First Press Briefing: the press gets taken to the woodshed

President Trump used his first full day in office to wage war on the media, accusing news organizations of lying about the size of his inauguration crowd as Saturday’s huge protests served notice that a vocal and resolute opposition would be a hallmark of his presidency.

With Americans taking to the streets in red and blue states alike to emphatically decry a president they consider reprehensible and, even, illegitimate, Trump visited the Central Intelligence Agency for a stream-of-consciousness airing of grievances — including against journalists, whom he called “the most dishonest human beings on Earth.”

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Palestinian anger beats out a violent sound track

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The Palestinian teenagers who came one after another into the True Love gift and music shop on a recent afternoon all had the same request: nationalistic songs — the new ones.

The proprietor quickly handed over the CDs that he had just started keeping at the checkout counter, like “Jerusalem Is Bleeding,” featuring the track “It’an, It’an” — “Stab, stab” — with its ominous backbeat.

“When I listen to these songs it makes me boil inside,” said one customer, Khader Abu Leil, 15, explaining that the thrumming score has helped pump him up for near-daily demonstrations where he hurls stones at Israeli soldiers.

Inspired by this month’s wave of Palestinian attacks against Israeli Jews and deadly clashes with Israeli security forces, musicians in the occupied West Bank and beyond have produced scores of militaristic, often violent tunes. Published and shared on YouTube and Facebook, they form something of an intifada soundtrack, illustrated by videos that include gritty clips from fresh events.

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Mother in yellow beats son

Go woman in yellow, go! She did what a parent should do when they catch their kid being a thug. That was tough love. When interviewed, she said he was her only son and she didn’t want him to become a Freddie. Sometimes that’s what it takes.

Now, when will so bleeding heart do-gooder start whining because she beat her kid about the head and shoulders? Don’t worry. It is coming. It’s about time people stand up and applaud parents for a good whack here and a good whack there rather than parent-shaming that goes on nowadays.

That kid had it coming. I think that woman was a good mother. She did what needed to be done. Get your ass off the street. She might have saved his life.

This is a discussion America needs to have. What she did was not child abuse in my world.

Confession: yes I have done that to both of mine–not regularly but in extreme times.

Mothers, don’t let your sons grow up to be thugs.  The mother in yellow was a hero.

Bristow Beat: Recap of BOCS Meeting

One of the best re-caps  of yesterday’s BOCS meeting can be found at the Bristow Beat.  Stacy Shaw did a great job of summarizing the very long meeting as well as using citizen profiles and quotes to encapsulate the various points of view represented.  In fact, the Virginia Press Association named Bristow Beat the best in Breaking News Writing in the online-only category  at their annual awards banquet last Saturday night.  Congratulations, Bristow Beat!

Perhaps the most refreshing part of Stacy’s write-up was the air of neutrality.  I saw none of the bias one usually associates with local news, whether it is blog related or actual online or print media.  Yes, we expect blogs to portray bias.  That is sort of the point of a blog.  But all too often the actual online news sources can’t seem to resist showing their colors.  It is just darn difficult to find your news without an infusion of commentary.

One of the most touching parts of the meeting was listening to people speak to the needs of the Prince William Free Clinic.  It literally is a lifesaver for people who do not have health coverage and who might not have the out of pocket funds to get medical and dental treatment.  Not everyone gets Medicaid, especially men.  Where would these people be without the free clinic?  Hopefully, Ray B. will come along and enlighten us about who really does qualify for Medicaid in Virginia.  This illumination will be helpful when we listen to our state legislators argue the need for expanding Medicaid for 400,000 Virginians.

Meanwhile, be sure to read Stacy Shaw’s article covering the most recent Board of Supervisors meeting.  Keep up the good work, Stacy.


Juan Williams: The Assault on Honest Debate

Juan Williams feels we don’t have an honest exchange of ideas.  He feels we have a niche media landscape.  People seek their own media sources that affirm pre-existing opinions.  There is little effort to get outside one’s comfort zone. 

Williams makes excellent observations. 

Extended interviews  with Williams


Bachmann still an American Girl

And obviously, every artist has his price. 

From Politico:

From POLITICO’s Jon Allen:

It looks like Michele Bachmann can remain an “American Girl” — she paid fees to two music licensing companies the at the end of June, according to her latest campaign finance report.

Bachmann shelled out a total of $900 to the American Society of Composers and Broadcast Music, Inc., in separate payments on June 28.

The singer Tom Petty sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Minnesota congresswoman and Republican presidential candidate after she came to the stage at her launch to his familiar tune “American Girl.” The kickoff event in Iowa was on June 27 — the day before the campaign recorded checks to the two licensing company.

Petty’s protest spurred a couple of days of cable television and print media debate about whether musicians should be able to tell politicians they don’t like to hit the pause button

I am still thinking Petty was being petty.  Actually $900 is pretty darn cheap to be an American girl.  It makes you wonder why she would continue to use the song after Petty made such a stink.  She ought to have one of her adoring fans write a song for her–one of her very own. 

The hackers and the hackees, according to Fox News

This video shows one of the clumbsiest attempts to skirt an issue I have ever seen. Doocy confuses hackers with hackees. Why he attempts to connect companies who have been hacked into with a company that hacked into other people’s emails is beyond me. He also speaks of the mythological ‘they.’

Fox News has been remarkably silent on the Murdoch scandal. Doocy was lame.  Does he expect news agencies to not cover the News of the World case?   Did the media really ‘pile on’ or is Steve Doocy just a little bit touchy?


Netflix becomes a loser

Netflix is quickly becoming a loser.  First it drove Hollywood and Blockbuster out of business.  they failed to respond to the new business/movie paradigm fast enough.  Now they have announced their new plan–all streaming for $7.99 unlimited.  If you want to get dvds, that will cost extra, lots extra.  Here is the plan, announced in email:

We are separating unlimited DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming into two separate plans to better reflect the costs of each. Now our members have a choice: a streaming only plan, a DVD only plan, or both.

Your current $19.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be split into 2 distinct plans:

   Plan 1: Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month
   Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs, 3 out at-a-time (no streaming) for $15.99 a month

Your price for getting both of these plans will be $23.98 a month ($7.99 + $15.99). You don’t need to do anything to continue your memberships for both unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs.

These prices will start for charges on or after September 1, 2011.

You can easily change or cancel your unlimited streaming plan, unlimited DVD plan, or both, by going to the Plan Change page in Your Account.

We realize you have many choices for home entertainment, and we thank you for your business. As always, if you have questions, please feel free to call us at 1-888-357-1516.

–The Netflix Team

That’s really too bad.  It would be one thing if Netflix has all of its dvds on streaming video.  Such is not the case.  I won’t keep the three movie at a time plan.  In fact, there is a lot that isn’t on streaming video.  I guess I will go back to streaming and 1 dvd.  Their loss. What will other netflix subscribers do?  I understand they are catching Hell on Twitter and Facebook.  The worst part is that they talk to you in the email like they are doing you a favor. 

Further reading:  Washington Post

“Jon Stewart is right about Fox News”


Jon Stewart is right about Fox News

By Adam Serwer

Yesterday Daily Show host Jon Stewart appeared on Fox News Sunday, where he accused the network of taking ideological “marching orders.”

Fox Anchor Chris Wallace took exception to Stewart’s remarks:

STEWART: You can’t understand because of the world you live in that there is not a designed ideological agenda on my part to affect partisan change because that’s the soup you swim in. I appreciate that. I understand that. It reminds me of, you know — you know, ideological regimes. They can’t understand that there is free media other places. Because they receive marching orders.

WALLACE: How do you explain me? Do you think I get my marching orders?

STEWART: I think that you are here in some respects to bring a credibility and an integrity to an organization that might not otherwise have it, without your presence. So, you are here as a counterweight to Hannity, let’s say, or a counterweight to Glenn Beck, because otherwise, it’s just pure talk radio and it doesn’t establish the type of political player it wants to be.

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The Bush’s 66th Valentine’s Day Together


Barbara Bush, always with her quick wit, tells her husband, George H. B. Bush, that he could be speaker of the house.

George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, appeared yesterday on NBC’s “Today Show”  for an emotional Valentine’s Day special about their lasting love. While reading one  particularly sentimental segment about their saved love letters, the 41st president began to tear up.   Barbara to offered  swiftly delivered  comparison between her husband and the current Speaker of the House, John Boehner (although not by name).  

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Too much Skin on MTV?

The new MTV hit series Skins has come under fire for showing too much skin and for dealing with underage sex, drinking, gay/lesbian themes and illegal drug use.  One group, Parents Television Council, in particular,  has asked for a Congressional investigation of the series. 

One advertiser, Taco Bell, has already pulled its advertising because of pressure from the conservative group, Parents Television Council.  According to Crain’s New York Business:

Taco Bell has pulled its advertising from MTV’s controversial new hit series following pressure from conservative advocacy group Parents Television Council. The company informed MTV of its decision on Tuesday.

The Council had been calling Skins “the most dangerous program ever foisted on your children,” citing its graphic depictions of sex and drug use, even before the show premiered on Jan. 17.

MTV had the following to say:

Skins is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “We review all of our shows and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows comply with laws and community standards. We are confident that the episodes of Skins will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers.”

The targeted audience is 12 to 34 years.  That could be a problem right there.  There is a huge difference in maturity between most 12 and 34 year olds.  Congress is certain to complicate matters.  By the time they finish, everyone from 2 to 92 will be glued to their TV set, watching the next episode of 15 years olds being the horn dogs they generally are, all whilst shouting obscenities at the top of their lungs.

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Media Matters: The Empire fights Back

The Washington Post:

“Misinformation is dangerous when it metastasizes,” Rabin-Havt says. “Fox is going to lie with impunity. Rush Limbaugh is going to lie. The problem is when a story jumps from Fox News to CNN or the New York Times or The Washington Post. Our job is the head these things off at the pass.”

Rabin-Havt is the Vice President of Media Matters.  The CEO, David Brock, was a conservative before he was a liberal.

Media Matters is the watch dog group that loves to hate Fox News. . 

Fighting Fox is what Media Matters does, relentlessly and obsessively. In the six years since its founding, the watchdog group has evolved from an all-purpose scourge of the conservative media into Fox News Channel’s veritable shadow and constant irritant. From well before sunrise to long after it each day, teams of young researchers sift through video clips and transcripts of programs hosted by Fox stars such as Glenn Beckand Bill O’Reilly to find dubious facts, logical contradictions and poisonous – at least to Media Matters’ liberal sensibilities – rhetoric.

Brock further explains:

The dogged pursuit of Fox, says Media Matters’ founder David Brock, reflects not just the cable network’s popularity among conservatives but its power to set, and perhaps distort, the political agenda. Brock and his staff say they regard Fox as something more than just the televised equivalent of talk radio; they describe it as a de facto political operation, with a leading role in disseminating conservative messages, supporting conservative candidates and mobilizing voters.

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Keith Olbermann Suspended for Violating Company Policy

The story really isn’t about whether you like Olbermann or don’t like him.  Cast your personal feelings aside.  Keith Olbermann was fired because he violated company policy.  He contributed to three political campaigns. 

Olbermann is a commentator, not a newscaster.  However, on the night of the elections, he was serving as a newscaster.  The company has policy that  says their people aren’t to contribute to political campaigns.  Apparently no distinction is made between newscasters/journalists or commentators. 

Senator Bernie Sanders had the following opinion in

It is outrageous that General Electric/MSNBC would suspend Keith Olbermann for exercising his constitutional rights to contribute to a candidate of his choice. This is a real threat to political discourse in America and will have a chilling impact on every commentator for MSNBC.

We live in a time when 90 percent of talk radio is dominated by right-wing extremists, when the Republican Party has its own cable network (Fox) and when progressive voices are few and far between.

At a time when the ownership of Fox News contributed millions of dollars to the Republican Party, when a number of Fox commentators are using the network as a launching pad for their presidential campaigns and are raising money right off the air, it is absolutely unacceptable that MSNBC suspended one of the most popular progressive commentators in the country.

Is Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz next? Is this simply a ‘personality conflict’ within MSNBC or is one of America’s major corporations cracking down on a viewpoint they may not like? Whatever the answer may be, Keith Olbermann should be reinstated immediately and allowed to present his point of view.


 Thomas Fiedler, Dean of Boston University College of Communication sees it differently:

The instant a journalist contributes to a candidate or a political cause, no matter how worthy, is the moment she or he stops being a journalist and becomes an advocate. That is as true for commentators – as Olbermann would claim to be – as it is for news reporters

However, most news stations aren’t holding to that standard, as Senator Sanders points out.  The question becomes then, do we all wallow with Fox while they dominate the political landscape, and fight fire with fire or do some stations rise above the obvious bias and try to adhere to the standards of yesteryear?

NBC needs to rewrite its rules to level the playing field.  When one network produces its own political channel under the guise of ‘fair and balanced’ the rules of engagement need to be re-evaluated.  Olbermann isn’t one of my favorites but fair is fair.  Talk about bringing a totebag of David Sedaris books to a knife fight! (Thanks, Jon Stewart.)  Reinstate Olbermann.  NBC is cannibalizing its own.