Archive for the ‘Media Bashing’ Category

Un-Conventional Warfare

August 28, 2008

It’s getting ugly over at MSNBC. During last night’s coverage I tuned in and listened as Keith Olbermann asked the most convoluted questions imaginable of NBC anchor Brian Williams, while Chris Matthews mugged for the camera like an albino chimp. I kept waiting for him to fling a turd at the camera.

To be honest, I stopped watching MSNBC a while ago. Listening to NPR half the day gives me my daily recommended allowance thinly veiled propaganda, thank you very much. If I do watch cable news it is usually Headline News. No particular reason. I just like the presentation.

I would go back to MSNBC if they would feature more Joe Scarborough lashing out with petulant sarcasm at the guests on his show.

In Honor of Our New Asian Overlords

August 24, 2008

If the 2008 Summer Olympics have taught us anything, it is that China is ascendant.  Never mind that they are an oppressive and brutal totalitarian regime that keeps a giant boot on the collective necks of over a billion people. Forget Russia’s moribund attempt at relevance this month. China is The Emerging Super Power and is brought to you with limited commercial interruption by GE.  We bring good things to life!

With the spectacle of the Opening and Closing ceremonies still fresh in my mind and seeing the television specials on how the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube were built, all I can think about is a print I had hanging in my office back when I had an office.

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

July 30, 2008

Compare this inelegant and poorly written old chunk of coal from March of last year

Is Al Gore trying to sound like Jor-El? Look for him to start using his carbon offsets to build a rocket ship to escape our doomed world. In an ironic twist, the neighbor’s rocket will be far more energy efficient. With any luck, Al will wind up on the Planet of the ManBearPigs.

…with this shiny hand pressed diamond from The Onion dated today.

Al Gore Places Infant Son In Rocket To Escape Dying Planet.

Now I’m not saying that the fine folks over at The Onion are stealing material from my blog. That would be plain idiotic. After all, theirs is definitely a funnier and more fleshed out version of the idea. Almost like someone was paid to sit and come up with this stuff and had an editor to help with bringing the humorishness, instead of word vomiting a bunch of stuff into the home computer between Little League practice and getting the baby to go to sleep. It just makes me, after more than a year of using this “Jor-Al” bit, a little flummoxed about it being co-opted by one of the big boys. But, I’m not bitter. Oh, no sir. This isn’t the first time one of my ideas has mysteriously wound up finding life in more talented hands.

It clearly won’t be the last, YOU BASTARDS!

We All Scream for Better Journalism

July 13, 2008

Channel 5 got on a story that Channel 2 should have picked up on two years ago. It was about a placement firm whose only motive is to place your money in their account.The story sat in WKRN’s lap all wrapped up in a nicely wrapped package with a pretty pink bow. Instead, they send Turko-lite out to find out why it took longer than an hour for Mee-maw to get her glasses form Lenscrafters. Because, apparently, that’s messed up.

Two years ago, I was looking for a job and was contacted by a alleged placement firm. The zany details can be found here. Not learning from my little adventure, Mr. and Mrs. Coble dove in to that same shallow pool a few months later. My fault, apparently for not outright naming JL Kirk as the firm engaged in scammery. Kat Coble worked her internet sorcery and a whole shitstorm erupted from there. Threats of A Big Lawsuit were issued from Haldane/Kirk/Xenu et. al.

All of this information and the details were sitting in WKRN’s happy little Nashville is Talking aggregator/community site. Brittney Gilbert sat just a few feet from alleged journalists who were perfectly capable of chasing this story down. They didn’t. Which was supposedly the whole point of a news operation running an aggregator/community blog thingy. Or, so I have read.

Channel 5 gets high marks for picking up the story, albeit two years after it surfaced locally, and ran not just one story about what a ripoff Transforming America turns out to be, but two stories.

Not so fast Channel 5. We have to deduct points for your Ice Cream Trucks Gone Wild story. What a pile of unsubstantiated nonsense and innuendo.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates followed one man in Columbia. The state took Ronald Decker’s children away for neglect. He’s charged and awaiting trial for the rape of a 4-year-old girl. But he’s allowed to sell ice cream to children.

Ok, so he’s a shitty father. Clearly, he can’t provide for his children by driving an ice cream truck. But he’s charged, not convicted, of raping a 4 year old girl. Being accused isn’t the same thing as guilty. Unless you are OJ Simpson.

According to news reports, Frosty Treats hired Michael Dean in 2002. He is classified as a violent sex offender convicted of rape in 1986. Ivan Pryor is also a violent sex offender convicted of attempted aggravated sexual battery.

Here’s my question, did any of those involve children? Are children really the target for Dean and Pryor? How many rapes has Michael Dean committed since the Reagan Administration? Meanwhile, Channel 5’s video shows mug shot after mugshot of scary black men. Because you don’t want precious little Hunter, Dylan and Jaden to be anywhere near scary black men. Ice cream truck drivers or not. BECAUSE YOUR KIDS ARE AT RISK. Or at least that’s what our focus groups tell us get better ratings.

One more pot shot at News 2. If you are going to broadcast a story about what a hazard the interstate signs are to motorists, make sure the reporter isn’t driving and looking into the camera endangering those same motorists in order to appear dynamic. Lame-ass. Good thing you pulled the video. Wouldn’t want to look stupid.

Assignment for the Class

November 13, 2007

Here’s a story from News 2.  How many things can you journalism majors, disaffected media watchers and gimlet eyed observers find wrong with it?

“…hell yeah, I’d do it again.”

November 4, 2007

Is it too much to ask of our culture for us to pay attention to the passing of people who played a pivotal role in our history?

Instead of the  focusing on the death of Paul Tibbets, the fourth estate decided that the passing of Robert Goulet and Porter Wagoner were more worthy of the news hole.

For those of you who don’t live in Nashville, Wagoner’s funeral was carried LIVE on one of the local stations.  This is a man whose greatest contribution to posterity is the discovery of Dolly Parton.  Which is like saying you discovered, say, gravity or the Pacific Ocean.

Meanwhile, Paul Tibbets dropped the first atomic weapon on Hiroshima.  The case could suitably be made that it was the defining moment of the 20th Century.  That may not be important to some.  It’s not like he sang Jingle Bells (Batman Smells), or anything.

What I liked best about Tibbets was the utter lack of regret.  The man did his job and never lost any sleep over it.

That sort of clarity of purpose is worth remembering.

tibbets.jpg

Dead Air

September 11, 2007

Where were you when you saw the sixth rebroadcast of the Today Show from September 11, 2001?

You won’t be at my house. We aren’t going to be watching any national tragedy-porn today, thank you. It’s still pretty fresh. I’m in no hurry to relive the experience with Katie, Matt, Al and Carlos the Janitor.

If they really want to make a meaningful statement, how about going off the air from 8:46 am until 10:28 am? Too bad NBC can’t sell boner pills and sub-prime loans to mouth breathers without some vicarious pathos and suffering by proxy to reel them in.

Although, the moments of hi-larity that come from watching Katie argue with an eye-fucking-witness about what kind of plane hit Tower Two and accidentally refer to the World Trade Center as a “national landmine” might make it worth the pain.

Walk of Shame

August 7, 2007

In light of the most recent tempest in a teapot concerning bloggers vs. reporters, this relevant video demonstrates how a rapid succession of pictures are worth a shitload of words.

You get the sense that when the journalists come down from their Ivory Tower of Self-Righteousness and have to mingle with the unwashed masses, they don’t take it as well as they dish it out.  It also becomes clear that the term “journalism ethics and standards” is an oxymoron.

No matter what they severely instruct at Frau Garrigan’s House of Discipline and Secretarial School.

Now You Can Buy A Helicopter!

July 6, 2007

For those of you who thought that Brittney Gilbert was going to get a gold watch and a vegan cake in the WKRN breakroom sometime around March 2037, it is time to grow the fuck up.

For those of you who looked at Nashville is Talking as a major source of income, it is time to get a job.

For those of you who predicted the obvious a month or so ago, well done Nostradumbass. Your powers of clairvoyance are truly amazing. You should totally go find some more terminally ill or elderly people to put on the death watch. My advice is to add Tammy Faye Bakker, Roger Ebert, Beverly Sills and Billy Graham to your list ASAP.

As for WKRN, well, it’s not personal, it’s just business. If you are put in charge of a station that finishes consistently last in the ratings and the StormTracker 2000 forecast is predicting falling revenues, you better do something. When Brittney resigned, it gave WKRN’s new management the opportunity to stop the bleeding and reevaluate the economics of this New Media Experiment. That’s what I would have done.

Clearly, that is what they are doing. Whatever format NiT takes in the future, it will conform to a more traditional business model. One where either the expense will be minimal or the potential revenues will pay for itself.

That being said, there are some intangible gains that WKRN has made over the last couple of years by using the blogosphere. Foremost among them, is that the station raised its national profile by trying something different and going in another direction than the other local news lemmings. However, I would bet the farm that the majority of local news viewers could charitably be described as “ancient”. Like Methuselah. If he ever really existed. Which he didn’t.

An extension of the “MeeMaw and PawPaw” demo is the delivery of the content. Channels 4 and 5 do well because they talk to their audiences like they are retarded, or in this case, just really old. WKRN has done a good job in regard to not talking down to the viewer. The consequence of that is the people who watch the news don’t like new fangled things and need to be spoon-fed a daily digest of shootings (preferably involving minorities and convenience stores), fires, car wrecks (preferably involving rural teens) and missing persons (preferably involving hot young white girls).

When you adopt an anti-“If it Bleeds, it Leads” stance, you better be able to bring your A-game in this environment. You have to win with the personalities you have. WKRN hasn’t done that. Many of the current video journalists are, well, pathetic. Jennifer Moran’s stuff is barely news, but more info-mercial than anything else. As far as Andy Cordan is concerned, what is messed up is that anyone thought his shtick was a good idea. Jamey Tucker’s Judeo-Christianist (heavy on the Christ) contribution reminds me of the line from The Blues Brothers.

Oh, we got both kinds. We got country *and* western.

Fire all three and you might lose three viewers.

As for new morning anchor, Julie Kroenig, she is not liked. Mrs. Sarcastro loves Jesus, puppies, rainbows, children and doesn’t have a cross word about anyone.

She fucking hates Julie Kroenig.

Maybe the Mrs. feels her to be a usurper of the sainted Heather’s rightful place. I don’t know. But from the sound of her voice to the way she blinks her eyes, her every move she makes from 5 am til 6 am is critiqued and mocked in my house. This makes me want to flip it over to Channel 5 just so my wife will shut her yap about how much she hates Julie Kroenig.

Speaking of Channel 5, you should hire that Amy Watson as soon as you can. She may also be the mom of smoking hot Jolene from Nashville Dodge, but I’m not sure. You should also grab the underutilized Tom Randles from WSMV. He’s too good to be doing the weekend gig over there.

On the plus side, most of your on-air talent is loved by this city. The Ornes, Allison Hatcher, Joe Dubin, Jeff Ray, Bob Mueller, John Dwyer and the many others are embraced by the community. One of the reasons for that affection is the blogs that they have. It puts them a little closer into the lives of the audience. The blogs let them connect with the viewers in ways that aren’t possible with traditional media. It builds that viewer loyalty. The Orne’s daughter was born down the hall from my son this past March. Mrs. Dubin gave us a very nice baby shower gift. Needless to say, we are WKRN viewers because of those connections. We watched with much anticipation the arrival of the Carly Orne and were both happy and envious of Heather’s decision to stay at home. Kristin Priesol’s baby story, not so much.

Here’s the bottom line, the ultimate fate of Nashville is Talking isn’t the issue. The issue is how you view your audience. We can get the news from anywhere. You need us more than we need you. Your competitors have proven that.

Think about brand loyalty. What is that worth? What does alienating a vocal and somewhat influential segment of your viewership gain you?

There are no easy answers ahead. I would give you more advice, but I don’t Media Consult for free.

After all, it’s not personal, it’s just business.

It’s Not The Heat, It’s The Stupidity

April 20, 2007

To be fair, I’m not sure who is to blame here.

All I know is when John Dwyer read this story during the What I’m Forced To Watch in The Morning Now That Imus Has Been Shitcanned News Program, I wanted to shoot my television.  But this was, apparently, National Blogger’s Day of Not Shooting Up the Television Day.  Or something.

The story was about how a Rutherford County fifth grader took a toy gun to school.  A TOY GUN.  The authorities were able to interdict him before he entered the school with A TOY GUN.  He was, however, able to smuggle A TOY GUN on the school bus without setting off the high tech TOY GUN detector that every student must pass through before boarding the bus per TSA regulations.  The brave men and women of the TOY GUN SQUAD: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT disarmed the child who had A TOY GUN and suspended him for having A TOY GUN. 

The school officials then sent out a letter warning parents of the presence of A TOY GUN.  A letter.  From the school.  In my day, the only reason letters were sent home involved lice or scoliosis. 

The part of this dumbassery that made me want to unload my REAL GUN into the television, was when Dwyer, inadvertently channeling Ted Baxter intoned, "No one was hurt."

I’d hope not.  Because last time I checked, it was a MOTHERFUCKING TOY GUN.