All posts by Ron Olsen

Message From The Los Angeles Press Club

 

We Support Jim Acosta

AND A FREE PRESS

Ron,

The Los Angeles Press Club stands in unity with the National Press Club, the New York Press Club, the White House Correspondents’ Association and all journalist organizations and media outlets that band together in support of the ousted CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

We call for the immediate reinstatement of Jim Acosta’s credentials and defend the right of Acosta and all other White House reporters to question the president without being threatened, retaliated against or being called the enemy of the people.

The LA Press Club joins the NY Press Club in offering participation in any joint statement or action on the part of media organizations to end the Trump administration’s attempts to interfere with coverage critical of the president.

The hostility against the press, whether it be Jim Acosta or Tucker Carlson, not only threatens the safety of journalists but Democracy itself.

“As President Trump knows better than anyone, the press is not the enemy of the people,” said Chris Palmeri, the club’s president. “We’re the guardians of the truth.”

A Free Press is the Pillar of Democracy. #NotTheEnemy

More Than 300 Journalists Denounce Donald J. Trump For Attacks On Free Press

Days ago, following the murder of Washington Post writer, Jamal Khashoggi, and President Trump joking that any candidate that could body-slam a reporter was his kind of guy, a handful of former ABC News staffers, led by former producer, Meredith Wheeler, decided something needed to be done.   Someone needed to take a stand.  So they wrote a letter about Mr. Trump’s unacceptable and inexcusable disregard for our free press.   About his encouraging others to treat the American press as an enemy, even while five of our colleagues were gunned down inside the offices of their newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.

You will find a copy of the letter below, along with the names of more than 300 journalists.  As the letter got its genesis on a FB page for ABC retirees the list contains the names of  many former ABC  staffers.  However, journalists from other outlets, both print and broadcast are there as well, as the list continues to grow.  You can view the most recently updated copy by clicking here.     If you wish to add your name, leave it as a comment, along with your professional title(s) and media outlet(s) and I’ll pass it along.

Thanks to Meredith Wheeler and all those who have contributed their time to make this letter happen.

Oct 25, 2018

THE  LETTER:

On the heels of the recent brutal murder of a Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Donald Trump chose to celebrate the assault of The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs by an American congressman—an attack that occurred while the journalist was simply doing his job, posing questions to a politician.

Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte (R) bodyslammed
Jacobs, knocking him to the ground and beating him severely enough to send him to the hospital.   Although Gianforte pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault and was fined, the President of the United States praised this violent behavior at a Trump rally in Missoula, Montana, on October 18.

Trump’s condoning of political violence is part of a sustained pattern of attack on a free press—which includes labeling any reportage he doesn’t like as “fake news” and barring reporters and news organizations whom he wishes to punish from press briefings and events.

One of the pillars of a free and open democracy is a vibrant free press.

At his inauguration the President of the United States swears to protect the U.S. Constitution, including the First Amendment.

This President is utterly failing to do so and actively working not simply to undermine the press, but to incite violence against it as well.

In a lawsuit filed by PEN, the writer’s organization, against Donald Trump, they charge him with violating the First Amendment.  We, the undersigned, past and present members of the Fourth Estate, support this action.

We denounce Donald Trump’s behavior as unconstitutional, un-American and utterly unlawful and unseemly for the President of the United States and leader of the free world.

###

1. Dan Cordtz, Economics correspondent, ABC News
2. Sam Donaldson, ABC News White House correspondent, ret.
3. Anne Garrels, ABC News and NPR correspondent, ret.
4. Jim Hickey, ABCTV
Correspondent and ABC News Radio National
Correspondent, ret.
5. Mike Lee, ABC News Correspondent, ret.
6. Bob Brown, ABC News Correspondent, ret.
7. George Strait, Chief Science and Medical Correspondent, ABC News, ret.
8. Hilary Brown, retired foreign correspondent, ABC News, former Anchor, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
9. David Ensor, former Correspondent for NPR, ABC News and CNN
10. James Walker, ABC News Correspondent, ret.
11. Charles Glass, former Chief Mideast Correspondent, ABC News
12. Lynn Sherr, Correspondent ABC News, ret., author/ freelance
journalist
13. Peter Lance, ABC News Correspondent (ret.) Investigative author
HarperCollins? Contributor HuffPost
14. Al Dale, ABC News correspondent, 197896, ret.
15. Chris Kelley, correspondent, CBS NEWS, ret.
16. Ken Kashiwahara, ABC News correspondent, ret.
17. Judy Muller, ABC News Correspondent, ret.? Professor Emerita, USC Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication
18. Karen Burnes, Anchor/Correspondent/Producer, ABC and CBS
News
19. Bill Greenwood, former ABC News correspondent
20. Jim Slade, ABC News Science Correspondent, ret.
21. Ted David, ABC News Correspondent, Anchor, CNBC
19892009
22. Vicki Mabrey, former Correspondent CBS and ABC News
23. Ron Olsen, former Reporter, KABC-TV, ABC Radio Net and
KTLA-TV, founder/editor, workingreporter.com
24. Betsy Aaron, former Correspondent, ABC, NBC News, CNN
25. Chris Kelly, former Correspondent, CBS News, ret.
26. Ron Bisney, Correspondent, CNN, AP and RKO
27. Rick Kaplan, former President of CNN and MSNBC, Executive
Producer of The CBS Evening News, World News Tonight, Nightline and Primetime Live
28. Av Westin, former Senior VP and Executive Producer, ABC News, ret.
29. William Nagy, Vice President, ABC News, ret.
30. Bob Hoenig, former Senior Editor, ABC Radio
31. Paul Friedman, Executive Producer, NBC News, ABC News, ret.
32. David Buksbaum, former Senior Producer, ABC News, Vice
President CBS News, ret.
33. Andrea McCarren, former White House Correspondent and News One Correspondent, ABC News
34. Gil Gross, former Senior Correspondent and Anchor, ABC News
Radio
35. Helen Westwood, Washington Coordinating Producer, Primetime Live, London Bureau Chief, ABC TV News, ret.
36. Kathy O’Hearn, former Executive Producer, ABC/CNN/MSNBC
37. Derwin Johnson, former CNN and ABC Producer & Middle East
Bureau Chief, former Associate Professor, Columbia Univ. Graduate
School of Journalism
38. Thomasina Nista Chaffardet, Director of New Media, ABC News, ret.
39. Dianne Drummey Marino, NBC News & WNBC News, producer,
retired
40. Dawn Ennis, former ABC News Assignment Editor, GMA Writer and Field Producer, Producer, NBC News
41. Linda Pattillo, former ABC News Correspondent, Lecturer in
Journalism, Georgia State University
42. Ed Freedman, Producer, CBS News & ABC News, ret.
43. John Beattie, former Producer, ABC News, ret.
44. Carmen Dixon, former Producer, Primetime Live, World News
Tonight
45. Steve North, Correspondent, NBC Radio, and Writer, CBS News, ret.
46. Nick Young, Correspondent, CBS News, Radio, ret.
47. Robert Daley, New York Times correspondent and author, ret.
48. Kayce Freed Jennings, Former Producer, ABC News
49. Bob Furnad, Former Executive Vice President & Senior Executive Producer at CNN
50. Justin Friedland, Senior Producer, ABC News Special Events, WNT, Morning News, ret.
51. John Lower, Producer, ABC News, ret.
52. Todd Easton, Producer WNT, ABC News
53. Richard O’Regan, freelance journalist, former Producer ABC News, CBS News, CBC News, the Christian Science Monitor, New York Times Television
54. Bernice Vann Homstrom, ABC News, ret.
55. Mark Haimowitz, BO&E, ABC News, ret.
56. Willian Lynch, ABC News Film & Videotape Library
57. Richard L. Hess, former BO&E systems engineer
58. Mike Rebich, ABC News Cameraman
59. Warner W. Johnston, ABC Transmission Engineer
60. Joanne Mallie, Executive Producer, CBS News,ret.
61. Evalyn Lee, Producer, CBS News, ret.
62. William Bores, ABC Network Technical Director & NABETCWA
Local 16 Executive Board
63. Lisa Rosenberg, Producer, GMA Sunday, ret.
64. Jane Aylor, Director, Bureau Operations, ABC News DC., ret
65. Sharon Sforza Brender, Director of News Production, ABC News DC, ret.
66. Bernadine Rideau, ABC News PA/AD
67. Frank A. Dalecki, Jr., Producer/Writer, CBS News Radio, ret.
68. Lyn Henderson, Past President, Women in Film & Television, Florida Chapter
69. Meredith Wheeler, Writer and Producer, ABC News ret.
70. Phil Paine, Senior Engineer, London ENG Operations
71. Eddie Land, Former DA, WABC TV and ABC News
72. George Merlis, Former Executive Producer, Good Morning America, CBS Morning News.
73. Linda Maskin Fuller, ABC News
74. Dave Cohen, News Editor, ABC, ret.
75. Tara Sonenshine, former Editorial Producer, ABC NEWS Nightline, Former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, currently at George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs
76. Eileen O’Connor, Attorney and former CNN White House and
Moscow Bureau Chief
77. Ellen Bradley Watson, Executive Secretary to David Burke, Exec VP, ABC News
78. Marianne Keeley Stack, ABC News Producer, ret.
79. Bill Harris, Editor, ABC News Editor, ret.
80. Laura Hughes, ABC News, Audio technician, ret.
81. Frank Radice, ABC News Producer, ret.
82. L. Aviva Diamond, former Correspondent, ABC News, former
Reporter, The Miami Herald
83. Dick Hubert, ProducerWriter, ABC NEWS SCOPE, ret.
84. Andy Lewis, Editor, ABCNews London, ret.
85. Cass Wagner, Camera: Local, Net, Sports, GMA, ABC TV
86. Wendy Vega, Sound mixer, WABCTV and KABCTV
87. Jody Serensits, ENG audio technician, ABC, ret.
88. Jorge Bouza, Sound mixer ABC/CBS, Miami Bureau
89. Dina Cholack, ABC News, former Producer/Assignment Editor
90. Mark Teboe, ENG Camera, Freelance ABC, NBC, CBS, Al Jazeera
International
91. Val WickensSmith, former ABSAT Manager, ABC News
92. Kelly Woods Traudt, former DA NewsOne
93. Lori Hoffman, Producer, Bloomberg News, ret.
94. Al Wasser, Writer/Editor, ABC & CBS News (ret.)
95. Barbara Silber, former AD, ABC Radio Network
96. Lynn Flaster, Writer, Producer, Reporter, NBC News, Connecticut Public Television, ret.
97. Jeff Kreiner, Senior Vice President, CBS News Marketing, Senior V.P. NBC East Coast
98. Jack Cloherty, former Producer, ABC News
99. Jacqueline Cutty, former Satellite Desk Coordinator, ABC News
100. Robert J. Murphy, Producer/Direction, ABC News
101. Andy Kay, freelance ENG Cameraman, ABC Sports/ESPN, CBS
Sports, NBC, NFL Network
102. Jeanne AmatoCollins, Assist. to correspondents and producers,
ABC News
103. Stu Schutzman, Senior producer, WNT ABC News, ret.
104. Joe Donnelly, Producer ABC News, ret
105. David Riley, WXYZTV Technical Director, Action News, ret.
106. Rusty Lutz, ABC News Radio Assignment Editor DC, ret.
107. Liza Levine, Assoc. Producer, ABC News, ret.
108. Jill Landes, Producer, CBS News, ret.
109. Lew Strauss, CNN and ABC News, ret.
110. Dean Hovell, former World News Tonight Sr. Operations Producer, DC
111. Jacqueline Calnan, Former ABC News Assignment Editor, ret.
112. Carolyn Dunlavy, former BO&E computer graphics technician DC
113. Su Ronneburger, WABC Radio engineer, NYC, 19792014
114. Nancy Wilkerson, former ADE KABCTV
115. Ann Benjamin, Director, WNET
116. Laura Wessner, ABC News Nightline Senior Press Representative, ret.
117. Jim Murphy, News Editor, LA Times? reporter, KCAL, News 12 CT
118. Mardi Camille Tatton, former PA/AD ABC News
119. Shelley Ross, former Executive Producer ABC News, CBS News
120. Carol Williams, former Executive Producer, ABC News and NBC News
121. Rob Vint, Director, ABC News
122. Charlie Reina, writer, CBS Radio News, ret.
123. Naomi S. Boak, former executive producer, Twin Cities Public
Television
124. Jeff Suarez, Technical Director, ABCTV, ret.
125. Kristin Whiting, Former Correspondent/Producer ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN National Geographic
126. Jerry Zweben, TV network staff Associate Director. ret.
127. Gil Longin, Writer/Editor, ABC Radio News, ret.
128. Kathleen O’Neill, former DA, Midwest Bureau, ABC News. Writer, ABCNews.com
129. Moe Thomas, ABC News Master Control, NAC Operations
130. Hal Feldman Digital News Director, NewsOne, Editor/Videographer WABCTV, WCAUTV
131. Michael Risner, Journalist and Production Management, WCJB TV, WPTV TV
132. Robert Forsyth, forrner Director Ops and Engineering, WJLATV
133. Susan Pomerantz Associate Director, ABC, ret.
134. Sarah EvansBurke, former Interview Producer, Al Jazeera English
135. Brian Pannier, Audio Op, ABC Television Network
136. Michael Karman, Technical Director, ABCTV, ret.
137. Stratis Zervos, ABC News, ENG Camera, Freelance
138. Adam Smook, Technical Director, ABCTV, ret.
139. Jim Greene, Satellite Engineer, NBC News, DC
140. Mark Walz, CNN Senior Photojournalist, DC
141. Kimberly Stanick Mullins, former DA NewsOne
142. Tony Caravello ,General Manager Network ENG, ret.
143. Robert Ruttenberg, CBS News, Editor, ret.
144. Cara Fogarty, former Producer NBC Radio, Mutual Broadcasting System and NPR
145. Douglas Obert, World News Tonight Editor
146. Merrill Perlman, Former Director of Copy Desks, New York Times,
ret.
147. Francia White, Former Associate Producer, CBS 60 Minutes, PBS, ret.
148. Mitch Davis, Producer, Special Events, ABC News, ret.
149. Deborah Moxham, Writer, WNBC News, ret.
150. Samuel Campbell, Former Writer and Editor, ABC News
151. Kimberly Myers, Former Producer, WNET, ret.
152. Elizabeth MacKay, former Director of Production, ABC News
153. Bill Nieves, CBS News, Producer, ret.
154. Molly Fowler, Former producer, ABC News
155. Meredith Greene Megaw, Former producer ABC News
156. Regina Elo, former Manager, Awards and Special Projects, ABC
News
157. Gary E Donatelli, Director, ABC Entertainment
158. Murr LeBey, Former Unit Manager and Producer, ABC News
159. Shirley Weiss, Associate Director, ABC ret.
160. Charlotte Perry Aguilar, former West Coast Producer, Nightline, World News Tonight
161. John Arrowsmith, former Senior Producer, ABC News, ret.
162. Tina Lurie, former Operations Manager, ABC News Washington Bureau
163. Gillian Overholser ABC News Associate Producer 1989/1992
164. Thomas Thornton, Editor/Engineer/Producer, ABC News
165. Nick Ludlow, former ABC News Cameraman and current MD of
Prime Television, London
166. Anthony Forma, ABC Freelance Cameraman
167. Alice Look, former Newswriter, Producer, Reporter WNBC.
168. Susan Mercandetti, Former Vice President, ABC News
169. Faridoun Hemani, Managing Director, Linx News, former ABC News Assignment Editor
170. Ken Jobe, former Assistant News Director, WABCTV
171. MaryBeth Neil, Producer, NBC News
172. Gail Zimmerman, former Producer/Director, ABC and CBS News
173. Beth Osisek, former Producer, ABC News
174. Peter T Michaelis, Producer ABCNews and CBS News, ret.
175. Leslie Walker, former Associate Producer, 20/20
176. Julie Hartenstein, former ABC Producer, Associate Dean, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
177. Rhonda Roberts, Producer Washington Bureau, WNT and Special Events, ret.
178. James Mallon, Technical Operations Manager, BO&E, ABC News, Washington, DC, ret.
179. Evelyn Kanter, former Writer/Producer for CBS and ABC News and Reporter for WCBS Radio and WABCTV
180. Douglas Alden , former Producer, ABC News/ NBC Olympics/ ESPN, Writer for Fortune Magazine
181. Jan RyanFormer, Anchor WTVF, WLAC
182. Jeffrey Veatch, Writer/Editor, ABC News Radio, ret.
183. Carla Wohl, former ABC NewsOne reporter, now Associate Dean, External Relations USU
184. Emily Paine, former Editor, ABC News Productions
185. Jamie Deans, former Producer, ABC News 20/20
186. Jeffrey Veatch, Writer/Editor, ABC News Radio, ret.
187. Greg Neal, Associate Director, ABC
188. Judy Enteles Landis, former DA, Researcher, AP, Producer, ABC
News
189. Stew Stoltz, Producer, News Promos, ABC.
190. Steph Jacobs, ABC and CBS News, ret.
191. Stu Chamberlain, Writer/Editor, ABC News Radio, 1977/2010
192. Alice Irene Pifer, former Producer, ABC News, Producer, Tikson
Documentary Project
193. Paul Colten, ABC Video Editor/Sound Mixer, ret.
194. Beth Simons, ABC ENG Editor, ret.
195. Mike Stein, Editorial Producer, World News Tonight, ret.
196. Lee Goldman, Audio Ops, ABC TV, ret.
197. Willis “Skip” Brown, Producer, Cameraman, CBS, ABC, NBC News and PBS NewsHour, ret.
198. Elliott Reed, VP Operations, ABC Television Network
199. Lynne Adrine, former Senior Producer, ABC Weekend News
200. Kate Felsen, currently VP, Marketing and Digital Strategy,
Turnaround for Children, and formerly Senior Producer/Foreign Editor ABC News,World News Tonight
201. Philip Mishoe, Jr., Broadcast Engineer, ABC News, ret.
202. Stanley Penn, former reporter Wall Street Journal, Pulitzer Prize winner
203. Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, ABC News
204. Steve Hammel, Former VP of News WJLATV
and former Vice President & General Manager WRALTV
205. Paul Kasper, Photojournalist, WTSP
206. John L. Venable, ABC News Operator
207. LaVonne Ellis, ABC Radio News, ret.
208. Elizabeth Sovern, former Associate Producer, World News Tonight
209. Mitch Leisner, ENG Editor, ABC News, ret.
210. Hank Silverberg, former Reporter, WTOP Radio and WUSA9
211. Brian Robertson, former News Photo Journalist KGW, Portland
212. Ed Eaves, Editor/Producer ABC News & NBC News, ret.
213. Herb Perone, former producer and writer, ABC News
214. Robert Pankau, ABC radio reporter, Miami Tampa. Semi retired
215. Roger Scott, West Coast Deputy Bureau Chief, Producer and
Assignment Editor, ABC News, ret.
216. Ellen Rooney, former Film & Videotape Editor, ABC News
217. Dennis Shannon, Video Journalist and Technical Director, CBS
News, ret.
218. Polly Kummel, former Journalist, San Jose Mercury News and
Newsday
219. John E. D’Ulisse, ABC News Operations 1999/2003,
2010/2017
220. Wolfgang Achtner, formerly ABC News, former Reporter/Producer ABC News, former correspondent CNN, Professor of TV News Reporting, University of Siena & Unversity of Perugia
221. Ty West, former Producer, CBS, NBC and MSNBC
222. Mara Altschuler, former Producer, CBS News
223. William Davis, former Writer/Editor, ABC News
224. Bob Young, former Associate Director, ABC
225. Glenn Lewis, Editor/Sound Mixer, ABC News, ret.
226. Douglas Alden, former News Producer, ABC News, ESPN, Writer, Fortune Magazine
227. Dianne Drummey Marino, Producer, NBC News and WNBC
228. Ellen Samrock, former Manager of Research, ABC New, ret.
229. Kathe Traynham, former WNT Producer, DC
230. Susan Wittan, former Editor, World News Tonight, DC
231. Michael C Bohn Sr., former Editor, ABC News
232. Patricia (Beck) Ryan, former BO&E, ABC News, DC
233. James W. Smith, EVS Editor, ABC Good Morning America
234. Mike Cavender, Executive Director Emeritus, Radio Television Digital News Association
235. Ray Jacobs, Senior Creative Ad Director with long association with CBS and NBC News
236. Jan Phillips, former Principal of a San Francisco-based
motion graphics company
237. Tom Kenworthy, Reporter, Washington Post (19832000)
and USA Today (20002007), ret.
238. Ann Natyzak, Electronic Graphics, CBS News, MacNeil/Lehrer
Newshour, ret.
239. Kenneth Walker, NPR Africa Bureau Chief, ret.
240. Don Wall, Producer, ABC News, ret.
241. Lawrence Wells, Supervising Producer, NBC News, ret.
242. Tom Gauger, ABC Radio Reporter/Editor, DC? UPI Radio Anchor, ret.
243. Patrick O’Driscoll, Reporter, Reno GazetteJournal
, USA Today , The Denver Post , and Denver Bureau chief for USA Today (19972007)
244. Sara Fitzgerald, Assignment Editor and New Media Developer,
The Washington Post, ret.
245. Loren Ghiglione, former President of the American Society of
News Editors, Dean of Medill School of Journalism, and Editor and
Publisher of the Southbridge (Mass.) Evening News
246. Tom Torok, Projects Editor, The New York Times, ret.
247. Peter T Michaelis, Former Producer ABC News and CBS News
248. Dennis Shannon, Journalist and Technical Director, CBS News,
ret.
249. Elissa Free, former Executive Producer and Newsroom Manager, CNN Washington Bureau
250. Bettina Hutchings, Former National Field Producer, CNN
251. Megan Duke, former Associate Producer, CNN Washington Bureau
252. Georgia Routsis Savas, former CNN Unit Manager, Writer, Producer
253. Tim Hart, former CNN Senior Photojournalist
254. Linda Lashendock, former Production Manager, CNN Washington Bureau
255. Chuck Berray, former CNN Video Journalist, Editor
256. Steve Stahl, Former Director of Operations, CNN
257. Kolyan DasGupta, Former Chyron Operator, CNN, Former Master Control Operator, CNNSI
258. Kate King, former CNN Senior Producer, former CNN.com Copy Editor
259. Peter Dykstra, former Executive Producer, CNN
260. KC Wildmoon, former Supervising Editor, The CNN Wire
261. Daniel Noel, Midwest Regional Producer for CBS Newspath, ret
262. Diane Slaine, former Senior Producer, ABC News
263. Richard Calangelo, Executive Director, ABC BO&E, ret.
264. Eileen Russell, Producer Documentaries, ABC News
265. Julie Anne Overton, former Producer, CBS News, DC
266. James Overton, Writer/Produer ABC News, DC, ret.
267. Shelley Harris, former Unit Production Manager, ABC News
268. Vicki Contavespi, formerly at Forbes and freelance
269. John Swartley, Journalist, San Jose Mercury, ret.
270. Chuck Carroll, Reporter, Formerly San Jose Mercury News
271. Mack Lundstrom, Reporter (ret.)/lecturer, San Jose Mercury News, San Jose State University
272. Rick Nobles, Journalist, Editor and Designer at the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury and Dallas Morning News.
273. Mary Gottschalk, Riverside Press Enterprise, San Jose Mercury
News and Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, ret.
274. Lou Calvert, 46 years as a print Journalist in Ohio and California, ret.
275. Kat Harting, former New England Bureau Chief and producer,
ABCTV News
276. Bill Knowles, Prof Emeritus, University of Montana School of
Journalism, and former ABC News producer and bureau chief
277. George F. Harrison, Writer/Producer/ CBS Radio News, Editor,
WCBS TV News/Editor, UPI/Producer, WMAR TV News
278. James Schiffman, former Chief Copy Editor, CNN International
279. Gareth Fenley, former Associate Producer, Headline News and CNN
280. Susan Rook, former CNN anchor & host of TalkBack Live
281. Brian J Nelson, former CNN Anchor & Correspondent, CNN, CNNI, Headline News
282. Rick Perera, Former CNN Field Producer
283. John Busbee, former Master Control Operator CNN2/CNN Headline News
284. Jonathan Peterson, former CNN Interactive technical manager.
285. Laura McGeary, former CNN, CNNI guest booking producer
286. Robin Kemp, former CNN newswriter
287. Kim McCabe, former Senior Producer, CNN Primetime
288. Kimberly Abbott, former CNN editorial producer
289. Susan Lilly, former Supervising Producer, CNN Medical News Unit.
290. Daniel Knode, Former Operations Supervisor CNN
291. Denise LeClair Cobb, former anchor CNN and CNN Headline News
292. David Furtney, former Research Analyst, CNN Audience Research, former Programming and News Specialist, CNN Viewer
Communications Management
293. Danielle M. Amos former CNN Supervising Producer.
294. Mike McGill, former Associate Producer, CNN Washington, former Planning Editor, WUSATV, Washington, DC.
295. Harris Whitbeck, former Bureau Chief Mexico City
296. Bruce Kauffman, Editor CNN2 / Headline News
297. Lauren Cardillo, former producer, CNN WASHINGTON Bureau
298. Sol Levine, former executive producer, CNN Washington
299. Chris Riker, former CNNI producer
300. Rich Pasenow Former Video Editor/Videographer Headline
News/CNN Newsource/CNN Telemundo
301. Ginanne Brownell Mitic, former CNN feeds producer and librarian
302. C. Farrel Sparks, formerly Senior Operations Supervisor,
CNN2/Headline News
303. Jennifer Crowe, former CNN Master Control Operator
304. Renee Oricchio, former Supervising Producer, CNN Financial News
305. Ana Chassoul, Producer CNN NewsStand, CNN Spanish
306. Martin Asturias, former CNN videographer for latin America
307. Lasta Drachkovitch, former CNN chyron and graphics operator
308. Tom Purdy, produced the first hour of CNN
309. Maria White Tillman, former CNN Sr. News Editor
310. Michael Welter, Sr. Editor/Producer CNN
311. Jessie Williams former Sr. Director/technical dir. , CNN/CNNI
312. Patricia Ochs, former International New York Times, CNN.
313. Hannah Buchdahl, former writer/producer, CNN Atlanta and DC
314. Megan Rosenfeld, former Reporter and Editor, The Washington Post
315. Robert Kelly, Reporter, St. Louis PostDispatch, ret. Mass
Communications Instructor, Southern Illinois  University, Edwardsville
316. Stacy Simon, former Executive Editor, CNN Headline News
317. Melissa Mathews, former Producer and Copy Editor, CNN
International, CNN Headline News
318. Mike O’Toole, former Writer and Producer, CNN International
319. Marty Secord Young, former Editor, Photographer, Producer CNN
320. Paula Granger, former Editor, Sound recordist, VJ
321. Bill Lichtenstein, President, Lichtenstein Creative Media
322. Silvio Carrillo, former Producer, CNN DC
323.  Rebecca Rau, Associate Director, ABC News WNT, ret.
324. Tamara Linderman Lyons, former producer, CNN Washington
325. Barbara Rafaeli, Producer, ABC News, CNN, Bloomberg, ret.
326. Joy CiarciaLevy, former Producer, ABC News
327. Scott Richardson, Manager of News Information, ABC News, ’88-90
328. Don Morfoot, former Writer, Producer and Sr Producer, ABC and NBC News
329. Larry Marotta, formerly ABC Radio
330. Doreen Thomas, former Supervisor, ABC Network Video Tape
Library
331. Susan Aasen, Producer, ABC News, ret.
332. Jacquelin Sonderling, writer, KTLA, former producer KTLA, KCAL, CBS2, former investigative producer, NBCLA
333. George F. Harrison, former Writer/Producer/ CBS Radio News,
Editor, WCBS TV News/Editor, UPI/Producer, WMAR TV                           334.   Jack Lynch, former Editor of The New York Times, San Francisco Examiner and International Herald Tribune                                   335.  John Fenoglio, political reporter, KTLA

 

 

 

The New American Abby Normal

Remember that great bit in “Young Frankenstein,” when the doctor’s assistant, played by Marty Feldman, robs the brain depository and inadvertently comes back with a brain belonging to someone named “Abby Normal,”  which the good doctor then implants in the monster?  Welcome to Halloween 2018.  American style.

Following DJT, is not covering government.  It is a Trump-defined nonstop Abby Normal reality show on CNN, MSNBC and FOX, starring Donald Trump and his sycophants on one side and those who oppose him and his antics on the other.

We are all being held hostage by Trump’s brain.

Attempting to determine what should be taken seriously, like the apparent murder and dismemberment of a Washington Post journalist on one side with Donald spouting a line of absolute drivel as he tries to excuse the Saudis and his calling for a 5% spending cut at the federal level to help make up for tax cuts to the rich on the other (experts say it won’t happen),  is a daily assault on the senses of any thinking person.

Binge watching Halloween horror movies will be a welcome relief.  They’re currently running Halloween II with Jamie Lee Curtis.  After two years of Trump, the once terrifying theme music is now like a soothing balm.    Elevator music for the 21st Century.

Waiting For DJT’s Next New Low

It was encouraging today to see that another prominent Republican, former Congressman David Jolly, has joined Steve Schmidt, Susan Eisenhower, Mary Matalin, and so many others in leaving the Republican Party.

Was also pleased to see DJT’s trophy wife did not wear her “I don’t care” jacket when she and hubby paid their required visit to hurricane victims in Florida, pretending that they actually do care even though Mara Lago was spared.  That must be the difference in their minds between Florida residents and the Puerto Ricans. For one group they pretend to care. For the other, trophy wife wears a jacket showing open resentment and disrespect for people that have had their entire island wiped out.   Or was it her trip to Texas, to inspect the temporary quarters for immigrant kids torn away from their parents?  Is that when she wore the jacket?  With repeated acts of an outrageous nature taking place a certain amount of confusion is bound to set in.

In addition, there is the unavoidable white elephant in the room, reminding us that Republicans generally view white people (Floridians) as being different from people of color (Puerto Ricans).  But we don’t talk about that, do we?  Too embarrassing.   Like Katrina, where the Bush White House largely ignored all those suffering black Americans for nearly a week.   Amazing how fast they got that stadium back up and running when they needed it for football.

Also, weren’t you proud when POTUS handed out bottled water to Hurricane victims in FLA? Better than his mediocre Tom Brady imitation, throwing rolls of paper towels through the air to homeless Puerto Ricans, and you wonder….what if anything is going through this man’s mind other than absolute and overwhelming self-love and a total indifference for others?

Aren’t you tired of waiting for his next new low? November 6th is coming. For God’s sake and for the sake of us all go out and fill in the blanks for Democrats.   This current situation is immoral, unprincipled and unacceptable.   That’s what the Republican Party now stands for, immorality, unprincipled behavior and unacceptable governance.   Think about it before going to the polls.

With Thanks To Ford, Nike And John McCain

Haven’t written anything in a while, mostly because I was just too bummed out.   Filled with an ongoing sense of ennui brought about by the endless onslaught of instability filling our national discourse making those of us with any sense of decency feeling as though the abolitionist movement never was.  That we would be forced to start all over again against the undercurrent of racism that came roaring back to the surface with Donald Trump and his “good” Nazis.  In 2018.   It strains belief.

As a white man, I will never be able to appreciate what it must feel like to have to worry about being pulled over for “driving while black” each and every time I pull out of the garage.    I will never be able to truly appreciate the black experience in America or being Latino with a president calling out Latino immigrants for being “rapists.”   I might try, and I might think I can sympathize and even empathize with black and Latino Americans, but I really can’t.   Not fully.  Not after growing up wrapped in the arms of white privilege.

Just when I was about to step off the cliff and into the eternal abyss the Ford Motor Company did something that was noble and right.  They came out in support of black athletes being allowed their freedom of expression.   The good folks at Ford  own the Detroit Lions, by the way, so this was no small gesture – particularly on top of what Nike did with their continued support of Colin Kaepernick, which boosted Nike’s online sales by more than thirty percent.

Suddenly I was feeling not great, but something at least approaching good, again.   I mean it’s really something when  you feel like giving thanks for a week-long memorial service, only because it provided a  pause from the relentless madness emanating from the White House.   A temporary return to civic decency provided by the funeral of American hero, John McCain.   A man who may have been the last good Republican standing.

However, as it turned out this new-found flicker of decency promising to light the fire of hope didn’t stop there.  It kept burning with Bob Woodward’s book, followed closely by a gut-spilling op-ed in the New York Times, telling us all that there are still adults keeping an eye on things at the White House.   That yes, our commander in chief might be a freaking loon, but that there are patriotic Americans working behind the scenes to make sure the Donald doesn’t fly into a rage and do something really, really stupid – beyond his normal stupidity –  because his nanny showed up late for work and consequently failed to provide him with a clean nappy for his shiny giant heiny.

Thank you, Ford.  Thank you, Nike.   Thank you, New York Times.  Thanks to all those nameless patriots who stand for civil rights and against racial injustice. Thanks to all those nameless bureaucrats who daily, stand between Donald J. Trump and the potential annihilation of the Republic.   Thank God and the founders, for our free press.

What an interesting coalition this is turning out to be,  American corporate capitalists joining forces with pro-athlete civil rights protesters, the FBI and unnamed behind-the-scenes patriots in the man-child president’s inner-circle supported by a free press.

To be sure, Ford and Nike never would have taken the positions they adopted without first conducting enough market research to ensure that what they were doing wouldn’t cripple their bottom lines.  So what?  The point,  is that instead of playing it safe, they did it.   Additionally, their research surely convinced them that there are more of their customers out there who want us to work out our problems than to continue denying and failing to deal with the ongoing problem of racism in America.

Hang on, a resolution is coming.   A big blue wave that will wash over the fat blubbering man-child lying on the floor of the Oval Office, banging his fists into the carpet and flailing his fat feet,  trying hard to pronounce actual words as he throws his latest tantrum for being unloved, unappreciated and misunderstood.   For in his mind, he is the only one that matters.   The one and only one.   Therein lies the real danger.  And his party does nothing.    If this fact alone doesn’t motivate you to throw these Republican bums out in November, then you will deserve nothing less than the economic ruin and assorted chaos that is sure to follow.    Vote.  We are so much better than this.

 

Freedom Of The Prez

There is no democracy without a free press

Today, hundreds of newspapers across the country are publishing editorials to fight back against repeated attacks on the media. The brainchild of The Boston Globe, newspapers were asked to publish their own editorials that highlight the dangers of the assault on the press.

The Society of Professional Journalists stands in solidarity with these newspapers and applauds their efforts to explain the importance of the work they do every day. We know that without them, the country would be a much darker, more secretive place.

After all, it’s journalists who uncover stories of children being abused by people in positions of authority; of drinking water being contaminated because regulations and laws weren’t followed; of the misuse of money and power by government officials and agencies.

Freedom of the press was included in the writing of the First Amendment for good reason. Our founding fathers knew that it is human nature for those in positions of power to sometimes abuse that power. For democracy to thrive, they believed it was important to ensure there would always be a watchdog – the press – to maintain balance and, when needed, protect citizens from their own government by helping them obtain information. (As the Washington Post tagline states: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”)

Journalism is a public service. Journalism is done for the public good. We’re taught as journalists to show the story, not tell the story. The best way to show the public that we are not “the enemy” is by telling accurate, fair, truthful stories. By showing that we care about the people and communities we cover. By acting ethically at all times.

But while a majority of journalists do just that, they remain at risk. According to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, 27 journalists have been attacked so far in the United States in 2018. Worldwide, according to Reporters Without Borders, 50 journalists, 10 citizen journalists and 3 media assistants have been killed in 2018.

Journalists should not have to consider hiring security guards to accompany them to political rallies. Journalists in every city and town across America should not worry for their safety every time they go out to cover a story.

A segment of the American public is clearly angry about what they describe as “fake news” or too much opinion and not enough facts. Journalists don’t understand why the average citizen struggles to tell the differences among news, opinion, commentary and analysis, or to realize that not every journalist produces each kind of journalism.

The United Nations Human Rights Chief said earlier this week the numbers of incidences of violence and death against journalists will increase worldwide if the rhetoric does not stop. Other countries look to the United States to set the precedent, he said, adding that, “The U.S. creates a demonstration effect, which then is picked up by other countries where the leadership tends to be more authoritarian [in] character or aspires to be authoritarian.”

No profession is perfect. Journalism is no exception. But a United States without a free press is not a place most Americans would want to live. Simply put, there is no democracy without a free press.

 

-Reprint from Rebecca Baker’s blog.  She is President of the Society of Professional Journalists

Have A Nice Day…

And now Trump is threatening Iran with..what? No one is quite sure. He is also threatening to strip security clearances from former U.S. officials, some of whom no longer even have a security clearance. This president, who has abandoned our allies and who may be mentally unstable, according to more than two-dozen mental health professionals who wrote a book on the subject, has no credibility. All we can be sure of is his loyalty to Putin and the Russians.

This madness, supported by the Republican Party and a base seized by an uninformed blind faith that elevates Donald Trump to the level of a deity, is our new reality.

Oh, and did you see the news in the WSJ, that the Russians appear to have the capability to hack into and maybe shut down our power grids? Isn’t that special?  There was speculation on this months ago. Now, as our intelligence community likes to put it, the warning lights are apparently “blinking red.”

This would be the same intelligence community that’s trying to protect the United States.   The very same intelligence community that Donald Trump opposes as he sides with Vladimir Putin and the Russians against our best interests.   Madness.  Or is it?

The pundits speculate that much of what Trump does is done to distract, which could of course, be true.   Don’t fall for it.   Collusion with the Russians and Trump turning his back on our allies are the biggest issues out there and they aren’t going away.  Unless Donald starts another shooting war.   That would be the biggest distraction of all.

Donald Trump / A Way Out For America

President Donald J. Trump, has just turned his back on our NATO allies and surrendered the country to former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin and the Russians.   And he did it on the world stage.  This is madness.  Some are suggesting that Mr. Trump may be suffering from dementia.

For whatever reason, Trump is clearly putting the interests of a hostile foreign power above the interests of the United States.  This is clearly unacceptable.

There is a way to remove Trump from office short of impeachment.  The Republicans will have to do it, as they hold the vice presidency,  a majority in both houses and a majority of what the Constitution calls the “executive departments” of the government.  That way, is the 25th Amendment.  Here is what it says.

“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”  – 25th Amendment, Section 4

Will this happen?  Never say never, but so long as some 40% of the country remains in denial it is highly unlikely.   However, this latest embarrassment  on the world stage being what it was,  indicating quite possibly that things will only get worse,  would lead one to believe that at some point the 25th Amendment might be seen as a viable option – but only if enough Republicans believe that doing nothing will be more costly to their party at the polls.

Paranoid? You Should Be

12 members of the Russian GRU (military intelligence) have been indicted for working to influence the 2016 election on behalf of Donald Trump. Who ya gonna side with? The FBI and all of American intelligence, or Donald and his Russian buddies, who undoubtedly have long-term dream scenarios of overthrowing the governments of the U.S. and the U.K., while fracturing the EU into pieces while Soviet (whoops, excuse me) Russian influence floods the globe?

Pardon my paranoia, but sometimes a little paranoia can be a good thing.   Can’t prove any of this, but sometimes things are exactly as they seem.  

I can’t help but think there was a very specific reason the FBI announced these indictments just prior to DJT’s very private meeting with Vladimir Putin, to be attended only by interpreters. I think it may have been more than pushback for the show trial in the House the Republicans held to slam the FBI and the Mueller investigation.  It almost feels like Trump and his supporters in the House, are doing all they can to provide cover for Putin and the Russians.  All of it leads one to think that the country could be in far more peril than anyone suspects, except for the intelligence community, and that they were sending a message to Putin and his American puppet to back off.  

There are two games being played.   The one we’re all watching on television, and the other, taking place out of the spotlight, on an international chessboard with pieces being moved in the shadows.

We do know that Donald J. Trump, refuses to admit the Russians meddled in the election and that he continued that refusal even after being briefed about these new indictments by the FBI.  We also know that his son-in-law, Jerad Kushner, was talking to the Russians during the runup to the election, trying to set up a back-channel to the Kremlin out of Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States.

There’s so much more.

Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev, paid Donald Trump $95 million for a Florida property Trump purchased for $41 million.    It’s not uncommon for property to appreciate in value over time and Palm Beach is a pricey neighborhood but almost everybody concerned agrees that this was an unusually high profit.      It did in fact, at that time,  set a record for the price of a single family home anywhere in the U.S.    Rybolovlev’s people say it was simply an investment.  However, there is evidence that Rybolovlev and Trump may be more than casual business associates.   The Seattle Times reports that, “Federal Aviation Administration records reviewed by The Palm Beach Post and other news outlets have tracked Rybolovlev’s private plane to cities where Trump has traveled, both during his campaign and into his presidency.”

The New York Times reported that Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg met with Trump attorney Michael Cohen at Trump Tower eleven days before Donald Trump’s inauguration, to discuss ways to improve US-Russia relations.   A short time later, one of the oligarch’s subsidiaries signed a million-dollar contract with Cohen, according to an article in salon.com. 

Just days ago, the State of Maryland was notified by the FBI that a Russian oligarch owns the company that handles their election registration software.   According to State Senate President Thomas Mike Miller, Jr., and House Speaker Michael Bush, “We were briefed late yesterday, along with Governor Hogan, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the software vendor who maintains portions of the State Board of Elections voter registration platform was purchased by a Russian investor in 2015, without the knowledge of state officials.”

According to the New York Post, from 2011 to 2013 the FBI bugged a unit on the 63rd floor of Trump Tower, which was allegedly being used by the Russian mob for gambling and money laundering.

Politico reports that Donald Trump Jr. praised the Russians at a real estate conference in 2008, saying, “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” he said of Trump Organization properties. “There’s indeed a lot of money coming for new-builds and resale reflecting a trend in the Russian economy and, of course, the weak dollar versus the ruble.”

Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who popped up from out of thin air, was a former adviser to the former President of Ukraine,  Viktor Yanukovych, who is a political ally of Russian President, Vladimir Putin.  When the Yanukovych government fell amidst evidence of widespread corruption, Yanukovych, fled to Russia.

To this day DJT has refused to take any action to stop the Russians from meddling in upcoming elections.  He’s done nothing.  Almost as though he is under orders to stand down, to avoid getting in the way of the Russians.

Trump is turning his back on our friends and allies while singing the praises of dictators  and tyrants who oppose the very concept of democratic freedoms and self-determination.

How much more do you need?  Sometimes things are exactly as they seem.

Phony News Hurts Broadcast Journalism’s Image

Fellow news junkies – It was bad enough when local stations gave IHOP tons of free advertising when they changed their name to IHOB. That was barely news…..just barely, and probably not news at all. Now they’re doing a story about IHOP changing it back again because it was all a ruse to promote their burgers – giving them even more free ads.

I was almost over that slander on what news should really be when a local station did a “story” on Chick-fil-A’s annual promotion, offering a free entre’ to anyone who shows up at one of their outlets dressed as a cow. Salads, not included.

Now there’s a real news story. Something that will impact us all. The gay-bashing owner of a chicken sandwich chain offering free food to any idiot willing to dress up like a cow. Really? Come on. Stop disguising free ads as news. You’re hurting us all by destroying the image of American broadcast journalism.   And just so you’ll know, it’s not the journalists doing this, it’s the companies they work for, who will do almost anything to get ad dollars, even if they have to give away free ads disguised as news to do it.

Don’t criticize FOX, if you’re gonna turn around and disguise free ads as news stories.  Don’t cringe when Trump accuses the mainstream media of doing fake news when that’s precisely what you’re doing.

TV salespeople have been offering  free news coverage as “sweetners” to close deals for years.  Back in the 70’s a former colleague, a producer, was fired for refusing to run the grand opening of a McDonald’s in Columbus, Ohio, as a news story.  He gave up his job to preserve his professional ethics.  Suppose anybody would do that now?

A lie is a lie is a lie.   You either have credibility or you don’t, and when it’s gone, getting it back again is a bitch.   The saddest part, is that most of what the mainstream is doing is an attempt at solid journalism.  But none of that matters when they “fudge” what they’re doing  just a little, to help the sales department get another account.

America – Who And What We Are

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”    In Congress, July 4, 1776 

Annapolis And The Hazards Of Journalism In This “Age Of Trump”

A few thoughts from Patrick  McGrath-

######

In retirement, I wrote occasional columns for the Annapolis Capital, and dealt with the now murdered editorial editor Gerald Fischman. My daughter Megan knew John McNamara as a young college intern back in Bowie in 1989.

We live near Annapolis, and suddenly mass shootings have come close to home. There will be funerals for all five victims. But I hope there will also be some kind of memorial service for all five…where journalists who did not know the victims well…or more likely not at all….can show up to show their solidarity with the important role that journalists play in our society.

Police and firemen have understood this for a long time, and they make a major effort to turn out for the funerals of their fallen brethren. This may be a moment when members of the news media need an occasion to show up to show their support…particularly in a time when the news media is being described by Donald Trump as the “enemy of the people” and the purveyor of “fake news.”

Pat McGrath

(Pat is a well-respected and retired journalist,  living in Maryland.  He and I were colleagues at WMAR-TV in Baltimore – RO)

The Lingering Ghost Of Rome

 

It’s impossible to watch what is now happening in the Southwest, with the Trump Administration setting up internment camps for children and babies, without being reminded of Germany in the late 1930’s and 40’s.  For those of us who know a little history,  what’s happening is also somewhat reminiscint of Roman Carthage.

Around 150 BC, the Romans marched in and captured Carthage, eventually turning it into one of the biggest cities in the Roman Empire.   They held it until 435, when the Vandals came in, capturing the city while most of the sports-obsessed Romans were off attending the games, chariot races, gladiatorial contests and whatnot,  at the local coliseum.

It may be overstating things to say the Vandals might never have taken the city, had the sports-obsessed Romans paid more attention to their defenses and less to sporting events.   Then again, maybe not, which brings us back to a parallel with the United States.

Not only are we an overextended empire, as were the Romans, we are equally sports-obsessed.  One wonders how the country would function if the populace spent one-third of the time it spends watching sporting events or playing fantasy football, with reading and thinking about how the country is being run.   This doesn’t mean getting all of one’s “news” on the FOX News Network, it means actually reading a mainstream newspaper either online or by subscription.  They will still bring it to your front door for a very nominal fee and it is still a good way to absorb some solid, objective information.   You might consider it your patriotic duty.

Mainstream newspapers are not engaged in doing fake news, regardless of what Donald Trump may be telling you.   Most of the fake news, in fact, has been coming from the mouth of Donald J. Trump.  And it’s bringing down our country.

Without belaboring the point of how fascism did not grab Germany by the throat overnight, that it was a process that developed over years and not months or days, it is not unreasonable to draw parallels with what is happening in the U.S., particularly in light of Trump’s “birther” movement, a president who equates Mexicans with “rapists,”  who labels all those of the Muslim faith as being dangerous, who turns his back on the needs of storm-ravaged Puerto Ricans and more recently gave his approval to torch carrying neo-Nazis, marching through the streets of Charlottesville.    And now, in one more horrendous and unbelievable stroke, Donald Trump has set up internment camps for toddlers and babies, calling them “tender age” camps, in an effort to make the fact that he has fixed his approval to tearing babies and kids away from their parents sound  less harsh than it actually is.   It is simply monstrous, and Trump, unrestrained by his Republican Party, is acting like a dictator.  Or at the very least, a power-mad oligarch, playing the race card for all it’s worth, as he attempts to turn white Americans against all people of color.

According to a study done at Princeton,  our Democracy, once the envy of the world,  is already dead.  Gone.   The scholarly study says we are now an Oligarchy, which works well for Donald J. Trump, who has shown himself to be a modern-day authoritarian Julius Caesar wannabe.  Are we now, with Vandals approaching the city,  literally playing ourselves into the hands of fascism?

With thousands of kids being torn from their parents, and no sign that the country has any idea as to how to eventually reunite them, isn’t it finally time to say “enough?”  Isn’t it beyond time for men and women of good conscience and decency to set aside politics, restore our system of checks and balances,  and remove Donald J. Trump and his poisonous, hateful, racist band of scoundrels from office?

Let us pray that our elected officials act responsibly before we lose all hope of regaining a representative federal government.    Don’t think it can’t happen here.  The unthinkable is happening right now, down on our southern border.    Thousands of kids are being torn from their parents and it’s being done in our names.  Yours and mine.

Is The Pope Catholic?

Bumped into a music producer friend at a social function the other day who told me something that didn’t immediately register.  “Gibson, has gone bankrupt,” he said.  “Gibson,” being the Gibson Guitar Company, supplier of guitars to Clapton, B.B. King, and all the rest.  An old Gibson “Les Paul Junior” is the one guitar every nearly every rocker wants.  If they can even find and afford one.

Pretty much any garage band rocker who came of age in the 50’s or 60’s has some fond memory of a Gibson or two.  Mine pre-dates my first garage band – or should  I say “basement band,” as in Minnesota, the garage was way too cold for making music.   I go all the way back to the folk craze, to Pete Seeger and the Weavers, Malvina Reynolds and Peter, Paul and Mary.   As a kid, I had the folkie-thing bad and so it was that I talked my parents into buying me a real guitar.  My mother eventually caved and decided we should go to a good music store for the purchase.  And so, on one very cold winter’s day in the early 60’s, we arrived at the St. Cloud Music Store.   It was cold enough to bring tears to my mother’s eyes.

I recall looking at two guitars.  One was a  hollow-body electric, with “f-holes.”   The other, was a simple and yet beautiful classical guitar, similar to the instruments played by Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey.   My mother wanted me to get the big electric monster, but I’d have none of it.  I was a devoted folkie and I wanted the acoustic folk guitar.  Both guitars were Gibsons, and so I left the store with a Gibson CO-Classic guitar.

Gibson, isn’t just a guitar company, it’s an American icon.  Like  Bazooka bubble gum, Chevrolet,  the Yankees and Harley Davidson, which just announced they’ll be laying off around one-hundred workers here in the U.S.,  and opening a new plant in Thailand.

First Harley and now Gibson?  A line from that old Buffalo Springfield song, “somethin’s happenin’ here, what it is ain’t exactly clear….” keeps replaying in my head.    Something very basic, entirely fundamental to who we are has changed and there may be no going back.   Oh sure, Gibson is in Chapter 11, and they may be able to reorganize and survive as a company, and yet you have to wonder exactly where we now are.

Some months ago I decided to get back into plinking around on a guitar.   My old Gibson and I parted ways years ago, and I had no desire to spend the money necessary to pick up another Gibson, so I decided to buy an Ibenez.  I had one some time ago and loved it, so that’s what I got.  For a mere $200, I got a hollow-body cutaway with an input for an amp.   The thing even has a built-in electronic tuner.   All for $200 bucks, and it plays and sounds great.   Since it was my second Ibenez, I became part of the reason Gibson was forced into bankruptcy.   Ibenez, you see, is a Japanese company.  This guitar I just purchased, was made in China.  A Japanese guitar made in China and sold in the United States.   And the wheels on the bus go round and round.

I can imagine this guy rolling down the highway on a Harley made in Thailand, wearing a black jacket made in Mexico with a Japanese guitar made in China slung across his back.

I was amused the other day by a statement the President made about banning imports of luxury cars.   I guess nobody told him that BMW is making cars in South Carolina while Honda assembles its top-rated Accord in Marysville, Ohio and that  Mercedes are being built by American workers in Alabama.

It was almost as amusing as his constant touting of employment numbers.   Apparently he never considers the millions of good paying union jobs that have been off-shored and will probably never be coming back, not to mention the fact that you can’t make a living flipping burgers or working at a checkout counter for a company that limits your hours to under forty a week making you ineligible for benefits and with no union to represent what should be your basic human rights.

It’s called globalism.  It’s represented by a class of multi-national corporations and billionaires who live in a world separate from most.   They live in mansions,  travel in private jets and eat in private dining rooms.  When they get sick, they go to the best doctors without having to worry about paying the bill.  Their children attend the most expensive private schools.  We support their lifestyles with our tax dollars which pay not only for police and fire service here in the United States, but for the American military which guarantees the security of their economic interests internationally.   And yet, their loyalty is not to the country, but to the ebb and flow of capital.

Economically, they own us.  Meaning, they are also in control of much of what happens to us culturally.   With enough money you can buy not only politicians but an endless stream of media telling the same lies over and over again until eventually, the lies become accepted as fact.   A new reality.   Like unions being the problem instead of a solution.  Like tax cuts for the uber-wealthy being the best thing for the uber-poor.  Like supporting the hate-filled, racist rhetoric coming from the mouth of an autocrat who diverts attention from the growing income gap between those at the top and what used to be middle-America.

When I was a little kid, we used to taunt one-another with the question, “Is the Pope Catholic?”   It was a smart-ass retort, because the answer was so fundamentally simple.   Very soon, it may not be.

We may be at a point where one of the few real things we have left as Americans, is our political self-determination.   Even that is threatened by Russian hackers and billionaires who pump millions into political campaigns to buy ads to alter public perception while bribing elected officials.    Controlling the way we vote is still that important.   It’s the one thing we know we can still control.  It’s one thing that has not been stripped away from middle-America.

Please vote.  In both the general and the primary.  Or one day you may wake up to discover the Pope is no longer Catholic and the country is no longer there.   That we are just one big global economy run not by elected officials, but by multinational billionaire oligarchs for whom your personal opinions and needs will be largely irrelevant.

A Sanitized Version Of TV News

Question for all the journos out there:  Is it okay to sanitize broadcast news?   Does this bother you,  or is it just me?

When does editing cross over into censorship?

Yesterday one of the tv news shows here in the Baltimore area sanitized not one but two stories, all in the same hour.   It was not the Sinclair station, nor was it Fox.  It was one of the “big-3” network affiliates.

First, they did the story on the apparent suicide of Kate Spade, without including the information that she apparently hanged herself with a scarf tied to a doorknob.

Then, they did the story about the Mayor of Philadelphia responding to the President disinviting the Philadelphia Eagles to a celebration at the White House, without including the Mayor’s most biting criticism of the President..   The statement from the Mayor the tv news show opted not to include was, “…our president is not a true patriot, but a fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend.”

It’s difficult for me to understand how someone commits suicide by tying a scarf to a doorknob.   So maybe it wasn’t suicide?  So maybe that should have been included in the story?  Also, the Mayor’s comments about President Trump, are kind of essential to doing a complete story on what the Mayor had to say, right?   This wasn’t some unknown man on the street interview, it was the Mayor of one of the biggest cities in America.

I knew both these stories had been “sanitized” (not just edited, but censored) because I read newspapers.   Many people do not, so they don’t have the advantage of staying properly informed.   Well, they have the advantage, but they choose not to use it, which makes the job the broadcast outlets are doing all the more critical.

Is it just me, or is something very basically wrong going on here?   Isn’t our job to find out what the hell is going on,  you know, the famous “5-W’s,” and then tell our viewers about it, warts and all?