These Guys Are Now in The News Business

You might remember Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghadam from that time he said "Zuck can suck my dick." Now he wants to help the world better understand current events.

There he is up on the Disrupt stage with the rest of the wacky Rap Genius crew, flanked by TechCrunch reporter/Facebook volunteer Josh Constine—what a bunch. Moghadam arrived to build hype for News Genius, the latest expansion of the small firm's annotation game. The gist is simple: take primary news documents and let users annotate them, like a more clickable Wikipedia. It's worked wonders for rap lyrics (when it isn't horribly racist), but tackling, say, The White House, looks trickier.

For example, "Remarks by the President at the Planned Parenthood Conference."

Click this opening section:

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you! (Applause.) All right, everybody have a seat. Have a seat. You're making me blush. (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you!

THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. Thank you. (Applause.)

And you'll get this annotation:

Obama profusely thanks the audience for their extreme enthusiasm at his appearance and the words that he will shortly deliver. This warm welcome and speaker-audience exchange flows right into a very serious, and polarizing, issue.

This seems more like an elementary guide to basic social relations between homo sapiens than a breakdown of news. Moreover: will you want to use a news website run by a guy who goes on stage and talks about giving pregnant women Adderall to make babies smarter? That, among other questions about how the team will get people to provide intelligent news analysis for free, went unanswered.

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