An update on the AOL TOS situation:

Here is a good explanation of what went down.


Ben Silverman says the bloggers made a big boo-boo yesterday when they rushed to chase Slashdot down the AOL TOS story foxhole. Slashdot today issued a mea culpa a follow-up with AOL's side of the story.

(Via Micro Persuasion)UPDATE: This post has been edited after listening to reader feedback.

Looks like I was a bit quick in jumping on Slashdots' story the other day ...


No bias on Iraq, media study finds: NEW YORK -- A study of news coverage of the war in Iraq fails to support a conclusion that events were portrayed either negatively or positively most of the time.
(Via Boston Globe)

If you look at the content data tables in this report - scroll down to the "closest video section" and notice that there is nothing for the "human impact" category - while 32.4% of the closest video was focused on "moving maneuvers" - presumably, of troops. Also notice that 14.8% of the Top Sources were "Military Commissioned" - second to the reporters themselves.

As far as the "Topic" covered, coming in first was "pre-combat" coverage at 31.5%, and rolling into second place was "military action" at 27.8%. Interesting, especially in the context that only 6.5% of the coverage showed the aftermath of military actions.

Under the "reporting" category notice that "commentary" comes in at second place (3.7%) but "analysis" comes in at third place (1.9%). Also notice lack of depth in reporting under the "length" category: the majority of the reports, 35.2%, were only 1 minute long.

Whether the "events were portrayed either negatively or positively most of the time" seems a less relevant question when you take into consideration the process and ecology of the coverage itself (collection of facts, presentation of the reports, sound analysis and other such elements). The content of the report could be either positive or negative, but that doesn't seem to matter so much when the "acceptable means" of reporting could itself be quite biased from the outset.

To me if you are not covering the human impact of war, rarely covering the aftermath of military actions, are using military commissioned sources as your main form of information (aside from observations pontificated from inside the Green Zone), and are not offering analysis or investigatory depth to your reports - then you are operating within the parameters of very limited coverage - that seems, in and of itself quite biased towards providing very little information and/or information from a very pro-US, pro-military perspective.

Another note:

The current situation with complicit "news" coverage is especially enlightening considering all of the pre-packaged VNRs being distributed to news organizations by the Bush Administration and 20 other federal agencies.

Schwarzenegger has also caught on to this trend.

I guess Socrates had a good point when he revolted against the printed word.

Today's Case-in-Point:

Slashdot | AIM's New Terms Of Service: ....
[ link "AOL has posted new terms of service for AIM, that include the right for AOL to use anything and everything you send through AIM in any way they see fit, without informing you. A sample passage: '...by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy.'"
(Via Blogpulse Top Links)

My personal favorite is the part where they say, "You waive any right to privacy." Well I guess I can say I'm not too surprised. Maybe MTV and Viacom are partnering with AOL/Time Warner to use our instant message conversations to start some weird new reality TV show.

What's next? Mobile phone terms of service agreements that grant companies like Verizon the ability to do whatever they want with their customer's conversations, voice-mails, pictures, and text messages?

To me, this situation also begs certain questions about our concepts of public and private space in relation to our current technological and social interactions occurring under the umbrella of capitalism.

It also makes me wonder about our contemporary understanding of time and our concepts of what a contract is or isn't. Most often both of these characteristics are merely relegated to scrolling down the page as fast as we can and clicking the "I Agree" box. But did you really agree?


More of the latest in e-age journalism ...

Apple 1, Indie Journalists 0: California's 'shield' law does not protect websites that publish scoops based on illegal tips from corporate insiders, a judge rules, ordering a trio of online reporters to reveal their confidential sources to the Mac maker.

(Via Wired News)

So online publications aren't covered by the 1st Amendment? We'll see about that ...

Apple wins ruling against rumor site: Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled in Apple's favor on Friday and said the company could obtain records from PowerPage email provider Nfox. Lawyers for the Web site said they plan to appeal the decision. The Judge disagreed with lawyers arguements that online publications are covered by the First Amendment.

(Via MacCentral)

Are digital IDs really going to help - especially in the context of the current happenings over at Choice Point and Lexis Nexis? There's something about creating a "smart card" for each person, controlled by private companies, that worries me ...

(see earlier posts on ChoicePoint and Lexis)

Experts look to digital IDs to boost Net security: Rampant identity theft is eroding users' trust in the Internet, and could threaten to erase some of the progress companies have made in doing business online, security experts warned Friday.

(Via MacCentral)

Hackers breach LexisNexis, grab info on 32,000 people: Hackers have compromised databases belonging to LexisNexis and stolen information on at least 32,000 people, according to a statement Wednesday from LexisNexis' parent company, Reed Elsevier PLC.
(Via MacCentral)

Onfocus : "I didn't quite understand the...: Onfocus: "I didn't quite understand the appeal of the subscription component of podcasting before, but now I see that if there's a program I always want to catch, podcasting is very handy."

(Via Scripting News)

My IPod, My Self: Marketing professor Markus Giesler has some colorful ideas about Apple's music player. He argues it transforms listeners into 'cyborg consumers,' plugging them into a 'hybrid entertainment matrix' where they can achieve 'technotranscendence.' By Leander Kahney.

(Via Wired - Gadgets & Gizmos)

Choicepoint is all over the place these days ... be sure to remember their previous criminal acts.

ChoicePoint: Excellence in Database Inaccuracies ...: ... ChoicePoint: Excellence in Database Inaccuracies If you've read GregPalast's book The Best.... For the detailed reporting by Palast, you can read it in The Best Democracy Money Can Buy or at Greg's web site... should have had their right to vote restored in Florida. Palast's investigation showed thousands ...
What's in Scott's headView Technorati Cosmos

(Via [Technorati] Greg Palast)