Monday, August 01, 2005

Lunchtime Notes: Power Of The Internets Not Everywhere

by Tom Bozzo

As surely as one fire sale has followed the last, so has internet research transformed auto marketing — see, e.g., Oscar's post from yesterday at The Columnist Manifesto. That makes it all the more unusual that I should see in the classified section of the local MSM that the new VW Passat has arrived at the local VW dealer, while the U.S. VW website has no information (as of this writing) about the car other than a handful of small pictures of the German-market model.

Granted, you can find practically all the information you'd want on VW message boards, albeit with some filtering cost. But while stealth marketing may be all the rage in some circles, VW actually has to sell lots of Passats to people who don't read VWvortex to make money.

Blog note: I've actually been asked multiple times in recent days about recent irregularities in posting frequency. For the most part, this reflects the intersection of the previously announced summer blog vacation with the upper-midwestern urgency of enjoying the outdoors while the outdoors is enjoyable. However, it would be less than full disclosure if I didn't say that I've been feeling a degree of outrage fatigue lately.

So stories like the Bush Administration's suppression of an annual EPA fuel economy report on the eve of the passage of the do-nothing energy bill (thanks to Ken Houghton for the tip) aren't getting me riled as they usually would. Suppressing this report, which notes that exploitation of regulatory loopholes is fostering the production of gas-guzzling vehicles, is tantamount to putting a lid on the link between the length of daylight hours and the Earth's wobbly axis of rotation. But this is small potatoes these days. Still, if you are reading this and consider yourself a grown-up Republican, for shame!

Link added to a fine whine from Phantom Scribbler that articulates the basic outrage fatigue concept nicely: "Knowledge is not power. Power is power, and I don't have any."
I so hear you on the outrage fatigue. What's the point anymore? We can't prevent the Bush Administration from destroying the world our kids are supposed to live in -- we might as well at least go play with our kids so that they enjoy themselves now.
Heh. Do you actually have any evidence that the Bush administration "suppressed" the report? Or did the EPA just delay the report?

Per your link, the EPA spokesperson said: ""We are committed to sharing our scientific studies with the public in the most comprehensive and understandable format possible," she said. "Issue experts are reviewing the fuel economy data and we look forward to providing a summary of the information next week."

Even the NYT says, "Some of what the report says reaffirms what has long been known..." So, without the EPA report, we'd basically still know exactly what we've known for awhile. As if the EPA's 'suppression' would have had any impact on the energy bill at all. The energy bill has been delayed for years now. Why don't we keep delaying it as newer information will ultimately come out at some time in the future, which may or may not change policy direction.

This doesn't pass the smell test, and perhaps our outrage fatigue is intimately tied into our smell receptors. The receptors aren't firing.
Phantom: I should link 'outrage fatigue' to your original whine on The Oil Drum and knowledge not being power.

Bryan: If I replaced "suppressed" with "delayed for total BS reason that logic says can only be a fig leaf for one of Turd Blossom's minor political calculations" in the post, I assert that its meaning would not have changed.

Note also that the absurdity is precisely the act of trying to keep non-news out of the news cycle. Though I suppose that the cause of seasonal variations in the length of the day *might* be news to young-flat-earth creationist types...
Your effective use of the words 'Turd Blossom' has forced me to reconsider my position.
As I knew it would...
Hey! I consider myself a grown-up Republican! It's why I can't vote for the current crop of spoiled children and their Anti-Entrepreneurial Agenda.
I'm a little surprised, Ken, not that there's anything wrong with that. But if you aren't voting for them, consider yourself shame-free for the purposes of this post.
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