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Mainstream Media. The dying old guard, or the Fourth Estate sliding into receivership.

Sunrise or Sunset?

CBS NBC ABC logos rendered in the Obama logo style

Never forget this NRR maxim:
The news is not what is happening, it’s just what they’re telling you.

Via: Maggie’s Farm


The Gatekeeper Wears a Blindfold

Obama Derangement Syndrome has two forms. Here’s CNN infobabe Soledad O’Brien displaying the positive strain:

[UPDATE: The embedded version of the video is set to autoplay. NRR seeks to avoid such unwelcome intrusions on our passengers. Please click here to view the segment.]

O’Brien pre-emptively attacks the message and the messenger. Barack must not be questioned!

Wikipedia says Critical Race Theory:


Carter Recalls Ambassador to Moscow

Twin Cities TV news from January 2nd, 1980:

Maybe the phantom of the past is not ready to let us go:

Carter feared that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in which an estimated 30,000 combat troops entered that nation and established a puppet government, would threaten the stability of strategic neighboring countries such as Iran and Pakistan and could lead to the USSR gaining control over much of the world's oil supplies.

Thirty years later, the news is the same, even including the threat of nuclear attack:


Dickens’s New Beat

Detroit’s failed economy stimulates failed journalism:

if Detroit has any single sector that's booming, it's playing host as the epicenter for a nation of journalists-turned-poverty tourists. Morton talks with James Griffoen, who is said to be a frequently sought out urban "sherpa" for journalists looking for a quick dose of "ruin porn."

D-Town, the place nobody wants be, but everybody wants to hear about.


Romney ’08

As the righties are trying to get comfortable with Romney, I’ve read a few times that in 2008 the knock on Mitt was that he was too conservative. Off the top of my head, I don’t remember much about the ’08 GOP primary race. I liked Giuliani for whatever reasons, and when he dropped out, I must have stopped paying attention.

I have a hard time imaging Romney as “too much” of anything. McCain was the maverick, so I guess Romney could have been more conservative than that. Looking over the Wikipedia entry on Mitt’s 2008 campaign, I was reminded of this: Romney strapped his dog to the roof of his car on a family vacation.

Yup. Now I remember. That was big news for days.

Romney strapped a dog carrier — with the family dog Seamus, an Irish Setter, in it — to the roof of the family station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Boston to Ontario, which the family apparently completed, despite Seamus's rather visceral protest.

Massachusetts's animal cruelty laws specifically prohibit anyone from carrying an animal "in or upon a vehicle, or otherwise, in an unnecessarily cruel or inhuman manner or in a way and manner which might endanger the animal carried thereon."

I can hardly wait for Big Media to rediscover this damning character flaw.

As to the rest of the Wikipedia entry and evidence of Mitt’s alleged conservatism, I lost interest before finding any.


Another Kind of Harassment

Imagine the hysteria if it turns out than Herman Cain was not guilty of sexual impropriety, but instead of unwelcome Evangelism? Particularly with the new “third woman”.

Say she was a bit unstable at the outset. She found a listening ear in Mr. Cain, a Baptist Minister. Turns out the third woman was pregnant, and on the outs with her inseminator. Cain offers her a place to stay for a night, away from a tense and deteriorating relationship. He talks of G-d and the purity of her unborn child.

Amidst her own dysfunctions and a world—perhaps family—inclined toward simply erasing the problem via abortion, she began to see Cain’s advice as an intrusion. And as a payday, an escape from a life gone off the rails.

Some would call this fairytale “blaming the victim”. And it may turn out that Cain is a philanderer. But that doesn’t square so well with his biography.


Now He Owns the Bus

I am enjoying Herman Cain’s campaign. I think his “smoking man” ad is brilliant.

As discussed over at Chicago Boyz, it weaves together several messages to several audiences. If you’re in one the targeted groups, you’ll get it.

What un-targeted groups think about an ad really doesn’t matter. Except in this case, popular media’s indignance over seeing a real live tobacco smoker actually helped the message find more of its intended audience.

Adding to that, I have heard a couple versions of Cain telling this story (my retelling, not a direct quote):


We Lost a Chopper

Another major event transpired during my experiment with avoiding primary news sources. OBL’s dirt nap is a big deal, even as I see no cause to celebrate.

Neither end of my radio dial, nor most of the blogs I follow made a point of this:

Once under way, four helicopters ferried the U.S. forces to the Abbottabad compound, lowered the SEALS behind the walls and began descending toward a landing. No shots were fired, but shortly after the team hit the ground, one of the helicopters came crashing down and rolled onto its side for reasons the government has yet to explain. None of the SEALs was injured, however, and the mission continued uninterrupted. The crippled aircraft was destroyed before the raiding party flew out in the three remaining helicopters.


Pagan Dreams

Today is Good Friday and Earth Day. Both are religious holidays. From what I’ve seen, one would hardly know Easter was upon us. If the United States was once a Christian nation, it is no longer.

Easter is now a time to affirm the failings and flaws of Christians, particularly Catholics:

Although it has been celebrated by billions of people around the world for nearly 2,000 years, the mainstream media would rather celebrate the liberal holiday known as "Earth Day" and connect Easter to the abuse scandal that surrounded the Roman Catholic Church.

The networks couldn't seem to produce a truly positive or even neutral story about Easter, without then immediately throwing Christians under the bus.


Nuclear Disaster in Marhsall Terrace

A couple of years ago, the Riverside Power Plant in the 55418 was converted from coal fuel to natural gas. It had burned coal and coated the Marshall Terrace neighborhood with ash and dust for the previous eight decades.

It never made headlines as a radiation hazard. But it was:

In a 1978 paper for Science, J. P. McBride at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and his colleagues looked at the uranium and thorium content of fly ash from coal-fired power plants in Tennessee and Alabama. To answer the question of just how harmful leaching could be, the scientists estimated radiation exposure around the coal plants and compared it with exposure levels around boiling-water reactor and pressurized-water nuclear power plants.


How Many Chunks in a Gobble?

From a StarTribune report about a study on “who bears Minnesota’s biggest tax burden” and how that might inform State and local government budgets:

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman asked committee members to rethink the aid cuts.

The mayors said they'd need to look at reductions in every corner of their budgets, including public safety, which gobbles up a giant chunk of city revenue.

How does that qualify as reporting?

Did the Mayors use the language, “gobbles up a giant chunk”? It is not a direct quote, so we would assume the electeds used different words.

What we’re presented with is not fact or news, but a storyteller’s rhetoric. How many dollars are in a giant chunk? When a firefighter comes out to save a life, is he gobbling revenue?


Seeing In Darkness

Traffic has been light here on NRR. As part of my personal experiments for the New Year, I decided to abstain from Big Media news. I still see most of the headlines, but I do not know the stories being told.

(Also, I have been blessed with a rush of real, billable work in the meat world, leaving little time for pithy observations and therapeutic snark.)

There have been big events which I would have been following closely. The political poker game in Wisconsin appears to confirm my view of an upcoming period of violent upheaval as those accustomed to political favors throw tantrums when confronted by economic reality.

The upheavals across the Arab world are exciting. The current President is showing incompetence in a new arena. Or, more generously, real politics are so much more complex than campaign politics.


Reactionary Radio

Perhaps it is an example of Yin and Yang chasing each other around the wheel of life. Those who successfully speak truth to power become power. What was once novel and avant-garde is accepted as status quo.

Cobb spews a bit about NPR’s evolution toward irrelevance:

By the time NPR fired Juan Williams, I was too through with them and really expected nothing more. But you can't stay mad forever. So I have found myself turning back, begrudgingly. It's rather a different beast. Now there are commercials all the time, and there are a bunch of names I don't recognize reporting, only showing how strange it is to realize that NPR is essentially about 30 people. And even what they do is getting, well. How can I say it? NPR just can't compete with some really good podcasts - they just don't geek out enough. NPR is about flavor and style. It's not cutting edge anything. It's just like HBO. I don't mean to say that it has the amoral in-your-face-ness that was HBO when I stopped watching several years ago, but that it has become something of a parody of itself having become predictable and no longer being the best at what they do.

Somewhere—probably via Robert Anton Wilson—I recall a theory that information is that which you cannot predict.


Newsprint Kills Newspapers

From a lengthy—but worthwhile—London Review of Books story about the newspaper business:

in the US, the newspaper business is a local one, with a strong tendency towards de facto monopoly. Most of America’s cities have (or had) a dominant newspaper, and that paper had a monopoly of classified advertising. During the long years of the 20th century’s newspaper boom, that monopoly was the proverbial licence to print money.

Economic theory holds that there are very, very few sustainable monopolies. Without government protection from competition through licensing and regulation, human nature will produce either competition for the monopolist’s profits, or technology which makes the monopolist‘s business model obsolete.

The internet is the package of technologies which killed print newspapers. Not the desire for news, but abilty to print money by publishing news:



Gabrielle Giffords is not the only person in service to the United States who has been shot in the head. Does she merit daily—almost hourly—updates on her condition?

She is alive and progressing because her surgeon got many opportunities to practice on soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The public is seldom told of the medical miracles performed on, and the courage exhibited by those troops. Big Media gave us only a daily body count.

It irks me.


2011 Looking Up. Or Down.

Local TV news has a story of economic optimism:

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, a trip to Mall of America showed empty stores and struggling businesses. This year, they’re packed with people ready to spend, even after the holidays.

The 2010 holiday season was the best since 2006. Shoppers spent $584 billion in the 50 days leading up to Christmas – up 5.5 percent from 2009. And economists believe the trend will continue into the new year.

Doing what Big Media does so well, the reporter interviews a handful of shoppers and store managers who say they’re seeing more traffic and more spending at the malls. But as I am so often reminded, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”.


Goodbye 2010

It’s time to start a new calendar. We look at that arbitrary event as a fresh beginning. But I have the same pile of dirty laundry as yesterday. The same aches, the same frustrations, and the same opportunities.

If there was a change to be made in how I lived, why wait to make myself or my world one step better?

But attitude matters. So to those who like to use the calendar as motivation, a new year does make a difference. A vital bit, then is to keep the fresh viewpoint alive long enough for whatever real changes we make to take hold.

Don’t let the someone else’s sour view of their world take your optimism away:


Top 10 Media Myths of 2010

The article titles these as economic myths, but they’re not all economic issues.

Here’s the list:

10. GM Repayment Shows Taxpayer Bailout Worked
9. All the Economy Needs is More Stimulus
8. Soda is Like Cocaine and Ads Cause Obesity
7. Obama the Tax Cutter
6. The Tea Parties are Astroturf, but Green Groups Aren't.
5. Despite Largest Budget in History, Obama is Fiscally Conservative
4. Lack of Press Freedom in Gulf Doesn't Point to Obama
3. Nearly 10 Percent Unemployment Isn't So Bad
2. ClimateGate? What ClimateGate?
1. The Chamber of Commerce is Taking "Secret Foreign Money" for Election

Always keep in mind the news is not what’s happening, it’s just what they’re telling you.


Vote Now or This Fetus Gets Whacked

A pregnant couple from the suburban Twin Cities is putting a question to the internets: Birth or Not?

The abortion issue has been a controversial topic for decades that reaches to the core of every person in America. Often voters will even base their entire choice on this one topic alone, disregarding everything else the politician has to offer in the vain hope that their “chosen one” will be able to effect change on this issue.

We all like to think that our opinions matter, but so often there is no effective outlet for our beliefs to change lives. While most people have a definite opinion about abortion and take a stance as being either “Pro-Life” or “Pro-choice”, very few have an opportunity to do more than voice their concern to their elected representative. The concerns that we voice to those around us don’t seem to change the status-quo. Unless you are put into the position of having to make this decision in a setting that actually makes a difference, the debate does not affect anything.

Voting is such an integral part of the American identity. We vote on everything. We vote on things ranging from the best singer on American Idol to who the next leader of the free world will be. Wouldn’t it be nice to voice your opinion and have it actually make a difference in the real world? Why not vote on whether to continue or abort an actual pregnancy? Your vote can help a real couple to make a decision on this issue. 


Are There Any Real Polar Bear Pics?

An iconic image of global warming, a polar bear adrift on a chunk of melting ice, published by Science magazine to accompany a letter from 255 scientists complaining about the attacks on their credibility, was a fake. This kind of visual storytelling is nothing new:

Remember the image of the bear struggling in the waves circulated by an environmental group awhile back? The waves were from the prop wash of the helicopter overhead.



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