Friday, February 10, 2006


Walking the Room and Disclosure

When a standup comedian says something (usually deliberately) that offends the fragile sensibilities of some members of the audience to the point they get up and leave, it's called walking the room. The great thing about people consuming your blog through a newsfeed (the little XML button on the right) is that you can see this happen with your blog too! Now I know why the comedians do it. Thinning out the audience feels really good.

The reason people leave is that they're only used to the sanitized comedians who perform on TV. When those comedians accept money, they give up their right to freedom of speech. The people who leave have an expectation that the comedian at the club shares the same dull sensibilities they've inherited from TV.

The same goes with journalism. Often, journalists and authors of "scientific" articles not only take their paycheck (from who?) but also accept money from other undisclosed sources. Earlier this week, George Monbiot wrote about tobacco's influence. It goes without saying that you should always consider who is paying the journalist or other "objective" source.

As best as I can tell, Jill Carroll went to Iraq to report without the funding the reporters on TV get. She went to report without the expectation of a steady paycheck or audience. She is real. When was the last time we saw a real reporter on TV?

In Paris, they are demonstrating for Jill's release. The French gave us the Statue of Liberty. In the meantime, we in America are busy reworking the law so that journalists can be legally spied on by the government.

Now that you mention it, it really is scandalous that the French are doing more to help Jill Carroll than we are. Apparently, she's no Jessica Lynch. And we're supposed to be a Christian nation?
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