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Shedding Pajamas: OSM

The much yapped-about launch of  Pajamas Media... er, make that Open Source Media is taking place today in New York City as well as on the web. I'm a part of it.

The initiative for the blogomerate and advertising network definitely comes from the right-of-center but with a vow to be inclusive and pluralistic. So far there are a handful of us from the liberal/left side who are trying to make that a reality.

I wasn't able to attend our big launch fiesta in New York as I've too much to do here in L.A. this week. But my Nation colleague, David Corn, is there. He files this report and neatly outlines the issues that he and I will be keeping our eye on. Like David, I want to make sure that OSM provides a strong voice for all points of view.  One way we can help this along is to have other liberal bloggers join up. The door is wide open. To those liberals demanding more inclusiveness in media venues, it's time to put your blog where your mouth is. Lefty Max Sawicky is also on board -- with eyes wide open.

67 Responses to “Shedding Pajamas: OSM”

  1. Kevin Says:

    Marc, Your link to OSM doesn’t work.

  2. Mark A. York Says:

    What are the readership requirements or are there any?

  3. Marc Cooper Says:

    Huh? (link fixed btw)

  4. Tom Chinlund Says:

    Wonder if Corn and Cooper feel a little bit like the tarts from the PBS Las Vegas documentary. I guess that insults prostitution, an honorable trade compared to scribbling.

  5. right wing circle jerk Says:

    All individual components of Our Site, including, without limitation, articles, content and other elements comprising Our Site are also copyrighted works. Additionally all of the weblogs linked to by us are likewise protected. You must abide by all additional copyright notices or restrictions contained on this site and our linked weblogs.

    You may not reproduce, distribute, copy, publish, enter into any database, display, modify, create derivative works, transmit, or in any way exploit any part of this site.
    ==============================

    That ‘s about as open source as Microsoft. You may want to alert Google not to index your site. Amateurs commenting on MSM stories. The hypocrisy is stunning. Good luck with that.

  6. Kevin Says:

    I see that the trolls are arriving already.

  7. Joe Tribune Says:

    Can I get a cut of this? I’ll use any profits to bail out my pals struggling in print.

  8. Mark A. York Says:

    “Huh?” For inclusion in the PJM conglomerate.

  9. Mark A. York Says:

    No fair use? That would be stunning. And chilling.

  10. Kevin Says:

    What are you talking about? You can’t unilaterally disallow ‘fair use’.

  11. Andrew Says:

    Here’s what James Wolcott has to say about some of Marc’s new cyber-colleagues:

    One wingnut blowhard who goes by the handle Confederate Yankee put up a post about Iraq, Democrats, and the diabolical genius. No doubt I’m too sensitive (I’m wired that way), but there’s something a bit iffy tastewise about a blogger calling himself Confederate Yankee running a picture of a hangman’s noose above the tagline…”Remember: it isn’t the fall, but the sudden drop at the end.” I think that if my handle were Confederate Yankee, I might steer clear of allusions to lynching, but perhaps this is the sort of edgy blogging they’re looking for at OSM, which touts another blog on its honor roll for “Taking sloppy liberal thinking and tearing it a new one–but always with a touch of class.”

  12. Rich Says:

    Low to mid six figures???? Holy crap! You lost me there, Marc. Low to mid six figures for a journalist?? No wonder the L.A. Times is chopping heads. You also lost me with the description of your Nation comrades–I’m thankful I’ve never had to work with people like that on a frequent basis, but it also explains why so much of your writing seems to be geared toward attacking these people: they’re the “left” you are surrounded by. But it might surprise you to know that most of us here in the U.S. (non-coastals–I’m an L.A. transplant) don’t encounter this group at all, and which is why your referencing them so often seems so straw-man-ish–because it IS a straw man in the world outside of universities and journalism schools. They’re not the left I work with, or know, or am influenced by. This might sound snarky, but two ways in which you aren’t at all like people I know are the two I just mentioned–salary expectations in the low to mid SIX figures(?!?), and alternately hanging around a wacko left like some kind of fated siamese twin.

    C’mon out and breathe some fresh air, Marc. Of course, no promise you’ll be earning half a million clams annually, but anyway…

  13. Benjamin Says:

    The fallacy is the assumption that if more liberal bloggers join that will change the direction and slant of the site. There is a hand picked core of blogs they will generally use. And Simon, Ledeen, Johnson etc will be calling the shots on that one.

    Do you really think Ledeen and Johnson and co will be involved in a project that is balanced?

    Get real.

  14. Benjamin Says:

    Oh, and by the way, if it wants to be taken seriously, OSM’s stories have to be better written than “Gaza border deal’ currently on the front page.

  15. Mark A. York Says:

    Well aside from the pet lefty relativism, I’ve never heard any of those crazy assertions anywhere, but I’m sure they exist, though hardly the line most liberal-leaning pundits purport. What could Simon possibly bring in the form of income? Johnson, Ledeen and Simon are just spewing propagandists with no concern for truth. Any journalist that signs on to that doctrine deserves to lose their job.

    But blogging isn’t a real job and won’t ever be. Especially with the level of truth standards we see now. It’s like a liars festival out there.

  16. richard lo cicero Says:

    Marc, don’t forget to include the “tm” next to the OSM(tm) logo. Must not violate trademark you know. Well at least KOS has fair use.

  17. Marc Cooper Says:

    RLC: Now I know what to get u for Xmas. A pair of precision tweezers. By the way, fair use is fair use and it applies to everyone whether they like it or not — so u folks are plain wrong.

    In any case, remember who ur talking to here. Writers, for the most part, defend defense of intellectual property, y’know. We fight lawsuits over it because — greedy us- we believe in copyright protection, fair compensation for the product we have created and we oppose others profiting off our work by pirating it. Gosh, what a bunch of right-wing pigs we are. Fascist bastards we be! TM

    To Kevin: Let’s do some math. A modest three bedroom suburban house in an average L.A. neighborhood now costs about $650,000. With a normal down payment, that creates a mortgage of $3,000 per month. Property taxes on that house run about 600 a month, Basic utilities, phones upkeep a bare minimum of $400 a month. College tuition books etc at a PUBLIC university run about $12,000 a year (quadruple that for a private university). But let’s stick with a public school and one kid for our purposes. Two working adults and a child in university lving at home in L.A. require THREE AUTOMOBILES. Average expense, depreciation etc gasoline etc on a car is about $7k a year x 3 equals 21,000 or about 1700 per month. Add into that car insurance for 3 cars including a high-expense young drivers policy and you’re looking at about another 8 grand per year– or about 700 a month. Oops, I forgot house and fire insurance.. another 2500 per year. How about minimum contributions to a retirement fund? Shall we say the max of 9K for a couple of Roths? Plus a bare-ass minimum of another 10k per year? (insufficient but let;s be modest).. so that another 1600 a month. How about some minimal life insurance for a couple? Maybe 250 a month? So based on the above, you’re looking at about $130,000 NET per year… That’s AFTER taxes and before the purchase of food, clothing, leisure activities and a popsicle or two. It seems the starting level is about $300k… or am I wrong somewhere???

  18. manowar Says:

    Marc said:

    “or am I wrong somewhere???”

    Yeah, you left out the glass filament rods and the ultra-light spinning gear.

    BTW I just read on the HuffPost that saltwater fish off Orange have been with found with both male and female sex organs due to sewerage dumping and I assume birth control residues. You might want to consider adding a heavy duty ionic water filter.

  19. right wing circle jerk Says:

    Marc,
    No matter what decisions you make, remember we will always love you.

  20. Marc Cooper Says:

    Manowar: Well, yeah! The ultra0light stiff is cheap. It’s the hand-wrapped tuna rods and Boss Magum 6.3 to 1 reels that start competing with the mortgage payment.

    The piece about the transgender fish is So Cal was NOT very reassuring. My fishing partner wrote me to suggest next time we go surf fishing to make sure we dont let the water rise to crotch level!

  21. Rich Says:

    Marc, your point is taken, but my reaction was an honest one: you’re simply NOT going to find middle class people–in L.A. or elsewhere–earning half-mil incomes. Not even close. It’s jaw-dropping, honestly, when you consider L.A. metro area wages aren’t much higher than in the Midwest (excluding corporate and entertainment jobs–and I guess we can add high-priced journalists to that very short list).

    And regarding home ownership, it’ll be interesting to see the next set of released (honest) numbers charting decline of home ownership over the past five years; I guarantee you, unless a middle class family/home-owner was settled in So. Cal before 1999, they do not own a house now. So scratch that $650,000 off the list–they’re renting. Three cars? Maybe, with two used. But I doubt it. Luckily, used cars last longer here than in the colder regions, as long as you stay out of the mountains. College education? Loans, loans, loans: very few middle class parents can make much of a dent in–much less cover–their childrens’ college expenses these days. So the kids learn what it’s like to invest in themselves right off the bat.

    In other words, Marc, while your expenses may sound very normal on paper, you can’t argue that a 250-500 grand/yr salary is even remotely close to average–in L.A. or otherwise. That’s just amazing to me. Not judging, but we, my friend, are in different worlds. Two Americas, indeed.

  22. Randy Paul Says:

    In any case, remember who ur talking to here. Writers, for the most part, defend defense of intellectual property, y’know. We fight lawsuits over it because — greedy us- we believe in copyright protection, fair compensation for the product we have created and we oppose others profiting off our work by pirating it. Gosh, what a bunch of right-wing pigs we are. Fascist bastards we be! TM

    I gotta get your back here on this as well, Marc. I worked for 23 years protecting intellectual property rights in film and music (as soon as my severance runs out from the last company I plan an extensive blog post on it). I testified in Federal Court on the subject on behalf of my last employer and represented them at meidation sessions to settle infringement suits.

    The only thing I might add on the subject is that Marc and Kevin are absolutely right on the subject of fair use. The problem is in determining how much is fair. This is one of the better online sources on the subject.

  23. Kevin Says:

    Marc: HUH? I think you meant to address Rich with that. I said nothing about anyone’s income.

  24. richard lo cicero Says:

    Do you really think newspaper salaries are anywhere near that, even in LA? At the DAILY NEWS? the PRESS-TELEGRAM? Or even the TIMES? Please you are entitled to earn money from you writing efforts. Its just that “Open Source” has a meaning and OPEN SOURCE ™ ain’t it. But really I don’t care as I would never want to quote Michael Ledeen or Michele Malkin anyway. If you make some money more power to you. But a lot of people in the know seem to be quite dubious. Maybe they’re wrong. Or maybe they remember the Dot.Coms.

  25. Mark A. York Says:

    Ditto marc on the fish story. I posted on that one since I’m a fish biologist.

    As for this “College tuition books etc at a PUBLIC university run about $12,000 a year.”

    Housing aside, since I live here in LA on next to nothing in a place I own, tuition at Cal State is up to $2500 a year and for books, a real racket, I could go $600, but that’s it. Now living expenses would cover that figure you cited.

    I don’t how you make the figure you quoted. I’ve never met anyone who made that kind of money.

  26. Lotte Lenya Says:

    Marc, I think your choice to sign on with OSM despite your ideological differences with many of its other contributors is admirable.

    What it says to me, as someone who might be described as being on the “other side” politically, is that you’re not afraid to put your ideas to the test. I look forward to hearing more from you and, hey, if you put forth compelling enough arguments, I may even be persuaded to agree with you.

  27. richard lo cicero Says:

    Lotte obviously spent too much time with Bertie Brecht.

  28. Natasha (the one in college) Says:

    TO RICH:
    “College education? Loans, loans, loans: very few middle class parents can make much of a dent in–much less cover–their childrens’ college expenses these days. So the kids learn what it’s like to invest in themselves right off the bat.”

    Listen Buddy-
    Debt? Ha! No thanks, “I am a friend of the working man, and I would rather be his friend, than be one. ”

    ——
    Ugghhhh how boring this all is! The next criticism will be that blogging is a tool of privilege and unless your thoughts are scribbled across a protest sign at an A.N.S.W.E.R. or R.C.P. rally than its bourgeois and elitist.

    More parot jokes please.

  29. Mavis Beacon Says:

    I don’t know how much you make, Marc, and I don’t care, but that’s not an honest assessment of how much money it takes to live in Los Angeles. My folks make a good deal less than 200k combined and they own a lovely house, sent my brother and I to private colleges, and really never had to scrimp or worry about bills (which doesn’t mean they weren’t extremely frugal in certain ways). The claim that anyone needs over $200k to survive in Woodland Hills is bullshit. You can make what you make and enjoy that lifestyle but don’t pretend that you’re just a middle class journo trying to get by.

  30. Marc Cooper Says:

    Hey Mavis.. this is why blogging is wonderful. You can even get people to tell u how much u need to live on. There are people who live in Woodland Hills who make less than $20,000 a year, y’know. About 3 blks from me there’s an apt house full of latino immigrants who crod into apts to cut rent and make their living as day laborers in the neighborhood. One hardly needs $200k to “survive” in Woodland Hills. I have chipmunks in yard that get by with no cash, as long as they are willing to eat the bird seed I put out.

    Just as your parents dont know me, I dont know them. Certainly people who are older, who bought houses when they cost 45,000 insteaed of 600,000 have lower costs. perhaps they took out loans to putt u thru college when tuition was 1/3 of what it is today etc.

    The figures I gave you are real. Perhaps the difference here is that id do NOT “pretend” to be a middle class journo getting by. I pretend rather to be the father of a family intent on guaranteeing that family’s security in an increasingly difficult economy. I could give up a savings and persion plan, reduce levels of life insurance, and tell my kid to hitchike to UCLA I suppose… but I prefer not to. What I make of course is my own business. But I can tell you categorically, that a family of three including a college student that had a GROSS income of $200,000 in today’s Los Angeles would be living with a good deal of economic insecurity. Mind boggling? You bet.

  31. reg Says:

    I just want to weigh in on Marc’s side of this issue on how much it costs to live what used to be considered a reasonably comfortable middle-class existence with a few perks for the kids and no daily sweats over retirement. There are places in this land where it can still be done on journeyman’s pay – I was just visiting my family in Springfield Mo, which is a nice town if you aren’t overly freaked out by Assembly of God types attempting to dominate your school board, and you can get a not-too-shabby three bedroom house for under $100K with pay levels lower than on the coasts, but high enough to make homes affordable for most folks – but in LA and the Bay Area, among other places, it’s plain crazy. Families living on what sound like “high incomes” are subject to constant, albeit quiet, moments of economic desperation and absolutely crazy choices that often involve deciding whether they’ll secure their kids future or their own. A river runs through it and it’s called Denial. I don’t want to shed too many tears for the folks who’s biggest problem is paying for a decent education for their kids when other folks don’t even have health insurance, but I don’t think Marc’s numbers are that far from the bleak reality if you’re talking about real “middle class” security (for people who aren’t older, settled stakeholders) vs. a rather daunting balancing act on the urban coasts.

  32. Mark A. York Says:

    LA can engulf anyone’s numbers, but to make that as a journalist is the top of Cloud 9. All I can say to that as someone battling to get in at $25K is timing and well done.

  33. Ted Says:

    I can’t believe you can compare the wide-eyed lefties who think Cuba, Mao, etc. are great with the radicals that dominate the OSM blogroll. We’re talking about people who actively say that Islam is taking over America, the Democrats are pro-Jihad, and there is an active Islamic 5th column in America fronted by left-wingers and the UN.

    The flip side to this are the LaRouche-left who think the exact same things about Jews. But I guess since Muslims are the target, it’s not so bad to you?

    This has nothing to do with right/left but with anti-Muslim paranoia which dominates the OSM blogroll.

  34. Ras_Nesta Says:

    Give it up Ted.

    To Marc, going into business with anti-muslim bigots is hunky-dory as long as the 6-fig salaries and cocktail parties continue.

    Also Marc, nice set of strawmen about liberals who love Cuba, Mao, et al. A few more and you’ll be able to field a side for baseball.

    Do you actually meet people who talk, much less think, about Mao?

  35. Mavis Beacon Says:

    “Hey Mavis.. this is why blogging is wonderful. You can even get people to tell u how much u need to live on.”

    You’re right, Marc. We shouldn’t have a discussion about how much income an Angelino needs to get by. That might count as class warefare. Or perhaps it’s using you as an example that chaps your hide. You volunteered the information, I didn’t go digging up your tax returns.

    On a side note, I don’t know how you figure 29k per year for three cars plus insurance. That’s insane. Maybe I should get appointed your conservator.

  36. richard lo cicero Says:

    Marc, everyone knows that the median house price here is half a mil. Just remember that the median family income is nowhere near that. And “Middle Class” housing is available here for less – in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Want to live in Woodland Hills? Better be in the top two percent. And if you want to live at the beach you better have a three picture deal at Universal.

    Yeah ccollege is expensive. I couldn’t afford it today. Hell, as late as 1982 CSUN was $200 a year! I went to a private college in New England. Total cost my Frosh year was $2,600 and that included room and board. And I had scholarships that covered all but about $500 which was covered by a NDSL grant. In all I left with a three thousand dollar debt and half of that was wiped out by my military service. So times have changed. And then, someday, maybe I’ll compare the GI my generation of Vietnam vets got compared to what “The Greatest Generation” got after WWII.

    The point is, Marc, as the LAT has described in a series of articles (enjoy them while you can) the whole thrust of public policy for the past quarter century has been to shift all risks, and costs, on the Middle Class. With predictable results. Sorry I know this is off topic but I really think its the biggest social trend out there and needs a lot more exposure.

  37. Ted Says:

    I have absolutely no problem with Marc or anyone else chasing the $$. I live in SoCal too and know how hard it is to live a decent life, with kids, in this part of the world. It takes a lot of creativity, ingenuity, and a bunch of other things I can’t spell properly.

    I’m just suggesting that this is the wrong wagon to hitch up with. It will ruin, rather then enhance, Marc’s career prospects. Because this is a loser from the get-go. The anti-muslim bigotry is just the crust of this shit sandwich.

  38. Mark A. York Says:

    Anybody see this and the bruhaha over Ann Althouse?

    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2005/07/pajamas-media-vs-blogads-bloggers.html

    She really took CJ to task here and then the commenter showed their typical sofistication at LGF.

  39. lurker Says:

    “The bloggers faded away from the bar and the beauty thanked us for the drink and said good night. I watched her walk away up Lexington alone and realized she was the only person I had meet at the Open Source Media after-party who was truly open and who had a solid business plan.”

    http://www.jimlowney.com/mt-archives/000314.html

  40. reg Says:

    That was a great link to Jim Lowney…brilliant blogging. He doesn’t seem to write a lot – he’s a photog who posts a lot of his (good) work – but that was a killer.

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  42. Sean Says:

    James Walcott says you’re lying about the cartoon leftism of some of your Nation cohorts. Or did he say you were lying? Well, whatever, because neither the truth nor the staff of the Nation’s sanity seemed to be the point.

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