Monday, March 5, 2012

A brief diversion into Media

The problem with Fox News:
But, there’s a bigger problem, and it goes to the real reason that Republicans who actually care about the future of their party should be concerned. In many ways, the GOP’s incestuous relationship with the “shock political talk” media machine makes it incredibly difficult for it to do what political parties have done in the United States from the beginning, adapt its message for changing times and changing circumstances. By reinforcing the base’s insistence on ideological purity, the Limbaugh’s of the world push the GOP further to the right in a nation that is, at it’s core, a centrist one. That is not in the long term interests of the party, and one would think Republicans would recognize that.
 Remarkably, it is a right wing web site that is writing this piece.  But the whole issue with needing to constantly push boundaries is that, sooner or later, you will start moving where most people don't want to go: see the recent issue with Rush Limbaugh.  I think that this leads to a media strategy that is a lot like naval cruiser construction.  It was always a benefit for your cruisers to be just a little bit tougher than everybody else's cruisers.  After all, if you get into a battle on the high seas, bigger guns and more armor are really helpful.

But cruisers need to be fast and agile.  The original purpose of these vessels was to catch enemy ships, scout the seas and do other activities that require a fast ship.  After a while of this arms race, a much smaller cruiser can evade the new, clunky heavy cruisers and perform the primary mission of the ship in a superior fashion.

So you will see a dramatic downsizing of the ships, followed by a slow creep upwards.  I wonder if Fox News will follow the same pattern in the near future?


  1. I get your point. Your metaphor, however, is completely backwards. The top speed of a ship is essentially proportional to the square root of its length. This has to do with the interaction of the bow wave and the stern wave. Once you reach a speed where they interact positively you spend all of your energy making a roostertail. See
    and This was one of the motivating factors for enormous ships. Unfortunately the cost of a ship is essentially proportional to the cube of its length.

  2. My understanding is that "larger" (for cruisers) meant more weight on the hull (typically in armor).

    But ships might have been a bad analogy and distracting.

    1. You may have a slight point, it does take more power to move a heavier ship (at least to accelerate it). If I have time this weekend, I'll scrape some data and do a regression of max speed vs. length and displacement for various epochs.

      Also it is "naval" not "navel". There is a good pun in there somewhere about navel cruisers on naval cruisers, but we won't go there.