If there were ever a reason that illustrates why newspapers are dying and the mainstream media isn't trusted by many people, this story from the Babalu Blog is a perfect example. Last February, your humble correspondent posted a Newsbusters blog about the studied incuriosity of the MSM over the Che Guevara flag hanging in the office of Barack Obama campaign volunteer, Maria Isabel. This flag was discovered when Houston Fox News 26 reported on the opening of an Obama campaign office as you can see in this video.
Please forgive your humble correspondent if he takes a bit of pride in being the first to recognize the inadvertent comedy genius of Lee Abrams, the Chief Innovation Officer of the Tribune Company. Since I first reported on the hilarious antics of Abrams back in March, more and more people, especially those in the newspaper business, have learned to appreciate the comedy material provided by his many memos consisting of a bizarre mixture of upbeat optimism and New Age psychobabble.
Although the author or authors are anonymous, one suspects the parody memos were written by a journalist in the Tribune organization upon whom the budget axe might soon fall. Here are some Lee Abrams parody memo excerpts from Poynter Forums:
The Boston Globe published a really weird, yet inadvertently hilarious, editorial in which they claim that because Barack Obama broke his promise to accept public financing of his campaign...that means we need even more campaign finance reform in terms of both more money and legislation. I kid you not. First the obligatory knuckle rap on Obama by the Boston Globe for going back on his word:
SENATOR Barack Obama has presented himself as the candidate of change, but the change he announced yesterday is a throwback to the no-holds-barred rules of campaign finance that prevailed before Watergate. Obama will be the first major party candidate since Watergate to reject public financing in the general election, instead relying on his base of more than 1.5 million donors for a war chest that could easily double or triple the $84.1 he would get in public financing. His decision deals a body blow both to the system of campaign finance and to his own reputation as a reform candidate.
Imagine the reaction from the mainstream media if some conservative group, no matter how fringe, had called for the trial of Barack Obama on unproven charges. Does anybody doubt that they would focus on such a story in a very big way? Well, something like this has happened except it is the dean of the unaccredited Massachusetts Law School at Andover, Lawrence Velvel, who has called for a conference this September to plan war crimes trials against members of the Bush administration. Of course, the MSM is ignoring this story because it would hurt the Obama campaign. Here is what the ABA Journal has reported about this proposed conference (emphasis mine):
The dean of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover is planning a September conference to map out war crimes prosecutions, and the targets are President Bush and other administration officials.
Miami Herald employees, worried about retaining their jobs due to severe cutbacks in the newspaper industry, have now looked to a Santeria 'rooster' (photo) for help. The rooster is actually a life sized replica with a note attached that says:
Brought in by a Santeria priest (the real deal from Hialeah) to help save our jobs. Leave an offering.
The rooster and the offerings were placed on a fifth floor counter last Thursday facing an elevator bank in the Herald building in Miami. Among the offerings placed on the counter by the end of that work day were coins, cigars, and a Virgin de Guadalupe candle. Perhaps the Herald employees need to make even more offerings since the McClatchy Company which owns the Miami Herald just announced big layoffs today:
The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI) announced today that it plans to reduce its workforce by about 10% as the company accelerates efforts to manage through today's difficult advertising market and position itself for future success in an increasingly competitive environment.
A profile of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann by Peter J. Boyer in the current edition of the New Yorker gives us a good clue as to why the man known for his laughable impressions of Edward R. Murrow is so antagonistic towards CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric. She beat him out of a job as anchor at CBS. Yes, you read that right. In fact I had to read it twice in amazement when the article, "One Angry Man," stated that the CBS execs actually considered Olbermann for the anchor position (emphasis mine):
Miami Herald columnist, Andres Oppenheimer, is like a high school football player who just scored a touchdown. You can spot him in the end zone triumphantly spiking the football and performing his over the top victory dance. However there is something a bit too overenthusiastic about Oppenheimer's self-celebration as if he knows there is a huge caveat to his "victory."
You can read his not quite convincing "celebration" in his Miami Herald column, "About time! Reckless TV anchors put on spot:"
Bravo! A new study has found widespread fear-mongering and reckless journalism by cable television hosts such as CNN's Lou Dobbs and Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, who have made a career of bashing Hispanic undocumented immigrants and their home countries.
Gee! Doesn 't that sound impressive? However guess who did this "study?"
The study by Media Matters Action Network, a watchdog group, says Dobbs, O'Reilly and CNN's Glenn Beck serve up steady anger, resentment and myths ``seemingly geared toward creating anti-immigrant hysteria.''
In yet another in the series of "guess the missing party label" we once again present the case of imprisoned former Broward County (Fla.) sheriff Ken Jenne. As we have seen before, the South Florida news media is extremely reluctant to apply a party label to the disgraced Jenne, who was convicted of mail fraud and tax evasion while in office, despite the fact that the Broward sheriff office is most most important political post in the county. A hint as to what is Jenne's political label is the fact that if he had been a Republican, we would have seen that fact in almost every news story about him.
Let us now watch the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reporter, Vanessa Blum, give us a somewhat tender account of inmate No. 77434-004:
It seems that the HBO fictional film Recount has triggered some horrible memories of vote suppression and fraud perpetrated by the evil Republicans. At least that is the allegation circulating in the leftwing blogosphere. One of the most specific of these allegations comes from the Democratic Underground where a DUer by the screen name of "Lorien" has made some rather shocking charges about betrayal by a high level Democrat campaign official and intimidation of minority voters by a racist cop in the Orlando FL area. Let us join Lorien as she lays out her charges in the DU thread, RECOUNT: My own Florida election day 2000 nightmare (emphasis mine):
I'll say one thing for the Tribune Company's new "Chief Innovation Officer," Lee Abrams. He might not be able to solve the declining newspaper circulation problems but he is absolutely irrepressible in a very funny way. On the heels of his recent suggestion that the Los Angeles Times could solve some of its problems by repainting its news vans, we have yet another of Abrams' famous memos which goes in all directions powered by a generous dose of psychobabble. You might need to channel the late Timothy Leary to interpret Abrams' latest memo, THINK PIECE: BUSTING DENIALS AND ASSUMPTIONS, issued last Monday which starts out with ideas about "re-imaging" the WGN Superstation, which is owned by the Tribune Co., and ultimately reaches the outer limits of the newspaper galaxy.
In stark contrast to the global warming alarmists, hurricane forecasters have now become almost comically vague in their forecasts. The problem for the hurricane forecasters is that their predictions can be checked for accuracy just months after the initial forecast. While global warming alarmists feel free to predict disaster years into the future, hurricane forecasters are now forced to be very very cautious, especially in light of their highly inaccurate 2006 hurricane season predictions.
On the heels of the very active 2005 hurricane season which many blamed on global warming, forecasters didn't even wait for 2006 to begin before issuing a forecast in early December 2005 which predicted a very active hurricane season:
Just days after the official close of the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record and with one hurricane still churning in the Atlantic, the first 2006 forecast is out already. To the surprise of no one it predicts an active season.
Dan Abrams, apparently still smarting from the castigation he received in April from Karl Rove, just cannot let go. Despite the fact that the "high level" Republican operative, Jill Simpson, who accused Rove of orchestrating the prosecution of convicted Democrat former Alabama governor, Dan Siegelman, never actually met nor talked to Karl Rove and whose "high level" operative activities in her own words never rose above typical volunteer work, Abrams continues to wander into the swamp created by this much less than credible source. On Thursday, Abrams and Catherine Crier were salivating with glee on MSNBC's Verdict over the prospect that the House Judiciary Committee might issue something called an 'inherent contempt' arrest for Karl Rove (emphasis mine):
The Titanic has hit an iceberg and is sinking. Not to worry, just paint the lifeboats with a new color scheme and things will improve. As ridiculous as that sounds, it is not much different than the proposal of the Tribune Company Chief Innovation Officer, Lee Abrams, who proposed changing the color of Los Angeles Times vans:
Being too close to it. LAT has about 20 vans...but they're all Black? Hmmm. Maybe they should be painted in LAT colors. There ARE more than a few commuters driving around down there.
Apparently Abrams thinks basic black is not exciting enough but he seems to love the color green according to his internal blog post about changes at the Los Angeles Times obtained by LA Observed:
...They use soy based ink and recycled paper. Hmmm...maybe they should be bragging about that on every page as LA is the home of green.
Oh the outrage! The gift shop at Guantamo Bay sells a T-shirt that features a guard tower and barbed wire with wording that says: "The Taliban Towers at Guantanamo Bay, the Caribbean's Newest 5-star Resort." Another T-shirt from the same gift shop dares to praise, "the proud protectors of freedom". And yet another T-shirt shows an iguana with this "heartless" wording: "Greetings from paradise GTMO resort and spa fun in the Cuban sun." Does this even sound remotely like some cruel human rights abuse? Perhaps not to rational people but Daily Mail (UK) reporter, Angela Levin, works herself into a frenzy over these trinkets in her article, Greetings from Guantanamo Bay ... and the sickest souvenir shop in the world:
The sands are white, the sea laps gently and crowds of bronzed Americans laze in the Caribbean sunshine.
They have a cinema, a golf course and, naturally, a gift shop stocked with mugs, jaunty T-shirts and racks of postcards showing perfect sunsets and bright green iguanas.
The Denver Post has managed the amazing feat of criticizing Rush Limbaugh for supposedly calling for riots at this summer's Democrat convention in Denver while completely downplaying the role of the very organization calling for recreating 68 and all the problems of Chicago '68 that implies in their article provocatively titled Limbaugh dreams of DNC riot:
Rush Limbaugh says he is not calling for a riot in Denver during the Democratic National Convention — he only "dreams" of it, to the tune of "White Christmas."
The conservative talker discussed the possibility of Mile High unrest in August on his national radio show for a second day in a row Thursday.
"Now, I am not inspiring or inciting riots. I'm dreaming, I'm dreaming of riots in Denver," he said mimicking the holiday tune.
Time magazine is using the fact that the Democrat presidential candidates are currently being forced to raise more money to battle each other as evidence that the Democrats are much better at online campaign fundraising than the Republicans. Political blinders were firmly in place on Time writers Michael Scherer and Jay Newton-Small when they triumphantly put forth their reality-challenged thesis of Why Democrats Rule the Web:
Republicans, who once were far ahead of Democrats in whizbang TV technology, let their party fall behind the nerd curve as Howard Dean and later John Kerry revolutionized and then exploited online fund-raising in 2004. Four years later, the Democrats have widened that gap, using the Internet not only to raise cash but also to organize canvassers and plot get-out-the-vote efforts. Republicans say the Democrats' Web advantage is due to not just greater enthusiasm but also smarter strategies...
Recycle videos, buy used cars, eat non-Nabisco cookies, and drink microbrewery beer. These are among the highly laughable suggestions promoted at the Daily Kos as part of their proposed boycott of ABC and Disney because Barack Obama was finally asked some tough questions at Wednesday's Democrat debate in Philadelphia. It was only 23 minutes into the debate before the boycott thread was posted at the Daily Kos with the outraged title of Tomorrow We Take On ABC, and Disney. It is hard to figure out which is funnier, the boiling outrage over the fact that their blessed messiah was asked challenging questions or the incredibly lame ideas for the proposed boycott. Here is a sampling of the Kossack inadvertent comedy act:
keep watching the videos you already have. SHARE them with other parents who would otherwise buy the Disney DVD, and don't buy Disney in the future. And talk to your kids about the power of the corporate media and the RESPONSIBILITY of the consumer to use their power as a balance. Spoken as a mom of a 7, 10 and 11 yr old. Yes, I do have these crazy, nerdy conversations with my children.
The winners of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize are scheduled to be announced tomorrow and I sure hope at least one blogger wins this coveted recognition. One big reason is that it is the blogosphere, in stark contrast to the mainstream media, that is paying attention to the biggest political story out there---how Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" has caused disarray among the Democrats. Operation Chaos, Limbaugh's plan for causing continued havoc in the Democrat party by encouraging Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton has received scant notice in the MSM although the effects are quite noticeable. Every time I see the MSM report on the startling rise of Democrat voter registration in Pennsylvania due to Republicans switching parties, I want to scream out ala Sam Kinison: "Say it! SAAAY ITTT!!!"
I have to give the Christian Science Monitor credit for at least discussing Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos which is his plan for Republicans to register as Democrats in order to vote for Hillary Clinton so as to cause yet more disorder in the Democrat party. One can search in vain in Google News for dreaded term "Operation Chaos," but with the exception of the Christian Science Monitor, the mainstream media shuns any mention of it despite the fact that registrations of Democrats in Pennsyvania are at record levels due to "mysterious reasons." Often when reading or watching media outlets describe the record number of Democrat registrations in the Keystone State without giving credit to Operation Chaos, I feel like channeling the late great comedian, Sam Kinison, who was famous for yelling: "Say it! SAY IT!!!"
Christian Science Monitor writer, Dante Chinni, finally said it in his article, "Rushing to register? Limbaugh’s efforts not yet showing signs of big effects in Pennsylvania." First Chinni discusses that which most others in the mainstream media refuse to even mention:
When I last reported on the hilarious musings of the Tribune Company's new chief innovation officer, Lee Abrams, little did I realize that he would provide us with a continuous comedy act of major proportions. His previous observations wandered from looking upon newspapers as the "new rock 'n' roll" to the need for soul all interspersed with quotations from everybody from John Cleese to Carl Jung. Yes, he was good for some bellylaughs but now he has exceeded himself in the inadvertent humor department with a memo to the Tribune staffers that rivals the best of comedy skits. Appropriately, Abrams announces that his job starts on April Fools Day:
...I start April 1st but I've been pretty engaged from afar. Thought I'd share some observations on TV, web and print. Small stuff, "think pieces" more than anything...not end alls, but when we re-think and maximize hundreds of little pieces within the framework of bigger pieces and it could be part of the blueprint for something very powerful:
Until recently the most popular metaphor to describe the Hillary Clinton campaign was Scorched Earth. This metaphor implies that Hillary is willing to destroy the entire Democrat party in an effort to win the nomination. However, there is a new metaphor on the block which is a bit more precise in its description: the Tonya Harding Option. This new metaphor was supposedly introduced yesterday by Jake Tapper in his ABC News 'Political Punch' posting, Democratic Party Official: Clinton Pursuing 'The Tonya Harding Option':
l just spoke with a Democratic Party official, who asked for anonymity so as to speak candidly, who said we in the media are all missing the point of this Democratic fight.
The delegate math is difficult for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, the official said. But it's not a question of CAN she achieve it. Of course she can, the official said.
The question is -- what will Clinton have to do in order to achieve it?
It's hard to top the absurdity of the media hyping global warming presented in the NewsBusters story posted yesterday by Noel Sheppard about how the classic science fiction movie, "The Day the Earth Stood Still," is being remade where Klaatu comes to earth to warn us about global warming. However, a global warming art show ranks pretty close to that movie remake in the silliness department. According to a Huffington Post blog, "The Art of Global Warming" posted by Kimberly Brooks, there is now a global warming "Things Fall Apart" art exhibit featuring the photography of Sasha Bezzubov:
As has been noted by NewsBusters correspondents Brent Baker, Kyle Drennen, and Clay Waters, the Mainstream Media has mostly assumed an attitude of respectful awe towards Barack Obama's March 18 speech on race. That emotional awe towards Obama's speech has reached the level of mass weeping in the Leftwing blogosphere. The leftists profess to be so awestruck by that speech that it seems mass crying will soon replace the fainting attacks at future Obama appearances.
Imagine if a comedy script is submitted to a movie producer. It would be about a major newspaper conglomerate so desperate to turn around the plunging circulation numbers of its various newspapers that it hires a wacky radio consultant as a Chief Innovation Officer to help turn it around. The radio consultant is so strange that he believes the way to improve the circulation numbers is to ensure that the newspapers have soul. He plans to do this by treating newspapers as the new rock 'n' roll. The wacky Chief Innovation Officer announces his plans in a seemingly endless e-mail message that wanders aimlessly for 5 web pages in which it claims that newspapers need to "morph the soul of Dylan...with with the innovation of Apple and the eccentric-all-the-way-to-the-bank of Bill Veeck." The message also conjures up "theater of the mind," Star Wars, plus a whole host of nearly indecipherable psycho-babble that includes visions of open and closed modes.
Perhaps New York Governor Eliot Spitzer believes he can weather the firestorm over his scandal about his patronizing of a high-class prostitution ring. However, he is battling an element that will keep his scandal alive in the public more than the usual political scandal---humor. Spitzer's breaking scandal is less than a day old and already the media and the blogosphere is filled with many jokes and parody songs about his situation. Even many liberals are laughing at Spitzer since the humor generated by a self-righteous politician involved in a sleazy scandal involving a prostitution ring is just too hard to ignore. David Letterman led off his show with several jokes on this subject:
Do you think it’s too soon to be hitting on Mrs. Eliot Spitzer?
Did you happen to see the press conference? Very dramatic. Eliot Spitzer was there. He had yellow crime scene tape draped around his pants – crazy.
The thinking now is that the governor may step down now to spend less time with his family.
I have to give WISN TV reporter Kent Wainscott of Milwaukee a lot of credit for not breaking out laughing in the middle of his report on a Democrat superdelegate. If you think of Democrat superdelegates as hardened cigar-chomping big city type professional pols, think again. Democrat superdelegate and college student, Jason Rae (photo), is the exact opposite of that old stereotype. In fact, one could say he is just plain silly as you can see in this video report about him. Among the things that makes Jason Rae so comical is his bloated sense of self-importance which Wainscott breathlessly plays into at the beginning of his report:
Jason Rae may look like a typical college student but he has suddenly become one of the most important players in the race for the White House...
...He's had a string of national interviews and some unexpected and, to him, unbelievable phone calls...
In yet another example of how the dinosaur media is completely unable to cope with the new web technology, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel's editorial blog (or "blob" as editor Earl Maucker described it accurately last summer via a typo), The Slant, continues to generate almost no interest from the readers. Out of 21 entries posted to The Slant from January 16 through February 28, only three comments were left by readers. Something of an underwhelming response. Of course, it might have helped if the Sun-Sentinel actually provided a direct link to The Slant "Blob" from its opening page. Here is how the Sun-Sentinel describes The Slant which was launched last year with much hype:
It looks like Time magazine has dispensed with the quaint custom of showing at least a little respect for the recently deceased. This story by Richard Corliss begins a long sneer in the direction of William F. Buckley, Jr. starting with its very title, "William F. Buckley: Mandarin of Right-Wing TV." From that low point, Corliss continues his descent into his ill-mannered septic tank as he blames Buckley for inspiring what Corliss describes as "partisan political harangue as infotainment" following an appearance on the Jack Paar show in 1962:
Anti-American snarkiness has reared its ugly little head in this London Times travel story by Tom Chesshyre, "Tourism 'golden era' ends in Cuba." Apparently, Mr. Chesshyre believes that life under Fidel Castro's oppressive regime was a "golden era" for visiting that island. Yes, how quaint to see dilapidated buildings and people whose diets are severely restricted by government rationing. The Times seems to fear that these "good times" may soon be coming to an end and urges visits there before the atmosphere is ruined by the American tourist "invasion":
Travellers interested in visiting Cuba are being advised to go now before an invasion of American tourists begins.
Anybody who has spent even a little time reading the left-wing blogs on the Web have probably run across frequent political "conversion" stories. The theme is all too familiar. A friend or relative is an insensitive Republican who just won't listen to the enlightened liberal soul posting the story. However, due to the perceived excesses of the evil Bush administration or the ever wise arguments of the liberal author, the Republican finally sees the light and either ends up supporting the Democrats or becomes a Democrat himself. Of course, the veracity of these "conversion" stories usually crumble after just a bit of analysis.
One big "tell" that the author is somewhat less than truthful is the amazing ability to quote long blocks of dialogue from weeks, months, or even years in the past. Sometimes it is even easier to find out that a political "conversion" story is primarily a work of fiction.