Showing posts with label Dallas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dallas. Show all posts

Saturday, July 09, 2016

The last grown-up in American media

WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen may be the last actual grown-up in American media.

All the rest, I am reasonably certain, are dead or have been run off by corporate fools who make human sacrifices to shareholder value.

Please watch this, because this grown-up says some grown-up things about the hellish chaos which we know as the New Normal.

You do that, and instead of producing an episode of 3 Chords & the Truth this week, I will go back to watching my hometown teeter at the abyss -- You may have heard of it recently . . . Baton Rouge, La. -- while white racists unleash their racist slurs on local-media comments sections, enraged blacks lash back with some of their own and local newspaper and TV figures enable this incendiary cesspool in the name of "free speech." (Nota bene: Freedom of the press belongs to he who owns the press. Listen to me; I got an A in media law in college.)

Alas, 2016 is a lot like 1968 -- "one goddamn thing after another."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

One standard or two? We report; you decide.

It had to happen.

Protesters took to the street outside the Dallas home of the N-word spewing SAE frat boys at Oklahoma, chanting slogans and, according to one neighbor, accusing the entire neighborhood of being a hotbed of racism.

Accompanying the protest were a couple dozen reporters and several cops. From CBS News:

Dozens of protesters took to the street in front of the home of a former University of Oklahoma student and fraternity member who was shown in a video leading a racist chant aboard a bus.

Dozens of demonstrators Wednesday evening marched up and down the North Dallas residential street in front of the home of Parker Rice. Watching them were about two dozen news media representatives and six police officers.

The protesters chanted, "Racism is taught," and, "Racism is a choice."

CBS Dallas reported that the group, Next Generation Action Network, says Rice and Highland Park-graduate Levi Pettit, another SAE member seen in the OU video and now also expelled from the university, made a bold statement that was caught on tape and now it time for protesters to make theirs.

Their numbers didn't pack the street, but their message was heard loud and clear. "This is what democracy looks like," they chanted. "Teach your kids another way, no modern day KKK!"
THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: Is this Dallas protest proper, or is it harassment -- the creating of the same sort of "hostile environment" that University of Oklahoma officials alleged in kicking two (so far) Sigma Alpha Epsilon members out of school.

Would your answer to the question change if this were a bunch of anti-abortion protesters marching in the street outside the home of an abortionist? If so, why?

"Because one is bad and the other is good" is not an acceptable answer -- not before the law and not in today's morally relativistic philosophical soup, in which your "truth" may not be others' "truth."

Friday, November 22, 2013

A speech ungiven in a language unlearned

Here's some of the beginning and then the conclusion of the speech John F. Kennedy never lived long enough to give at the Dallas Trade Mart that horrible day in November 1963.

It was written in a language little understood and, sadly, no longer spoken in the United States:
This link between leadership and learning is not only essential at the community level. It is even more indispensable in world affairs. Ignorance and misinformation can handicap the progress of a city or a company, but they can, if allowed to prevail in foreign policy, handicap this country's security. In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America's leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason -- or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem.

There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternative, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable.

But today other voices are heard in the land -- voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality, wholly unsuited to the sixties, doctrines which apparently assume that words will suffice without weapons, that vituperation is as good as victory and that peace is a sign of weakness. At a time when the national debt is steadily being reduced in terms of its burden on our economy, they see that debt as the single greatest threat to our security. At a time when we are steadily reducing the number of Federal employees serving every thousand citizens, they fear those supposed hordes of civil servants far more than the actual hordes of opposing armies.

We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will "talk sense to the American people." But we can hope that fewer people will listen to nonsense. And the notion that this Nation is headed for defeat through deficit, or that strength is but a matter of slogans, is nothing but just plain nonsense.
Finally, it should be clear by now that a nation can be no stronger abroad than she is at home. Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future. Only an America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of tackling the complex problems and perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live. And only an America which is growing and prospering economically can sustain the worldwide defenses of freedom, while demonstrating to all concerned the opportunities of our system and society.

It is clear, therefore, that we are strengthening our security as well as our economy by our recent record increases in national income and output -- by surging ahead of most of Western Europe in the rate of business expansion and the margin of corporate profits, by maintaining a more stable level of prices than almost any of our overseas competitors, and by cutting personal and corporate income taxes by some $11 billion, as I have proposed, to assure this Nation of the longest and strongest expansion in our peacetime economic history.

This Nation's total output -which 3 years ago was at the $500 billion mark -- will soon pass $600 billion, for a record rise of over $100 billion in 3 years. For the first time in history we have 70 million men and women at work. For the first time in history average factory earnings have exceeded $100 a week. For the first time in history corporation profits after taxes -- which have risen 43 percent in less than 3 years -- have an annual level of $27.4 billion.

My friends and fellow citizens: I cite these facts and figures to make it clear that America today is stronger than ever before. Our adversaries have not abandoned their ambitions, our dangers have not diminished, our vigilance cannot be relaxed. But now we have the military, the scientific, and the economic strength to do whatever must be done for the preservation and promotion of freedom.

The strength will never be used in pursuit of aggressive ambitions -- it will always be used in pursuit of peace. It will never be used to promote provocations -- it will always be used to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes.

We, in this country, in this generation, are -- by destiny rather than by choice -- the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of "peace on earth, good will toward men." That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: "except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen waketh but in vain."

5 Decades & the Truth

A funny thing happened on the way to this week's episode of 3 Chords & the Truth.

About half past noon this afternoon, I turned on the CBS News web stream of its coverage from Nov. 22, 1963 -- that day. Uncut, real time, starting at the moment of the first bulletin that shots had been fired at the president's motorcade in Dallas.

Within an hour -- live on TV -- America was forever changed. Over the next three days, television news grew up, making up how to cover the unthinkable, live and non-stop . . . as it covered the unthinkable, live and non-stop.

It did so, by today's technical standards, primitively and without formatic bells or whistles. Television also did so powerfully and occasionally artistically -- and without a surfeit of hairspray.

OF COURSE, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a powerful blow to a country -- to a people. The death of our young president and the images of his grief-stricken widow -- as well as television's reflection of our own grief -- hardly could fail to affect. Powerfully.

Let me put it this way. When President Kennedy fell victim to Lee Harvey Oswald's deadly aim, I was four months shy of my third birthday. I have memories of that day.

The sense of overwhelming sadness and loss endure after five decades. It comes storming out of the mists of time, as raw and fresh as yesterday. And it wasn't just the loss of what was; it was the loss of what might have been.
Too, maybe it was the loss of what might not have been. We are a greatly changed people from what we were Nov. 21, 1963. In some ways, that is a good thing. In more ways, I fear, that has been a bad thing.

We are a more cynical people since that day.

Great tragedy, should you survive it, can make you stronger. The aphorism to that effect did not come from nowhere.

Great tragedy, however, is just as likely to break you, too. That is a proven fact. Fifty years ago, I think, we were broken -- at least partly. I am 52, and I have lived my life watching the wheels come off a society. Not uniformly, but enough.

I've unfortunately done my part to make that so, Lord knows.

THAT'S WHAT is washing over my mind and through my soul as I find myself unable to pull myself away from CBS-TV, circa 1963. When Walter Cronkite once again -- through the time machine of videotape -- read the flash from Dallas confirming the death of the 35th president of the United States, I reflexively crossed myself.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In retrospect, that's not a bad reaction, even half a century hence. In that spirit, this sad anniversary isn't the time for jazz, rock 'n' roll or even blues in the night. That's what happened today on the way to the Big Show -- there won't be one. It just didn't feel right.

Stay tuned for a few days for a pre-Thanksgiving edition of 3 Chords & the Truth.

God bless us, every one.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Meanwhile, on Dallas TV

WFAA television in Dallas. Nov. 22, 1963.

A day in November in 1963

It's a big day in Dallas-Fort Worth this late November day in 1963. The president, vice president and first lady are in town.

WBAP radio is providing complete coverage of the presidential visit. An exciting day in the history of any city, to be sure!

North Texans will long remember this Nov. 22, I'll bet.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The eyes of Texas . . . saw too much

In the immortal words of Bart Simpson . . . "HAAAAAAA haaaaaaaah!"

The source of my glee is this story in
The Dallas Morning News:
Erykah Badu took her clothes off, but Dallas officials have decided it is the city that feels stripped of its dignity.

After consulting with city prosecutors, the Dallas Police Department has decided that it will issue a disorderly conduct citation to the Grammy-winning artist for getting naked in Dealey Plaza last month.

Initially, police said they had no complaints about the artist's taping of a video in which she disrobed in public, and had no plans to pursue any charges. But after the video went viral Monday, the subsequent brouhaha made national headlines and became the subject of talk radio and the blogosphere.

Dallas Police Deputy Chief Mike Genovesi, who oversees the special investigations division, said Friday that he expects that citation – about as serious as a traffic ticket – will be issued next week.

In a news release, police state that Badu had disrobed in a public place without regard to other individuals and children who were in close proximity.

Genovesi said police had one witness come forward Thursday, and she told authorities that she "observed Ms. Badu remove her clothing on the public street. The witness had two small children with her and was offended."

Not that there aren't more than a hundred thousand witnesses if you factor in the people who have watched the many versions of the video posted on YouTube.

In the video, for the song "Window Seat," Badu strips down as she strolls toward the location where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. A rifle sound, edited into the video, rings out and she collapses to the pavement as bystanders watch.
SOMEHOW, I don't think the court will buy "EVOLVING" as a defense for gettin' nekkid and actin' crazy in a public place. Score one for "groupthink."

The ticket carries a $500 fine. But the satisfaction from seeing this loon get charged is priceless.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A window seat in Amsterdam Dealey Plaza

There's a lot I could say about Erykah Badu's tasteless new video for her unremarkable new single, "Window Seat."

But it would just be repeating what the flabbergasted hosts of The Early Show said on CBS television this morning. I show the CBS report instead of the video itself because -- in today's music-promotion economy -- embedding her video is exactly what Badu would have me do.

When you're protesting "groupthink" by flashing your ta-tas and your booty and your noonie in Dallas -- in Dealey Plaza, no less, in front of small children as you
make some nutso-licious attempt to "telepathically" communicate your good intent to them -- well, Cap, they ain't much you can say about that that does justice to the bat-s*** craziness of it all.

SO I WILL just say this: Badu isn't an individualist so much as she's a Looney Tunes, antisocial exhibitionist.

She's the Fernwood Flasher making a political statement at the expense of a murdered president. I hope a Kennedy kicks her ass.

Until that happens, however, somebody hand the woman a trench coat.

And make sure she keeps the damned thing buttoned.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Here's your one chance, Fancy?

The Dallas Morning News thought it had problems.

It ain't seen nothing yet, now that management has torn down the wall between those charged with telling readers the truth -- whether they want to hear it or not -- and those who haul in the bucks by telling people any damn thing to sell them stuff they probably don't need anyway.

The news-editorial and advertising functions of the American press always have been uneasy partners in a forced marriage -- one in which divorce wasn't an option, because as miserable as the couple might be, they needed each other. So they reached an accommodation -- agreeing to live as codependents who, alas, remain true to themselves.

No more, though. At least not in Dallas.

NO, MANAGEMENT at the Dallas Morning News thinks tough times will be much easier to bear if only one partner in this marriage of convenience could change the other one. Of course, this will not entail the business side of the newspaper giving up its favorite street corner and starting to dress like an Amish farm wife.

The Dallas Observer chronicles the run-up to the coming festivities . . . that no doubt will end in a fracas involving a 3-iron, an SUV, a fire hydrant and a tree:
After the jump, you will find a memo Dallas Morning News editor Bob Mong and senior vice president of sales Cyndy Carr sent to everyone at A.H. Belo Corp. Wednesday afternoon outlining what they call a "business/news integration." Which means? As of yesterday, some section editors at all of the company's papers, including The News, will now report directly to Carr's team of sales managers, now referred to as general managers. In short, those who sell ads for A.H. Belo's products will now dictate content within A.H. Belo's products, which is a radical departure from the way newspapers have been run since, oh, forever.

Those sections mentioned in the memo include sports, entertainment, real estate, automotive and travel, among others.The memo doesn't mention Business or Metro by name, but there are references to "health/education" and "retail/finance"; these are not defined in the missive. Says the memo, Carr's sales force will "be working closely with news leadership in product and content development." Executive sports editor Bob Yates and Lifestyles deputy managing editor Lisa Kresl are quoted in the memo enthusiastically signing off on the unconventional marriage; says Kresl, "I'm excited about the idea of working with a business partner on an arts and entertainment segment."
AMAZING HOW PEOPLE afraid for their jobs in a rapidly disappearing profession will say the damnedest things. Or do the damnedest things.

Remember that Reba McEntire song, "Fancy," the one about the dirt-poor girl whose dying mama turns her out to "be nice to the gentlemen" so she, at least, doesn't starve? By the end, Fancy ends up as a wildly successful, high-priced and high-class . . . singer and actress.

That's because it's a song. Somebody made that s*** up.

For the Dallas Morning News, things won't turn out nearly so well. That's because when you're a newspaper, you just can't afford to give readers reasons not to trust anything you say.

Ultimately, that translates into dollars and cents. Or the lack thereof.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Another day, another newspaper bloodbath

If it's Wednesday, it must be the Dallas Morning News.

And it isn't pretty. Out of 200 job cuts at the newspaper this week, 50 came from the news-editorial side of things.

Reading the DMNcuts blog today, it occurs to me that the only time journalists get to go out gracefully -- at least amid the Great Cull -- is when the whole newspaper goes bow down and slides under the waves forever.

Then, at least the band gets to play "Nearer My God to Thee," the captain (or, in this case, editor) gets to say some last noble words and everybody dies like Englishmen.

But when the corporate sniper is picking off ink-stained wretches one-by-one, luring them into Human Resources for the kill . . . well, what's the glory in that? The last journalist well remembered for going out that way was when a Japanese sniper got Ernie Pyle.

At least that was war, and not some non-lethal, corporate version of a campus shooter.

NO, WHEN THE corporate reaper comes calling with a machete, not Fat Man, there is no blaze of glory, nor is there one last spiffy "farewell" front page. There's just all the grace, and anger, and fear, and bitterness and nastiness of average human beings being dealt a losing hand.

There's no warm fuzzies, and there's no collective sense of loss that causes loyal readers to say "She was a great old gal; I'll damn well miss her, bless her heart." No, all there is is the messiness of fear and loathing, with the occasional poignant leaven of grace.

That's what I saw today reading the DMNcuts blog. Here's a sampling . . . and let's start with the grace amid some real tragedy:

I too have had the hammer fall on my head. I devoted myself to the newspaper biz and the Morning News. It has been an honor to work with so many talented and committed people in news. I appreciate the prayers and best wishes. I am 58 years old, a woman, single and have had a stroke. What now? Here is part of the breakdown: 6 off the news copy desk, all in their 50s except one; one off the news desk, 13 in sports; 2 in business; mostly zone reporters in metro; no one from TSW, national or international except a special writer. Where are the managers? God bless you all.
Laura Miller, 15 years at DMN, 32 year career

Thank all of you in The DMN newsroom for your words of support and encouragement this morning. It's the world's greatest understatement to say that it has been an honor to work with you.

I have learned so much from you during my two decades at The News. The talent and dedication in that room is amazing. Some of you, and you know who you are, have given help and understanding during many difficult times.

I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to work at a job that has allowed me to do so much with my life so far.

I'm still a little numb, knowing that for the first time in nearly 32 years I do not have a newspaper job.

But I will be fine. I have many good friends, a loving family and a partner whose unconditional love has indeed made me a better person. We will celebrate 21 years of being together next weekend.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Frank Trejo

At the moment, it’s hard to imagine work that’s as invigorating, as important and as much fun as being a journalist at a daily newspaper. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside some of the best reporters, editors, photographers and designers in my years at the Morning News and the Star-Telegram, and I’ll always cherish the memories.

That said, tomorrow will be a new day, with new adventures. I’m looking forward to exploring them.

Here’s hoping that, for democracy’s sake if nothing else, the decision-makers in our industry figure out how to steer journalism through these icebergs safely. Meanwhile, my parting requests to you are that you never abandon the principles and passions that drew you to journalism and that you continue to be kind to each other.

Journalists are some of the smartest, funniest and most compassionate people I know. Please stay in touch. You can find me on Facebook.
All the best,
Mary McMullen Gladstone
NOW, with that over, let's get to the everything else part. And, for what it's worth, I would NOT want to be an editor at that newspaper tomorrow. Or any other time soon.
Anonymous said...
While I do not want anyone at the DMN to be out of a job, I am confused why, once again, the worker bees took the hits.

Where are the mid-level managers and managers in this?

I thought one of our problems is that we are too top heavy.

Please explain.

Anonymous said...
...still no managers? In my section, we now have an editor for almost every staff member. Literally.

Anonymous said...
I'm sorry, but anyone surprised that the grunts are the ones being given their walking papers while the professional meeting attenders will still be going to those meetings must be new or not paying attention. When you decide who stays and goes, you normally stay.

Anonymous said...
I'm not surprised, I guess. But I did think more editors would go if we were too top heavy?

Who are they going to edit?

We still have just as many layers of management. With fewer to manage.

Anonymous said...
"..still no managers? In my section, we now have an editor for almost every staff member. Literally."

Why the manager envy? They'll get sacked or demoted after they sweep up the debris from this debacle. Make a prisoner dig his own grave, it saves the VIPs from putting forth energy and their own time.

Anonymous said...
11 gone in Metro. None are editors.

Anonymous said...
"11 gone in Metro. None are editors."

Um, it's because there are out sourcing constituents who will be put in place of many of those pink slipped today. Mgrs. will be needed to put it all into shape for the next several weeks and then the next bloodbath will begin once protocols has been established. Soon it will only be top heavy on the top 2 tiers of A.H. Belo - CEO's and VPs.

Anonymous said...
If past layoffs are any indication, I still don't think any metro editors will be getting sacked -- at any time. When it's done today, that's it. Management always takes care of itself -- look at every single department. At other newspapers, editors have been laid off or demoted, but not in Dallas.

Anonymous said...
WHY, WHY, WHY were there no editors in the newsroom laid off? I just returned from a very painful "cry in your beer" booster party for 3 of the folks laid off from our department -- all very talented, hard working people. I am sick and tired of all of this. Are we worker bees eternally destined to get the shaft at this paper? Who is the little grubby guy gonna push around the newsroom now?

Anonymous said...
I think the worker bees are about to be replaced with much cheaper, less qualified, worker bees. They will need the editors to back stop these inexperienced reporters who will provide all the community news coverage under the supervision of the editors.

Anonymous said...
So, I'm leaving the HR guy's office after hearing the official, carefully crafted adios spiel, and in a remarkable display of dorkery, my supervisor, who had, up to that moment, cleverly kept his mouth shut, says: "Thanks for your service." Cue the spit take. I knew he was a gossipy, anal little dweeb, but, man, what a goof to say that.

Anonymous said...
I count 50 people gone. I fear what management has done is give readers 50 fewer reasons to read the paper. It's already starting to read like a printed version of TV news. It seems to me that putting out a product of lower value is not the way to position yourself for the future.

Anonymous said...
This paper has never done the right thing.

Anonymous said...
If DMN were the only newspaper to start dying then one could justify total outrage toward "Uncle Belo" but the entire industry has been caught behind a new paradigm that marks the end of the Newspaper Press era. Arrogance and blind faith in the status quo have crippled the newspaper industry.

The funny thing about pruning a tree is that if you know what you're doing, the tree will come back healthier, if not and you are just blindly hacking at every limb in sight, then the tree probably won't survive. We'll soon see if the A. H. Belo's chief pruner knows what he is doing.

Rod Dreher said...
Rod Dreher here. Three things:

1. I am not operating this blog, though like everyone in the building, I'm reading it.

2. This terrible thing we're all living through has nothing to do with George W. Bush. Many of my conservative friends are convinced liberal bias is what's dooming newspapers, but I point out to them that liberal newspapers serving liberal audiences are in the same sinking boat as the rest of us. I wish the political bias arguments on either side were correct, because that would suggest a way out of this hole. But they're not.

3) Anyway, today should be about mourning for and helping the colleagues we've lost, and doing what we can going forward to make sure this is the last time the paper has to take a hit like this. It should not be about cheap recriminations.

Anonymous said...
Need a laugh today?

I am informed (by a DMN colleague who remains behind) that when the laid-off newsies went down to HR, they "gave them all leather-bound books with DVDs and forms for writing resumes valued at (they were proud to tell you) $700."

This demonstrates the mindset that's going on in DMN's HR. Is there anyone here who really wouldn't have just rather had $700 cash to walk out with, to help tide them over till the first TWC benefits arrive?

Anonymous said...
Trust me when I tell you that "the leather-bound books with DVDs and forms for writing resumes valued at (they were proud to tell you) $700" were regifted leftovers or promotions never intended for those now RIF'd. HR may be trying to spin how gracious A.H. Belo is but I can promise you that Belo paid nowhere near $700 each for that stuff unless it was originally intended for execs.

Bad form for HR to mention the prize value with no option to decline it for cash. Tacky, tacky, tacky but for those left the beatings will continue until morale is restored. Say "thank you Uncle Belo!" and walk away.
SOME SAY journalists are just a bunch of liberal-commie-pinko bastards and, at long last, they're finally getting theirs. That they just did it to themselves, because no real American wants to pay for Pravda.

Some might be liberal, commie, etc., etc.. Most, I am sure, aren't . . . at least the commie-pinko-bastard part. Besides, let he who is without sin, and all that. . . .

No, these reporters, designers, copy editors, et al, are just as human as you and me. With all the good, the bad and the ugly that implies. Remember that.

And remember this, too. Times are hard, and any of us could be next.

There but for the grace of God. . . .