Insight. Antics.

Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Sarah Palin Is Right.

In Media, Politics on June 18, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Sarah Palin on Today - 6/12/09

And that’s the problem.  Let me explain.

If you missed it, David Letterman avowed the mea culpa on the joke he told about Palin and her family.  She was proven right by his apology, and even in drawing slightly higher ratings Letterman must regret the incident.

Let’s focus on the manufactured controversy that occurred before the apology.  And it was clearly manufactured.  Letterman told a joke that was in especially poor taste and didn’t result in a crescendo of laughter.  That could have been the end of it.

Commenting was not obligatory.  It was a comedic infraction and she could have easily taken a pass.  It’s not like Joe Biden said it!

But Palin decided to engage.  Perhaps she felt strongly about it, which is understandable.  Yet if her daughter Willow (or Bristol) was so embarrassed, the governor’s speaking out would not assuage that.  Instead, by shining a light she exacerbated the instance, hoping to make an example now to cut down future affronts to women later.

Now, Letterman’s line that she was in New York to pick up some “slutty flight attendant” lipstick was hilarious, and not as harmful.  It plays on a stereotype.  Much worse things have been said about Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

But the joke about her daughter was awful, whichever one he was talking about.  (Not for nothing, but you didn’t see A-Rod griping about the joke, and it made him look like an exhibitionist statutory rapist.) Read the rest of this entry »

Wrong Track?

In Media, Politics on June 15, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Recession and Recovery Road Signs

This last week has found me mulling more than a cinnamon-spiced, Calvados-infused cider: is the government addressing the recession the wrong way?  Are they putting a Band-Aid on when a full cast is needed?

The massive sums of money, like reinforced concrete on rusting girders, attempt to cement large financial establishments.  These TARP funds are intended to defibrillate the system with capital to jumpstart credit lending again.  (Is anyone else about ready for these overwrought similes and metaphors to stop?  Apologies, dear reader.  By the way, have you ever seen ”defibrillate” used as a verb like that?)

The stimulus and TARP were sold as a full-blown effort to firm up and restore our economy, but two recent contrarian arguments in major media raise doubt.  And they are not noisy Republican yammerings about over-spending, socialism, and outsize growth in government.

Author and executive Peter Schiff was on the Daily Show explaining the “Toldja so” signs of collapse he saw before everyone else.  (The montage of him getting laughed at on cable news at 1:00 in the video below is a must-see.  Also, Jon Stewart catches him mulling a Republican run against Chris Dodd.) Read the rest of this entry »

Cue The Pool.

In Media, Politics on June 8, 2009 at 8:50 am

Barack Obama at Soccer Game - Getty Images

I love pool reports, those delicious minute-by-minute journalings of public activities by presidents and leading candidates.   They’re written by members of the White House Press Pool, a rotating set of reporters from a group of news outlets that take call on different days.  The write-ups are usually terse, but specific.  As a general rule, the more ordinary the activity would be for anyone else, the more entertaining the report.   It’

s funny how it often seems like the assigned reporter feels they are taking one for the team in covering the event.  And how they add in personal touches.  Inanity ensues as the President takes in a nice little Saturday:

Pool Report – Obama at Sasha Soccer Game: POTUS, in jeans and regular guy (Chicago White Sox) jacket, walked to motorcade with Chicago friends Eric Whitaker and Marty Nesbitt at 10:45.

Off we all went into Georgetown, sparking doubletakes by pedestrians.


Arrived at Boys and Girls Clubs at 10:57. POTUS headed to soccer field.

From soccer sideline with other, likely, parents, POTUS watched one of his daughters – Sasha -play in a game.

POTUS applauded, and cheered “go go go GOAL.” Threw up hands. From pooler’s perspective, it appeared that Sasha set up the successful goal. Her dad was  very excited. Read the rest of this entry »

Merge ‘n’ Purge.

In Media on June 1, 2009 at 3:47 pm

AOL Logo and Time Warner Logo - Mario Tama/Getty Images

The bigger it was, the harder it fell.  News broke late last week that AOL and Time Warner are breaking up.  Theirs was the largest merger in history, hailed as a monumental move, creating a powerhouse media entity.  Instead, it turned into a lengthy exercise in corporate bulimia.

Remember when the news first broke about the merger?  The two companies were already so big and unwieldy that at first nobody knew who was taking over whom.  And that’s when AOL was AOL and web service meant a free trial CD in People.

It’s striking how frequently statements gloss over failure and paint them as success.  AOL’s recently named chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong, formerly of Google’s ad unit, called the separation “a great opportunity for AOL.  Becoming a standalone public company positions AOL to strengthen its core business, deliver new and innovative products and services, and enhance our strategic options.”

Remember when AOL was a core business with its own publicly traded stock?  What would have been the shame in saying, “AOL Time Warner was a promising, tempting media experiment on a grand scale that gradually went sour.  As you’ve seen, it has had some problems and we’re hitting the ‘Undo’ button to get back to our roots.”  A) The press would have given him credit for treating them like they had gone through puberty and B) He is the umpteenth CEO that AOL has had in the last decade, so he could have said that credibly and without blame.

Read the rest of this entry »