Category Archives: National Media

Exploitation of Georgia’s Children In Reality TV Programming

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After telling the officers in Douglas County, GA that she's a gangbanger, Deja'neke continues the jail tour in shackles. Photo courtesy of AETV.

After telling the officers in Douglas County, GA that she’s a gangbanger, Deja’neke continues the jail tour in shackles. Photo courtesy of AETV.

Shame on Douglas County, Georgia. Shame on Disney (A&E’s parent company) for supporting and funding (but mostly exploiting Georgia’s children), for profit, the production and broadcasting of the reality show Beyond Scared Straight on A&E.

The episode airing tonight, Thursday July 25, 2013, on A&E’s Beyond Scared Straight at 9pm features a juvenile reform program in Douglas County, Georgia that was created and implemented using tactics and practices of fear, violence and intimidation.

Of such tactics, Leonard Witt of Kennesaw State University’s Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, has this to say in an editorial:

They (academics studying conflict management) can tell you a few things about how violence begets violence and why piling trauma on kids who have suffered trauma their whole lives is not such a smart approach. Ever hear of programs like restorative justice?

Governor Nathan Deal should weigh-in on this media matter, as he has spoken out recently on matters of criminal (and juvenile) justice reform in Georgia, and he, Deal, fully supports reforming Georgia’s juvenile justice system.

However, this exploitative show features a method of “reform” that is not only dangerous, cruel and unusual, but has been demonstrated to be grossly ineffective; thus significantly undermining the effort, and new legislative mandate too, to legitimately and wisely reform our system of juvenile justice here in Georgia.

Network News In Recovery?

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The recovery of Diane Sawyer? Could it be? Someone used the phrase *post-9-11 smarmy* on Twitter to describe network news. How true. And Diane Sawyer always seemed to me to be the worst offender of that cloying, enduring, post 9-11 smarmy.

Or *obsequious faux*, as I describe her drippy on-air persona. I mostly blame that morning show beat Sawyer ho’d on, if feeling generous. If Voldemort rises again, it will be on a morning *news* show, but I diverge…

But last night, during the interview with astronaut Mark Kelly, Sawyer barely made me hurl or even cringe just a little. Could network news be coming out of its dipshit coma? Too early to tell. Let’s all pray some more for a full post-9-11 recovery.

Drill Baby Drill! For A Stupid America!

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Thomas Friedman argued a very passionate case on Fresh Air yesterday about how our insane dependency on fossil fuels (“hell” energy vs. “heaven” energy sources such as wind & solar) is killing America while strengthening petro-strong terrorist bases and dubious nations such as Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

Friedman saved his strongest disgust for the “Drill Baby Drill” crowd at the Republican National Convention, just about calling them out for treason for perpetuating a “stupid America.” The best part was when he likened the RNC cheap-shotters’ chants of “Drill Baby Drill” to the industrial-social equivalent of yelling-out “IBM Selectrics Baby!” at the turn of the last century (as the world moved to digital tools of course).

Freidman said that what was needed was not so much us running about screwing in low-wattage bulbs and buying silly-looking Priuses and such, but a radical shift in (American) political leadership. He denounced McCain for his unwillingness (not voting on key bill for instance) to support extensions of tax exemptions for heaven-energy R&D co’s. And while he noted Obama’s support for such bills (which did not pass, FYI) he hardly praised his green leadership to the skies.

It was all quite brill and kept me riveted in the car, burning-up some more of those “hell” fuels I might add, to keep listening to the end. And yeah, he got me. I’ll go buy his new book now. Other than changing-out my own light bulbs and using only cold water in the washing machine and dishwasher, I consider hearing the passion of a green Thomas Friedman a personal green watershed moment for myself.

So watch out world. ‘Nuff said. Word.

Text Message Georgia Into The Blue?

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It could happen. Now that Obama and Biden have our cell phone numbers, and they know how best to use ‘em, could texting people into the voting booth come November be just the thing to turn states like Georgia from red to blue? Could be. Heck, texting could make a difference even in S.C. if you ask me, which of course no one did. From another Off The Bus driver, Sara Granger:

Assuming the goal of the (texting Obama’s VP choice) exercise was not just to inform supporters, but to mobilize them, the database of SMS contacts is the newest member of the Obama – no, excuse me – Obama/Biden arsenal. GOTV efforts begin in earnest after the convention and text messaging has been shown to be quite an effective tool for that purpose. In the 2002 South Korean presidential election, Lee Hoi Chan held the lead until Roh Moo Hyun supporters sent out text messages and email to 800,000 voters on election day, turning the tides and winning the election by a 2% margin. A survey based on the 2006 election found that voting reminders via SMS produced an increase turnout by 4%. Besides, it’s cheaper and people don’t mind that it’s automated.

Full story here. I’ll be curious to hear what Mr. T has to say about all this catching up with the Koreans stuff. We are slow down here, but come on folks, even 8-year olds have cell phones and text capability of their own now. Like I’d know anything about that trend…

Waking-Up To John McCain

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I gotta tell you, waking-up to John McCain (on Morning Edition of course) was not half bad. Not that some Cheshire cat grin spread across my face with morning, uh, recall of the night before. But hearing his voice on the Renee Montagne interview talking about the situation in Russia/Georgia was a decent reassurance that we have a Republican out there with a strong brain wave on foreign policy. (McCain said we might be needing to readjust our relationships with Putin. Ya think?)

In other words, I didn’t lunge for the OFF button as I inevitability have over the last eight years… given the unfortunate circumstance, always a possibility, of waking-up to the idiot babble of George W. Bush on a morning news program.

Once McCain started talking about non-foreign policy though, he started regressing into utter bullshit, saying, when pressed by Montagne, that his campaign was surely NOT going negative over Obama. That’s just total crap, and McCain knows it, and he’s the worst bullshitter on the planet.

That’s why pointy-head NPR listeners (and reporters too) such as moi have always LIKED McCain. Because he was such a great non-bs’er. A sharp, silver-tongued, intelligent and humorous voice of reason… with some excellent banter served-up on the side.

Such as when he told the audience this morning to turn-off their computers for a minute and go outside and get some fresh air. Now that’s the old McCain we’ve grown to know and like over his many years of service; not afraid to tell his audience to go to hell and back, if that’s indeed where he feels they need to be directed.

But this New McCain makeover the RNC has given him, the one that has him spouting utter bs we don’t believe, such as ludicrous statements about how his campaign isn’t going negative, is moreorless botched plastic surgery, making him sound the way Priscilla Presley currently looks. Like, uh, not so great, eh?

What’s so freakin’ hard about letting McCain just be McCain, Repugs? When you take a genuine straight talker and have him all tied-up in bullshit and spin, guess what? We notice! And we’re reminded, yet one more time, about how we really don’t want to be in the same bedroom, bar, ktichen, hallway, boardroom, classroom, freeway, highway, war room… ANYWHERE… listening to, let alone voting for, a lying, phony Republican ever again.

Nor do I care to wake-up to one either. At least not a phony one who feels he’s so powerful and on-message and omnipotent, and that we the public are such dupe-able clueless sheep, that we’ll believe any line he tries out on us.

Listen here to McCain on Morning Edition.

Jon Stewart Post-Morts The John Edwards Nightline Interview. Priceless.

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I can’t stop watching this. It’s just that good. And be sure to look for the money shot of W getting a little back touch action in on those beach volley ball gals while at the Games, shot of course by Twitter’s finest, that global phenom… NewMediaJim.

Anderson Cooper for VP!

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CNN posted some astonishing numbers on June 3rd. Almost as many people watched CNN Tuesday night as watched “The Mole,” a stat virtually unheard of for TV news viewership. And note the way CNN trounced Fox News in the most critical demo. From the Washington Post:

CNN clocked more than 3.5 million viewers in prime time. That’s a 34 percent lead over MSNBC‘s more than 2.5 million viewers. It’s also a 47 percent advantage over Fox News Channel‘s prime-time crowd of 2.4 million viewers.

Yes, it appears MSNBC edged out FNC in prime time Tuesday.

Among CNN’s prime-time audience, 1.4 million fell into the 25-to-54 age bracket that is the target audience of news operations. MSNBC’s prime-time crowd included just over 1 million 25-to-54-year-olds. CNN logged a whopping 91 percent lead over FNC among 25-to-54-year-olds; FNC’s prime-time audience included 739,000 in the age bracket.

CNN also wants you to know Anderson Cooper‘s 10 p.m. program snared more than 4.5 million viewers and was the only cable news program to top 4 mil for an hour Tuesday night.

Full story here.

YouTube: Now a Critical (Real or Fake) Broadcast News Component

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Yes, unless you’re working the YouTubes as a vital (critical even) component of a newsroom (real or fake kind) you’re going to lag a few weeks, days or, gasp, even hours behind… well, everything now. SNL’s head writer explains how his show is blending the old-school with new-school. And lovin’ every minute of it too. From MediaBistro today:

The Internet seems to have had an impact on SNL starting a couple years ago, with digital shorts added as a regular fixture. Then SNL moved out of YouTube and into embeddable clips this year, and last week it introduced the SNL Politics Web site. What do you think of SNL‘s involvement with the Internet?

Well in a lot of ways, some of it happened naturally. We hired three funny guys who made their hay making Internet videos, and that sort of happened for us, which is really nice. But also — as the Internet developed — I think SNL pieces are the perfect size for the Internet. So I think there’s a marriage that was meant to happen, and it was just a matter of having the technology kept up. I have to tip my cap to Hulu — I think it’s a great site. The nice thing about working for a place like NBC is that they put the effort behind us to make the show as well-set for the future as possible.

And where does any broadcaster get their “real” news from? Why NPR of course. Because, for the very reasons the SNL writer says here, it’s simply a CRITICAL component to any kind of multi-tasker as they go about their day:

I listen to NPR in the morning because it’s a news source you can listen to while you play video games. So I can merge two of my worlds in one awesome newsgathering and entertainment-playing moment.

Takeaway? Best mix it all up, because one thing that will inevitably fail you is some desperate need to cling to old ways – and old rules. Full interview with SNL writer is here.

Staging Crawford, TX

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Interesting live-streamed chat from NBC cameraman and some documentary producer on “political stagecraft” and how the media do a special kind of visual propaganda with “the ranch” in Crawford.

Yep, everyone’s in on this game. Big Media, The White House, the people of Crawford.

The documentary producer cameraman Jim Long interviews here lifts the lid on the whole “production.” So they didn’t really saw the lady in half, eh?

Honoring William F. Buckley

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Talk about your Stuff White People Like… the white folk LOVED William F. Buckley, who died yesterday. What better way to honor the memory of the founder of modern conservatism and conversational media  than by imitation! Appearing on a panel last night (with Daryn Kagan) about new global media methods, held at the Southern Center for International Studies, I’m either channeling Buckley, who’s TV personna of louche chair-slouching always fascinated me as a child when I’d glimpse him on other people’s TV sets, or I’m morphing into Tom Baxter.

photo courtesy of Luisa Cuellar-Calad

Karl Rove Does Multimedia His Way

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Apparently Republicans are so offensive even to each other that they’re now having to run whining to the enemy/dreaded liberal media with their sorry tales of woe about… how the White House made ‘em do it. Is anyone really all that surprised?

From CBS News, where the whole sorry story airs Sunday night February 24th  on 60 Minutes:

Rove’s attempt to smear Don Siegelman was part of a Republican campaign to ruin him that finally succeeded in imprisoning him, says the operative, Jill Simpson.

Simpson speaks to Scott Pelley in her first television interview, to be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Simpson spoke to Pelley because, she says, Siegelman’s seven-year sentence for bribery bothers her. She recalls what Rove, then President Bush’s senior political adviser, asked her to do at a 2001 meeting in this exchange from Sunday’s report.

“Karl Rove asked you to take pictures of Siegelman?” asks Pelley.

“Yes,” replies Simpson.

“In a compromising, sexual position with one of his aides,” clarifies Pelley.

“Yes, if I could,” says Simpson.

Simpson says she found no evidence of infidelity despite months of observation.

Who knew Rove had such an interest in hanky-panky multimedia? Maybe he should have tried YouTube first, if of course that medium had been available way back in the dark ages of 2001, when most of this “surveillance” stuff allegedly took place. But no matter now, as bribery charges seem to have done the trick.

And if you wonder sometimes… could your friends, colleagues and neighbors be watching you in hopes of catching you in something compromising? Well, given this sordid tale, they sure are!

Ladies Feeding The Internet Beast

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Arianna heads into Drudge territory. From the NYObserver:

It took a while, and surely the brighter prospects on the left side of the aisle have changed things since Mr. Drudge was acting as the steam vent for a country fed up with the Clinton White House. But, nearly three years into its existence, Huffingtonpost.com is getting there, with unique visitors logging on at three times the rate they did just six months ago.

In the 30-day period ending Feb. 18, the Huffington Post has had roughly eight million unique visitors, up from the 2.7 million that were visiting the site as late as May 2007, and up from the 1.5 million that visited the site when it launched in January 2006, according to stats provided by its chairman, Ken Lerer.

This is like Mostly Media overtaking Peach Pundit! (Maybe next year kiddies.) As I always say about Internets stats, the only place they have to go is up. And at one point, Arianna too had just 100 uniques a day. Way back in 2005.

Overworked and Underpaid

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Dick Williams of Georgia Gang isn’t the only TV-type guided by subconscious voices and inclined to gaffes when using the word “Obama.” (Romney made the same mistake some too.)

MSNBC is busy lately making all kinds of glorious boo-boos. But I blame sleep-deprivation or a nasty hangover for this one:

It happened during the opening of “Hardball” Monday evening. Matthews was previewing a story on the controversy over Obama’s use of another politician’s words, and a picture of bin Laden briefly flashed on the screen beside him with the headline “Words About Words.”

The Obama campaign immediately called NBC to complain, and Matthews apologized on the air a few minutes later. When “Hardball” was rerun later that night, a picture of Obama replaced the picture of the terrorist leader.

The mistake was made by someone in the network’s graphics department whom MSNBC would not identify. The network did not explain exactly how the mistake was made nor detail the punishment for the employee.

Full story here. I once had to work an overnight shift at the ‘nets in NYC, whereby I was required to edit down ancient political talk shows from the 50′s to small, 90′s kinda chunks, going chronologically year-by-year. I was so sleep-depped working overnights for days on end that I edited down a whole year that went right to air. However it was the wrong year… and out of order from what the network had been promoting for the show. Needless to say, I was never asked back to headquarters to repeat any more gaffes of that glaring a nature.

Rove Not Eating Enough Babies On-Air

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From Slate Magazine today:

Since materializing on-air on Super Tuesday, (Karl) Rove has merely offered clarity, concision, humility, good humor, good posture, and dispassionate analysis. To be sure, there are lefties distraught that he does not eat babies on-air. Maybe some conservatives, too. But the only thing more impressive than hearing the man drop political science—what other cable-news analyst has lately name-checked Henry Cabot Lodge?—is seeing that one of our culture’s most controversial figures is one of its most mild-mannered.

Smoke on that one for the morning! Full story here.

Chasing Obama

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When we hear those cries of “liberal media bias” it makes me wanna holler-laugh. Mostly such attacks are coming from clueless rubes who have absolutely no idea how hard travel journalists work their buns off, especially on a Presidential campaign. As if they have a moment’s time for a luxury like bias. It’s moreorless… shovel the product out as fast as you can. Raw and rough.

Most bloggers, scrappy as they are, could hardly stand the pace, especially when you add shooting, producing, editing and uploading video to the mix. Trust me, I go out on any kinda trail for longer than a day and I need a week to recover! (Local v-logger, Shelby Highsmith, being young and quite talented at what he does, has what it takes to keep going though. Amani too.)  

Some younger guns are out there now on the campaign trail, having the exhaustive time of their lives. Here’s an interview from the CJR with a young woman “embed” from NBC News that gives you something of half-a-clue as to the pace and stamina required to keep-up with it all:

Once upon a time, we were out there by ourselves. It was only the embeds who were covering these events. Sometimes there was even very little local press. And we’d be the only ones there with video, with our cameras and tripods taping them. This was pretty consistent through Thanksgiving. And this was in Iowa and in New Hampshire. And we would drive ourselves from event to event. We got smart and finally decided to carpool. So you get to the event, film it, shoot it, something interesting happens, something compelling happens. You call your desk, upload it. The most you could ever send is about four minutes of at a time. You just did it on the road. You’re talking with your phone scrunched up against your shoulder so you can talk while you upload video. I’ve gotten a lot of speeding tickets.

Full story here.

Media Wrestling With John Lewis’ Confusion

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Reports of District 5 Rep. John Lewis’ defection to the Obama camp are premature, or “inaccurate,” or just plain darn being “wrestled with.” But the NYT says it reported only what Lewis told one of them… that Lewis was itching to catch some of that red-hot Obama Fever; thus he was taking his superdelegate action figure with him to the convention, and throwing it like it was a pair of panties at a Tom Jones concert to Obama. Talking to a reporter is one thing though, and we all know how ridiculous that whole game can get, so just keep in mind that as of yesterday, from the AJC:

“I have not spoken to Congressman Lewis,” Obama told reporters in Wisconsin on Friday, according to a transcript provided by the campaign. “I put in a call to him after the report to find out what he was thinking, but I have not received word from him yet.”

The Clinton campaign said she had not talked to Lewis, either.

So there. Take your Super Delegate Hero and let it twist around in the wind over the weekend. Southern Political Report lays all the confusion-blame on internal maneuverings of a few meddlesome, unnamed, Georgia Dems. That story here.

UPDATE: After speaking Saturday the 16th to one of those “in-the-knows,” in-the-know dude says Lewis isn’t necessarily shifting support to Obama; rather, since Lewis’ constituency overwhelmingly voted for and obviously adores Obama, then he, Lewis, feels he should give his Super Delegate vote/action figure/panty-toss to Obama, not Clinton now.