21 June 2006

Russert, Bradlee, Rather, Media...

This author monitors all of the political Sunday morning political shows with one TV, one remote, often only one eye (after writing all night), no recording device. Political shows are important, how they doing?

“Meet the Press” with Tim Russert supposedly the most watched of the morning political group. If you are one of those who watch: why? Last Sunday: oily boys invited –to make their case, again… justifying, mealy-mouthing, “needing” to punch holes in pristine Alaska, California and Texas coasts, to, somehow magically, bring down the price, pretending they don’t have enough refineries –but leaving out:
-THEY closed over 143 refineries;
-there isn’t enough oil in Alaska preserve to cover more than six months worth of need

If Russert was serious reporter, working for media corporation that gave a damn about journalism:
“WHY did they get billions out of US Treasury after September 11”?
Tax breaks ever since?
If they can afford to back-date stock options to shower “CEOs” with multi-billion dollar “bonuses”—which they also tried to justify Again–why don’t they pay what they owe?
WHY aren’t they paying taxes on oil drilled in public's places? They drill US coasts, public lands, parks –but skate on royalties they owe –thanks to Oval Office occupant, President of Vice and the people they put in agencies to collect the money. Oily boys: suing to get contracts, signed during last administration, over-turned, that mistakenly (?) listed too-small royalty amount. Put to the oily boys?

Where were questions on: President of Vice’s meetings with 180 energy producers –who reportedly wrote this country’s energy policy –from their wish list?
Fossil fuel heating the planet, ground beneath cities at risk with massive earthquakes from disappearing oil?
What do they intend doing about greenhouse gas –alternative fuel?

Tim Russert, too ill(?) to ask? –All such Missing from Russert. Oily boys said all their blather already to Congress, numerous times since, so why did NBC give them air time to say it all again?

Russert omits the Hard questions, let’s people blather –especially “doctor” Condo, the Rummy; acts frightened of President of Vice. NBC’s “Meet the Press”: viewer never learns a thing; guests give well-rehearsed lines, often White House-written talking points; Russert at most: repeats question a guest has already evaded; utter waste of time. Russert: missing in action. “Meet the Press”: waste of time, electricity.

Last week Russert made the rounds of talk/sales shows: selling book he ‘authored’ of stories people sent him of fathers. This he went around flogging as a Father’s Day gift??? Does anyone else think: stories of Other people’s fathers way odd gift –to a father? Why would a father want to read adulation of other people?

Ben Bradlee, Executive Editor WASHINGTON POST: interviewed by reporter, friend Jim Lehrer of PBS, on PBS. Bradlee spoke of journalism; friendship with John F. Kennedy, before his presidentcy; Watergate and Deep Throat; reporters and false stories by fakes and ethics. He came from upper-class family that lost everything in the Crash of 1929. He doesn’t belong to any clubs, he said, because he doesn’t want to be compromised, influenced, what he learns, can say in print; spoke of relationship with President Kennedy, when they were neighbors, five doors apart, both pushing baby carriages.... Refreshing. A person of class. Will any of his caliber, ethics, intelligence, judgment dome along, when he’s gone? Thanks for the piece, PBS.

CBS: Somehow couldn’t ‘find’ room for Dan Rather, held the door open so it wouldn’t hit him on the way out, five months before his contract expired. Does that matter? Does it matter that CBS news ‘managers’ Les Moonves & Co chose perky ratings draw to replace superb reporter Bob Scheiffer –instead of a credentialed reporter? Only if you care about media doing their job, being our ‘eyes’ ‘ears’ –Media granted privileges for That –watching government, not appeasement to government employees; not spooning pabulum, omiting investigative stories.

The roar Rather generated over papers, as basis, for story that current Oval Office occupant: did not complete his military training; failed to appear; got special treatment; his military records mystically disappeared. –Regardless of the papers: WHICH part of the report wasn’t/isn’t true? Occupant Did Not Complete training for which he signed on; required to complete –failed to show at numerous documented times. Why wasn’t THAT the issue? But Rather got the boot? Right-wingers: desperate to prevail, whined, crabbed about the dotting of any “i” /the gnat on a flea, while the ‘crab’ stunk up the whole house…hold onto illusions –their guy, right or VERY wrong.

(For the record: this author not a fan of Dan Rather; growing up: television seldom on, but when there was David Brinkley, John Chancellor then Tom Brokaw, why watch Rather, was unsaid habit.) CBS: will rue booting Dan Rather, one way or another. Cosmic payback: If rumors become reality, his future could make CBS appear as dated as their soap operas? Best of luck, Mr. Rather.

Bob Sheiffer, CBS: gives him and us only half of an hour of his smart, inciteful political show, but asks the hard questions of the usual suspects; stays with a point until he gets an answer or until viewer can realize: guest's evasion. His commentary at the end: loaded with common sense; refreshing on its own and because so little exists publicly. CBS neither seems to know nor care how lucky they, we are to have him. If they did: they would not bump his program for sports junk, Often. But look up schedule on-line or call CBS affliate station: clueless, NO notice when it will air. Rude, stupid, CBS. Maybe they’ll get it: when he’s gone. Shame on them. Every thing he does: superb. Thanks Mr. Sheiffer.

IF CBS cared about journalism, news: they would have sought fine reporter Meredith Viera, NOT gone after 'ratings-getter' perkiness. Her Credentials: journalism over twenty years; once worked at "60 Mintues." Yes, this author a fan, ever since she showed up on "East 57th Street" –anyone remember it?

Whatever it is Fox slaps up on Sunday: does not change; if you want to know rabid-biased right-wing Party line politics: pick any Sunday, they say same things every week. Bill Kristol looks positively reptilian, grinning, always siding with administration who, in his world, haven’t/don’t/ do any wrong/criminal/deceitful/biased acts.

But of course if extreme right-wingers are right: where’s your low-cost medical insurance? Where do you Think your pension is? Carrying $8,000. in debt (average amount for Americans) in plastic debt –at 20 -30% rates? Once considered criminal usury rate –but Occupant & pals: don't have a problem with those rates of greed.

“This Week” on ABC : best of the bunch. When guests start going off on stale talking points: host George Stepanolous interrupts; doesn't let guests blather on, unless they determined to look the fool; reporters discuss politics of the week, in some context, often with background info; then relevant comic snippets from various shows, usually Letterman, “Daily Show” and secret right-leaner Leno; honors those who died the previous week. Classy, well-balanced, informative political hour.

ABC: promos for Charlie Gibson, future host of nightly news, so “great” a journalist? In tradition of Edward R. Morrow –David Brinkley –Peter Jennings? Really? –“Harvest of Shame” and coming up: how to potty-train a kid??? Why the hell was he ‘interviewing’ on potty training recently? Picture any one them doing such a thing? So bad, such utterly meaningless drivel, too moronic to watch. How far do they intend to grind his credibility? What the hell were they thinking? Aren’t you just twitching with anticipation of such lofty re-port-age ‘skill’? Gibson: not equipped with enough spine –to refuse? It hasn’t, duh, occurred to any of them: doing two-hour morning drivel dance –gushing ‘Good Morning America’ goop –NOT, duh, a good leaping point to hard/Night news? Well, people who could plunk copy reader Elizabeth Vargas, who appears to practice Where to put emotion, in front of a camera: short a sandwich for a full plate?

ABC also ran a promo recently complimenting themselves for recent journalistic events, such as: first to go on air with news of military bombing death of Iraqi fighter al-Zarkawi. Not mentioned: How they came to be the first. How: Because people in government and the military trust: first-rate reporter Martha Raditz, but not credited. On another program of reporter round-table, “Washington Week,” she revealed she got a middle of the night call. This author was up, TV on that night –and ABC was first with the news, hours before any other station cut into programming with the news. Why did ABC take the credit –without naming Raditz? Raditz will be allowed to report –allowed to age –still keep her job? Or: subjected to pressure to go under face-surgery knives, unlike male reporters? Does a reporter who can get the story, knows the players, has judgment –or do 60, 70-something female reporters have to look like 20-something bimbettes to get on air, not allowed to age at ABC?

ABC ‘helped’ Ted Koppel out the door; then replaced him with some of the worst drivel on American air, of trash “scoops” by underwear-sniffer Martin Bash-emup; dripping exposes, about Nothing, dripping with emotion by Cynthia McFadden, on now-worthless “Nightline” utterly avoiding any subject that matters, informative, relevant to anyone’s life –about anything. Do people who do such things imagine they are “honoring” Peter Jennings? How much glue huffing does that take?

Message to ABC executives: Grow up. Stop pandering. Americans did NOT get stupid day after you booted Ted Koppel. Any time Martha Raditz, Brian Ross has something to say –get everyone else out of the way; let them have whatever time they need. Start behaving as though YOU get it, till you do.


If Rumors are true: reporters –at all six news-controlled media giants are not getting permission to do stories; controlling what Americans are told…. Who needs rumors? Where are the stories? When will management get up to the level of Americans? When Will it dawn: if Americans are so dumb –why are content-rich blogs so well read? From NBC with its bomb-making parent GE, to ABC, now controlled by Disney and partner Capital Cities Corp., who’s largest stock-holder at the time of purchase was late CIA director Casey, all the media giants are tied to government; deep financial vested interests in pleasing Congress, White House –not in informing. Pentagon plan of embedding reporters: deep inside tanks, trucks as they headed to Iraq –brilliant stroke to both ‘give’ access and cut off reporters from knowing a single thing that mattered. But: media giants allowed to engorge in a single market: inform less; ignore local issues, politics, government, bulk up on revenue. That isn’t what authors of the Constitution had in mind as they wrote. Do stockholders demand that news divisions make money, or do the owners demand it?

IF Congress –our reps gave a damn about rights, free flow of information: there would be a bill to require ALL media to give free time for campaign ads, debates. Those are Our air rights they’re using; supposed to be OUR Congress, not the reps of bloated corporations. Why don’t right-wingers stop following ideology long enough to get that? If media corporations cared –allowed news directors, reporters to do their jobs, would US military be in Iraq? Would Halitosis, President of Vice’s last employer, have tap-Root into US Treasury?

Western Medical Establishment gets free air time –loads. Why? If “medicine” is the premise to give free air time: why not Asian –folk -non-invasive -non toxic methods on news shows? Western Medicine uses media to get on camera with new whiz-bang gadget –toxin –‘breakthrough’ that never quite cures cancer... –But if they just ‘had more money’ –they’re “sure” they could find. Hint hint: send contributions. Whose business Wouldn’t improve with free air time on 6 o’clock news?

-Contact ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox: tell them you want more investigative stories; better coverage of local issues; much better election coverage; will boycott sponsors’ products until you see results

-Buy a local and a national newspaper, at least once a week. They ARE committed to doing their job, but underpaid. If we don’t support newspapers: they won’t be around to support, inform us or the next generation. Buy newspapers; read on-line: give a click on any relevant ad to give them revenue. If you're about to make a purchase: see if you can do it through an ad posted on a newspaper. It matters.

-Demand alternative medicine get the SAME free air time

Tags: Tim Russert, Ben Bradlee Washington Post, Dan Rather, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, media reporting, network seeking ratings, political shows, biased reporting

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