Television Archives

Shire Network News #117

Shire Network News #117 has been released. The feature interview is with Ezra Levant, who is the former publisher of Canada’s Western Standard newspaper, and who was famously hauled up in front of some sort of bogus Province of Alberta Kangaroo Court for a variety of thought crimes. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.


Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News asking you to "Consider This!"

Regular listeners to SNN will recall that in May of 2007 I talked about the children’s show "Tomorrow’s Pioneers", a Hamas-produced TV show that depicted a young girl and her mouse sidekick, named Farfur, meaning butterfly.  The purpose of Farfur was to indoctrinate Palestinian children to the idea of jihad and to demonstrate just how eeevil the Jews are.  Episodes on how to properly hold an AK-47 give you an idea of just how "charming" this show was.

At the time, the Palestinian government, aware of the PR fiasco it might be incurring, said they would nix the show.  When Hamas refused to stop airing the show, the government said that, well, OK, but they’d be watching it closely.

I’m sure they have, and here in February of 2008 the show is still going strong.  I guess in the world of the Palestinians, "oversight" simply means to watch.  These days, there is a new sidekick.  It’s a rabbit named Assud, meaning lion.  Either these Hamas producers enjoy this sort of cognitive dissonance, or they just didn’t have the requisite costumes. 

Assud’s arrival was required after his predecessor, Nahoul the bee, died because he couldn’t get to a hospital in Egypt for surgery.  Someone apparently didn’t tell him that Hamas took down that wall a few weeks ago.  Of course, Egypt’s feelings toward the Palestinians made a rapid change after that development; from "we support the Palestinians in their plight" to "hey, who invited you here?"  So it sounds like Nahoul still wouldn’t get his operation, and it still would be Israel’s fault.

Before Nahoul, Farfur himself died at the hands of an Israeli after Farfur wouldn’t sell his land and got punched out on camera.  The desensitizing of Palestinian children continues unabated, but it’s all "educational", doncha’ know?

So now Assud, the rabbit named "Lion", follows in these illustrious footsteps, vowing to liberate the Al-Aqsq mosque and the Palestinian "homeland".  Not exactly your typical Children’s Television Workshop faire.  Assud seeks martyrdom and intends to eat Jews, all while bringing "smiles and joy back to the children of Palestine".

Just remember, this is on a television station run by the terrorist group that is in power in the Palestinian territories.  This is the voice of a group that wants to be taken seriously on the world stage, and, unfortunately, is taken seriously by too much of the world.  They say they want to live in peace, but ingrain in their preschool children a hatred of and desire to kill their neighbors.  Until this sort of insanity stops, they cannot be taken seriously and cannot be taken at their word.  Peaceful is as peaceful does.  The rabbit named "Lion", who is teaching Palestinian children, isn’t.

Consider that.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Telling Comedy From Reality

It appears that too many on the Left are willing and eager to accept Jon Stewart at face value, forgetting that his show is, y’know, not an actual news show.

“Idiots are now convinced that Dubya doesn’t know Nelson Mandela is still alive,” writes Abu Wabu. “What has in fact died, and what a miserable, stinking death it was, is real intellectual rigor on the idiot left.” As made evident by followers of Daily Show host Jon Stewart, “a voice for democratic ideals and the noble place of citizenship”, at least according to Tom Brokaw. Pity, then, that Stewart’s idealistic nobility is wasted on an audience of morons:

Thursday’s episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Oh my God. How funny was it? And for a very wrong reason indeed. I’ve already shared it with others. George W Bush thought Nelson Mandela is dead? Dude! How wrong could he possibly be!

Hat tip to Tim Blair, who has a host of other examples. And, of course, if these Nuance Nabobs would take a look at the context, they’d see that Stewart’s hack job just fed them plastic red meat, that they gobbled up. This wouldn’t be so scary if “The Daily Show” weren’t so many people’s primary news source.

It’s a comedy show, folks. Treat it with way more skepticism than your average nightly news program.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

TV Screen Clutter

The clutter on your TV screen is getting worse.

Kyra Sedgwick, star of “The Closer” on TNT, walks under a police tape and scans the screen with her flashlight. And every time she does, she makes Gretchen Corbin, a technical writer in Berkeley, Calif., irate.

The promotional ads for “The Closer” run in the bottom right of the screen during other TNT programs — a graphic called a snipe. But for Ms. Corbin, who sometimes watches movies that have subtitles, the tiny images block the dialogue.

“Some ad just took over the entire bottom of the screen so I missed what the characters said to each other,” said Ms. Corbin, describing a recent experience. “And it’s TV, so you can’t rewind.”

Snipes are just the latest effort by network executives to cram promotions onto television screens in the age of channel surfing, ad skipping and screen-based multitasking. At first, viewers may feel a slight jolt of pleasure at the sight of a new visual effect, they say, but over time the intrusions contribute to the sense that the screen is far more cluttered — not just with ads, but with news crawls and other streams of information.

Not just “snipes” but full blown, full-color, moving ads that take away from the current show, sometimes obscuring it. This really is way too much.

This ranks right down there with a feature on news channels that appeared after 9/11: The Scroller(tm). On a day when terrorism hit the US, keeping up with more news than just what was being covered at the moment was very useful. But when The Scroller is noting who’s won a local mustache and beard contest, it’s usefulness has long, long been outlived. Give me some of my screen back, guys

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Bee Replaces Mouse as Kiddie Suicide Symbol

Ain’t Hamas television just so cute?

Hamas’s Al-Aqsa television station recruited a new children’s character to “continue” the legacy of its star martyr, Farfur – the Mickey Mouse lookalike who was beaten to death by an Israeli on the previous program.

The new character on the children’s show Tomorrow’s Pioneers, a bee named Nahool, tells the hostess he is Farfur’s cousin and that he wishes to “continue the path of Farfur… the path of martyrdom, the path of the Jihad warriors… and in his name we shall take revenge upon the enemies of Allah, the murderers of the prophets…” The expression “Murderers of the prophets” is an Islamic expression used by the PA religious leaders to refer to Jews. Defining the Jews as the enemies of God is common in PA religious broadcasting.

Entertaining and educational as always.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

“Chavez and Farfour and Lenin, Oh My!”

When I returned from vacation and caught up on my news reading, a couple of items caught my eye.

Farfur the Mouse is dead. Back in May, I talked about the Hamas children’s show “Tomorrow’s Pioneers” and it’s main character Farfur the Mouse, an obvious Mickey Mouse knock-off, that told kids of the wonders of martyrdom and of the ultimate destruction of the terrorist state of Israel. Fun for the whole family, no? At the time, the head of the Palestinian version of the FCC (a Fatah fellow) said the program would be removed and reviewed. The Hamas station basically said, “Nuts to you” and kept it on the air. Well now, for whatever reason, the station did cancel the show. According to this Jerusalem Post report, it had nothing to do with the government; they’re just making room for new programs. Either that’s a final statement of defiance just before succumbing to a government order, or it’s the actual reason and the government really was toothless in this area.

Regardless, the mouse is dead. Literally. In the final episode (click here for the video) Farfur is martyred by a Jewish character in sunglasses when Farfur won’t sell him his land. He’s punched out on camera, and the little girl who co-hosts the show announces Farfur’s martyrdom. Remember, this is the official TV station of the government that the Palestinian people voted to be their representatives to the world.

Hugo Chavez is still…Hugo Chavez. He’s making common cause with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in an “axis of unity” against North America, he’s making enemies of his South American neighbors after they rightly criticize his silencing of dissent, and he’s asking Russians to remember the lessons of Lenin. Chavez is talking about Lenin’s anti-imperialism views (though the Soviet Union certainly had its imperialist streak), but I think there are other lessons of Lenin that millions of the dead in Russia would like to teach us.

And here’s an interesting tidbit.

Insecurity, “malignant narcissism” and the need for adulation are driving Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s confrontation with the United States, according to a new psychological profile.

Eventually, these personality traits are likely to compel Chavez to declare himself Venezuela’s president for life, said Dr. Jerrold Post, who has just completed the profile for the U.S. Air Force.

Chavez won elections for a third term last December. Since then he has stepped up his anti-American rhetoric, vowed to accelerate a march towards “21st Century socialism” and suggested that he intends to stay in power until 2021 — a decade beyond his present term.

But Post — who profiled foreign leaders in a 21-year career at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and now is the director of the Political Psychology Program at George Washington University — doubts that Chavez plans to step down even then. “He views himself as a savior, as the very embodiment of Venezuela,” Post said in an interview.

“He has been acting increasingly messianic and so he is likely to either get the constitution rewritten to allow for additional terms or eventually declare himself president-for-life.”

Post portrays Chavez as “a masterful political gamesman” who knows that his popularity largely rests on being seen as a strong leader who takes on the United States, the Venezuelan elite and a host of other perceived enemies — often with public insults that are rarely used by other leaders.

“To keep his followers engaged, he must continue outrageous and inflammatory attacks,” Post said.

Even Chavez’s most determined opponents concede that he is a gifted orator and has a rare ability to mesmerize audiences. In the language of political psychology, this is a “charismatic leader-follower relationship.”

We’ve watch this script played out enough in history. Are we just going to sit back and watch the next act, or are we going to resist it?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Newsworthy. Or Not.

With a hat tip to Clayton Cramer, a not-so-hypothetical question. If 3 retired generals (out of several thousand) come out against the war, and if almost 3,000 active-duty military come out asking for full support and full funding and don’t want to retreat, are both these items newsworthy?

If you said Yes to the first part and No to the second part, you too could work for CNN or just about any other mainstream media outlet. (Except Fox News, of course. They covered both news items.) As of this posting, two days after the presentation to Congress, CNN has no mention at all of the “Appeal for Courage”. Were it not for blog coverage, this might well have been swept under the rug by a media for whom this doesn’t fit the narrative.

As John Hinderaker notes at Power Line, this is sort of a lab experiment. And the media failed, as is their habit.

Click here for more details on this petition.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

ABC to Webcast Christian/Atheist Debate

Kudos to ABC for webcasting a debate between 2 Christians and 2 atheists this coming Wednesday. It won’t be on network TV, but will be on their website live. Speaking for the Christian side will be Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron (yes, that Kirk Cameron).

Two Christians are meeting two atheists in a televised debate with the subject the existence of God, and Ray Comfort, a best-selling author and expert on Christian evangelism, says he can prove the existence of the Almighty in his allotted 13 minutes – without mentioning the Bible or faith.

“The network originally offered me only four minutes to present my case,” Comfort said. “After speaking with Kirk [Cameron, former Growing Pains and Left Behind series movie star] and conferring with the atheists, they settled on 13 minutes. I’m ecstatic. I can prove the existence of God in that amount of time.”

The debate will be Saturday in New York, and ABC had originally planned a live webcast of the 90-minute event, but changed plans to capture a larger audience, officials said.

ABC instead will broadcast the entire debate on ABC.com on May 9, at 1 p.m. EST.

The old adage goes that no one was ever argued into heaven, but some are at least influenced by reasoning. I’m not really concerned about what the atheists might say.

The idea for the debate developed after several atheists launched the Internet site Blasphemy Challenge, which offers to send people a DVD if they post on Youtube.com a video of themselves condemning themselves to hell.

The self-described “Rational Response Squad” said its DVDs, “The God Who Wasn’t There,” was described by the Los Angeles Times as “provocative – to put it mildly.”

These guys have some sort of special vendetta against Christianity specifically, and their MO is shock. No, not worried about what these guys will come up with.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

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.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

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.

Read the rest of this entry

Sanitizing the Veggies

It might be OK to show Madonna hanging on a mirrored cross, but don’t dare let Bob and Larry tell kids that God loves them.

The wildly popular VeggieTales kids videos about vegetables who talk and sing and act out Bible stories are being edited for their run on NBC’s Saturday morning educational program time, and the network says it’s because of time limits.

But the creator says that’s not exactly the case, and viewers will have to decide for themselves whether the result is good or bad.

“VeggieTales was originally created for home video and, in most cases, each episode is over 30 minutes long. As it appears …. VeggieTales has been edited down for broadcast without losing any of its core messages about positive values,” the network said.

Phil Vischer, the co-creator of the characters, said that comment was “interesting.”

“As a guy deeply involved with the project, I know that statement is false,” Vischer wrote on his own weblog. “We sent them our first episode for TV, which was already edited to EXACTLY the right length, and they rejected it because, at the end, Bob the Tomato said, ‘Remember kids, God made you special and he loves you very much.’ They demanded we remove that line. The show wasn’t too long, it was too religious.”

He said the second also was sent edited for perfect timing. The response from NBC was an e-mail with a list of lines that needed to be removed, “each of them containing either the word ‘God’ or ‘Bible,'” Vischer wrote.

My first reaction was to wonder why NBC felt it needed to lie to the public about what it was doing. Vischer himself had no problem with meeting the standards, as long as NBC was being honest about it. Apparently, now they are. Vischer wrote:

So they’re being clear now, which is good. Whether or not you agree with their standards or the other shows they air is really a separate issue. They obviously have the right to set their own standards and apply them however they choose. I just wanted to make sure everyone was being upfront about the situation, because, well, I like it when we’re all being upfront.

Read the rest of this entry

 Page 3 of 3 « 1  2  3