Sarah Palin Resigns: Winners And Losers

So, over the holiday weekend, Sarah Palin filmed her very own mumblecore epic, for the Sundance Film Festival, entitled "Oh Hai I Am Resigning, For No Reason, Listen To The Squawking Of The Animals!" You know what that means: IT'S A GAMECHANGER! Someone is up! Someone else is down! And if you want to wade through several hundred interstitial ads for Extenze and sub-prime mortgage lenders, you could go over to Mark Halperin's Page Of Listicles, and get scammed. Or, you could stay right here and and suffer through one of my own, as I gamely attempt "Conventional, Ennui-Inducing Punditry" to tell you who were the Winners and Losers of the whole Sarah Palin Randomly Resigns For Freedom Debacle.

THE WINNERS:

1. Sarah Palin, obviously!

Clearly, Sarah Palin emerges from this time in her life as the big winner, for now she can kick the dirt off that one-horse state she was running and walk the foothills of this country, as the Southern Strategy's version of Oprah Winfrey, where she'll earn beaucoup ducats and be able to afford a wardrobe of designer threads of her very own! Or, maybe she'll end up as the new Greta Van Susteren, as Joe Scarborough predicts? Or maybe she'll successfully sue the internet for defamation and save print journalism. The sky is the limit, and she's up in her helicopter, aerially hunting the shit out of some opportunities.


2. The Media

Well, as everyone knows, Sarah Palin is the first candidate ever to be treated as anything less than a God by the mainstream media. And Palin was also the first ever public figure to ever complain about this. I am so happy to see that, finally, everyone will have the opportunity to move past this. The press can get back to their typical self-love and brilliant, inoffensive stenography, and politicians can return to behaving as the paragons of decorum we know them to be.

3. Teleprompters

Everyone knows that the honeyed rhetoric of Barack Obama is nothing but Muslimized magicks, invented by covens of Uighur warlocks. These terrifying spells were cast on the public through the use of a device called a Teleprompter, which David Axelrod invented a few months ago. Since then, conservatives have rightly beaten down and abused these teleprompters for being strange, but after Palin's speech, one thing is clear -- whoever emerges as America's Next Top GOP Contender will be using one!

4. Surrealist Basketball

Not to harp on this overmuch, but Sarah Palin's description of offensive roundball strategy is perhaps the most significant stuff advanced in basketball since the advent of the shot-clock and gangsta tattoos. Tommy Craggs at Deadspin has done brain-busting work to diagram Palin's take on the game:

I really think that Dwyane Wade will thrive in this system if he'd shut up and start listening to Randy Scheunemann.

5. Marion Barry

Seriously. Marion Barry smoked crack, with whores, and promoted "gasification," and once said that the "law of gravity was racist," and his middle name is, incomprehensibly, "Shepilov," and this weekend, he got arrested for straight stalkin' some lady and yet -- YET! -- he survived the weekend with an intact political career, comparatively. Wow. Just...wow.

6. Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore

Dude! Palin's out. Sanford's out. Ensign's out. Bobby Jindal loves erupting volcanoes. Newt Gingrich is a charlatan who bought indulgences from the Pope. Haley Barbour, is, I think, a drunk riverboat captain from a Mark Twain short story. And Mitt Romney is a fraud-fueled android from Blade Runner. All of this means that 2012 is going to be Jim Gilmore's year! Provided enough people remember who Jim Gilmore is. (A caveat: Odds are even that Jim Gilmore, himself, doesn't remember who he is.)

LOSERS:

1. Sarah Palin, obviously!

Well, for real, everyone, Palin really does have a hard row to hoe to get back to where she was a week ago, which was, believe it or not: Plausible Presidential Contender. Who thinks that marching out in front of a bunch of squawking birds on the day before Independence Day to ramble on about her her new vision of quitting all of her jobs to prove a point about what a person could do to make a difference for Alaska was a good idea? BILL KRISTOL, that's who. I think that you can just stamp "QED" on your laptop monitor, right now.

2. Lieutenant Governor Parnell

I don't know about you, but this Alaska place sounds like a horrorshow to run, what with Putin's rearing head and everywhere a kickback and the wolves running amok and the fact that most of the people in the state want to secede from the U.S., with the help of the husband of Sarah Palin! It really makes me want New York Governor Paterson to sack up and stop crying about how everyone's so mean to him! Anyway, I feel bad for Parnell, and I hope that it won't cause him to spend too much time away from the set of "30 Rock," where he's very funny as the recurring character, Dr. Spaceman.

3. Wildlife

Bad news for Alaskan wildlife! Sarah Palin recently tweeted: "Grateful Todd left fishing grnds to join me this wkend; but now he's back slaying salmon & working the kids @ the site; anxious to join 'em!" Plus, Palin will have more time to pursue her passion: aerial wolf-hunting. And more species in more states to gun down in white-hot fusillades from the sky! All of that means new Huffington Post Green Editor Katherine Goldstein will have to work doubly hard to save all the little critters.

4. All Comedians Besides David Letterman and Tina Fey

David Letterman is already claiming credit, so he's happy. And Tina Fey will obviously have more time to work on "30 Rock" now that she won't be compelled to offer her Palin imitation at the whim of Lorne Michaels. That said, the threat posed by the end of Palin's phantasmagoric public life spells ill for all comedians, who will have to go back to making "incisive commentary" on "less easy targets," or something. Also at issue is the burn rate of Palin jokes. The speed at which comics are presently running through the supply of available Palin humor is leading to catastrophic levels of depletion. I've already Twittered most of my best Palin material, which is why this column sucks so bad.

5. Wild, Rhetorical Tangents

Palin's bizarre performance all but assures that politicians will be guarding against going off on their own nonsensical tangents and digressions. That's bad news for Joe Biden, who won't be able to just issue throwaway paragraphs on "That time all the economists told us the unemployment numbers would be a lot better, hoo boy, good times!" like he likes to do.

6. Alaska Political Bloggers

Palin fueled the rise of several political bloggers from Alaska, who provided key insight into her governing style, career highlights, and past scandals. But now that Palin's quitting the scene, what are they going to blog about? Is Alaska politics that fascinating? Seems to me that there are yard sales that are more difficult to run than the town of Wasilla. So what are the hot topics going to be? Commercial zoning restrictions in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley? Coastal hunting and fishing licenses? GOD I AM ALREADY BORED TO THE POINT OF SUICIDAL IDEATION.

Here's one thing that I don't know will be a winner or a loser, yet: perspective. Maybe we've arrived at the end of the Palin story. Maybe it's just starting to get good. God knows I've enjoyed the motherlove out of every chapter of this bizarre time in our lives. At the same time, I remember that America is fighting two wars and dealing with an economic collapse, and that our freedoms are still being impinged upon by the vision of the unitary executive which President Bush built and which President Obama shows no stomach for dismantling. Meanwhile, Congress keeps watering down effective policies at the behest of lobbyist hacks, who pay good money to re-elect the same useless, seat-occupying, air-pump trash, year in and year out.

Say what you want about Sarah Palin, but none of that is her fault.

[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to tv@huffingtonpost.com -- learn more about our media monitoring project here.]

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Michael Jackson Funeral Live Streams, By the Numbers

While it may not have topped the Obama Inauguration, as some expected, viewership for Michael Jackson’s memorial service today was immense. Here are some of the initial stats.

Akamai says via email it had its second-largest day ever of total traffic, after the inauguration. The CDN delivered more than 2,185,000 live and on-demand streams, with more than 2 terabits per second during the service. For the inauguration, Akamai had a peak of 7 million active simultaneous streams, again with more than 2 terabits per second traffic.

Between 12 a.m. and 4 p.m. EDT today, CNN.com had 72 million global page views, 10.8 million unique visitors and 8.9 million live video streams, according to Omniture. The site had 781,000 peak concurrent live streams, according to server logs. Update: New total numbers through 5 p.m. are 81 million page views, 11.8 million unique visitors and 9.7 million live video streams. (By contrast, CNN delivered more than 25 million streams in the 12 hours surrounding the Obama inauguration, with 1.3 million concurrent live streams just before Obama’s address.)

However, people did have a lot to say about Jackson, and early reports are showing significant and possibly record-breaking levels of interaction with live video feeds. Facebook reported 300,000 users logged in through its integration with CNN.com as of 10:30 a.m. (when the service started), with 500,000 status updates total and approximately 6,000 status updates per minute at that time. For the election, the integration had produced 4,000 status updates per minute, with a peak of 8,500 statuses per minute.

UPDATE: More stats are coming in:

MSNBC.com says that visitors watched 3 million live streams of Jackson’s service and the site had more than 82 million page views and 7 million unique visitors, as of 5 p.m. EDT.

And the following was sent out to members of Official Group for Media & Analysts Following Facebook:

There were a total of about 1 million users posting approximately 800,000 status updates on Facebook related to the live online broadcasts by CNN, E! Online, ABC and MTV of the Michael Jackson memorial service. Here is a breakdown by web site:



CNN:

733,000 status updates

759,000 Facebook users viewing broadcast

6,000 updates/minute at the peak



E! Online:

9,000 status updates

87,000 Facebook users viewing broadcast



ABC:

48,000 status updates

97,000 Facebook users viewing broadcast



MTV:

5,000 status updates

21,000 Facebook users viewing broadcast

For context, there were 1.8 million Facebook status updates with the word “Obama” on Inauguration Day in the U.S. – an event that was broadly publicized for months leading up to it.

Ustream, which ran video feeds including an official one from its partner CBS News, said it had nearly 4.6 million total streams and 1.6 million total, with 12,000 messages per minute in accompanying chat rooms.


GigaOM Pro: Smart insights at the pace of the digital media market. Get the latest research on trends and tech shaping the future of entertainment. Learn more »

Live-Streaming Grief: Saying Goodbye to Michael Jackson

I’ve always been of the belief that a memorial service is not for the person who passed away, but for those left behind. Which is why I don’t think there’s anything wrong with today’s epic celebration of Michael Jackson’s life and work; it’s been almost two weeks since his passing, and even if you think you’re over it, millions of people aren’t.

Like any memorial service, this one was full of complicated but heartfelt emotion. There were moments that genuinely felt like the best sort of memorial, such as Berry Gordy’s speech, full of recollections about family baseball games and 10-year-old Michael out-Smokey-ing Smokey Robinson. “It was magic,” he said of seeing the Moonwalk for the first time. And Brooke Shields, who was actually a friend, made me tear up when she talked about Jackson laughing.

If you were wondering why this memorial was two hours long, that’s because everyone got a voice — Al Sharpton busted some rhymes before telling Jackson’s children that “there was nothing strange about your daddy; it was strange what your daddy had to deal with.” Queen Latifah acknowledged the 16,000 fans gathered in Staples Center, speaking to them as their representative and reflecting on her first Jackson 5 album purchase before reading an original poem for the occasion written by Maya Angelou. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee reminded us that just because Jackson dealt with many allegations of child abuse during his lifetime, he was innocent until proven guilty — then revealed House Resolution No. 166 to honor Jackson as an American hero. The feed cut to the Jackson brothers, who seemed genuinely moved. That was a nice moment.

The musical tributes were mixed in quality — Mariah Carey’s voice and limbs were all over the place; Usher’s dramatic removal of his sunglasses was a bit much; and John Mayer transformed Human Nature into elevator music. But Jennifer Hudson killed her rendition of Will You Be There; Jermaine Jackson’s version of Jackson’s favorite song, the Charlie Chaplin-composed Smile, was too sweet; and there were also many clips of Jackson himself singing, which were, of course, the best performances of the show.

Liz Gannes has the full report on how the live-streaming performed, but I only observed a little stuttering on Hulu’s part. And the pacing of the event was solid, with decent-sized pauses between segments. Given how many in the U.S. were watching online during their workdays, those pauses undoubtedly provided welcome gaps to attend to the day’s business.

Overall, though, the memorial veered wildly between the intensely personal and the openly public. We heard from the government, we heard from the fans, we heard from the world of sports and entertainment and music. But the service concluded with a family on a stage, mourning, and a little girl crying over her dead father.

Over the next few days, we’ll get numbers on the event’s performance, and it’ll be held up as a milestone for live events on the Internet. But as much as I acknowledge the value of this service for our planet of pop-culture addicts, I do hope its success is tempered with some discretion for future events. Because maybe, just maybe, your desk isn’t the best place to watch a funeral.


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Danny Groner: Athletes Wisening Up to Media Game

Everyone makes mistakes, yes, but athletes sometimes seem to make them at a much higher rate than other people. At the same time, though, the punishments and backlash for these athletes' crimes and errors in judgment are often lighter than you might figure.

Look at Manny Ramirez and Ron Artest, two notable stars of their sports who have stared controversy in the face and lived to see the next pitch or tip-off. As fans, we're prone to forgive, though we rarely forget, because these players' contributions and abilities are what draws us to them, not their decisions. Moreover, in these cases, the players' antics - on the field, even - have made the stars more likable and worthy of cheering and recognition.

Our forgiving nature is troubling for some to accept. Apologies can feel trite rather than redemptive. We want to move on, hoping that our favorite players have learned from their mistakes and will curb their behavior. Yet, in the backs of our minds, we know that if it's not these players it'll inevitably be someone else who will bring us back to that difficult and disconcerting position. The names may change, but the conflicting emotions remain the same.

This environment where we, as fans, are expected to pardon virtually all failings and vices of sports celebrities is a dangerous one. Young athletes need to learn that they are culpable for what they do and say on and off the court. they must know that people are always watching. This is one way that the old Nike Air commercials and Charles Barkley got it wrong: They are role models. The question each athlete must ask is whether he or she is responsible and mature enough to step up to the plate.

Our expectations also must be reasonable. Athletes entering the sports world today have little training and understanding of how demanding their jobs can be. They must speedily adjust to how to conduct themselves at interviews and to carry themselves in other places. And to make peace with an industry of reporters who are paid to interview them, photograph them and to cover them as more than just outfielders and forwards.

That's why it was particularly striking for me when reigning baseball Most Valuable Player winner, Dustin Pedroia derided reporters for not intimately knowing enough about the sport to be worthy of writing stories. Although Pedroia's impressions unquestionably stem from his intensity and passion for the game, it's perhaps indicative of how athletes feel misunderstood or misrepresented by the media. In fact, not long ago to prevent possible public relations disasters, some imposed bans on players from speaking to reporters at all.

The cure, though, is not to muzzle athletes or to impose severe restrictions. Rather, it's to educate them earlier on. During apologies for infractions and indiscretions, athletes acknowledge lessons they've learned from the experience of being the story of the moment. They should learn these lessons, however, well before they've paid their price.

Teams and leagues have long employed marketing professionals to manage the players and to hopefully propel them to make better decisions. As you'd expect, it's worked on some players and failed with others. The ones who've fared well, I'd say, are those work at maintaining a good image. Taking a seminar in public relations helps awaken athletes, especially the leagues' stars, to the burdens of their jobs. It shouldn't only be during failed times that athletes shoulder the weight.

This is one of the ways that Lebron James has set himself apart. During his first six seasons, James has dazzled on the court and stayed out of trouble off of it. He's also worked to get a profitable business off the ground. It's the businessman that will be attending this weekend's Allen & Co.'s annual media mogulfest.

James will attend lectures and discussions geared toward learning how to broaden his market appeal. He seeks out knowledge and education that extends well beyond his jump shot and defensive assignments. While his company is what fuels his interest in this media gathering, James will listen to and take note of the successes of others. He understands that sports is not a world of its own, devoid of difficulties and consequences.

This time around Lebron is the witness in the audience looking to be impressed and entertained. He isn't taking it easy in the off-season, choosing instead to continue to work toward expanding his appeal and his empire. Now that's someone to cheer for.


Paul Klebnikov: US Wants Justice In Journalist’s Killing In Russia

MOSCOW — The United States on Tuesday urged Russia to step up efforts to bring an American journalist's killers to justice.

Amid a Russian-American summit, a senior U.S. diplomat joined relatives at a memorial ceremony marking five years since magazine editor and investigative journalist Paul Klebnikov was shot dead in Moscow.

"After five long years, we urge the Russian authorities to redouble their efforts to bring to justice those responsible for Paul's murder," U.S. Under Secretary of State William Burns said after the service at Russia's main cathedral, Christ the Savior.

The half-hour service came on the second and final day of President Barack Obama's first official visit to Moscow.

Klebnikov, editor of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, was gunned down July 9, 2004, on a Moscow street as he left his office. A jury in 2006 acquitted two suspects tried for the murder in a court case the relatives and observers called flawed due to alleged pressure from authorities on the judge and jurors. The Supreme Court ordered a retrial, but it was suspended after authorities said they couldn't find one of the suspects.

Klebnikov's murder underscored dangers faced by journalists who probe into the affairs of prominent Russians. The lack of results in the case has deepened Western concerns about the rule of law in Russia.

Klebnikov's brother Peter said he met with top Russian investigators earlier Tuesday, and that they had promised to step up efforts to close the case.

Peter Klebnikov ascribed the promise of activity to U.S. pressure, and said he hoped Obama's visit would stimulate an objective and vigorous investigation to bring an end to "a travesty of justice."

"We've already seen results of a change in the nature and the tone of the investigation due to Mr. Obama's visit. It gives us great hope that we can finally find some positive results of the murder," he told The Associated Press. "For five years we've been waiting for justice, since my brother was killed. It's been a sad experience."

Dozens of journalists have been murdered since the Soviet breakup in Russia, named by international watchdogs as the world's third-most dangerous place to work as a reporter.

Klebnikov's family says a more effective investigation and trial in his murder could have sent a strong signal that killings of journalists would not be tolerated _ possibly even averting the subsequent killings of at least eight other journalists.

The most prominent was the October 2006 murder of Anna Politkovskaya, a Kremlin critic who exposed human rights abuses in Chechnya and across Russia. Politkovskaya's son, Ilya, and daughter, Vera, attended the ceremony in Klebnikov's memory Tuesday.


How Gardenburger Grew Its Media Buy With a Niche Network


YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) -- How does Gardenburger's garden grow? Consumers can find out for themselves in a new marketing campaign running on Ovation TV. Sixty-second interstitials airing on the niche cable station detail the planning and planting of the first Gardenburger-sponsored edible urban garden in New York.


Syfy: Sci Fi Channel Officially Rebrands

NEW YORK -- The Sci Fi Channel is now Syfy.

The rebranding -- same pronunciation, new spelling -- marks the NBC Universal network's effort to broaden its programming beyond the science fiction genre, and the network officially kicked off the new phase of its life here Tuesday.