"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 23 January 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run LXVIII



Two problems with online

journalism, quoth The Economist.

Rampant conflicts of corporate

interest top the list, this

"daily column of vituperation"

(there's the 3.0 slogan we've

been looking for) being Offender

#1. But the reasons behind all

this nasty Internet inbreeding,

infighting, and downright

incivility - are the real

issues: 1) Since anyone can

publish on the web and usually

does, says the 150-year-old

British "weekly newspaper,"

online writers are

inexperienced, unseasoned, and

unversed in journalistic ethics.

2) The only thing for these

larval new media hacks to write

about is new media itself.

Frankly, we're more than a

little tired of hearing this

criticism, patently inaccurate

as it is: We take every chance

to write about old media that

are writing about new media,



[Penguine Sex]

A sure sign that the web's

content industry has exited

infancy and entered adolescence

came in the form of a Wall

Street Journal feature last

week, observing the growing

phenomena of search engines

accepting X-rated ads. The story

itself was an improvement on

their tenuous tale of web

calamity run earlier in the

week, certainly, but we expected

a little more from the Journal

than observing that scum rises.

While they reported briefly on

the serving of porn ads only in

response to specific keywords,

they missed out on the story

they should have nailed - the

business of selling keywords,

and the bulk barrier this

practice poses. It's not just

that some words happen to be

more popular than others -

99.99% of Webster's doesn't even

chart. And the ones that stand

out? Well, let's just say that

scum isn't the only thing that

rises; it's just the most easily




Say what you will about Salon's

sub-Time magazine cultural

me-tooism, but they've mastered

the art of self-promotion and

marketing doublespeak. Exhibits

A and B of Salon's one-magazine

reach-around involve Wired

Ventures, as the magazine and

its news service responded

enthusiastically to the talk

coming out of both sides of

Salon's mouth. Compare and

contrast the spins on Salon's

"web magazine for people who

read" meme received in Wired's

January Net Surf column with

those published last week in

Wired News and see if you don't

get dizzy:


To Net Surf: "Salon is not a

To Wired News: Salon will be
"living more on Web time."


To Net Surf: "It's not a
boys-and-their-toys site."

To Wired News: Their commitment
to the "to the kick-ass spirit
of the Internet" will not


To Net Surf: "Our primary
allegiance is to written

To Wired News: "On the Net,
journalism is not a static
product, but something living
and breathing."


But lest you think the

intelligence Salon shows in

public relations will infect

their editorials, think again.

In describing their attitude

towards their content, an

unfortunate honesty set in, as

David Talbot admitted that "The

model for Salon... [is] the

op-ed columns of a daily

newspaper." We couldn't agree




The pictures Hollywood's most

highbrow (and highly paid) don't

want you to see aren't in

celebrities Skin (somehow the idea

of seeing Jenny McCarthy naked

doesn't seem very scandalous),

but on a homepage, and while

there's nudity involved, the

standards being challenged

aren't the audience's, but the

star's. Celebrities who wouldn't

dream of stooping to Bob

Uecker-like levels of product

endorsement have no problem

picking up a brewski when

Kirin's picking up the tab.



The roiling greed! The

spine-tingling white-collar

sleaze and Bochco-style email

chicanery! How can you not love

the ongoing legal catfight

between Oracle uberlord Larry

Ellison and former, um,

"executive assistant" Adelyn

Lee? Runner-up in our Nagging

Suspicions Confirmed category:

The disturbingly reptilian

Ellison is indeed capable of at

least "some form of sex." And

the winner? In the junior-high

culture of Oracle, unpopularity

is a legitimate cause for

termination. This, the company

claims, is the real reason the

gold-digging Lee got purged from

Oracle's bimbobase - not because

she decided to stop playing

server to client Ellison's

demands for sex. Note to

maladjusted tycoons everywhere:

When you're using your pimpish

"charm" to turn out temp pool

nubiles with extravagant email

promises of "a house in

Woodside" and other yuppie

booty, make sure to include one

of those smiley emoticons - that

way, the jury will know for

certain you were joking.

courtesy of the Sucksters


The Sucksters