Friday, October 31, 2008
The media has succeeded in shielding Barack Obama from journalistic scrutiny. It thereby irrevocably destroyed its own reputation and forfeited the trust that generations of others had so carefully acquired. And it will never again be trusted to offer candid and nonpartisan coverage of presidential candidates.
Worse still, the suicide of both print and electronic journalism has ensured that, should Barack Obama be elected president, the public will only then learn what they should have known far earlier about their commander-in-chief — but in circumstances and from sources they may well regret.
Victor Davis Hanson from his variation on the "The End of Journalism" published in the National Review Online.
Sergei Malinkovich, the leader of the city [Communist] party, told The Times: “Everyone knows that the CIA and MI6 finance James Bond films as a special operation of psychological warfare against us. This Ukrainian girl sleeps with Bond and that means that Ukraine is sleeping with the West.”
The Communist Party has withered since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 but it remains the second-largest party in the Duma, the Russian parliament. The St Petersburg branch is a breakaway faction and a vocal opposition in Russia's second city.
From The Times.
New America Media and the Maynard Institute have convened an array of Bay Area journalists, as well as highly respected media organizations and local university journalism departments to form an investigative team to honor and continue the work of journalist Chauncey Wendell Bailey Jr., and answer questions regarding his death. Bailey, the editor of the weekly Oakland Post, was murdered on Aug. 2, 2007, while reporting on a story regarding the suspicious activities of the Your Black Muslim Bakery.
Unlike some of the journalists for not only the daily papers but for networks, who have to constantly blog as well as file stories, I could be a little more leisurely, and beyond that, maintain a big-picture perspective. And frankly, the McCain campaign was much more responsive to that approach. They’ve come to be rather disdainful of the hyper-blogging that takes place on the press bus, and they think it has increased this mind-set of “gotcha” journalism, where every time John McCain would say something, instead of asking a follow-up question, people would go scurry off to their laptops and post to their blogs. And the McCain campaign believes that’s not what journalism ought to be. I’m not positing myself as some kind of superior journalist, it’s just that the format of long-form journalism allows me to be a little more leisurely, allows me to look at the longer view of things, and allows me two-and-a-half months on a single story.
GQ's Robert Draper on the pleasures of taking it slow.
WWD.com interviews Draper.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
In the past, we asked the audience for trust (and money). There was an exchange of news in return. Thus, the BBC points to ‘trust’ ratings as a way of sanctioning its public subsidy.
Yet, as Adrian Monck has pointed out, this was not really the whole point of news. News has always been about entertainment, distraction, partisan persuasion, and relativism as well as ‘truth’.
There was no Golden Age when journalists were seen as impartial conveyors of reality. Trust was always conditional. Along with politicians and most authority figures and institutions, journalism is questioned now to a greater degree than ever before. I welcome that.
Charlie Beckett, from a chapter in a new book, Beyond Trust, edited by John Mair.
"You lose contact with the outside world," says Bai. "You call your spouse at home and talk about the trail and the person at home just doesn't get it or care, because it's the same story over and over again. It's murder on relationships." Every four years, Bai says, there's at least one divorce or break-up. "It's just not a normal human experience."
And even if your relationship survives, your personality might not. Last week, Lizza, who was banned from the Obama plane in July, found his way back on and thought he had stumbled on a lost colony. "It felt like the Lord of the Flies in there," he says. "The people who have been there for a long time have all of their little decorations and knickknacks all over the back of the plane. Everyone's a little grumpy and territorial, and there's this sense of people thrown together who have been with each other way too long. I got the sense that I was dropping in on a hostage-captor situation."
From The New Republic: on the campaign trail, the human story.
...say C-level executives in America. This research is
based on in-depth interviews with more than 30 "C-level" executives at companies exceeding $1 billion in revenue and representing a diverse geographic and industry base.
"Even though it is well documented that the print media has been steadily losing ground in recent years, it is arguably the most influential source of information on important topics for CEOs, CFOs and other senior executives," said Eva Schmatz, president, SUMMUS Limited. "There is a lot more life in this channel than people give credit."
Edon Ophir interviews Tom Wolfe for The Ithican Online.
It’s obviously going to go online, which presents a certain number of problems. Young people, if my own children are any indication, will turn right to the Internet to get particularly breaking news, because the Internet gets it so much faster than radio or television. In Madison, Wis., where the University of Wisconsin is, the newspaper has stopped printing completely. It’s completely online. One problem with it is computer screens are backlit, and it’s very hard to read anything at length if you’re reading a backlit screen. It’s just irritating. The second problem is the computer scrolls, I’m sure you’ve noticed that, you can’t turn a page, it scrolls. You know the monks were so happy to get rid of those damn scrolls in the 14th century and get pages and here we are back at the scrolls, and so it’s very hard for any new idea to get hold except in some medium where you can read at length without it bothering your eyes. Maybe the Kindle will solve that. I haven’t heard enough reports about the Kindle.
This is (part one) of a really interesting series of articles about music collections, and technology - by Martin Belam.
When you used to talk about 'volume control' in the sense of music, it was associated with how loudly you could annoy your parents or neighbours. Nowadays it is more likely to refer to the sheer volume of digital media in your possession.
At the end of March 2007 I had 15,741 tracks in the iTunes library on my PC, of which I had played 4,084 at least once. That represents 25.9% of the titles, or just a shade over a quarter of the tracks. Meaning that, according to iTunes, I had never listened to around three-quarters of my collection.
I'd taken the time to rate 2,680 tracks. Yet, again, according to iTunes, of the tracks that I had rated, I had never played 38% of them.
Rating has become the new "volume control" for music consumption. With a library that large, rating songs allows us to narrow down what we actually want to hear, rather than what we simply want to have.
For the whole 12 part series in PDF, go here.
Alex Pentland of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed cellphone-like gadgets to listen to people as they chat, and computer programs that sift through these conversational cadences, studying communication signals that lie beneath the words.
If commercialized, such tools could help users better handle many subtleties of face-to-face and group interactions — or at least stop hogging the show at committee meetings.
From the NYT.
Equality, which is the primary value of the left, is a European value, not an American value. Let me tell you that right now. I know this sounds offensive to half of my fellow Americans, because they have been Europeanized in their values. The French Revolution is not the American Revolution. The French Revolution said Liberty, Fraternity, Equality. The American Revolution said Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. We have lost touch with what our distinctive American values are. We have distinctive American values. … We have a better value system, and this is being protected by one of the two parties: the Republican party.
Dennis Prager is a radio host:
Thanks to Think Progress.
America has been living in a dream world for the past few years, losing its basic values of thrift and prudence and living far beyond its means, even as it has lectured the rest of the world to follow its model. At a time when the U.S. government has just nationalized a good part of the banking sector, we need to rethink a lot of the Reaganite verities of the past generation regarding taxes and regulation. Important as they were back in the 1980s and ’90s, they just won’t cut it for the period we are now entering.
From The American Conservative: Fukuyama endorses Obama.
A very interesting finding was a significant increase in outside influence and control delusions with technical themes following the spread of radio and television in Slovenia. To the best of our knowledge, no such studies exist with which to compare our results.
Both of these new technical devices, which served as a means to powerfully and quickly disseminate information, apparently became appropriate for 'serving' as a means of influence and control in the eyes of schizophrenia patients.
In the age of paranoia, my MTV wants me: from the always wonderful Mind Hacks.
Archon Fung, in conjunction with ABC news, has launched a "crowd sourcing" initiative to identify problems at polling places, called MyFairElection....
...As thousands of citizens rate their voting experiences, MyFairElection will produce a real-time "weather map" of voting conditions across the country. This map will allow viewers to see where it is easy to vote, and where people have encountered obstacles. Journalists, advocates, officials, and citizens can use this map to address obstacles to voting in real time.
From the Complexity and Social Networks Blog of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science and the Program on Networked Governance, Harvard University .
Politico gets into the Obama tech story too today:
...the campaign’s best hire: Facebook founder Chris Hughes, 24, and other members of his young Internet squad. They built one of the most vibrant and interactive Internet fundraising operations in history. The computer wizards also came up with the idea of buying Internet ad space on billboards embedded inside online games. Talk about real world meeting the virtual one.
Obama is the first to successfully integrate technology with a revamped model of political organization that stresses volunteer participation and feedback on a massive scale, erecting a vast, intricate machine set to fuel an unprecedented get-out-the-vote drive in the final days before Tuesday's election.
"I think what was recovered in this campaign is the sense of what leadership is, and what the role of the technology is, so that you get the best out of both," says Marshall Ganz, a public policy lecturer at Harvard who designed the field-organizer and volunteer training system used by the Obama campaign. "The Dean campaign understood how to use the internet for the fund-raising, but not for the organizing."
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So Portfolio asked Marc Andreessen
If you were running the New York Times, what would you do?
Shut off the print edition right now. You’ve got to play offense. You’ve got to do what Intel did in ’85 when it was getting killed by the Japanese in memory chips, which was its dominant business. And it famously killed the business—shut it off and focused on its much smaller business, microprocessors, because that was going to be the market of the future. And the minute Intel got out of playing defense and into playing offense, its future was secure. The newspaper companies have to do exactly the same thing.
The financial markets have discounted forward to the terminal conclusion for newspapers, which is basically bankruptcy. So at this point, if you’re one of these major newspapers and you shut off the printing press, your stock price would probably go up, despite the fact that you would lose 90 percent of your revenue. Then you play offense. And guess what? You’re an internet company.
(Incidentally, this was exactly what happened to the shah of Iran: 1) Sudden surge in oil prices. 2) Delusions of grandeur. 3) Sudden contraction of oil prices. 4) Dramatic downfall. 5) You’re toast.)
I wonder how many regional newspapers can raise $17 million like this?
Helium (www.Helium.com), the online destination to learn what you need and share what you know, today announced the close of over $17M in Series A funding. Investments from an international group of investors, led by Signature Capital LLC and including Northport Private Equity, will help the citizen journalism hub continue to build tight partnerships with leading publishers and provide support for the launch of new digital media products.
“Helium’s unique platforms put the power of citizen engagement behind media publications, enabling them to engage readers in a way that will help grow audiences and increase reader loyalty,” said Bill Turner, Principal, Signature Capital LLC. “With Helium.com, we are bringing our financial resources to further accelerate this growth in citizen journalism, and to support Helium’s objectives towards providing solutions to newspapers at a time when budgets are shrinking and ad revenues are down.”
Helium? Well, it explains itself like this:
It’s easy to find the best articles at Helium because quality rises. Every article is rated by Helium’s writer-members through peer review. After many ratings by many people, quality content rises to the top. Don’t waste time with search results: Read what you need at Helium.
More at Helium, of course.
As the Guardian goes with a full RSS feed to augment the Berliner, so the Christian Science Monitor announces that it will publish in print only weekly, and daily publishing will be online from April 2009. Techdirt is hopeful:
...in taking that plunge, it will force the CSMonitor to really focus in on making its website as good as it can be, both for readers and for advertisers. That sort of hyperfocus could be quite useful, as we've seen too many newspapers find themselves in a struggle for resources and attention between the (dwindling) cash cow print business, and the small, but growing, online markets. No matter what, you can bet that other big (and small) newspapers will be watching the CSM's leap with great interest as they plan their own strategies for a changing media world.
The service invites comparison to the iTunes revolution, and was hailed by the internet search giant, the American Association of Publishers, and the Authors' Guild as a key moment in the evolution of electronic publishing.
Google's co-founder, Sergey Brin, called the $125m deal a "great leap". Paul Aiken, executive director of the guild, called it "the biggest book deal in US publishing history". Once approved by a federal court in Manhattan, the deal will offer access to a library of millions of titles.
From the Guardian
DrugLords is a location-based massively multiplayer online game about drug trafficking. Using GPS inside your iPhone, you become a drug dealer in the criminal underworld, which exists parallel to your everyday life.
From a-steroids. I'm assuming this is a joke.
But then here's Mashable:
Unfortunately, the game is currently in early, closed beta stage, but, according to the developers, a free beta version will be launched in the next couple of weeks and distributed through the iTunes App Store. I’ve no doubt that we’ll see more and more games which use the iPhone’s location and networking capabilities to create massive multiplayer worlds in which you can immerse on the go.
Is October 29 some kind of online April Fool's Day?
From Hacks Anonymous...
“We’ve been playing catch up for the last two or three years. What is required is radical action. I’m not certain at the moment we have the people in the industry who have the ideas to be radical enough. I think we’re constantly behind the curve with technological change and development,” he said.
“No matter how fantastic our newsroom looks and our web-first model is, we still look at things through the prism of newspapers.”
Justin Williams, Assistant editor of Telegraph Media Group talking at the NMK "What Happens to Newspapers?" event.
The Interweb is 15 years old. Relativism is about 80. The Telegraph has been online longer than the Guardian. This is trauma.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident (AKA the Daily Telegraph):
Sir John Tusa, said that the BBC had got its approach to programming for younger listeners and viewers "monumentally and tragically wrong" and urged Mr Thompson to act.
His comments came as Mr Sach's grand-daughter Georgina Baillie, 23, said she was "utterly horrified and disgusted" by the prank, in which the pair left messages on the Fawlty Towers actor's answering machine revealing Brand had sex with her.
Sir John told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Mark Thompson, the director general, has got to act. He can't ask the new director of audio and sound Tim Davie, who has no experience of broadcasting policy (to deal with it). He is a man from marketing - you can't throw him to the wolves like this.
"Mark Thompson has got to stand up. When the Prime Minister is involved and the leader of the opposition is involved, the director general has got to stand up early - soon, today - and personally get a grip of the whole issue and get a report very, very fast."
A man from marketing, eh? Probably wears red socks as well. Sir John Tusa is 72. Radical Action is Required.
Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the withdrawal of the International Brigades from Spain.
Eliza Carthy at the TUC, London: Viva La Pasionara
Philosophy Football, in association with the TUC and Unison, supported by the International Brigade Memorial Trust, celebrated La Pasionaria and all the women of the Spanish Civil War.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Regardless, Winfrey's blessing could prove to be a turning point for the Kindle if it helps to spark buzz among women with disposable income who read a lot and otherwise wouldn't have heard about the device. According to some experts, women control or influence 83 cents of every dollar spent in the U.S. I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb by guessing that if they like the device, many could end up buying the e-readers for their children. Our economy is tanking and money could be tight for a long time but I'm thinking one area consumers won't skimp on is their children's education.
Sometimes Oxford, that much-maligned national institution, so often associated only with Brideshead and the Bullingdon, really gets it right. When I was a young Fellow at All Souls, there was one other member of college – not Isaiah Berlin - who liked the Happy Mondays and New Order, and his name was Marcus du Sautoy. I nicknamed him Dr Maths. He was a young mathematician whose references were almost too good to believe. He dressed like a student, had changeable hair colour, was a great cook, loved music and Arsenal, and spent his evening at theatre workshops. He was also, without a shadow of a doubt, the cleverest person I had ever met. But like all truly brilliant people, he wore his prodigious intellect lightly, almost as if it were separate to his personality.
Tory leader David Cameron's two-year-old son, Arthur Elwyn, was with his parents on Rupert Murdoch's yacht off a Greek island in August. So far, so media-mogul-courts-Tory-leader-to-do-his-bidding. Except poor little Arthur must have been struggling with the Mediterranean diet and, let's not mince our words here, did a massive shit in Murdoch's Jacuzzi.
Meanwhile, Hayekian commentators are sharpening their knives against "Brown's misty-eyed Keynesian adventure". The argument has not been won yet: Labour has to make the case eloquently, as opinion polls show profound scepticism of government's ability to spend money well. Conservatives may be wavering, uncertain which way the public will jump, but Labour would be rash to think pro-Keynesianism was a done deal. There has been premature talk of tectonic plates shifting and sea changes: the left is good at seeing new dawns in public consciousness.
I think any of these could be submitted to the Turing Test, and stand a good chance of passing it.
I blogged this piece on Saturday, but it hasn't gone away: in fact as issues of "left" bias and declining (I mean collapsing) newspaper sales in the USA are mashed by old editor/pundits with all the grace of a nine-year-old Garage band debutant Michael Malone's "Media's Presidential Bias and Decline" on the ABC wesbite has grown in mythological status.
Here's a little more of the piece:
The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.
But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I've begun -- for the first time in my adult life -- to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was "a writer," because I couldn't bring myself to admit to a stranger that I'm a journalist.
Editor & Publisher blogged it today, like this:
Naturally, some readers on the right -- always eager to suggest a liberal bias and that newspapers are paying for it (but why the recent readership decline at the NY Post and other conservative papers?) connected the dots in numerous letters to us. Many included with their missives a link to his lengthy piece at the ABC News site by tech writer Michael Malone, the former NY Times and San Jose Mercury News columnist.
But here's the thing: the bias has always been there: now we can see it. The internet makes everything one click away. It democratises doubt, it allows liberals to see what socialists are saying; and Republicans to understand what underpins the Democrats; and audiences of all kinds to compare how different types of reporters and editors are describing the same event. Guess what? People have views. Objectivity is rather hard. I'd say there have been more messengers shot in the past month than at any time since the Persian wars, or at least the launch of World of Warcraft.
The old days of, say, reading the New Republic - or The Spectator or Marxism Today - to know the "enemy" are long gone: now we swim in a knowledge sea of news, indifferent to everything but that which interests us. One person's left wing media bias, is another person's American Psycho Investment banker. The only criteria today is to be good, linked to.
... John Caputo, director of the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, said he is worried that students are not seeking reliable news at all. He teaches at Gonzaga University in Spokane, and he said his students spend most of their time on information-seeking time on social networking sites.
"After 9/11, we said how come nobody told us these people don't like us? Who are they? Where did they come from? How come journalists didn't tell us that story?" he said. "Part of it is that we were watching television's version of 'Survival.' We were watching all the things that took us away from knowing what was going on in the world. We are getting that way again."
This isn't bias, this is trauma.
So perhaps this will be the moment when we alter our view of decision-making. Perhaps this will be the moment when we shift our focus from step three, rational calculation, to step one, perception.
Perceiving a situation seems, at first glimpse, like a remarkably simple operation. You just look and see what’s around. But the operation that seems most simple is actually the most complex, it’s just that most of the action takes place below the level of awareness. Looking at and perceiving the world is an active process of meaning-making that shapes and biases the rest of the decision-making chain.
From the now permanently double-helixing David Brooks. At least he's nearing in on trust's GPS for a change:
This meltdown is not just a financial event, but also a cultural one. It’s a big, whopping reminder that the human mind is continually trying to perceive things that aren’t true, and not perceiving them takes enormous effort.
Managing director of Compare-compare.com, Con Thepublik, said that he had launched the site because people were becoming very confused between what the comparison websites were actually comparing. He added that while it is easy to compare the companies that each comparison website was comparing, it had become very difficult to actually compare between each comparison website, comparatively speaking, that is.
There is a quote about peanuts and monkeys, I know there is, I just can't find it online today. Instead there's this where "ideas and people meet" and then - I'm guessing - instantly hate each other. Or make a Podcast.
Koten is stressing the need for reporters to get out of their protective silos and be more versatile. “If I’m a journalist, I need to be able to do online, print, video, audio - whatever the heck is out there. I wanted to start a super-reporter program here, where we took two reporters from digital, two reporters from Fast Company and two reporters from Inc. and have them cross-train like hell to create a super-reporter who could wear all nine hats. Then I thought: Why shouldn’t everybody be doing that?”
"We're seeing an evolutionary change. The people in the next generation who are really going to have the edge are the ones who master the technological skills and also face-to-face skills," Small told Reuters in a telephone interview.
"They will know when the best response to an email or Instant Message is to talk rather than sit and continue to email."
Gary Small on technology and the brain.
Mr. Small is the director of the Memory & Aging Research Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior and the Center on Aging at UCLA.
"We are changing the environment. The average young person now spends nine hours a day exposing their brain to technology. Evolution is an advancement from moment to moment and what we are seeing is technology affecting our evolution."
St. Pancras, London
Waiting for the tourists
Socialists—one thinks of men like George Orwell, Willy Brandt, and Aneurin Bevan—were among Communism’s most passionate and effective enemies.
The United States is a special case. There is a whole shelf of books on the question of why socialism never became a real mass movement here. For decades, the word served mainly as a cudgel with which conservative Republicans beat liberal Democrats about the head. When Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan accused John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson of socialism for advocating guaranteed health care for the aged and the poor, the implication was that Medicare and Medicaid would presage a Soviet America.
Hendrik Hertzberg in the socialitist New Yorker.
Thinking Pink in Kentish Town, October
One example of this, he said, is a turnabout from the public splashes companies made when creating virtual headquarters in Second Life and other worlds. Now businesses are quietly creating private islands to experiment with the technology before opening their venture up to customers.
Matt Brotherton, project manager at the applied technology centre in BT's chief technology office, tells Silicon.com that the future's bright for virtual islands. I think we are at that 1609 moment, right?
"Cloud computing is ultimately going to be, do you trust this provider to have more to lose than I have to lose as a company if they mess me up?" Ozzie said in an interview with CNET News
Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect gets in on the "trust" thing. From CNET
Getting the retaliation in first, Lions style: more stories from politics before the end of mass media
My friends in the Partisan Press, your reputation has now fallen lower than both President Bush (25 percent) and the Democratic Congress (18 percent). Journalistic integrity now ranks along side communicable diseases and nuclear mishaps.
Obama will likely be the next president. He will use that power to do things both good and bad. But when Americans look for tough, honest journalists to challenge him, where will we find them?
Michael Graham in the Boston Herald.
It is now possible to read almost anything you want about Obama. This is so much more than a story about the decline in newspaper sales. This is about the "atomilogical" and the democratisation of doubt. How on earth do we trust?
Become a farmer? Or an eco-entrepreneur? From Forbes.
In fact, Murray says that while many local papers are experiencing single-digit year-over-year advertising declines, some of those serving farming communities or energy boomtowns are actually growing.
Uh oh, an argument in favor of the newspaper industry? Not likely. The big papers, at least, will be making headlines with lay-offs and dwindling revenues for some time to come.
Or just tell it as you see it - from George Packer's New Yorker blog:
Wading for a few minutes through the sewage of these Web sites reminds me uncannily of the time I’ve spent having political discussions in certain living rooms and coffee shops in Baghdad. The mental atmosphere is exactly the same—the wild fantasies presented as obvious truth, the patterns seen by those few with the courage and wisdom to see, the amused pity for anyone weak-minded enough to be skeptical, the logic that turns counter-evidence into evidence and every random piece of information into a worldwide conspiracy. Above all, the seething resentment, the mix of arrogance and impotent rage that burns at the heart of the paranoid style in politics.
And for the bigger picture....?
Bored of the front page or the home page? Then use the map.
a new mashed-up map of its news stories uses Google Gears Geolocation API to determine the user’s location and provide them with geographically relevant news.
ITN now using google APIs to target news to place.
While the market for ebooks is growing, it’s a bit like the growth of renewable energy: the actual numbers were low to begin with, so even big percentage jumps represent relatively small overall numbers. As such, you won’t find the latest big-name green books on EcoBrain: searches for authors like Paul Hawken, Lester Brown and Hunter Lovins brought up no results. I asked Angela about the title and publishers they carry, and the move toward ebook acceptance in the larger publishing industry.
A nice piece about the future of "open" e-books.
Monday, October 27, 2008
When the news organization entrusted with calling elections sets off down the slippery slope of news analysis, it's hard not to wonder: Is the journalism world losing its North Star, the one source that could be relied upon to provide "Just the facts, ma'am"?
The Washington Post on the Associated Press.
Working at the crossroads between architecture, sculpture and performance, the Mexico-born, Canada-based artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is well known for developing large-scale installations in public spaces. His work encourages both social interaction and audience participation through the deployment of new technologies.
Barbican "Curve" gallery, London
A previous iteration in Mexico.
We live in a world where blogs, forums and Digg influence game-buying habits as much as, if not more than, "proper" media. When a journalist takes something out of context to grab a headline, that angle on the truth is free to proliferate across amateur sites and aggregators even further out of context -- in short, it becomes a game of Telephone, where the end result could theoretically turn out so divorced from its source that the source can no longer be found.
Nice broad-ranging piece from Gamesetwatch.