Washington meets Washington, warily

Jeff Bezos is, by all appearances, a press-shy recluse with a ruthlessly efficient approach to business and a Scrooge-like reputation as an employer. He will also now be, by virtue of his acquisition of the Washington Post, a highly sought after social and political power broker in a town full of preening narcissists, socially ambitious sycophants and hucksters. And that’s not even counting the politicians. Should be fun.

Now that the shock of the sale has been absorbed, the DC establishment is trying to get a fix on the new macher from “the other Washington,” as Bezos put it in his memo to the Post staff.

Read the rest at GigaOM Pro.


The shield and the sword

The Media Wonk The Senate Judiciary Committee held an executive business meeting (i.e. markup) last week where members debated the Free Flow of Information Act of 2013. Modeled on state “shield laws” the bill would create a federal shield for journalists protecting them against being compelled to testify about their sources by a federal court. But according to a McClatchy report, the bill had to be held over to the next meeting after the senators were unable to agree on a definition of “journalist” to be protected by the law.

Here’s hoping it continues to confound them.

Don’t get me wrong. As a one-time (albeit small-time) accredited journalist the Media Wonk very much wants to be sympathetic to bill’s aims. The Obama Administration’s rough and disgraceful treatment of reporters caught up in its Ahab-like pursuit of leaks and leakers really does need to stop, or be stopped. But a federal shield law, particularly now, is a very fraught way of trying to do it.

Measuring media

Few Americans may have noticed it but the American economy grew by $560 billion this week, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the office within the U.S. Commerce Department that calculates the official gross domestic product. The “growth” was a result of an accounting change — part of a major revision to how BEA calculates GDP going back to 1929. But it could have real world consequences.

Most of the upward revision reflects a decision to include for the first time an estimate of the value of intangible assets and activities, such as intellectual property and R&D spending.

Read the rest at GigaOM Pro.