Saturday Vibes [DOT 11/3/23]

Hi gang! Hope you’re having a great weekend so far. Any big plans? I’ve been looking forward to today because I’m getting massage this afternoon. Other than that, nothing exciting going on here.

SVB Explainer:

I hope this irritates Trump a lot.

New color scheme unveiled for Air Force One that discards Trump’s design

Shocked that he was abusive /s

Texas man sues women he says helped his ex-wife obtain abortion pills

Absolutely not

Arizona family discovers bobcat has taken over their dog’s bed

I feel like this is something that would happen in the Blacksmith household:

Have a great weekend!



      • …of the two, I’d say the lineker thing is the bigger fuck up…but the attenborough thing is entirely fruit of the same tree?

        …there’s some nuance in the latter…the beeb technically commissioned a 5-part thing but some other (charitable, as I understand it) interests paid the same production team to make effectively a sixth episode that sounds sort of like a coda

        …I don’t know how easy/difficult it would have been to free up the slot in the schedule to air it the week after the show was slated to finish & something else replace it…or how far along in the scheduling process things were when the sixth part getting made became a thing…but there’s some cover there…sort of

        …the insanity is that putting that stuff on the air being unacceptable “bias” on the part of the BBC is the exact same partisan political bullshit that caused the BBC to cower in the face of the same people to claim that if you’re on the BBC you can’t have, let alone express, an opinion on a matter that is apparently one of the big ticket items people use to decide how to cast their vote

        …if he was a political reporter, or a newscaster, or something of that fashion…ok…maybe don’t try calling the prime minister an asshole who needs to think about what the things he says sound like

        …but he’s an ex-football player who does sports commentary

        …even if you allow for the idea that there’s something to the point of principle…it’s a clear misapplication of it

        …there are literally shows in which people routinely offer greater condemnation of the government & its policies

        …like…there’s a thing called the news quiz where a panel of comedians went a little bit to town on it…& there’s a political debate/panel show…actually a pair of them…question time on the telly & any questions on the radio…& you can bet the lineker stuff came up on those…as have more scathing assessments of all manner of government pronouncements

        …it feels like it’s a pretty blatant attempt to finesse the overton window of acceptable criticism &/or framing of issues…&…well…lineker has a production company…the show he won’t present today…which the other presenters said they wouldn’t do without him…that’s a mainstay of a lot of people’s weekend…at least one other football show won’t be airing this week

        …the attenborough thing is in many ways just as bad (possibly in some senses worse but those are hard to quantify)…but pissing off football fans?

        …that has not, historically, proven to go well

        …so it’s the lineker thing that seems to be snowballing into all manner of outrage?

        • I agree. The one is silly, and they have the right to air what they want. But telling someone what they can and cannot say on their own time is suppressing free speech.

          • …there have been times when things that might have been valid observations became arguably irresponsible statements because they were made by someone with profile on the BBC

            …robert peston comes to mind…& iirc that’s more or less why he now works for not-the-beeb

            …but this isn’t that…& trying to make it out to be…while it’s certainly having the desired effect on some people…many of them among the gammon-faced ranks of the daily mail’s most indignant readers…it’s having a very different effect on what looks to be a bigger portion of the public

            …he’s not a BBC spokesman…he’s a freelancer…so he gets paid a bit out the BBC’s taxpayer-funded purse…as do a bunch of other people via the production company he has that produces a bunch of things at least some of which I gather are commissions for the beeb

            …but claiming he shouldn’t say anything publicly that it might be less-than-impartial for the BBC to espouse as a corporation is pretty nonsensical

            …plus…once his co-presenters declined to appear without him in solidarity…anyone with even a glancing familiarity with the tabloid press had to know “sportacus” was only a matter of time

            …it would fit right in as an episode of W1A & no mistake

    • There are some obvious parallels to the NY Times top brass reaction to internal complaints about its goofball Trans coverage.

      That BBC article is a joke. They say “Sticking to its guns on impartiality has come at a high price for the corporation and opened up new faultlines in the process” when the entire problem, as many people have pointed out, is that the BBC seems to have been extremely arbitrary about how it has decided what is and isn’t allowed.

      Just like Joe Kahn and Carolyn Ryan decided that people sending a letter to the standards editor was “activism” but somehow people writing a letter attacking those people was just fine. Carolyn Ryan pets like Maggie Haberman and Michael Powell have long been allowed to attack other staffers, while nothing had better be said about them.

      It’s been pointed out for a long time that media companies have been completely contradictory. They have pushed people in even the most “impartial” positions to tweet aggressively to expand the company’s brand, and then overreact any time there is organized opposition from certain quarters, very often the right. And the brass still doesn’t figure it out.

      • …there are literally any number of articles from any number of places saying the same thing…but if you think the BBC one is a joke then you’re missing a massive amount of what the whole thing is about in a british context

        …it might superficially offer some parallels with matters at the NYT…but most of those would be misleading in the extreme

        …if the NYT were funded by taxpayers & subject to a direct review by the federal government of how it’s funded, what funding it gets, what its remit ought to be & generally everything about its existence…maybe they’d be similar…but I’m betting the NYT would be plenty different

        …also that quote you went with reads very different with british sensibilities…the stuff between the lines is important

        • They’re not identical in the funding, but the results are definitely parallel. The point that critics point out is that “impartial” leans one way even before an issue comes up, not simply after. Execs don’t just enforce some mythical status quo, they create it.

          It’s critical to watch out for the tobacco PR agency/Glenn Greenwald line of attack where if two things aren’t perfect twins — and they never are — any comparison is not only invalid but a sign of ignorance on the part of the person making the comparison.

          A good sign of how it works is to look at how, in the US, NPR and the NY Times wildly overlap in terms of coverage, policy, and outcomes. There isn’t a clean line between the privately owned and publicly funded when you look at actual outcomes because of how heavily both subscribe to the same ideas of what counts as news, what tropes to use, and what frameworks are valid.

          Funding matters, but there’s a huge space for executive choices too.

          • …not really what I was saying…but ok…that I guess is sort of the point

            …there are reasons neither of us has time for me to explain about why the BBC reporting on this stuff is fascinating…but the parallels you’re talking about are among the least interesting of them

            …plenty of other things allow for discussing that stuff…to the point that it’s a routine line of discussion you manage to turn just about any subject to on a near-daily basis

            …on the other hand there are some things that are more or less unique about the BBC, how it operates, its relationship to both the state & to the people who actually make &/or appear in its coverage

            …to the point that shows like 2012 or W1A have an endless supply of comedy gold to mine

            …nothing in my comment implied your point was invalid or made accusations of ignorance…but clearly there’s a wealth of something that got lost in translation if that’s how it read to you?

            • Are there any signs that some sponsors might get involved and join the pundits in protest?

              I have to assume that the government funding is supplemented by revenue from commercials? If so, they could have a huge say in this as opposed to just gov appointed chair.

              • …depends what you mean by sponsors, I guess?

                …it can go unnoticed when the BBC flogs stuff to other markets but one of the hallmarks of the whole model is precisely that…at least in terms of how it operates as a public service broadcaster in the UK…it’s divorced from the advertising-driven finance framework

                …the license fee, which technically covers a household’s right to tune in to their TV broadcasts (it’s cheaper if you only have a B&W telly, or you’re a pensioner) is where the trust that administers its funding gets most of its revenue…the rest is from flogging their content, as far as I’m aware…they amended the fine print a while back to include iplayer/on demand stuff in what the fee pertains to but over the years people have successfully argued in court that they only watched non-BBC stuff to get out of paying it…or at least to evade being fined when they were caught not paying it

                …when I was a kid they used to send vans about the place trying to detect active TVs being watched in houses that didn’t have a license so they could fine them…I doubt there were ever many of them…the vans, that is…but they had “adverts” about that…& they have what I believe are called “idents” that advertise upcoming things they’ll be airing…but they don’t owe their revenue to advertising in that way?

                …it’s all supposed to grant them the kind of independence that would allow them to…as part of that public service remit…act as an honest critic of the government of the day & not be beholden to any particular party…but the tories look upon it much the way they do the NHS…&…the public does, too…with a similar difference in perspectives for the most part

                …which is why the fact that the conservatives installed a guy as the chairman who lied about having a hand in loaning tens of thousands of pounds to boris around the time he put him up for the job got a fair bit of shade


                …oddly enough…when accused of impropriety in that instance many of the tories most incensed about lineker were quick to point out that the chairman doesn’t have any direct editorial control of the content commissioned & broadcast by the BBC so apparently his personal political leanings shouldn’t matter

                …apparently that’s something they have difficulty remembering just at the minute…I guess that’s par for the course when you’re on team “stick to sports”?

  1. Lol at the dog high jump. One of our late doxies loved to jump out of her pen when she was a pup. The first time she did we were all shocked, but then mom yelled at her to go back so she did and then gave us her innocent face “who me?”

    • There is a lot more to that story that will come out. One of the very frustrating things I’ve noticed about coverage is that there’s a disturbing amount of passive voice and vague waving toward “the bank” which reinforces the worst tendencies of business coverage — CEOs are geniuses behind successes, but failures just…. happen.

      Sort of like the old saying that success has 100 fathers but failure is an orphan.

      Who directed all of that wildly unbalanced, tech-heavy lending? Who failed to hedge against a shift in interest rates? Who mangled the PR? Who were the CEOs who relied so heavily on SVB as a bank and now are facing huge cash flow problems?

      A big reason we aren’t getting those answers is that top editors at places like CNBC don’t want to know anything serious as companies climb the ladder, and so they can’t answer basic questions when there’s a problem, and they end up swallowing whatever narrative gets fed to them when a deadline looms.

      • …some of that might be at least a bit to do with how fast the wheels came off?

        …it took a while with the FTX/SBF stuff but they got there in the end…& this went faster & only really fell on its face yesterday

        …arguably wouldn’t have if the former guy hadn’t killed regulations that had been on the books so that stress testing & adequate coverage weren’t required for less than $250billion sized banks…which I believe the guy in charge of SVB was cheering all the way

        …but the details I expect we’ll hear a fair bit about in days/weeks to come?

        • Yeah, I had a vague memory of Orange Man cutting back regulations, so I’m ready to lay the blame at his feet. However, I might be a bit obsessive about my hatred for him, so I was holding back on that front. But yeah, they’re gonna need to put those rules back in place. Can’t count on the banks to police themselves, that’s for damn sure.

    • …that threw me to begin with…but it’s not that they chose not to insure the rest…it’s that the FDIC routine only guarantees deposits up to $250k…& people held a lot more than that on deposit in one account…so everything north of that line is in limbo right now…they’ve issued them with chits to be redeemed as/when they sell it off for parts but if someone takes it on or they get bailed out that might all still be there…but it’s schroedinger’s cash for now?

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