Category Archives: media news

Do the media really hate Trump?


Bill O’Reilly says the media hate Donald Trump because he doesn’t fear them.

Sure. Trump doesn’t fear the media. I get that.

But do the media really hate this guy? I think not.

You see, the media get ratings boosts and readership bumps whenever this guy opens his mouth. Now that he’s running for president of the United States of America, the media have to report on the things he says. Most of those things are, well, utter nonsense.

Still, the media have to cover it. The way I see it, the media are doing their job.

It’s fair to ask, perhaps: Do the media have to give so much ink and air time to someone who has zero chance of being nominated by the Republican Party, let alone elected president of the United States? I think so. He’s polling quite well at the moment, grabbing an estimated 20-plus percent approval in a field of what seems like hundreds of GOP presidential candidates.

However, most of us — I think — realize that none of this is about Trump actually becoming president. It’s about Trump liking the sound of his own voice.

Are the media seeking to “punish” Trump because he’s such a blowhard? O’Reilly thinks they are: “(T)he media believe they need to punish Mr. Trump for being disrespectful and not cowering before them. Plus they don’t like his politics, generally speaking.”

It’s not just the media who are being critical, Bill-O. His fellow Republican candidates have fired plenty of ammo at Trump for the purely idiotic things he’s said, notably about many of them — not to mention what he’s said about one-time GOP presidential nominee and, yes, Vietnam War hero John McCain.

I don’t think there’s media “hate” at play.

The longer Trump keeps popping off, the more the media have to cover him. In this strange and wacky world where pop culture intersects with public policy, the media will keep reaping the benefit.

Keep blathering, Donald.

Yes, John McCain is a hero

I think I’ve officially heard all there is to hear.

Of all the things that have poured out of Donald Trump’s mouth, he finally said more than most Americans can handle.

He actually said that U.S. Sen. John McCain does not qualify as a war hero. He really and truly denigrated the service McCain performed for his country.

Is there anything that Trump will not declare off limits? Has this political buffoon said enough?

I am not a political fan of Sen. McCain. I do not like his world view. I didn’t vote for him when he ran for president in 2008. But as God himself is my witness, I truly admire this man’s service. I consider him to be a heroic figure.

And for Trump to ignite the firestorm that he’s ignited through utterly careless musings about someone who — in what passes for his political judgment — criticized him for earlier statements, well, that goes so far beyond the pale it defies Americans’ ability to express their rage in harsh enough terms.

Not only that … yes, there’s more, Trump did not serve in our nation’s military. He obtained student deferments during the Vietnam War. By my standard, Trump qualifies as a “chicken hawk,” who has zero standing to comment on someone who did serve — and did so with remarkable valor and, oh yeah, heroism.

McCain never has leaned on his service during the Vietnam War to promote a political cause. He was shot down over Hanoi in 1967; he suffered serious injuries as he parachuted into a lake in the middle of the city. He was taken captive, thrown into a cell, beaten nearly to death, suffered other forms of torture. He was placed into solitary confinement, brought out, beaten and tortured some more and then returned to solitary.

He was given a chance for an early release as a POW; the North Vietnamese thought they could get political mileage out of releasing young McCain early, as his father was a senior naval officer who helped shape U.S. war policy in Vietnam. McCain declined to be released. His payback for refusal? More torture.

That doesn’t qualify him as a hero?

Donald Trump has lost his marbles.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, another GOP presidential candidate and an Air Force veteran, said Trump’s attack on McCain is a “new low in American politics” and demanded that Trump “immediately withdraw from the race for president.”

Aww, heck. Trump ought to stay in the race — and keep shooting off his mouth.

Of course the question was intended to offend

Major Garrett, CBS News’s chief White House correspondent, and I have something in common.

We both worked for the same person, although at different times.

How’s that for name-dropping?

Garrett went to work for the Amarillo Globe-News back in the old days. The then-editor of the paper, Garet von Netzer, hired him; von Netzer later would become publisher of the paper and then he hired yours truly, although long after Garrett had moved on.

Having laid down that useless predicate, let me now say that Major Garrett asked a patently offensive question of President Obama, to which the president responded appropriately.

The question involved four Americans held captive in Iran and Garrett wondered how the president could be “content” that they’re still being held on trumped-up charges while he is “celebrating” the nuclear deal worked out with the Islamic Republic.

Obama took offense at the tone of the question. He scolded Garrett, saying he “should know better” than to ask a question that contained “nonsense.”

The president said he isn’t “content” over the Americans’ continued captivity and said he and his team are “working diligently” to secure freedom for the individuals.

What irks me about the question and its aftermath is how Major Garrett insisted it wasn’t intended to ruffle the president. He didn’t apologize and he said it was not asked to call attention to himself.

May I be blunt? That’s pure baloney.

That’s how it goes among the White House press corps. It’s always about getting in a question intended to call attention to the inquiry and to the person making it. Such gamesmanship has been going on for, oh, since the beginning of these televised events dating back to the days when President Kennedy introduced them to the public and turned them into some form of entertainment.

CBS’s Dan Rather famously sought to get under President Nixon’s skin during the Watergate scandal; ABC’s Sam Donaldson did the same thing to President Reagan over the course of many years; Fox’s Ed Henry does the same thing today with President Obama.

Well, now Henry and others have company in the “gotcha” hall of fame.

Major Garrett asked an appropriate question. He just inserted a certain word — “content” — that framed it in a way that got Barack Obama’s dander up.

I would bet that was his intent all along.


Too early to judge Iran nuke deal

Listen to the mainstream media on both ends — conservative and liberal — and the Iran nuclear deal is either the precursor to World War III or the agreement that will bring a comprehensive peace to a region that’s never known it.

Fox News this morning was having its usual fun blasting the “liberal mainstream media” for gushing all over the deal that seeks to block Iran’s ability to acquire a nuclear weapon. The caption on the screen as the “Fox and Friends” talking heads were blathering on noted “liberal bias” in the media’s coverage of the agreement. That stuff just slays me, given that Fox never recognizes its own conservative bias.


I’m not going to draw any firm conclusions about the deal just yet.

I remain cautiously hopeful that the deal will produce the desired result. One of the Obama administration talking points is that it “blocks all pathways” for Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. Israeli officials — led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — say it’s dangerous in the extreme, as it doesn’t prevent Iran from making mischief in the Middle East.

The economic sanctions? They’ll be lifted over time, giving Iran needed money to rebuild its shattered economy — which was made that way by the sanctions.

What if Iran cheats? What if the Iranians don’t do what they say? The sanctions return.

Is the deal perfect? No. Is it the disaster that congressional Republicans predict it will become? No.

The mainstream media — all of it all along the political spectrum — need to take a breath and listen intently to the debate that’s about to unfold.

Assuming, of course, that the debate isn’t overtaken by hysterical politicians.


Dylan Ratigan … I have found you!

Do you remember a guy named Dylan Ratigan?

He used to have a talk show on MSNBC. He’s not a flaming liberal, which is what conservatives say about MSBNC’s talking heads. He’s more of, um, an equal-opportunity critic. During the financial crisis of late 2008 and early 2009, he coined the term “banksters” to describe the financial geniuses who got the country into the mess it found itself.

Ratigan had his show. Then he was gone.

I’ve been missing the guy ever since.

Well, I recently located a YouTube link with some snippets of Ratigan’s rants. They’re called “The Real Ratigan.”

The link is attached to this blog post.

One of the segments mentions how Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the only two of the current crop of presidential candidates who tell us what’s in their hearts and on their minds. They don’t give us “poll-tested talking points.”

He likes that about both men.

I wish Ratigan would be a tad more visible and more in demand as a “contributor” to whichever network is willing to have this guy share his views on politics, policy and the state of affairs in the United States.

Gov. Haley is working through her pain


Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., today ended a nationally televised interview with an extraordinary answer.

I think she has just emerged as perhaps my favorite Republican.

“Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd asked Gov. Haley how she felt about her probable rise in polling as a potential national candidate on a GOP presidential ticket. She called it “painful.”

She was on the broadcast to talk about the striking of the Confederate battle flag that had flown over the South Carolina statehouse grounds since the 1960s in defiance of the Voting Rights Act. The flag came down and Haley has become a national figure as a result.

Mentioning the slaughter of African-Americans in the Charleston church, Haley said: “Nine people died. We have been dealing with nine funerals.”

“That’s what I want people talking about – the Emanuel nine and how they forever changed this country,” Haley added.

Haley’s response to a question posed in good faith brought a visible response from Todd, who had asked the question. I don’t think he expected such an eloquent and graceful answer.

“We’ve already been moving in this direction,” she said of the flag removal. “We’re not the state that everybody thinks we are. “We didn’t have people getting out of hand – we had hugs,” Haley said of the flag’s lowering.“We love our God, we love our country, we love our state and we love each other,” Haley said of South Carolina’s people.

Yes, she was thinking of those nine men and women, one of whom, Haley recalled, begged the shooter to stop the carnage. The gunman killed him anyway.

It was an astonishing end to a gripping interview.

Well said, Gov. Haley.

Blog totals climbing … rapidly


I’ve had fun sharing the good news about the progress of this blog.

It remains a big-time blast to share my world view with those who are good enough to read it. I even appreciate the disagreements that flare on occasion. I know as well as anyone that the world is full of opinions that differ from each other. As much as I would want the world to agree with my view, I know it won’t happen … not ever.

So, I want to share a bit of cheer regarding this blog.

Here it is, only the 12th day of the seventh month of 2015 and the page views logged on High Plains Blogger have surpassed all of 2014.

We’ve got more than five months to go before the year’s end. My sincere hope is that the blog traffic will continue to grow.

I owe this to the impact that social media have on vehicles such as this. Blog posts get shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google.

My heartfelt thanks go to those who take the time at least to open the links they see. I hope many of you will take even more time to read what’s in them.

Onward we shall go.

Sensing an odd disconnect

I picked up the phone this weekend to call a good friend.

We worked together at the Amarillo Globe-News. Not long after I quit my job — after being “reorganized” out of the position I had occupied for nearly 18 years — he resigned to take another journalism job back east.

As we visited, he told me about this challenge and that challenge he was facing at the paper where he’s working.

Then it hit me like a bolt of lightning: I did not feel connected in any meaningful way with what my friend was telling me.

Wow! How weird is this?

It’s been a month shy of three years since I left daily print journalism. It defined me in the many people’s eyes for more than 36 years. I toiled at four newspapers: two in Oregon and two in Texas. My career didn’t take me to too many stops along the way. Several of my friends who are still practicing the craft have made many more stops along the way than I ever did.

Still, for 36-plus years that was what I did. I had some modest success over that time and I am so very proud of what I was able to do, the places I was able to see, the people — famous, infamous and just plain interesting — I was able to meet.

Oh, but the disconnected feeling I’m getting these days is sending me a clear message.

I am glad to be gone from my last stop along the way. I was an old-school reporter and editor when my employer informed me that he planned to make “radical changes” at the newspaper and that I didn’t fit into those plans. I’ll admit that it hurt hearing such a thing. And, yes, I went through some grieving as I sought to collect my thoughts and plot the rest of the journey my wife and I would take.

Three years is a long time. Then again, it does fly by quickly, especially when you’re occupying your time doing other things. I’ve managed to do that. I’m staying quite busy writing blogs for two local broadcast TV stations. So I haven’t been sent out to pasture entirely. I’m also helping a friend produce a weekly newspaper in eastern New Mexico.

The disconnect lies with the daily grind. I no longer have to worry about answering the bell every single day. I’ll leave that to others who are young and vigorous enough to overcome the obstacles that emerge constantly to bring added pressure to an already pressure-packed job.

I’m glad my friend still relishes the challenges that confront him every day. As for me, I’ve got other things to do.

Now comes Louis Farrakhan to weigh in on flag

Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show the other day that liberals are next going to seek to take down the Stars and Stripes.

The conservative talk show voice was making some point about the furor over the Confederate flag in the wake of the Charleston church massacre.

Now comes a voice from the equally remote far left of the spectrum. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said we, indeed, need to take down the American flag.

Those who march under and behind Old Glory have been subjugating African-Americans, Farrakhan said.

That is utter crap!

A former colleague of mine said I owe Daddy Dittohead an apology for tweeting that he should “shut the bleep up” over his remarks about the Stars and Stripes.

I’ll pass on the apology. As for Farrakhan, he, too, needs to shut his pie hole.


Dad asked a simple question … and gave birth to a career

It’s kind of late in the day. It’s about to end.

But in the waning hours of Father’s Day, I’ve suddenly gotten filled with the desire to share a brief story about my dad and a simple question he posed to me.

It was late in 1970. I had returned home from a two-year U.S. Army stint. I was preparing to re-enroll in college.

Mom, Dad and I were having dinner one evening at their home, where I returned after my Army hitch.

We were chatting about college, my plans and what I might want to do with my life now that my military obligation was over. I was single, unattached (for the time being) and I had my whole life ahead of me.

Dad asked, “Have you declared a major yet? Do you know what you want to study in college?”

I had not yet made that decision. “Why do you ask?” I said.

Dad responded immediately, “Have you thought about journalism?”

To be honest, I hadn’t given it any thought. “Journalism?” I asked.

Sure, he said. He told me of the letters I wrote home from wherever I was stationed for the previous two years. I wrote home frequently from basic training in Fort Lewis, Wash.; from Fort Eustis, Va., where I went through my advanced training; then from Da Nang, South Vietnam and later, from Fort Lewis, where I was assigned at the end of my tour.

He mentioned how “descriptive” they were. He said I had this ability to turn a phrase. He thought journalism might be a good fit for me, given — he said — my ability to string sentences together.

Oh, gee, why not? So, I returned to college in January 1971, enrolling in some journalism-related classes.

I then fell in love with this craft called “journalism.”

I stayed with it for the next four decades.

I look back at that dinner-time moment with Dad and Mom with great fondness and appreciation for the simple question that Dad asked. It helped me — along with prodding and pushing from the girl who would become my wife in September 1971 — undertake a fruitful and moderately successful career in print journalism.

It’s not yet over, thankfully.

I’m pretty sure I thanked Dad for nudging me down that path. He’s been gone now for 35 years; Mom died 31 years ago. I can’t thank them again now.

However, I can share this memory to remind myself — and perhaps others — of our parents’ wisdom.

In that moment at the dinner table, father definitely knew best.