CNN Survey of European Attitudes Toward Jews

These are disturbing statistics,

Anti-Semitic stereotypes are alive and well in Europe, while the memory of the Holocaust is starting to fade, a sweeping new survey by CNN reveals. More than a quarter of Europeans polled believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Nearly one in four said Jews have too much influence in conflict and wars across the world.

One in five said they have too much influence in the media and the same number believe they have too much influence in politics.

Fire Nancy Grace

Nancy Grace should have been fired a long time ago. Of course if they fired everyone worth of such distinction at CNN, who would be left to put on camera?

Chez Pazienza: An Open Letter to CNN Regarding Nancy Grace (Huffington Post):

Is that simple and unambiguous enough for you to get through your heads the gravity of the situation that the world’s most irresponsible cable news presence has put your network in? Is it finally sinking in just how reckless, unhinged and flat-out dangerous Grace is — and what an embarrassment she is to the CNN brand I have to assume you value — now that she’s used your airwaves to make the ludicrously inflammatory claim that Whitney Houston may have been murdered, without a shred of actual proof? Did you cringe when one of your level-headed anchors, Don Lemon, was forced to follow up her ridiculous, histrionic accusation with a disclaimer distancing CNN from the opportunistic ravings of one of its own? Are you maybe, now, after all this time, beginning to realize the level of shame that Grace has heaped at your doorstep for the past seven years — seven years in which you’ve inexplicably given her free rein to bullhorn whatever wild theories or self-serving but ultimately defamatory blather have popped into her overactive mind?

You can’t let this continue. Enough is enough.

I’ll say it again: You have got to fire Nancy Grace — and you have got to do it now.

Netflix and Time Warner Sued Over Lack of Closed Captioning

The National Association of the Deaf recently filed a lawsuit against Netflix and Time Warner for failing to provide closed captions on their online video offerings. According to the lawsuit, less than 5 percent of videos offered over Netflix streaming contain closed captions. The Time Warner lawsuit targets the lack of closed captioning on CNN’s online videos.

The odd thing is that Netflix has in the past blamed technological difficulties for the lack of captioning. According to Reuters,

In 2009, Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt reported on the company blog that technological difficulties were hindering its attempt to add captions to streaming video. The advocacy group argued that captioning is technically possible, pointing to titles already captioned.

That is apparently a reference to this blog post in which Hunt wrote,

Encoding a separate stream for each title is not an option – it takes us about 500 processor-months to make one encode through the entire library, and for this we would have to re-encode four different formats. Duplicating the encoded streams is prohibitive in space too.

So we are working on optionally delivering the SAMI file (Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange), or similar, to the client, and having it render the text and then overlay it on the video at playback time. Unfortunately, the tools for rendering SAMI files in Silverlight, or in CE (Consumer Electronics) devices, are weak or non-existent, and there is some technology development required.

I would expect to deliver subtitles or captions to Silverlight clients sometime in 2010, and roll the same technology out to each CE device as we are able to migrate the technology, and work with the CE manufacturer to deliver firmware updates for each player.

That is absurd. By that I don’t meant that it isn’t correct — Microsoft Silverlight was always full of fail and Netflix committed to moving toward HTML5 back in 2010. Rather it is the frequency with which the technological objection is raised in issues like this.

Accessibility is an issue that should be easily addressable by contemporary technologies in a way that wasn’t possible in the past (or at least much more cheaply and seamlessly than in the past). Instead software companies keep churning out products that actually take us several step backwards and often make it much harder to implement accessibility.

If I walked into someone’s office and pitched a new Internet-based collaboration tool that was the bee’s knees except for the fact that it wouldn’t allow people in one state to collaborate with employees in another state, I’d be laughed out of the room. But walk in with a system that works great except that it is completely unusable by blind or deaf people and nobody seems to give a shit.

We need to do a better job of holding developers’ feet to the fire on this one. Having a system that can’t accommodate blind or deaf people isn’t only a legal and moral issue, but its also a failure of imagination on the part of those developing these technologies. Really, you want me to spend thousands to millions of dollars on these systems and you’re not skilled enough to make them accessible to the blind and deaf? Not impressed.

Not Exactly Deep Throat

CNN’s story on the leaking of the new Wolverine film a month before its scheduled release made me giggle. Half the time I think the reason reporters rely so much on anonymous sources is less that anonymity is the only way to get people to talk, and moreso that relying on anonymous sources lends a romanticism to such reporting. It’s almost like being a spy, relying on hidden contacts and subterfuge.

How else to explain some of the bizarre things that get credited to anonymous sources.  For example, look at the amazing scoop Alan Duke gets from an anonymous industry source on the ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ leak,

Removing the pirated files from the Internet may prove an impossible challenge, an industry source said. This source did not want to be named because of the sensitive nature of the matter.

Although the studio said it was removed from the Web site that first hosted it, the digital file has probably been downloaded tens of thousands of times, the source said.

“It’s not removed from the Internet,” the industry source said. “It’s still there.”

. . .

Whether the leaked video will eventually hurt the film’s box office earnings “is very difficult to discern,” according to CNN’s source.

Seriously? Some industry flak didn’t want to go on record as saying it “is very difficult to discern” what effect the leak will have on the box office, and CNN went along with that? What’s next, “Anonymous source suggests Sun will likely rise in the West tomorrow”?

Lou Dobbs and Cokie Roberts — Where Do They Find These People?

Warning: gratuitous ad hominems ahead.

I love the title of this article by CNN’s resident nativist commentator, Lou Dobbs.

The headline, “Do you takes us for fools?” echoes a question in the text of the article where Dobbs asks, “How dumb do you think all think we are?”

Frankly, every time I watch Dobbs I see him set new lows for intelligence in homo sapiens so I’m not sure there is a straightforward answer to that question.

He’s like Pat Buchanan minus the wit, which must take a lot of work.

Not that the ranks of those in favor of looser immigration lots aren’t filled with half-wits either. Cokie and Steven Roberts with the award there with this April 2006 flourish (emphasis added),

The anti-immigration forces have taken one principle, law and order (tinged with a rancid whiff of xenophobia), and elevated it over every other principle — loyalty and patriotism, charity and courage. That was the calculation behind the noxious bill that passed the House last winter, which makes it a crime to live here illegally or even to help a paperless alien.

Living here illegally might be made a crime? Perish the thought!

Of course, Cokie once stood in front a blue screen for a “live” broadcast from the White House, so she’s not exactly the brightest light bulb in the box anyway. But seriously, can’t she get anyone to edit her stuff to remove obvious nonsense like that?

Too bad they’re on different networks, or the immigration debate could really be taken up a notch by having Lou interview Cokie in front of a blue-screened image of Mexico City.

Sources:

Dobbs to President: Do you take us for fools? Lou Dobbs, CNN, May 10, 2006.

Today we march, tomorrow we vote. Cokie and Steven Roberts, The Daily Dunklin Democrat, April 16, 2006.

CNN=Hypocrites ‘R Us

This blog entry at Anderson Cooper’s 360 blog makes me want to puke. There’s nothing like self-righteous broadcast journalists who can’t be bothered to align their principles with action.

The post refers to the Lord’s Resistance Army, one of the most violent and detestable insurgent movements in the world. The LRA is half guerilla outfit, half millenarian movement — it is notable for the fact that it specifically targets children for kidnapping. Sometimes the children are brainwashed and forced to serve in the LRA. Female abducttes are regularly subject to sexual abuse. And sometimes the LRA simply kills the children it kidnaps (in 2003, for example, its members bludgeoned to death 9 children it had earlier kidnapped).

On the 360 blog Jeff Koinange writes (emphasis added),

Word of mouth is still an effective tool in the 21st century. The next step is to write to your congressman, your senator, your elected leaders. Tell them of this horror that exists in our time and make some noise. Lots of noise. That’s the only way to keep stories like this on the “front burner.” Otherwise, people quickly forget once the “kids” are off the evening news.

WTF? When is the LRA ever in the evening news? When was the last time you turned on CNN Headlines News or CNN and the lead story — or any story — about the LRA? Most Americans have never heard of the LRA because a guerilla movement that targets kids just isn’t as newsworthy as Lindsey Lohan.

In fact, I would bet $100 that CNN spent more hours covering the Dick Cheney hunting accident than it has spent in total coverage on the LRA in the news network’s 27 years.

But then I guess even CNN has to have priorities. The only way to make people take action against the LRA is to tell the world about their crimes — just don’t expect anyone to do it on CNN.