Off the Media: Bob Cackles Maniacally

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By Dorian Comment

It’s so hard to be self-absorbed, shallow media-celeb-stalking types when “On the Media” keeps reminding us about all these overseas places trying to bomb people to smithereens or courageous journalists exploring child pornography (and how we’re all perhaps a little guilty). It’s not so hard to give a “bravo” for exploring these issues and getting guests willing to talk so openly, even if the child porn stuff from the TimesKurt Eichenwald (left) made us a little squirmy (Eichenwald, himself noted how he needed counseling).

Bob Garfield was again alone as host this week, and so we’ll let him off the hook for running a repeat story about how no one friggin’ knows what really moves financial markets. Even though we’re now half an MBA, we find no flaws in the 2003 piece that points out how financial reporting is just a little too facile in pegging market ups and downs to one or the other specific cause (an Osama bin Laden tape, a presidential speech, “profit-taking,” investor optimism, take your pick).

Another story about financial news being done by computers that are fed numbers and, Mad Libs-like, making a story, reminds us of a computer program a decade or so ago that we heard about doing the same thing from sports agate (that’s stats, for you civilians). Computers are scary enough. Just be glad that people in Bangalore working for cheap don’t speak English. Oh, wait. OK, then, be glad about China.

And, we just have to point out another little clip of Bob letting his eccentric interview technique show.


We can’t post the audio because our tech overlords are scared we’ll melt the servers.

Here’s the question:

I have this image of you sitting there reading Paul Krugman’s column and watching Lou Dobbs and reading this mammoth bestseller, Freakonomics, and just seething and seething and saying to yourself, “All right, I know I was going to write this primer on how to really honestly broker statistical information and other data. But no, I’ve got to destroy these men. [CACKLING MANIACALLY]” Am I warm on that one?

The answer is much more measured, if boring. Catch it at about 40:00 on the podcast.

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