Tag Archives: cable news

Mueller set to stand on the world’s center stage

Robert S. Mueller III only thought he was heading back into private life after completing his 22-month-long investigation into whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russian election hackers.

He turned his report in to the Department of Justice, then headed for the tall grass. Mueller came out of proverbial “hiding” to deliver a nine-minute statement on what he concluded.

Now he’s heading back to the world’s center stage. The former special counsel is going to speak to two U.S. House of Representatives committees — Judiciary and Intelligence. He will tell committee members what his 448-page report says.

Now, though, we’re hearing from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who says Mueller is going to produce “substantial evidence” that Trump committed crimes while running for president and while serving in the office. Nadler said on “Fox News Sunday” that Mueller’s report already has unveiled such evidence.

Mueller will get a chance on Wednesday to tell the world what he’s put in writing.

OK, so no we must wonder: Is this the game changer? Is this moment when the bulb will light up in the skulls of recalcitrant Republicans who have given the president a pass on what Democrats have been yammering all along: that Donald Trump is a criminal and should be removed from office?

I don’t know about you, but I am not going to hold my breath that such an event will occur. It goes back to that weird vise grip that Trump has clamped on the Republican Party, on GOP members of Congress and on that base of supporters who continue to cheer for their political hero.

The show will commence early Wednesday. All the broadcast TV networks are going live with it, along with a number of cable TV outlets. I presume they’ll let Mueller’s words speak for themselves, leaving it to the president himself to label the coverage as “fake news.” I wonder, too, if Trump is going to tell millions of Americans that they didn’t really see and hear what they saw and heard.

Is this going to be Robert Mueller’s last act before actually retiring and returning to the weeds? Hah! Not a chance.

Still, the TV viewing promises to be riveting.

Customer service must be Priority No. 1

It’s no secret that American newspapers are in trouble. They are struggling to remain competitive in the ever-changing mass media market.

They need advertisers to spend money to keep the newspapers afloat. Ad representatives work hard — or at least they should be doing so — to keep their clients happy.

Newspapers also need subscribers to buy their publications. How do they gain subscribers to read their content and then keep them well into the future? Customer service, man. They need to put customer service at the very top of their standard operating procedure.

The Internet is inflicting serious damage on newspapers. Cable TV is now full of commentators, pundits, news anchors, “contributors” and experts on every field imaginable telling viewers about the news as well as what all those individuals believe about the news that is occurring.

Newspaper circulation is dropping. So is advertising revenue.

Thus, newspapers are in trouble.

OK, now that I’ve laid all that out, I want to share how one major American newspaper is squandering its standing in one American household . . . mine!

My wife and I recently moved from one Dallas suburb to another one — from Fairview to Princeton.

Before we made the move, we took out a subscription to the Dallas Morning News; our subscription was for the Wednesday and Sunday editions only. It arrived at our Fairview residence just fine.

Then we moved. I called the Morning News circulation line and provided a change of address. The DMN delivers to Princeton, so we didn’t figure that would be a problem.

Wrong! I guess it is a problem. We have lived in our new home for two weeks and we haven’t seen a newspaper yet. It’s not in our front porch, or on the front lawn, or the driveway or even in the street next to the curb. Nothing!

We have called every day since we missed our first DMN. Nothing has happened. I get excuses about the paper’s inability to hire competent delivery personnel as well as promises that it would come in the next day . . . or two. Again, nothing.

I offer this as an example of how one major publication is pis**** away a chance to lure and keep a subscriber. That would be me.

Hey, I am a newspaper reader of long standing. If only the newspaper I want to read could make good on its pledge to deliver it to my home.

There’s a lesson here. Newspapers are floundering. Many of them are failing. I want the Dallas Morning News to heed the warning sirens that are blaring all across the nation.

Should awards shows become political events?

Variety magazine poses a question that is giving me fits, but I have reached a conclusion.

It asks whether televised awards shows that honor entertainers should become a forum for honorees to spout their political views.

I think not.

The Emmys, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes ceremonies have been most memorable for the political speeches that actors and others in the entertainment industry deliver while accepting their trophies.

Are their opinions of some value? Sure they are. Are these ceremonies the place for them to make those views known to the entire world? I don’t believe so.

I have long believed in the “There’s a time and place for everything” theory. I have this admittedly old-fashioned view that awards ceremonies are intended solely to honor those who get paid lots of money to, um, entertain us. That is why I watch them — on the rare occasion that I do.

Free speech is great, however . . .

You may spare me the rebuttal about “freedom of speech,” and “First Amendment guarantees” and this being a “free country.” Believe me, I get all of that. I understand the argument in favor of those who want entertainers to deliver us their political views on the issues of the day.

I also am acutely aware of the entertainment industry’s left-leaning bias. These folks, to be candid, are preaching to the choir if they are talking to me. I share their bias. Thus, I don’t need to hear points of view that merely affirm what I already believe.

All I want from entertainers is for them to perform up to the standards we all expect of them. Whether they think badly of the president of the United States or of certain members of Congress or of governors of certain states is irrelevant.

Good grief! We’re inundated with opinion 24/7 on cable TV shows, in various publications, and in blogs — such as this one.

Entertainment awards ceremonies need not be a forum to feed me more of the same.

Trump wears me out … and I’m the retired guy!

My life as a retired individual has placed me in front of a TV watching news a good portion of most days.

I will be terribly candid here. I spend too much time watching TV news. It wears me out. Why? Because so much of it deals with drama presented by Donald J. Trump, the nation’s president.

It makes me wonder: If the news of each day wears me out, how in the world does the president continue to “function,” such as he does, under the pressure of all the missteps, mistakes, miscues and misjudgments he makes?

Jeb Bush called him the “chaos candidate” for president and said his presidency would be filled with chaos as well. Boy, howdy! The former GOP governor of Florida had that one right!

I just don’t understand where Trump stores that cache of whatever it is that keeps him going. Nor do I understand how he interprets his tenure as president as an A+ endeavor, how he defines “winning” and how in the world anything gets done within the executive branch of the U.S. government.

The president calls the cadence. That is more true with this president than many — if not all — of his predecessors.

It’s a cadence of fits and starts. It’s not a “fine-tuned machine.” It’s a clunker of a vehicle that keeps looking as if it’s falling apart piece by piece.

Yep. I am worn out by all this chaos and confusion. But … I’ll keep watching it unfold.

Hoping to head off Trump Fatigue

I might need an intervention.

News junkie that I am, I usually cannot resist watching cable and broadcast news channels’ discussion of current events, of public policy and, yes, even politics.

Until now.

I awoke this Sunday morning and decided to avoid the weekly news/commentary/analysis talk shows. I didn’t watch George or Chuck on ABC or NBC, respectively. I had no particular desire to listen to the talking heads on “This Week” or “Meet the Press.”

Why? I fear it’s because of the subject matter: Donald John “Smart Person” Trump, the current president of the United States of America.

The guy is starting to wear me out. We’re not even at the 100-day mark in his presidency. Good grief! That means we have another nearly four years to go before the next presidential election!

Heaven help us. Or maybe just me.

I don’t intend to stop commenting on this clown’s tenure as president; I consider contributions to High Plains Blogger to be a form of therapy. I might even be able to fend off the Trump Fatigue I fear is beginning to overtake me.

Maybe I just need a day or two — or maybe three or four — away from the TV set.

Wish me luck. I’ll extend the same to you.

Paging Kellyanne Conway; hello, Kellyanne?

Is it me or has Kellyanne Conway gone missing?

Is she MIA? Do we need to call out an all-points bulletin to find her?

Immediately after Donald J. Trump was elected president, you couldn’t escape Conway. She was everywhere. Conway was able to make appearances on every cable and broadcast news show on the air. She was seemingly being interviewed by news anchors all at once.

A lot of media talking heads spoke kindly of Conway. She seemed to be on first-name bases with Chuck, George, Sean, Chris, Robin, Jake, Wolf … all of ’em! They welcomed her with open arms.

I used to joke that former Amarillo Mayor Debra McCartt defied the laws of physics by being everywhere at once. The same thing might have been said of Conway, who after the 2016 presidential election  was appointed senior policy adviser to the new president.

Then she spoke of “alternative facts.” She had this way of saying that the president was “100 percent behind me” after she spoke about a terror attack that didn’t occur, the fictitious attack in Bowling Green, Ky.

Oops! “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski disinvited her from future appearances on their MSNBC show. Why? She had lost her credibility with them.

Reports abounded that Trump had reeled her in. The White House denied it.

Then again …

Conway has been virtually absent over the past, oh, two weeks.

Hello? Kellyanne? Are you out there? Somewhere?

Ferguson, Mo., waits … amid tension

Allow me to pose what I believe is a fair question: Are the media contributing to the tension that has gripped a small Missouri suburban community by the throat?

Much of the nation is awaiting a grand jury decision on whether to indict a white police officer who shot a black teenager to death in the St. Louis suburb.

At issue is whether the grand jury will indict Officer Darren Wilson for his role in the shooting of Michael Brown.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/22/us/ferguson-grand-jury-five-things/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Honest to goodness, I have no clue as to whether Wilson committed a crime, or whether the grand jury is going to indict him. The case has drawn considerable — and intense — attention from many Americans who live far from the town.

The case spawned disturbances in its aftermath. Now, the grand jury’s pending decision has folks on edge.

All the cable and broadcast news networks have staked out the place. They’re providing non-stop, 24/7 coverage of it. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and has deployed the National Guard in case all hell breaks loose once the panel makes its decision public.

My concern here is that the media attention only feeds the unease and well could prompt a violent response if the grand jury, for example, returns a no-bill — meaning that Wilson would not be prosecuted for any crime.

Of course a violent demonstration would be a shameful response. Michael Brown’s father has called for calm and for that he is to be saluted. I would hope the community would heed the wise words of a grieving father.

I also wish the media would find a way to report these stories without such apparent breathlessness. I hope for the best, but fear the worst.

 

 

Time for lesson on 'mainstream media'

Listen up, students. Professor John is going to lecture you today on the “mainstream media.”

You’ve heard the term, yes? It’s meant as an epithet. It’s said by those who think of the media as a four-letter word.

The term “mainstream media” came from the right wing of the political spectrum. I cannot cite the precise date the term surfaced, but it’s been around for some time.

MSM usually is a kind of code, students. It comes from those who want the media to think like the righties think. They see their own brand of MSM as pure. They’re the truth-tellers.

They hold, for example, Fox News as their model of truth-telling. Why? Well, Fox has an agenda. It is to undermine the “other side.” By that I refer to the president, Democrat Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in government. Watch most Fox broadcasts and you see how they continue to harp on the same so-called “scandals,” while other media turn their attention — usually — to other issues of the day.

What the righties don’t get, though, is that Fox has become as “mainstream” as the other media. Fox enjoys good ratings among news-and-commentary junkies across the nation. As the leading “conservative mainstream” outlet on cable TV, Fox has a good portion of that segment of the TV-viewing public to itself. Thus, its rating are good.

However, since Fox “covers” the news in a fashion that is suitable to those on the right, it is exempted from the pejorative label of “mainstream media.” Fox’s own talking heads even refer to other media as “mainstream,” sounding as if Fox is some outlier network seeking to be heard by a vast viewing audience.

The other so-called “truth-tellers” reside on the right. They comprise a variety of websites, online political newsletters, unabashed conservatives (of which I have no problem, if they ID themselves as such) and self-described political “watchdogs.” They, too, are exempted from the MSM label.

How about the other major networks: CNN and the broadcast networks — NBC, ABC and CBS? They’re the bad guys, according to those on the right. Why is that? Well, they report the news — in my view — without the flair of some other media. I’ll lump the “liberal” media outlets in that category, such as MSNBC. Don’t forget PBS, the network funded by private donations and from the government. At times, even PBS gets tarred with the MSM label. How silly.

Print journalism also gets lumped into the MSM camp. Namely it’s the New York Times and the Washington Post, the two big daddies of print journalism. Throw in the Los Angeles Times and a smattering of other major metros across the nation and you’ll see them criticized because they don’t cover the news with enough ferocity to suit those on the right. My own view is that they’re doing their job, which is to report the news … period.

However, these media outlets continue to be seen by those on the right as coddling left-wing politicians. Those critics miss a fundamental point here. It is that human beings rarely recognize their own “bias.” They see it in others, but not in themselves. If a news medium does not report on issues with one’s own slant, then they’re “biased.”

With that, students, our lesson ends.

If you’re going to criticize the “mainstream media,” take care to include your own favorite news organization in that category. Chances are they’re as “mainstream” as the media you are trying to criticize.