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Moonies Selling Washington Times

The Washington Times, which emerged during the Reagan administration as a feisty, conservative alternative to the Washington Post, is up for sale after the Unification Church pulled its $35 million annual subsidy.  WaPo, naturally, has the story: Washington Times executives are negotiating to sell the newspaper, after the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s family cut off […]

Honest Mobile Home Commercial

If, by some odd twist of fate I were in the market for a mobile home, I’d buy it from this guy: Errol Morris calls it “The best commercial ever made” and Jason Kottke says, “It’s certainly the most honest advertising I’ve ever seen.” Key selling point: A bouncer in Birmingham hit me in the […]

College Sports a Money Loser?

With those megabillion dollar television contracts for football and men’s basketball, top tier universities are making a mint off their sports programs, right?   Well, according to USA Today, that’s true for an ever smaller number of schools. The nation’s highest-profile college athletic programs drew a greater percentage of their revenue from student fees and their […]

Network News Dying: So What?

NBC is the only network news program that’s not losing gobs of money, and that’s only because it has a 24/7 cable news outlet (MSNBC) to recoup its investment.   ABC and CBS are continuing to cut staff to pare costs but have no plan to actually make money, aside from hoping CNN will agree to […]

Washington Post Earnings Brought Down by Washington Post

The Washington Post company had a surprisingly good year in 2009: The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) today reported net income of $91.2 million ($9.78 per share) for the fiscal year ended January 3, 2010, up from $65.8 million ($6.87 per share) for the fiscal year ended December 28, 2008. Net income for the fourth […]

Liberal Magazines Suffering Under Obama

If you’re trying to sell political magazines, you’re better off when your team is out of power and angry. Vanity Fair‘s Matt Pressman investigates this blinding flash of the obvious: The George W. Bush years were good for more than just oilfield-services companies and waterboard manufacturers. They were also a boon for liberal political magazines, […]

Campaign Contributions as Free Speech

A recent Gallup poll shows that the American public agrees with the Supreme Court that campaign contributions are free speech but that most nonetheless want to limit said speech. Fifty-seven percent of Americans consider campaign donations to be a protected form of free speech, and 55% say corporate and union donations should be treated the […]

CEOs Ask Congress to Stop Begging for Money

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision freeing up corporate spending on politics will have, as Kevin Drum has noted, quite a few unintended consequences, including driving up the cost of television advertising. But there will be negative consequences, too, for the very corporations who are the presumed beneficiaries of the ruling. And some of them are already […]

Supreme Court Overturns Corporate Advertising Ban

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court today ruled that the right of corporations to engage in political speech, including campaign and issue advertising,  is protected by the First Amendment. AP, “Justices Block Key Part of Campaign Law” The Supreme Court threw out a 63-year-old law designed to restrain the influence of big business and […]

NYT Online Going Pay-Per-View

The NYT is joining the WSJ in making noise about putting a subscriber wall around all its content. New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. appears close to announcing that the paper will begin charging for access to its website, according to people familiar with internal deliberations. After a year of sometimes fraught debate inside […]

Tiger Woods Unpaved Road Ad

Alex Massie passes along “An unfortunately timed Accenture advertisement in the Wall Street Journal today that has also caught the attention of the folks at TMZ (who dub it “the definition of irony) and, I’m sure, others. The juxtaposition of this and Woods’ car crash over the weekend is somewhat amusing, although I’m sure the […]

Regulating Loud Commercials

Peter Suderman and Berin Szoka provide sane, libertarian arguments against the Nanny State regulating the volume of television commercials.  While they both find the longstanding practice where the ads are several decibels higher than the surrounding programming annoying, they nonetheless argue that it’s not a matter where government should intervene. Says Suderman, It’s easy enough […]

New York Times Malware Ads

This weekend, I got one of those fake “virus clean” popups after clicking a link to a New York Times article from Memeorandum.   Apparently, I wasn’t alone as there are a dozen or more posts about it today at Techmeme. The NYT itself has this Note to Readers: Some NYTimes.com readers have seen a pop-up […]

Banning the Birthers

Jon Henke thinks it’s time for the Right to throw out the lunatics: In the 1960’s, William F. Buckley denounced the John Birch Society leadership for being “so far removed from common sense” and later said “We cannot allow the emblem of irresponsibility to attach to the conservative banner.” The Birthers are the Birchers of […]

Charging for Online News

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A news executive has a plan to start charging for online news. The Financial Times editor, Lionel Barber, has predicted that “almost all” news organisations will be charging for online content within a year. Barber said building online platforms that could charge readers on an article-by-article or […]

MPAA Loses Again

The Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear an appeal from the MPAA, thus letting stand a lower court ruling that Cablevision’s new remote DVR technology does not constitute a “retransmission” of the programming and thus require additional fees. The new DVR service would work by storing a viewer’s recordings in computers housed at the cable […]

Obama Bans Yummy Cigarettes

The FDA now has the power to regulate what cigarettes taste like. For the children. President Barack Obama cited his own long struggle to quit the cigarettes he got hooked on as a teenager as he signed the nation’s strongest-ever anti-smoking bill Monday and praised it for providing critically needed protections for kids. “The decades-long […]

FTC to Monitor Blogs

Here we go again:  The government is looking to get into the business of regulating blogs, reports AP’s Deborah Yao. Savvy consumers often go online for independent consumer reviews of products and services, scouring through comments from everyday Joes and Janes to help them find a gem or shun a lemon. What some fail to […]

Unintended Consequences

It is a truism that well-intentioned attempts by government to curb bad behavior often spawn unforeseen and perhaps worse behavior. A classic, recurring example of that is the now-35-year-old effort to curb the influence of campaign contributions on politics, which has spawned the use of PACs, 527 groups, and other insidious activities far more harmful […]

Craigslist Killer Reax

Jennifer Collins observes, “I can tell that I am deep in exam grading because when I read news updates about the Craigslist killer, instead of pondering questions like whether his girlfriend will continue to stand by him, I am focusing on all the great questions that can come out of the case for use on […]

Conde Nast Closing ‘Portfolio’

Jeff Bercovici reports the demise of his own job: For nearly two years I’ve been covering the media industry’s bad news on this blog, including some that’s hit very close to home. Now it hits closer still: Condé Nast Portfolio is closing. Our editor in chief, Joanne Lipman, just broke the news to staff, saying […]

Limbaugh, Failure, and Media Distortion

Commenter Bithead alerts me to a cross-blog debate that I somehow missed between Patrick Frey and Jeff Goldstein over Rush Limbaugh’s “I hope Obama fails” line at CPAC and the ensuing media frenzy.  Essentially, Patrick argues that conservatives should be more careful about what they say so as to avoid being distorted in the media […]

Obama Ruins Commercials

I actually seldom watch commercials these days, owing to my DVR.  But we’re visiting my mother-in-law and doing it old school tonight.   Several spots have taken on unintended meanings in light of the Obama confirmation debacles. Any TurboTax ad, naturally, makes me think of Tim Geithner.  They’re advertising wall-to-wall but, not surprisingly, have not taken […]

F-22 as Stimulus

Andrew Exum catches something that we online-only news consumers missed: Those of you who still read the paper copy of the Washington Post in the morning could not have helped but notice the full-page color advertisement for the F-22 in today’s front section. The really interesting thing about the advertisement was that it made the […]

Super Bowl XLIII Commercials

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I found this year’s crop of Super Bowl commercials pretty lackluster. At one point, I speculated that perhaps Madison Avenue decided that it would be in poor taste to spend scads of money on commercials during an economic downturn. Then I remembered it was Madison Avenue I was […]

L.A. Billboard Ban Upheld

The 9th Circuit has upheld Los Angeles bans on billboards, saying no 1st Amendment issues were at stake. Outdoor advertising company Metro Lights LLC had argued that the city could not prohibit new “off-site” signs — images that advertise products not sold on the immediate property — while at the same time selling advertising space […]

Truth About the Big 3 Bailout

Stephen Green has a great advertising poster for the concept. Not great if you’re an auto exec looking for a handout but great all the same.

McCain Ads That Didn’t Run

Most of John McCain’s television spots, going back to the primaries, were simply dreadful. Now, Fred Davis III, the “advertising whiz” behind these atrocious ads, is whining to TIME’s Michael Scherer that McCain wouldn’t let him run some particularly clever ones. What if the McCain campaign had run ads using footage of Barack Obama dancing […]

100 Most Influential Slogans

The 100 Most Influential Taglines Since 1948. There’s always room to quibble with this selection or that, but on the whole it’s a pretty solid list. I probably wouldn’t put “Got milk?” Number 1, for instance, but it obviously belongs in the Top 10. Speaking of which, here they are: Slogans: 1. Got milk? (1993) […]

McCain Raised $22 Million in June

John McCain and the Republicans are in much better financial shape than we thought, breaking his May record of $21 million with a $22 million haul in June. Republican presidential candidate John McCain raised more than $22 million in June, his best fundraising performance of the year, and ended the month with nearly $27 million […]

Is Your Washroom Breeding Bolsheviks?

I found this earlier and had to share: As best I can tell from Googling, this is not a PhotoShop but an actual ad circa 1930. The image has the watermark of the Georgetown Book Shop, which offers the poster for sale. The copy reads: This is a perennial bestseller and attention grabber, but to […]

Millionaire Penalty Struck Down by Supreme Court

McCain-Feingold, the signature legislation of the presumptive Republican nominee for president, took another blow yesterday as the Supreme Court struck down the so-called “Millionaire’s Amendment” in yet another 5-4 decision. “Supporters of reasonable campaign finance regulation are now zero for three in the Roberts court,” said Richard L. Hasen, a professor at Loyola Law School […]

Obama Overexposed?

Jeralyn Merritt is upset by the news that Barack Obama is thinking about running ads during the Olympics, perhaps spending up to $4 million. At some point, aren’t voters likely to feel the ads are intrusive? Or at least start rolling their eyes? I’m getting angry that every time I click on a news site, […]

AP Blog Fair Use Guidelines

The Associated Press is backing down on its attempt to use the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to stop the Drudge Retort from using short excerpts of its content after a major backlash in the blogosphere. (See Jeff Jarvis, Cernig, Michael Arrington, and others for background.) Saul Hansell reports the AP’s modified stance in today’s NYT: […]

Married People Earn More Money

Seen this morning in DC: An advertising poster with the caption, “Married people earn more money.” I thought perhaps someone has been reading Stuart Buck and is seeking to take the romance out of marriage. It turns out that this is a campaign aimed at curbing teen pregnancy: Since 1987, Campaign For Our Children (CFOC) […]

Spanish Miami’s Primary Language

Spanish-only speakers have an easier time getting by in Miami than English-only speakers, AP reports. In many areas of Miami, Spanish has become the predominant language, replacing English in everyday life. Anyone from Latin America could feel at home on the streets, without having to pronounce a single word in English. In stores, shopkeepers wait […]

Rachael Ray, Donut Terrorist

Dunkin’ Donuts has pulled an ad spot featuring Rachael Ray wearing a scarf around her neck because some thought it was a subtle nod of support to Palestinians. Does Dunkin’ Donuts really think its customers could mistake Rachael Ray for a terrorist sympathizer? The Canton-based company has abruptly canceled an ad in which the domestic […]

LifeLock Pitchman Has Identity Stolen

ID protection Guru Todd Davis is being sued for fraud. Todd Davis has dared criminals for two years to try stealing his identity: Ads for his fraud-prevention company, LifeLock, even offer his Social Security number next to his smiling mug. Now, Lifelock customers in Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia are suing Davis, claiming his […]

What Is A Fair Copyright Term?

James Wimberly writes in favor of drastically limiting copyright terms. [T]he 21-year limit of Queen Anne’s Act (footnote) provided adequate incentives for authors; the 95 years or life-plus-75 years of contemporary IP law is a giveaway to a clever lobby of wealthy engrossers of the commons. If you don’t believe me, check out Justice Breyer’s […]

Childers Paid for Votes

Chris Lawrence earlier noted the win by Democrat Travis Childers in a special election to fill the remaining few months of the Mississippi 1st Congressional District seat long held by Republicans. He knows the local dynamics in Mississippi far better than I do, having earned his PhD at Ole Miss, so I’ll defer to his […]

Yahoo Bans Bad Sites from Search Results

Yahoo has taken a major step in removing malicious sites from its search results. Yahoo Inc. and McAfee Inc. are joining to offer alerts about potentially dangerous Web sites alongside search results generated at Yahoo.com. With the new security feature — slated to take effect Tuesday — people who search the Internet using Yahoo will […]

Clinton Wins Big in Pennsylvania, Fights On

Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary by ten points [actually, 8.6* or whatever**], continuing her string of large state victories and thereby keeping her dim hopes for the presidency alive. Unfortunately for Clinton, the press is treating this is a foregone conclusion, despite inconsistent polls and a hard fought six week battle. ABC’s Jennifer Parker: […]

Viewers Not Rushing Back to Favorite TV Programs

The writer’s strike is long over but its impact continues, as viewers have been slow to return to their old viewing habits. Just because your favorite dramas and comedies are back on the air after the writers strike doesn’t mean you’re necessarily watching them. A preliminary look at ratings of returning programs on the big […]

Insurgency as Business

Steven Metz has a useful primer on “21st Century Insurgency” in the new issue of Parameters, the professional journal of the Army War College. Particularly interesting is his analysis of the similarities between insurgencies and businesses: As in commercial markets, participants in a complex conflict may enter as small, personalistic companies. Some may resemble family […]

Obama vs. McCain Fall Preview

Bill Kristol, fresh from various cocktail parties with conservatives and a couple of e-mails from Democrats, lays out his vision of how a general election contest between Barack Obama and John McCain will play out. He dismisses the notion that the prolonged, bitter fight between Obama and Hillary Clinton will ultimately hurt the Democrats, figuring […]

Absolut Redraws USA – Mexico Border

Absolut Vodka has got some ‘splainin’ to do: Laura Martínez found the ad in the print edition of Quién magazine in Mexico City and it’s going viral. Jim Hoft has picked it up, calling it an “Absolut-ly Outrageous Ad,” Pierre Legrand profanely calls for a boycott, and Brian Ledbetter goes with “Absolut-ly Insulting.” Michelle Malkin […]

Airborne Settles for $23.3 Million

Jonathan Adler passes on word that, “The makers of Airborne vitamin supplement have agreed to a $23.3 million class action settlement for false advertising. Though it’s now marketed as nothing more than an immune booster, the manufacturer used to advertise Airborne could prevent or cure the common cold, despite the lack of any real clinical […]

Yahoo Sued for Spurning Microsoft

Some Yahoo shareholders are suing their board over their handling of the Microsoft takeover bid. Two Detroit pension funds have sued Yahoo Inc. and its board of directors, saying they breached their duties to shareholders in trying to thwart a takeover by Microsoft Corp. […] According to the lawsuit, Yahoo’s board is pursuing “value-destructive” third-party […]

Mitt Romney Campaign Postmortem

The collapse of Mitt Romney’s bid for the presidency brings the inevitable question: What went wrong? Michael Luo gives a pretty good explanation. If Mr. Romney’s campaign were condensed to one of his trademark PowerPoint presentations, it would have had all the bullet points foretelling success: a multimillionaire candidate willing to relinquish his fortune to […]

Where Hillary Clinton’s Money Went

Hillary Clinton raised staggering amounts of money this cycle, shattering previous records, and yet has loaned her campaign $5 million from her joint checking account. The Politico‘s Ben Smith wonders where it all went. Hillary Clinton spent more than $77 million on her campaign in 2007, and her campaign said she had about $25 million […]

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