President Bush Enlightens the RTNDA

In a speech before the Radio-Television News Directors Association, the President displayed more of the insightful wisdom that has become a hallmark of his administration. The media professionals that comprised the audience held the President to the same standards they employ when shilling for him at their day jobs. So sit back, put on your thinking caps, and get ready to absorb some topical ruminations of wondorous depth.

On Deep Throat
I really haven’t digested it. I frankly was taken aback…I frankly haven’t that much time to reflect on it. I don’t know enough about the FBI guy. I don’t know what he’s done, and what he didn’t do.

On Federal Shield Law for Reporters
Don’t know enough about the law… I don’t know what the right balance is. On the other hand, I don’t know what the law says, so I can’t tell you if I’m for it or against it.

On Press Relations
I have done enough East Room press conferences; I kind of write that off for people wanting to show off for folks at home. Want a little more exposure, with the right color tie when they get up there. I would characterize my relationship with the press as good. Not hostile in the least bit.

On Iraq War Troops
The hardest thing I have to do is sit down as the President with loved ones who’ve either lost a soul or have a wounded person, severely wounded. I try to do a lot of it. It’s my obligation as the President. It’s an amazing experience. First of all, I’m a crier, and I weep a lot. On the other hand, when it’s all over, I feel incredibly strengthened by the strength of the parents or the wife or the kids.

On Social Security
This is such an important issue we get right. And I will stay on it. And frankly, I’ve got enough of my mother in me to enjoy it. Enjoy the battle.

Personal Concerns
I’d say I’d spend most of my time worrying about right now people losing their life in Iraq. Both Americans and Iraqis. I worry about my girls. I used to worry about my wife, until she hit an 85% popularity figure. Now she’s worried about me….I’m sleeping pretty good. Seriously. I get asked that. There’s times when I hadn’t been. I’ve got peace of mind. Thanks.

On The First Amendment
I’m a First Amendment guy. Anyone running for President is a First Amendment person. You gotta honor that. How can you not be a First Amendment guy? I was out there raising heck as a challenger.

Inspiring, isn’t it?

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Radio Free Ohio: Clear Channel Attacks Themselves


As part of a promotion for a new progressive talk station in Akron, Ohio, Clear Channel has embarked on an unconventional advertising campaign to woo the wild liberals from their sanctuary.

At the Web site for Radio Free Ohio (since replaced by just a logo), they posted a manifesto that railed against corporate-controlled music playlists and merrily lambasted several other local Clear Channel stations. They failed, however to identify themselves as the folks behind Radio Free Ohio. Here’s a piece of their screed:

Radio in Ohio sucks. We know, we’ve listened….gone are the days of multiple viewpoints and opinions. Instead we get corporate mandated opinions from talking heads, corporate controlled music playlists, and so on.

A clear Channel VP shamelessly admits to this campaign of self-flagellation:

“Once we determined we were going to change the format, we tried to get into the mindset of people who would listen to this new station,” said Dan Lankford, vice president and market manager for Clear Channel in Akron. That mindset may involve a suspicion of Clear Channel itself, which has used loosened rules on media ownership to build a radio empire.

Clear Channel’s marketing geniouses are clearly channeling the firm’s well-deserved reputation as a megalithic corporate abuser of the public’s interest in an effort to expand its monopoly ever further. This is kind of like McDonalds opening up a health food restaurant and imploring people not to poison themselves on the crap at those golden-arched fast-food joints.

I suppose I can’t complain about Clear Channel broadening the ideological scope of its stations (actually, I can, but that’s for another rant), but the idea of them characterizing themselves as anti-corporate crusaders for free thought, media diversity and local access, is way beyond the pale. When they lobby to reverse the trends in consolidation, station ownership, vertical integration, and local origination, I’ll be happy to revisit their status as rebels. Until then, the sheep masks on those wolves aren’t fooling anyone.


Arnold, Inc

Leave it to Hollywood’s pre-eminent aging action hero to bring Madison Avenue to the statehouse in new and exciting ways.

After taking over $279,000.00 in campaign contributions from consumer grocery giants Pepsi and Nestle, their products have started to pop up in his television advertising.

“The TV ad, released in May, features Schwarzenegger talking to people in a lunchroom, and places Pepsi and Arrowhead Water in prominent spots next to the governor for 1/3 of the ad…The practice, known as “product placement,” is unheard of in political advertising. In fact, political ads typically avoid using logos because companies may not want to be associated with a particular candidate or issue. However, studios receive significant payments for featuring a product in a film or television show.”

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) called on Schwarzenegger to return the quarter-million dollars he received from the companies, and for them to pay the market value of the advertising to the state because it is improper for the governor to use public office to sell corporate products. I’m holding my breath.

Ad agencies, however, must be hyperventilating at the thought of this new marketing opportunity. Campaign contributions used to to be considered just a way to buy favorable legislative and regulatory treatment. Now, it can actually promote their products, pay for their candidate’s media presence, and still retain all the benefits of a traditional bribe.


Deadline News

ABC plans new ‘Nightline’ tribute to U.S. war dead
As he did last year, “Nightline” host Ted Koppel will recite the names of more than 900 American servicemen and women killed in Iraq or Afghanistan during the past year as a photograph of each one is shown on the screen.

FCC Panelist Wants Probe Of Product ‘Payola’

A member of the Federal Communications Commission called yesterday for an investigation of experts who tout products on television without disclosing payments from the manufacturers.

Mad Ave.’s Rush to Podcasts
A new medium means only one thing to advertisers: A new opportunity to sell

Podcasts catch on at NBC, ABC news divisions
ABC News and NBC News announced plans Tuesday to offer podcasts, the rapidly growing mobile technology.

Rupert Murdoch First Inductee in The Big Media Hall Of Shame

A Charge of Media Bias, From the Left This Time
The American media has drifted toward tabloid journalism and has been cowtailed by the Bush administration over its coverage of events such as the war in Iraq

The Tillman Scandal: ‘Newsweek’ Error Bad, Pentagon Lying OK?

Where, in the week after the Great Newsweek Error, is the comparable outrage in the press, in the blogosphere, and at the White House over the military’s outright lying in the coverup of the death of former NFL star Pat Tillman?


The American Idolization of America

What is it about life in America today that makes it so easy to feel overwhelmed by societal events yet so securely oblivious to all but the most innocuous? It’s like we are protectively shrink-wrapped in a miracle fabric that lets light in, but keeps heat out. In searching for a parable to explain the current American zeitgeist, there is one story whose web of plots and sub-plots lends itself almost too perfectly.

American IdleAs reported with the customary lascivious glee of the Corporate Media, American Idol judge, Paula Abdul, has been engulfed in a scandal that mirrors the scandalous state of our nation. By engaging in a sexual affair with a contestant whose fate her vote would influence, Miss Abdul has given us the opportunity to understand ourselves more fully and satiate our hunger for controversy. What other recipe gives us all of these tasty ingredients?

• Activist judges
• Voting irregularities
• Partisan favoritism
• Clandestine operations
• And, of course, sex

Moreover, American Idol itself is an allegory for war. It pits opponents (contestants) and their allies (audience) against one another. And the principle over which this war is fought (talent) is as ethereal as that which inspires many actual wars (religion). As in all wars, the winners write the history, and we are expected to behave in accordance with the outcome. The winner of this televised karaoke is not just the prevailing contestant, but someone we are now required to Idolize. This is the same kind of jingoistic thought control that will get you thrown out of a taxpayer funded presidential forum for flashing a peace sign.

There is an intentional duality of meaning in the title of this article.

    • The American Idolization of America refers to America taking on the confrontational, black or white, right or wrong, characteristics of the television program.
    • The American Idolization of America refers to the blind loyalty that many Americans feel toward our government or leaders, even when it is contrary to our principles and laws.

Has American Idealism been supplanted by American Idolism? I think so. Contemporary culture in America has just found the perfect combination of nationalism and celebrity worship. Now you know why Fox News is the number one cable news network. Now you know why Ronald Reagan, Jesse Ventura, and Arnold Schwarzenegger were all elected to positions of power. Now you know why Clinton’s lies about sex got him impeached, while Bush’s lies about weapons of mass destruction got him reelected.

Now, don’t get me started on the Apprenticization of America.


Howard Kurtz Cites Me In The Washington Post

I’m officially a whore pundit.

In today’s Media Notes column by Howard Kurtz for the Washington Post, he tackled the now-notorius stand-up act by Laura Bush before the White House Correspondents Dinner. The column, titled Funny Girl made the quite sensible point that much of the Washington press corps are sluts (although he is less crass in his description).


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What I wasn’t prepared for was the explosion of coverage casting her as, if not the next Jon Stewart, at least the administration’s newest rock star.

Laura has long been more popular than her husband, which is why she spoke at the convention and played a key campaign role and sometimes shows up on Leno. And journalists, it turns out, are easy to seduce if you throw away the talking points and show you have a sense of humor.

More importantly, through some act of psychotic intervention, he cites ME to support his premise.

The colorfully named NewsCorpse says the media should take a deep breath:

“The humor-challenged media is tripping all over itself to to praise the First Lady’s appearance before the White House Correspondents’ Association. Apparently their funny bone twitches uncontrollably at the sight of Laura being able to read from a sheet of prepared jokes. The talk in the television press has ranged from, ‘ Get this woman her own show .’ to, ‘ Maybe she should run against Hillary .’. . . .

“I suppose it’s too much to ask that the people who brought us Monica Lewinsky, Chandra Levy, Michael Jackson, Terri Schiavo, the Old Pope, the New Pope, and Jennifer ‘Runaway Bride’ Wilbanks, would suddenly chose to avoid blowing things up beyond all sense of proportion.”

The colorfully named NewsCorpse also says that the media is dead. Howie didn’t challenge me on that, which must mean that either he’s intimidated by my intellectual prowess and afraid to take me on, or he’s a vampire. I’m just dying to know how he stumbled onto the side of the webtracks I live on.

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CNN’s Nancy Grace – Fast and Loose

CNN, in an attempt to win back the cable news crown from current leader Fox News, is continuing to lower its standards in order to be more competitive.

Nancy Grace, the host of a self-titled legal show on CNN Headline News, “played fast and loose” with her ethical duties as a Fulton County, Ga., prosecutor in 1990, a federal appeals panel has declared.

By employing anchors whose ethics are in question, CNN is attacking Fox at its strength. But few observers believe that CNN can mount a credible challenge to the moral bankruptcy of veteran slimeballs like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. Grace does deserve some credit for making a ballgame of it by having been admonished by the Appellate court for the third time with this latest episode. That makes three strikes.

Grace is the crusading news personality that was motivated to take up law after her fiance was murdered. She became a Fulton County, GA, prosecuter and is apparently still one as she pretty much convicted John Mason for the murder of his Runaway Bride. That is, until she showed up in Albuquerque. Unflustered, Grace soon took up the case of another woman who has been missing for two years. Far be it for her to go on the air without a sensationalistic story to exploit.

CNN, for its part exhibits an inspiring measure of shamelessness by touting their anchor on their website, saying:

Grace compiled a perfect record of nearly 100 felony convictions at trial and no losses.

It may be prudent to ask, at this time, what they mean by perfect. Perhaps they mean perfect irony as they also plug her new book – Objection! : How High-Priced Defense Attorneys, Celebrity Defendants, and a 24/7 Media Have Hijacked Our Criminal Justice System. Her bosses at the 24/7 Media network that pay her seem to have no Objection to her book’s allegation re: the hijacking of justice.


Desperate Whitehousewives Starring Laura “Leno” Bush

The humor-challenged media is tripping all over itself to to praise the First Lady’s appearance before the White House Correspondents’ Association. Apparently their funny bone twitches uncontrollably at the sight of Laura being able to read from a sheet of prepared jokes. The talk in the television press has ranged from, “Get this woman her own show.” to, “Maybe she should run against Hilary.”

Here’s some excerpts.

The impotent husband bit:
I am a desperate housewife. I mean, if those women on that show think they’re desperate, they oughta be with George.

The stupid husband bit:
I was the librarian who spent 12 hours a day in the library, yet somehow I met George.

The mother-in-law gangster bit:
People think she’s a sweet, grandmotherly, Aunt Bea type. She’s actually more like, mmm, Don Corleone.

And, of course, the old jerking off a horse bit:
I’m proud of George. He’s learned a lot about ranching since that first year when he tried to milk the horse. What’s worse, it was a male horse.

It seems that what is really making news here is that she can read while her husband cannot. I suppose it’s too much to ask that the people who brought us Monica Lewinsky, Chandra Levy, Michael Jackson, Terri Schiavo, the Old Pope, the New Pope, and Jennifer “Runaway Bride” Wilbanks, would suddenly chose to avoid blowing things up beyond all sense of proportion.


John Bolton’s United Nations

In 1994, John Bolton, nominee to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said the following about the institution he now seeks to join:

“The Secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If you lost 10 stories today it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”



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Deadline News

New Public Broadcasting Chief Wants Conservative Viewers
“Does public television belong to the Democrats?” he asks.

Sam Donaldson On Network News: “I think it’s dead.”
“…if someone shot the President, which network would you turn to? It will be cable, the Internet–something other than General Hospital being interrupted.”

Future of American Media Caucus
…six Members of the U.S. House of Representatives today announced the formation of the Future of American Media (FAM) Caucus.

GM Pulls Ads from Los Angeles Times Over Coverage
“We recognize and support the news media’s freedom to report and editorialize as they see fit,” [?]

Military Reporters Demand Rumsfeld Lifts Press Restrictions
“The danger of such restrictions should be obvious and must be fought…”

Fake Letters-to-the-Editor
After publishing hundreds of letters from a former Republican operative, California papers crackdown.