Thursday, November 19, 2009

Newsmap, Palin

BBC News - Hurricane Palin rolls into town

About the same time that CNN changed the format of their web page (a change that I hated) I ran into Newsmap. I don't know a lot about it's exact algorithm, but it is trying to make visual sense out of the Google news aggregator, so I'm sure it has something to do with hits / links / measures of popularity. "The Wisdom of Crowds". Like democracy, markets, Wikipedia, etc.

I saw that Palin was very popular, and that the main article was from the BBC -- over on CNN the only thing to be found was one of their talking heads talking about how stupid she is and how much of a problem she is for Republicans. The BBC article points out the rather easy to see comparisons with BO -- "all hat, no cattle" ... "empty suit", BUT, very good at connecting with people and extremely popular with some core segments of the electorate (Sarah with "regular folk", BO with the hard left liberal elite). Naturally BO has the advantage that the media does whatever it can to soften his actual hard left views, lack of experience, smoking and narcissism, while for Palin they do all they can to expose any areas she lacks knowledge, her enjoyment of looking nice as a woman (something I've observed to be shall we say "somewhat common" in the female of the species, and the more egregious cases of her "folksiness". Hillary was certainly a better female candidate, nobody would ever accuse HER of looking good!

My point here is that the BBC seems far more willing to report Palin "straight up" -- as someone that brings out big crowds of adoring supporters in the US heartland -- and at least takes a decent shot at "why" with some level of respect for her supporters, rather than sliding off into  "why Sarah and these people are so stupid". Beyond that, aggregators like Newsmap are constantly making it even easier for masses of people to bypass the selectors at CNN, NPR, NYT etc and tap into the thoughts of a much wider set of people.