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NRO’s MSM watchdog.

Happy Anniversary Monica and Bill!



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January 17, 1998 is the day Matt Drudge first teased that Newsweek was sitting on the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky story. Drudge is still going strong; Newsweek . . . not so much.

Ann Coulter vs. MSNBC



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Via Newsbusters, Ann Coulter called MSNBC a bunch of “pu**ies” for not booking “non-retarded” conservatives on any of their shows. I eagerly await MSNBC’s response. 

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Get the Popcorn: Bill O’Reilly vs. Mary Katharine Ham on Pot Legalization



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O’Reilly is against it, Ham is for it. This is actually round 2 of their “debate.” Ham has a write-up here, video hereGreat stuff:

 

O’Reilly’s stance is all over the place. He ends by calling “alcohol a plague” with Ham asking in rebuttal if O’Reilly would like to become a “lady of temperance.” I’m going to laugh at that line for quite some time. But O’Reilly doesn’t want to ban alcohol, he just wants to keep marijuana use a crime so it doesn’t send a message to kids that using marijuana is socially acceptable. 

And TWC’s Jim Cantore Just Proved Why Nobody Needs TWC



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Literally seconds after posting this item on the stupidity of The Weather Channel’s argument that their carriage-fee disagreement with DirectTV is really a public safety issue, The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore goes and proves my point with this tweet using a free map from the NOAA website, not a map from The Weather Channel:

And it looks like he just took a picture of his screen and posted it to Twitter. I created the same map, but with greater detail than Cantore (because, public safety and all):

Newsflash: your programming isn’t necessary for “public safety” if the information is available for free everywhere else. 

 

The Carriage-Fee Battle Between The Weather Channel and DirecTV



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Has gotten stupid. A simple negotiation over carriage fees between DirecTV and The Weather Channel is now being spun by The Weather Channel as a “public safety” issue:

With crucial public safety and severe weather preparedness programming at risk of being dropped by DIRECTV, campaign asks consumers to speak out

ATLANTA, GA – Today The Weather Channel launched a nationwide campaign to alert DIRECTV customers that they are at risk of losing access to its critical weather programming, and asking them to contact Congress about this public safety issue. The Weather Channel and DIRECTV are involved in negotiations to renew The Weather Channel’s carriage agreement, but to date an agreement has not been reached. If an agreement is not reached by Tuesday, January 14 at 12:01 a.m. ET, DIRECTV viewers will lose access to the 24/7/365 national and hyperlocal weather information that The Weather Channel provides to consumers and communities across the country.

“For DIRECTV to take us off their lineup would be deeply irresponsible to its customers who not only count on The Weather Channel on a day-to-day basis, but depend on us before, during and after severe weather events. As the most trusted source of weather news and information in America, The Weather Channel is there when it matters most. If we are not available to DIRECTV’s 20 million viewers, they will miss the accurate and life-saving information we have been providing for more than 30 years,” said David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Company, parent company of The Weather Channel. “We have offered the industry’s best rate for our programming and are committed to reaching an agreement.”

The rest here. And the hyperbole doesn’t end there. For example, “Cantore’s Heartfelt Plea to DIRECTV Customers.

DirecTV answered The Weather Channel’s allegations with this release. . .

We remain in discussions with The Weather Channel on how to provide its service to our customers at the best value since people now use so many other ways to retrieve weather-related information. We launched WeatherNation (DIRECTV channel 361) as an alternative to provide 24/7 hard news weather coverage in response to numerous customer complaints that more than 40 percent of The Weather Channel’s programming is dedicated to reality television shows. DIRECTV also offers city-by-city weather coverage on more than 1,400 local broadcast stations and on DIRECTV’s emergency channels in times of severe weather.

. . . and from the looks of it, The Weather Channel isn’t impressing many TV critics with their argument.

Put me in the DirecTV camp. I rarely ever watch The Weather Channel, nor do I use their website or phone app. Too much junk and not enough weather if you ask me. Plus, DirecTV still has local channels with their weather coverage.

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MSM Coverage of the W.Va. Chem Spill



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To sum things up, a chemical spill in West Virginia has led to 300,000 without water to drink or even bathe, a story not widely covered in the MSM even though it has the perfect-storm of villains: coal companies, under-regulated storage facilities, etc. Via the AP:

For the fifth straight day, hundreds of thousands of people in West Virginia had to wash, cook and brush their teeth with bottled water, but officials promised the ban on tap water that was tainted by a chemical spill would soon be lifted.

Over the weekend, tests showed that levels of the licorice-smelling chemical used in coal processing were consistently below a toxic threshold, and in some samples, there was no trace of the chemical at all. As the tests were expected to continue Monday, there were still questions about how and why the leak occurred and whether the company, Freedom Industries, took too long to let state officials know about the problem.

An interagency group working to restore water service and to provide water to customers planned to meet Monday morning, said 

The good news is Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin sees a “light at the end of the tunnel” and the ban might soon be lifted. 

CNN’s Jake Tapper asks the question I was thinking:

But check out how the three main U.S. papers are covering West Virginia today: it’s not what you would expect.

The New York Times has no front page coverage:

The Washington Post has a story, but not a lot of space is devoted to it:

But the Wall Street Journal has the hardest-hitting coverage of the three. I would like Media Matters and the other liberal media watchdogs to please comment on how it’s the Wall Street Journal covering the alleged lack of coal-country regulations and the hazards of coal mining. Thanks!

‘Military Channel’: Out; ‘American Heroes Channel’: In



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Rebranding:

The Military Channel is getting a new name and programming focus.

Discovery Communications announced at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena on Thursday that starting March 3, the modestly rated cable channel will be called the American Heroes Channel (or AHC for short). The programming will edge away from being nearly exclusively focused on military-themed documentaries and instead embrace heroes from all walks of life.

“Although America is a country born from acts of heroism on the battlefield, true heroism isn’t reserved solely for military,” said the network’s general manager, Kevin Bennett. “We know our viewers love the stories of real-world valor presented by our signature military series, and American Heroes Channel will remain the destination for military fans. However, we’re excited to offer viewers a more diverse voice and storytelling style with American Heroes Channel that captures the best of the Military Channel’s niche appeal while providing viewers with additional insight into contemporary world events and biographical stories.”

I understand the move and it’s a natural consequence of the growth in cable programming and a quest for eyeballs. 

It’s also why I no longer watch the History Channel and its lineup of shows that have nothing to do with History. Or the Animal Planet channel and its “Finding Bigfoot” show, which I have admittedly watched, although I don’t think it has a place on the Animal Planet channel. 

Christie vs. Cuomo: Who’s the Bigger Bully?



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Yes, Gov. Christie will have to deal with his ”Traffic Vortex” scandal, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that he’s not the only governor in the Northeast that can be classified as a bully.

Here’s the holiday video Governor Cuomo played at a dinner for the Albany press corps. The all-so-subtle song playing in the background is Cee Lo Green’s song, “F**k you!

I can only imagine the national outrage if Governor Christie had dared deliver the same message to the Trenton press.

Jay Carney Grew a Beard During Christmas Vacation



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Here’s a screen-shot of the press secretary from today’s briefing. Maybe this is outreach to the Duck Dynasty demo?

You can follow the snark on Twitter here

New York City is a ‘Plantation’



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So says pastor Fred Lucas Jr. at the inauguration of new mayor Bill de Blasio:

A pastor speaking at the ceremony for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday called New York a “plantation,” while entertainer Harry Belafonte denounced New York under Michael Bloomberg as “Dickensian,” while the outgoing mayor sat by, BuzzFeed reports.

“Let the plantation called New York City be the city of God, a city set upon the hill, a light shining in darkness,” Brooklyn-based pastor Fred Lucas Jr. said. “Elevate our valleys. Make low our mountains. Make our crooked places straight and our rough places smooth. Oh God, oh God, oh God, break every chain, break every chain, break every chain.”

Weird. I remember when Sarah Palin was eviscerated for comparing debt to slavery. I assume the same folks on the Left who freaked out over Palin’s metaphor will find equal outrage at this one . ..  right? 

A&E Reinstates Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson



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Details here, but this is nothing but a full cave for A&E and a loss (at least a public one) for GLAAD and Jesse Jackson.

This reminds me of this Bugs Bunny bit, except the end result is “A&E Season”:

 

Jesse Jackson vs. Phil Robertson/A&E



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ABC News reports that the guy who accused then candidate Obama of “telling n****rs how to behave” is unhappy with Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson:

In an interview with Drew Magary, the “Duck Dynasty” star said the Nazis needed Jesus, that he never saw the mistreatment of African Americans while growing up in Louisiana before the civil rights era and that homosexuality was a sin.

A&E has already suspended Robertson, but Reverend Jackson, his Rainbow PUSH Coalition and GLAAD are demanding to meet with network execs, along with Cracker Barrel’s CEO, to discuss the future of all “Duck Dynasty” memorabilia or content.

“These statements uttered by Robertson are more offensive than the bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama, more than 59 years ago,” Jackson said in a statement obtained by ABC News.

“At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law. Robertson’s statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was ‘white privilege.’”

The release, dated Dec. 23, requests a meeting within 72 hours with A&E and Cracker Barrel execs and urges the network to uphold Robertson’s suspension.

So, that 72 hour deadline has passed. Will we be hearing more from Reverend Jackson? (Or perhaps A&E and Cracker Barrel have found some other means to appease him?) 

The Similarities Between GLAAD’s Response to Duck Dynasty and Alec Baldwin



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Over in the Corner, Mark Steyn posted on GLAAD’s ”next step” for Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty:

Having leaned on A&E to suspend their biggest star, GLAAD has now moved on to Stage Two:

“We believe the next step is to use this as an opportunity for Phil to sit down with gay families in Louisiana and learn about their lives and the values they share,” the spokesman said.

Actually, “the next step” is for you thugs to push off and stop targeting, threatening and making demands of those who happen to disagree with you. Personally, I think this would be a wonderful opportunity for the GLAAD executive board to sit down with half-a-dozen firebreathing imams and learn about their values, but, unlike the Commissars of the Bureau of Conformity Enforcement, I accord even condescending little ticks like the one above the freedom to arrange his own social calendar.

The spokesman in the quote above is Rich Ferraro. What gets interesting here is that Alec Baldwin made basically the same point about GLAAD and Ferraro after his suspension for the now infamous exchange with a photographer last month as Steyn does in his post.  Here’s Baldwin in an interview with Gothamist calling out Ferraro and GLAAD:

“Martin Bashir’s on the air, and he made his comment on the air! I dispute half the comment I made… if I called him ‘c**ksucking maggot’ or a ‘c**ksucking motherf***ker’… ‘fa**ot’ is not the word that came out of my mouth. That I know. But you’ve got the fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy—Rich Ferraro and Andrew Sullivan—they’re out there, they’ve got you. Rich Ferraro, this is probably one of his greatest triumphs. They killed my show. And I have to take some responsibility for that myself.”

And here’s Ferraro’s response to Baldwin. Note the similarities between what Ferraro wants from Baldwin and Robertson:

Alec Baldwin’s team has not been open to turning this incident into an opportunity for public education and that’s unfortunate.

It’s a weird world when Mark Steyn and Alec Baldwin see the same villain. 

One thing Mark left out, however, is that GLAAD is facing a backlash over their position on Robertson:

In the fallout over Wednesday’s suspension of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson by A&E for anti-gay and racist remarks, GLAAD is experiencing record levels of backlash.

“In the five-and-a-half years I’ve worked at GLAAD, I’ve never received so many violently angry phone calls and social media posts attacking GLAAD for us speaking out against these comments,” the media watchdog organization’s vice president of communications Rich Ferraro told TheWrap.

He said those reactions range from those who simply believe as Robertson believes to those who feel that GLAAD and A&E’s actions limit the reality star’s free speech.

“I don’t think this is about the first amendment,” Ferraro said. “I feel it’s more about the America we live in today. That is one where Americans, gay and straight, are able to speak out when people in the public eye make anti-gay and racist remarks.”

Maybe it’s time for GLAAD to take the “next step” and and sit down with people with opinions similar to Phil Robertson and “learn about their lives and the values they share?” I hope GLAAD doesn’t miss this “opportunity.” 

Touré’s Favorite Holiday Movie is A Christmas Story



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Except Touré confuses a Red Ryder BB gun with a ”shotgun.” Video here

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(Note: Santa is white in the movie)

Reality TV Is Designed to Profit off of ‘Cultural Tension’



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This is a great post from the Los Angels Times’ “Show Tracker” blog on how reality TV will inevitably lead to situations similar to what happened with Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty. An excerpt:

Once again, TV finds itself in another cultural hot zone. The “Duck Dynasty” situation recalls last summer’s uproar over celebrity chef Paula Deen, who lost her Food Network gig and many sponsorship deals after she admitted she had “of course” used a racial epithet in the past.

TLC pulled an episode of “Cake Boss” in 2012 after “Cousin Anthony” mocked a transgender guest. Similar flare-ups damaged the careers of radio host Don Imus, Oscar winner Mel Gibson and actor Isaiah Washington after they were accused of using racially insensitive or homophobic speech.

These cases reflect larger rifts in American life — call it a split between progressives and traditionalist values.

But the particular problem for the TV industry is that it’s trying to profit off the same cultural tensions it’s exploiting. That inevitably leads to problems such as the current one engulfing “Duck Dynasty.”

The reality programming trend in recent years has made stars out of everyone from bakers to pawnbrokers to catfish-wranglers. That these “authentic” people have opinions and values that don’t always jibe with those of the media elite in New York and Los Angeles isn’t necessarily surprising.

But it means that the executives and PR handlers have had to get very good at backpedaling away from uncomfortable realities. That’s most likely what is happening now on “Duck Dynasty.”

“A&E has been very careful in editing and presenting this family, being careful not to show any potential controversial views,” said Robert J. Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University. “But they can’t control what they say outside of the show.”

“Channels like A&E program ‘regular’ people mostly to make curiosities out of them,” said Jeffrey McCall, a media studies professor at DePauw University. “The programmers want to manage every aspect of their ‘reality’ commodities, but that isn’t really possible.

“If A&E wants the Robertsons to make money for the channel by being authentic, then at some point A&E has to accept that reality stars will be real human beings,” McCall added. “If A&E didn’t like the Robertsons as they are, then why did they give them a weekly platform?”

That’s the question A&E will have to answer as nothing Robertson said in the GQ interview is different than anything they haven’t heard — or edited out of broadcasts — before.

The Hypocrisy of A&E



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A few updates to my post yesterday on the suspension of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson.

The Robertson family has released a statement, concluding with:

We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm.  We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty.   Again, thank you for your continued support of our family.

Here’s the thing: Season 4 is basically done filming, so we’re  talking about the future of the show. Although the above says “we are in discussions,” that we includes the family’s agents, William Morris. They may play rednecks on TV, but they’re playing the Hollywood game as well as any.

Video has surfaced of other controversial statements by Robertson on gays from before A&E hired him to star in Duck Dynasty. In other words, A&E knew what they were getting. And if they knew about his past, I want to see how his contract was written that allows A&E to suspend him over Robertson basically playing himself on a “reality” show. 

And if you’re on Twitter, do check out the feed of TMZ’s Harvey Levin, who has some choice words to say about A&E’s actions.

One final point to make about A&E, they’re still running Duck Dynasty episodes. A lot of them

Like I wrote yesterday, this is, at its heart, a contract matter and it looks like A&E needs Duck Dynasty much more than Duck Dynasty needs A&E. Stay tuned for what comes next.

 

The Pajama Boy Has Been Indentified



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Charlie Spiering over at the Examiner has identified the Obamacare ”Pajama Boy”: Ethan Krupp.

Krupp works for OFA and Spiering has collected a variety of social media posts to give us a little more information on the now infamous Obamacare spokesmodel.

 

 

 

Conservatives Are Afraid of Pajama Boy



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So argues Noreen Malone at The New Republic in response to Rich’s piece today in Politico:

Conservatives Mock Obamacare’s Pajama Boy Because They’re Scared of Him

An excerpt:

Lowry goes on to connect what he characterizes as an immature version of masculinity with a liberal’s overreliance on a paternalistic government. “Pajama Boy’s mom probably still tucks him in at night, and when she isn’t there for him, Obamacare will be,” he writes. Millennials and Democrats just love their mommies too much! But while this is a ritual mockery that’s ostensibly about Obamacare, what it really reveals is a long-boiling, deep-seated fear on the right of the moment when a more beta-appearing man becomes the mainstream notion of masculinity.

There’s plenty of evidence that moment is upon us. Hanna Rosin’s 2012 book, The End of Men, was the capstone of a growing tower of cultural works on the curious gender-role reversal. Just in the past few years, we’ve also been hit with cultural historian Michael Kimmel’s Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, conservative scholar Kay Hymowitz’s Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys, and media socialite Dan Abrams’s Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else” (“everything else” presumably including book-title-choosers).

In an economy that is increasingly influenced by women (in all but three of the 2,000 largest metropolitan areas in the country, in the aggregate, single childless women under 30 are out-earning their male counterparts), the men who seem to be reaping the clearest rewards are those who seem to comfortable with the adjustments of a world that’s 40 years into second-wave feminism (and one in which, for that matter, gay culture is no longer fringe culture). The chest-thumping alpha males of yore now take their social cues from men who have worked out a more subtle way to assert themselves in the world. Metrosexuals aren’t a new, urban category any more; people who might have been referred to that way ten years ago are now just called dudes. (Of course, even men who work at liberal magazines and live in Brooklyn find this transition complicated.) But if Pajama Boy is nothing out of the ordinary—which I’d argue he isn’t—then that means conservatives are losing several culture-war battles, and thus a great deal of valuable electoral ammunition.

Who knew a single, moronic tweet from a 501(c)(4) would signal the end of conservatism?

Gov. Jindal Weighs in on A&E Suspending Duck Dynasty Star



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Here’s a press release from the governor:

BATON ROUGE – Governor Bobby Jindal issued a statement this morning following the news of Phil Robertson being suspended by A&E from the show Duck Dynasty. 
 
Governor Jindal said, “Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV.  In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views.  In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended “

Governor Jindal framed this as a First Amendment issue in the tweet accompanying this release. But it’s a contract issue, not a Constitutional issue.

The most relevant example that illustrates Robertson’s suspension as a contract issue is Don Imus, who was fired by MSNBC and CBS Radio under similar circumstances. Imus, remember, was fired for a comment deemed racially insensitive, but the comment that got Imus fired wasn’t any more insensitive than his many other insensitive remarks from over the years. Imus sued CBS and eventually settled for a $20,000,000 payout arguing that he was wrongfully terminated because his contract specified that he make controversial remarks.

Which brings us to Phil Robertson. Robertson’s Christian beliefs were well known to A&E when the network started the show. Did A&E not think those beliefs might, at some time, conflict with a politically correct view of the world? There was even a controversy from earlier this year where Robertson accused A&E of editing out of the show references to Jesus as well as adding “bleeps” to give the impression that he and his family were cursing, a charge Robertson denied. 

I don’t think we know everything yet that went down between Robertson and A&E, nor do we know of all the bad blood between the network and Robertson. But of interest to me is his contract and what exactly it prohibits him from saying in public because what he said in the GQ interview wasn’t that out of line from things he’s said in the past. We also don’t know how the other cast members of Duck Dynasty will react. Are they fine with filming the show — and cashing A&E’s checks – without Robertson? That’s to be determined.

It’s also important to note that Duck Dynasty is more than just a show to A&E. A quick search on ToysRUs.com, for example, shows that Duck Dynasty is now a brand, not just a television show. And however much I think their suspension of Robertson was short-sighted and stupid, A&E believes that this move offers the best protection for their corporate interests.

P.J. O’Rourke Joins The Daily Beast



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Details here.

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