The Best Of The Dish Today

Sen. Feinstein Accuses CIA Of Ease-Dropping On Senate Panel Computers

First, a little house-keeping. Ross Douthat has an excellent post on the question of religious liberty and gay rights. It’s a judicious argument that cultural isolation can led to infringement of religious liberty, given how complex our society is. Ross asks my help in defending the religious from the potential abuses of the pro-gay majority. He’s got it. But so far, as he concedes, it’s not a huge problem. And excessive self-pity is pathetic.

On another of my obsessions, there’s a great piece in Time from the CEO of Chartbeart, Tony Haile. It was best summed up by a re/code post linking to it: “No One’s Looking At Your Native Ads Either.” It’s a fascinating look at click-bait culture online, and the increasing frenzy Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 7.24.08 PMfor pageviews, as well as the surrender to the public relations industry. And it contains some seriously good news, best summed up in a simple chart (on the right).

Readers soon figure out that the lame p.r. piece by some dude from Dell is indeed a lame p.r. piece from some dude at Dell, and they stop reading far more quickly than they do when an actual journalist is writing, you know, an actual piece. So that means readers are sussing out the scam pretty quickly. What happens next to a website that keeps subjecting its readers to the same grift? A declining readership and a declining respect from its readership. After that, the corporations pull the native ads – especially if they see the metrics above. Haile:

The truth is that while the emperor that is native advertising might not be naked, he’s almost certainly only wearing a thong. On a typical article two-thirds of people exhibit more than 15 seconds of engagement, on native ad content that plummets to around one-third.

Today, I remembered Joe McGinniss, hero of the Palin wars, and spelled out the truly remarkable accusation of criminality that Senator Feinstein unloaded on the CIA this morning. We gawked at strangers being filmed kissing each other, and at the anti-Barbie. And, in order to speed my sojourn in Purgatory, I went another round with Rod Dreher on religious liberty.

The most popular post of the day was last night’s Best Of The Dish on Obama’s impressive economic record, followed by The Christianist Closet?

See you in the morning.

(Photo: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) returns to her Senate office after speaking on the floor of the Senate where she accused the CIA of breaking federal law by secretly removing sensitive documents from computers used by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the committee tasked with congressional oversight of the CIA. Feinstein said, ‘I am not taking it lightly.’ By Win McNamee/Getty Images.)