Showing posts with label media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

Friday, July 25, 2014


Just a short late night judgment. I haven't watched Charlie Rose in a while until tonight when I caught an interview with Jeff Koons. I never really liked Rose's interview style. He somehow got this reputation as a great interviewer because his show is set up in a way that makes it seem almost pure in its approach (around a table with iconic cultural figures and supposed intellectuals etc.) and quiet minimalism.

Despite the  fact he uses notes like everyone else, he seems to either quickly become redundant, like he forgot he already posed that question or one almost exactly like it, or fails to follow up (or through) on an interviewee's statement that raises interesting questions never asked...etc. Also, I met him once at a TV awards show in L.A. and he was sloshed and I can't help when I see him on TV wondering if he's a little bombed and that's why he's repeating himself or just stating the obvious.

Whereas with John Hockenberry, I listen to his public radio show, called "The Take Away," on WNYC in New York pretty much every day and consider him the best interviewer in contemporary media. He always seems to immediately grasp what the person he's interviewing means and restates it in a way that any listener can understand—in case they didn't get it—and then asks a follow up question that either challenges that or takes it to the next level, and keeps doing that until the segment's over where he draws it to a conclusion that either summarizes the main point or draws his own insightful conclusion that's "the take away."

I wonder if he hasn't been asked to have his own show on TV only because he's in a wheelchair (and has been as far as I know his whole life) or has deliberately chosen NPR for the latitude it gives him to shape his show the way he wants and to do the kinds of swift, informative and smart interviews that always leave me informationally and intellectually satisfied.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


So the storm that just whipped through the Southwest was another "historic" one breaking all records in some areas and some weather folks didn't even know how to name it because of how erratic and unusual some aspects of it were.

And there's still not just wing nuts but their political leaders and mouthpieces arguing against climate change, or that global warming has contributed to it.

Meanwhile even lefties are condemning Obamacare wholesale, forgetting how much of it is already working well, like not letting insurance companies deny you if you have a pre-existing condition, or covering your kids until they're twenty-six or covering previously uninsured and uninsurable children, etc.

It seems sometimes like the Facebook like button, or the Internet in general along with contemporary news bad habits (and contemporary bad news habits) (except for Al Jazeera America, which though a lot less flashier often covers news old style, in depth and with reporters covering a story, not talking heads commenting on one or manufacturing one) has created an environment where only generalities and blanket statements get heard...or seen...

Just another redundant hmmmmmm.... moment.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I know others have pointed this out, as have I, over many decades, but still, how come old white men continue to get away with stuff young black men would be thrown in prison for and end up destroying their lives over.

I'm talking about that Republican Senator from Florida who voted to force anyone on welfare to take regular drug tests, and now has been caught buying and using cocaine in DC and only gets a slap on the wrist and sympathy for his addiction problem. (Remember the same for Rush Limbaugh after his decades of demanding drug addicts be prosecuted to the full extent of the law blah blah?)

The double standard for a drug that is used way more (the statistics are there) by whites than blacks (so-called, I hate both terms as they are so stupidly inadequate for the many shades skin comes in etc.) and yet black persons, especially men, get sentenced to prison way more than white ones.

Jim Crow is alive and well in the criminal justice (so-called) system, and especially in the for-profit prison system. Young white people need to protest widely and massively about this, 'cause they'll get much more media attention that young black people doing it, unfortunately ('cause Jim Crow is also alive and well in the mass media)...

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Alec Baldwin (who does happen to be an old friend) says in this Huffington Post blog entry what I would have said in his defense had anyone asked me.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


It's starting to feel that way. It's not just the Sarah Palins and Glen Becks, the Hannitys and oh basically everyone on Fox News and speaking out for the Tea Party etc., but what bozos do the Dems get to run their media connections...

This whole Obamacare thing has been handled first by denial and then by strained and piecemeal and fragmented complicated stutter start explanations that comes across as either gobbledy gook or jive.

If the Koch brothers money was running the Democrats' show and they had the think tanks talking heads and strategists, Obama's people would have been making it clear all along that there'd be a rough start, a la Social Security, Medicare and the original Obamacare, i.e. Romneycare.

They all had the same kinds of confusion, minimal participation and glitches that eventually got worked out and now a majority participates and supports those programs, just as they will Obamacare unless the right succeeds in reversing it—with enormous help from the media.

I can't even watch NBC News anymore on this shite, the adjectives used sound like my teenager when he gets emotional, like there has never been any greater mess up than this, when just a few weeks ago we were in a government shutdown that cost us all 24 billion dollars!

But Obama and the people he surrounds himself with have blown the message on this one. Someone should have been immediately out front about how a single payer plan wouldn't have all these problems, and how the insurance companies were the ones causing the trouble in the first place, and how this plan, originally created by Republicans depends too much on outside contractors to do the computer set ups.

The best defense is to say hey, if we had a government agency doing this, like the ones that handle Medicare or Social Security, we wouldn't have had these problems. They were caused by privatization! Corporations! Surprise surprise!

Too tedious that a lone old man sitting at his computer can come up with a better media strategy than all those thirty-five-year-old administration minions running around blocking access for people like, well not me, I'm past it, but friends who are still in the political game and on the Dems side.

Another late night rant I'm afraid. Sweet dreams.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I haven't seen anyone say this in the media, but maybe I missed it, and that is that the government hired private companies and corporations to do the Internet access for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, so shouldn't the difficult rollout be an indictment against corporations and not the government?

All the privatization that has gone on in the federal government since Reagan began convincing weak minded people that the government was their problem—and not exploitative corporations trying to avoid regulation and taxes and paying wages that a person could live on and own a home and send their kids to college—the privatization of government programs has increased.

Actually the partial privatization of the Post Office (something called for in The Constitution by the way but you never see right-wingers who supposedly love the Founding Fathers and The Constitution ever agitating to return the Post Office to its original mandate and set up) started the whole thing and proved that the government had done the whole mail thing a lot better when allowed to.

I've benefited from government programs over the years, from the G.I. Bill to Social Security, and despite the occasional glitch (actually I can't remember any at the moment, but I'm saying that to cover anything I'm forgetting) my interacting with government employees and policies has gone pretty smoothly (I know that hasn't been true for everyone) especially compared to my interactions with corporations (telephone, cable, bank, etc.) which have almost inevitably been fraught with glitches and much worse (and I know that HAS been true for everyone).

Just a thought.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


There are a lot of videos on YouTube that show the ongoing peaceful demonstrations in Canada of indigenous people protesting against fracking that will destroy ancient water sources. Today one got violent when a contingent of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police confronted and then attacked the protesters where they had set up camp to block the initial stages of investigation for the fracking.

That's a feather she's holding, others were holding sage, against which the Canadian police used pepper spray and rubber bullets and some said live ammunition.

Along with the police were a few snipers in camouflage. A very threatening presence to a peaceful demonstration.

The protesters were angry, justifiably, (some burned government cars after they were brutally attacked, women and men) bur brave in the face of such force and are really standing up for the rest of us who are allowing this process of corporate oil's takeover of precious resources to satisfy their need for new profits from shale and tar sands oil deposits and to thwart the growth of clean energy processes. They aren't the only ones standing up to fracking around the globe.  Here's people from a farm community in Romania protesting an outside oil company (American) trying to frack their land.
I can't verify the Romanian protest. But I have Indian activist friends who have posted eye witness accounts of the Canadian one.  Maybe the best explanation for what's happening is this:
[A little oversimplified but generally accurate.]

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


So the way to win elections generally is to have the best strategy. Ideals and candidates and positions help, but strategy ultimately wins in most cases, often unfortunately.

Chris Christie is supposedly a "fiscal conservative" a la the Republican propaganda mantra. Though he has proven over and over again that he will take actions that are fiscally irresponsible if it helps a corporate donor or harms the Democrats etc. and the media mainly ignores this.

But the "special" election today in my home state of New Jersey to fill the late Democratic Senator Lautenberg's seat, is an instance of Christie's (or his advisors') superior strategy. It's costing the taxpayers, that includes me, millions to have this election today, as opposed to just including it in the general election coming up in a few weeks.

But Christie didn't want Cory Booker's popularity to get in the way of his reelection, so he's spending millions of our dollars on an election that would normally have been a landslide victory for Booker, if held on the usual election day on a Tuesday in November, and maybe influenced more voter turnout against Christie.

By holding it separately on a Wednesday in October, it makes sure that voters who either expect a Booker victory so don't feel compelled to vote or just won't remember it's today—since Booker has been much weaker at strategy (and was dealing with the death of his father) and hasn't done enough to get out the vote (I haven't received one phone call or mailing encouraging me to vote for Booker)—won't vote, while the rightwing base will be there lock step (they had the Palin machine here to help).

Booker's strategy has been so off, his opponent, a Tea Party Republican so far to the right of what the vast majority of Jersey voters believe in, he not only is against abortion and gay marriage rights and taxing the wealthy, he wants to eliminate The Department of Education and the IRS and immigration and etc. has succeeded in diminishing Booker's lead in the polls of likely voters from over forty per cent to under ten!

Like pesky mosquitoes or cockroaches or flies or rats or whatever pest you can think of, these rightwing Republicans are relentless in their persistent nibbling attempts to destroy our government(s) as any form of help for working and poor people so that corporations and the wealthy can exceed even the historically humongous profits they have been accumulating.

And though the vast majority of our fellow citizens when asked specifically about policies agree mostly with Democratic policies, the Republican strategists use every tactic they can to limit voting, misinform voters, confuse voters, or discourage voting, including spending our taxpayer money to do so (as their government shutdown and refusing to raise the debt ceiling has cost hundreds of millions of taxpayer money) and intimidate, buy or in other ways influence the media to ignore that part of the story.

Monday, October 14, 2013


The rightwing Republicans will end up getting concessions from the president and Democrats for some kind of temporary deal on the so-called debt ceiling and opening the government again (like a tax on medical machines which will mean less funding for elements of Obamacare which will mean a diminishment of the benefits or higher premiums for working people etc. which will lead to disappointment in Obamacare and help those same Republicans hack away further at it in the weeks or months until they make the next deadline for renegotiating the so-called debt ceiling and closure of the government etc.)...

...and all in the name of supposedly "cutting the debt" which means to Republicans cutting spending which means to Republicans cutting "entitlements" which means and has always meant to rightwing Republicans cutting until eliminated all Democratic policies that have saved this country in my lifetime over and over again like Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, Unemployment Benefits, Veterans Benefits (they'll save that til last but it'll go, since it was the Dems who created the benefits and funded them when Repubs refused to et. al.) along with bank and food and corporate regulations etc.

And all the time the government shutdown and the sequester and every other tactic the Repubs have pulled to cut back the parts of government that help most of us—just to avoid making corporations and the wealthy pay a little more, or corporations face regulations that might limit their enormous humongous historically gigantic profits to just bigger than the rest of our incomes combined, but continue the tax funded (from most of us) benefits for those same corporations and industries and the wealthy etc.—costs taxpayers hundreds of millions a day!

And the media pretty much ignores this fact, that every day the government is shut down, and every day the rest of the world thinks our government will default on its financial obligations, costs hundreds of millions to the economy, to small businesses, to workers, to all of us. Why can' the Dems frame this thing as it should be: the Republicans crying about government spending while costing the economy hundreds of millions with this shutdown that raises the debt (that under Obama, as opposed to under Reagan, and Bush Junior, has been coming down).

Thursday, October 3, 2013


My friend poet/writer and Irish musician, Terence Winch, sent me a copy of an email he wrote to a columnist at The Washington Post, encouraging me and everyone to send our own emails to hopefully wake up those in the media who continue to avoid placing blame where it clearly lies:

"Dear Mr. McCartney:

I always read your column, and almost always agree with your take. As a retired federal employee, I appreciated your point today about the important work done by many dedicated civil servants. What I have trouble with---and this is a problem, I believe, at the Post and throughout much of the establishment media---is the vague blaming of "our leaders" and generic partisanship for the shutdown & other problems with Congress. It is the Republicans in the House---in particular, a small subset of extreme right-wing Republicans---who are responsible for all this dysfunction. They are seeking to block a law that was passed handily by both houses of Congress, was signed by the President, upheld by the Supreme Court, and re-affirmed by "the American people" (who Boehner keeps trying to tell us oppose the law) in the last election. It is not at all helpful to allow Republican readers and voters to believe that this situation is a two-sided one.  You and your colleagues owe it to your readers to identify those really responsible for all these problems. If they pay no price & get no blame, they'll just keep doing it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


One of the capital offenses in my personal legal system is self-righteousness. I'm certainly guilty of it sometimes and am happy to be called on it. Another capital offense is making a commercial that isn't either original or amusing or moving and all in the service of honest evaluation. So that means when I'm watching TV that has commercials I change the channel a lot, or if they're covering Anthony Weiner.

I actually accidentally caught some reporter on CNN accusing Weiner's wife of being "ambitious" in the words of someone who supposedly knew her personally.  Can you believe that someone in the journalism profession who managed to make it to the top of the TV world would be using the word "ambition" snidely judgmentally?!

If we are going to judge how well a person might practice their profession based on their personal habits, or compulsions or even addictions (there's some recent studies that show that the brains of persons struggling with "sex addiction" do not show the same reactions to their drug of choice as do say heroin or meth or etc. addicts, but for this post I'll concede the term might fit some people, including me at times) than we shouldn't elect or hire anyone who is overweight and definitely not anyone who is clinically obese because that shows "poor judgment" when it comes to food and exercise. Et-endlessly-cetera.

Now, you could say, as some did, about Chris Christie that you might not vote for him because you're afraid he might die in office from a heart attack due to his weight, but that's different from saying voters shouldn't support Weiner because of his private life, which it turns out at least in street interviews most New Yorkers are not saying.

If I were living in the city still, I'd probably vote for Christine Quinn just to see New York's first Irish lesbian woman mayor. But I liked the policies Weiner voted and fought for as a Congressman and don't see why his sex life has anything to do with it.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I miss the early days of CNN when I could turn on the TV any time and actually see news stories. I know, everyone says because people get their news now from the Internet they don't watch the evening news like they used to (and I still do), but the original CNN was like the Internet in that it was constantly reporting news stories as they broke and covering a lot of ground.

The news I get online seems fragmented, narrowly focused and endlessly—like network and especially cable news now—more commentary than news. It also covers an extremely limited number of stories and then either repeats them ad infinitum or has endless commentary from the same old talking heads.

There are exceptions. But they are few, and limited as well by their bosses and the corporations they serve. I know this isn't a new perspective, and like duh we live in a corporatocracy so that's the way it is, but I just really miss those old days of early CNN when I could turn the TV on anytime and see what was going on in the world. And as limited as the amount of stories and the focus seemed then, it now seems way expansive compared to where we are now.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


They say if you want to be disappointed, just have expectations. I went to an "unbirthday party" last night for two people, one of whose birthdays I was told is in July (the other's was yesterday) that was also a Festivus party (a day early from what I hear). So it was kind of an un-party, though it was like most parties, lots of food and dessert and music and talk.

Since the brain operation (I know some of you are tired of hearing about that but it continues to impact my thinking patterns and my ways of responding to stimuli) crowds, even small ones, create a kind of anxiety sometimes. My automatic response seems to be to chatter and/or become almost childishly eager or earnest etc.

I think I may have ended up offending a few people who attempted to have  conversations with me, though others seemed to go fine. But my main point is that the "un-"ness of the evening got me thinking about how sometimes the unexpected is much more satisfying in the short and often even the long run.

I was at Whole Foods yesterday when a sister-in-law's youngest sibling came up and hugged me from behind and I had no idea who it was but loved the unexpected warmth and affection. I was pleased to see her, as I always am. We've known each other since we were kids in our respective older siblings wedding party (I caught the garter and got to slide it up her leg recorded in the wedding album).

The night before I couldn't find anything to watch on the TV (I still prefer stumbling on the unexpected treasure than going to "on demand" of (I can't think of the name of the service you pay for to get videos in the mail or streaming online, it begins with an "N") and stopped to catch a bit of about a third of the way into the massive flop JOHN CARTER and ended up watching it to the end and being unexpectedly satisfied. [Thought of it after I first posted this: Netflix.]

It was campy, especially the costumes, and the special effects weren't anything I hadn't seen before, and the story wasn't either, basic sic-fi/fantasy simplistic plot etc.  But surprisingly, to me, it wasn't as bad as I'd heard or that much more predictable and campy than some similar movies that were big hits. And for an hour or so of escapism I found it passably entertaining. [Just as I found another major flop, ISHTAR, more than just entertaining, actually pretty damn good, when it first came out and no one else seemed to.]

I didn't hear the speech the head of the NRA gave (like the killers who use guns to massacre people I prefer not to name those who deliberately cause suffering and pain and death, why should they be honored by any kind of publicity, it's the victims and the heroes who defend them and sometimes die doing that whose names the media should make famous) but from news accounts I unexpectedly agree with at least one point he made that I've been making for most of my life (see my poem "The Healing" or me reading it on YouTube), that the glorification of violence in movies and more recently in recordings and video games and reality shows has a negative impact on a lot of vulnerable minds, like the young or the mentally challenged or those of us like me susceptible to violent impulses.

Then tonight I watched an interview on Piers Morgan, who I normally don't watch but he had on Barbra Streisand whose talent knocked me out the first time I heard her sing and whose first album was seminal in my life for many reasons, not least of which was that what she did with her voice no one had ever done before making her one of the few major innovators whose influence changed an art form. [Though there are those, I know, who would say changed it for the worse, but that's not this musician's opinion.]

It was unexpected to see her giving an interview, a rare event in her life, and even more unexpected to see her looking so good, especially for her age (near mine) and claiming she's against plastic surgery or any changes to her physiognomy mostly because she doesn't trust that whoever's doing it won't mess up. All this with a perfectly smooth (at least through the TV) forehead and cheeks that didn't move, so I'm guessing Botox.

But, still the interview was an unexpected delight because she seemed to be pretty honest about the way she sees herself and deals with her stardom. All in all an unexpectedly satisfying few days, which it seems every day turns out to be now that I try not to have any expectations in the first place.

Friday, October 5, 2012


So, the new and revised employment numbers are out and the unemployment rate is below 8% for the first time in years. The Republicans and their rightwing media and corporate masters have been yelling about how the unemployment rate has been over 8% under Obama (never acknowledging that it got to that point because of a Republican administration etc. or that it has been steady dropping—that's why Romney in the debate focused on the "over 8%" rather than on the declining numbers: 8.5, 8.3, 8.1, and now 7.8%).

So the big question is, will these same Republican media mouthpieces and Republican Party leaders acknowledge that Obama has succeeded in bring the unemployment rate below the 8% they kept complaining about? The obvious answer is: Never.

So what does Obama have to do? If I were him or his advisers I'd apologize for not doing better in the debate [I think he should have done that in his first appearance the next day, honestly assessed the failure of his and his team's strategy in terms of how it came across, not on how much he was telling the truth and Romney was lying, same for us, his supporters] at stating simply and clearly this administration's accomplishments and for not repeatedly and clearly connecting Romney and Ryan to the failed policies that got us into the mess Bush/Cheney caused, because Romney and Ryan advocate the same policies.

Yes, Obama attempted to do that during the debate, but not simply and clearly and repeatedly. Scientific studies have shown that the human brain reacts more positively to simple statements framed in either/or contrast than more subtle and layered, i.e. nuanced statements. Even if the latter are more factual and true.

But the reality is, Obama doesn't have to lie like Romney to make the point over and over that things have been getting better under Obama than they were when he took office, and that things will get worse if Romney is elected. That's reality based on just the facts ma'am (the old DRAGNET line that reportedly was never actually said in that old and very conservative TV show hearkening back to the imaginary past of rightwing nostalgia).

Friday, September 14, 2012


I meant to write just about creative work I've been using as a respite from all the politics. But the Mideast situation seems to demand notice and comment, so...

What strikes me, besides the new dark ages lack of logic and reasoned arguments in much of the world population that gets most of the attention in the media, even the more democratic social media, is the disproportionate power of the few over the many in almost every aspect of life today.

The few corporations that most influence not just much of the worlds life styles but influence most of its politics (big oil being the main one, then weapons and drugs, the same trinity I've been writing about since the 1960s as the basis for most world power and conflict). Billions of people having much of their lives influenced and even controlled by a handful of big businesses.

And almost all societies seem to be subject to this disproportionate power of the few. Take 9/11. Approximately 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks. The proportionate response would be to track down those behind the attacks and bring them to justice. Like a criminal matter, track down the suspects, try them and hopefully justice will be done.

But in retaliation for those attacks, two wars that have killed hundreds of thousands of people in several countries including well over three thousand of our own people (troops mostly) have been waged and are still going on (at least the killings are).

A handful of weak thinkers who are bad filmmakers "create" at least a trailer that purports to be part of a two hour film in order to denigrate a world religion to provoke what exactly? It's not perfectly clear but from the evidence it would seem the least they wanted to start was yet another war.

So then mobs of people in various Mideast countries respond to this provocation by a handful of people with demonstrations and riots and military style attacks that have killed more than a dozen people so far, and are still going on and for all I know at this writing scores more have died.

And the world media, particularly here in the USA responds as though the populations of these countries are all taking part in or at least responsible for these mob outbursts, even though they represent a tiny tiny minority of the countries involved.

They often referred to the 20th century as the century of "the common man" but it seems the 21st is fast becoming the century of the elites, the handful, the 1% or less who dominate the news and events that create the news.  You would think in this age of instant communication and worldwide media and social networks there'd be a way to say: hey, a couple of idiots trying to provoke you did a stupid thing that happens to be legal in the country they did it in but that doesn't mean our government or the majority of our population agrees with their representation of your religion.

And to say to all religious fundamentalists everywhere, including the rightwingnuts in our own country, if there is such a thing as "God" why would he need you to defend him or her or it or however you see this all powerful entity? And why would the creator of the world and all life be threatened or even that bothered by a handful of idiots doing idiotic things?

Okay, it's late, I'm probably not even making sense, but before I crashed I just wanted to respond to some of you who wondered what I thought about what's been going down the past few days.