Monday, May 22, 2017

Blast in Manchester England at Ariana Grande Concert

Terrorism strikes again, though as of this writing, there was no clear affiliation to a terrorist group, that's still what it is. Be it a crazy guy, or connected to ISIS, the result is the same. And it stinks, that it was at a venue sure to be teeming with underage kids.

The story has overtaken the news, as these stories often do, which can be frustrating. Two things we know (and that was articulated by Rachel Maddow on her program, which was entirely devoted to the story), facts are constantly shifting in  the newness of this kind of story--so, it's unreliable information--and there isn't much to do but speculate. Which creates a dilemma for happening now news: they have to cover it, but there really isn't much to say. I wish they'd get a handle on the way to segue in and out of these major stories, instead of dwelling on them exclusively.

But sadly, no. We see the same looped, shaky, usually vertically* framed cell phone video, interspersed with almost as shaky location footage of the building, with not much going on. It's not riveting television, even though what they're covering is both important and dire. No easy way to do it I suppose.

And on a purely superficial note: if you ever find yourself in the middle of a breaking news event, and have the presence of mind to start recording video, turn the phone sideways. Thank you.


Explosion, Panic and Death at Ariana Grande Concert in England

An explosion that may have been a suicide bombing killed at least 19 people on Monday night and wounded dozens at an Ariana Grande concert filled with adoring adolescent fans in what the police were treating as a terrorist attack. . .

Read more (with video) at: New York Times

MSNBC #1, FOX "News" #3: Role Reversal!

Rachel Maddow, from source, Variety
I know I hardly blog anymore, but I knew when I saw this headline, I had to post it. In what has seemed inevitable for months, MSNBC has finally overtaken FOX "News" as the number one cable news station. I say "cable news" as a category, because FOX has of course never really been news, having practically invented "fake news" twenty years ago.

Now, I know, there are several factors here that make this possibly a temporary--and maybe even hollow--victory. The channel that used to call itself "The Place for Politics," and said "Lean Forward," has been seemingly morphing slowly into sort of a FOX lite, at least in certain areas. The guy pulling all the wheels and pullies behind the scenes, Andy Lack, seems hell-bent on tipping the focus to a blend of "straight news," and a tip rightward. He's been thwarted by Rachel Maddow's dynamo ratings, and also to the surges by the rest of the prime time lineup. He couldn't very well fire his new ratings champions.

Or could he? The channel's second highest rated host, Lawrence O'Donnell, has a contract renewal looming, and nobody seems to know if it's going to go through. His fans are planning a march, but as often happens in these sorts of things, we don't get to hear the details. Even tonight, as the world is dealing with another terrorist act in Manchester, England (as I write this, responsible parties unknown), Lawrence is not hosting his program, and is being pre-empted by Brian Williams.

It would be foolhardy for Lack to terminate O'Donnell--who has made it clear that he wants to stay--in the midst of a ratings bonanza. It would almost instantly damage the ratings they have just started to really reap, because a huge segment of the their audience would abandon MSNBC. But I've seen this happen before. Radio channels running Randi Rhodes or Stephanie Miller when they're performing well, and replacing them with radio formats that get microscopic ratings. Sometimes ideology trumps money. Strange but true.

Of course the ratings wave also came amidst a crash at FOX, where they've been rocked by scandal, schedule shakeups, and a complete lack of focus after the departure (and now death) of Roger Ailes. I'd like nothing better than to see one of two things happen: a) FOX "News" slides to irrelevancy, with FOX Business Channel-level ratings; or b) FOX itself morphs into a more straight-news channel, free of rightward slant. But what we don't need is MSNBC basically taking their place as the new leader in "fake news."

Meanwhile, congratulations to Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell, Chris Hayes and the roster of regulars that has performed a mighty feat, seemingly in the face of their own leadership.


MSNBC Reaches No. 1 for First Time in Weekly Primetime Ratings, Fox News Drops to Third

For the first time in its history, MSNBC ranked number one in both total viewers and the key adults 25-54 demographic during primetime for a full week among the big three cable news networks, according to Nielsen data. . .

Read more at: Variety

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Comey Firing: Key Day in History?

I remember how Right Wing World used to pick on
Hillary Clinton's looks. Now they ignore Donnie's.
Funny that.
The firing by (shudder) President Donald Trump of FBI Director James Comey could be a key day in history.

Why am I, runner of a half-abandoned hobbyist blog, qualified to say such a thing? I'm not. But call it a hunch. It simply feels momentous, this day. The left sees it as the move of a desperate man, but with the horrifying possibility of actually working. The right is overjoyed, seemingly unable to see Trump in anything but the most forgiving light. I mistakenly thought this was a very temporary effect of both winning an unexpected win, and of making liberals unhappy.

But Trump is very, very good at making liberals unhappy. And, if you haven't figured it out by now, conservatives like little more than "liberal tears." It's becoming very clear, that is largely what the whole Trump thing is about. He can hire people wholly unqualified for their jobs, to the point of opposing the very agencies they're put in charge of. He can use worse English than Sarah Palin hopped up on goofers. He can embarrass us on a world stage, show the most rudimentary of knowledge on civics. Doesn't matter how oafish, cartoonish, buffoonish and asinine he displays himself to be, they love him, because he pisses off the correct people.

For everyone not under that thrall, the experience is quite different. This is a presidency off the rails. An absolute train wreck that just gets worse as the days go by. And the suspicion of corruption, and even collusion with the Russians seems far more plausible. It's feeling more and more like an unfolding Watergate-type scandal, and the Comey firing feels like a key moment.

Depending on how much focus this story holds on the news cycle, and whether it grows, or peters out, it's still key. Because if Trump survives it, and we move on to the next outrage. If nothing comes of the Russia investigations, and in two months the story is on Trump insulting another ally, then that key moment will be, he got away with it.

And that will make a lot of people wonder, what on earth would or could be his undoing, if he can skate by after probably colluding with a hostile foreign government (not to mention the many and varied conflicts of interest, nepotism and the rest).

But, if this is the moment when some of the saner conservatives (they are out there, they've gotta be. . .right?) begin to peel off, and get on board the anti-Trump train. Or at least start demanding some real answers. I guess we'll see which way it unfolds together. Maybe I'll try to poke my head in here a bit more often as we find out.


Trump's love-hate relationship with James Comey

The same day FBI Director James Comey announced he was recommending that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not be charged in connection with her use of a private email server, then-candidate Donald Trump walked onto a stage in Raleigh, North Carolina, and proclaimed: "Our system is absolutely, totally rigged. . ."

Read more at: CNN
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...