In the wake of “Seinfeld” comedian Michael Richards’ now well-publicized meltdown at a comedy club this weekend, the blogosphere has uncovered a little-known 1986 film entitled “Whoops Apocalypse” in which “Kramer” posed as a blind, black man (video here, h/t to Hot Air). As described by Wikipedia:
Whoops Apocalypse was originally a six-part 1982 sitcom by Andrew Marshall and David Renwick, made by London Weekend Television for ITV. Marshall and Renwick later reworked the concept as a 1986 movie with almost completely different characters and plot, although one or two of the original actors returned in different roles. […]
The 1986 ITC Entertainment film version, directed by Tom Bussmann, uses an almost completely different plot from the series, but also ends with an accidentally-triggered nuclear holocaust.
Though Wikipedia described Richards’ character, it isn’t clear why he would be posing as a blind, black man:
Earlier this year, a woman killed herself after being interviewed by CNN Headline News host Nancy Grace over the apparent abduction of her son. At the time (see this September NB posting for background), the relatives of Melinda Duckett were blasting Grace for her alleged role in driving the woman to suicide. They've since taken things a step further and launched a lawsuit against Grace:
Her parents in Lockport were outraged
by the talk show hosts harsh, accusatory line of questioning. The
segment aired just hours after her death.
Jerry Eubank: "It was 3-4 hours after I heard that Mindy died and I'm
watching this woman banging the table, and screaming about why aren't
you telling us this, I mean she was judge, jury and executioner."
mother, Beth Eubank: "She physically makes me ill. The night she aired
the show on September 8th, it was less than four hours since Mindy's
death, family members had not even been notified."
Wednesday’s Fox and Friends discussed the recent feud between Rosie O’Donnell and Kelly Ripa. Co-host Gretchen Carlson said what so many of us are thinking.
Kelly Ripa complaining about singer Clay Aiken covering her mouth on TV: "Regardless of whatever the sexual orientation is, it was outrageous, it was out of line, it was unprofessional, and he wouldn't have done it to you because there is respect there." (End Video)
Gretchen Carlson: "Maybe he should do it to Rosie O'Donnell. You know what? This really just upsets me. Just stay out of everyone else's business, Rosie. I mean, for goodness sake, Kelly Ripa is the host of this show. Clay Aiken made a mistake in putting his hand over her mouth. You just don't do that to the host of a show when you are a guest and by the way, according to Kelly Ripa, he did not even say thank you for being the co-host of her show that day. I don't think Kelly Ripa should get any blame for what she said. She says 'look, it's cold and flu season, when I said I don't know where that hand's been,' she did not mean-"
Sometimes, from the wilderness outside that insular liberal bubble known as PBS, the self-congratulations reaches new levels of absurdity. PBS is so insular that it hires bloggers to promote PBS documentaries, even PBS documentaries that lionize PBS programs.
I speak of this blog post: PBS has hired bloggers to comment on its programs on a site called "Remotely Connected." Paid blogger Levi Asher promoted a documentary on the PBS show "Sesame Street," or more precisely a promotional film on how Sesame Workshop markets international versions of "Sesame Street." [CORRECTION: Asher and the other PBS bloggers are not paid. See statement below.] The documentary series is titled "Independent Lens." I have no earthly idea how a somehow-edgy "independent" filmmaker makes a film glowingly recounting how Sesame Workshop, the global conglomerate, is foisting its "Muppet catalysts for social change" on the world for profit. But Asher loves the whole promotional circle:
As Washington prepares for a new balance of power, there has been so much talk of “lame ducks” that you would be forgiven if you thought Vice President Cheney had gone hunting again. But the political phrase of the moment is actually derived not from the hunt for waterfowl, but for riches.
First Coast News in Jacksonville, Florida, did a fabulous piece Tuesday on how terrorists are using websites like YouTube and MySpace to recruit, train, and send messages to their cadre (hat tip to our friend Joe Myers). Some of the transcript was posted at FirstCoastNews.com, and the absolutely must-see video is here:
It's a video showing a room full of children sharing their dreams. They are not excited about being doctors, lawyers or teachers. Instead, the children shout, "We are the nation of Hezbollah. I shall sacrifice my life for Allah."
A group of children in training to be a mujahideen, or holy warrior.
Online there are videos of those warriors. One suicide bomber announces he is readying himself to blow up a group of American soldiers.
Michelle Malkin writes in her syndicated column that journalists complain about "the Bush administration for stifling its free speech, endless court filings demanding classified and sensitive information from the military and intelligence agencies, and self-pitying media industry confabs bemoaning their hemorrhaging circulations."
But this is nothing compared to what other countries' journalists face.
Give thanks we don't live in Bangladesh, where you can be put on trial for writing columns supporting Israel and condemning Muslim violence....
Give thanks we don't live in Egypt, where bloggers have been detained by the government for criticizing Islam and exposing the apathy of Cairo police to sexual harassment of women...
Today's starter: With the congressional elections out of the way, the presidential race is starting to get more serious, at least on the Republican side where Mitt Romney said in an interview that it's a three-man race between John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and himself.
It seems that way at the moment but 2008 is still a long ways away. Who do you think are some of the dark horse candidates?
Oh, and how many of you are having trouble with making links, etc. now that we have different ads on the pages?
Update 13:34. I've taken down the ads. Too many performance issues for now.
Here's an interesting bit of irony: Knowledge of the media's ongoing fauxtography scandals has gotten so widespread that now entertainment shows are starting to make plots based on journalists faking the news. "CSI" recently ran an episode about it.
Wednesday's opinion section of The Washington Post carries a piece by Post columnist Eugene Robinson, a former Post reporter and editor of the Style section. Like clockwork, like reporter Paul Farhi yesterday, Robinson merges Michael "Kramer" Richards screaming the N-word at a black heckler with defeated Sen. George Allen's "Macaca" reference, alongside Mel Gibson's drunken anti-Semitic rant:
Look at the two celebrity blow-ups together, and maybe throw in Sen. George Allen's "macaca" moment, too. One thing they teach us is that there are no unguarded moments anymore. Richards's outburst was filmed by someone with a tiny digital camera, Allen's by a young man with a video camera. Footage of their indiscretions and facsimiles of Gibson's drunken-driving police report were disseminated to the world within hours via the Internet. You can't even run anymore, much less hide.
It's 5 AM in Qatar, where we landed an hour or so ago. Yes, the Iraq portion of this trip is over. Not without a few final twists and turns, naturally. We got into the Green Zone Monday night and camped out in a media lounge. Standing outside in the parking lot the following morning, a very sharp explosion could be heard, but that's not enough to stop people from going about their business here.
Tommy Clarkson, host par excellence and official at the Gulf Reconstruction Division of the Army Corps of Engineers had arranged interviews with a number of senior GRD folks. There is a major disconnect between the way the reconstruction story is reported in the MSM and the reality on the ground. Much of the MSM focus is on the fact that Baghdad residents enjoy fewer hours of electricity now than before the war. That ignores the fact that, overall, electricity output has increased significantly and that Iraqis in other areas of the country enjoy much more daily power than before the war. During his reign, Saddam monopolized power for the capital, literally threatening engineers with death should there be an interruption. Power is now equitably shared across the country. There are also hundreds of major water, oil and other infrastructure projects that have been completed or are under construction.
One of the most extraordinary moments of the 2004 presidential campaign was when MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell went totally ballistic on one of John Kerry’s swift boat compatriots, John O’Neill, on the October 22, 2004, installment of “Scarborough Country.” Roughly two years later, O’Donnell was once again a guest of Joe Scarborough, and this time the object of his disaffection was Republican strategist Terry Holt (video here).
The discussion centered on Rep. Charlie Rangel’s recent suggestion that the draft should be reinstated. After playing a video clip of the Congressman, quite a melee ensued wherein O’Donnell called Holt and basically every person in the Administration that hasn’t served in the military including the President's daughters “cowardly warmongers”:
Tuesday’s Post carried a strangely typical story on polygamy today in the bottom right-hand corner of the front page. The headline was "Polygamists Fight to Be Seen As Part of Mainstream Society." Reporter John Pomfret’s story did not offer both sides of the polygamy debate. It aired quite a bit of assertion from polygamy practitioners in Utah, matched only by local law enforcement officials that have largely accepted the practice, prosecuting only crimes around the edges, like sex with child brides. The story features no outraged feminists at the patriarchy in these relationships. There are no religious authorities or academics to take exception to it, or even non-religious critics like Stanley Kurtz of National Review Online. In short, it’s a thinly disguised testimonial packet.
Compare this article to the front-page story Alan Cooperman and Peter Whoriskey wrote last week on the churches maintaining their teachings on homosexuality as a sin, headlined "3 Christian Groups Move to Condemn Gay Sex." That story was much more balanced, with religious traditionalists debating advocates of a Jesus of "radical hospitality" toward gays. Pomfret seems devoted to chronicling the inevitable acceptance of this new trend encroaching on traditional monogamous matrimony:
For most of the last year, Congressman John Murtha has been placed on a pedestal by the major media, painted in red, white, and blue hues as a “hawkish” Democrat who courageously declared we needed to “redeploy” (read: withdraw) from Iraq.
The oohs and aahs began last November. “All of Washington listened,” announced CBS’s Bob Schieffer, since “on military matters, no Democrat in Congress is more influential.” Murtha’s words “followed President Bush halfway around the world,” boasted NBC anchor Brian Williams. CNN’s Bill Schneider declared Murtha’s withdrawal mantra as the “Political Play of the Week,” suggesting it might turn out to be a tipping point just as delicious as Walter Cronkite’s call to get out of a “stalemate” in Vietnam.
Last Thursday I noted an I Want Media vote about who should be the 2006 Media Person of the Year. I asked for nominations for our own tally, and now that the choices are in, you can vote for who you think most impacted the media/country in the last year.
The choices: Al Franken, Katie Couric, Ann Coulter, Keith Olbermann, George Allen and Mark Foley, Tony Snow, Chris Wallace, Washington Post, Green Helmet Guy, and the Media.
If you have a "write in" candidate, include it in the comments section. Sorry, you can only vote once, this not being a Democratic primary.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, my colleague Julia Seymour has a few rainclouds to open up on the media's parade.
This time it's the media's overblown fear of inflation. Yep, it's time to put away the disco ball and the polyester.
All bets are off if Nancy Pelosi urges everyone to put on a sweater and crank down the thermostat, however.
Journalists worked themselves into a fright this spring as inflation rose, scaremongering with cries of “stagflation” and “recession.” But when the news came last week that the inflation “monster” wasn’t “rearing its ugly head,” the media could only whisper.
“I just tend to think that inflation is not something that has been kicked yet,” said CNN’s Allen Wastler on the August 19 “In the Money.”
“It’s one of those monsters, you want to stay out in front of it. The moment it’s past you – boom, you’re dead.”
The Washington Post just cannot leave "macaca" alone. In the middle of today's article about the racist N-word-screaming outburst of former Seinfeld star Michael Richards, and how it might ruin his career (such as it is), reporter Paul Farhi once again highlights the Post obsession/achievement:
"Other prominent people, such as Mel Gibson and Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), have inflicted career-threatening wounds by making racially insensitive remarks in recent months."
I don't think it's fair to compare "macaca" to screaming the N-word at a heckler. But the Post has tried very hard to make the two words mean exactly the same thing, and they're not letting up, even after they defeated Allen:
Attacking Fox News is not an unusual tactic of the mainstream media, but on Tuesday’s Today, Matt Lauer began the show with a false claim about Fox News.
Matt Lauer: "But we begin this morning with the controversial story out of Fox News: The O.J. Simpson case. Fox News Corporation deciding to cut its losses and cancel that highly controversial project where he speaks out about those notorious murders."
The problem here: the Fox broadcast network, not Fox News, almost aired the interview with O.J. Simpson. He did accurately call it Fox later in the broadcast but, never issued a correction. Meanwhile, on Fox and Friends, Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, and Gretchen Carlson questioned Bill O’Reilly on whether the mainstream media will tie Fox News in with the O.J. Simpson interview.