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Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Missing, Inaction.

In Media on August 6, 2013 at 4:24 pm
That headline pretty much describes these last months: Brief Wit was ill-tended to (mea culpa) as other things crept up. However, during my unannounced sabbatical, I’ve still been sopping up news. So, as we all settle in to our summer conclaves (Disclosure: mine is the same as my winter, spring, and fall strongholds), I thought a little review ‘n riff of some of the things I neglected might be a worthwhile exercise, if not for you, then maybe for me…


– Jesse Jackson, Jr. resigns from U.S. Congress due to health problems and federal criminal investigation of his activities: Aside from treason, those are the best two reasons I can think of offhand.


UP - Disney/Pixar


– World experiences worst Helium shortage in decades: Falsettos being preserved as a precaution.
– Hillary Clinton is hospitalized after doctors discover a blood clot related to the concussion she suffered: The only illogical explanation for this? Benghazi. Duh.
– Sandy Hook: Eight months later, it’s heartbreaking, as is the premium that certain politicians place on their job security compared to our children’s security.
– The United States records its hottest year on record in 2012: I’m sure it’s nothing.


Gérard Depardieu with his Russian Passport


– Fiscal Cliff avoided: The amount of time, jockeying, and coverage spent on a manmade calamity that ended as soon as it began could have been exerted on something a little more useful, no?
– Vladimir Putin grants Russian citizenship to Gérard Depardieu who has renounced his French citizenship due to high taxes: Will Gérard convince Donald Trump to follow suit (and join him and Edward Snowden for the next year)?
– Former CEO of AIG sues government over terms of bailout that saved his company: The balls on this guy! It’s almost as if he’s never heard the one about the scorpion and the frog. Read the rest of this entry »

The Other Debates.

In Media, Politics on October 24, 2012 at 9:45 am

The presidential campaign is firing on all cylinders. If it were a Chevy Volt, it might actually have to stop for gas. President Obama and Mitt Romney will hold events in battleground states for the next 13 days, now that that their final debate is complete. But Monday’s wasn’t the final debate of the 2012 campaign.

There was another debate Tuesday night. No Obama, no Romney. No Biden, no Ryan.

CBS didn’t preempt NCIS (way too big a ratings winner) to show it to you. MSNBC didn’t offer special coverage in lieu of The Ed Show (if only) to bring it to you. And Fox News didn’t give The O’Reilly Factor a night off (and not simply because we all know Bill likes to do it live).

Instead, third party candidates for the presidency held a debate in Chicago. The only way to see it was to stream it online at

Four candidates from outside of the two dominant outfits attended: Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, and Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson. The discussion was moderated by Larry King, who despite being irresistibly easy to make fun of, is credible.

King’s rationale for putting on his suspenders Tuesday was simple: “It’s a two-party system, but not a two-party system by law.”

While none of the candidates in Tuesday’s debate is a threat to win the election, that doesn’t mean they don’t pose a threat, per the AP: “Democrats and Republicans are keeping tabs on Johnson and Goode, two ex-Republicans who could be factors in key battleground states.” The New York Times also reported recently on how Johnson, who is on the ballot in 48 of 50 states, may affect the results in some of the battlegrounds. Read the rest of this entry »

OutFront, Top-Down.

In Media, Television on October 4, 2011 at 12:44 am

I watched Erin Burnett’s debut on CNN tonight, in her new program OutFront, and have some thoughts on the first broadcast.

Unlike the world of scripted TV dramas and sitcoms, first shows don’t portend success or failure in news, or variety programs, for that matter. I remember watching the first Colbert Report and thinking it was never going to last, for instance.

OutFront conveyed a seriousness about the news of the day coupled with conversational frankness, though it’s unclear whether it (or anything) can stand out in a cable news landscape where the graphics all look so similar that it’s hard to know when one show ends and another begins. After all, to the average channel clicker, isn’t Erin Burnett just (recent CNN anchor) Campbell Brown 10 years younger?

No disrespect to Ms. Brown, but I’d argue no. Burnett has proven she has chops in interviews with CEOs and guts in travels to hotspots around the globe, including Cairo’s Tahrir Square earlier this year.

I’m a longtime fan of Erin’s from her work at CNBC, chiefly on Squawk on the Street (where I know her former producer) and Street Signs. She could also hold her own on Meet the Press. Read the rest of this entry »

Been Laden, With Bullets.

In Global Politics, Media, War on May 3, 2011 at 5:03 am

Sunday night, when President Obama came to the podium, the world learned that America has killed Osama bin Laden. And Americans learned that their tax dollars really work, save the ones that go to aid for Pakistan.

I’ve been reading so much I can barely tell if I have anything original or nuanced to say on the matter, but I think in order to process it all, I have to put some of this down…

The Administration needs to release evidence of bin Laden’s death, and soon: I have zero doubt that Osama bin Laden is dead. However, I am not a conspiracy theorist, or a citizen of a Middle Eastern country with uneasy feelings towards the U.S. When Saddam Hussein’s sons were killed, graphic images of them were released within a few days to show the people of Iraq. Bin Laden is a bigger deal, an almost mythical figure, and if this story is to resonate accurately through the Arabic and Islamic worlds, we need to deliver the goods. This story could also take on even greater meaning when juxtaposed with the movement towards freedom and democracy that is percolating in the Arab world, but not if they perceive some sort of cover-up. So, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham and I agree on this one: we need pictures. You can’t expect everyone to take it on faith.

Read the rest of this entry »

Third And Wrong.

In Media, Sports on January 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I took a Daily Show-like end-of-year hiatus, but have returned to let you know what’s really grinding my gears with the new year afoot. It’s not the Republican House or the trash piling up on the streets. Instead, it’s the NFL.

If you recall, just before Thanksgiving, I engaged in a lengthy analysis of the harassment allegations against QB Brett Favre dating back to his season with the New York Jets in 2008. I favored Jenn Sterger, then in-house sideline reporter for the Jets, for a number of reasons, one of which was we happened to meet once, and I came away thinking she was “smart, kind, and principled.” No legal case was brought at the time. Rather, all parties relied on the NFL, which conducted its own investigation… and dragged its feet so hard they resembled a wide receiver trying to make sure both his were in-bounds for a touchdown.

Nearly three months passed since Deadspin broke the story using questionable practices. Favre’s seemingly-genuine retirement loomed. Injury caused his streak of consecutive starts to snap. His current team, the Minnesota Vikings, whimpered into a playoff-less postseason. The two-year statute of limitations in New Jersey to bring a workplace sexual harassment claim appeared to expire.

And then, buried just before New Year’s Eve, the NFL finally issued a decision: a supremely underwhelming and perplexing ruling. Read the rest of this entry »

That’s It?

In Media, Politics on December 2, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Today, the House of Representatives censured Charlie Rangel. Blink and you missed it.

After two years of investigation and conviction on 11 counts of Congressional ethics violations, the official “tsk-tsk” was read aloud by Nancy Pelosi to Rangel, made to stand in the well below her, as others watched on. I happened to catch it live on CNN and couldn’t believe it: that’s it?

It was not merely over as fast as a prick at the doctor’s office, it probably hurt less.

Is this supposed to be severe?  People who don’t pay their taxes don’t usually get off with a reluctant tongue-lashing.

It felt like as soon as Pelosi began introducing the statement, it was over. I was waiting for the real meat of the statement, after the statement, but it never came.

All told, it was less than 45 seconds. Watch for yourself:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Read the rest of this entry »

Not Favre From The Truth?

In Media, Sports on November 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm

It’s time for a break from politics to discuss the sports media entrée of the past month: that Brett Favre is a Dirty Old Grandfather.

Unless you’ve had your head under a misguided Rand Paul supporter’s foot for the last 40 days, you’ve likely heard the story that Deadspin broke about the NFL’s Brett Favre allegedly sending suggestive voicemails and cell phone pictures of his manparts to a girl named Jenn Sterger in 2008. At the time, Favre was quarterbacking for the New York Jets and Sterger was working for the team as a sort of in-house sideline reporter/hostess. Due to that, the accusations bring issues of workplace sexual harassment to the fore.

There’s been a lack of major public developments since this whole ugly business was exposed. Favre has been terse or evasive with the press, the NFL has conducted its own investigation, and Sterger, with her manager and lawyer, has considered her legal options.

Of course, that hasn’t prevented a media melee, where outlets sliced and diced each party to the scandal. First Favre was slammed, and Sterger was given the benefit of the doubt. Now some are even sympathizing with Favre, while others hurl accusations that Sterger is just another attention-grabbing opportunist.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Case Of Elephantiasis.

In Media, Politics on November 3, 2010 at 2:37 pm

The American people have spoken: They do not care to see former NBA player Rick Fox dance on television any longer. With a resounding voice and top ratings, they kicked him off Dancing with the Stars. Turns out they are also none too fond of Democrats.

Tango not being my forté, there are a string of observations to note from last night’s elections, wherein Democrats called in sick to the midterm with a case of Elephantiasis:

(Climate) change… or more of the same: The lede is of course that Republicans stormed back from two successive losing elections to take back the House with a formidable majority and make inroads in the Senate. Although he’s chastened and pensive, the president won’t be sticking around to sulk; he’s skedaddling to India (among other stops) for a twice-postponed trip on diplomacy and trade.

The impact that the sluggish recovery of the economy had on this outcome cannot be underestimated. Even with this result, we already heard that the Tea Party may have cost Republicans gains. Did it? I leave that to others to dig deep on, but the short answer is yes. Whatever you think of the Tea Party, its energized components did drive activity, fundraising, and turnout. Now we’ll see how easily Republicans are able to settle internal ideological problems with these new members. Will it be like liberal Democrats trying to win over Blue Dogs, but this time on the right? TBD. One thing is for sure: a father-son swearing-in mash-up is in order for Ron Paul and Rand Paul. Talk about a conference committee!

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Foregone Confusion.

In Media, Politics on October 28, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Did you know that the 2010 midterm elections have already been decided? Yup, it’s true. And I’m not talking about early voting. I’m not even talking about voting, actually. I’m talking about perception, which has a resilient habit of becoming reality.

We’re less than a week until the election, but as far as the media big dogs are concerned, it’s already over: “The Republicans won… just bear with us a few days, we’re still working on the final tally.”

This narrative can be tracked all the way back to the New Jersey and Virginia governors’ races going to the GOP a year ago. Ever since, it’s been a snowballing pile of tea bags careening toward the House floor.

Yes, the anticipation is that a Republican will pummel a Democrat with greater ease than the Giants taking down an opposing quarterback.

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Carolyn, No.

In Media, Politics on August 26, 2010 at 7:50 am

It’s taken some two months of bickering (and felt like six) but Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has finally agreed to debate challenger Reshma Saujani a week before the September 14th primary for New York’s 14th District. Thanks to Celeste Katz at the Daily News for being beyond patient in continuing to cover this topic. This is terrific news, the East Side of Manhattan and Queens will have its first debate in eons. File into the auditorium, dim the lights, dab on some makeup, and let the cameras roll. I hope Gabe Pressman comes out of the woodwork for this one!

Wait–what’s that you say? The debate’s not going to be on TV? Why not?

Can I even go see it in person, Lincoln/Douglas style? No!? Then, where is it? And how will we know who is wearing the infamous Kate Spade wedge?

It’s on the radio? What’s that, some doohickey that emits live podcasts? Sounds experimental.

Well, okay. I suppose I can just sit down and listen to it after I eat dinner, brandy snifter in hand in my favorite chair. Huh? It’s on in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday? But who can listen to it then? Read the rest of this entry »