Head spinning, as on most mornings, with the bizarreness of the world I awaken to. I suddenly have two new items I need to share with y’all. Here’s the first, for a Bastille Day lagniappe:
While IPCC is being flamed for trying to limit contact with journalists to people with the skills to manage the out of control press, for instance by Revkin at Dot Earth “
But any instinct to pull back after being burned by the news process is mistaken, to my mind. As I explained to a roomful of researchers at the National Academy of Sciences last year, in a world of expanding communication options and shrinking specialized media, scientists and their institutions need to help foster clear and open communication more than ever. Clampdowns on press access almost always backfire.
and Charlie Petit at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker :
Now the IPCC is in the bunker mentality game, telling scientists working on its next round of reports to “keep the press at a distance.” Oh, that’ll work. A better bet is that at best it would only increase the ignorance and deviltry quotient of the news. It only gives a more solid reason to believe the UN-sponsored climate investigation, despite the underlying solid foundations of its summary reports, is tone-deaf to how the world outside the academy works. It is a replay writ large of the mentality behind those carping, whining, self-pitying, bar-talking (and ultimately empty) e-mails among climate scientists that triggered so-called climategate. But instead of keeping its anger at press and bloggers and all other ignorati to itself, as the e-mailers thought they were doing, IPCC has taken its defensive crouch public.
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin (an attractive and charming religious fanatic and narcissist, likely of less than median intelligence) looks prepared to make a plausible run for the US presidency by avoiding contact with the press altogether, and the trend spreads (h/t Patrick Appel at the indispensible Daily Dish)
Michelle Cottle in The New Republic:
In the midst of this aggressive visibility, however, Palin keeps a tight grip on her time in the public eye. She rarely sits down with non-conservative interviewers and eschews mix-’em-up formats pitting her viewpoint against that of a more liberal counterpart.
….It’s an unconventional media strategy, to be sure….Yet it’s hard to deny that Palin’s p.r. approach has not only succeeded but succeeded brilliantly. How? The most obvious element at work here is that Palin operates not as a politician but as a celebrity. “Most politicians can’t get on the cover of People,” sighs another GOP campaign veteran. “She’s on the cover almost every week.”
Kevin Drum in Mother Jones:
The other example who comes to mind (since I live in California), is Meg Whitman, who just ran a high-profile primary campaign in a big state with virtually no interaction with the mainstream press. She gave speeches, she ran ads (boy did she run ads), and she spoke to friendly reporters occasionally, but that was about it. And guess what? It worked. She proved that you really don’t need the press anymore to run a successful campaign. … I’m putting my money on the Palin-ization of politics. Partly this is because the mainstream press is dying anyway, and partly it’s because Palin and others are demonstrating that you really don’t need conventional press coverage to win.
So which is it? Is it the age of openness, or the age of closedness? Or does it depend whether Rupert Murdoch likes you?
It seems to me that the press selectively goes after people with some authority but a small constituency, whether they deserve it or not, and takes a hands off attitude toward people who who have a substantial following, whether they deserve it or not.
Oh, that’ll work.