Blogging is a funny enterprise. Most of us define our interests broadly. No one has a specific mandate that says "look here," or "examine that." We consult our sources, and wait for something to ping.
A ping says "there’s is something out there." We don’t what it is. We just know that it is. It’s up to us to poke around till the ping reveals itself.
This morning started with a story in the New York Times about Robert A. Iger, chief executive of the Walt Disney Company and Steven P. Jobs, chief of Pixar Animation.
This is a story about an old media player working with a new media player. And the contrast between Iger and Jobs is thoroughgoing. These guys are different by temperment, interest, outlook. The fusion point is potentially a fission point, and that makes the Disney-Pixar connection is a nice opportunity to observe worlds in transition (if not in turmoil).
But it turns out that what really captures one’s attention are the remarks by Brian Grazer. Grazer is apparently a friend of Iger’s and when asked to comment, Grazer says that Iger and Jobs should get along well together because "Bob’s been No. 2 for so long he is not so covetous of power. A partnership is more biomedically comfortable for him."
"Biomedically comfortable"! Steve, turn the sub around! This is promising. We have just had a glimpse of the inside of Brian Grazer’s head, and…and…and more data is required immediately.
So I googled Brian Grazer and, praise God, it looks like there is a Charlier Rose interview. Mr. Rose is not the best interviewer in the world, but 60 minutes is lots and lots of data.
We can have the interview, but it turns out it’s going to cost $34.95 on DVD. The transcript, by email, will cost $9.95. There appear to be old shows from mid-1990s on Google Video that cost $.99.
I thought public broadcasting was funded "by viewers like you." And the Bloomberg website says "Major funding for CHARLIE ROSE is provided by Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Cisco Systems, and DLJ direct."
But when we buy a DVD or a transcript, we appear to be paying Charlie Rose, Inc. We would like to know more about this company, but the http://www.charlierose.com website is not forthcoming. There is link called "about the show." There is no "about charlie.rose inc." All we get an address on Lexington Avenue in New York City.
Charlie Rose is withholding his interviews from the new media world. He may be a man of the people on PBS, but on his own website, it’s strictly "pay per view." The costs of distributing transcripts is of course neglible, and we must wonder why Mr. Rose is not a little more open source, participatory and generous about this. In short, Bob Iger may not be the only person struggling to understand how new media and the internet change the world of ideas. Intellectually and otherwise, old economies are giving way to new ones, and Charlie Rose doesn’t get it. (Charlie Rose interviews all and sundry and he still doesn’t get it. This is most odd.)
Charlie Rose appears to be using public, philanthropic, and donor funds to produce these interviews. Then, apparently, he keeps the rebroadcast proceeds for himself. This is not a new media problem. This would appear to be a very old fashioned issue of morality and ethics.
Holson, Laura and John Markoff. 2006. At Disney, a Dealmaker in the Grip of Technological Change. New York Times. January 23, 2006. here.
For the Bloomberg claim about Charlie Rose funding, here.