Black Lives Matter Activist Shaun King Falsely Accuses Texas Patrolman of Crime

This is just horrific. Shaun King, the Black Lives Matter activist, has been on social media attacking a police officer in Texas. King claimed the officer kidnapped and raped a lady then held her in jail while the officer deleted his own social media profiles to avoid people targeting him.

King named the officer and claimed to know the “victim’s” lawyer. The victim, Sherita Dixon-Brown, claimed the Texas State Trooper had handcuffed her, put her in the officer’s patrol car, then raped her, after pulling her over claiming she was driving while intoxicated.

The Texas State Patrol released the body and dashboard camera footage of the incident to prove Sherita Dixon-Brown lied. But before they could, Shaun King started trying to generate an online mob to target the police officer, who he named in an effort to expose the guy.

Alex Griswold has screenshots of King stirring the online mob:

At least King finally retracted the story. But yet again a leftwing activist has tried to use social media to destroy a person’s life over false accusations.

The Relevant Point About the John Kelly Story

I do not think it is relevant whether or not General John Kelly referred to the President as an idiot. I think it is entirely plausible and I have no doubt the NBC News reporters have sources inside and outside the White House saying these things to them. The reporters say they have eight sources inside and outside the White House. I’d be curious how many of those eight are in the White House. That said, I don’t think Kelly saying these things is the relevant point here, whether or not he actually said them.

The relevant and notable point is that there are people inside and outside the White House yet again plotting to get Kelly ousted. We tend to have these stories come up now with metronomic consistency. The moment they start to die down, they suddenly get fired back up. This comes on the heels of the Ronny Jackson nomination, and I suspect the President blames Kelly in part for how that went. In fact, we have the drip, drip, drip of another story today that Mike Pence’s doctor had warned Kelly of problems and the media helpfully adds that this is similar to the Rob Porter story.

We saw the “President sours on Kelly” stories then too. This is a very consistent pattern on the part of one or more people (eight of them according to NBC News) who want John Kelly fired for their own agenda. And that, my friends, is the big story here. Yet again, people inside the White House are maneuvering for power. Figure out who Kelly has marginalized and you’ll figure out the sources.

The Georgia Gubernatorial Primary Picks Up Steam

Five candidates are running for the Georgia Republican nomination to succeed Governor Nathan Deal. Whoever gets the nomination will have one distinction neither Deal nor Perdue had. The Republican nominee will be the first actual lifelong Republican elected governor in Georgia.
I say that intentionally. Democrats are convinced a blue wave will wash over Georgia. I do not think it will go as high as the statewide offices. Georgia will see the Republican numbers in the state legislature reduced in the metro Atlanta area, which will, in turn, be bad for various metro areas policy-wise, but the statewide offices will stay Republican.

Democrats have blessed the GOP with Stacey Abrams, who is a very strong candidate and far more charming and personable than most in the GOP would have you believe. But she is also very much on the left and is surrounded with supporters and donors who the GOP will use to scare voters. And they will be effective in that.

Of the five would be governors, three seem to have the most likely shot of getting into an inevitable runoff. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle will be assured a spot in the runoff. He has been elected statewide twice as Lt. Governor. He has served in the State Senate since the Gingrich revolution days of the mid-90’s. A who’s who of establishment Republicans like him so much that he is repeatedly forced in his ads to refer to himself as “conservative Casey Cagle” as if “conservative” is his first name. Cagle’s biggest asset, his tenure, is also his biggest weakness. Lt. Governors tend to stand in the shadow of the Governor and have few accomplishments of their own. Cagle has worked hard to get those accomplishments but will be attacked relentlessly over what his opponents say is a long tenure as a career politician with nothing to show for it. He has about ten million dollars to show them in response and will use every penny to win.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp will most likely join Cagle in the runoff. The only other person running with statewide name identification and a statewide office, Kemp is a natural everyman. Cagle dresses sharply as someone who once owned a suit shop. Kemp is more comfortable in jeans. Kemp has done a competent job as Secretary of State, but there are issues some would portray as scandals. His predecessors allowed a local university to maintain voter data and that university did not secure the data. When the elections office sent out voter data, it contained the social security numbers of all voters. Kemp’s office quickly corrected it, but the damage to his reputation took a hit. Abrams has already battled Kemp in court over voter registration. Kemp has, to some degree, been a victim of the incompetence of local officials in the metro Atlanta area. His office got the blame for their mistakes.

Former State Senator Hunter Hill is a conservative Republicans who won a district Hillary Clinton also won. It is the Buckhead area of Atlanta and is the swing district of swing districts in the state. It is notable that most of the conservative legislators in the Georgia General Assembly are rallying to Hill. His opponents have been attacking him for the cold shoulder given by the NRA. He got a “C” when he first ran for office. He says it was because he screwed up a question on their survey. He has an “A” now but controversially did not get an endorsement from the NRA in 2016. He says it was intentional to avoid riling up the Democrats in his district and that it worked. He has weak name identification outside the Atlanta area, but with the Atlanta area turning out so large, that won’t matter too much.

Clay Tippins, like Hill, is a veteran. He is also a businessman who entered the race promising to bring business proficiency to the office. He is a self-made man, but his financial disclosures suggest he does not have as much spare money to put into his campaign as some first thought. Likewise, his advertising has been well designed, but also expensive. His media consultants are charging him a great deal. Tippins’ message has resonated in the business community across the state, and though he has lower name identification than Cagle, Kemp, and Hill, he has done a marvelous job boosting his name within the business community. Tippins has been hurt a bit by his patent refusal to support a Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Georgia, but he smartly offset it by being the only candidate to pledge to fight human trafficking. It also has the benefit of being an authentic concern. Tippins and his wife have fought to raise awareness on that issue for several years and care passionately about it.

State Senator Michael Williams is running a bit of an odd campaign. Just four years ago or so, Williams beat the incumbent Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. The Chamber of Commerce in Georgia not only opposed Williams, but an offshoot political branch of the local Chamber literally printed mail pieces against Williams accusing him of beating his wife. It was a nasty campaign. Since getting elected, Williams and the Chamber have mended fences, but he has been a pretty reliable social conservative in the State Senate. He is now, however, not really running on his record and his small business acumen. Williams is a serial entrepreneur with a lot of personal cash and a compelling story. But he is running as mini-Trump, holding rallies outside schools to protest liberal teachers, etc. His campaign has been outlandish and does not really reflect the authentic Williams. It has so far failed to attract people, and I continue to think it is a strategic miscalculation.

I listed the candidates in the order above because it reflects the Atlanta Journal-Constitution polling. Cagle has just over 40% of the support with Kemp at 9%, Hill at 8%, and both Tippins and Williams around 4%. About a third of voters are undecided. That is great news for Cagle, but with such high name identification and a third of voters undecided it could also be a weakness for Cagle in the runoff. That is why I suspect it will get very nasty very quickly after the primary concludes.

Cagle became Lt. Governor in 2006 after battling Ralph Reed in one of the nastiest fights in Georgia political history. Cagle savaged Reed, bashing him constantly and relentlessly for all sorts of ethical transgressions. It was a constant stream of negativity and worked. Reed was radioactive, and the guy with lower name identification beat the guy everyone knew. Cagle’s consultant in that race now works for Brian Kemp. Cagle and Kemp both have millions more than the other guys. Cagle has run a rather positive campaign with some savvy positioning in the last legislative session (Delta v. the NRA). Kemp is only just now spending his money having gambled, probably correctly, that he should wait till the end and secure his place in the runoff.

Once the primary ends on May 22nd, we are off to the real races. The Georgia Republican primary has been pretty quiet. It probably will be for the next few weeks. Then we will see some scorched earth.

Your Podcast Still Sucks. But You Can Still Make it Better.

Having taken to listening to various podcasts out there if only in hopes of finding some unique talent, I wrote a piece on some basic improvements you can do for your podcast.

Audio quality is one of the most crucial. If I’m listening to a podcast in my car, it can be a bit more forgiving, but with the rise of high quality headphones a lot of people are listening to podcasts during exercise or on a plane or elsewhere and all the echos and miscellaneous sounds filter in to ruin the experience.

I want to talk about two other things now to continue helping you improve.

First, let me recommend two podcasts, one is just an episode and the other is a show. Not just because he mentioned me, go listen to this conversation between Jonah Goldberg and Ben Sasse. The Remnant is growing on me now that Jonah has figured out his intro music. If you don’t want to listen to Sasse talking to Jonah about Jonah’s tattoo and Big Foot erotica, you can even go listen to Scott Lincicome, who can talk about economics without putting you to sleep.

As an aside, if you want a unique bit of intro music, there are several resources you can use. Go search Soundsnap, SongFreedom, MusicBed, PremiumBeat, and Pond5. Stop using well known songs. It just drives up the pretentiousness factor. Also, pick one and stick to it. You need to brand your show and the music plays a part in that. For example, if you’ve never heard my show intro, it’s a mix of Arcade Fire’s Wake Up with the Apollo 11 countdown. It has gotten so recognizable in Atlanta that I hear from listeners all the time who are in bars or elsewhere, hear the start of that song, and think I’m about to come on the radio. Even worse is when I hear it and think I’m late to work.

Now, back to Jonah’s podcast. He interviews interesting people about interesting topics. There are two types of interviews, passive and active. A passive interview is where you let someone talk and steer their conversation. But they’re driving the show. An active one is where you, the host, actively participate in an exchange of ideas. Jonah does a good job at both in conversations. You can tell there are times he knows as much about a topic as a guest and pushes back on certain things. There are times he does not know something and is genuinely asking for information. He does a good job of making sure it is information you would want to know and I suspect it is because it is stuff Jonah wants to know for himself. Also, I think all of Jonah’s interviews are face to face, which helps with the conversation flow.

The other one I want to recommend is my favorite podcast and the one I listen to most regularly. It is called The Talk Show. It is a tech podcast mostly focused on Apple, with occasional wild deviations into baseball, cocktails, and random stuff. Fair warning, if you’re reading this, you probably will disagree vehemently with John Gruber, those host, on political matters, though he rarely talks politics. You should still listen to at least an episode of the podcast. I recommend this most recent one with Matthew Panzarino from Tech Crunch on Panzarino’s report about about the new Mac Pro coming in 2019.

Now, I listen to The Talk Show because I’m a fan of John’s site, Daring Fireball, and I like Apple products and baseball. That’s not why I want you to listen.

Listen because John does two things more people should do. First, he cold opens. There is no introductory music to make his show sound more high minded than it is. Second, his guest is never face to face with him. It’s always remote with both sides recording the audio and mixing it together.

My one major gripe with John’s show that I just find funny at this point is his show would be much shorter but his ad reads take forever. There’s some guy who keeps a running total of the length of John’s podcasts. Someone else could keep track of the length of his ad reads. It’s actually pretty funny.

Why listen to these pretty different shows? A few reasons.

First, in listening to a bunch of podcasts, I’ve noticed that many go into them with friends and do not have a damn clue about an agenda. They’re just talking about their day, the crazy things that happened, and give no rationale for why I should tune in. When they do get to what they want to talk about, most often they are providing no new insight, are not making me think, and are regurgitating conventional wisdom they’ve found on social media.

Outline what you want to talk about. Confessionally, I do not always do that these days, but then I’ve been doing radio for seven years now. Still, on busy news days I do a rudimentary outline. I use the Notes app on my Mac and I share it with my producer. Some stories have links because I’m afraid I’ll forget details. But generally, it is just a list of things I want to talk about. Rarely does the order ever actually stay the same on the show as in the notes, but it helps me focus on busy news days.

A podcast needs an agenda. You and your guest should have some idea of what you are going to talk about and the order of things. You should not be getting together to talk about the weather unless you’re a weather podcast and I could not care less what you had for lunch unless it is relevant to the topic at hand.

Second, both Jonah and John have some basic mastery of the art of conversation. They have an agenda of things they want to cover, they know about the topics themselves and can add to the topics, they are humorous and self-deprecating so as not to take themselves too seriously, and they are entertaining. After all, I am listening to a podcast because I want to learn something, but ultimately I want to be entertained. If you can’t hold a conversation, there’s no point.

I highlight John’s podcast because he makes the audio work. It is not always perfect. But he works to balance the sound on both sides and make the quality good. He occasionally has a guest whose sound is not great, but most tech writers are also podcasters these days and all have pretty good setups so there is no room echo.

Jonah and John are both talking about topics they are genuinely interested in and have genuine curiosity about. As a result, they are engaging, informative, and flexible in steering the conversation. They are not afraid to go down rabbit holes, but they are organized enough to get back out of the hole. Because they are interested in the topics, they make me interested in the topics. They are not having a podcast for the sake of it. They are doing it because they have an infectious intellectual curiosity about the topics. You must have an infectious intellectual curiosity. You must make me want to stick around, be entertained, and learn.

If you’re asking questions for the sake of asking questions and not actually having a conversation, there’s no point to you doing it. You are wasting your time and mine.

Third, and most importantly, once you have built up a relationship with your listeners, then you can deviate. Once you’ve made me care about you, please feel free to tell me about your life so I can become more emotionally invested. We don’t need all the details. But once you’ve built up your audience, you can share. Occasionally, the things happening in your life do turn into really interesting topics. As an example, my wife became really frustrated helping our daughter with math a couple of years ago. I had been on radio long enough to know my listeners had a sense of who I was and my family situation. So I started talking about that issue and could relate it to the debate over Common Core. I got so many calls from so many people my entire show wound up being that one topic. It connected with people.

I am a bit fortunate in that I work for a radio company that studies the hell out of its shows. I know, for example, that my listeners say they’d prefer me not to talk about recipes on air. But I also know I can get away with it on occasion, for short periods of time, because though they prefer other topics they know it interests me and I have a good relationship with my audience. If you want to see what that’s like, come hang out with me in Atlanta and see me get randomly stopped by complete strangers who want to know how long it takes to brown an onion (not kidding on that, by the way).

Not everyone needs a podcast and we are about to be flooded with podcasts because media companies have decided they can make more money off podcasts than web advertising and advertisers have not really quite figured out how to monetize the effort. These podcasts are going to have great production value and audio quality. So if you want to stand out, master the art of thoughtful conversation and have an organizational flow to your show that does not waste the listener’s time.

How Data Privacy-Minded Americans Can Prepare For GDPR

If you’re a subscriber to email newsletters, you’ve probably received a barrage of updates regarding GDPR.

Tomorrow, May 25, 2018, these new European Union (EU) rules pertaining to data collection go into effect. Some forecasters have predicted doom and gloom— and they aren’t entirely off-mark. The public debate over GDPR has been nothing short of confusing.

What does this mean for Americans? How are we affected? Does this actually promote privacy, or allow government(s) to still keep great tabs on you? This is interesting timing given the aftermath surrounding the Facebook -Cambridge Analytica “scandal.”

(If you haven’t downloaded your Facebook data yet, I explain the process here.)

Here’s a message I sent out to my newsletter subscribers about the subject matter:

Hi _______,
I appreciate you subscribing to my weekly newsletter! Whether you are a longtime subscriber or new one, I greatly appreciate your willingness to allow my newsletter to land in your Inbox every Monday morning.
I’m writing to you today about the European Union’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) changes slated to go into effect on this Friday, May 25, 2018. (More on GDPR here.) Although we in the U.S. aren’t regulated by the E.U., marketers who deal with Europe or have some interaction with people there are required to modify their email forms to comply with these new standards.
While I have some issues with the GDPR, I want to ensure I comply with the new rules with respect to data privacy. I haven’t and don’t plan to use your emails for purposes other than this newsletter. It wouldn’t be within my right nor do I believe violating privacy is the way to go.
As a favor to me, let me know if you’re still interested in receiving my weekly updates. If you’d like to continue hearing from me, please update your subscription settings below.
Happy trails, everyone!
Kind regards,
Gabriella Hoffman
Media Strategist & Consultant

GDPR Explained and Why It Affects Us in the U.S.

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It was approved by the European Union in 2016, and will go in effect Mary 25, 2018. It amends a previous EU privacy directive called Directive 95/46/EC (the “Directive”). This previous standard has been in law since 1995.

MailChimp describes GDPR as “binding act, which must be followed in its entirety throughout the EU.” Their GDPR guide adds it’s an ” attempt to strengthen, harmonize, and modernize EU data protection law and enhance individual rights and freedoms, consistent with the European understanding of privacy as a fundamental human right. The GDPR regulates, among other things, how individuals and organizations may obtain, use, store, and eliminate personal data. It will have a significant impact on businesses around the world.”

Hmmm. A Verge article describes GDPR as the following: “GDPR is an ambitious set of rules spanning from requirements to notify regulators about data breaches (within 72 hours, no less) to transparency for users about what data is being collected and why.”

Now that it’s a bit clearer as to what this law is, how the heck does it affect us here in the U.S.?

Major takeaway: If you are simply collecting an email that belongs to someone who resides in the EU, GDPR applies to you.

Per that aforementioned MailChimp report, this law will impact “(1) all organizations established in the EU, and (2) all organizations involved in processing personal data of EU citizens. The latter is the GDPR’s introduction of the principle of “extraterritoriality”; meaning, the GDPR will apply to any organization processing personal data of EU citizens—regardless of where it is established, and regardless of where its processing activities take place. This means the GDPR could apply to any organization anywhere in the world, and all organizations should perform an analysis to determine whether or not they are processing the personal data of EU citizens. The GDPR also applies across all industries and sectors.”

The second provision should be noted, as its reach could exceed its intended scope. We won’t know what they’ll look like until they are enacted.

What These New Rules Look Like

Nobody is prepared for these GDPR rules, whether they are businesses or the EU regulators. Will it adversely affect businesses, or do what it actually sets out to do? Given the EU’s track record —it’s a bureaucratic monstrosity, after all—we should expect the worst or at minimum, have a dim view of GDPR.

I’d like to be proven wrong.

The Concerns Americans Should Have About GDPR

If companies that do business with the EU fail to comply with these new standards, there could be fines imposed by regulators. One idea that has been thrown around is fining violators of the new rules a share akin to 4 percent of a company’s global revenues or a penalty equally 20 million Euros. Yikes! That’s obtuse and obscene. If a small business whose net worth isn’t in the millions breaches GDPR rules, their operations could be shut down. Think about scenarios like that.

Peter Thiel—PayPal co-founder and conservative tech leader in Silicon Valley—said Europe’s dabbling with GDPR is out of jealousy to punish countries like ours. Thiel said the following remarks in March:

“The good reasons are these privacy concerns and the bad reasons are there are no successful tech companies in Europe and they are jealous of the US so they are punishing us,” he said at the Economic Club of New York on Thursday.

Thiel acknowledged that “privacy in a digital era deserves to be rethought” but said that “as a libertarian I always dislike regulation”.

Moreover, some major companies like Google that say they plan to comply with GDPR are hypocritical, in the minds of publishers. Per Ad Age:

But some publishing executives say Google’s public statements don’t match its actions, arguing that the company is really using its dominance in the digital ad ecosystem to improve its advantage while giving publishers the short end of the stick.

Last month, some prominent conservative groups were approached by Facebook to sit-down about the implications of GDPR here in the U.S. While the intentions outlined above seem noble, don’t turn a blind eye to some of the issues surrounding GDPR.

There is no doubt the methods for which data is collected—whether by government or private entities for nefarious reasons—concerns us here in the States. (As it should.) However, can we put our confidence in an entity like the E.U. to safeguard people’s information, especially in the fashion they’ve laid out? That remains to be seen. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires after this is implemented. This American is cautiously pessimistic….