Watch this

I gather I’m a little to slow to seeing this, but I caught it on ESPN today and found it absolutely amazing.  Super-duper cool:

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Sexting: reality vs. the media

I must admit, “sexting” is just such a great word– it’s certainly one of my favorites that sum up the modern age.  I suspect this is true for journalists as well, who just cannot resist writing about (and editors and publishers who like anything that gets readers).  Hence, most people surely believe that teenage sexting is way more prevalent than it actually is.  From Today’s Times:

One in 10 children ages 10 to 17 has used a cellphone to send or receive sexually suggestive images, but only 1 in 100 has sent images considered graphic enough to violate child pornography laws, a new study found.

The results of the study, published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, are based on detailed telephone interviews with 1,560 children across the country. It is one of the largest surveys yet to look at the prevalence of sexting among minors, a phenomenon that has drawn concern from schools and law enforcement and that has prompted nationwide legislation trying to curb it.

Or as a couple FB friends commented:

Sending of sexual messages not as prevalent as the thoughtless media hype suggested, real research finds

Or this headline from Jezebel:

99% Of Kids Resist Urge To Sext Naked Pictures Of Themselves

Just another excellent example of why we should never forget that the media’s primary goal is to make money by drawing in readers/viewers.

Photo of the day

The Post ran a nice series of photos from 25 years of the Washington Post magazine.  This one of Gary Hart and Donna Rice certainly brings back the memories:

American politician and Democratic presidential front-runner Gary Hart sits on a dock with Donna Rice on his lap. Faced with reports of womanizing, Hart dared reporters to “follow me around . . . put a tail on me.” Reporters did just that, and Hart was caught with a young woman who spent Friday and Saturday night with him at his home on Capitol Hill while Hart’s wife was out of town. Hart dropped out of the race, and the incident redefined the relationship between the press and public figures.

Though there was never any photographic proof like this with Bill Clinton and Gennifer Flowers 5 years later, Bill Clinton changed politics by simply refusing to give up in the face of his affair being uncovered.  Of course, he never did anything as stupid as Hart’s “put a tail on me.”  I was just a budding political science major in 1992, but I seem to recall that many journalists seemed to take it as a personal affront that Clinton didn’t just drop right out of the race as Hart did.

Quote of the day

Andrew Sullivan captures what I’ve long been saying about News in a amazingly succinct manner:

Gingrich is simply a dumb person’s idea of a smart person

Damn that’s good.

Democratic stategery?

I awoke to this headline at the Post today:

Some Democratic strategists worry about Gingrich’s potential appeal

and couldn’t help thinking: is this part of some Democratic scheme to convince the media (and thereby Republican voters) that Gingrich is actually electable in a general election?  Um, I thinking yes.  As for his appeal:

Where Romney, the former business executive and Massachusetts governor, poses a threat in his ability to win independents and conservative Democrats attracted to his image as an economic Mr. Fix-It, Gingrich could pursue a strategy that combines energizing the conservative base and chipping away Democratic support among Hispanics — an electoral formula that helped George W. Bush win in 2004.

Some Democrats believe that Gingrich, a hero of the conservative movement, would excite the party base more than a former liberal-state governor with a history of centrist views. And voters yearning for authenticity may be more open to the voluble and rumpled former House speaker, who frequently discusses his past mistakes and his recent conversion to Catholicism, than to a former ­equity-fund executive with perfect salt-and-pepper hair.

In all honestly, though, the article actually starts off on why this all doesn’t matter:

Newt Gingrich would be such a weak challenger to President Obama, according to Rep. Barney Frank, that his nomination would be “the best thing to happen to Democrats since Barry Goldwater.”

Democratic strategist Jim Jordan says he and others in the party “passionately” want to face Gingrich. And from the right, conservative pundit Ann Coulter is warning fellow Republicans that the former House speaker’s past extramarital affairs and other baggage make him a far less formidable nominee than Mitt Romney.

And the conclusion:

“If he’s able to leverage his authenticity and unpredictability to be a real person in the eyes of the voters, he could be a good general-election candidate,” said Erik Smith, a prominent Democratic consultant. “But you also have to have some discipline. Anytime that Newt Gingrich has been under a long period of sustained scrutiny, he hasn’t held up, and certainly a general-election campaign is the most thorough scrutiny any candidate gets.”

Much of the article is about Newt’s potential appeal to Hispanic voters, vis-a-vis other Republican candidates.  Sorry, just don’t see that.  Seems to me that the Republican “brand” has got to be pretty much toxic for many perhaps otherwise persuadable Hispanics, regardless of who the standard bearer is.

In sum, the article is actually much more balanced than the headline suggests and it quotes Jordan multiple times suggesting that Obama would love to face Gingrich.  That said, one cannot help but wonder if there isn’t a Democratic strategy out there to try and help Gingrich become Obama’ s opponent.

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