Pulling the Plug on Electronic and Print News
Having spent a few years on this planet (just enough, not too many), I had the joy of growing up as television evolved in the 1960’s. I had a chance to watch some of the gods of television news during my youth: Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Walter Cronkite and others. I don’t remember Edward R. Murrow, but I learned of him studying journalism in college.
Through the 1970’s and into the 1980’s, the forces that made television news reliable and balanced began to mutate. One memorable event was when Roone Arledge, the genius behind ABC’s Wide World of Sports, became the news guru for the network. This marked a progression from news as a public service to news as entertainment (and a profitable source for advertising revenues).
Another memorable moment (in the midst of tremendous sadness) was when the American Embassy in Tehran was stormed in 1979 and ABC began running an 11:30 PM review of the day’s events called America Held Hostage: Day xx with Ted Koppel. Although we were later spared the indignity of this ridiculous title when the program was renamed Nightline, we have since been subjected to a never-ending stream of ludicrous monikers for heart-breaking news events and boring news stories (doesn’t AMERICA DECIDES sound so wonderfully thrilling?).
The final event worth noting was the birth and expansion of cable/satellite TV and the swelling of available channels into the hundreds. As a kid growing up outside New York City, we were blessed with ABC, NBC and CBS along with three independents (WOR, WPIX, and WNEW) plus WNET, the PBS station. How the heck did we survive with so few choices?
Network news programs at 6:00 PM were soon preceded by local news. Local news programs expanded to an hour. Ted Turner launched CNN. Before we knew it, we had talking heads shouting news and fluff at us 24/7 on dozens of channels, each competing for advertising revenues and audience shares by shoving every conceivable story under our noses. Thus, the mutation of true news stories into “no-news” news, sound bytes, spin and every imaginable human interest story possible.
Shock Jocks, The Media, Rush Limbaugh and to HELL with NOW December 18, 2007
Pulling the Plug on Electronic and Print News
How One Officer Profiles Americans and Violates Their Rights
During the first week of August this past summer, I was sadly returning to New York from a wonderful vacation in Northern Ontario. I had become quite fond of the people in Northern Ontario because they were friendly, warm and caring.
After spending the summer traveling across the United States and Ontario, I came to the sad conclusion that New York State may well be the worst state in America. Forget the taxes, traffic, dirt, Hillary Clinton and the cost of living … New York simply leads the country in blatant stupidity and greed. My next article will explain that in more detail, so stayed tuned!
However, this article is all about a dumpy little town called Pembroke, Ontario, and its own version of Dudley Do-Right … well, actually, he was more of a combination of Inspector Clouseau and Sheriff Buford T. Justice.
It is highly suggested that all travelers, but especially Americans, should avoid the Trans-Canada Highway (17) between North Bay and Ottawa. If you must travel this horrid stretch of road, go BELOW the speed limit, block traffic and do not stop in any of the towns. You should not stop in Pembroke or spend a single cent within its town limits.
Here is the story of an early afternoon on the first Saturday in August. Some family, straight from The Grapes of Wrath, is driving a truck eastbound on Highway 17 approaching the stink-hole called Pembroke. The truck looks like something from The Little Rascals. Stuff is hanging off the sides and the back, the truck is bouncing up and down, and it is wobbling like it has different sizes of tires on each wheel. It is a menace to itself and other vehicles.
Michael Vick Sentenced to 23 Months December 11, 2007
The End of Insanity … Serenity Now!
Former NFL superstar Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison yesterday following his guilty plea last summer for his participation in a dog fighting operation that included gambling and killing pit bulls. Vick could possibly be out in 20 months for good behavior while in prison.
Vick apologized to his family and to the court. The judge said that he also owed an apology to the millions of fans who saw Vick as a role model.
Many reports have described the gruesome nature of the activities performed by Vick and his partners. The brutal torture and execution of any animal is absolutely unconscionable. The concept of dog fighting is too indicative of a hedonistic, self-indulgent philosophy that seemingly permeates many layers of modern ethics and morality.
I personally dislike dogs because I’m allergic to them. I do not dislike people who own dogs and I can appreciate their attachment to their pets. Although I will never live in a house where there is a dog, I don’t understand how somebody could torture an innocent animal.
The really disgusting part is that Vick’s actions give the morons at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) another pedestal from which they can espouse their one-sided fluff. The real issue here is that we have another high-profile legal case that demonstrates the incredible lack of balance in our attitudes and perspective as a society.
In Memorium: 9/11 September 10, 2007
Dear Osama: You Lose!
It is September 11, 2007. It has been six years. On this day in 2001, nineteen cowards hiding under the skirts one of history’s greatest mass murderers committed a despicable act that can only be considered satanic. At the same time, that man in the dress, Osama bin Laden, made a mistake beyond his narcissistic, imbecilic dreams.
Today, bin Laden lives in caves like a coward, running from a world who wants to end his miserable existence. He relies on videos to send a message that very few care to hear. He is a false prophet who may succeed in hiding in caves from his executioners and assassins, but he will one day face the true God who will judge him accordingly.
What bin Laden failed to understand is that he is just a coward who killed innocent people. We have suffered incredible grief and many (inkling myself) still shed tears for those who died on that tragic day. But Americans also found a new generation of heroes that fateful day. And we marvel at the heroes who refused to run in fear from a coward’s attack.
An Interesting 2008 Presidential “Blind” Poll August 14, 2007
Website Let’s You Vote Your Conscience on Issues, Not Political Hype
Americans seem to be caught up in a frenzy of media hype for the 2008 Presidential Election well in advance of the first primary voting. One has to marvel that candidates are doing the same thing to the presidential elections that the retail industry did to Christmas. Just like holiday sales advertising that starts in October, we have begun the commercialization of the electoral process way ahead of conventional schedules.
Some might find this to be a healthy situation, but its positive impacts are only superficial.. We’ve already had debates, serious fundraising, name calling, media spin, character assassinations and the endless polls. Some analysts have suggested that candidates who are unable to garner 3% audience recognition at this unusually early date should consider dropping out.
The good news is that an organization called 2decide.com has developed a web site that allows voters to see which candidate best represents the issues most important to them. By visiting http://www.dehp.net/candidate/, voters can program their answers to 25 campaign issues and then see how all the candidates, Democrats and Republicans, measure up on those issues. My favorite political pundit and long-time friend, Tim McHugh of Area 51 Special Effects, promised me that I would be surprised at who was the campaign leader BASED SOLELY on a blind poll about the issues important to Americans. And I honestly was surprised!