Is The Ford Motor Company committing an Old-Media-assisted suicide?
On Wednesday, One News Now had a story about how the Formerly Mainstream Media has largely ignored the negative impact the the American Family Association's boycott of Ford has had on the company (an audio version of the report is also at the link):
News media ignoring Ford boycott, media analyst says
Brent Bozell's culture column this week took one last bite out of the Imus apple, taking exception to CBS chief Les Moonves claiming he was so glad to listen to the public and dismiss Don Imus from his CBS Radio gig, because he is all about being sensitive to the public's wishes. Baloney, says Brent:
In his press statement on the Imus firing, the strangest part was Moonves touting how he enjoyed listening to the public. "Many of you have come forward during this past week to share your thoughts and feelings. I thank you for that. At the end of the day, the integrity of our Company and the respect that you feel for CBS becomes the most important consideration."
Integrity and respect for CBS? Thanking the public for sharing its thoughts? Moonves & Co. at CBS have stubbornly fought against the public on other matters of broadcast decency. They’ve consistently looked protests in the eye and declared their contempt for the opinions of the majority of Americans.
ABC News tries its hand at sensationalism with a story on the VT killer buying "ammo" on the auction site Ebay, but muffs it badly getting all the relevant facts wrong. But it sure is a good headline... Ammo from eBay? VT Killer May Have Used Site
April 21, 2007 — ABCNews has learned that in the months before his shooting spree at Virginia Tech, Seung-Hui Cho may have purchased 20 rounds of ammunition through the online auction site eBay.
An eBay account holder who appears to be Cho purchased a two-pack of 10-round ammunition clips for a Walther P22 on March 22, 2007, less than a month before Cho killed 32 people and himself at Virginia Tech. The ammunition was purchased on eBay from Elk Ridge Shooting Supplies for the same type of weapon used by Cho in his bloody rampage last week.
One would think the writers of The Onion satirical newspaper snuck into the offices of The San Francisco Chronicle after reading a report about a pizza shop owner who saved the lives of his family by killing a gun wielding robber that was attempting to rob his store, a store with the owner's whole family inside. The Chronicle calls the meeting of the thief and would be killer and the innocent pizza shop owner "tragic" and the report is filed as if the whole story was all just some unfortunate accident instead of a crime stopped cold.
The lives of the two men intersected tragically at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday when Hicks, armed with a pistol and joined by two other men, tried to rob Piedra inside the popular pizzeria at 89th Avenue and International Boulevard. Fearful that the assailants might hurt him, his wife and three children -- all of whom were inside the restaurant -- Piedra pulled out his 9mm semiautomatic pistol and opened fire, killing Hicks, police said.
The Chronicle made the story as an excuse at a morality play revealing how friends are remembering the robber as one who "...always had a smile on his face", that the shop owner "took no satisfaction in taking Hicks' life", and the police "...by no stretch of the imagination" were they "agreeing with or justifying what the owner did." We are even treated to a telling of our "tragic" robber's happy little "rap artist" name; "Boonie".
Obviously the San Francisco Chronicle has decided that this story is going to be their platform to show how guns "traumatize" everyone when the real focus of the story should be on how a shop owner protected himself and his family inside the shop from an armed criminal.
'One-Third Probability' in '07, Former Fed Chief Says
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said yesterday that there is a "one-third probability" of a U.S. recession this year and that the current economic expansion won't have the staying power of its decade-long predecessor.
"We are in the sixth year of a recovery; imbalances can emerge as a result," Greenspan said in an interview at his District office. "The historically normal business cycle is much shorter" than a decade and is likely to be this time, he said.
Greenspan's outlook contrasts with the prediction of his successor, Ben S. Bernanke, who told Congress last week that the economy might strengthen this year. Bernanke's upbeat assessment helped steady stock markets on Feb. 28 after a plunge the day before that some traders attributed partly to Greenspan's musing that a recession could not be ruled out.
Although it goes without saying that Internet denizens of all colors, shapes, and sizes typify the concepts inherent in the First Amendment, conceivably nothing incites more ire from bloggers than out of control comments sections.
As this issue came to a head last month in the midst of the Kathy Sierra debacle – a computer programming instructor that ended up canceling speaking engagements due to death threats – a debate has ensued throughout the blogosphere concerning what should be done to increase civility without jeopardizing free speech. This has even gone so far to evoke discussions of creating a “bloggers code of conduct.”
In reality, comments sections can be so hostile that many bloggers debate the pluses and minuses of having them at all. Law professor Ann Althouse posted a deliciously comic view on this issue Saturday that is much like John Kerry’s position on funding the Iraq war (emphasis added):
Of course there were many other newsmaking events this week, but the relatively silent treatment this story received from Old Media is still not a surprise (the link is to a story at a trade publication's web site; very few papers had a related story written by the Associated Press):
ABC’s weatherman, Sam Champion, continued his crusade to get every American to adopt liberal environmental polices. While standing in front of a massive bank of televisions, he lectured viewers on their contribution to global warming: "If you think you have nothing to do with global warming, think again. From the car you drive, to the house you live in, it all contributes to the problem."
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman appeared on the "Today" show to announce that America’s best shot at winning the war on terrorism is by going green. NBC, of course, promoted the segment as "save energy, save the world."
Rod Paige, the first Education Secretary under George W. Bush, has a new book on the dangers of teacher unions, so you wouldn't expect a nice review in The Washington Post. Richard Kahlenberg of the "radical centrist" vogue at the New America Foundation argues that Paige can't find the nuances, and then finds Paige's nuances. First he argued:
Like his old boss, Paige doesn't "do nuance," even when given more than 200 pages to state his case. Granted, teacher unions are by no means perfect. As Paige notes, too often the unions protect incompetent teachers and resist efforts to pay the teacher who works long hours any more than the one who springs for the parking lot the moment the bell rings. But "The War Against Hope" does little to acknowledge the innovative proposals that some teacher unions have backed on those two issues and the positive roles they play in education.
If in the wake of the Imus incident the Rutgers women's basketball players had spurned an invitation to meet with President Bush, do you think ABC might have told us about it? Natch. But when those same players blew off a chance to meet Hillary Clinton, ABC managed to put a positive spin on matters.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton finally dropped by Rutgers to meet with the school's women's basketball coach -- but the players themselves skipped the half-hour meeting, citing their studies and Imus fatigue.
"Many of the players were in study hall from eight to noon and some had finals," explained a Rutgers source who said the players were "tired" of all the attention. "These young women need to do their classes, and wrap their spring semester."
It's enough to give a guy flashbacks to co-eds shooting him down for a Saturday-night date because they had to study.
It's very natural for journalists, just like anyone else, to dismiss scandals when your friends or heroes are involved. As CBS anchor Katie Couric is embarrassed by having a ghost writer make up her childhood memories -- and plagiarize someone else's work -- CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien insists it will pass, and insists that poor Katie is often personally attacked because she dared to be a pioneering woman anchor. The New York Observer reported:
The Transom asked for Ms. O’Brien’s take on the recent scandal over at CBS, which fired producer Melissa McNamara after she plagiarized a Wall Street Journal column for one of Katie Couric’s first-person commentaries. “Well, you know, she’s a mentor of mine, so I talk to her all the time,” Ms. O’Brien said of Ms. Couric. “When I was at NBC and I didn’t have an agent, she called up her agent, and the next thing I knew, I was represented by CAA. I mean, people don’t do that. So I’ve always been incredibly grateful to her.
“I think she’s a great role model for women, because she’s made a very brave choice,” Ms. O’Brien continued. “She’s gone out and tackled something, and nobody before her—no woman—has done the evening news, and I think she has gotten a lot of barbs because of that. Some of the attacks are very personal, and because she is a woman. I’m sorry to have to admit that, but it’s true. I think she’s handled it with grace. This too shall pass, because one thing Katie Couric is, is a terrific journalist. Everybody knows that. And Brian Williams too!”
Several major media players, including print icons, are losing money. An April 20 article in the New York Times reported that the New York Times Company (NYT and the Boston Globe) and the Gannett Company (USA Today) declined in first-quarter revenue while the Tribune Company (the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times) actually lost money.
The Times has recently been rocked by major scandals such as Jayson Blair’s plagiarism and fabrication and Rick Bragg's plagiarism. Newsbusters and Times Watch have documented the Times’ leftward-tilting reporting and an inability to acknowledge reporting mistakes in stories like the Duke lacrosse hoax, the story about rape in the military that was printed when known to be false and the recent article which wrongly claimed an El Salvadoran woman was jailed for an illegal abortion. Radar Online noticed the lowering of journalistic bar at the paper and ranked their ten worst reporters. It’s no secret that the print media are in dire straits, and even the NYT wrote that the “disappointing results underscored the increasingly tough economic times faced by the industry as advertisers continued to shift their focus away from print to the Internet.” The Times gave the numbers for the downturn:
Proving once again how badly the left suffers from BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome), Comedy Central is launching a new animated show lampooning George W. Bush and all surrounding him that was originally broadcast through cell phone networks.
Included in the cartoon attacks will be Vice President Cheney, Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice and a brother JEB who is "dumb as paint".
In what may be a TV first, Comedy Central’s new series Lil’ Bush (which premieres in June) comes to TV by way of mobile devices such as web-enabled cell phones. The property began as mobisodes seen on 2” mobile screens.
ABC's Good Morning America and World News on Friday displayed disappointment that liberals and Democrats have not pursued gun control in the wake of the mass murders at Virginia Tech. GMA's on-screen graphic for a 7am half hour story demanded, “Politicians and Gun Control: Why Aren’t They Outraged?” Co-host Robin Roberts rued: “After every major shooting in the U.S., without fail, there has been a heated debate about gun control on Capitol Hill. But not this time. In fact, most politicians have been running away from the debate on guns. So, why is this happening?” Reporter Jake Tapper echoed the theme: “It was the worst school shooting in American history, and yet what some liberals are referring to as a deafening silence from Democrats on Capitol Hill. After reciting how Democrats fear the electoral impact of the agenda, Tapper concluded by relaying how “in the rest of the world, of course, gun rights in the United States are viewed somewhat oddly.”
Just over 12 hours later, World News anchor Charles Gibson recalled how “when I spoke to President Bush at Virginia Tech, he told me he thought the killings at that college would spark new debate on gun laws. So far, it hasn't. The discussion, in fact, has been surprisingly muted.” (Naturally, Gibson had prompted that answer: “After Columbine, there was ignited a national debate on guns. Do you think this is going to rekindle the national debate?”) In Friday's story, Tapper highlighted how “for gun control activists...the Democrats' silence was deafening.” He went on to explain that “many Democratic strategists think Al Gore's liberal gun control stance cost him key states like West Virginia and Tennessee in the 2000 election” and “Democrats recaptured the Congress last November partly because of pro-gun Democrats.” Tapper showcased how “this weekend a TV ad campaign begins airing that faults the Democratic Congress for not backing a gun control measure.”
[UPDATE: PBS's Gwen Ifill: “Have the Virginia tech shootings changed the debate” about gun control? "Not so much. But why not?”]
On his HBO show that aired over the last week, Bill Maher joked that last Friday, "President Bush spoke at a Catholic prayer breakfast, and you could tell this was a Catholic prayer breakfast because [Maher laughs] it was in the morning and he said 'I'm dying for a little joe' and they brought him an altar boy." The crowd laughed and applauded, and Maher said, "See, I'm not afraid!"
Aside from the fact there are craven bishops who still deserve this joke, isn't this show supposed to be "topical"? Isn't this a little like cracking jokes about that wacky Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle?
A week after we heard endless lectures about how hard-working ethical heroes like the Rutgers women in no way deserve the humor Don Imus dished out, can't we also suggest that hard-working ethical heroes like the nation's Catholic priests in no way deserve Maher's line of "ho" humor?
On her "Couric & Co." blog today, the CBS "Evening News" anchor posted a 10-question interview with gun control activist Paul Helmke. Couric's questions largely lobbed softballs for the Brady Campaign's Helmke to hit out of the park. But beyond that, she let slip a suggestion a keener ear might have caught and followed up on.
Helmke suggested he'd prefer a law making law-abiding citizens have to show references for purchasing a gun.
That's right, references, as in asking friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. if they think you should have the right to own a gun. References for the government to pry into your life (well beyond any criminal record) before you, a law-abiding citizen, to purchase a gun, something you have the right to do under the Constitution.
Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer, right, and correspondent Pete Williams report, in New York Thursday morning April 19, 2007, on a video manifesto and photos sent to their network by Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui.
Soon it’s going to cost you more to mow your lawn, and the Christian Science Monitor doesn’t mind because it’s all in the name of a cleaner planet.
“[H]elp is on the way. Thanks to a new rule unveiled by the Environmental Protection Agency this week, homeowners will finally be able to buy mowers that give their lawn a truly clean cut,” wrote Mark Clayton of the Monitor.
But it was not homeowners who pressured mower manufacturers to lower emissions, but a mandate from the EPA. According to the new rule, beginning in 2011 small engines like those used in lawn tractors must filter out “an additional 35 pollutants … in addition to the 60 percent reduction mandated last year.”