Cable News

May6,2011

The Embarrassing Media Response to Rashard Mendenhall’s Tweets

Americans sure know how to get riled up. Every week we find some new, mundane thing to get upset about. This week it was Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back Rashard Mendenhall’s tweets about the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Mendenhall tweeted his concern about celebrating death and alluded to his disbelief that planes alone took down the World Trade Center on 9/11. He later clarified his tweets with this blog post. As a professional speechwriter and media coach, I wouldn’t have advised him to clarify in long form, in particular, after looking at his tweets which were pretty benign. However, his clarification was thoughtful and pretty touching even if you disagree.

Unfortunately, a very bored sports media got hold of the story and with the help of the mainstream media they proceeded to squeeze every drop of relevancy they could out of it—which is quite a feat since there wasn’t much to begin with. First of all, Mendenhall is not an elected official nor is he a pundit or other expert whose opinions influence domestic or international thought or policy. Secondly, in the scheme of “popular” National Football League players, Mendenhall is far from top tier.

The media’s, and subsequently the public’s, reaction to Mendenhall’s tweets is an embarrassing display of how “outrage-driven” today’s media is as well as how aggressively it seeks search engine optimization. Web content managers know that the NFL is in the midst of the a lockout, twitter is a popular social media network, and Osama Bin Laden was the most searched term of the week. NFL + Twitter + Osama Bin Laden = high search engine results for articles on Mendenhall’s tweets.

ESPN took things a step further and held a special “twitter edition” of “Outside the Lines” in which they discussed athletes on twitter. No surprise that there was nary a mention of the network’s incessant promotion of the story for the sake of clicks and ratings. The media sold this story under the umbrella of “yet another athlete says something really stupid.” But the reality is that Mendenhall’s tweets were not stupid, they simply reflected an unpopular opinion.

Actually, I’d correct that and say his opinion was unwanted more than it was unpopular. And reactions were based on the media’s narrative and not what Mendenhall actually tweeted. A perfect storm for a public full of lazy headline readers. The general consensus seemed to be “Why would he tweet his opinion when he knew the media would run with it and people would get upset?”  I always find positions like that to be odd, because it treats the media and the pubic (and the individual making the statement) as though they are not in control of their own emotions and reactions. It also lets the media off the hook for its blatant issue-baiting.

There was absolutely no reason for such a strong and negative reaction to one non-political man’s opinion. It’s almost as if people were outraged because they believed they were SUPPOSED to be. In searching most of the commentary on this—whether tweets or article comments, people mainly seemed to understand why “other” hypothetical people were upset but weren’t actually upset themselves.

Apparently, we’ve come to a point in the media cycle where we’re angry at people for the potential their comments have to offend rather than because their comments were actually offensive.  If that doesn’t tell you how far the media has fallen into the gutter, nothing will.

I have to point out that over the years many in the African American community have lamented the fact that black athletes aren’t politically active. The argument is that we need them to be given the fact that they hold such a large amount of the community’s wealth. The reaction to Mendenhall is a very good example of why many athletes choose to quietly support charities for children rather than taking a bigger risk and vocally attaching themselves to adult issues which tend to be more controversial.

Now that Mendenhall has been fired from his deal with Champion, which, in its statement made NO reference to what exactly Mendenhall said that prompted the firing, you can see that expressing any opinion can be detrimental to players’ livelihoods. And with football players having such short careers, they can’t risk that kind of financial harm just to exercise their first amendment right.

I believe that any one in the public eye should use care with their words; however, the fact is that in the current media environment it is very hard to tell what the media will take and turn into a story at any given time.  I keep hearing people say Mendenhall should have practiced better PR, but even public relations professionals are toughing out the new sillier media landscape when it comes to gauging the reaction of the media and public to any given item.

Plus a slow news day can produce any number of asinine stories that on a heavier day wouldn’t be a blip on the radar. And now that sports media has become just as 24/7 as the rest of the media, athletes are subject to much of the same “trolling” for comments by the journalists that other celebrities have long submitted to. Yes, sports reporters are TROLLS now, and although I’m sure some reporters love it, If sports journalism is reporting on Brett Favre’s penis and who tweeted what I’ll pass indefinitely.

Freedom of speech will always be accompanied by consequences, and Mendenhall must face that fact just like any other public figure.  However, we have to acknowledge that there is a concerted effort on the part of the media to create controversy where there is none. The only surefire way for public figures to avoid such a backlash at one point or another is to never become successful in the first place.

I’d like to believe that at some point the public will develop outrage fatigue and stop allowing the media to drum up faux controversy, but it doesn’t look like that will be happening any time soon.

 

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April11,2011

Why The President Will Never Listen To Progressives

The Democrats lost the budget fight last week. Actually, it was more like a knockout than a loss. The budget that will be passed and implemented in the coming weeks, promises to set back setback recent economic growth as well as long term social policies Democrats have fought for over the past 30 years. And now that the GOP is in a stronger position going into the next budget debate (which starts in a month or so), you can assume progressive policies will continue to take a backseat.

After the budget deal was reached, the President took credit for the aversion of a government shutdown and praised the agreement as the biggest one-time spending cut in America’s history. As more details about what is contained within the budget is revealed, liberals will see just how badly this all went for them. You’d assume this would spur liberals to mobilize and begin to push the President to stop regressive policies. But it won’t.

President Obama has been keenly successful at turning the progressive base into an extension of his campaign rather than giving them the influence they expected to gain when he was elected.  This is a major victory for the President and one that promises to keep progressives marginalized for the remainder of his Presidency. But how does a politician accomplish such a thing?

I think much of the blame points back to the proliferation of cable news. Cable news helped turn all kinds of political news coverage into a game of winners and losers focusing on political strategy rather than substantive discussions about benefits and consequences. Now, everyone from bus drivers to accountants are confident in their ability to provide strategic political guidance. Nowadays every-day conversations are doused with emphasis on what a politician or political party should do to position themselves to best an opponent. Those were the kinds of conversations you rarely heard outside of K Street or Capitol Hill in years past.

Democrats, in particular, habitually support positions that they don’t agree with because they’re convinced it will pay off in the near future when they gain a concession from the other party. But if you look at politics over the past 20 years, from a results standpoint, Democrats have lost a great many more policy fights than they’ve won on the national level.

This administration has been very direct about its intentions to ignore the will of its base. Last year, when former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs got fed up with what he perceived as liberal bashing of the President, he lashed out at what he called the “professional left” for whining. He even used the kind of inflammatory and exaggerated characterizations that are more appropriate for a Fox News host than someone responsible for maintaing a relationship with the media (which, by the way, includes lefties).

What Gibbs wanted from progressives was silence by way of faith.  The administration wanted liberals to trust that their best interests were being served from a strategic standpoint and avoid criticizing the President’s policies and decisions. Unfortunately, liberals bought into this drivel and have remained mostly defensive of the Obama as the administration becomes more influenced by corporate interests and less preoccupied about fixing the damage done to the working class by the previous Administration.

One thing that the public should remember is that there are people who are paid handsomely to strategize and influence the media and its publics. As a member of the American Association of Political Consultants I know this to be a fact.  Political consultants work on overall campaign strategy, radio and TV ads, read and conduct polls, and advise sitting politicians on what decisions strengthen their position in the short and long term. It is their job to c0njole and convince the American public to side with their clients.

But who needs strategic moves when the American public willingly plays along? What Gibbs referred to as “whining” I refer to as exercising the only power you have politically as an individual citizen of the United States. All you can do in a representative Democracy is complain about what you don’t like. Whether that means blogging, tweeting, writing members of Congress, commenting on message boards and publication sites, organizing protests, or joining interest groups, whining is all you have.

By asking liberals not to whine, the Administration essentially asks that a segment of the population give up their political power and become unofficial members of their team of political strategists in lieu of holding them accountable for their decisions. By agreeing to be silent in the interest of strategy, you not only give up basic American rights to freedom of speech and political participation, you also willfully participate in the political manipulation of yourself. And as is clear by the current budget fight, there is rarely any compensation for such willful acquiescence.

Rather than pursuing a role in the administration’s outreach plan, liberals should be demanding that the administration’s pursue a political strategy that appeals to them. Otherwise, the left’s relationship to the administration will continue to be akin to a business making consumers pay to view their advertisements.

I hear a lot of liberals argue that conservatives stick together and that’s the reason for their success. I agree. But members of the conservative base are also known to strongly believe in and support policies that have been proven to be detrimental for them time and time again. That’s not the kind of “victory” progressives should seek.

 

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January3,2011

Michael Vick, Melissa Harris Perry and Unnecessary Racialization

I’ve made a point of ignoring most articles that use  Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick to make a point; however, when I ran across Melissa Harris Perry’s on reactions to the Vick case I was struck by her attempt to make the reaction by SOME to Vick a predominately racial issue.

The latest Vick-news-cycle started when the President commended the Philadelphia Eagles for giving Vick a second chance. It set off yet another firestorm of Vick-as-metaphor. The Daily Caller‘s Tucker Carlson then made his now infamous idiotic comment that Vick should have been executed for his involvement in dogfighting.  After that, media outlets couldn’t wait to book people to provide a reaction to the President and Carlson. Perry was one of those people.

Perry bungled her point on “The Rachel Maddow Show” and got called out on it by snark blog Mediaite. After that, Maddow’s segment producer threw up a curious and supremely condescending blog post defending Perry who then used her twitter account to bemoan being robbed of three additional minutes she thought she’d get to complete her point. Mediaite has since responded AGAIN and Perry has now clarified her point in The  Nation.

Let’s look at why Perry’s Nation piece is so problematic.

Perry’s overall point appears to be that white people react differently to the Vick case than black people because blacks have historically been compared to animals and believe whites often value the lives of animals more than they value the lives of black people. Perry says:

I believe that to understand these different public responses we need to know how the Vick case evokes often unspoken, but nonetheless powerful, and deeply emotional interconnections between the rights of black Americans and of animals.

In the piece, Perry covers a lot. She talks about blacks being compared to animals by animal rights activists and also by business owners who put up signs that said “No negroes or apes” allowed. She also points out that dogs were used as weapons against black people during the civil rights movement and that calls for harsher punishments for Vick are painful for blacks given the lesser sentences afforded to people like the officer who shot Oscar Grant.  While Perry’s piece is a great statement on why blacks haven’t traditionally been heavily involved animal rights activism, it does not prove that or explain why blacks react differently to the Vick case than whites.

Continue Reading…

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November9,2010

A Liberal MSNBC Is Good for the Country

Last week MSNBC’s mercurial cable news show host Keith Olbermann was suspended for contributions he made to three Democratic candidates.  The official reason was that he didn’t obtain prior approval before making the donations, but we can presume that the real reason is because MSNBC is desperately trying to prove they’re not a liberal news network.

Although its odd to suspend a commentator over political bias when their show has become synonymous with liberalism and derives its ratings from its following on the left, that’s not what bothers me the most about this suspension. What bothers me is what Senator Bernie Sanders touched on with his reaction to the Olbermann suspension. Essentially Sanders felt the suspension was a shame given the fact that Fox and most of radio is dominated by conservative commentary. I agree.
Olbermann and Rachel Maddow have the highest rated shows on MSNBC and the network shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds them by going out of its way to appear unbiased. MSNBC cannot compete with Fox for conservative viewership no matter how many shows it gives Joe Scarborough or how many times Pat Buchanan appears on the network in one day. MSNBC should cozy up to its liberal audience–even if not its politicians–for both the sake of ratings and the sake of debate in this country.
I think it’s time we stop pretending that entire cable networks can be fair or objective and accept that the most we can hope for now is some semblance of balance media-wide. Political balance within one cable network isn’t really necessary.
American media has become increasingly filled with opinion shows and columns. Conservatives have been the biggest beneficiaries of this fairly newfound obsession. Progressive voices are marginalized because the right has successfully sold the meme that anyone who disagrees with them is a liberal. That narrative has scared our biggest media outlets and negatively impacted good reporting. Having an established liberal network that can throw rocks at extreme conservatism without hiding its hands afterward would be downright refreshing.
Sure liberal print magazines like The Nation and web magazines like Salon are booming. But limiting unabashedly left content to web and print contributes to elitism on the left because access to progressive opinions is something you have to work to get. Liberals don’t have a Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh to shout their message from the mountaintops and evoke the type of unwarranted attention they do from major media.
While it’s nice to have multiple online and print homes for the left, the majority of Americans get their information from TV and radio. Liberals should have a platform there as well.
PItch: MSNBC should stop fighting the liberal tag and embrace it. Having an unabashedly liberal news network is not only good for their bottom line, but good for debate in America. Progressive opinions are marginalized, conservatism is everywhere. The country would benefit from more access to progressive opinions.

I think it’s time we stop pretending that entire cable networks can be fair or objective and accept that the most we can hope for now is some semblance of balance media-wide. Political balance within one cable network isn’t really necessary.

American media has become increasingly filled with opinion shows and columns. Conservatives have been the biggest beneficiaries of this fairly newfound obsession. Progressive voices are marginalized because the right has successfully sold the meme that anyone who disagrees with them is a liberal. That narrative has scared our biggest media outlets and negatively impacted good reporting. Having an established liberal network that can throw rocks at extreme conservatism without hiding its hands afterward would be downright refreshing.
Sure liberal print magazines like The Nation and web magazines like Salon are booming. But limiting unabashedly left content to web and print contributes to elitism on the left because access to progressive opinions is something you have to work to get. Liberals don’t have a Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh to shout their message from the mountaintops and evoke the type of unwarranted attention they do from major media.
While it’s nice to have multiple online and print homes for the left, the majority of Americans get their information from TV and radio. Liberals should have a platform there as well.
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October5,2010

Jon Stewart’s Mocking of Rick Sanchez’s Firing Isn’t Funny–In fact, It Kinda Pisses Me Off

It’s true that I am a perennial party pooper, a consistent contrarian, a rainer on parades, if you will. There’s no reason for me to stop now.

Let me start by saying I’ve never seen Rick Sanchez’s show. In fact, I’d never heard of him until he was fired. I don’t watch much TV and I sure don’t watch cable news. What I’ve heard thus far is that Sanchez is a moron and his show is dumb.

But clearly he wasn’t fired for that reason. He was fired because…because…umm…well…what happened was he…

Right.

I read Sanchez statements and I interpreted them thusly: I am a Latino man and I believe I have suffered institutionalized racism at the hands of white liberals–many of whom are Jewish people. Jewish people are powerful within the entertainment industry and Jon Stewart is one of those people. I think that Stewart and some other people of his ilk look down on me.

I have to assume that CNN and others assumed Sanchez said something he didn’t. I could guess what that something was (insert anti-semetic implications here) but what does it matter? The fact is Sanchez didn’t say anything wrong and his firing sends a confusing message.

Not only can you be fired and ridiculed for what you say, you can be fired and ridiculed for what we think you might have possibly been alluding to vaguely in your comments. For the record, THAT’S BULLSHIT.

Jon Stewart’s childish mocking of someone who was fired for something they didn’t say rubs me the wrong way. Minorities struggle with institutionalized racism on a daily basis, and Sanchez’s comments, however impolitic or unwelcome, were a valid representation of what many routinely face. Hearing Stewart and many in the liberal contingent act as though Sanchez committed a grave offense while ignoring the fact that he clearly relayed a painful past and present experience shows two things: 1.  How off limits discussions about racial bias are–even from people who have their own platform from which to speak and 2. How completely out of touch some white people are with how minorities navigate this world.

Interesting that even after achieving the one thing that most journalists want—his own television show–Sanchez was still filled with enough resentment (certainly driven in part by Stewart’s mocking) that he mentioned racial inequity on air in a personal sense, something that almost never happens.  And now we know why it almost never happens.

Stewart gets to mock Sanchez’s “meltdown” while ignoring the crux of his point. Privilege anyone? This is the very thing that Sanchez was talking about. It’s difficult to know that no matter how much you accomplish there are certain people who will never respect you simply because you’re (insert disadvantage here), and then, after disrespecting you they can take you down, and then kick you while you’re down. Stewart may not see himself as one of those people, he may not think that his disdain for Sanchez is racially motivated–and perhaps it’s not. But that doesn’t make Sanchez’s experiences any less valid or Stewart’s na na na boo boo’ing any more appealing.

I’ve said it many times before, but Christopher Hitchens is one of my favorite thinkers and has heavily influenced my own work. I enjoyed reading his thoughts on the Sanchez situation in Slate magazine and agreed with his characterization of Sanchez’s comments as “uncontroversial.” Hitchens also suggests that Stewart lead a charge for Sanchez to be reinstated, and I think that would be the mature thing to do.

But Stewart doesn’t seem to be interested in approaching this subject maturely. And yeah, it kinda pisses me off.

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September22,2010

Bob Hertbert is Wrong: The Media Has Covered Poverty Well

Usually, I agree with Bob Herbert, he’s one of my favorite columnists. I was reading his article entitled “Two Different Worlds,” about the gap between the haves and the have-nots. I fully expected to agree with him, and I was…until I got to this part:

The American economy is on its knees and the suffering has reached historic levels. Nearly 44 million people were living in poverty last year, which is more than 14 percent of the population. That is an increase of 4 million over the previous year, the highest percentage in 15 years, and the highest number in more than a half-century of record-keeping. Millions more are teetering on the edge, poised to fall into poverty.

More than a quarter of all blacks and a similar percentage of Hispanics are poor. More than 15 million children are poor.

The movers and shakers, including most of the mainstream media, have paid precious little attention to this wide-scale economic disaster.

I’m pretty sure I don’t agree with this. I think the mainstream media has done a great job of covering poverty in America insofar as the recession goes and especially as it pertains to the housing and hunger crisis.

I can even begin to count the number of articles and TV reports that are issued on a daily basis on these subjects. Even before the housing crisis reached epic levels, the media was reporting that people’s incomes weren’t keeping up with housing costs and expressing surprise and concern that housing sales were going up and up and up.

There “may” be a lack of well-executed coverage in the places where most people get their news e.g. small town newspapers and local and nightly news, but in the papers and television media outlets the “movers and shakers” Herbert refers to read and watch, there’s plenty of information that captures the full scale weight of how hard the past few years have been for many people.

Maybe part of the reason the media is being blamed is because our first instinct is to give people the benefit of the doubt and subsequently look for a reason to understand why they seem so grossly mis or uninformed about a subject. In other words, we think “there’s no way that anyone could be so heartless, OBVIOUSLY, they just don’t understand what’s going on.” If only that were true.

Unfortunately, there are too many cases where human beings can be given massive amounts of easy-to-understand information about a pending problem and solution and they won’t take any action if it involves self-risk…that is…until it affects them personally. I think that in large part accounts for the lack of “urgency” on the part of the politicians and other influential people Herbert mentions in his piece.

Unfortunately, right now there’s no consequence politically for not helping the poor.

Many of the Republican governors and legislators who oppose things like extending unemployment benefits are from States like Texas and Mississippi and Louisiana that have large populations heavily affected by the economic downturn. The Democrats are spinning their wheels trying to tackle everything at once while trying to shield themselves from the job losses they could, themselves, experience if they push for some of the policies Herbert and other sensible people would like them to.

Whatever the case, there’s simply no way that any politician isn’t hearing the cries of the needy people in their area and across the country. Ignoring, or at least not adequately acting to change, the circumstances is a choice they’re making. Let’s not let them off the hook.

I am enjoying the media’s emphasis on personal stories of poverty because I’m learning so much.  But each piece is more heartbreaking than the next. Like Herbert, I wonder what it will take to motivate people to act.

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September13,2010

How the Media Should Have Covered the Book Burner and the Mosque Movers

In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t posted in a while. I was sick and bogged down with crap for the past two weeks. But even in the midst of that haze, I simply could not avoid all the stories about the one guy who wanted to burn some korans on September 11th, and the people who are all upset over a recreational facility, called Park 51, complete with mosque, being built at Ground Zero.

The greatest thing about these two stories is that ignorance knows no region. The book burners are in Florida, but the mosque protestors are all over the country with many in New York.

The second greatest thing about these controversies is that many in the media, belatedly, acknowledged that it bears some responsibility for fanning the flames of the story about the book burner–and, by proxy, endangering the troops. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any in the media talk about how they should have covered these stories. Sure, saying that perhaps the shouldn’t have covered the stories at all, or given them as much attention, is great. But in this world of 24 hour news where we are constantly aiming to scoop a scoop, not covering something becomes more difficult each second another network gains viewers by feeding the mob. And giving a story that is growing in popularity “moderate coverage” is way too much to expect.

Rather than talk about whether or the the media should have covered the stories, I’d rather focus on HOW they should have covered them. Or, shall I say, how they shouldn’t have covered them. And that is, with legitimacy.

Sure there are some who’d say that treating a Preacher, like Rev. Terry Jones, who has a congregation of less than 100 like an influential figure as he plans to do something clearly bigoted is warranted. But there’s really not much to back that up. I can only assume that this story was covered for ratings purposes–but there’s a way to do that fairly responsibly as well. All you have to remember is this:

Just because there are two ways of thinking about something, doesn’t mean you have to treat both opinions with legitimacy.

This is the mistake the media made.

In conversation after conversation, pundits, talk show hosts, etc. asked their guests “What do you think of Rev. Jones’ plan to burn korans on September 11?”

Huh? Is there more than ONE way to intelligently think about this? No? Then why pose the question as though there is?

Of course most people opposed Rev. Jones plan–almost no one could be found to defend it — that alone should tell you how silly the whole thing is.

The best thing to do in a situation like this is to assume that there’s only one reasonable opinion to have and proceed to elevate the conversation.  A better question to ask a guest would be “How can we begin to help everyone in America understand that we are in a war with terrorists, not Islam?” with the Jones story as the umbrella.

Same thing with the people who want to move Park 51. The question is not “Should the mosque be moved?” rather, “If we focus our anger and resentment on a “religion” how does that jeopardize our efforts to combat terrorism?” This is a method by which the media could actually elevate a conversation rather than leaving it in the slums where it began.

Additionally, in my research of the Park 51 story, I didn’t see any one articulate any reason NOT to put a mosque near Ground Zero that wasn’t bigoted or rooted in emotion. Asking people “Do you believe there should be a mosque near ground zero?” is something very different from asking “Should it be illegal to build a mosque near ground zero? If not, how should building owners decide when its tasteful to build and when not? How do we reconcile such opinions within the idea of capitalism?”

The latter form of questioning forces the responder to think about how you would structure such language that would prohibit the mosque from being built or in what circumstances would you ask a builder not to build something based on matters of taste. There’s really no way to answer that question in favor of prohibiting a building containing a mosque without sounding bigoted or uninformed e.g. not realizing or acknowledging that all Muslims aren’t terrorists.

One last note, in terms of responding to questions about the mosque, I felt influential Americans should have responded by dismissing Rev. Jones as the rare small scale bigot, pointing out that his following is near nil and in no way reflects the feelings of most Americans nor the values we hold dear in this country. Unfortunately, many of the statements I read droned on and on and elevated Rev. Jones’ status rather than briefly putting his existence into perspective and moving on to more important matters.

Perspective on these stories was grossly lacking on all sides.

I think that if the media concerned itself a little more with talent, it could probably elevate conversations and still make them interesting enough to get ratings. Either way, to cover two very low brow stories with such vigor and to then critique your coverage of it with no serious analysis of or attention toward better ways to cover such stories in the future is disingenuous.

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August23,2010

It’s Time For the Left to Take Responsibility for Sarah Palin

This is the first time I’ve written anything about Sarah Palin since 2009 when a writer over at The Grio tried to illustrate Palin’s so-called commonalities with black women. Needless to say, I took issue with that on my personal blog. But mostly, since Palin and McCain were roundly beaten in the Presidential election, I’ve ignored Palin’s existence because she’s pretty much irrelevant.

On Friday, I decided to use tweetdeck’s trusty global filter, to mute all tweets with the words “Sarah Palin” or “Glenn Beck” in them. Quite frankly, I’m tired of people on the left making a big deal over every single thing Palin and Beck say. The obsession the left has with “calling out” people like Palin is a massive waste of time. When I mentioned this on twitter, of course people disagreed saying that Palin and Beck are influential and that we have to speak out against people who threaten our…something…or other. Frankly, I don’t know and I don’t care.

It’s time for the left to take responsibility for Palin. Sure the right made her relevant insofar as the election was concerned. But after that, her existence and any remaining attention she’s gotten has been provided to her by the liberal crowd–whether it was Oprah’s questionable decision to have her on her show to promote her “book” or the constant overreactions to every idiotic thing she says.

This is a pattern with the left and it feeds into Palin’s plans. If people remember, way back after the election when conservatives governors met for their annual meeting, the media kept asking whether or not Palin was a leader in the party. GOP Governors and members of Congress spent the entire week trying to shrug off questions about the moose-hunting mother of five. It was clear they didn’t know what role, if any, she should play in their party going forward. Even her speaking role at the conference was begrudgingly allowed. But the mainstream media and the media on the left continued to make her role an issue.

Continue Reading…

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August22,2010

Don’t Follow Jason Whitlock’s Example and Publicly Bash Your Old Bosses

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a fan of former Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock. I think he’s popular not because he’s a good writer or because his analysis of sports is on point, but because he’s controversial. And in today’s environment, whatever gets page views, ad clicks, or attention wins the day. On Friday, Whitlock took to the airwaves to talk for over an hour about why he was leaving the Kansas City Star for the Fox network.

Whitlock accused the Kansas City Star of all sorts of improprieties, but what his problem boiled down to was that he asked for something from his bosses and didn’t get it.

Join the club.

Obviously, Whitlock didn’t just notice the ethical issues at the Star just prior to quitting his job. The reality is, he was more than happy to overlook those flaws as long as he was getting what he wanted. But when he went to his bosses and asked for them to “maximize” their use of him (he wasn’t specific during the portion of the interview I heard, but I take that to mean giving him a lot more attention and money) suddenly everything he’d witnessed at the paper became an issue of concern.

Much like Lebron James’ silly “Decision” special, Whitlocks “Explanation” episode was just as lengthy, tired and narcissistic. And while such a stunt may go over fine in the world of entertainment (notice, I didn’t say journalism), for the rest of you 9 to 5ers and freelancers and other people who care about whether or not you ever work again, making a point of publicly dissing your former employer isn’t the right call.

Continue Reading…

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August16,2010

Pat Buchanan: America’s Most ADORABLE Bigot

1. I love Pat Buchanan. 2. To hell with you, I love Pat Buchanan.

Look at him. He’s sooooo cute in an old man kind of way. I love the giggly manner in which he spreads his racist ideas and thinly veiled hate of anything non-Anglo Saxon elite and male. I also adore the fact that after years of debating people smarter and more reasonable than him he remains ignorant as all hell. And everyone knows it but him.

For example, in this clip of Buchanan on the Rachel Maddow show, Maddow asks him why does he think that almost all of the members of the SCOTUS have been white and male. And he responds by saying that all the people who wrote the constitution were white and male and also the same for the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the people who died in Normandy.

You and I know that the elephant in the room is that there were, ahem, “extenuating” circumstances that excluded minorities and women from participating in the aforementioned activities. I can’t figure out if Buchanan doesn’t know or doesn’t care or simply doesn’t care to know.

But I revel in his ignorance. And every now and then I feel a little guilty about it…but mostly not.

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