Bloggers are gushing about Google’s purchase of YouTube and mourning murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
GooTube, YouGoog, Tugle: On Monday, Google executives made public their purchase of pioneering video-sharing site YouTube, with the latter’s young executives walking away with a cool $1.65 billion in stock options. YouTube, with a global audience of more than 50 million users, will retain its independence, but will get some much-needed assistance from Google’s legal department.
Reception is mixed to YouTube’s founders’ smug video about the sale. Bob at VH1’s Best Week Ever writhes with jealousy. “As we all sit at our desks this morning and wonder why WE didn’t think of a website that allows people to share videos with one another, two twentysomething dudes from California are laughing all the way to the bank,” he laments. In a post titled “YouTube Founders: New Money, Same Old Virginity,” Gawker is disgusted. “If the the shit-eating grins and smug giggling weren’t bad enough, [YouTube co-founder Chad] Hurley hits a whole new level of presumption as he explains, ‘This is great. Two kings have gotten together…’ King, eh?”
Venture capitalist Paul Kedrosky at Infectious Greed also chimes in on the video: “Chad and Steven’s frat-boy fuzziness somehow accomplishes the impossible: They make Google founders Larry and Sergey seem like buttoned-down refugees from GE’s executive row. … [Y]ou can begin to see the cause of the non-existent founder-to-founder chemistry on today’s Google/YouTube conference call.”
Defamer, usually concerned with the comings and goings on the Hollywood set, shows its inner geek by hoping YouTube retains its flavor: “[W]e’d hate to have to visit a lesser video sharing site to view footage of P. Diddy basking in his ability to urinate in front of a television camera.”
Social media expert Susan Mernit concentrates on what “Google mighta coulda bought with their money and didn’t,” and sees a paradigm shift. “[W]ith that kind of dough, Google could have bought the New York Times Company … But no–they didn’t, did they–and the decision to spend all this money on YouTube shows that the coffin nails of mainstream media are already strewn across the open grave,” she opines.
Others concentrate on what Google and YouTube will achieve with their powers combined. Jeff Pulver waxes poetic about the deal and what it means for new media. “I suspect that historians might come to recognize yesterday’s announced acquisition of YouTube by Google, as one of the great indicators of the effects on the Internet on the historic transformation in the world of Media and Entertainment,” he writes. Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine focuses on the merger’s potential: “If the Google purchase of YouTube is successful, it will learn how to listen to people as individuals with taste and timely opinions and use that to enable us to find the video we each want to see wherever it is.”
Read more about “GooTube.”
Anna Politkovskaya, 1958-2006: Anna Politkovskaya, celebrated Russian journalist and an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead in an elevator in her Moscow apartment building last Saturday. A staunch opponent of the Kremlin’s human rights abuses in Chechnya, she was the 13th journalist to be killed since Putin took office in 2000. Politkovskaya was buried on Tuesday in a Moscow cemetery. Speaking at a conference in December 2005 in Vienna on press freedom, Politkovskaya said, “People sometimes pay with their lives for saying out loud what they think.” She was to file on Monday a story on torture perpetuated by the regime of the Moscow-backed Chechen government.
“Was the truth she knew so bad that even muzzled and without an audience inside Russia she had to be removed?” a Moscow-based blogger asks at Ruminations on Russia.
Global Voices provides an English-language translation of famous Russian blogger Anton Nossik’s take on the murder. He does not have faith that a serious investigation will be conducted into the contract murder: “Because there are plenty of false directions in which the investigation could be diverted. … As for the actual hit man, I think the casting for the role of his corpse has already begun in the morgues of Chechnya’s hospitals,” he writes.
Writing at her LiveJournal Noli Quiescere, Erin Amelia, an American working for a London-based development NGO, mourns for Politkovskaya. “It bothers me that people are still killed, with impunity, for telling the truth. … It’s all too easy to forget that the war in Chechnya still goes on, because it’s so tied into things that we want to ignore like oil and nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism and warlords. … I worry that now she’s dead the people there will have no-one who is willing to put their life on the line to speak up for them.”
At Boing Boing, Serbian writer Jasmina Tesanovic, an acquaintance of Anna’s, elaborates on the difficulties Politkovskaya faced during her lifetime. “But what is a real option for a journalist and a writer whom freedom of expression is denied at home? Prison in one’s own country, silence in exile? Silence is not an option, and Anna clearly stated that, by turning on her heels, going back to her Moscow home, remaining active, writing constantly and narrowly escaping attempts on her life.”
W. Shedd, the 41-year-old engineer at Accidental Russophile, notes that Politkovskaya was one of Putin’s staunchest critics and her murder occurred on the president’s birthday. He supposes that her death might be “some misguided miscreant’s idea of a vengeful birthday gift for her writing and open dislike of the immensely popular Putin. Given that it was an apparent contract killing, I don’t believe this was coincidental and whomever did the killing felt they were making some sort of gift to Putin.”
At Editor’s Cut,The Nation’s editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, urges people to ensure the continued publication of Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper Politkovskaya wrote for. “In the wake of her death, there is concern that the next victim may be her newspaper. That’s why it’s important that the international journalistic community defend the weekly newspaper’s independent, dissenting voice.”
Kiev resident Veronica Khokhlova at Neeka’s Backlog is repulsed by some of the reaction to Politkovskaya’s death. She offers translations of some of the offending Russian-language blogs.