Posts Tagged ‘Edward R. Murrow’

Bob’s new column

June 28, 2013

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court made a decision because, they asserted, prejudice in the voter rights case was an outmoded consideration from the past, then the next day they struck a blow to protect gays from marriage discrimination.  Due to the fact that irony does not work well on the Internets, the World’s Laziest Journalist was on the verge of pulling the old “best of” dodge and skipping the weekend roundup column for the last full week in June of 2013.  One day the SCOTUS five are saying that racial prejudice is extinct in the USA then the next day a reconfigured majority of five says that since the work of eliminating discrimination against gays is still far from the finish line, they had to lend a helping hand.  Which is it? Is bigotry dead or not?

 

Will the late night comedian/political commentators try to get laughs by saying that the Supreme Court missed an opportunity when they did not get involved this week with the furor over Paula Deen’s use of the N-word?

 

Paula Deen suggested that she needed to be executed by a crowd of stone throwers and that got us to thinking that perhaps President Obama could offer patriotic Americans from the Democratic and Republican parties a chance to buy a spot on the firing squad that might be needed some day to deliver a death sentence to Edward Snowdon. 

 

That, in turn, brings up this question:  If Snowden is stuck in an area that is not a part of Russia, why doesn’t the United States’ State Department send someone from the American Embassy in Moscow to meet with the suspect, shoot him, and then use diplomatic immunity to walk away from the event?  Would that be so very different (and less messy) than using a drone strike to “rub out” the fugitive from justice?

 

We had hoped to write a sensational column, for this week, about the decline of journalism in America and maybe link the work of real journalists from the past such as Ernie Pyle and Hunter S. Thompson to the comic book hero, Spider Jerusalem, who is a popular and highly paid columnist who exposes political corruption and scandal.

 

Has the story arc for Journalism in America gone from Edward R. Murrow’s “This is London calling” to a comic book hero with weird glasses in less that 75 years? 

 

The World’s Laziest Journalist had assumed that conservative animosity would trump the Fourteenth Amendment’s “equal protection” clause and deliver a ruling that rendered marriage rights for gays as being unconstitutional.  We were wrong.  It was just like the time we picked Native Dancer to win the Kentucky Derby.  We were wrong then, too.  Twice in one lifetime?  We won’t let it happen again!

 

A friend in the Eastern Time Zone called right after the decision was announced and said that the New York Time confirmed my erroneous prediction.  We were listening to Armstrong and Getty and challenged the accuracy of the headline on the Internets.  Our friend read more and amended her assessment because it seems that the great gray lady (as the famous newspaper is called in the gin mills that cater to journalists) had posted a bad (“Dewey wins!”) headline.

 

Randi Rhodes said that both landmark decisions, when considered together, indicated that the cause of States’ Rights had been bolstered by the week’s history and that continued political stalemate had been assured by the decisions.

 

Speaking of the status of Journalism in the USA, we had recently noted that some citizen journalists were advocating the use of a consortium approach to investigative journalism.  Since we have monitored the news media coverage of events in the Los Angeles area concerning the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors and their administration of the Marina del Rey area, we are aware that the concept of investigative journalism is a complex and time consuming way to fight for gaining access to information that is deliberately put out of reach.

 

A web site that is intended as a central clearing house for altruistic investigative journalism projects was announced recently.  There is a tendency among writers to want to jealously guard against the theft of intellectual property but there is also a human tendency to want to participate in a community project that is working towards a large goal that is unavailable to the lone wolf rogue journalist.  (Insert nostalgic reference to Sartre, Camus, and Combat newspaper in Occupied Paris here.  [Them again?])  We will expand this topic in a subsequent column.

 

Speaking of lone wolves, citizen journalists, and the Internets, we went to San Francisco on Sunday June 23 to cover the City Lights Bookstore’s birthday celebration.  We got some OK photos outside the store but our tendency of avoiding claustrophobic situations to work “on spec” caused us to miss the chance to get to the poetry room to get a photo of Lawrence Ferlinghetti signing books.  It was amazing to see how much drawing power a beatnik could still have.

 

Berkeley is looking to increase tourism and the fiftieth anniversary of Mario Savio’s speech from on top of a police car is rapidly approaching, perhaps the city fathers should consider holding an anniversary event.

 

The saga of Spider Jerusalem, which is the product of the creative team of writer Warren Ellis and artist Darick Robertson, was told in the Transmetropolitan comic book series.  It was published in the late nineties and the early Dubya era, and contained a good number of accurate predictions of technological advances and political malfeasance.  The comic book columnist hero fits in with our recurring leitmotif of famous journalist, so we made an effort recently to chat with Robertson and get some photos of him doing a drawing of “the helmet,” which can be seen as a prediction of Google glasses.

 

If citizen journalists hope for fun, fame, and fortune, but get aced out of the fame and fortune by the proprietary attitude of the high priced media talent (and their “owners”?), then the Leprechaun attitude will become more prevalent in journalism than Hunter S. Thompson ever imagined.

 

Would it be rational to expect the Huffington Post to hire an Internets loose cannon (let alone Fox) or would it be more realistic to expect that only those who subscribe fully to the “ya gottta go along to get along” style of expressing opinions are acceptable to management as members of the team?

 

We picked up a bargain copy of Joseph E. Persico’s biography of Edward R. Murrow recently and were reminded of just how much time devoted to dealing with office politics was necessary at the time that he was reporting live from London during the Battle of Britain.

 

When Ernie Pyle showed up in England in December of 1940 to cover the effect that the Battle of Britain was having on the ordinary citizens, he stayed in a posh hotel and was not bothered by the riggers of rationing.

 

Did anyone hire Woody Guthrie to go to London to report on the effect on workers that the Battle of Britain was causing?

 

The dog days of summer draw neigh and so the next few weeks may be a very opportune time for a columnist to begin a whimsical attempt to find amusing and amazing feature material while the Supreme Court Justices do some relaxing and start to select the next batch of cases needing their attention.

 

Horace wrote:  “The man who is tenacious of purpose in a rightful cause is not shaken from is firm resolve by the frenzy of his fellow citizens clamoring for what is wrong, or by the tyrant’s threatening countenance.” 

 

Now the disk jockey will play  “Here Come da Judge,” “Strange fruit,” and Waylon Jennings’ “WRONG!,”   We have to go look for a time travel machine.  Have a “Great Caesars’ Ghost!” type week.

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The case of the crying banker

December 31, 2012

After posting a column on Friday December 28, 2012, in which we criticized the CBS Evening News for relying heavily on videos of people crying, we tuned in that night to the broadcast and saw a crying man who went out and actually begged for a kidney for his wife, a crying woman who lost her house to the bankers (banks don’t foreclose homes people working for those banks do [?]), and a crying man who was part of a couple whose effort to adopt a Russian orphan had come to a halt because of a new Russian law.  On the NBC Nightly News broadcast for Saturday December 29th, we saw a feature story with a video of a fellow who plays soccer and might get an offer from an American Football team to come and work in the USA.  The video had gone viral on the Internets and we wondered if a video of a crying pundit would “go viral” if it was posted on Youtube.  Did we just sabotage all (and we do mean all) our chances for becoming a late addition to the list of famous journalists known as “Murrow’s Boys”?

Slightly after four p.m. on the day we published the column criticizing CBS for tarnishing their legacy that was established by Edward R. Murrow, we heard Norm Goldman criticize, on his radio broadcast, a brand of banks (think of a 1939 movie that was a career breakthrough for John Wayne) because a recent decision by the Ninth Superior Court seemed to legitimize some unscrupulous accounting practices that always favored the bank and screwed the public.

While preparing to write a new column, we suddenly remembered the old oriental parable that ends with the punch line:  “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet (those damn drones at it again?).”  Voila!  We had a Sutter’s Mill Moment.  An epiphany, as it were.

We didn’t need to envy CBS their ability to send a reporter and (union) camera crew out to video a person who was having tough times during post financial cliff period of uncertainty, if we wanted to get a video that would go viral on the Internets, we needed to get a video of a bank official who, wracked by guilt, was crying while contemplating the damage he had wrought.

Then what?

Everybody would see it.

Then what?

One thing seems certain.  If we get a video of a banker crying because of his complicity in a business practice that destroys hundreds of lives, CBS Evening News sure as hell ain’t gonna do a feature about how the World’s Laziest Journalist made a video that went viral on the Internets.  Dang!  It’s a tad late in the game to start searching for a new career . . . but . . . it will be a new year soon.  It will be a new year in some places when this column is posted.

Whatever happened to the guy who was America’s oldest porn actor?  Did he retire?  Could we do some Gonzo style reporting about walking a mile in his moccasins?

Speaking of the cinema, since we do love movies and since a goodly number of young folks like the movies made by Quentin Tarantino and since he has a new film just out, perhaps we could go see it and write a review as a way to rekindle our career as a film reviewer.  (Google Richard Ebert’s review of “Van Wilder” and read the last two paragraphs.)

Perhaps since we are not fully versed on the Facebook fad, we can just designate everything the World’s Laziest Journalist posts as “open to the public” and give George Takei (of Stark Trek fame) a run for the title of the most popular guy on that website.

We have heard of one woman in L. A. who went to a director to ask for a loan and was told:  “Write a sentence on this sheet of paper.”  She was totally perplexed but did as she was asked.  He threw the results in a drawer and jumped on the intercom and instructed his secretary to draw up a standard amount check for buying the film rights (to that sentence).  There are people in Hollywood who make a decent living just by selling ideas (known as “a pitch”) for films.

Didn’t one of those specialists become a director with offices on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica?  Hmmm.  If he is busy maybe we could track him down and start a new career in pitching and sell him an idea for a new film?

Hey, bro, do you want to buy the story (with a few more specific details supplied) of a nurse who successfully escaped from a POW camp?  Yeah, yeah, yeah we know about the guy who used a motorcycle to escape from a POW camp in WWII but this is another “based on a true story” adventure with a chick as the protagonist.  What actress could turn down a chance to walk a mile in Steve McQueen’s moccasins?

Our columns rarely get comments but isn’t the topic of which young actress could evoke favorable comparisons to Steve McQueen rich with the potential for astute suggestions?

On the same program that he castigated bankers, Norm Goldman proceeded to tackle the legalize pot issue.  Back in the Seventies there was a novel, titled “Acapulco Gold,” that hypothesized what American culture would be like when (not “if”) marijuana became legal.

Wouldn’t it be odd if Washington’s repressive attitude forced the NRA and the legalize pot advocates to agree to a mutual assistance/defense treaty and seek refuge as a coalition group in a third part such as the Pirate Party?

Maybe after the bankers repent and ask forgiveness and the gun control issue is settled once and for all, maybe then the lobbyists representing America’s pharmaceutical companies will permit the politicians to address the legalize pot issue but in Thirteen the chances for that happening fall below the “slim and none” level down to the Australian category labeled “not bloody well likely, mate!”

In our efforts to select a photo to accompany this column, we remembered an image we acquired while doing some fact checking for a possible trend spotting story about snapshot collecting.  It showed a woman on a ship and carried the cryptic caption “Spring 1942.”  In the Spring of that year, the world was in turmoil but someone was making an effort to improve their lot in life.  Aren’t all journeys manifestations of optimism?  Couldn’t that woman be a metaphor for the USA at the start of 2013?

Maybe in an effort to achieve “fair and balanced” news coverage, CBS will hire a pundit to criticize the efforts of mainstream media in the USA?  They could feature a televised version of the media criticism made popular by A. J. Liebling.  Maybe not.  Maybe we could get a job at the American Studies Center at the University of Sydney helping them understand contemporary culture in the USA?  Maybe not.  Maybe now that Wolfman Jack has gone to the great sound booth in the sky, XERF needs a replacement announcer on the night side?  Maybe not.

All three of our writing heroes, Hemingway, Kerouac, and Hunter S. Thompson, seemed to find the obligations accompanying fame very disagreeable so maybe we can reconfigure  the old F. Scott Fitzgerald wisdom to read “Living well (in obscurity) is the best revenge.”?  If you don’t believe us, then ask author William Kotzwinkle if there is any truth in that amended quote.

Isn’t it amazing that the political commentators are making the assertion that the congressional representatives and the Senators are feeling pressure for the members of the 112th  Congress to reach a fiscal cliff agreement now because of concerns about possible resentment for not getting a bipartisan plan to avoid the cliff, playing  a role in their reelection as members of the 113th Congress.  Isn’t there an old political adage that states that American voters have a short memory?
Winston Churchill may have predicted the fiscal cliff political stalemate when he said:  “We conferred endlessly and futilely and arrived at the place from whence we began. Then we did what we knew we had to do in the first place, and we failed as we knew we would.”

Now the disk jockey will play “As Time goes by,” “the Alabama song,” and the Eagles song about James Dean.  We have to go post a link to this column on Facebook.  Have a “good night and good luck” type of new year.

JEB, Karl Rove, and a brokered convention

February 17, 2012

IsAmericabeing set up for the return of the Bush Dynasty?  Has the legacy of Murrow’s Boys morphed into a shameless spectacle of his network’s modern on air talent kowtowing to the Republican Party in the form of stories about a political triumph that is being spun as a “compromise”?   

In the early morning hours on Thursday, KCBS news radio inSan Franciscoreported that the payroll tax cut had been extended because the Republicans folded on their insistence that it be balanced by corresponding budget cuts. 

Isn’t the “payroll tax cut” code talk for cutting back on workers’ contributions to the Social Security Trust fund?  Hasn’t destroying the Social Security program been the top Republican political goal since the day FDR signed it into law?

They get to take another major step towards dismantling the Social Security Program and make their dreams come true and a step to destroy (eliminate funding from) other social programs is postponed and that qualifies as a compromise?  GMAFB!

Hasn’t cutting social programs become the Sadistic highlight of the post St. Reagan era for the Republicans?  Wouldn’t gettingAmerica’s free press to applaud the trend just be icing on the cake?  Could the trend to cut social programs funding be compared to being the budgetary equivalent ofSherman’s march to the sea?

Isn’t portraying the lack of cuts as a humiliating compromise the final nail in the coffin forAmerica’s Freedom of the Press?

Do employees at Fox News really start the day by facing a photo of Murdoch, taking an loyalty oath, and then putting their hats over their hearts while singing along to “Memo from Turner”?  Or is that just an urban legend?

The World’s Laziest Journalist thinks that he remembers a posting on the Columbia Journalism Review’s website castigating American Journalists for using the dishonest “payroll tax cut” euphemism in place of the more politically charged term “raid on the Social Security Trust Fund.” 

In the conservative dominated realm of spin, ascertaining the truth in American Politics has come to resemble the classic chase scene in Orson Wells film “The Lady fromShanghai.”  Which image is political reality, which is diabolical spin?  Remember if you make a guess and it is incorrect, you will lose more of you rapidly diminishing supply of Constitutional rights.  (Good luck!) 

Hasn’t the pervasive Conservative noise machine pummeled Americans into surrendering their insistence that the function of the press is to provide citizens with accurate information that will permit them to make well informed decisions when they vote?  Isn’t amusing and entertaining what just what Edward R. Murrow and his posse, called Murrow’s Boys, really wanted?

Have you heard the radio ads that tout a method for getting a choice of approximately 500 American radio stations?  (Define “a hall of mirrors.”)  Should the ever narrowing window of opportunity for access to foreign news sources be compared to Hitler’s edict that proclaimed that listening to foreign radio stations had become a capital offense?

What would be so bad about listening to Sky Rock fromParis, Triple J fromAustralia, or (if it still exists) Radio Caroline?

Wasn’t there a book a while back in theUSA, with the cryptic title:  “Ladies and Gentlemen; this way to the showers!”?  What was that supposed to mean?

At the World’s Laziest Journalist’s Headquarters we thought we saw a mention on the Internets (and a story in last Sunday’s edition of the New York Times) about some newsmen getting arrested inGreat Britainbecause of a hacking scandal investigation.  Did we just imagine that?

Before Dubya sent American troops off toAfghanistanandIraq, the American Free Press ran “we don’t want anotherVietnam” essays on their Op Ed pages.  Now asAmericaprepares to use the principles established at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials outlining the necessary condition for permitting a preemptive strike, the lefties in the press realize that such divisive diversions are counter-productive and seem to have given up that lame attempt at circulation building stunt journalism. 

If Rupert Murdoch tells the journalists to jump, they must jump and ask “How high?” on the way up.

Americaestablished the principle of war for humanitarian reasons before authorizing drone attacks onLibya.  This week the need to send drones attacks againstSyriaas a means of protecting that country’s citizens from a bloodthirsty national leader is becoming abundantly clear thanks to the fair and balance new coverage being provided byAmerica’s Free Press.

Weren’t the trend spotting reporters in American Journalism right on top of the “Linsanity” phenomenon this week?  We may have to personally direct the Pulitzer Prize selection committee’s attention to some of the best of the lot.

Not all the work done at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is devoted to deep dark secret government plots against its own citizens.  One of the Factory’s midlevel management team, earlier this week, dug out an old item from long ago when he was only a summer intern there. 

According to his theory; if you take the segment of Madonna’s “Truth or Dare” documentary film where she ridiculed actor Kevin Costner and speculate that that incident must have occurred just about the time he (as Executive Producer for the film project called “The Bodyguard”) was making assessment about who should be given the role of the female singing sensation (what is type casting?); you just might come up with some speculation about how Whitney Houston’s big career boost was  directly attributable to some rudeness delivered by Madonna.  (Didn’t Madonna used to have some aspirations for an acting career to augment her musical achievements?)

This week Tony Bennett was given the key to the city in a ceremony atSan FranciscoCity Hall.  Some pre-event publicity indicated that part of the program would include the honoree singing “I Left My ♥ inSan Francisco.”  He didn’t.  (OMFG! Somebody has left the ♥ symbol loose on the Internets!  Now it will spread like the bubonic plague!)

The Occupy Cal rebel encampment on Sproul Plaza was moved to another area of the campus late this week.  (Note:  On Friday morning, it was being reported by an Occupy Potester that the encampment on the steps of Doe Library had been removed.  A Google News search was inconclusive.)

On Thursday, we saw news reports that stated that a brokered Republican Convention might be offered the choice of JEB Bush or Sarah Palin to function as a “tie-breaker.”

(How many Democrats will be dumb enough to believe that the Republican Party is ready to name a beauty contest winner as commander-in-chief of the American military?  {This is what mystery fans call “a red herring.”}) 

There is a bit of folk wisdom inHollywoodthat advises script writers to leave some “wiggle room” at the conclusion of a horror film, so that the monster can return in a sequel. 

Wasn’t there a bunch of news reports about the Bush Dynasty being as extinct as the dinosaurs when George W. Bush’s term in office was concluded?  Is Karl Rove going to pull an astonishing sequel scenario out of a hat this summer just as if American politics were as predictable as a Wes Craven movie sequel?

Are the liberal pundits inAmerica’s Free Press just going to sit there and not bring up the possibility of the political effort to reincarnate something that was deemed extinct? 

If this column isn’t reprinted on the Op Ed page of the New York Times next week, maybe the World’s Laziest Journalist should try to contact the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney (New South Wales) and see if there’s any possibility of being a guest lecturer there before the November election.  Don’t people into scholarship value alternative viewpoints . . . especially if in retrospect they were spot-on?

To be continued .  . .

FormerSan Franciscocolumnist Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary included this entry:  “<I>Cynic</I>, n. a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.”

Now, the disk jockey will play The Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” Janis Joplin’s “Down on me,” and Quicksilver Messenger Service’s “Holy Moly.”  We have to go to the poster shop and get the one of the flying Mustang from “Bullitt.”  Have a “Make Love, not war” type week.

Did the Invention of the Internet spell the death sentience for “short snappy headlines”?

July 21, 2011

The American economy is being assessed as “sluggish”’ by some partisan writers on the left but reports are reaching the national desk at the World’s Laziest Journalist’s headquarters that indicate that the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is operating this summer at full capacity with three shifts working seven days a week.  In the middle of the summer of 2011, here are some of the most preposterous examples of what is being peddled to the gullible.

In the era of pat-downs and scans at the airports, is it really that easy for a comedian with a plate of shaving cream to get onto the floor of Parliament?    

Was the pie incident planned in advance by Murdoch’s spin doctors to generate sympathy and divert attention away from the testimony?  Did his wife’s defense move come so fast because it had been rehearsed?  What previous body guard experience has she had?  Are we supposed to believe that it was a reflex reaction on the part of a <I>hausfrau</I>?

Have the Employees of Rupert Murdoch been exposed to some germs from the Bush Administration and will they soon be experiencing the manifestations of an epidemic of “witness amnesia?”  What?  You can’t recall what “witness amnesia” is?  Well, then, there’s no use elaborating on this new conspiracy theory.  We’ll let the matter drop.

Many of the new attempts at producing news worthy examples of conspiracy theories are a variation on the possibility that the nice kindly old gentleman (think of him as the Australian Geppetto?)  in charge would have instigated some instances of extortion and political blackmail.  (Didn’t Donald Rumsfeld often cite an old Al Capone quote:  “A kind word and a gun, will get you a lot further than the kind word alone.”?)

Various refurbished classic old theories are being souped up (a la the hot rodders and pre-war dry lake racing scene) and being offered as “new and improved.”  Conspiracy theorists contend that a second look is required now to explain some past sudden shifts in American politics.

Does the fact that a cousin of George W. Bush, who worked for Fox News in 2000 and  changed the election night projection, in the middle of the night, for a Florida win for Gore to a win for Bush and thus flipped the outcome, indicate that there is need for a closer look?

Does the fact that a fellow called “Knute” was having an extra marital affair at the same time he was condemning Bill Clinton saying that the President should be impeached because of some funny business with an intern mean that “Knute” could have been coerced into backing some rule-bending which granted crucial exemptions to Murdoch?

Was the sudden epidemic of news stories alleging a mental break down by Howard Dean during a victory speech an example of a journalistic example of morphic resonance or was it part of a concerted coordinated conspiracy to bestow the “frontrunner” mantle on a Democrat for whom an extensive and far reaching attack on his strong point had been painstakingly assembled?  Did the unexpected Dean surge catch the Murdoch smear machine off guard? 

Did some bit of clandestine extortion and/or political blackmail occur during the twelve hours between the time Sen. Kerry told a nation wide TV audience that he would contest the 2004 election results in Ohio and the next morning when he suddenly switched to the “no worries, mate” attitude?

We’ve heard that one of MSNBC’s talking heads has raised questions about some high profile unexplained political resignations and the possibility of some stealth extortion and political blackmail. 

One of the more interesting but almost completely ignored new conspiracy theories postulates a similarity between the crowded field of contenders for the Republican Party’s 2012 Presidential nomination and Agatha Christie’s classic mystery “Ten Little Indians.”  The premise is that when the only Republican candidate left un-sullied is JEB, he will win the coveted prize by default.  (Oh!  Don’t say that word this summer.)

Doesn’t Fox wash away all doubts about the reliability of the unverifiable voting results from the electronic voting machines by reciting the ancient sorcerer’s incantation:  “Conspiracy theory!”?

Some members of the conspiracy theory cult worshippers are asserting that the Wall Street Journal has done the Jekyll and Hide act with its (former) sterling reputation for untarnished quality news reporting.  (What do ya bet that conspiracy theory is being espoused by an insignificant blogger with the journalism equivalent of penis envy?)

Is “integrity” at the WSJ as dead as the old nine column three deck headline reserved by the New York Times for use on the days that meant that the course of history had changed overnight?

Once upon a time there was a blogger who noticed that when the Bush Administration suggested that folks inAmericashould construct an airtight panic room as a precaution to protect them from chemical or biological terrorisms attacks, it ignored the very strong potential for death from asphyxiation.  He wrote a letter to the New York Times pointing out the grievous window of opportunity for tragedy. 

The day his letter was published, the Secretary of Defense held a press conference to point out that the duct tape and plastic sheeting suggestion was only metaphorical and not to be taken literally.  The poor self-deluded fool was ready to proclaim that he had made the blogging equivalent of “the Willie Mays catch.”

At that time, were high paid media grunts really that stupid that they couldn’t see the absurdity of the suggestion or did they see it and face a management embargo on stories that ridiculed any of the hysterical nonsense that was leading to war?  (When the “Fuhrer” says jump:  you peons jump and ask “how far” on the way up.  Is that understood?)

President Obama’s track record seems to be falling short of the expectations of extreme lefties.  Will they use the Murdoch hacking angle to concoct some speculation about some possible extortion and imaginary political blackmail which might have been applied to gain some concessions about Medicare and Social Security?  (What could possibly be that effective as a game changer?  Here is a possibility:  Just picture the image of Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday” to JFK.)

How do you explain his betrayal of Medicare and Social Security?  How much more harm will he do with “Four more years!”?

One obscure blogger in Berkeley is anxiously awaiting the announcement of this years nominees for the “Conspiracy Theory of the Year” award to see if his column asking if Obama is a secret Republican mole sent into the Democratic Party to dismantle the last vestiges of “The New Deal.”  TheBerkeleyblogger is beginning to suspect that there is a secret plot to thwart his chance to win the coveted award.

Will the members of the American mainstream media offer some interline courtesy and help Murdoch deny and cover-up (as happened inGreat Britainfollowing the 2006 allegations) or will they conjure up images of Edward R. Murrow’s stand against Senator McCarthy and insist on exposing the details of the Murdoch Scandal?  Would it be ironic if the Murdoch summer followed the Arab Spring?

TV critic Jack Gould said that Murrow’s McCarthy program displayed “crusading journalism of high responsibility and genuine courage.”  (A. M. Sperber “Murrow:  his life and times” Freundlich Books – New York, ©1986 hardback page 440) 

Americacould use some more of that now because freedom of the press and concomitantly its effect on the democratic process is what’s at stake.  Freedom of the press.  Use it or lose it.  The British Parliament didn’t believe Murdoch.  Why should you?

It’s time for the closing quote.  During the “See It Now Program” about McCarthy, Edward R. Murrow said “<I>The line must be drawn or McCarthy will become the Government . . . </I>”  Ibid. page 437  (Has Ibid. become extinct because of the “Dumbing down ofAmerica”?)

Now the disk jockey will play Buddy Holly’s “Think it over,” Patsy Cline’s “So Wrong,” and the Hank Williams (Sr.) song “Be careful of stones that you throw.”  Now we have to go toAmerica’s oldest newsstand (inOakland?) to see if we can get a copy of Confidential magazine.  Have an “Oh, boy!” type week.

“I’m as mad as hell . . . .”

July 14, 2011

Was the 1976 Oscar™ winning film “Network” an amazingly accurate <I>roman a clef</I> based on this summer’s trials and tribulations of poor, poor pitiful Rupert Murdock or was it just a good guess about what could happen in the future?

[<B>Spoiler warning:  this column will reveal surprise plot points.</B>  If you have not seen the 1976 film, Network, it would be better if you made the effort to watch it and then read this column.  If you have already seen the film, you might get more enjoyment from it and this column, if you re-view it and then read this assessment of that classic film and its chillingly accurate predictions.]

The World’s Laziest Journalist betook himself to San Francisco CA to attend the weekly front steps used book sale at the San Francisco Public Library’s main branch that is conducted (weather permitting) each Wednesday during the May to September months.

When we spotted Network amongst a trove of VHS tapes that appealed to our columnist instincts (“Notorious,” “King Kong,” “High Noon,” the original version of “the Manchurian Candidate” and “Twelve O’Clock High” [Expect more plugs for Donald L. Miller’s book “Masters of the Air” in future columns]), we glommed on to it with gun fighter reflexes speed.

In “Network,” legendary newsman Howard Beale (Peter Finch) – a fictional member of the “Murrow’s Boys” gang – uses his influential position as a journalist with a regular network TV show to do the bidding of a wealthy mogul who is a front man for the Arab royal family.  Beale is assigned to convince Americans that they are insignificant cogs in a new and improved world where democracy has become obsolete and business is the <I>raison d’être</I> for the existence of humanity.  How close to home does this classic film hit?

Some alarmists (conspiracy theory nuts?) are implying that if (subjunctive mood) Rupert Murdoch meddled with politics in both Great Britain and Australia, he may have, could have, might possibly have also done so in the United States of America.  This irresponsible reckless speculation is based upon the assumption that many Americans aren’t fully informed on political issues.

[This just in:  C-SPAN is (allegedly) being eliminated from some cable pay packages in the Berkeley CA area.]

There was an item on the Internet, <a href =http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/julia-gillard-open-to-media-probe/story-e6frg996-1226094945168>on The Australian web site</a>, that asserted that an investigation into the (alleged) influence Rupert Murdoch may have had on the politics in the country where he was born.

As a hypothetical example of how Murdoch may have possibly meddled, the host of the progressive talk show (that airs on KKGN from 6 to 9 P. M. in the Pacific Time Zone, each weekday evening) postulated a hypothetical example of how such imaginary meddling might have worked, suppose (hypothetically) that Rupert Murdoch’s aggressive style of journalism fact finding divulged that a guy in America’s legislature (we’ll call him “Knute”) was simultaneously having an extra-marital affair while urging that a fellow southerner in the White House should be impeached for defending a woman’s honor by telling a fib under oath.  (The WLJ legal advisors insist on such convoluted cautionary wording and we trust their judgment.)   

Additionally, the talk show host urged listeners to imagine what would happen if Rupert Murdoch were to use that knowledge as a bargaining chip in discussion with “Knute” about granting some legal dispensations to the Murdock empire so that they could establish a new beachhead in America for Murdoch’s brand of aggressively and selectively dishing the dirt out on politicians who opposed his efforts?

[Wouldn’t all this sound so much more palatable if the voice of Rod Serling could be used to supply the vocal track?]

If Rupert Murdoch were to use political blackmail to achieve his goals, wouldn’t some Paul Wellstoneish fellow do the “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” routine in opposition?  What ever happened to Senator Wellstone?

Does that radio guy think that decency and honesty in politics and fair and balanced journalism have done a variation of the “no survivors” results at the Battle of the Little Big Horn?  He might be right, eh?

Murdoch came to America, got some legislative breaks, and started Fox News.  Does that mean that Paddy Chayefsky was spot-on with a prescient script all that long ago or are there merely some superfluous basic plot similarities?

Would Vincent Canby call the summer of 2011 “brilliantly, surprisingly funny,” as he did “Network”?

BTW if Fox News blatantly ignores the various stories involving Rupert Murdoch, does that mean that they should change their motto to:  “the best Biased and Slanted opinions that Rupert’s money can buy”?

The shopping expedition to fog city has had a noticeable detrimental effect on this columnist’s reserve energy level and so we will eliminate any attempts to draw some conclusions for our readers and merely strongly urge them to make a concerted effort to get a chance to see “Network” either again or for the first time, this weekend, and then decide if it was time well spent or if it was a wild goose chase.

Almost thirty five years ago Howard Beale summed it up thusly: “I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’ I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”

Now, the disk jockey will play “Happy Days Are Here Again,” “Dancing in the Dark,” and Fred Waring’s “Little White Lies.”  We have to go find a the specifics for next  year’s <a href =http://www.conspiracycon.com/>Conspiracy Theory Convention</a>.  Have a “good night and good luck” type week.

Is all news created equal?

February 27, 2011

(Venice CA) After traveling from Berkeley CA down to Los Angeles, this columnist sent an e-mail out to the posse to let them know that things went as planned.  We attempted to use humor to convey the message and wrote:  “L. A. is just like Berkeley only bigger with ocean beaches.” 

Cities in close proximity can have very different personalities.  Pasadena and Santa Monica are both in the same county.  They both have the same state level politicians.  They both are served by the same large members of the media.  The locals watch the same local TV channels.  The audiences for various radio shows in have fan/listeners in both cities.  The Los Angeles Times has a large number of subscribers in both cities.  It would be ludicrous to say that Pasadena and Santa Monica are twin cities. 

Although the two are only about thirty miles apart, on a sunny summer day there can be a noticeable difference in temperature and that can have a psychological impact.  It can be “June Gloom” cloudy along the beach in Santa Monica in early summer while Pasadena may concurrently be sweltering in a hot sunny cloudless day.

The smaller local papers cover different issues.

The two cities each have rival NPR outlets.

Santa Monica College and Pasadena City college are both highly regarded, but some Santa Monica citizens consider UCLA local while in Pasadena, that school is “out on the Westside.”

If these two relatively close cities in California can be distinctly different, it doesn’t take a sociologist to figure out that Kalgoorlie in Western Australia is quite different from being in the Kings Cross Section of Sydney. 

It is extremely convenient for anyone who wishes to manipulate the citizens of a country to use the lowest common denominator factors to influence them. 

Hence if there was some hypothetical fiend (Auric Goldfinger?), who wanted to subtly manipulate voters, would find it efficient, economical, and effective to use a generic pundit who worked on listeners all over the country on a basic level such as inciting jealousy.  It would be easier to hire one guy to magically (like the miracle of the loaves and fishes) appear on a multitude of local radio stations around the country and tell all of his listeners that the unions were exploiting them as taxpayers.  If a gullible audience became convinced that something unfair was afoot, then it would be easy to push them further and put it in more graphic terms:  “The unions are stealing from your tax dollar.”  All people in the Congressional Districts across the three time zones could be urged to call their Congressional representative and urge them to put a “stop to this robbery.”

If the hypothetical bad guy, Goldfinger, with ulterior motives, and the imaginary ubiquitous voice from the radio were able to bust unions so that Goldfinger could more easily reduce the pay of his workers and bank more money . . . oh well, <I>caveat emptor</I> should explain that bit of diabolical manipulation.  Wouldn’t it be über-ironic if the voice was a union member decrying unions?  Didn’t your grandmother always say that “All’s fair in love, war, and politics”? 

Let’s imagine the USA as an old West Saloon.  (Skimpy’s Bar in Kalgoorlie had the old fashioned double swinging doors when we were there in 2008.  When was the last time you saw a tavern entrance like that in California?)  Suppose someone plays cards in the saloon and suspects there has been some cheating going on to fleece the victim of all his cash.  The sheriff asks you to tell him what happened and how it was done.  He can’t arrest a winner just because you lost.  You complain to the Preacher and he says you shouldn’t have been gambling in the first place.  You complain to the editor of the Tombstone Epitaph (or whatever the daily paper is named) and the editor says: “When you have a choice of printing the truth or the legend, always go with the legend.”  America, you’ve been had and the general opinion in the corporate owned media is that you should “suck it up” like a man.

You’ve been fleeced of your money.  No one wants to hear your sad lament.  You should have known better before you sat down at the poker table, eh?

The streets are filling up with homeless people asking for donations.  Jobs are getting very scarce.  Banks just make too much money from foreclosures so stopping them from doing more just doesn’t make sense to them.  Look into foreclosures more closely and you will see that they make excessive amounts of money by foreclosing and asking them to give up a big profit just isn’t logical.  If the home’s owner stops making payments how can they make money on that?  Did Houdini really make the elephant disappear?  Check it out, slick, just ‘cause you don’t know how to do it doesn’t mean the trick can’t be performed.

Why would conservative talk show hosts belong to a union and tell listeners that the political impasse in Wisconsin is the fault of unions?  Check it out, slick, just ‘cause you can’t explain it doesn’t mean it ain’t happening.

Folks in Los Angeles don’t like the joke about how they are like a bowl of granola (it’s full of nuts fruits and flakes).  Folks in New York City don’t like other people imitating a Brooklyn accent.  People in flyover country (everything “down there” for people who do business in both L. A. and New York City) don’t even like to hear their area referred to in that flip manner.

When a young man from Western Australia said he was from Perth, we asked if he ever went to hear rock music at Mojo’s in Fremantle.  When he realized that this columnist knows the subtle difference between those two cities (Fremantle is to Perth as the ‘bu (ie. Malibu) is to Los Angeles), he was happy to admit he was a Fremantle citizen. 

The same thing happened more recently when a young lady raising funds for Green Peace in Berkeley had to admit that Fremantle is separate and distinctly different from the bigger city farther up the Black Swan River.  Being a port city, Fremantle is to Perth as Long Beach is to Los Angeles. 

People who live New York City are more likely to enjoy Sydney more than Fremantle, but that doesn’t mean that New York City and Sydney are “twins separated at birth” similar.  Nor should Australia be considered “Canada without snow.” 

If you think different cities are alike and you think that standup comedians spouting Republican talking points are Edward R. Murrow clones, we double dog dare you to get some news from a foreign based member of the media.  <a href =http://www.spiegel.de/international/>Der Spiegel</a> and <a href =http://www.dw-world.de/>Deutsche Welle</a> both have English language web sites.  Do you really think that conservative talk show hosts (who reportedly are union members) want you to get your news and information from any other source?  If they don’t want you to do some “comparison shopping,” then you have to also recall that Germans during World War II were forbidden (under penalty of death) from listening to foreign radio stations.

If they don’t want “comparison shopping” for news, then you gotta ask yourself another question – No, not:  “Do I feel lucky?” – you should ask “Why would they do that?”  At this point in American history, you won’t risk death by dialing up some other point of view and to see what they have to say.  What have you got to lose by taking the dare?

Do you think that the German voters passed a ballot initiative to give up that freedom?

Adolph Hitler, in <I>Mein Kampf</I> wrote:  “ . . . never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”  Doesn’t Uncle Rushbo unfalteringly follow that advice?   

Now the disk jockey will play Sinatra’s version of “New York, New York,” and “Chicago,” and Randy Newman’s “I love L. A.”  We have to go for yet another walk on Ocean Front Walk on Venice Beach.  Have a “don’t do as I do; do as I say” type week.  This has been the World’s Laziest Journalist reporting live from Venice CA.

Deja vu in 2012?

July 16, 2010

[<B>Warning:  Liberals with heart conditions, this column may cause seizures</B>.]

While writing a rough draft for a mostly whimsical column that would assess the summer of 2010 from the hypothetical point of view of a future historian looking back at it, we came across a Huffingtonpost story <a href =

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/15/the-bush-revival-how-jeb_n_647403.html

about Jeb Bush</a>  and realized that the Huffington story augmented by a series of similar items might, in retrospect, be recognized as a very important harbinger of the United States’ political future.

To get Jeb Bush elected as the President of the United States (POTUS) in 2012, legitimately or not, one would have to prepare the country in advance for such a potentially (to some) distressing result.  If it is predestined to happen, it would be very prudent to plant a series of “news” stories assuming that such an election result were possible.  Otherwise if it just came to be that Jeb started winning primary contests in early 2012, some of America’s less gullible citizens might raise a hue and cry.  If, however, the free press would show their sportsmanship and help set the stage, it could go a long way towards sidestepping a rancorous national debate about the need for a continuation of the Bush Dynasty.

In the realm of deceptive activity designed to fleece an unsuspecting victim of his/her money a common factor is often an assistant who seemingly is a stranger to both parties and who provides a “count me in” factor to the proceedings that is designed to alleviate any of the victim’s points of objection.  People tend to be reluctant to be the first to make a move but they also tend to have a flock mentality when a trend gains traction. 

Thus, if some political strategist (with a tendency to play his role in a Svengali/Merlin manner) is calling the shots, the press can play the role of the “count me in” accomplice by rehabilitating the rather tarnished image of the Bush family.  A complicit press could help refurbish that image as one of an American tradition that has suffered a temporary setback rather than a total derailment via the low public opinion of the last President.  With the press’ reputation for truthfulness and integrity (imagine it in terms of Edward R. Murrow doing a “Person to Person” interview with Jeb in his home [or is it “one of his homes”?] with lotsa “softball questions.”), they could do a great deal to help restore the tarnished Bush brand name back to its former eminence. 

Obviously this sounds outlandishly implausible, but if someone told the reader back in the “Impeach Clinton now!” phase of the country’s history that the Republicans would win the next election in the conservative majority Supreme Court and then pull off an even more impossible upset in 2004, who would have believed it back then?

Quite often historians find the most fascinating items go mostly unnoticed while they are part of the contemporary news scene.  Hence, we strongly assert that folks, coping with foreclosure or not, pay more attention to the stories about Jeb and ask themselves if such items are a legitimate examples of a “nose for news” journalistic value judgment or if they are part of a concerted effort to set the USA up for yet another con job. 

It could be that the Summer of 2010 will, some day, be remembered in some obscure and esoteric example of historians scholarship as the time when the World’s Laziest Journalist posted the first claxon alarm about the next successful Republican presidential campaign.

For the time being, such a premise will, for the most part, be blithely dismissed as being inconsequential alarmism.  So noted.  We now return you to our regularly scheduled whimsical column about the Summer of 2010:

Mel Gibson made an audition tape for his efforts to be hired as Uncle Rushbo’s occasional fill-in replacement and when it fell into the wrong hands it got misrepresented in the media and that got him into an embarrassing position.  On the tape did he say anything that would cost him his job if he were saying it on the air from the Excellence In Broadcasting studios?

If Lenny Bruce were still alive would he be fostering a comedy genre called “slick” humor?

Being alive in the summer of BP love is providing curmudgeons with a smorgasbord of news stories just bound to please the “you kids stay off my lawn” style grouches while sending the far lefties into the throes of agony.

The Republicans are castigating (careful with that word) President Obama for fighting a war in Afghanistan that is unwinnable (Word spell-check, like many Republicans, refuses to accept the existence of that word).  Didn’t George W. Bush hand his war off to his successor and wasn’t that a bit like when that silly bird hands the coyote the lit stick of trinitrotoluene (AKA TNT)? 

What grump wouldn’t like the Eddie Haskell-ish trick of wrecking the economy and then ridiculing the folks collecting unemployment during the succeeding administration’s effort to restore prosperity?

Is there a misanthrope alive this summer that doesn’t see that the way to explain Alvin Greene’s meteoric rise to fame and political prominence can be explained by the old concept of “charisma”?  

Isn’t it a shame that cartoonist <a href = http://www.charlesaddams.com/>Charles Addams</a> didn’t live until “death panels” became one of Uncle Rushbo’s recurring leitmotifs?

Back in the Sixties, liberal writers in the mainstream media (MSM) who couldn’t write about very liberal programs and ideas learned they could pull an end-run on the conservative publishers by doing trend spotting stories about people with liberal points of view.  For instance the New York media heavy hitters who couldn’t be anti Vietnam War in their stories could write about folks who were such as Bob Dylan and Hunter S. Thompson and the Rolling Stone magazine.  That brought bigger audiences to those cultural phenomenons which, in turn, helped them get their message out to a bigger audience.  That way the frustrated writers on the nationally respected media plantations could claim that they had (indirectly) helped spread the liberal memes. 

Does Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly ever mention online sites that pointed out the shortcomings of the Bush Junta?  If there is a new online equivalent of the Berkeley Barb or the East Village Other will they ever become a cultural force thanks to trend spotting stories in the MSM?  Is helping to stifle voices of dissention a stealth way to help conservatives?

Does Murdock’s media ever criticize BP?  Was it a group of rogue miscreants who arranged for the Lockerby prisoner to go free in return for some off shore drilling rights from Libya?

Summer of 2010 was also when scientists made news by studying the DNA of Ozzy Osbourne.  It was when the “cheesy easy song of the day” on the True Oldies Channel was in its first year of existence.  It was also (personal note alert) when this columnist discovered Joe R. Lansdale, the man we proclaim to be the heir to wear the “best living” mantle at the next convention (known as <a href = http://www.bcon2010.com/&gt; Bouchercon</a>) of hard-boiled detective story writers.  BTW the convention will be held in San Francisco!

Will the summer of 2010 be referred to by techies as: “when Apple made their Edsel”?

In the summer of 2010, the conservatives are having a ball laughing at dumpster diving for kids and folks running out of their unemployment checks.  Those compassionate conservative Christians are such cut-ups, aren’t they?  The web site <a href = http://teapartyjesus.tumblr.com/ >Tea Party Jesus</a> puts conservative quotes in the mouth of Christ.  It’s meant as irony.

You can help the restoration of the Bush family dynasty by writing to the managing editors of all national mainstream media and demanding that they omit any mention of , <a href = http://www.campaignwatch.org/more1.htm >Broward Savings and Loan</a> from their suck-up “news” stories.

Senator Jim Bunning’s famous “Tough shit!” line may be a strong contender for the 2010 quote of the year.

Now the disk jockey will play “19th Nervous Breakdown,” the “Easy Rider” soundtrack album, and “Helter Skelter.”  We have to go check out the topic of how to get a bet, on Jeb in 2012, with long odds, down now in Vegas.  Have a “<a href =

http://greatbutforgotten.blogspot.com/>Great But Forgotten</a>” type week.

The free press as Cheshire Cat

June 24, 2010

The Quislings who tout America’s free press seem to have forgotten or are ignoring the dire predictions in the 1947 Hutchins Commission’s Report on the press which warned:  “As the importance of communication has increased, its control has come into fewer hands.”

In analyzing the Hutchins Report, Louis M. Lyons said:  “It is directly because newspaper publishers as a class are among the most conservative groups in America that newspaper performance is as uninspired, as unoriginal, and uninformed as it is.”

Zechariah Chaffee, Jr. agreed:  “The sovereign press for the most part acknowledge accountability to no one except its owners and publishers.”

In an effort to compile an accurate assessment of the quality of Rupert Murdock’s job performance as America’s Editor-in-chief, we picked up a copy of Carl Jensen’s book, “20 Years of Censored News” (copyrighted 1997), and started to see if the underreported stories from 1976 to 1995 indicate that the Hitchins Commission was a misguided example of ducky-lucky style overreaction or if it was a spot-on example of prescient concern.

Project Censored in those twenty years focused attention on stories that are still not going to get much time on Fox. 

In 1976 their number four story was “Why oil prices go up.”

The topic of Illegal aliens was their number ten story in 1977.  Since 1977 the USA has been under the control of Republican Presidents for ten of the ensuing 33 years.  Apparently the Republicans have gotten their act together now and will solve this problem if they can get their guy into the White House in 2012.

Project Censored’s number three story in 1978 was “The Government’s War on Scientist Who Know Too Much.”  Were they worried about the polar bears back then?  No.  They thought radiation in a workplace might cause cancer.

PBS as the “oil network” was the Project Censored number eight story for 1979.  The ads don’t have any effect on editorial content now do they?

In 1980 the number two stories was about NSA eavesdropping on Americans.  How else where they going to protect us from a potential 9-11?

1981 #3  The story asserted that Camp Libertad in Florida was training folks to become terrorists. 

1982 # 6  The story was Ronald Reagan as America’s Chief censor.  David Burnham, in the New York Times reported:  “In its first 21 months in office, the Reagan Administration has taken several actions that reduce the information available to the public about the operation of the government, the economy, the environment, and public health.”  Wasn’t he just trying to help Rupert protect you from news that would spoil your digestion? 

1983 #10  “The DOD’s Cost-plus Contracting System Taxpayer Swindle”  How ya gonna make a profit on World Peace?

1984 # CIA and the Death Squads – Immoral and Illegal

1985 #5  Media Merger Mania Threatens Free Flow of Information

1986 #2  Official U.S. Censorship:  Less Access to Less Information

1987 #1  The Information Monopoly  #4  Reagan’s Mania for Secrecy:  Decisions Without Democracy

1988 #1  George (H. W.) Bush’s Dirty Big Secrects  #2 How the EPA Pollutes the News and the Dioxin Cover-up  #6 America’s Secret Police Network – LEIU Part II (It was also their #6 story in 1978)  #9  U.S. Refuses to Abide by International Court of Justice (Whew!  Thank God for that.  Otherwise George W. Bush Jr. might be dragged off and be subjected to a War Crimes Trial conducted by foreigners!)

1989 #1 Global Media Lords Threaten Open Marketplace of Ideas  #8  Biased and Censored News at CBS and the Wall Street Journal 

1990 #1 The Gulf War: Truth was the First Casualty  #3 The CIA Role in the Savings and Loan Crisis  #5  Continued Media Blackout of Drug War Fraud  #9  Where Was George (H. W. Bush) During the Iran-contra Affair? 

1991 #1 CBS and NBC Spiked Footage of Iraq Bombing Carnage  #2  Operation Censored War  #6  No Evidence of Iraqi Threat to Saudi Arabia  #10  The Bush Family and Its Conflicts of Interest 

1992 #The Great Media Sell-Out to Reaganism  #3 Censored Election Year Issues  #7  Trashing Federal Regulations for Corporate Contributions  #8  Government secrecy Makes a Mockery of Democracy  #9  How Advertising Pressure Can Corrupt a Free Press 

1993 # The Real Welfare Cheats:  America’s Corporations 

1994 #9  The Pentagon’s Mysterious HAARP Project 

1995 #4  The Privatization of the Internet

This list was compiled in a capricious and arbitrary manner from the book which lists ten under reported stories for each of the twenty years covered in the book.  Add to that the fact that they have listed ten stories for each of the intervening fifteen years, and you would have a list of 350 topics, which is way to long to hold most readers’ interest; hence the abbreviated list.

Does it seem like this list is a quant exorcize in nostalgia or is it closer to an accurate forecast of what was to be expected during the George W. Bush era?

Ironically, Project Censored is currently (like many websites delivering progressive punditry) seeking contributions to continue their efforts to circumvent a complete bamboozlement of the public while conservative media seem immune to the harsh effects of Bush’s economic legacy.

Newspaper and TV station owners are strongly denying that the Supreme Court decision permitting corporations to pay for ads aimed at voters will be a windfall to them and their businesses.  Is it logical to think that running the ads will add to those media’s overhead costs and are not to be perceived as unexpected bonuses.  Extra ads won’t be a bonus?  If you believe that you’ll believe that George W. Bush was an F-102 pilot.

Where is America’s free press?

Edward R. Murrow, in a speech title “Why Should News Come in 5-Minute Packages?,” (efforts to find a transcript online were unsuccessful) said:  “For if the premise upon which our pluralistic society rests – which, as I understand it, is that if the people are given sufficient undiluted information, they will then somehow, even after long sober, second thoughts, reach the right decision – if that premise is wrong, then not only the corporate image but the corporations are done for.” 

Little did he realize that it was news delivered by a free press that was doomed. 

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (AKA Lewis Carroll), in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” wrote:  “‘All right,’ said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.”

Now the disk jockey will play the soundtrack album from “Newsies,” Roy Orbison’s “Paper Boy,” and the Beatles’ “A day in the life.”   We have to go search for a scoop.  Have a “stop the press!” type week.

Missing “The Big Story”

March 24, 2010

Once upon a time, boys and girls, crusading journalists were considered heroes and there was one TV series that presented the stories of those valiant American newspaper reporters who fought a never ending battle for truth, the American Way, and Justice.  The typical episode of NBC’s program Pall Mall’s “The Big Story” would tell about a reporter who would spend hours and hours digging into a jailbird’s plea asserting that he was innocence and that justice had gone haywire. 

The newsie might even work on his own time and spend some of his own funds in an attempt to clear a falsely accused prisoner. 

[Back then it sometimes happened that one particular company would sponsor a show and only that company would run ads during “their” program.  Firestone tires had a program that featured classical music.  It made celebrities out of people like Eugene Ormandy and Arturo Toscanini.  Now, of course, Fox has refined the public’s music taste via the critical comments of Simon Cowl and a symphony orchestra in prime time on one of the three main TV networks is a preposterous concept.]

Recently the use of DNA evidence (which couldn’t convict O. J. Simpson) has been used to clear so many falsely convicted people (mostly brothers?) that if “The Big Story” were to return it might have to be run on a daily basis and not be just a weekly program.

Reporters who hope to be featured on “The Big Story” are too late.  It’s gone.  They are SOL.  The best they can get is a Pulitzer Prize. 

If there are any empty handed reporters out there looking for a crusade to wage, they might want to do some Google searches about the imprisonment of Attorney Richard Fine in Los Angeles County Men’s Jail.  He hasn’t been charged with a crime, let alone convicted.  Could the Richard Fine story be an example of a Pulitzer Prize waiting to be won?  Blogs aren’t eligible for Pulitzers are they?  So, have at it guys.  This blogger is more interested in doing a Blimp vs. Zepplin grudge match type story just for the pure hell of it.

Republicans are trying to make a few legal maneuvers so that concerned citizens will never have to be puzzled about if, how, or why an American can be in jail without a pending trial or sentence to serve.  Yep!  If the John McCain (and others) sponsored measure (S3081) is passed, Americans can rest assured that, in the future, any American who is thrown in jail with a right of <em>haebius corpus</em> will have no right to bitch about being deprived of an inalienable right because it will be all legal and proper to toss some dissenters in the can and let cobwebs grow on the lock.  Hah!  Hunter Thompson, you died too soon. 

Buy War Bonds today!

Edward R. Murrow has said:  “I am persuaded that the American public is more reasonable, restrained and mature that most of the broadcast industry’s planners believe.”  Boy, would Glenn Beck have made mincemeat of that cigarette smoking guy or what?

Now, the disk jockey will play for all the future victims of S3081:  “The Long Black Veil,” “Tom Dooley,” and “In the Tijuana Jail.”  We gotta go post bail for a pal.  Have “Thank God Almighty Free at last!” type week.