy is anywhere near such a hypothetical equilibrium, but you assume it anyway.
The solution usually produces a dynamic system with a saddlepoint equilibrium. Now you put a condition on the equilibrium path over time so that everyone in the economy moves quickly to a unique branch of one of the finite number of equilibrium paths to the stable steady state saddlepoint equilibrium.
Now you assume that the economy is always so close to steady state equilibrium that the dynamic system can be linearized. So you end up estimating a linear set of equations. All the big residuals are assumed to be unexpected shocks, uncorrelated with anything else that goes on in the economy.
So, you need to know intertemporal optimization (usually dynamic programming or optimal control formalism), some differential equations and dynamic systems, and linear estimation theory.
Mathy people interested in the details can check out the book ‘Structural Macroeconomics’ by Dave and DeJong, for a quick elementary guide to the methods, and some results.
Actually the issue of estimation is touchy. In a famous comment, one of the founders of this school said that conventional statistical tests of the neoclassical macro model were rejecting ‘too many good models’, so their solution was to give up testing the models statistically against real world data. They did what they call ‘calibration’, they picked a variety of numbers from other studies to plug into their macro models and simulated them. The goal was to see how well they could produce covariances seen between real world variables and the covariances from their simulations. If the covariances were close enough, the model was deemed to work.
Producing covariances between a simulation and covariances of real world data is a weak form of confirmation. Especially when using linear models. Mathy types might want to think about Factor Analysis to see the point here. You need lots of tricky identification conditions to make sure there are not lots of models that are observationally equivalent to your model, but have a very different structure in some ways.
Not sure what got into me to write all this stuff. In grad school, I kind of lost interest in doing this kind of macro after I understood the extremely strong assumptions needed to model huge sectors of the economy as if they were single optimization economic agents.
A lot of ignorant, but math wonk, neoclassical macroeconomists sneer at Krugman because they think he is too math illiterate to produce these fancy intertemporal optimization models. But of course, he can do that. More sophisticated neoclassicals do not like what people like Krugman do because they can see through their game: Krugman makes a guesstimate about whether the economy is in equilibrium or not, and what he thinks the important structural relations are in terms of how people react to changes in current income, interest rates, etc. then Krugman fixes a neoclassical model that will produce those elements. Then, to add injury to insult, Krugman will translate the model into crude Keynesian expository graphs.
But, IMHO, people like Krugman, Delong, Blinder etc, are the real empirical scientists because they make falsifiable predictions about what can be measured in the real world. Neoclassical macroeconomists tend to avoid that. And since some have decided that they have to make predictions over the last two or three years to defend their model, the neoclassical predictions have been a horror show of repeated abject failure.
Ahhh, Steve The Flat-Tax Is My Only Idea Forbes.
Now that a couple Villagers are getting a little hip to the fact that inequality is a serious problem in this country, will they start saying that virtually every Republican proposal would make that a lot worse?
Perhaps the NYT should look into this death with dignity thing too, considering the op-ed it ran today.
Two images spring to mind.
1) It’s sorta grocery self-checkout system for but for media, they’re outsourcing even the typing and spell-checking as a way of cutting down staff and being all perky about it and trying to sell that it’s the latest and greatest thing and what the customer has always wanted.
Eventually FYWP = FYNYT.
2) I have visions of some lovely high end escorts suffering a drop-off in booked nights and based on the best MBA analysis, deciding the thing to do is advertise so they tattoo their services and hourly rates on their foreheads and are just so proud of their edgy hipness.
I know, I mostly lurk. ANd I know that langauges change over time, and that I’m a whiner about this one line…
but, pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before the fall…
it’s always misquoted everytime I see it, and I should just let it go, but there’s some defect in me that just won’t let it
Bono is one of the Forbes magazine owners. He continues to disappoint.
I raise you a Proverbs 5:12/13:
“How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor incline mine ear to them that instructed me!”
You gonna call or fold?
Wile E. Quixote
@Mike in NC:
Yeah, someone needs to tell him and Michelle Malkin that they’re always going to be stuck in the back of the conservative bus, regardless of how much white, racist, conservative cock they suck.
is that one often/always misquoted?
I didn’t know I was playing cards, I thought I was being a whiner
Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle
@eemom: You are right. The Washington Compost is only alive now because it’s subsidized by Kaplan. Just like Faux Noise subsidizes all of Murdoch’s other properties(like Myspace .. LOL!!).
@DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.: @JPL: Meh. I guess I’m not full-blooded American enough to appreciate her craft.
The most likely scenario is for the paper to die pulling out all the stops (if there still are some), not quietly. And the WaPo paper has stopped the hemorrhaging. The Post newspaper lost $192 million in 2008, $164 million in 2009 but got back to earning money in Q4 and is a loss leader for online revenues this year.
The newspaper division lost $14 million in Q1 and Q2, but it’s online properties, very likely mostly from wapo.com, earned $27 million in Q2 alone. Considering it’s the emotional heart of a family controlled corporation, it could limp along like this for a long time.
@jl: Thanks for that. As of 8 hours after Krug published, the post has zero comments and I found 1 blog linking it, without discussion. Is that odd, or are all economist bloggers hiking the Appalachian?
If anyone, whose native country, was a colony of Great Britain, until August 15, 1947, was the only British colony to every have a Viceroy appointed to rule it as a dictatorship and was refused the same Dominion status as other British colonies such as Canada, Australia and South Africa received, because it wasn’t going to be run by white people, whose economy was run into the ground in the 19th century at the point of British guns, whose middle class wiped out because Britain wanted to dump cheap factory made goods into the country and refused to allow India to export any goods it manufactured to Britain, doesn’t have a bit of anti-colonial anger themselves is bat-shit fucking crazy loon.
@gene108: There is a comment attached to one of the Media Matters articles about it from someone whose family comes from the same region of India as D’Souza’s, which explains pretty well why he is behaving the way he did. His family is an upper-caste one, which was, essentially, on the side of the British.