October 5, 2005

User-Generated News? An MSM Exec Seems to Get It

This is the first fresh thought I have heard in a long time from a Mainstream Media executive (HT Drudge):

The avalanche of high quality video, photos and e-mailed news material from citizens following the July 7 bombings in London marked a turning point for the British Broadcasting Corporation, the head of its global news division said Wednesday.

Richard Sambrook, director of the BBC World Service and Global News Division, told a conference the broadcaster’s prominent use of video and other material contributed by ordinary citizens signaled that the BBC was evolving from being a broadcaster to a facilitator of news.

“We don’t own the news any more,” Sambrook said. “This is a fundamental realignment of the relationship between large media companies and the public.”

The rest of the article is pap: A CBS exec pretending to get it, an NPR crybaby afraid that “the poor and people of color” might not get to participate (apparently none of the poor have cameras, picture phones, or access to a library), and a rant from Al Gore about how entertainment values are supposedly undermining political dialogue.

But Sambrook appears to grasp what is going on and the urgent need to adapt to it. He is clearly way ahead of the mindset of most news editors. Can you imagine any “journalist” at the New York Times or CNN thinking of themselves as a “news facilitator”?

This bears watching to see if Sambrook means it and acts on it. I must say, though, given their history, and the hysterically liberal bias of their worldwide radio broadcasts, anything I would hand over to the Beeb to “facilitate” would be labeled “do not edit in any way, shape, or form.”

Why Should Anyone Be Surprised? (Chinese Reported Economic Data Questioned)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:03 pm

They Wouldn’t Do That, Would They?

The Chinese? Lie about their economy’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)?

Knock me over with a feather:

China fudged FDI numbers: Unctad

Adding a new twist to the debate over China’s awesome FDI figures, a recent Unctad report has said the numbers claimed by the country are far in excess of those reported by investors.

China claims that it got FDI worth $5.42 billion from the US in 2002. But the US says it has invested a meagre $924 million during the period, Unctad’s World Investment Report 2005, says.

At least it’s not a “major” difference…. (/sarcasm)

The discrepancy is visible in case of other investors as well. China says Hong Kong invested $17.86 billion in 2002. But Hong Kong says the amount is $15.93 billion. Again, Chinese data show that Japan pumped in $4.19 billion during the year, while Japan claims it invested $2.60 billion a discrepancy of 38 per cent.

Interestingly, an OECD report titled “China: Progress and Policy review” points out that FDI flow into China from OECD countries during 1995-2000 was $39.3 billion, while the Chinese commerce ministry shows $77 billion.

The OECD report states, “MOFCOM (ministry of commerce of the People’s Republic of China) FDI statistics are not based on the internationally recognised standards that are generally applied by OECD countries. Consequently, the differences in the statistics compiled by OECD countries on their investment in China and the statistics published by MOFCOM on OECD members investment in China show serious inconsistencies between these sources.”

Citing the instance of China from 2000-2002 with respect to France, Germany, Hong Kong (China), Japan, the US and the UK, the Unctad report points out that bilateral discrepancies between FDI flows reported by home and host countries can be quite large.

What, you expected to get the truth about their economy from the Chinese communist government?

Who in Their Right Mind Would Do Business in France? (HP Laying Off 1,200 Is a Near-National Crisis)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:44 pm

Businesses nutty enough to locate in France in the past can’t even adjust to market realities without the government intervening and attempting to intimidate, which in the short run may be working with Hewlett Packard (bolds are mine):

Hewlett-Packard ready to cut French job cuts

PARIS, Oct 3 (AFP) – Hewlett-Packard is ready to reduce 1,240 job cuts in France, the company said in a newspaper interview on Monday following strong political pressure against the restructuring.

The chief executive of Hewlett Packard in France, Patrick Starck, told the French daily business paper La Tribune: “We are open to negotiating, and seriously, not just for a few dozen jobs.”

French prime minister Dominique de Villepin had implied last week that the company would reduce the number of planned job cuts in France after discussions with the government.

Under the original plan, Hewlett-Packard had announced plans to cut 6,000 jobs in Europe, with 1,240 redundancies intended for France. The planned cuts in France provoked indignation among trades unions and also in political circles.

Starck told the newspaper that France was an important market for the company, its third-biggest in Europe, but that the Hewlett Packard group, being a global business, had to adjust to anticipate changes in demand.

Other related stories listed at the same link:

  • French HP Workers to Strike after Layoffs (THAT will make HP want to stay, won’t it?)
  • EU to Consider Aid If HP Cuts Jobs (looking to provide even more aid to displaced workers than HP’s severance package and France’s unemployment system will undoubtedly provide)
  • France Could Ask HP to Pay Back State Subsidies (depending on their nature and promises HP may have made, I may have some sympathy for this, but the linked article lacks specifics, and the next one below chalks it up to “posturing”)
  • Moving Companies and French Unemployment (an op-ed columnist fills in some of the blanks regarding so-called “subsidies” and notes that if you want to move in France, you either have to do it on a weekday or pay 20% more)

Meanwhile, in a surely unrelated story:

France’s jobless recovery stalls
France’s PM says the government is fighting unemployment

France’s jobless rate remained little changed in August, as the economy continued to perform sluggishly.

Unemployment dipped to 2,712,000 from 2,718,000 in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, official figures show.

That left France’s jobless rate unchanged at 9.9% in August, the government said.

France’s national statistics office confirmed that the economy grew by just 0.1% during the second quarter, from 0.4% in the first three months of 2005.

The gross domestic product (GDP) data was the worst since the third quarter of 2004.

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UPDATE: L’Ombre de l’Olivier predicts how HP will handle things if forced into reducing or delaying the job cuts.
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Related Post (link added on Oct. 6): The French Disconnection: Absurd Labor Policies and Protectionism Kill Economic Growth

Quote of the Day: Well of Course They Are

Why there is all this attention now to a nine month-old item I don’t quite understand, but the point remains all too valid.

Iraqi Soldier Tim Ryan in The World Tribune, Jan. 18, 2005, on major-media coverage of the Iraq War (HT Gun Guy via Anchoress, who appears to be in need of our prayers):

The inaccurate picture they paint has distorted the world view of the daily realities in Iraq. The result is a further erosion of international support for the United States’ efforts there, and a strengthening of the insurgents’ resolve and recruiting efforts while weakening our own. Through their incomplete, uninformed and unbalanced reporting, many members of the media covering the war in Iraq are aiding and abetting the enemy.

For what’s really happening:
- Mudville Gazette
- Michael Yon
- Centcom
- Chrenkoff (stopped blogging in September after getting a different job, but he has a historical treasure trove of good news from Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 18 months)

Free WiFi for Frisco: Google’s Idea is Spiffy, But the Mayor’s Mind Is Iffy

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:55 am

Whew. For a moment I thought that Google had lost its mind in proposing to wire the city of San Francisco for free and absorbing the entire cost itself.

Nope. It’s an advertising based model:

One company, which Vein declined to name, has proposed an advertising-supported plan for free wireless access, he said. That company appeared to be Google. A Google spokesman on Friday had confirmed that its Wi-Fi access proposal could be funded through online advertising.

So Google remains sane. Whether San Francisco’s mayor has his wits about him is questionable:

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who became internationally known for his campaign a year ago to legalize gay marriage, said on Monday he considered wireless Internet access a fundamental right of all citizens.

Newsom told a news conference that he was bracing for a battle with telephone and cable interests, along with state and U.S. regulators, whom he said were looking to derail a campaign by cities to offer free or low-cost municipal Wi-Fi services.

Wi-Fi is a short-range wireless technology that is now built into most laptop computers and is increasingly offered on handheld computers and certain mobile phones. Local officials are mulling plans to blanket every nook and cranny of this hilly city of 750,000 residents with Wi-Fi access.

“This is inevitable — Wi-Fi. It is long overdue,” Newsom told a news conference at San Francisco’s City Hall. “It is to me a fundamental right to have access universally to information,” he said.

You won’t find a bigger technology booster than me. I would be thrilled if there could be a way to provide free wireless access to everybody without taxpayers absorbing any of the burden. I would tell the telcos and cable companies that object to read up on the idea of “creative destruction.”

But a fundamental right? Nope.

It’s especially maddening to hear this from the mayor of San Francisco, a city which has historically had a hard time accepting truly fundamental rights while attempting to invent invalid new ones. Cam Edwards helpfully notes: “… the city will hold a referendum on banning firearms next month. I’m guessing the city doesn’t really understand what “fundamental right” really means.”

Positivity: Nobel Prize Awarded to Researchers Who Discovered True Source of Ulcers

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:05 am

Note how long it took them to convince the “know it all” world that they were right (HT Crooked Timber; also noted by Porkopolis before my post; bold is mine):

(more…)

Re Paul Hackett’s Ohio Candidacy for the US Senate: A Question

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:01 am

It’s apparently official:

“Paul Hackett is running for U.S. Senate,” said spokesman David Woodruff, who served as Hackett’s campaign manager in his special election race against Jean Schmidt. Hackett is planning to officially announce his decision on Oct. 24 in his hometown of Cincinnati and then begin a bus tour through Ohio, Woodruff said.

On June 15, the day after he won Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District Democrat primary, in a one-on-one radio interview with WLW talk show host Bill Cunningham, Hackett stated that, according to detailed notes taken by me at the time, “if elected he will get out of the reserves, but if he loses he will go back to Iraq” (sixth item under Hackett at link).

Not “probably.”

Not “expects to.”

Definitely not “unless a better offer comes along.”

And absolutely not “unless I become the darling of Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, and the moonbats of the left.”

The unequivocal answer was that he would go back.

So that leaves only one question: Will Paul Hackett be returning to Iraq immediately after the bus tour, or will he be able to wait a few weeks?
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UPDATE: The unconditional promise to return was reported several times in local papers in the runup to the June primary, and may have been present on the Hackett for Congress web site at the time (it’s obviously not there now).
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BizzyBlog Flashbacks:

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Oct. 5 Outside the Beltway Jammer.