Some Stupid For Your Coffee?

Petunia and Pals wins the Jug of Stupid again as Elisabeth Hasselbeck uses the hostage situation in Sydney to justify torture.

News That Will Drive You To Drink

The Death of the Media

Nepotism has a name and it is Luke Russert:

The Talentless Son of an Asshole

MSNBC is getting ready to debut a new show about sports. And one focused on books. And another that will examine celebrity and popular culture. In all, the NBCUniversal-owned cable-news network has 14 new programs ready to roll.

You won’t see any of them on MSNBC. At least, not yet.

The cable-news outlet best known for progressive commentary from Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes is launching a portal of streaming-video programming that its top executive, Phil Griffin, expects to have a great deal of influence on the cable network in months to come. Through the new digital initiative, known as “Shift by MSNBC,” the network will serve up new topics and introduce new contributors that could gradually make their way to the cable network, Griffin believes – depending on the traction they gain among audiences. “Shift” is expected to launch Monday morning.

… Among the new offerings is “The Briefing,” a political program hosted Monday and Fridays by Luke Russert, and “Code Forward,” a discussion of issues raised by new technology, developed in partnership with the tech-news outlet Re/Code.

Looking for newer, younger audiences is a great idea, and having newer younger hosts to lure them in is also a great idea. The problem here is that you need have a host with some talent. Luke Russert is an apple that fell far away from the family tree, maybe in another orchard entirely; and even then I think his father was vastly overrated. Luke has no charm, no insight, and no right to be a host of anything, not even a keg party.

Every time I see a legacy hire like Russert, the Huntsman daughters, the Bush twins, Chelsea Clinton, and Meghan McCain, what I see is a chair that is being occupied by someone other than a journalist. I find it infuriating that these no-talent nitwits are getting a plum assignment while people who have worked hard and studied the craft of journalism are not getting any breaks. Our culture of celebrity worship is now expanding to include the untalented next generation? This is beyond pathetic.

(Hat tip: Scissorhead Bjork55 at The Big Empty via the tip line.)

Why Is There A War Criminal On My TeeVee?

Waterboarding

“Torture, to me … is an American citizen on his cellphone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York on 9/11,” Cheney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “There’s this notion that there’s moral equivalence between what the terrorists did and what we do, and that’s absolutely not true. We were very careful to stop short of torture.”

Cheney also disputed the notion that any American taken prisoner overseas by terrorists was now at greater risk of being subjected to techniques like those used by the CIA.

“He’s not likely to be waterboarded. He’s likely to have his head cut off,” the former vice president said of a potential American taken hostage by a group like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. “I haven’t seen them waterboard anybody.”

…Indeed, Cheney seemed proud of his role in creating the interrogation program.
“I’d do it again in a minute,” he declared.

Meet The Press. Jeeze, Chuck, is there nothing you wouldn’t do for ratings?

Nepotism Legacy Hire Out

meghan

We are sad to announce that Soylent Blonde herself, Meghan McCain is out of a job at Pivot teevee: Her show, Takepart Live has been cancelled.

Pivot TV has canceled its signature nightly program, “TakePart Live.”

The show is hosted by Meghan McCain, Jacob Soboroff and Baratunde Thurston, and airs weeknights at 10 p.m. It will wind down over the next few weeks, with its final episode airing before the end of the year. Pivot is expected to try and find new roles for the hosts at the channel, though exactly what those roles may be remains unclear.

… One source familiar with the decision said that the show was canceled in part because “TakePart Live” was expensive to make, produced by Embassy Row Productions, which also produces programs like “Talking Dead” and “Watch What Happens live.” Ultimately, the cost of the show, combined with the comparatively low viewership Pivot saw (the channel was not rated by Nielsen, suggesting low viewership), led to its cancellation.

The show, I am told with a straight face, was designed to engage with the average millennial about current events. I suppose as long as your average millennial is a powerful senator’s daughter and heir to a significant booze fortune.

Regardless, we still love our Soylent Blonde and we continue to root for her as she brings her refreshing brand of youthful conservatism to the ever-declining and ossified Big Tent.

If you’re interested in The New Republic drama…

…then you’ll want to read the letter in the WaPo from Chris Hughes,the new owner.

news reporter

I’m still having a hard time getting worked up about a bunch of DC Villagers having their precious, elite, fee-fees hurt. Anyway, there are a couple of key points here that I think are worth calling out:

At the heart of the conflict of the past few days is a divergent view on how the New Republic — and journalism more broadly — will survive. In one view, it is a “public trust” and not a business. It is something greater than a commercial enterprise, ineffable, an ideal that cannot be touched. Financially, it would be a charity. There is much experimentation in nonprofit journalism – ProPublica and the Texas Tribune are proving the model — and that may be the right path for certain institutions. At the New Republic, I believe we owe it to ourselves and to this institution to aim to become a sustainable business and not position ourselves to rely on the largesse of an unpredictable few. Our success is not guaranteed, but I think it’s critical to try.

I have long commented on how The Guardian UK has survived and thrived as a public trust, and it might be the best example that excellent reporting and journalism is both needed and possible. The US Media, being owned by big corporations, will fight that model to the grave.

The profit motive is what is killing journalism. How much profit is enough? The entire newspaper publishing operation is about delivering ads on paper to your door, everyday. The publishers wrap some content around it, but make no mistake: if they could just send you the ads, they would. Whenever there is a conflict between a long story and space to put in an ad, they will chop the story every time.

The public is moving away from newspapers not because we don’t want the news, it is because the content has disappeared, it isn’t local, and it isn’t pertinent to our lives. As I’ve pointed out in similar rants, when I lived in San Jose, I couldn’t find out from the San Jose Mercury News what happened at the City Council the night before, but I sure could get the latest celebrity divorce details breathlessly updated.

(And for those of you who are keeping score at home, the much esteemed Digby wrote the same thing about The New Republic over the weekend that we wrote about half a day before she did. Great minds, and all that rot.)

The Death of the Media, Cont.

Pundits are gnashing their teeth, rending their clothes, and throwing themselves onto the coffin as The New Republic changes location, business model, editors, etc.

Welcome to the 21st Century, guys. All these things happen to the non-ossified rest of us. I cannot even begin to tell you the number of industries that are off-shored to India/China/Russia, all of which are a helluva lot different from being relocated from DC to NYC. Sorry, the sympathy is lacking, heartfelt as your outrage may be. I seem to recall you cheering on American multinational corporations as they did away with the middle class, you told us something about buggy whips at the time. So welcome to our world, you’ve been outsourced. Time to start the bold second part of your career at Brand You.

The world has a great need for journalism, news, and opinion; it does not have a great need for printed stuff on paper. The media is changing its distribution channels, not its mission. The backlash against these changes seems less about the evolving industry than it does about personal loyalty to the long-standing editors. Being dramatic and resigning en masse might make you feel noble, but it seems rather pointless. And who knows? Maybe the new New Republic might actually be great?

As for The New Republic itself, I never read it—not even once. I was surprised to learn in all the pseudo-eulogies for it that it was considered both liberal and a thought leader. I always thought it was an old-school Weekly Standard, you know, mostly because of The Bell Curve.

Because We Love A Good Correction

The Death of the Media

times-crossword

From the NYTimes:

An earlier version of this column was published in error. That version included what purported to be an interview that Kanye West gave to a Chicago radio station in which he compared his own derrière to that of his wife, Kim Kardashian. Mr. West’s quotes were taken, without attribution, from the satirical website The Daily Currant. There is no radio station WGYN in Chicago; the interview was fictitious, and should not have been included in the column.

Another news source got fooled by The Daily Current? Wow. What did it say that fooled them?

“I don’t understand why everyone is focusing on Kim’s booty,” Kanye said in an interview on Chicago rap station WGYN, adding that he certainly loves it. “That’s why I married her,” he said. But, Kanye added, nobody has a rear end like his own.

“My booty is like Michelangelo level, you feel me?” Kanye said. “It’s like a sculpture. It’s like something that should be sitting in a museum for thousands of thousands of years.”

His wife’s behind? It was nice, Kanye said, “But it’s not at that level.”

“The media hates me. That’s why they’re ignoring my butt, and putting all their attention on Kim’s. It’s the only explanation that makes any sense.”

They believed that? Good work, Daily Current!

The Networks Deal With It

The Death of the Media, Cont.

Deal With It

None of the broadcast networks plan to televise the live announcement of whatever the White House is announcing:

The White House is exasperated with the major broadcast networks – ABC, CBS and NBC — for skipping out on President Barack Obama’s Thursday primetime address on his executive actions on immigration.

“In 2006, Bush gave a 17 minute speech that was televised by all three networks that was about deploying 6000 national guard troops to the border. Obama is making a 10 minute speech that will have a vastly greater impact on the issue. And none of the networks are doing it. We can’t believe they were aggrieved that we announced this on Facebook,” a senior administration official told POLITICO.

And their reasoning?

“There was agreement among the broadcast networks that this was overtly political. The White House has tried to make a comparison to a time that all the networks carried President Bush in prime time, also related to immigration [2006]. But that was a bipartisan announcement, and this is an overtly political move by the White House.”

And also they are not showing it because, you know, he’s black. But I’m only guessing.

We keep saying this: We must reform the media before we can reform the rest of our broken politics. If you cannot get your message out, the rest is academic.

Some Stupid With Your Coffee?

The Death of the Media, Cont.

The Morning Cup

The LA Times is committing ritual seppuku right in front of us:

Starting January 1, staffers will no longer be able to bank vacation — because they won’t automatically earn or be entitled to any vacation, sick days or floating holidays. To get any time off, a reporter or editor will have to go to a supervisor and make a case “subject to their professional judgment and to the performance expectations of their supervisor that apply to their job.” In one stroke, vacation time and sick days become a management tool to monitor and reward or punish performance — or to favor the yes men that plague the Times’ organization — and crucially, a way to get that expensive banked vacation off the books. That’s because if a staffer succeeds in getting permission to take time off, he or she first has to use any banked time to pay for it. So the company’s financial burden gradually lessens.

That will work well.