Media Archives

Patterico Skewers L.A. Times

Patterico is out with his annual round-up of liberal bias, general incompetence, and some bright spots from his favorite target; the L. A. Times. It’s amazing to me (OK, not really) that when the media make huge mistakes in coverage of big news items, it’s virtually always in a way that tilts left. And all this while some think the media has a conservative bias.

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Do the Dems Have a Plan?

Most folks don’t think so.

Though voters apparently embraced the Democratic mantra of changing course in Iraq, a majority of the public did not detect a clear Democratic blueprint for ending the war. Fifty-seven percent of all adults in the AP-Ipsos poll said Democrats do not have a plan for Iraq; 29 percent said they do. The poll of 1,002 adults has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

That finding strikes at the heart of a Democratic dilemma. The party has been of one voice in criticizing President Bush’s strategy for the war but has been more equivocal on how to move in a different direction.

I’ll first restate my dissatisfaction with polling in general. One of the reasons is that just because a majority thinks something, it doesn’t mean it’s true. Having said that, it’s interesting that the AP waited until after the election to conduct the poll. Had they done so beforehand, some more folks might have asked the hard questions about who they intended to vote for. Basically this is a “Now they tell us” moment.

Of the 29 percent that think the Dems do have a plan, I wonder how many of them consider “running away” a plan. All those votes should really be in the “do not have a plan” category.

If at least 2/3rds of the country don’t think the Dems have a plan, then how can the media keep saying that the election was a referendum on the war? Did most of America really decide to give control of the war to a party that they believed had as little or less an exit strategy than the other? This makes absolutely no sense.

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The CBS Ship Still Sinking

I really didn’t think this was going to go anywhere.

Despite her newsmaking interview with Michael J. Fox last week, Katie Couric’s goal of taking the “CBS Evening News” to the top is getting further out of reach.

Her average audience of 7.3 million viewers left the “CBS Evening News” 1.1 million behind ABC’s second-place “World News.” It was the biggest gap between the two broadcasts since the week of Feb. 6, according to Nielsen Media Research. NBC’s “Nightly News” led the way with 8.9 million viewers last week.

It wasn’t really all that gutsy a move to put up the first female sole-anchor of a major nightly news broadcast. Had this happened 20 years ago, it might have had a bigger impact. But today, the gender gap is becoming smaller and smaller.

Couric’s average of 7.3 million was identical to the Bob Schieffer- anchored newscast during the same week a year ago, Nielsen said.

CBS isn’t at the bottom because their anchor is female. They’re at the bottom because, well, they’re CBS. They’ve lost a lot of credibility that is hard to regain with an audience that has more choices.

CBS and Couric have tried some new things with the evening newscast, including longer interviews and a “Free Speech” segment where guests offer opinions. In the light of the ratings, they will likely face pressure to head to a more traditional format.

And rearranging the deck chairs on the sinking Titanic isn’t going to make it more buoyant.

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Where’s the Family-Friendly Sci-Fi?

[Psst. Welcome Clayton Cramer readers, where he gives a bit more insight into why Hollywood does what they do.

And welcome to any folks coming from Usenet, where someone copied this.  FYI, I don’t mind this sort of copying as long as the link is provided, which it was in this case.  Some discussion over there on this, and some…shall we say, tangents.  But that’s what Usenet does best. >grin<]

Last TV season, I thought my kids would like to get into a show that was rather science fiction in nature called “Surface”. I’m a big sci-fi fan (mostly TV, don’t read it much) and my kids have shown an interest in it (my sister introduced them to her Star Wars videos), and it’s rubbed off a bit onto the kiddos. “Surface” looked like an interesting story, so we started watching it. (Unfortunately, it didn’t last past the first season.)

Well, actually, how it happened was that I started taping and watching it myself, and after a couple of episodes thought it would be OK for the kids…except for the occasional thing here and there. And that annoyed me a bit. There would be occasional questions to one of the main characters, Miles, from his father and his friend from the marina about whether or not he was surfing the Internet for porn on the occasions they walked into his room while he was doing some research. That may be happening on home computers in a lot of homes in America, but must it be brought up in a TV show going into homes where that curiosity and potential addiction hasn’t been started? Even in homes where it may be starting, the references were light-hearted, in almost a “no big deal” way, which would give the impression to a kid that everyone’s doing it so how bad can it be.

Later on, Miles is urged by his neighborhood friend to fondle a bikini-clad girl who was giving him a kiss. In one scene, Dr. Laura Daughtery, needing to swim out in cold ocean waters to a nearby boat, stripped off all her clothes, leaving only underwear, oiled up (to stave off the cold) and dove in. Sure this might have been a bit of realism, but in a show about sea monsters and other genetically manipulated animals, quite a number of other bits of accuracy were certainly sacrificed for the sake of the story. Missing this one wouldn’t have made one bit of difference to the story.

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NBC Responds to Madonna Crucifix Display

Looks like NBC is responding to pressure not to show the singer Madonna up on a mirrored cross during the upcoming televising of her concert.

After weeks of controversy, NBC has decided not to show pop star Madonna suspended from a giant cross and wearing a crown of thorns when the network airs a special of her “Confessions” tour, a source close to the organization of the event said on Thursday.

The source spoke after NBC announced it had revised the two-hour concert special, which airs November 22, but did not elaborate on what changes would be made.

The source said the portion of the “Live to Tell” song in which Madonna sings suspended from a giant cross and wearing a crown of thorns will not be shown in the broadcast. Instead, cameras will cut to other shots or images while Madonna is on the cross. She steps away from the cross to finish the song.

Whether this means that NBC is developing something of a spine, or if this is purely a financial decision (some affiliates “expressed uneasiness” about carrying the special) is yet to be seen. However, couple this with the addition of a religiously toned-down version of the Christian-values “Veggie Tales” for Saturday mornings by NBC, and the network seems to be moving back somewhat from the general media position that it’s OK to offend Christians. Baby steps, but in the right direction.

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The Press Starts to Wake Up

A couple of good posts by Meryl Yourish on how the media is finally coming around. A little.

Detractors of the UN (including myself) have long known that it descends into self-parody far too often, and on important matters. One of the most egregious examples has been the UN’s Human Rights Council that is populated, and sometimes chaired, by representatives of countries with the worst human records. Meryl notes that the Washington Post is even panning it now.

Also, the Associated Press has finally come to the conclusion that many of us already arrived at; Hamas isn’t going to be moderating anytime soon. This is not news to us, but it is news that the news thinks it’s news.

We can only hope there’s a trend emerging.

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Air America Deflates

When the news of an impending bankruptcy for Air America hit the blogosphere, AA issued a sort-of denial. Spokesperson Jaime Horn said, “No decision has been taken to make any filing of any kind.” At the time, I noted that this begged the question. They may not have made a decision, but they didn’t answer the question of whether or not they were considering it.

Apparently, they were.

Air America Radio, a liberal talk and news radio network that features the comedian Al Franken, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a network official told The AP.

The network had denied rumors just a month ago that it would file for bankruptcy. On Friday, Air America spokeswoman Jaime Horn told The Associated Press that the filing became necessary only recently after negotiations with a creditor from the company’s early days broke down.

This won’t take AA off the air. It just highlights how much artificial life support is required to prop up a talk show network that people just aren’t interested in listening to. And since this is a creditor “from the company’s early days”, this has been an issue from the very beginning. Other conservative talk shows that have been around just a long as Al Franken’s have grown substantially in that time period.

It’s not a case of big-money backers; AA most certainly has its share. It’s a case of the lack of a market in the marketplace of ideas.

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Affecting the Culture

What would your church do to make an impact on our culture, if it had $100,000 at its disposal? One Baptist church decided to make a movie; a high-quality movie with a good message that is competing favorably against Hollywood’s offerings.

It was made by a church on a donated budget of $100,000 with volunteer actors, but instead of a low-budget castoff, “Facing the Giants” held its own against Hollywood’s big boys in its opening weekend, grossing $1.4 million on only 441 screens.

Officials say the production, by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., was released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and ranked No. 12 for all films over its first weekend, even though other films had up to eight times as many screens. Its per-screen average of $3,149 was fourth among the top 10 grossing weekend films.

“I think this sends a clear message to Hollywood that there is an audience who does want to see a positive, uplifting film that promotes faith and family values,” said Michael Catt, the senior pastor at Sherwood Baptist and executive producer for the project.

“Hopefully, this will open the door for more organizations to bring other quality-content projects to the big screen,” he said.

With the lower cost of entry now that movie production has gone digital, this sort of project is now possible.

I can imagine that some might say that this was money that could have been better spent on other projects. But I’d say that a lot of those projects are being done by other churches. I’m happy to see that, just as with individuals, different church bodies have different gifts, and they should be free to use them as God directs (no pun intended).

Besides, based on the box office receipts, this movie could not only encourage Christians and bring the good news to non-Christians, it will likely bring in more money to be used on more conventional projects.

Proceeds are to be used for a 40-acre youth recreational park planned by Sherwood Baptist in Albany, officials said.

Let’s celebrate the unconventional, and ask God for more of it.

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Malkin Supports Veggies

Over at Hot Air’s Vent, Michelle Malkin looks further into the hypocrisy of NBC as it relates to the scrubbing of religion from Veggie Tales. The same network that fought so hard to use the F-word in primetime now has “standards” that include not offending people. Malkin has examples of these wonderful “standards”.

(See also Sanitizing the Veggies from earlier this week.)

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There’s Negative, and Then There’s Negative

The negative campaign season is upon us. Republicans and Democrats are geared up and ready to takes shots at each other. I’ve never really had a problem with negative campaigning in principle. I think it’s perfectly relevant to have one candidate point out where the other’s actions have gone against his past or present promises and stated positions. There’s a fine line when you get into the personal lives, but if a candidate says one thing and acts quite differently, it could be fair game.

Having said that, I’m uncomfortable with some of the new negative ads that Republicans are putting out. While both sides are going negative (again, not necessarily a bad thing in my book), according to the NY Times it looks like the Republicans are going negative on mostly personal issues while the Democrats are going negative on political issues. And given the examples cited, the Republicans are disappointing me.
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