Showing posts with label CNN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CNN. Show all posts

Friday, May 29, 2020

The crooked, white heart of a dying land

You need to watch this. You need to hear what CNN's Don Lemon has to say.

You do that -- I'll wait. Then I have something I need to say. In advance, I ask that you pardon my French.

Have you finished with that Don Lemon video? Good.

Now, you know what the problem is here, right? It's this: Way too many white folk are just like Donald Trump -- narcissists who lack empathy, only in their case that deficit only applies to those whom they've been raised to disdain.

Guess what, people. Those who raised you in such a manner were just as fucked up as you are. They taught you wrong, and you just aren't introspective enough to question your assumptions and conditioning.

the bad news is we're all fucked up. The good news is you're not alone. The better news is you have the power to fix your fucked-upitude. You have an imagination -- use it. Put yourself in the other guy's shoes for just a minute.

Until I got to Baton Rouge Magnet High, due to life in the public schools of Redneckistan and thanks to my own family dynamics . . . well, let's just say it's easy for me to understand the sort of rage we're seeing tonight. At age 59, I consider it, as Bobby Kennedy related in 1968 after Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated, "the awful grace of God."

It's not terribly difficult for me to imagine just wanting to "burn the motherfucker down." It's not terribly difficult for me to understand internalized rage and humiliation.

Of course, it's not right to just "burn the motherfucker down," but it's certainly understandable as hell. At least if you get a hold of your self-absorbed self and imagine what it's like to have a cop with his knee on your neck . . . just because he can, figuring the consequences for that will be minimal.

WELL, we're seeing the consequences now, ain't we, Cap?

The problem here is that this sort of riotous anarchy has to be quelled, but the ones whose job that is have zero moral standing to do it. Not anymore. That doesn't make a violent mob any less a violent mob; it just makes us well and truly fucked right now.

Really, we're in an awful place when the tripolar dynamic in any society is, first, the lawless, enraged mob. Then, second, there are the jackbooted thugs, as embodied by Donald Trump and his cultists.
Finally, third, there is what appears to be the feckless liberal authorities -- in this case in Minneapolis -- who believe in relevance and self-abasement (self-abasement which isn't unmerited, I hasten to add), but are powerless to do much else but validate the feelings of the unthinking, enraged Id indiscriminately destroying everything in its path.

Welcome to the Revolution, folks. Chances are, it won't end well.

Minnesota copbots' algorithm needs tweaking

Let me get this straight: A mob burns down half a Minneapolis city block, including a police station, and . . . nothing. 

But a CNN crew, standing where the cops said it could do a live shot, gets arrested while on the air.

This after the reporter told the state police copbots they'd move wherever the cops wished. Handcuffs. No explanations for the arrests.

PERHAPS THE crew's mistake was that it didn't burn shit down. Then the CNN journalists would be golden.

Welcome to Amerika. Now, why are mobs smashing in storefronts and burning down police precincts again?

Obviously, there are many paths to mindless thugishness. Indiscriminately burning down your city as part of a mob is only one of them.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Land of the Pee (Tape), and the home of the depraved

I fear war is coming to America.

But you want to know what's even worse than that? That I think civil war no longer is the worst possible thing that could befall this benighted land.

The triumph of this is the worst possible thing that could happen to the United States of America. I call it "White Trash Fascism." And Donald Trump is its prophet.

Because that's exactly what it is, and no further explication is necessary. None. Not a goddamn bit.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

'We must be strategic in how we riot'

When a major cable network lets fools like Marc Lamont Hill on its air to say things like "We must be strategic in how we riot," you know with absolute certainty that the last grown-up in television news has died or retired.

President Obama wasn't kidding the other night at the White House Correspondents Dinner when he "joked" that "usually the only people impersonating journalists on CNN are journalists on CNN."

As I watched rioters rule the streets of Baltimore last night on CNN, with police standing by observing as thugs looted liquor stores and set buildings alight not 50 yards away, I thought "This is a civilization refusing to defend itself." It seems to me there is a hierarchy of imperatives, and just above "Police should neither kill nor brutalize ordinary citizens or suspects in custody" is "Society must not be allowed to descend into violent mayhem."

Last night, Baltimore descended into violent mayhem. Last night, its elected leaders fiddled while Baltimore burned. And on a national "news" network, some damn-fool commentator lamented that the oppressed needed to be more "strategic" in their rioting.

Marc Lamont Hill
FORGET "two wrongs don't make a right." Forget that by looting and burning the stores of merchants, burning a church's senior-housing project that was under construction, assaulting bystanders and journalists for the crime of being white and endangering the lives of innocent residents of their own neighborhoods the rioters threw away any claim to the moral high ground. Forget every single thing that should be self-evident in any society not intent on suicide.

Forget all that.

Instead, let's focus on the strategic value of being "strategic" in your rioting.

The moneyed and powerful may no longer possess the will to preserve public order or defend a teetering civilization, but I will guaran-damn-tee you that the moneyed and powerful -- in other words, the ruling class -- does have the will to defend its money and its power. So what then happens when "strategic" rioters head downtown, or to affluent neighborhoods, to strategically riot, burn, kill and loot? What happens when city hall and Camden Yards, home of baseball's Baltimore Orioles, go up in flames?

ME, I'm thinking that when Stuff White People Like start to be consumed by the all-encompassing rage and "strategic" rioting of the underclass, those who might be indifferent to the ongoing immolation of the ghetto suddenly will embrace the tactical efficiency of helicopter gunships and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. If and when that comes to pass, I wonder what academic rabble-rouser Marc Lamont Hill -- more commonly known in the 'hood as "p***y-ass toilet fodder" -- then might think of being "strategic in how we riot."

Ultimately, when a minority suffers injustice and abuse by those in power, moral authority is the only authority it possesses and moral suasion is the only weapon it can count on. When people who are vastly outnumbered and, in Fortress America, vastly outgunned as well start to believe that two wrongs do make a right, at some point they will find the "oppressors" think that three just might.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You want some assimilation, Governor?

Louisiana's embarrassment-in-chief is at it again.

This time, Gov. Bobby Jindal went all the way to London to say deeply stupid things, making his state a laughingstock internationally as opposed to scandalizing just a domestic American audience, as Louisiana has done time and again.

In a speech to the Henry Jackson Society, a British think tank named for the late U.S. senator from Washington state, Jindal took discredited Fox News assertions about Islamic "no-go zones" in the United Kingdom and France, then ran with them in decrying immigrant Muslims' failure to assimilate into Western societies. After all, what is truth, anyway?

According to an Associated Press  report:
In a speech prepared for delivery at a British think tank, Jindal said some immigrants are seeking “to colonize Western countries, because setting up your own enclave and demanding recognition of a no-go zone are exactly that.” He also said Muslim leaders must condemn the people who commit terrorism in the name of faith as “murderers who are going to hell.”

Jindal aides said he did not make significant changes to the prepared text.

The claims on “no-go zones” are similar to those a Fox News guest made last week about places where non-Muslims were not welcome in parts of the United Kingdom such as Birmingham, and “Muslim religious police” enforce faith-based laws.

Steven Emerson, an American author who often is asked about terror networks, told Fox News that in Britain “there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”

Prime Minister David Cameron responded by calling Emerson a “complete idiot.”

Emerson later apologized and said his comments “were totally in error.” Fox News also issued apologies for broadcasting the comments.

Jindal, however, used similar rhetoric during a speech, warning of “no-go zones” in London and other Western cities. Jindal’s remarks come in the wake of the massacre by Islamic extremists at a Paris magazine’s offices and subsequent attack on a kosher supermarket in the city. Three gunmen killed 17 people in the attacks.

“I knew that by speaking the truth we were going to make people upset,” Jindal told CNN during an interview from London.

“The huge issue, the big issue in non-assimilation is the fact that you have people that want to come to our country but not adopt our values, not adopt our language and in some cases want to set apart their own enclaves and hold onto their own values,” said Jindal. “I think that’s dangerous.”

Jindal’s parents immigrated to the United States from India. As a young man, Jindal converted from Hinduism to Catholicism.
TO HIS CREDIT, the governor did not tell his British audience that he was "a recovering wog."
"My dad and mom told my brother and me that we came to America to be Americans. Not Indian-Americans, simply Americans. If we wanted to be Indians, we would have stayed in India," Jindal, who is seen as a potential Republican Presidential candidate, is slated to tell the Henry Jackson Society in London on Monday, according to an advance transcript of his speech released by his office.

"It's not that they are embarrassed to be from India, they love India. But they came to America because they were looking for greater opportunity and freedom," Jindal maintains, adding that he does not believe in "hyphenated Americans."

"They like to refer to Indian-Americans, Irish-Americans, African-Americans, Italian-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and all the rest. To be clear - I am not suggesting for one second that people should be shy or embarrassed about their ethnic heritage. But, I am explicitly saying that it is completely reasonable for nations to discriminate between allowing people into their country who want to embrace their culture, or allowing people into their country who want to destroy their culture, or establish a separate culture within," Jindal argues. 
THAT IS a fair point. But exactly what is "establish a separate culture within"? And exactly how credibly can the governor of Louisiana say such a thing?

For example, you have the United States of America. And then you have Louisiana. Technically, the state is part of the United States. Practically, not so much.

In Louisiana, you have an entire tourism infrastructure predicated upon how not typically American the state is. And if Louisiana ever were to be assimilated to the Borg level Jindal seems to advocate for immigrants to Western nations, it would cease to be anything one might recognize as Louisiana -- both for good and for bad.

If tomorrow, the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government woke up and decided to make Bobby Jindal and his constituents eat a big heapin' helpin' of what the governor feels free to preach to Europeans, I doubt that would go down well. In fact, it might go down something like this:

You want assimilation, Louisiana Governor Boy? We'll give you some damn assimilation.

First off, the United States Army arrives tomorrow to resume Radical Reconstruction, thanks to Louisiana's woeful non-assimilation on matters of race, poverty, education and official corruption. Your whole high-functioning Third World vibe continues to give the United States of America an international black eye. Furthermore, your election -- twice -- proves that the Louisiana electorate is in need of some radical re-education and, frankly, an attitude adjustment.

Also, because David Duke.

About that civil-law, Napoleonic Code thing that screws up your legal dealings with the rest of the country and makes it quite difficult for attorneys educated elsewhere to practice in Louisiana . . . we'll be sending a Justice Department legal task force within the month to rewrite your statutes and begin the rewrite of your constitution. Two words for you, Governor: Unassimilated and un-American.

And you now have counties, not "parishes" . . . and all your remaining "police juries" will be known as either "county boards" or "county commissions," effective immediately.

Now, while we're at it, about your state flag and state seal. . . . 

WE DETECT medieval Catholic symbolism for the Eucharist there. They'll have to go. Separation of church and state, don't you know?

What, Governor? You are displeased by our heavy-handed, totalitarian cultural imperialism? Just the kind of thing we have come to expect from unassimilated, un-American separatists like yourself. If you people do not wish to live as Americans, we certainly won't make you stay, Governor. Comprenez-vous?

Listen, Gov. Jindal -- May we call you Piyush? -- you quite publicly have made your and your state's bed. Now lie in it.

We are America. You will be assimilated.

Love and kisses,

The United States of America

Thursday, June 28, 2012

'Without a doubt . . .' karma's a bitch

Boy, oh, boy, did
CNN blow it on the Supreme Court's ruling on the health-care reform law.

I consider this -- along with the cable network's collapsing prime-time ratings -- to totally validate the concept of karma. The universe could have forgiven one Anderson Cooper-Kathy Griffin pairing on New Year's Eve, but not two. And especially not annual ones.

"But without a doubt, the individual mandate, which has been the polarizing centerpiece of the political and policy debate over health care, the justices throwing that out is a direct blow to the president of the United States," said CNN's John King, "a direct blow to his Democratic Party, and this is a victory, if you will, for conservatives."

NOTE: NSFW language at video's end

And karma, as we all know, is a bitch.

"Wow, that's a dramatic moment," to quote Wolf Blitzer as he enthused on hearing the initial, horribly wrong word from reporter Kate Bolduan.

Oh . . .
Fox News Channel got it spectacularly wrong this morning, too. Karma has been busy.

Be good, people. Is what I'm saying.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Because CNN can't afford 20ish strippers

Occasionally, I am compelled to haul out a dire warning about television legendary broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow delivered to the Radio and Television News Directors Association . . . in October 1958.

As far as I can tell, each time the sad pairing of Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper on the alleged
Cable News Network drove me to it.

Here we go again.

AND HERE Murrow goes again -- out of dire necessity. Not that there's any saving us now.

I began by saying that our history will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, then history will take its revenge, and retribution will not limp in catching up with us.

We are to a large extent an imitative society. If one or two or three corporations would undertake to devote just a small fraction of their advertising appropriation along the lines that I have suggested, the procedure would grow by contagion; the economic burden would be bearable, and there might ensue a most exciting adventure--exposure to ideas and the bringing of reality into the homes of the nation.

To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost.

This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful.

Stonewall Jackson, who knew something about the use of weapons, is reported to have said, "When war comes, you must draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." The trouble with television is that it is rusting in the scabbard during a battle for survival.

-- Edward R. Murrow, 1958

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Rome, sweet Rome

I am half of a Waltons family.

My wife and I both were devotees back during the television series' first-run days in the 1970s and early '80s, and we try never to miss our daily, syndicated trip back to Waltons Mountain today.

The only trouble is this: The channel where we get our nightly fix of Mama and Daddy, John-Boy and Mary Ellen, Jason and Erin, and Ben, Jim-Bob, and Elizabeth also features some of the worst low-budget commercials to ever curse a television screen. The only ray of light is that the faith-based INSP channel doesn't air Enzyte ads.

So, during commercials, I flip over to CNN or MSNBC. And something has become clear to me during these word-from-our-pathetic-sponsors interludes -- The Waltons represents programming far more serious and intelligent than anything on the cable-news channels.

TONIGHT, I kept cutting away from Jason fighting the Nazis in Germany in the run-up to VE Day to talking heads speaking in grave tones about Rep. Anthony Weiner's wiener. More precisely, I kept dropping in on Lawrence and Rachel and Eliot seeing the Republicans' attacks on a Democratic congressman and his junk, then raising them Sen. David Vitter's hooker problem and Newt Gingrich's scandal of the day from back in the day.

Then I would return to The Waltons and a world of homefront sacrifice and battlefield tragedy, circa 1945.

Ike and Corabeth struggling with keeping their customers in food and gas in the age of wartime rationing. Jason trying to hold a shellshocked soldier together as they hunted German holdouts. The shellshocked soldier coming to himself not in the service of killing, but in risking his life to avoid killing a young German infantryman who didn't believe the war was over. John-Boy, meantime, was falling in love with the prettiest woman in France, but ended up torn away from her when the war in the Pacific intruded, landing brother Ben in a Japanese POW camp and calling the first-born son back to Waltons Mountain . . . to his family.

MEANWHILE, on Piers Morgan Tonight, the worldly travails of Sarah Ferguson -- one of which was, apparently, being injected with so much Botox that the upper half of her face has ceased to move whenever she talks . . . which, as it turns out, is much too often.

Of course, one doesn't have to retreat to Waltons Mountain, 1945, to encounter ample tragedy, human drama, and existential gravitas. There's plenty of that today.

Americans find themselves at war, one way or another, in no less than four Middle Eastern countries. In fact, young Americans junior-high age and younger have no memory of a time when this nation was not at war in that region.

Those wars, during that time, have played no small role in bringing the United States to the edge of insolvency. So has a decade of living beyond our means. So has several more years of dealing with the economic collapse Wall Street's (and our) excesses precipitated.

Tens of millions of Americans now owe more on mortgages than their homes are worth. Tens of millions more are out of work. The economy continues to tap dance along the edge of a bottomless chasm.

Not that any of that matters when there are Republicans to bash and Democrats to paint as enemies of God and man. Not when we have Anthony Weiner's wiener to wield as an X-rated weapon in political combat -- which just happens to double as kinky infotainment in a country as polarized as it's been since 1865.

I WONDER how many of those condemning the congressman from New York are guilty of the same thing. I wonder how many of those defending him truly don't see what the big deal is, anyway.

I wonder how many see the whole sordid mess as just another excuse to engage in tribal warfare -- not over any grand principle, but just because they hate Them.

While Americans were otherwise occupied, we stumbled so far off track into decadence and internecine warfare that even columnists for London's left-leaning Guardian newspaper openly wonder whether their American cousins are standing at the crossroads of Britain, 1914 and Rome, A.D. 200. And still we cannot see the forest for the . . . well, never mind.

I suppose it is ever thus in societies a lot nearer The End than they think.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

While we were otherwise occupied. . . .

Wednesday evening, all the cable-news chatterers were chattering away about President Obama, birthers, evil Republicans and evil Democrats.

They were losing their minds over Donald Trump losing his mind.

Well, not Piers Morgan, it must be said.
Cable News Network's resident Brit was giddy over the someday-heir to the throne's impending marriage to a commoner way too good looking for Himself.

As far as we know (and the ranks are growing by the minute), 269 would-be viewers in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky were otherwise occupied. They were dying -- being bludgeoned, sliced, impaled or crushed as massive tornadoes turned the world around them into rubble.

Of course, you would have been hard pressed to notice if you were watching CNN, MSNBC or the Fox News Channel. Lawrence, Rachel, Eliot, Ed, Bill and Sean had bigger fish to fry, better "Others" to hate on than to focus on a bunch of Bubbas being ground up in the worst tornado outbreak since 1974.

SEE, to the media elite -- and to Washington . . . and to the think tanks . . . and to the entertainment industry . . . and to the eternally outraged activists whose continued existence depends upon staying eternally outraged (and making sure Lawrence, Rachel, Eliot, Ed, Bill and Sean do, too) -- we're all The Other, pretty much.

We don't matter, just our money or our votes. And if we're dead, there's no percentage in noticing that 269 of us just got bludgeoned, sliced, impaled or crushed to Kingdom Come.

ON THE other hand, video like this is da bomb. Pretty dramatic stuff here. Stuff's getting blowed up good, and you can cut the dramatic tension with a knife as the meteorologists' voices grow ever more urgent as the milewide Swirling Wall of Death (TM) approaches.

Yeah, with video like this, and with daylight views of all this rubble, 269 dead Bubbas might be worth a second look. Cable "news" might have an opening between the more urgent political contretemps Wednesday and the more pressing royal wedding Friday. Let's see whether CNN, MSNBC and Fox can shoehorn it in.

Rachel can blame it on global warming and the GOP. Sean can blame it on an angry God who's had it with the godless Democrats.

And Anderson can keep the tornadic supercells honest. Might work.

Videotape at 5:30, analysis at 8.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Well, that's just not his truth

I don't know why Anderson Cooper argues with these "birther" nuts.

Argument is dead. Futile. Useless. So very last century.

This is the postmodern era, and truth is what we say it is. Cooper and CNN have their "facts." The birthers have their truth, and who are we to impose our "truth" on them? That would be rather patriarchal, not to mention a pernicious attempt at intellectual hegemony.

The birthers think President Obama is a radical socialist Muslin Nazi who was bornded in Kenyah. That is their truth, and you can't impinge upon that with your so-called "facts."

THUS, the CNN anchor hit Texas state Rep. Leo Berman with fact after fact that back in the old days should have sunk his rhetorical ship, only to find that today, facts are just so much sound and fury, signifying nothing. And in the insane asylum called Tejas, it wouldn't surprise me if this bill of Berman's passes.

You see, today we don't have facts, we have "facts."

the question here for CNN is
whose facts do they choose to believe -- the liberal establishment's pinko facts or the facts God-fearing, real-American patriots found on the Internet? The commie liberals have their facts, and the Americans have their facts.

What we have here is a matter of truth vs. truth, and who is anybody to violate another's mind space with their hostile truths?

This is postmodern America, dammit, and we have a way of settling these kinds of disputes. We're going to exercise some raw power here, and whoever doesn't get exterminated gets to believe whatever the hell they want.

It's called "tolerance," and it's the American Way.

And that's the one thing every American can agree on nowadays.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What Would William F. Buckley Do?

Love him or hate him -- agree with him or disagree -- no one could say the late William F. Buckley, father of the equally late conservative movement, wasn't a serious and thoughtful man.

As it turns out, those present-day "conservatives" who presume to freeload off the legacy of Buckley and the other political "grown-ups" of years gone by stand upon their backs much as does a "monkey" upon the back of a junkie. It's there, it's unwanted, it's destructive, and you just can't shake it.

That's where a once-serious political movement lies today -- in the gutter, enraged and puking all over itself, desperate for just one more fix of stupid. And its friends -- Moe, Larry and Curly -- don't even notice its in a world of hurt.

They're sexting pictures of their genitalia to Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter.

CONSIDER, as you read this CNN report about the latest misadventure of the right wing's Pimp Boy, James O'Keefe, that it has been a mere 59 years between God and Man at Yale and this sorry spectacle:
For months, CNN had been following a group of young conservative activists, including Christian Hartsock, the director of the music video. The activists will be featured in a documentary, "Right on the Edge," that will air October 2 and 3.

Hartsock said O'Keefe did not want CNN to shoot on the set of the music video, but said he would encourage O'Keefe to call CNN to discuss the request.

O'Keefe called Boudreau on August 10. During the conversation, he said he preferred that Boudreau meet him in person in Maryland and asked that she come alone.

"I just want to talk," O'Keefe told Boudreau on the phone. "I just want to have a, you know, meeting with you, and talk to you face to face about this. Because, I don't, I feel sort of, let's just say reserved about, about letting people into my sort of inner sanctum, about letting, letting people sort of take a glimpse into, into, behind the scenes, so that's why you know, I just feel more comfortable if it was just me and you and we just had a face-to-face meeting before I agree to, to let you guys come out and shoot the video shoot out there."

The phone call was recorded without Boudreau's knowledge, but CNN obtained a copy of the recording after O'Keefe e-mailed it to friends and colleagues. Boudreau agreed to the meeting, which she understood would be in his office.

"The purpose of the meeting was to explain [the CNN story] in person to James," Boudreau said.

CNN was forwarded an e-mail, sent from O'Keefe's e-mail address, to the executive director of Project Veritas, Izzy Santa; and two conservative activists, Ben Wetmore of New Orleans and Jonathon Burns of St. Louis, Missouri, dated after the call with Boudreau.

"Getting Closer," the e-mail states. "Audio attached conversation with Abbie. What do you think of her reaction guys. She said she could do it Monday, Tuesday. Ben, you think I could get her on the boat?"

Boudreau flew to Baltimore, Maryland, on August 17, rented a car, and drove to suburban Lusby, where O'Keefe wanted to meet. O'Keefe sent a text message to Boudreau that morning, saying that Santa would meet her when she got there.

When Boudreau arrived at the address, a house located on a tributary of the Patuxent River, Santa approached her with a tape recorder in her hand and said she wanted to talk in the car, Boudreau said.

"I noticed she had a little bit of dirt on her face, her lip was shaking, she seemed really uncomfortable and I asked her if she was OK," Boudreau said. "The first thing she basically said to me was, 'I'm not recording you, I'm not recording you. Are you recording me?' I said, 'No, I'm not recording you,' and she showed me her digital recorder and it was not recording."

Santa told Boudreau that O'Keefe planned to "punk" her by getting on a boat where hidden cameras were set up. Boudreau said she would not get on the boat and asked Santa why O'Keefe wanted her there.

"Izzy told me that James was going to be dressed up and have strawberries and champagne on the boat, and he was going to hit on me the whole time," Boudreau said.

A short time later, O'Keefe emerged from a boat docked behind the house. In that brief conversation, Boudreau told O'Keefe that he did not have permission to record her, and reminded him that the meeting was solely to discuss the upcoming music video shoot, and he had never mentioned that he wanted to tape their meeting.

Boudreau ended the meeting and left. After the incident, Santa gave CNN a series of e-mails she says shows O'Keefe intended to try to embarrass both the network and Boudreau through an elaborate plan.

The day of the meeting, she wrote to someone she described as a financial donor to Project Veritas. She would not identify the individual.

"I have a problem on my hands that I think has the potential for unnecessary backlash," Santa wrote. "Today, James is meeting with a CNN correspondent today on his boat. She is doing a piece on the movement of young conservative filmmakers.

"She doesn't know she is getting on a boat but rather James' office. James has staged the boat to be a palace of pleasure with all sorts of props, wants to have a bizarre sexual conversation with her. He wants to gag CNN."

She wrote that "the idea is incredibly bad" and "the more I think about it we should not be doing this."

O'Keefe had also instructed Santa to print a "pleasure palace graphic" on a large poster, according to an e-mail.

CNN later obtained a copy of a 13-page document titled "CNN Caper," which appears to describe O'Keefe's detailed plans for that day.

"The plans appeared so outlandish and so juvenile in tone, I questioned whether it was part of a second attempted punk," Boudreau said.

But in a phone conversation, Santa confirmed the document was authentic. Listed under "equipment needed," is "hidden cams on the boat," and a "tripod and overt recorder near the bed, an obvious sex tape machine."

Among the props listed were a "condom jar, dildos, posters and paintings of naked women, fuzzy handcuffs" and a blindfold.

According to the document, O'Keefe was to record a video of the following script before Boudreau arrived: "My name is James. I work in video activism and journalism. I've been approached by CNN for an interview where I know what their angle is: they want to portray me and my friends as crazies, as non-journalists, as unprofessional and likely as homophobes, racists or bigots of some sort....

"Instead, I've decided to have a little fun. Instead of giving her a serious interview, I'm going to punk CNN. Abbie has been trying to seduce me to use me, in order to spin a lie about me. So, I'm going to seduce her, on camera, to use her for a video. This bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five will get a taste of her own medicine, she'll get seduced on camera and you'll get to see the awkwardness and the aftermath.

"Please sit back and enjoy the show."
OH, WE'RE enjoying the "show," all right. We're really enjoying the show.

I wonder what they'll call it? Beavis and Butthead Do Fascism?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Why did Santa Anna bother?

Mis amigos en México,

We are
sooooo, soooooooooo sorry about the late unpleasantness of that whole Mexican-American War thing. We are also soooo, soooooooo sorry that, previously, American settlers moved into Tejas and caused so much trouble for you with that most unfortunate war of independence.

We'll forget the Alamo if you will.

I'll tell you what. Take Tejas back, with our deepest apologies. Really, it's yours.
No, go ahead. We were wrong to have annexed it in the first place.

Nuestras mas sinceras disculpas.

Somos lo siento.

Monday, January 04, 2010

This . . . is f***in' CNN

Note: R-rated language

Because we're stupid -- and getting stupider by the day -- alleged news operations like CNN figure the road to ratings success is best navigated by the short bus.

ANDERSON COOPER and alleged comedienne Kathy Griffin are the ones in the back seat, smoking cigarettes and throwing spitballs. Their New Year's Eve performance (a return engagement of the "fool me twice" variety) blessedly escaped my notice until now but, alas, did not elude the gaze of The Canadian Press:
For the second straight year, comedian Kathy Griffin ushered in the new year by saying something vulgar on CNN.

During the network's live New Year's Eve broadcast from Times Square, Griffin was joking with co-host Anderson Cooper about how to pronounce the first name of "balloon boy" Falcon Heene when she mumbled something that sounded a little like "Falcon" and a lot like the F-word.

Cooper hung his head, shook it and said "You're terrible," before resuming his banter.

The network said in a statement Friday that it "regrets that profanity was used during our New Year's Eve coverage."

During the same show a year ago, Griffin gleefully shouted at a heckler in the crowd and made a joke implying that the man performed gay sex acts for a living.
CNN REGRETS Kathy Griffin's F-bomb like Al Sharpton regrets the persistence of racism among Caucasians. But for foul-mouthed X-listers and white folk behaving badly, we'd be paying precious little attention to either.

Otherwise, how do you explain the "news" outlet putting Griffin back on the air, on New Year's Eve, after this last year (and, yes, note the "blue" language here, too):

Monday, November 16, 2009

Here's $8 million. Please go away.

You heard it here first.

As I was saying last week, Lou Dobbs' departure from CNN was, shall we say, less than voluntary.

according to the New York Post, but not exactly "Mr. Independent's" idea:

CNN was so sick of Lou Dobbs, it gave him an $8 million severance package to leave, The Post has learned.

"They wanted him out," according to a source.

Dobbs, who a source said had a year and a half to go on his $12 million contract, shocked viewers last Wednesday by announcing he was quitting.

CNN boss Jonathan Klein and Dobbs, 64, had been publicly feuding over the kind of reporting Dobbs was doing on his show -- especially stories about illegal immigration and the anti-Obama "birther" movement, which contends the president was not born in Hawaii and is not an American citizen.

But it was not clear until now that CNN was willing to pay Dobbs so much money to leave.

"What they do is their business," Dobbs said yesterday. "I tried to accommodate them as best I could, but I've said for many years now that neutrality is not part of my being."

THUS, LADIES AND GERMS, we discover the key to prestige and financial success at The End of the World as We Know It -- screw up so badly, behave so outrageously, embarrass your employer so profoundly that the suits will pay you anything to just leave them the f*** alone.

Lou Dobbs was allowed by Cable News Network to sit in front of the camera and act like a lunatic -- a regular bomb-throwing Cassandra of Whack -- for a number of years, getting crazier by the day, and CNN did nothing more radical than a "tsk tsk" here and there.

Lou Dobbs publicly feuded with the president of the network, and nothing more happened than dueling fusillades of public statements and press leaks.

Lou Dobbs got his facts wrong again and again . . . and nothing happened.

BUT THEN, after Screwy Louie kind of calms down after his "birther" moment . . . only then does CNN finally decide it can't take it anymore. What, did the supply of crystal meth run low in the executive suite?

The next thing we know, Dobbs is announcing his immediate departure from the network. And today, we find out he was paid off handsomely to go quietly.

How very Wall Street of everyone.

Of course, if you're a member of the middle or working class in this country nowadays, you don't have the freedom to act like a paranoid ass, screw up repeatedly and still keep your job. More than likely, your job is far from secure no matter how exemplary and talented an employee you might be.

And, more than likely, when you get the old heave-ho, not only will you not walk out of the building with a check for $8 million, but you'll be fortunate indeed if you can box up your personal effects before security escorts you off the premises.

No, you have to fly high before you're issued a golden parachute . . . and the correlation between high fliers and high performance is, as they say, a construct that is no longer operative.

IN A PHONY COUNTRY with a flaky economy, it's always far better to be a well-heeled and self-styled "defender of the middle class" than an actual member of its shrinking ranks.

Life never has been fair, and it never will be. But this kind of nonsense just isn't sustainable. Never has been, never will be.

Ask Marie Antoinette.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lou de Loop flies the coup

"Mr. Independent" really is now. Lou Dobbs quit CNN today to take his shtick elsewhere.

Where "elsewhere" is, we don't know yet. And neither does Dobbs -- at least that's what he's telling the public.

You have to wonder whether he's going to try -- now that he has no more "network supervision" (for what little that's worth) to worry about -- to out-Beck the sine qua nut
of the airwaves, Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck. Well, if he's going to try, he's gonna need a megaphone the size of the one he just left behind.

WHICH IS ODD, given Dobbs' stated reasoning:
Over the past six months it’s become increasingly clear that strong winds of change have begun buffeting this country and affecting all of us, and some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond the role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem solving as well as to contribute positively to the great understanding of the issues of our day. And to continue to do so in the most honest and direct language possible.

I’ve talked extensively with Jonathan Klein — Jon’s the president of CNN — and as a result of those talks, Jon and I have agreed to a release from my contract that will enable me to pursue new opportunities.

At this point, I’m considering a number of options and directions, and I assure you, I will let you know when I set my course. I truly believe that the major issues of our time include the growth of our middle class, the creation of more jobs, health care, immigration policy, the environment, climate change, and our military involvement, of course, in Afghanistan and Iraq.
TRANSLATION: I was fired.

Either that, or there's going to be a Dobbs '10 campaign for something. That would be interesting -- frightening, but interesting.

Still, you have to wonder what happened to Lou Dobbs. He used to be a straight-laced business reporter and anchor. And there was nothing wrong with his questioning politically correct orthodoxies about immigration, particularly that of the illegal variety.

But. . . .

Apparently, there wasn't anything Lou Dobbs couldn't take too far. As in Too Far
. As in playing fast and loose with facts.

As in, sooner or later, lapsing into inflammatory rhetoric that -- in a saner day in TV news
-- would have gotten him fired on the spot.

And then there was his whole fascination this year with Birtherism, and his refusal to drop the subject when it became painfully clear not only that President Obama was indeed born in Hawaii, but also that the Birthers (and by association, Dobbs)
were a bunch of paranoid lunatics.

COME TO THINK OF IT, Lou Dobbs had been trying to out-Beck Glenn Beck even when Beck was just another radio talk-show blowhard.

Unfortunately for Lou, he lacked the blackboard, the tear ducts and the madman charisma to lead an armored division of nutwagons to ratings glory. Instead, Lou now has been relieved of his command.

Mobilizing the Unhinged Corps has fallen to a bolder general . . . a regular George Patton will lead that googly-eyed irregular army.

Because nobody out-Becks Glenn Beck. Enjoy oblivion, Lou; you earned it.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

This . . . is #!@%&*$ CNN, mother#!@%&*$!

NOTE: Videos contain off-color language

Reason No. 7,231,459,295 Edward R. Murrow is really glad he's dead now.

THE NEW YORK POST has the, er, blow-by-blow account of New Year's Eve on what used to be the Cable News Network:

Comedienne Kathy Griffin may be doomed to life on CNN's S-list after answering a heckler with a shrieking, vulgar tirade during the network's live New Year's Eve broadcast.

"Screw you," she told the heckler. "Why don't you get a job, buddy? You know what? I don't go to your job and knock the d- - - out of your mouth."

The raunchy exchange, which occurred well after the ball dropped at midnight, was received with guffaws by the camera crew.

Co-host Anderson Cooper, who spent the night playing the role of straight man to Griffin's antics, then managed to break for commercial - although by that point, he could barely keep a straight face.

Cooper seemed to become increasingly uncomfortable with Griffin's off-color remarks, including her request to "get a pap smear from [CNN medical reporter] Dr. Sanjay Gupta," and her description of former CNN host Glenn Beck as a "heroin addict Mormon."

I CAN'T WAIT to see what Katie Couric does -- while broadcasting the CBS Evening News live from Bourbon Street on Mardi Gras -- when some drunk from Ohio demands "Show us your t***!"

Friday, October 03, 2008

'You won't believe what people are uploading'

Whoever wrote the positioning statement for CNN's iReport page didn't know how right he was.

"," the pithy headline says. "See it first. Your Stories. No Boundaries. You won't believe what people are uploading."

Well, no, you won't believe what people are uploading. That's because you
can't believe what some people are uploading.

FOR EXAMPLE, THE "iREPORT" that Apple chief Steve Jobs had been rushed to the hospital after suffering a massive heart attack. Not true.

The problem is, a lot of investors and Wall Street traders
did believe what they read on the Cable News Network site. And Apple's stock tanked -- a 5.4-percent drop at its lowest.

Now, the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating, according to Bloomberg News:
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the origin of a false report on a CNN citizen journalist Web site that Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs had a heart attack and was hospitalized, according to a person with knowledge of the inquiry.

The agency's enforcement unit is trying to determine whether the posting was intended to push down the company's stock price, said the person, who declined to be identified because the probe isn't public. The report is ``not true,'' Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said in an interview.

Concern about Jobs's health weighed on the shares this year, contributing to a 51 percent drop. The stock swing caused by today's erroneous report drew renewed calls for Apple, which has said only that Jobs's health is a ``private matter,'' to be more forthcoming, said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean at Yale University's School of Management.

``Leaving it to rumor and speculation is reckless,'' said Sonnenfeld, who has personally owned Apple shares since 1997, the year Jobs returned as CEO. ``If he is healthy, they should say so. If he's not, we should know that too.''

The shares fell as much as 5.4 percent earlier today after the post on cited an anonymous source saying Jobs was rushed to the hospital after suffering a ``major heart attack.'' The report has been removed.

John Heine, a spokesman for the SEC, declined to comment on whether the agency will look into today's erroneous report.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, dropped $3.03, or 3 percent, to $97.07 at 4 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock earlier fell to $94.65, the first time it has traded at less than $100 since May 2007.
IT TOOK JUST A DAY to find someone in the journalism universe stupider than the Detroit radio reporter who got fired for wearing an Obama T-shirt while covering an Obama rally. Unfortunately, that "someone" is a whole network.

The one whose executives came up with
"See it first. Your Stories. No Boundaries. You won't believe what people are uploading."

were they thinking? Without close supervision -- and fact checking -- by an adequate number of editors for the task, CNN's iReport is ripe for victimization by a Janet Cooke a day. At least.

In the present era of lean budgets and leaner newsroom staffs, do you think CNN's
iReport is getting supervision equal to the task? Today's fiasco -- possibly a criminal stock-manipulation fiasco -- says no.

I hope Apple sues CNN for millions, because CNN violated the cardinal rule of journalism:
"If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out."

CNN didn't know the "citizen reporter" from Adam, but that didn't stop the cable-news outfit's web editors from taking his unconfirmed report and plopping it prominently on the
iReport page. With nary a call to an Apple flack for confirmation.


BUT IT gets worse, according to Henry Blodget of Silicon Alley Insider:
"Citizen journalism" apparently just failed its first significant test. A CNN iReport poster reported this morning that Steve Jobs had been rushed to the ER after a severe heart attack (story and screenshot below). Fortunately, it appears the story was false. We contacted an Apple spokeswoman, who categorically denied it.

CNN's iReport kept the report up until at least 10:15 AM, about 20 minutes after we published Apple's denial. The story has since been removed.

UPDATE: Here's CNN's official statement. CNN says it removed the story because the "community" brought the story to its attention. Importantly, CNN also refers to the content as "fraudulent," which is much stronger than "inaccurate." "Fraudulent" implies an intent to deceive.

CNN's iReport, Original Story

Steve Jobs was rushed to the ER just a few hours ago after suffering a major heart attack. I have an insider who tells me that paramedics were called after Steve claimed to be suffering from severe chest pains and shortness of breath. My source has opted to remain anonymous, but he is quite reliable. I haven't seen anything about this anywhere else yet, and as of right now, I have no further information, so I thought this would be a good place to start. If anyone else has more information, please share it.
Immediately after reading the iReport story, we contacted Apple. Katie Cotton, Vice President of Worldwide Communications, replied quickly, saying "It is not true."
A GUY with a trade blog can get an Apple flack on the phone after reading the CNN iReport, but a CNN web editor couldn't do the same before almost sinking Apple's stock by publishing something that flew in over the Internet transom?

Let the journalism world watch this train wreck carefully, then proceed exceedingly cautiously into the brave new world of "citizen journalism."

"Citizen reporters" work for free. And, sometimes, you're going to get exactly what you pay for.