October 2009 Archives

quotable yglesias

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Matthew Yglesias writes a lot, nearly every day. It comes as no surprise then that he's a fairly quotable guy at least once a week.

The Cable Effect

...The three [daytime cable news] networks combined have an aggregate daytime audience of roughly zero. But even though the audience, looked at nationally, amounts to [a] rounding error the networks are hugely popular among the tiny number of people who work in professional politics. Just like traders have CNBC and Bloomberg on in their offices, political operatives are constantly tuned in to what's happening on cable news.

The result is a really bizarre hothouse scenario in which people are basically watching . . . well . . . nothing, but they're riveted to it. How things "play" on cable news is considered fairly important even though no persuadable voters are watching it.

And cable news' hyper-agitated style starts to infect everyone's frame of mind, making it extremely difficult for everyone to forget that the networks have huge incentives to massively and systematically overstate the significance of everything that happens.

We've unsubscribed from cable TV and have no service to replace it; we don't hate TV, we just recognize that we weren't watching any for the last several months (what with 2 jobs + a 1-year-old), so why pay a monthly fee for it?

Now and then I miss a couple of shows, or live baseball. I do not miss the cable news networks one bit.

A Novel Approach to Newspaper Marketing

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We currently get the Sunday Washington Post.

Why? Honestly, not for much. #1, I like getting the Sunday comics, #2, sometimes I enjoy looking through the Sunday ads, and #3, it's just possible there will be something interesting to read. But more often, when I browse it, I encounter a piece or 2 or 3 or 4 which is just garbage and wonder anew if we should just drop it entirely.

And, ok, #4, Gene Weingarten's pretty good most of the time.

The Post called twice this week to ask if we wanted to receive the Post for the other 6 days of the week, for free (for 12 weeks). Such a deal!

Well, knowing our past experience when we got the Post every day, it would just arrive, pile up, and go straight in the recycle pile.

(I thought there was an economics term for this sort of pointless waste of materials, energy and effort, but 'deadweight loss' isn't it. I'm certain there is one, though.)

So I said no thanks.

She, paraphrased:

"I would ask you to reconsider, Mr. Bogart. Think about the paper carriers, whom the Post will still be paying even though you're not charged for the paper. It would keep them working and paid."


Wow. What do you say, really? I had answered the phone intending to say "Look, I already said no once this week, something's wrong with your list", but this completely threw me off from remembering that.

So I refused more explicitly:

"Still. We are barely even sure we want to keep receiving the Sunday. So, no on getting the rest of the week."

With that, she let me go without a fight.

Do it for the carriers?

I'm not without sympathy, but. If you are reduced to using preserving the carriers' jobs as the reason someone should accept your paper, you seem to have run out of good arguments.

Don't ask me to please come back to your restaurant so the cleanup crew will keep their jobs; ask me to come back because you make such tasty food.

Produce a paper people would want to read, and maybe you won't have to ask people to please accept it for free. Maybe stop inflicting people with twisted value systems (like Robin Givhan, Richard Cohen, Charles Krauthammer, Howard Kurtz, George WIll...) on your readers, and I'll think about spending time with the decent rest of the paper.

Had I said yes, we'd just be back to shuttling little daily bundles from our front stoop to the recycle pile, then back out to the curb.

Just like picking up dog poop, except it's recyclable.

(The Washington Post: Think of us as Recyclable Dog Poop! But delivered to your door for free!)

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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