Suddenly it hit me. It’s very simple, really. The filter that professional journalism provided is mostly still there, but it’s no longer the only megaphone to the masses. It no longer protects the masses against disinformation and evil intent.
Legitimate journalists must now compete with another megaphone, one that’s available to the liars among us, the lunatic fringe that wants only to bend the masses to their self-absorption and delusion. Those who are blinded by avarice. Those who blindly accept the lies.
As a result, millions of Americans have been left believing not the truth that’s put forth by legitimate journalists, but lies being spewed daily over the Web and on right-wing broadcasting. Lies, like real news being fake and Fascism being preferable to Democracy.
How we reconcile stopping this evil without corrupting the First Amendment is beyond me, but if we don’t, it could lead to our downfall as a free people.
It’s really very simple. It’s about evil. It’s about the liars among us. It’s about who will have the courage to call them out and take them on. It’s about who will have the courage to stand by the law. As Robert Bolt wrote in “A Man For All Seasons,” whatever your belief system might be, we are in a battle with evil over the rule of law both figuratively and literally.
As Bolt has written: “And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned around on you–where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast–man’s laws, not God’s–and if you cut them down…d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.” – Sir Thomas More in “A Man For All Seasons”
Why are the Communist Chinese so uncharacteristically unnerved about the visit by Nancy Pelosi? Could it indicate a struggle inside China, pitting military against political leaders? If that’s the case, then what are the implications for the United States and the West?
Why is the 7/24 U.S. media mostly ignoring the situation as though it isn’t happening as the Communist Chinese turn the water and air space around Taiwan into a free-fire zone? I know the networks no longer have correspondents overseas, so they’ve pretty much abdicated any responsibility they might have for covering it in person, but they could at least discuss it on the shows in that it is LEGITIMATE NEWS, as opposed to the same old political nonsense about exactly the same players they continue repeating ad nauseam.
Why do the 7/24 news channels refuse to do “news?” Can they no longer identify what it is? If they don’t know what to do they could watch the BBC and France24 where news coverage is still going on.
They have no audience because people are sick and tired of hearing the very same three or four topics being discussed again and again and again by the same three or four “experts.”
Is it a simple question of the same pundits spouting opinions being less expensive? Has actual news coverage become too expensive for commercial television to cover?
What to do about the new 6th Street Bridge in Los Angeles? Almost from the moment it opened the bridge has attracted consternation, conflict and controversy leading to the LAPD shutting it down on multiple occasions.
The first problem I recall reading about, was the muscle car people “taking over” the bridge to do donuts, spinning around in circles with their cars. After that, people started doing all kinds of goofy things on the bridge, like a barber cutting some guys hair out in the middle of traffic. And then it hit me. It’s not the bridge that’s attracting all the attention, it’s video of what people are doing on the bridge that gets posted on social media. The 6th Street bridge, has apparently become the biggest “Look at me!” social media site in Southern California? Please understand that I’m not there, so I’m just guessing based upon news coverage. And a little history.
Some years ago, way before O.J. and his famous “slow speed chase,” police pursuits were a new thing for Los Angeles television. It started at some point when someone noticed that helicopter coverage of a police pursuit pulled in an audience. After that another station did it and then another and another, until eventually we had a half-dozen or more choppers up, chasing a police pursuit regardless of the reason for it or the speed involved. Some guy could have been driving an old tractor down Ventura Boulevard at three miles per hour. If the police were in pursuit then by god, we’d all be there with our choppers overhead providing live tv coverage for an audience that loved it. We knew they loved it because they were watching in record numbers.
A couple of the stations decided to stop covering pursuits because they had no news value whatsoever and their ratings crashed. That’s how we knew. But back to the 6th Street bridge.
It was during one of those early pursuits that something really strange happened that led to me having an epiphany. There we were, chasing the police who were chasing a suspect – our helicopter was overhead and my cameraman and I were in our truck on the ground – when the strangest thing happened. Crowds began gathering in advance of our arrival. That is to say, people were running out into the street to cheer and jeer before the parade passed by because they wanted to be on television. We, had become the cause of all those people gathering out in the street. They were watching the pursuit on tv, and then running outside when they saw it was headed their way because they wanted to get their faces on the tube.
Instead of providing coverage of an event, we were the event, or at least one part of it and making it bigger than it would have been had we not been there. You could say we were adding to the problem instead of just providing coverage.
Could the same thing be happening with the 6th Street bridge? You can bet video of the barber who was cutting hair out in the middle of traffic ended up on social media. If you look carefully, you can see someone holding up a smart phone to record or maybe provide a live feed of the whole hair cutting adventure.
I suppose it’s a case of “everything old is new again” or in this case, maybe it’s “news again?” But this time you can’t blame the news media. This time it appears to be just a bunch of goofballs with smartphones showing off.
Turned on the tube this AM to find Smerconish on CNN and Velshi on MSNBC. Two bald guys. I wondered if one of the channels saw their competition had a bald guy and decided they had better get one too? It can’t be coincidence that these two channels have their bald guys facing off against one-another on Saturday mornings? There has to be some reasoning behind this bald guy competition?
Then it struck me. Enough with this emphasis on hair and makeup. What America needs, is an all bald guy news channel. “All bald, all the time.”
During the Vietnam War it was exposure to Agent Orange and any number of other defoliants and chemicals. In Afghanistan it was open-pit burning. Now it’s bad water at Camp Lejenune. Warfare is difficult enough without our soldiers falling ill due to a lack of oversight and expertise in the command structure. Congress and the military need to come up with a permanent oversight solution to our military poisoning its own people. So the pundits are now echoing Joe Biden’s big comeback after somehow pulling a fast one and getting coal millionaire Joe Manchin to go along with a package that will benefit the country even if most of the hard-core “party before country” Republicans don’t like it. The Dem’s will need each and every vote in the Senate to make this work so the big question now is will Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema buy into the program? We know Manchin’s family made millions in the coal brokerage business in West Virginia, so his normal pro-Republican Party agenda isn’t all that tough to understand. But what makes Sinema tick?
Is it the power of the adrenaline rush she feels, knowing everybody is giving her all that attention as a “DINO” – democrat in name only? Who is Kyrsten Sinema, really? And why does she do what she does? Maybe she’s just a flake? It’s possible, you know. Sometimes things are just that simple.
And finally in this morning rant, who are the Communist Chinese to tell a United States Congresswoman, much less the Speaker of the House, that she can’t visit a free country? This shouldn’t even be a question.
Do you ever get the feeling that there’s a disconnect in the United States between those among us who understand the difference and the history that separates Communist controlled countries that subjugate their people and Democracies whose people are free? Do you ever get the feeling that a great many Americans just don’t get it and take our freedom for granted, even with galloping Trumpist Fascism knocking on the door?
Putin, wants to make Ukraine part of his dictatorship. The Commie Chinese, want to do the same with free and democratic Taiwan just as they’ve re-taken and conquered Hong Kong. This is unacceptable on both counts.
Pelosi, needs to go to Taiwan, Putin needs to get his maniacal ass out of Ukraine and the United States needs to stop acting like it’s afraid of Communist China. What needs to be done to deal with MBS and the journalist-murdering Saudis, who, it appears, helped launch the attack on 9-11, is another question. Oh, they’ve bought us all right, along with so many of our professional golfers currently teeing-off at Trump’s LIV tournament in New Jersey. Question is, are we going to let them and their co-conspirators in the oil monopoly own us?
Is America truly for sale to the highest bidder, or are we about more than that?
And finally this morning, why is the media treating the Monkeypox outbreak like it’s a new Polio epidemic? They’re in near hysteria about Monkeypox, treating it like it’s the Bubonic Plague, even though nearly all of the cases are infecting gay or bi-sexual men and it usually goes away all by itself and is almost never fatal. There is also the fact that there’s a vaccine. A more thoughtful and contextual approach to reporting out this story would probably be much appreciated by everyone.
TIME TO LET THE ATF GO? The mainstream media is currently making much ado about the new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Nobody is asking the question of why we have a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, when the problem with “moonshiners” no longer exists, most people have stopped smoking, firearms are mostly out of control, so they’ve done a lousy job with that and the explosives part can be handled by almost every state and county, as bomb squads have become commonplace. Beyond that, we have the FBI. So who needs the ATF? The Republicans keep screaming about smaller government – except when it’s to their advantage not to, like expanding the military to protect overseas investments – so why not fold the ATF into the FBI and just forget about it? The mainstreamers are interviewing the new ATF Director about solving our gun violence problem? Are they kidding?
THE TRUTH ABOUT JOE MANCHIN: Why is anyone surprised at anything Joe Manchin is doing? He’s a coal millionaire. His family owns and operates a coal brokerage business. “Manchin founded the coal brokerage Enersystems in 1988, and helped run it until he became a full-time politician. When he was elected West Virginia secretary of state in 2000, he gave control of Enersystems to his son Joseph. In Manchin’s financial disclosure for 2020, he reported that his non-public shares of Enersystems were worth between $1 million and $5 million and that between 2011 and 2020 he was paid $5,211,154 in dividend income from them. In 2020, he received over $500,000 in dividends. Enersystems is 71% of Manchin’s investment income and 30% of his net worth.” -Wikipedia
TIME TO GET IT OUT THERE: A Secret Service conspiracy to cover up their involvement in an attempted coup? Boom, there it is, until the Secret Service proves the coverup theory to be wrong. We had better start talking about it if we want to save the Republic.
Mass shootings are a weekly and sometimes daily affair in America. There were 8 shootings with 5 people killed over this past weekend in Baltimore, where carnage has become commonplace. A little more than a week ago a 15 year-old “squeegee worker” shot and killed an irate motorist with a bat in the city’s tourist district.
I can’t remember the last mass shooting in the UK, although I think there might have been one about a year ago. Mass school shootings in the UK? Nothing comes to mind. Wonder what the difference might be?
Our elected leaders huff and puff and some even moan, but nothing substantial seems to change.
The connection between gun availability and shootings in the U.S. is as difficult to understand as is climate change and the fact that parts of the Southwest and vast sections of Europe are currently on fire. What once was a fire season lasting a few months in Southern California, has expanded to be a year-round problem.
When did so many people lose the capacity for rational thought, as we watch majority rule slipping away, hand in hand with our freedom while the oligarchs who own the Congress smile, confident that they have things well under control? For them, dealing effectively with gun violence and climate change is not a cost-effective proposition.
An old friend from Los Angeles just called. Well, actually, we go back even farther than L.A., to earlier days at WMAR-TV in Baltimore. So when we talk, there’s a lot to remember. And so it was that we had a conversation about a story we were sent out to do in the early 80’s by KABC-TV. A story about new device called a Macintosh.
We arrived at the interview location to see a man seated at a desk with a little box with a screen on it. There was a slot in the box and a little square image blinking on the screen. There was also a keyboard on the desk and some other little square plastic box thingy attached to wire nearby.
A box with a screen, a keyboard and a much smaller box attached to a wire. It was not impressive. In fact, it didn’t look like much of anything at all. I began wondering if I had done something to irritate the people on the assignment desk.
Introductions were made and I asked the guy to show us what this miraculous new product was capable of. Obviously excited, he explained that what he had was a computer anybody could use and that it was capable of rendering graphics and that it was going to change everything. It was going to be huge! “Okay” I said, “So can you show us what it does?” “It looks like a typewriter” I said. He assured us it was much more than that.
My photographer got the shot she wanted and we rolled tape while the guy clicked away on the keyboard and moved the little wired thingy around on the desktop.
Then it happened.
Line by line a monochrome image of a tennis shoe began developing on the screen. A tennis shoe! It was a New Balance shoe, as I recall. I also recall thinking this was one of the dumbest things I had ever seen. Even after concluding the interview, I was sure I had seen the first and last of whatever this thing was supposed to be.
Putting together a story about it was going to be a nightmare. An electronic device that could draw a shoe. It probably didn’t matter though, as we surely would never again see or hear from Steve Wozniak and his Apple Macintosh.
(Disclaimer: This story composed on a MacBook Air)
My wife just told me she has a number of documents she needs to print today. I told her she need not worry because I just recently replaced the…….and all I could think of was “the ink thing.” I had to do a google search for toner cartridge. She couldn’t remember what it’s called, either.
I think I may have had too much caffeine this morning or perhaps it’s the impact of more than two years of dealing with the plague. No idea what my wife’s problem is. I’m just fine, though. I have a new ink thing and google to tell me what it is.
Just read a piece from the CBS affiliate in Baltimore about a “squeegee worker.” So “squeegee kids,” are now “squeegee workers.” And so the media turns something most people see as a problem into a legitimate occupation.
Learned recently they are also calling the homeless the “unhoused.” With enough topspin, nothing is as bad as it seems. The term may have originated in L.A. County, where it’s estimated there are currently more than 80,000 “unhoused” persons. Perhaps facing reality and trying to determine how to deal with it is just too painful if everybody understands what’s being said?
I had a feeling we might be in trouble when somebody decided “janitor” was a derogatory term and prostitutes suddenly became “sex workers” back in the 70’s. At least I think it was in the 70’s. Now, in tv news, what we called “one man bands” are referred to as “MMJ’s.” I have no idea what the acronym even means. I suspect it could be “Multi-media Journalist.”
And so our ability to communicate is diminished and the former necessity of sending a photographer out with a reporter if you want the job done right is no longer a problem. Paying one man or woman – an “MMJ” to do what used to be the work of two or even three, is far more “cost effective” for the company, right? In the end, isn’t that what really matters? Making more money for the shareholders?
Excuse me, but what are we celebrating? Is it the crushing blow to women’s rights by the Supreme Court? A ten year old girl being denied an abortion in Ohio? Or the repeated failure of Congress to pass meaningful gun-control legislation sliding so smoothly into today’s slaughter in Illinois? I see the fireworks, the singing, the dancing. Forgive me, but what are we celebrating? Six Americans were murdered. More than 30 others were injured. I feel like mourning the dead, not dancing in the street. Determining what’s wrong so that we can fix it. I don’t feel like celebrating anything right now. It feels like reality is being denied. Being resilient is one thing. Being in denial, is another.
So this ad for caps, basically, baseball caps, shows up on my timeline. The company that is selling the caps is advertising them as “hats.” They are not hats, they are caps. What the hell is wrong with people? This is so simple. A few people get something wrong, it spreads, no one corrects anyone else, and before long the ignorance is palpable.
Let’s hear a big cheer for the east coast intellectuals that the goobers hate! They could be our last best chance. No more hats. Forget the pickup trucks, too. Let’s get back to trying to be as good as those we admire for their intellect and wit, the Prius-driving intellectuals, instead of dumbing everything down to the lowest common denominator, which has pretty much gotten us to where we are – a state of crisis that threatens to destroy our democracy and eliminate our freedom, much to the delight of Vladimir Putin and his Fascist minions.
It’s okay to demand more of people intellectually, as opposed to pretending everything is as it should be. Going for the lowest common denominator sells more junk to the masses but demanding that they smarten up, revealing their ignorance for what it is and getting them to actually think, could very well save the country.
I wrote the cap company letting them know that they are not selling hats. It’s a start.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, has just signed a bill repealing existing state law than banned loitering for the intent to sell sex, making it difficult for the police to do anything that bothers “sex workers.”
Newsom, is quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying, “It simply revokes provisions of the law that have led to disproportionate harassment of women and transgendered adults,” Newsom wrote. “While I agree with the author’s intent and I am signing this legislation, we must be cautious about its implementation. My Administration will monitor crime and prosecution trends for any possible unintended consequences and will act to mitigate any such consequences.”
Really? Unintended consequences? You mean like hookers on the streets in Brentwood and Beverly Hills and the cops not being able to do anything about it?
Not sure where Newsom was in 1983. In the 9th grade, I guess. Anyway, at that time time the City of Los Angeles was getting ready for the arrival of the Olympic Games, and Hollywood, was a literal dump. The streets were filled with trash, the Hollywood sign was falling down and there were hookers on nearly every corner of Sunset Boulevard. The bushes on the corner near the old Directors Guild building was one of their favorite spots. There were used condoms all over the place. Welcome to Hollywood.
Something had to be done, and it was. City leaders talked to the LAPD, the LAPD talked to the hookers, and almost overnight, there were no more sex workers standing on the corners in Hollywood. They had vanished. Word on the street was that most had left for one of two places, either Las Vegas or Hawaii. Wherever they went, they were gone, and they didn’t come back as Johnny Grant and the Hollywood Chamber fixed the place up with a refurbished Hollywood sign, cleaner streets and developers putting up new buildings, like the big new theater complex at Hollywood and Highland.
Hollywood, one of the City’s biggest and best tourist draws, had been reborn, and the turistas arrived by the millions. And without hookers on every corner. Because the LAPD had turned up the heat, chasing them out. But no more, apparently, not after Governor Newsom’s signing this new bill. At least that’s the way it seems.
I recall my former colleague at ABC, Judd Rose, driving down Sunset Boulevard in a tv truck, handing out roses to hookers as part of a story he was doing about how they were being chased out of the City just in time for the Olympics. Or it may have been Judd’s departure from KABC to the ABC Network. Either way, you get the idea. There were a lot of hookers on Sunset and Judd, being one of the most creative reporters ever to hit the world of tv news was saying goodbye by handing out roses. On the flip side, Governor Newsom, may turn out to be one of the least creative politicians. One of his “unintended consequences” could be that he has welcomed the hookers back to Hollywood. And with State law superceding local ordinances, the cops won’t be able to do much about it. Beyond that, he probably won’t have an easy time untying what may be a political gordian knot.
According to the Times, the new law “deeply divided Democrats in the Legislature and pitted transgender rights activists against advocates to stop human trafficking.” Not to mention moderate Democrats who don’t want hookers hanging out in front of their businesses. Or their homes. Or tourists who don’t want their kids asking who all the funny looking ladies are.
Good luck undoing this one, Governor. It feels like there may be “unintended consequences” hiding in the bushes as once again infighting among democrats proves to be their undoing, setting up what could be a huge problem should you ever plan on running for national office. You can bet the opposition won’t forget this one.
There is only one way to handle the “world’s oldest profession.” That’s to control, contain and make it safe by making it legal. What you’ve done, is only a half-step. Maybe even less. Politically, doing nothing probably would have been better. If this was divisive in ultra-liberal California, imagine how it’ll play in Tulsa.
Postscript: Shortly after posting this piece I received an email from a former colleague in the news business back in Los Angeles. He wanted to let me know that Hollywood is once again the “armpit of Los Angeles,” and that it will be interesting to see the “homeless interacting with the hookers.” We left L.A. seven years ago. I had no idea Hollywood had taken such a hit in just seven years.
Increasingly I find unshaven grown men with wild hair to be offensive. Buy a razor and get a haircut. Truth is, you look like a hell. The only people who think you look good are a cabal of fashion designers who live together in a loft in New York and get all their news from Vanity Fair.
It really pisses me off when people deface the American flag for one cause or another or leave their flag out in the rain or snow or don’t bother to take it in at night but consider themselves to be patriotic.
Stop telling me I need to “wake up.” I’m from the 60’s. We were “woke” before it was even a thing. Hell, we invented it.
Most contemporary music sounds like rubbish to my ear. I have rediscovered Herb Alpert and Sergio Mendes.
TV News people need to worry less about hair and makeup and more about journalism.
I am almost equally offended by extremists on the right and the left, although the far-right is more frightening because they’re obviously nuts and pose the greatest danger to our democratic way of life.
Kids, talk way too fast and know almost no history which leaves me not wanting to interface with anybody because nothing makes me angrier than ignorance – except for someone trying to deceive me and thinking I’m stupid enough to believe what they are saying. I am not infrequently met with a blank stare while attempting to talk to others because they have no idea what the hell I’m talking about.
When I was a kid adults would say “You’d better smarten up!” or “You better go take a few smart pills.” The first step on the road to smartening up was the realization that there was no such thing as “smart pills.” Now the overwhelming belief appears to be that the worst thing anyone can to is to hurt someone’s delicate sensibilities.
“Safe space” my ass. The world isn’t safe. Know what’s really dangerous? Making college so expensive that almost nobody can afford it – so that they won’t be able to figure out what’s going on while oligarchs promote Fascism in a country that defeated Fascism to keep the world safe for Democracy.
It’s taken 74 years, but I finally know why my grandfather appeared to be so fed up.
The web headline from WJZ-TV is beyond belief. “16 Shot 6 Killed in Weekend Violence” it reads. It goes on to point out that one man was found dead shot in the head on Interstate 95, which is significant I suppose, because it’s within the jurisdiction of the State and not the city. It happened within city limits though, and dead is dead.
Having returned to Maryland 6 years ago and having lived through and covered the gang wars in Los Angeles as a reporter in the 80’s and 90’s, I find the current crime problem in “Charm City” both terrible and fascinating. The question of course is what’s to be done about Baltimore, a city that appears to be broken from top to bottom? A city that can’t seem to find it’s way beyond the lawlessness that rules its streets.
Not only does it have a gang problem, it seems to lack the political will, the leadership, to do anything substantial about it.
It was a different place when I lived there in the early 80’s. William Donald Schaefer was Mayor. He was broadly condemned for having a “shadow government” but at the same time, everything worked. In other words, the city was kept clean. The garbage was picked up on time. Kids weren’t doing “donuts” in their cars in downtown intersections. You didn’t need a scorecard to know how many people had been shot over the weekend.
Schaefer, was known for having a short fuse. He’d get angry and walk out of a news conference if he didn’t like the questions. But “Willie-Don” Schaefer, got things done. In fairness, it needs to be pointed out that this was before the crack cocaine epidemic hit urban America in 1984/85. That said, it was clear to those of us who were around at the time that Mayor Schaefer, wouldn’t put up with any nonsense. Not in his city. For him it was personal.
Los Angeles, had all the same problems Baltimore is currently having and nothing seemed to make a difference until an unpopular Police Chief named Daryl Gates sent his cops out to do a “sweep.” The police knew who the bad guys were, and early one morning the LAPD, armed with warrants, went out and rounded them up and threw them in jail. And guess what? It worked. The shooting didn’t stop completely, but it dropped way off.
The gang sweep had worked but the ACLU went into near convulsions over alleged civil rights violations of the alleged gang members. The gang bangers mothers were on every tv station in town complaining that their dope-pusher kids were being treated unfairly. And so, the ACLU took the City of Los Angeles to court. I can’t remember how many cases there were or if city officials eventually thought the exercise had been worth it. But I do remember that initially, it worked.
Factoid: When the Los Angeles Riots broke out the city’s Mayor, Tom Bradley, and the city’s Police Chief, Daryl Gates, had not spoken to one-another for more than a year. Various sources claimed they hadn’t talked for two years. The AP put it at 13 months. This has nothing to do with Baltimore, except as an example of how dysfunctional a city can become.
“Jacking up” the known bad guys, also worked in Los Angeles. The cops knew who the gang members were and where they’d hang out, so when they saw a group out on the streets the police would slam them up against a wall and see what they were carrying. The results were two-fold as some of them were arrested and others were discouraged from hanging out on the streets. The ACLU went ballistic over that one too, again alleging civil rights violations. Eventually the LAPD had to stop.
Daryl Gates responded to the ACLU’s lawsuits by telling the city’s residents that if they didn’t like the police then the next time they had a problem they should call the ACLU. Gate’s popularity continued to plunge. By the time the L.A. riots broke out, weekly “Gates Must Go!” protests had been going on for months on the lawn in front of police headquarters.
The other day I read that Baltimore’s relatively new Police Commissioner, was doing a “sweep” for gang members. A quick check on Google indicates the city has been taking similar actions, doing “sweeps” as far back at 2013.
Like “The Wire,” there’s another new crime show on tv about Baltimore. This one is titled “We Own This City.” It’s about corruption within the Baltimore Police Department and it gives the city another black eye in the national media. This is happening at a time when some Marylanders, those who live out in the counties surrounding Baltimore, are afraid to drive into the city for an Orioles game. I know they are because they’ve told me so. It has also been reported in the local press. But everyone continues with their daily business, pretending the problem isn’t there as the body count continues to rise. Denial is one way to get through it. Denial, and maybe dodging bullets or just helplessly sitting there while your car is surrounded by “squeegee kids” at downtown intersections demanding payment for messing up your windshield.
Back in L.A. old friends tell me crime is on the rise again. Big time. Some have left the city. Others are talking about leaving. Daryl Gates is long gone. Dead and buried. Which really doesn’t matter. They hated him when he was alive.