Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Monday Morning Quarterback

AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski does a most excellent job in his Digital Daily posts and video, but here is some stuff I have found interesting perusing the Web at the start of what is already a busy week. While most were opining on Yahoo’s acquisition of the rest of Right Media (it bought 20% of the online ad exchange last October) for $680 million in cash and stock, it had to be one of the least surprising deals, in the wake of Google’s $3.1 billion payout for DoubleClick earlier this month.

So I was more interested in the Washington Post’s follow-up of NBC’s controversial decision to air the self-made video of the Virginia Tech gunman in an interview with NBC News President Steve Capus. Written by media reporter Howard Kurtz, it gives a lot of background of Capus’s career and, of course, hashes over the reasoning for putting on TV the rantings of an obviously disturbed killer, for which NBC was assailed from all sides. “I’m stunned that people bang down our door at one moment,” he told Kurtz, “demanding we release it uninterrupted and without filter–then question whether it should have been released in the first place…I’m just stunned at the depths of absurdity and hypocrisy.” Welcome to the new digital world, Mr. Capus. In fact, there was likely not even a decision to be made for the longtime television pro–in the age of YouTube, that video was going up no matter what.

The New York Times brought tears of joy to my eyes with the news that Sony Television will soon be airing something called “minisodes” on a new Web service called, wait for it, the Minisode Network (log-in required). The shows will distill old shows like “Charlie’s Angels,” “T. J. Hooker” and “Starsky and Hutch” to three- to five-minute clips, which somehow seems perfect given their hokey formulaic perfection. The mini-shows will be offered exclusively on MySpace at first, which is about the most perfect audience for dumbed-down dumb shows.

Speaking of short and sweet, Om Malik’s got a great mini-essay on why Hollywood needs to embrace the plethora of video-downloading services springing up on the Internet–its DVD business is waning. But it might not go so well for the studios in the end, writes Malik quite correctly: “Imagine if you could rent a movie, decide you don’t like it that much, and decide to forego the DVD purchase. Now that would be an oh-s— moment!”


And there are plenty of those kind of moments in the short, rough and oddly compelling mini-movies that Rosie O’Donnell has been posting recently on her unusual blog. Once a lot of text haiku-like ruminations of the controversial television personality, the movies bring you up close and personal with O’Donnell, who sometimes is half out of the frame getting her hair done as she answers reader mail while using only her iSight camera. “It’s working, it’s working,” she says as she taps on the keys of the computer. Indeed, it does work and makes me wonder if O’Donnell really needs any TV network (except, of course, for that big bag of money they offer).

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work