March 6, 2015

Hemingway, O’Reilly, Murrow

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:29 pm

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According to legend, Ernest Hemingway arrived in Paris three days before the Allied Armies did. A trip to Paris in 1986 seemed like a great opportunity to do the fan’s attempt to conjure up the spirit of the famous writer but we did not anticipate a chance to do any serious fact checking. While visiting Harry’s New York Bar, an old fellow caught us off guard when he said that he had inherited the place from his father and when he, the present owner, was a child, he had sat on Mr. Hemingway’s lap while the famous writer told stories. We were so engrossed in his descriptions of the repeated encounters with the young but already famous writer, that we missed the chance to ask him if Hemingway had actually arrived before the Allied Armies. The Liberty Valance rule made doing any fact checking seem like heresy. When facts and legend contradict each other, always print the legend.

Recently Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly had become a subject for fact checking by his associates and the consensus opinion seems to be that there is a credibility gap being generated which, in turn, tarnishes Fox News’ reputation.

Brian Williams has been suspended from the anchor chair at NBC Nightly News because he claims that he rode on a helicopter in a war zone that received enemy fire. The account has been challenged by others who are qualified to confirm or refute the specifics of Williams’ story.

Since Williams works for a news organization that is perceived as “pro-Liberal,” the conservatives are making the assertion that Williams has rendered NBC’s credibility to the nil level.

If Charles Manson (hypothetically speaking) were to deliver a news report that provided undeniable evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald was not working alone when he shot JFK, would the fact that most people do not approve of Manson’s ethics and personal conduct be sufficient to invalidate the remarkable report?

There is a certain amount of irony to be derived from noticing that the two different reactions to the veracity of the two journalist comes at the same time that CBS will mark the sixty-first anniversary of what many consider to be the high water mark for American Journalism: Edward R. Murrow’s report on Sen. Joseph McCarthy broadcast on March 9, 1954. (Google: “See It Now” McCarthy report)

During WWII, Murrow risked death and infuriated his bosses by going on a bombing mission over Berlin. (Google hint: “Edward Murrow orchestrated hell”)

Conservatives assert that Brian Williams has committed “stolen valor” with his bragging. They give full and complete absolution to O’Reilly and ignore the long list of war correspondents that died covering various wars over the course of history.

The conservative tendency for holding two opposing points of view simultaneously (called “double think” by George Orwell) can best be illustrated by the old axiom: “My wife’s married, but I’m not.”

Would Gerda Taro, Robert Capa, and Ernie Pyle be inclined to blithely dismiss the idea that O’Reilly is stealing valor from the list of war correspondents who were killed in action?

Speaking of war stories of valor and daring, we wonder how General Douglas McArthur got the nickname “Dugout Dug.”

Once, on NPR radio, we heard the story of a fellow who was assigned to defend a pass where an attack was expected. He had a machine gun and was credited with single handedly killing more than 600 enemy soldiers in one night. Some people think the guy should have gotten a Medal of Honor.

The fictional character Baron Munchausen was renowned for telling absurd stories that had an extreme flavor of outrageousness to them buttressed by a thread of logic that made them seem (theoretically) possible.

In a bookstore in San Francisco, earlier this week, we noticed a new book which promised to teach the art of storytelling to sales reps.

St. Ronald Reagan was a superb story teller. He told one story about campaigning for President in Iowa. He knocked on a farmer’s door and when the fellow was flabbergasted by his famous caller, he had a senior moment and couldn’t think of the former actor’s name. St. Reagan gave the baffled fan a clue: “Do the initials R R help?” The fellow broke into a large smile and turned and shouted into the interior of the home: “Momma, come quick and meet Roy Rogers!”

Misleading people for fun and votes might seem a tad misguided to some journalists. The philosophy that “we report; and let you decide” is a bit deceptive because it assumes that everyone in the audience is capable of doing their own quality analysis. “We distort and let you jump to wrong conclusions” would be a more ingenuous slogan.

Here is an exaggerated tale of why that isn’t a good policy: A person you know slightly tells you that your business partner is having an affair with your wife and is cooking the books and robbing you blind. Fair enough? Just suppose that the rest of the story is that the guy was setting you up. You killed your business partner and then while you were in prison the tell all Good Samaritan marries your now ex-wife and you learn that your business partner was an innocent bystander. The guy who filled your ears with lies had an ulterior motive. You leaped to some erroneous conclusions and took action. Would you have acted differently if you knew the “reporter” was trying to trick you?

The fact that most high-school graduates don’t challenge the logic of “we report; you decide” is a preposterous situation. The results could be just as bad as they were in the hypothetical story above. Who doesn’t love being the butt of an old fashioned practical joke?

Doesn’t Bill O’Reilly work for an organization that went to court and established that it has a legal right to tell lies in the guise of supplying facts for citizens to make informed judgments?

After hearing a stream of news reports about bad snowstorms causing all kinds of closures and disruptions of service for people living on the USA’s East Coast, we were a bit disconcerted to hear news reports that during the same time frame new car sales were good and that new jobs were created. Has skepticism earned a place on the endangered species list?

On Friday March 6, 2015, the Getty and Armstrong radio show reported that the “hands up; don’t shoot” meme was inaccurate and had not actually occurred.

Hemingway was boastful and may have exaggerated some of his accomplishments. His fans don’t want to be burdened with the odious task of doing some precise fact checking to separate the hard facts from the legends. Brian Williams worked for a liberal news organization and is being punished severely. Bill O’Reilly is getting the rich kid pass from an indulgent father responseto what he has done. “Now run along and play!”

[Note from the photo editor. A montage image is the best we could do this week.]

Here is the quote of the week. When the woman combat photographer Dickey Chappelle complained about mosquitoes buzzing around her while taking pictures on Iwo Jima, a Marine corrected her misperception: “Those wasn’t mosquitoes, ma’am, they was Japanese bullets.

Now the disk jockey will play “Who shot Liberty Valance,” “Do not forsake me,” and the theme from TV’s “Gun Smoke.” We have to go start our own urban legends. Have a “good night and good luck” type week.

December 13, 2013

Have Nikon; Will Travel

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:23 pm

This visual oxymoron seems appropriate for a column lamenting the fact that there will not be an outlet for liberal philosophy in the San Francisco radio market.

During the historic week which included a handshake, a Presidential selfie, and a prank, and Mike Malloy directing his audience to for the back story (which was being ignored by the mainstream media) of the arrest Nelson Mandela a half century ago; the World’s Laziest Journalist became involved with a friend in a debate about Fox’s claim to be fair and balanced.

The sources for an impartial adjudication of the dispute, in turn, provide another source for more rancor.  It got to the point where we wondered if it would be possible to get a judgment on the question from the Columbia Journalism Review but then we scrapped the idea because their credentials for making such a call would probably be challenged by our debating opponent.

When Edward R. Murrow was appointed to be the in charge of news for the Voice of America he caused a dispute when he announced that he would include unfavorable as well as flattering information in the broadcasts.

How much criticism of George W. Bush had Fox ever broadcast?  Did they ever have anything to say about President Obama that was not negative?  Could it be that tolerance for information that was less than “very flattering” was the hallmark of excellence which distinguishes reporting from propaganda?  One man’s derogatory remark is another man’s example of fair and balanced.  It seems that the dispute is destined for perpetual stalemate status.

As the week progressed, we tried to contend with the challenge of providing publicity for the Mother Laura Gertrude Seland Foundation (there is a page on Facebook for this organization) to bolster their fund raising efforts.

We started collecting a list of movies of, for, about, or featuring a Cadillac car for a friend, Frank Nicodemus, who is a specialist in restoring that famous brand of cars.

We have endorsed the efforts of the Armstrong and Getty Show is continuing their criticism of the bullet train that does not earn favorable approval numbers in the polls.  Thursday their program publicized a story done by Los Angeles Times reporter George Skelton on the expensive project which seems to contradict the concept of budget cuts because of the need for austerity measures.  One man’s boondoggle is another man’s “necessary path to the future.”

Armstrong and Getty have been critical of the homeless and we have wondered how receptive they would be to a suggestion that they interview an intelligent and eloquent panhandler or would they insist on doing a variation of the concept of a stacked deck and only extend an invitation to a guest who was not articulate?

During the week, we called the Norman Goldman radio show to castigate him for never showing any appreciation for the quality of Republican hypocrisy.  We were unable to suggest that he establish a Hypocrisy Hall of Fame.  Later we learned that the concept has already been used online.

The roster of liberal talk shows available in the San Francisco Bay area on radio is being reconfigured.  Isn’t it a strange paradox for folks to realize that liberal talk shows will be without a media outlet in the American city that is famous world wide for the tolerant philosophy of its citizens?

The fact that conservatives aren’t lamenting the evaporation of the supply of liberal voices in the marketplace is an indication that they will be content to let the sources for the philosophy of the Left be reduced to such a small size that it can be drowned in a bathtub.  When freedom of speech becomes extinct, do you think the conservatives will miss it?

The dwindling supply of liberal talk radio reminds us of the concept of the death of a thousand cuts.  No one cut is a mortal wound, but a large number of cuts can have a fatal cumulative effect.  The same thing seems to be happening to Freedom of Speech.

The World’s Laziest Journalist prefers to implement the three dot journalism style of a rapid steam of small items.  We assume that we could put a lot of time and fact finding into an effort to examine the topic of homelessness, but the fact that material is usually skimmed when it is published online, makes the prospect of doing all the necessary work seem like an exercise in futility.

If making the effort to gather content is going to be the only reward, and if people are going to only give it a quick glance, we are aware that of the Zen concept of “monkey mind” (attention deficit?) and that using the Herb Caen formula of selecting an assortment of diverse items is a matter of “form follows function.”

Occasionally being an insignificant member of the online pundit patrol has its own advantages.  A happy go lucky columnist can goad readers into considering some points that the major league pundits can’t touch with a ten foot pole.

For example, could it be that the Republicans don’t really care about Benghazi but they know that these days a President has to be accompanied by a communications specialist from the military (wasn’t that also true when Slick Willie was out cavorting with whatzername?) and that the claim that his whereabouts were unknown can never be a truthful statement.  If they have reliable gossip about where he really was when he supposedly disappeared, they are able to make his temporary location seem important, and they might figuratively speaking catch him with his pants down and embarrass him.  The actual event could just be a red herring to make him uncomfortable.  If they get a lucky break they could possibly make it necessary for someone to divulge where he was and what he (most likely) was doing at that particular time.

Heck, he ain’t going to run in 2016 so the Republicans might just make an issue of his whereabouts that particular night just to have some malicious fun.

Speaking of three dot journalism and unique bits of punditry from the peanut gallery, we have a question that seems timely.  Do the Republicans hate Obama so much that getting funding to purchase land or draw up architectural plans for the Obama Presidential Library will have to be postponed until at least after it becomes apparent if the results from the 2014 mid-term elections make that expenditure seem feasible by a (hypothetically speaking) Democratic majority Congress?

If gathering material is going to be a columnist’s only reward, then he might just as well consider himself to be the journalistic equivalent of a knight errant and extend the geographical boundaries for his beat to places that he has always wanted to see, or as in the case of the annual concert of the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert in Perth, see again.

Due to austerity budget measures, the columnist will also be simultaneously assigned to carry a Nikon Coolpix with him so that he will be positioned to provide photos to accompany the aforementioned examples of thee dot journalism in action.

In The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler wrote:  “Over the entrance doors, which would have let in a troop of Indian elephants, there was a broad stained glass panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn’t have any clothes on and some very long and convenient hair.”

Now, the disk jockey will play “Lady Godiva,” the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin,” and Sleepy LeBEEF’s “Sure beats the heck out of settllin’ down.”  We have to go rescue a lady in distress.  Have a “nice state of affairs when a man has to indulge his vices by proxy” type week.

November 22, 2013

Gonzo Jouralism = a verbal selfie?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:29 pm

A full color digital image of a Berkeley artist, after being photoshopped, appears to distort reality more than a selfie would.

French existentialist philosophers will probably find some deeply disturbing narcissistic meaning lurking behind the current American fad of taking self-portraits with a cell phone called “selfies.”  Didn’t they heap copious amounts of adulation on American writer Henry Miller for doing with words what kids are doing with digital images?  Isn’t “Tropic of Cancer” an example of literature as a selfie?

Selfies are limited in perspective because the camera’s point of view is restricted to arm’s length.  Photos take by another person are often taken from a point of view that is much further away from the subject and thus (ostensibly) provide a much more “objective” version of reality.  Photographer Cindy Sherman was known for taking photos of herself before the word selfie came into popular usage.  She used either a cable release, a self timer, or a studio assistant to click the shutter and thus distance her subject from the camera.

When Ernest Hemingway went to cover the Spanish Civil War didn’t the fact that Hemingway was covering the conflict become “the” story?

Is there a difference between a PR (Public Relations) HO (Hand Out) story, a traditional news story, and Gonzo Journalism?

The symbolism of a personality looming large in the foreground of an interesting scene is far different from a record shot of the artist “out among them.”

There was an amusing bit on the Internet this week that featured famous news photos doctored to appear to be selfies.

That in turn causes us to wonder if the journalists in Washington are producing journalism that is the verbal equivalent of selfie photos.  Yes, you could say that “Today we asked the President . . .” is a continuation of the Sixties era Gonzo school of journalism, but isn’t a constant torrent of such material just as stultifying as a tsunami of selfie pictures?

Edward R. Murrow went, saw, and reported, but he removed himself (as well as he could) from his stories while at the same time, Ernest Hemingway was insinuating himself into as many news events as possible.  Someday we may write a column addressing the question: “Was the better journalist Murrow or Hemingway?”

Did Hemingway inspire the Beat writers and didn’t they morph into Gonzo?  So is Hemingway the grandfather of Gonzo?  Are some of Hemingway’s stories the verbal equivalent of a selfie photo?

Was Murrow really the epitome of an objective reporter?  Some biographers portray Murrow as a fellow who was convinced that the United States would have to go to war with Hitler and so he shaped his narratives of the Battle of Britain to that end.

We know of one fellow in L. A. who was writing film reviews for a second level national magazine and was proud to be invited to lunch by a director.  The Hollywood personality made a concerted effort to flatter and entertain the white belt critic.  The rookie realized he was being played for a more enthusiastic review and drew a line in the sand.  He adopted the philosophy:  “No more fraternizing with the enemy.”Aye, lad, there’s the rub.  Compromise your principles or starve.

There’s a new book out by Michael Streissguth, titled “Outlaw,” that tells how Waylon, Willie, and Kris Kristofferson fought the music establishment in Nashville and won.

“The Rebel,” by Albert Camus, intimates that if society (AKA the 1%) encounters a formidable challenge from a revolutionary, they foil the movement by granting the malcontents membership in the world’s most exclusive club, know informally as “Fame and Fortune.”  Hence the strange phenomenon of The Rolling Stones Inc.  It is much more difficult to knock The Establishment if you have become an integral part of it.

Pundits pounding the political beat face a similar dilemma.  They can either be shut out or owe favors to sources.

It’s hypocritical to inform the audience “we report objectively; we don’t compromise with expediency” when in fact they are blatantly partisan.  Don’t the people who don’t catch on deserve to be fooled?  “We deceive; you owe us gratitude!”

A good game of poker would be impossible if the dealer delivered all cards face up.  The game of diplomacy demands chicanery, duplicity, and fibs.  If the President of the United States is going to deliver a shock to the members of his own party, it is unwise for journalists to think (or boast) that they can provide their audience with “the real story.”  It would be better for the well fed (and paid) reporters in the mainstream media to adopt the “I’m a patsy” philosophy the moment they arrive in Washington D. C.

Isn’t the journalistic ideal of “the gentleman in the grandstand” more attainable for a fellow out in the boondocks with no sources in Washington?  Doesn’t he make a better critic of the emperor’s new clothes?

Liberal (for lack of a better word) pundits attacked George W. Bush incessantly for his war policies.  When he was replaced by a member of the Democratic Party who continued most of the Bush war policies (with some minor adjustments), the Liberal pundits had a dilemma on their hands.  Should they suddenly become hypocrites and start lavishing praise on futile wars or should they start to criticize “their guy”?

Columnists who epitomized the H. L. Mencken axiom that there is only one way for journalists to look at politicians and that is “down,” have no problem.  They believe in being in attack mode eternally.

As the mainstream media trends more and more towards partisan bickering, the need for commentary from a gentleman in the bleachers recedes into irrelevancy.  If the trend to “one quote for and one quote against” becomes the Journalism norm, then an impartial observer becomes irrelevant but, perhaps, it will not become completely extinct because of the increasing novelty value of such verbal selfies.

Speaking of “mug shots,” a TV series titled “You’re in the Picture” was one of the monumental program flops of all time.  The initial episode on January 20, 1961, was so bad the series was immediately canceled.  The following week host Jackie Gleason used the time slot to apologize and produced a very memorable example of great television.

Wolf pack journalism will provide Americans with a massive amount of punditry on other topics this week and so we take the existentialist’s path and offer a look at something different.  We figure it is in keeping with the philosophy of a very famous (fictional) San Francisco philosopher (AKA Dirty Harry) who said: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Henry Miller wrote:  “How different the new order would be if we could consult the veteran instead of the politician.”

Now the disk jockey will play Dick Dale & the Del Tones’ “Misirlou,” the Ventures’ “Perfidia,” and the Chantays’ “Pipeline.”  We have to go wax our surfboard.  Note:  The World’s Laziest Journalist’s End of the Week column will probably be posted on Wednesday of T-Day week.  Have a “kick on third down” type week.

August 23, 2013

Were the Sixties just on “pause”?

The America’s Cup yacht races on a Trinitron screen did not draw overflow crowds to San Francisco’s Marina Green on Monday.

If a TV personality tells an American audience that something terrible happened in the Middle East and then runs a sound byte of a Republican saying that it’s an abomination and is entirely Obama’s fault and follows it with a quote of a Democrat saying the Middle East is in shambles but it isn’t all Obama’s fault, the rubes think that’s an outstanding example of fair and balanced journalism.  Then they tune into a long and convoluted analysis of the implications of a personnel change on a base baseball or football team and can later give a verbatim report on what was said and state eloquently why they disagree with the expert commentary.  Are sports more important than politics?

If a newspaper reporter who has been covering the Dodgers for years is suddenly traded to a San Francisco newspaper (for an undisclosed amount of cash and a draft pick?) most fans expect that the wordsmith will have a St. Paul’s moment and suddenly be rooting for the Giants.  If he doesn’t woe betide him who tries to keep his previous enthusiasm for the despicable rivals from “shaky town.”  It wouldn’t take long for a ME (managing editor) to tell such a traitor to hit the showers.

Genuine enthusiasm is vastly different from spin.  If, hypothetically, a veteran travel writer were given a lucrative writing assignment to go to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia and make it sound like a panacea for anyone suffering from traveler’s ennui it would be a challenging opportunity.  If, however, an alert writer went to the remote destination in Western Australia and had a delightful experience because it catered to his distinctive personality, then he would have to caution readers that they might not share the stamp of approval that he gave to the area that exemplifies the advice that if you love Sacramento, California, then you can reasonably expect that it might be worthwhile to head for the hometown where Skimpy’s Bar is located.

When we were in Fremantle, Western Australia, the young people in the hostel where we were staying were very strong in their recommendation that we take a train excursion to Kalgoorlie, so we did.  When we arrived, we noticed that they might have been playing a practical joke with the expectation that we would be disappointed by the result, but the joke was on them because the World’s Laziest Journalist has, since the time we first viewed “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” been fascinated with the topic of gold prospecting.  Not everybody will be wowed by a chance to visit the Prospectors’ Hall of Fame, but for a Fred C. Dobbs wannabe, it is an exhilarating travel experience.

Could a writer who lays on extravagant praise for a very specialized destination be considered a practical joker like the kids in Fremantle or would he actually be something worse?  Is travel information more important than politics?

Does that mean that liberals should view George W. Bush’s forever war as the payoff for some political journalism done by practical jokers?

If a columnist were to be invited to some very exclusive parties held in conjunction with an event being held in San Francisco and were to get some very humorous quotes and some celebrity gossip scoops, it would be prudent to expect him to heap lavish praise on the vent itself, wouldn’t it?

If however, a writer were to go to the event venue and mix with the general public and come away with a lack of enthusiasm, could it be time to cue the “sour grapes” cliché?

When Sgt. Bill Mauldin was ordered to go to New York City, as WWII was entering its final phase, he was given “celebrity” travel priority which was equal to that level of importance usually accorded to someone with the rank of brigadier general or higher.  On the flight from Europe to the Big Apple the sergeant sat with the enlisted men and played cards rather than hobnobbing with the brass.  Ernie Pyle was at home eating K rations in a foxhole.

Would a columnist who has attended the Oscar™ ceremony, flown in the Goodyear blimp, and been to the Playboy Mansion be expected to be able to give the aforementioned generic event in San Francisco a fair evaluation if he observed the proceedings with the regular citizens?

These days nationally known journalists expect to be given celebrity status and the tradition of going on the road to take the pulse of the nation seems to be an extinct method of reporting.  Someone who has the profile of a brigadier general has very little chance of operating in the “fly on the wall” mode of operation.

Can you honestly imagine a Fox personality going into a workers bar and listening to the locals complain about how things are today?  Would Scott Pele be able to function as a “fly on the wall” or would he cause a sensation if he walked into a neighborhood bar in San Francisco?

Have the opinions of the man in the street evaporated completely as a factor for evaluating newsworthyness?  That could explain why politicians now seem to completely disregard what the voters want when they are making decisions which will profit the companies run by the fellows who also make large reelection campaign donations.  When counterfeit journalism can be palmed off on the suckers as fair and balanced analysis, the country that tolerates such a masquerade is in deep trouble.

Is it time to write a column comparing and contrasting the state of the art for journalism in the USA today with how it was in Germany in 1937?

What if a rogue pundit were to speculate about what is really going on behind the scenes in the Middle East and correctly hit the nail on the head?  Would that open the gates to a cable TV gig or would it merely earn the poor blighter the cell between the ones reserved for Chelsea (nee Bradley) Manning and Edward Snowden?  (Is the rumor true that Charlie Manson and Sirhan Sirhan have adjoining workout areas and that they can talk to each other but not see each other when they burn calories?)

After noticing that the Texans for Public Justice website had posted a story announcing the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate a dispute involving Texas Governor Rick Perry and the Travis County District Attorney, the World’s Laziest Journalist hopped over to Yahoo and sent a tip to the news desk at the Mike Malloy radio show.

The World’s Laziest Journalist isn’t going to get invitations to the Bohemian Grove so we’ll take the Zen advice to be grateful for the beef in our bowl and enjoy stumbling over interesting topics that are new blips on our pop culture beat radar, such as the niche group that invalidates the warrantee on their digital camera and customizes them to take photos using infrared light.  We recently encountered such as the images at the brick and mortar location at 720 Geary Street in San Francisco.

About two dozen students were arrested this week protesting the plight of the City College of San Francisco.  The arrests got only a fraction of the news coverage that the arrests of the students protesting the HUAC hearings in the same city got in 1960.

“Subversives:  The FBI’s war on student radicals and Reagan’s rise to power,” by Seth Rosenfeld (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York N. Y. © 2012 by Seth Rosenfeld) showed up recently in the Friends of the Berkeley Library used book store and we immediately snapped it up.  A student is quoted as saying “We do know, however, that others of (FBI director Herbert) Hoover’s statements either are based on lack of information or are made in bad faith.”  The book indicates that in a confrontation between the FBI and wiretapping laws, the result resembled something that would have outraged Edward Snowden.

The author seems to believe and resent the idea that student’s lives and reputations provided convenient stepping stones for St. Ronald Reagan on his path to the White House.

San Francisco columnist Herb Caen loved rubbing elbows with the “swells” and earned a comfortable living writing columns about his various experiences doing that.  In 1960, Caen did defend the student who protested the HUAC hearing and was hit with a tsunami of letters objecting.  Rosenfeld quotes Caen (on page 96) as writing:  “To sum up, what I object to most heartily is the attempt of the Committee to smear the students present as ‘Communist stooges.’  There is no more effective way of enforcing conformity and instilling fear.”

Sarah Burke, in the August 21 – 27, 2013 edition of the East Bay Express, reports (pages 10 – 11) that the University of California at Berkeley will achieve a national first when they approve a new redistricting which will give the school its own city council district.

[Photo editor’s note:  In the summer of 1969, when the song “The Age of Aquarius” was  ubiquitous the World’s Laziest Journalist spent some afternoons lounging in the sun on the Marina Green in San Francisco.  The nostalgic appeal of returning there to mix with the general public to get a photo of the America’s Cup festivities to use with the new column was overwhelming.  Seeing an aircraft carrier start out on a journey to the waters off Vietnam by sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge evoked a greater emotional reaction than learning that a yacht race was being canceled because the winds were too strong for a second race on Monday August 19, 2013.  (Wouldn’t stronger winds just make the sail boats go faster?)]

Edward R. Murrow, in a speech to Radio and Television News Directors,  said:  “ . . . Let us dream to the extent of saying that on a given Sunday night . . . the time normally used by Steve Allen is devoted to American policy in the Middle East . . . .  Otherwise, it (television) is merely wires and lights in a box.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Sea Cruise,” “Big Bear Lake,” and “Red sails in the sunset.”  We have to go get a Virginia City Muckers’ t-shirt.  Have a “Eureka!” type week.

June 28, 2013

(Gay) Pride and Prejudice and a comic book columnist

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:35 pm


On Tuesday, the Supreme Court made a decision because, they asserted, prejudice in the voter rights case was an outmoded consideration from the past, then the next day they struck a blow to protect gays from marriage discrimination.  Due to the fact that irony does not work well on the Internets, the World’s Laziest Journalist was on the verge of pulling the old “best of” dodge and skipping the weekend roundup column for the last full week in June of 2013.  One day the SCOTUS five are saying that racial prejudice is extinct in the USA then the next day a reconfigured majority of five says that since the work of eliminating discrimination against gays is still far from the finish line, they had to lend a helping hand.  Which is it? Is bigotry dead or not?

Will the late night comedian/political commentators try to get laughs by saying that the Supreme Court missed an opportunity when they did not get involved this week with the furor over Paula Deen’s use of the N-word?

Paula Deen suggested that she needed to be executed by a crowd of stone throwers and that got us to thinking that perhaps President Obama could offer patriotic Americans from the Democratic and Republican parties a chance to buy a spot on the firing squad that might be needed some day to deliver a death sentence to Edward Snowdon.

That, in turn, brings up this question:  If Snowden is stuck in an area that is not a part of Russia, why doesn’t the United States’ State Department send someone from the American Embassy in Moscow to meet with the suspect, shoot him, and then use diplomatic immunity to walk away from the event?  Would that be so very different (and less messy) than using a drone strike to “rub out” the fugitive from justice?

We had hoped to write a sensational column, for this week, about the decline of journalism in America and maybe link the work of real journalists from the past such as Ernie Pyle and Hunter S. Thompson to the comic book hero, Spider Jerusalem, who is a popular and highly paid columnist who exposes political corruption and scandal.

Has the story arc for Journalism in America gone from Edward R. Murrow’s “This is London calling” to a comic book hero with weird glasses in less that 75 years?

The World’s Laziest Journalist had assumed that conservative animosity would trump the Fourteenth Amendment’s “equal protection” clause and deliver a ruling that rendered marriage rights for gays as being unconstitutional.  We were wrong.  It was just like the time we picked Native Dancer to win the Kentucky Derby.  We were wrong then, too.  Twice in one lifetime?  We won’t let it happen again!

A friend in the Eastern Time Zone called right after the decision was announced and said that the New York Time confirmed my erroneous prediction.  We were listening to Armstrong and Getty and challenged the accuracy of the headline on the Internets.  Our friend read more and amended her assessment because it seems that the great gray lady (as the famous newspaper is called in the gin mills that cater to journalists) had posted a bad (“Dewey wins!”) headline.

Randi Rhodes said that both landmark decisions, when considered together, indicated that the cause of States’ Rights had been bolstered by the week’s history and that continued political stalemate had been assured by the decisions.

Speaking of the status of Journalism in the USA, we had recently noted that some citizen journalists were advocating the use of a consortium approach to investigative journalism.  Since we have monitored the news media coverage of events in the Los Angeles area concerning the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors and their administration of the Marina del Rey area, we are aware that the concept of investigative journalism is a complex and time consuming way to fight for gaining access to information that is deliberately put out of reach.

A web site that is intended as a central clearing house for altruistic investigative journalism projects was announced recently.  There is a tendency among writers to want to jealously guard against the theft of intellectual property but there is also a human tendency to want to participate in a community project that is working towards a large goal that is unavailable to the lone wolf rogue journalist.  (Insert nostalgic reference to Sartre, Camus, and Combat newspaper in Occupied Paris here.  [Them again?])  We will expand this topic in a subsequent column.

Speaking of lone wolves, citizen journalists, and the Internets, we went to San Francisco on Sunday June 23 to cover the City Lights Bookstore’s birthday celebration.  We got some OK photos outside the store but our tendency of avoiding claustrophobic situations to work “on spec” caused us to miss the chance to get to the poetry room to get a photo of Lawrence Ferlinghetti signing books.  It was amazing to see how much drawing power a beatnik could still have.

Berkeley is looking to increase tourism and the fiftieth anniversary of Mario Savio’s speech from on top of a police car is rapidly approaching, perhaps the city fathers should consider holding an anniversary event.

The saga of Spider Jerusalem, which is the product of the creative team of writer Warren Ellis and artist Darick Robertson, was told in the Transmetropolitan comic book series.  It was published in the late nineties and the early Dubya era, and contained a good number of accurate predictions of technological advances and political malfeasance.  The comic book columnist hero fits in with our recurring leitmotif of famous journalist, so we made an effort recently to chat with Robertson and get some photos of him doing a drawing of “the helmet,” which can be seen as a prediction of Google glasses.

If citizen journalists hope for fun, fame, and fortune, but get aced out of the fame and fortune by the proprietary attitude of the high priced media talent (and their “owners”?), then the Leprechaun attitude will become more prevalent in journalism than Hunter S. Thompson ever imagined.

Would it be rational to expect the Huffington Post to hire an Internets loose cannon (let alone Fox) or would it be more realistic to expect that only those who subscribe fully to the “ya gottta go along to get along” style of expressing opinions are acceptable to management as members of the team?

We picked up a bargain copy of Joseph E. Persico’s biography of Edward R. Murrow recently and were reminded of just how much time devoted to dealing with office politics was necessary at the time that he was reporting live from London during the Battle of Britain.

When Ernie Pyle showed up in England in December of 1940 to cover the effect that the Battle of Britain was having on the ordinary citizens, he stayed in a posh hotel and was not bothered by the riggers of rationing.

Did anyone hire Woody Guthrie to go to London to report on the effect on workers that the Battle of Britain was causing?

The dog days of summer draw neigh and so the next few weeks may be a very opportune time for a columnist to begin a whimsical attempt to find amusing and amazing feature material while the Supreme Court Justices do some relaxing and start to select the next batch of cases needing their attention.

Horace wrote:  “The man who is tenacious of purpose in a rightful cause is not shaken from is firm resolve by the frenzy of his fellow citizens clamoring for what is wrong, or by the tyrant’s threatening countenance.”

Now the disk jockey will play  “Here Come da Judge,” “Strange fruit,” and Waylon Jennings’ “WRONG!,”   We have to go look for a time travel machine.  Have a “Great Caesars’ Ghost!” type week.



December 31, 2012

Now what?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 2:51 pm

After posting a column on Friday December 28, 2012, in which we criticized the CBS Evening News for relying heavily on videos of people crying, we tuned in that night to the broadcast and saw a crying man who went out and actually begged for a kidney for his wife, a crying woman who lost her house to the bankers (banks don’t foreclose homes people working for those banks do [?]), and a crying man who was part of a couple whose effort to adopt a Russian orphan had come to a halt because of a new Russian law.  On the NBC Nightly News broadcast for Saturday December 29th, we saw a feature story with a video of a fellow who plays soccer and might get an offer from an American Football team to come and work in the USA.  The video had gone viral on the Internets and we wondered if a video of a crying pundit would “go viral” if it was posted on Youtube.  Did we just sabotage all (and we do mean all) our chances for becoming a late addition to the list of famous journalists known as “Murrow’s Boys”?

Slightly after four p.m. on the day we published the column criticizing CBS for tarnishing their legacy that was established by Edward R. Murrow, we heard Norm Goldman criticize, on his radio broadcast, a brand of banks (think of a 1939 movie that was a career breakthrough for John Wayne) because a recent decision by the Ninth Superior Court seemed to legitimize some unscrupulous accounting practices that always favored the bank and screwed the public.

While preparing to write a new column, we suddenly remembered the old oriental parable that ends with the punch line:  “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet (those damn drones at it again?).”  Voila!  We had a Sutter’s Mill Moment.  An epiphany, as it were.

We didn’t need to envy CBS their ability to send a reporter and (union) camera crew out to video a person who was having tough times during post financial cliff period of uncertainty, if we wanted to get a video that would go viral on the Internets, we needed to get a video of a bank official who, wracked by guilt, was crying while contemplating the damage he had wrought.

Then what?

Everybody would see it.

Then what?

One thing seems certain.  If we get a video of a banker crying because of his complicity in a business practice that destroys hundreds of lives, CBS Evening News sure as hell ain’t gonna do a feature about how the World’s Laziest Journalist made a video that went viral on the Internets.  Dang!  It’s a tad late in the game to start searching for a new career . . . but . . . it will be a new year soon.  It will be a new year in some places when this column is posted.

Whatever happened to the guy who was America’s oldest porn actor?  Did he retire?  Could we do some Gonzo style reporting about walking a mile in his moccasins?

Speaking of the cinema, since we do love movies and since a goodly number of young folks like the movies made by Quentin Tarantino and since he has a new film just out, perhaps we could go see it and write a review as a way to rekindle our career as a film reviewer.  (Google Richard Ebert’s review of “Van Wilder” and read the last two paragraphs.)

Perhaps since we are not fully versed on the Facebook fad, we can just designate everything the World’s Laziest Journalist posts as “open to the public” and give George Taki (of Stark Trek fame) a run for the title of the most popular guy on that website.

We have heard of one woman in L. A. who went to a director to ask for a loan and was told:  “Write a sentence on this sheet of paper.”  She was totally perplexed but did as she was asked.  He threw the results in a drawer and jumped on the intercom and instructed his secretary to draw up a standard amount check for buying the film rights (to that sentence).  There are people in Hollywood who make a decent living just by selling ideas (known as “a pitch”) for films.

Didn’t one of those specialists become a director with offices on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica?  Hmmm.  If he is busy maybe we could track him down and start a new career in pitching and sell him an idea for a new film?

Hey, bro, do you want to buy the story (with a few more specific details supplied) of a nurse who successfully escaped from a POW camp?  Yeah, yeah, yeah we know about the guy who used a motorcycle to escape from a POW camp in WWII but this is another “based on a true story” adventure with a chick as the protagonist.  What actress could turn down a chance to walk a mile in Steve McQueen’s moccasins?

Our columns rarely get comments but isn’t the topic of which young actress could evoke favorable comparisons to Steve McQueen rich with the potential for astute suggestions?

On the same program that he castigated bankers, Norm Goldman proceeded to tackle the legalize pot issue.  Back in the Seventies there was a novel, titled “Acapulco Gold,” that hypostasized what American culture would be like when (not “if”) marijuana became legal.

Wouldn’t it be odd if Washington’s repressive attitude forced the NRA and the legalize pot advocates to agree to a mutual assistance/defense treaty and seek refuge as a coalition group in a third part such as the Pirate Party?

Maybe after the bankers repent and ask forgiveness and the gun control issue is settled once and for all, maybe then the lobbyists representing America’s pharmaceutical companies will permit the politicians to address the legalize pot issue but in Thirteen the chances for that happening fall below the “slim and none” level down to the Australian category labeled “not bloody well likely, mate!”

In our efforts to select a photo to accompany this column, we remembered an image we acquired while doing some fact checking for a possible trend spotting story about snapshot collecting.  It showed a woman on a ship and carried the cryptic caption “Spring 1942.”  In the Spring of that year, the world was in turmoil but someone was making an effort to improve their lot in life.  Aren’t all journeys manifestations of optimism?  Couldn’t that woman be a metaphor for the USA at the start of 2013?

Maybe in an effort to achieve “fair and balanced” news coverage, CBS will hire a pundit to criticize the efforts of mainstream media in the USA?  They could feature a televised version of the media criticism made popular by A. J. Liebling.  Maybe not.  Maybe we could get a job at the American Studies Center at the University of Sydney helping them understand contemporary culture in the USA?  Maybe not.  Maybe now that Wolfman Jack has gone to the great sound booth in the sky, XERF needs a replacement announcer on the night side?  Maybe not.

All three of our writing heroes, Hemingway, Kerouac, and Hunter S. Thompson, seemed to find the obligations accompanying fame very disagreeable so maybe we can reconfigure  the old F. Scott Fitzgerald wisdom to read “Living well (in obscurity) is the best revenge.”?  If you don’t believe us, then ask author William Kotzwinkle if there is any truth in that amended quote.

Isn’t it amazing that the political commentators are making the assertion that the congressional representatives and the Senators are feeling pressure for the members of the 112th  Congress to reach a fiscal cliff agreement now because of concerns about possible resentment for not getting a bipartisan plan to avoid the cliff, playing  a role in their reelection as members of the 113th Congress.  Isn’t there an old political adage that states that American voters have a short memory?
Winston Churchill may have predicted the fiscal cliff political stalemate when he said:  “We conferred endlessly and futilely and arrived at the place from whence we began. Then we did what we knew we had to do in the first place, and we failed as we knew we would.”

Now the disk jockey will play “As Time goes by,” “the Alabama song,” and the Eagles song about James Dean.  We have to go post a link to this column on Facebook.  Have a “good night and good luck” type of new year.

April 11, 2012

Quote-to-Quote: Allen West (Red) Channels Joe McCarthy


February 17, 2012

Dynasty Resurrection?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:33 pm

Occupy Cal graphics for Valentine’s Day

Occupy Cal Mushroom

I left myin San Francisco . . . ♫ . . .”

Is America being set up for the return of the Bush Dynasty? Has the legacy of Murrow’s Boys morphed into a shameless spectacle of his network’s modern on air talent kowtowing to the Republican Party in the form of stories about a political triumph that is being spun as a “compromise”?

In the early morning hours on Thursday, KCBS news radio in San Francisco reported that the payroll tax cut had been extended because the Republicans folded on their insistence that it be balanced by corresponding budget cuts.

Isn’t the “payroll tax cut” code talk for cutting back on workers’ contributions to the Social Security Trust fund? Hasn’t destroying the Social Security program been the top Republican political goal since the day FDR signed it into law?

They get to take another major step towards dismantling the Social Security Program and make their dreams come true and a step to destroy (eliminate funding from) other social programs is postponed and that qualifies as a compromise? GMAFB!

Hasn’t cutting social programs become the Sadistic highlight of the post St. Reagan era for the Republicans? Wouldn’t getting America’s free press to applaud the trend just be icing on the cake? Could the trend to cut social programs funding be compared to being the budgetary equivalent of Sherman’s march to the sea?

Isn’t portraying the lack of cuts as a humiliating compromise the final nail in the coffin for America’s Freedom of the Press?

Do employees at Fox News really start the day by facing a photo of Murdoch, taking an loyalty oath, and then putting their hats over their hearts while singing along to “Memo from Turner”? Or is that just an urban legend?

The World’s Laziest Journalist thinks that he remembers a posting on the Columbia Journalism Review’s website castigating American Journalists for using the dishonest “payroll tax cut” euphemism in place of the more politically charged term “raid on the Social Security Trust Fund.”

In the conservative dominated realm of spin, ascertaining the truth in American Politics has come to resemble the classic chase scene in Orson Wells film “The Lady from Shanghai.” Which image is political reality, which is diabolical spin? Remember if you make a guess and it is incorrect, you will lose more of you rapidly diminishing supply of Constitutional rights. (Good luck!)

Hasn’t the pervasive Conservative noise machine pummeled Americans into surrendering their insistence that the function of the press is to provide citizens with accurate information that will permit them to make well informed decisions when they vote? Isn’t amusing and entertaining what just what Edward R. Murrow and his posse, called Murrow’s Boys, really wanted?

Have you heard the radio ads that tout a method for getting a choice of approximately 500 American radio stations? (Define “a hall of mirrors.”) Should the ever narrowing window of opportunity for access to foreign news sources be compared to Hitler’s edict that proclaimed that listening to foreign radio stations had become a capital offense?

What would be so bad about listening to Sky Rock from Paris, Triple J from Australia, or (if it still exists) Radio Caroline?

Wasn’t there a book a while back in the USA, with the cryptic title: “Ladies and Gentlemen; this way to the showers!”? What was that supposed to mean?

At the World’s Laziest Journalist’s Headquarters we thought we saw a mention on the Internets (and a story in last Sunday’s edition of the New York Times) about some newsmen getting arrested in Great Britain because of a hacking scandal investigation. Did we just imagine that?

Before Dubya sent American troops off to Afghanistan and Iraq, the American Free Press ran “we don’t want another Vietnam” essays on their Op Ed pages. Now as America prepares to use the principles established at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials outlining the necessary condition for permitting a preemptive strike, the lefties in the press realize that such divisive diversions are counter-productive and seem to have given up that lame attempt at circulation building stunt journalism.

If Rupert Murdoch tells the journalists to jump, they must jump and ask “How high?” on the way up.

America established the principle of war for humanitarian reasons before authorizing drone attacks on Libya. This week the need to send drones attacks against Syria as a means of protecting that country’s citizens from a bloodthirsty national leader is becoming abundantly clear thanks to the fair and balance new coverage being provided by America’s Free Press.

Weren’t the trend spotting reporters in American Journalism right on top of the “Linsanity” phenomenon this week? We may have to personally direct the Pulitzer Prize selection committee’s attention to some of the best of the lot.

Not all the work done at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is devoted to deep dark secret government plots against its own citizens. One of the Factory’s midlevel management team, earlier this week, dug out an old item from long ago when he was only a summer intern there.

According to his theory; if you take the segment of Madonna’s “Truth or Dare” documentary film where she ridiculed actor Kevin Costner and speculate that that incident must have occurred just about the time he (as Executive Producer for the film project called “The Bodyguard”) was making assessment about who should be given the role of the female singing sensation (what is type casting?); you just might come up with some speculation about how Whitney Houston’s big career boost was directly attributable to some rudeness delivered by Madonna. (Didn’t Madonna used to have some aspirations for an acting career to augment her musical achievements?)

This week Tony Bennett was given the key to the city in a ceremony at San Francisco City Hall. Some pre-event publicity indicated that part of the program would include the honoree singing “I Left My ♥ in San Francisco.” He didn’t. (OMFG! Somebody has left the ♥ symbol loose on the Internets! Now it will spread like the bubonic plague!)

The Occupy Cal rebel encampment on Sproul Plaza was moved to another area of the campus late this week. (Note: On Friday morning, it was being reported by an Occupy Potester that the encampment on the steps of Doe Library had been removed. A Google News search was inconclusive.)

On Thursday, we saw news reports that stated that a brokered Republican Convention might be offered the choice of JEB Bush or Sarah Palin to function as a “tie-breaker.”
(How many Democrats will be dumb enough to believe that the Republican Party is ready to name a beauty contest winner as commander-in-chief of the American military? {This is what mystery fans call “a red herring.”})

There is a bit of folk wisdom in Hollywood that advises script writers to leave some “wiggle room” at the conclusion of a horror film, so that the monster can return in a sequel.

Wasn’t there a bunch of news reports about the Bush Dynasty being as extinct as the dinosaurs when George W. Bush’s term in office was concluded? Is Karl Rove going to pull an astonishing sequel scenario out of a hat this summer just as if American politics were as predictable as a Wes Craven movie sequel?

Are the liberal pundits in America’s Free Press just going to sit there and not bring up the possibility of the political effort to reincarnate something that was deemed extinct?

If this column isn’t reprinted on the Op Ed page of the New York Times next week, maybe the World’s Laziest Journalist should try to contact the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney (New South Wales) and see if there’s any possibility of being a guest lecturer there before the November election. Don’t people into scholarship value alternative viewpoints . . . especially if in retrospect they were spot-on?

To be continued . . .

Former San Francisco columnist Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary included this entry: “Cynic, n. a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.”

Now, the disk jockey will play The Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” Janis Joplin’s “Down on me,” and Quicksilver Messenger Service’s “Holy Moly.” We have to go to the poster shop and get the one of the flying Mustang from “Bullitt.” Have a “Make Love, not war” type week.

February 7, 2012

The Case of the Distinctive Voice

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:26 pm

A distinctive voice coming from a man walking in the shadows is a set-up if most of the people in the audience can identify the voice’s owner. The voice fans in the audience might identify the source before the actor steps into the light and be pleased they didn’t need to see the guy’s mug to I.D. the perpetrator. The celebrity dominated culture in the United States would have been sorely disappointed if the image of the speaker’s face didn’t solve the “who dat?”” puzzle of the familiar voice.

If, thanks to computer wizardry, Rod Serling had stepped out of the shadows most of the viewers on the younger side of the age demographics for the Superbowl audience would have known that it was the Twilight Zone guy.

What would the reaction to a technological cloning have been if it turned out that the voice and the face belonged to be Edward R. Murrow? How many kids on the outside of a School for Journalism would have recognized the “London calling” voice and associated it with daredevil reporting of the highest caliber?

Obviously using the voice and image of W. C. Fields would have had a sabotage effect. Would today’s hipsters recognize, let alone appreciate, Fields’ voice? Do they still sell the posters featuring the once famous comedian? They were ubiquitous in the late Sixties, don’t cha know?

If the computers had produced that Superbowl ad with St. Ronald Reagan stepping out of the shadows, Republicans all across America would have wept openly. It’s morning in America, again, folks and a cinematic cowboy is here to make you feel safe and warm.

Could the folks who want to see the Bush gang hang possibly misinterpret the Cling Eastwood commercial and see it as an endorsement of Dirty Harry tactics that include a complete disregard for the rules of war that were proclaimed at the Nuremburg War Crime Trials?

In some long ago news broadcast we heard a news story that asserted that female infants would pay more attention to the voice of a male stranger than they would to their mother’s voice.

According to a reliable source, over a decade ago a young UCLA coed, who was working as an interviewer for a phone survey, called the provided phone number and started to convince the young man who answered the phone to participate in the poll. He heard her voice and offered to come from New York City for a date in L. A. the following weekend. Since she wasn’t hurting for male attention, she politely declined.

When Johnny Carson made a casual comment about “the late John Carradine,” he got a phone call from the actor saying: “John, at my age it’s hard enough to get work without you announcing to the world that I’m dead.” Carson noted the quality of the voice he was hearing before he moved along to the fact that he then issued an invitation to come on the Tonight Show. Carradine got subsequent invitations to return to that show.

We have read somewhere a story that alleged that David Brinkley one time called into a Washington D. C. contest seeking a David Brinkley sound-alike. He came in second place.

When future radio fans look back on the Post Dubya era, we wonder which voices from 2012 will be the most recognizable.

Uncle Rushbo, of course. Who else?

We have, in past columns, lamented the fact that there seems to be room in the smorgasbord of contemporary culture for a competition for would-be voice over actors, but, alas, our suggestion has fallen upon dead ears.

The World’s Laziest Journalist has begun to do the preliminary fact checking needed as preparation for doing a column on story telling competitions. As luck would have it, the only item produced by several Google searches is something called the Porchlight competition held in San Francisco CA. So maybe we can enter that contest and get some material for a “been there done that” first hand account column about that competition.

Maybe some reader will have additional information to add to the comments for this column and thereby adding to the potential for doing a future column on story telling competitions.

We note that the Liars Hall of Fame seems to be an example of a variation on the tall tales in the field of exaggeration variety rather than an actual Hall of Fame whereby someone who spread the WMD alarm is accused of providing an entry for consideration by the Liars Hall of Fame induction committee.

Don’t some (all?) of the best raconteurs have bits of Irish ancestry in their blood?

Rather than a closing quote per se, we will recount a story that we heard St. Ronald Reagan tell in 1980. While he was campaigning in Iowa, he knocked on a farmer’s door. The man was flabbergasted. “I know you! You’re the actor. I forget your name.” Reagan suggested that as a hint he would supply his initials. The man heard “R. R.” and immediately turned toward the interior of the house and called out: “Mama, come quick and meet Roy Rogers.”

OK you won’t let it slide? You want a real quote as the closing quote?
“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets out his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more’ it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

A friend in L. A., chef Teddy B. Owen, may have provided the best closing quote for this column when he said: “The voices in my head have the call waiting feature.”

Now the disk jockey will play Carly Simons’ “You’re So Vain” (Tell me you can’t hear Mick Jagger’s distinctive voice singing backup), Clint Eastwood’s recording of “Born Under a Wandering Star,” and Judy Collins’ version of “Amazing Grace.” We have to go gargle. Have a “stifle talk about unionizing” type of week.

July 21, 2011

Summer Surfeit of Conspiracy Theories

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:32 pm

The American economy is being assessed as “sluggish”’ by some partisan writers on the left but reports are reaching the national desk at the World’s Laziest Journalist’s headquarters that indicate that the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory is operating this summer at full capacity with three shifts working seven days a week. In the middle of the summer of 2011, here are some of the most preposterous examples of what is being peddled to the gullible.

In the era of pat-downs and scans at the airports, is it really that easy for a comedian with a plate of shaving cream to get onto the floor of Parliament?

Was the pie incident planned in advance by Murdoch’s spin doctors to generate sympathy and divert attention away from the testimony? Did his wife’s defense move come so fast because it had been rehearsed? What previous body guard experience has she had? Are we supposed to believe that it was a reflex reaction on the part of a hausfrau?

Have the Employees of Rupert Murdoch been exposed to some germs from the Bush Administration and will they soon be experiencing the manifestations of an epidemic of “witness amnesia?” What? You can’t recall what “witness amnesia” is? Well, then, there’s no use elaborating on this new conspiracy theory. We’ll let the matter drop.

Many of the new attempts at producing news worthy examples of conspiracy theories are a variation on the possibility that the nice kindly old gentleman (think of him as the Australian Geppetto?) in charge would have instigated some instances of extortion and political blackmail. (Didn’t Donald Rumsfeld often cite an old Al Capone quote: “A kind word and a gun, will get you a lot further than the kind word alone.”?)

Various refurbished classic old theories are being souped up (a la the hot rodders and pre-war dry lake racing scene) and being offered as “new and improved.” Conspiracy theorists contend that a second look is required now to explain some past sudden shifts in American politics.

Does the fact that a cousin of George W. Bush, who worked for Fox News in 2000 and changed the election night projection, in the middle of the night, for a Florida win for Gore to a win for Bush and thus flipped the outcome, indicate that there is need for a closer look?

Does the fact that a fellow called “Knute” was having an extra marital affair at the same time he was condemning Bill Clinton saying that the President should be impeached because of some funny business with an intern mean that “Knute” could have been coerced into backing some rule-bending which granted crucial exemptions to Murdoch?

Was the sudden epidemic of news stories alleging a mental break down by Howard Dean during a victory speech an example of a journalistic example of morphic resonance or was it part of a concerted coordinated conspiracy to bestow the “frontrunner” mantle on a Democrat for whom an extensive and far reaching attack on his strong point had been painstakingly assembled? Did the unexpected Dean surge catch the Murdoch smear machine off guard?

Did some bit of clandestine extortion and/or political blackmail occur during the twelve hours between the time Sen. Kerry told a nation wide TV audience that he would contest the 2004 election results in Ohio and the next morning when he suddenly switched to the “no worries, mate” attitude?

We’ve heard that one of MSNBC’s talking heads has raised questions about some high profile unexplained political resignations and the possibility of some stealth extortion and political blackmail.

One of the more interesting but almost completely ignored new conspiracy theories postulates a similarity between the crowded field of contenders for the Republican Party’s 2012 Presidential nomination and Agatha Christie’s classic mystery “Ten Little Indians.” The premise is that when the only Republican candidate left un-sullied is JEB, he will win the coveted prize by default. (Oh! Don’t say that word this summer.)

Doesn’t Fox wash away all doubts about the reliability of the unverifiable voting results from the electronic voting machines by reciting the ancient sorcerer’s incantation: “Conspiracy theory!”?

Some members of the conspiracy theory cult worshippers are asserting that the Wall Street Journal has done the Jekyll and Hide act with its (former) sterling reputation for untarnished quality news reporting. (What do ya bet that conspiracy theory is being espoused by an insignificant blogger with the journalism equivalent of penis envy?)

Is “integrity” at the WSJ as dead as the old nine column three deck headline reserved by the New York Times for use on the days that meant that the course of history had changed overnight?

Once upon a time there was a blogger who noticed that when the Bush Administration suggested that folks in America should construct an airtight panic room as a precaution to protect them from chemical or biological terrorisms attacks, it ignored the very strong potential for death from asphyxiation. He wrote a letter to the New York Times pointing out the grievous window of opportunity for tragedy.

The day his letter was published, the Secretary of Defense held a press conference to point out that the duct tape and plastic sheeting suggestion was only metaphorical and not to be taken literally. The poor self-deluded fool was ready to proclaim that he had made the blogging equivalent of “the Willie Mays catch.”

At that time, were high paid media grunts really that stupid that they couldn’t see the absurdity of the suggestion or did they see it and face a management embargo on stories that ridiculed any of the hysterical nonsense that was leading to war? (When the “Fuhrer” says jump: you peons jump and ask “how far” on the way up. Is that understood?)

President Obama’s track record seems to be falling short of the expectations of extreme lefties. Will they use the Murdoch hacking angle to concoct some speculation about some possible extortion and imaginary political blackmail which might have been applied to gain some concessions about Medicare and Social Security? (What could possibly be that effective as a game changer? Here is a possibility: Just picture the image of Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday” to JFK.)

How do you explain his betrayal of Medicare and Social Security? How much more harm will he do with “Four more years!”?

One obscure blogger in Berkeley is anxiously awaiting the announcement of this years nominees for the “Conspiracy Theory of the Year” award to see if his column asking if Obama is a secret Republican mole sent into the Democratic Party to dismantle the last vestiges of “The New Deal.” The Berkeley blogger is beginning to suspect that there is a secret plot to thwart his chance to win the coveted award.

Will the members of the American mainstream media offer some interline courtesy and help Murdoch deny and cover-up (as happened in Great Britain following the 2006 allegations) or will they conjure up images of Edward R. Murrow’s stand against Senator McCarthy and insist on exposing the details of the Murdoch Scandal? Would it be ironic if the Murdoch summer followed the Arab Spring?

TV critic Jack Gould said that Murrow’s McCarthy program displayed “crusading journalism of high responsibility and genuine courage.” (A. M. Sperber “Murrow: his life and times” Freundlich Books – New York, ©1986 hardback page 440)

America could use some more of that now because freedom of the press and concomitantly its effect on the democratic process is what’s at stake. Freedom of the press. Use it or lose it. The British Parliament didn’t believe Murdoch. Why should you?

It’s time for the closing quote. During the “See It Now Program” about McCarthy, Edward R. Murrow said “The line must be drawn or McCarthy will become the Government . . . ” Ibid. page 437 (Has Ibid. become extinct because of the “Dumbing down of America”?)

Now the disk jockey will play Buddy Holly’s “Think it over,” Patsy Cline’s “So Wrong,” and the Hank Williams (Sr.) song “Be careful of stones that you throw.” Now we have to go to America’s oldest newsstand (in Oakland?) to see if we can get a copy of Confidential magazine. Have an “Oh, boy!” type week.

July 14, 2011

“Network” and the Murdock Scandal

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:48 pm

Was the 1976 Oscar™ winning film “Network” an amazingly accurate roman a clef based on this summer’s trials and tribulations of poor, poor pitiful Rupert Murdock or was it just a good guess about what could happen in the future?

[Spoiler warning: this column will reveal surprise plot points. If you have not seen the 1976 film, Network, it would be better if you made the effort to watch it and then read this column. If you have already seen the film, you might get more enjoyment from it and this column, if you re-view it and then read this assessment of that classic film and its chillingly accurate predictions.]

The World’s Laziest Journalist betook himself to San Francisco CA to attend the weekly front steps used book sale at the San Francisco Public Library’s main branch that is conducted (weather permitting) each Wednesday during the May to September months.

When we spotted Network amongst a trove of VHS tapes that appealed to our columnist instincts (“Notorious,” “King Kong,” “High Noon,” the original version of “the Manchurian Candidate” and “Twelve O’Clock High” [Expect more plugs for Donald L. Miller’s book “Masters of the Air” in future columns]), we glommed on to it with gun fighter reflexes speed.

In “Network,” legendary newsman Howard Beale (Peter Finch) – a fictional member of the “Murrow’s Boys” gang – uses his influential position as a journalist with a regular network TV show to do the bidding of a wealthy mogul who is a front man for the Arab royal family. Beale is assigned to convince Americans that they are insignificant cogs in a new and improved world where democracy has become obsolete and business is the raison d’être for the existence of humanity. How close to home does this classic film hit?

Some alarmists (conspiracy theory nuts?) are implying that if (subjunctive mood) Rupert Murdoch meddled with politics in both Great Britain and Australia, he may have, could have, might possibly have also done so in the United States of America. This irresponsible reckless speculation is based upon the assumption that many Americans aren’t fully informed on political issues.

[This just in: C-SPAN is (allegedly) being eliminated from some cable pay packages in the Berkeley CA area.]

There was an item on the Internet, on The Australian web site, that asserted that an investigation into the (alleged) influence Rupert Murdoch may have had on the politics in the country where he was born.

As a hypothetical example of how Murdoch may have possibly meddled, the host of the progressive talk show (that airs on KKGN from 6 to 9 P. M. in the Pacific Time Zone, each weekday evening) postulated a hypothetical example of how such imaginary meddling might have worked, suppose (hypothetically) that Rupert Murdoch’s aggressive style of journalism fact finding divulged that a guy in America’s legislature (we’ll call him “Knute”) was simultaneously having an extra-marital affair while urging that a fellow southerner in the White House should be impeached for defending a woman’s honor by telling a fib under oath. (The WLJ legal advisors insist on such convoluted cautionary wording and we trust their judgment.)

Additionally, the talk show host urged listeners to imagine what would happen if Rupert Murdoch were to use that knowledge as a bargaining chip in discussion with “Knute” about granting some legal dispensations to the Murdock empire so that they could establish a new beachhead in America for Murdoch’s brand of aggressively and selectively dishing the dirt out on politicians who opposed his efforts?

[Wouldn’t all this sound so much more palatable if the voice of Rod Serling could be used to supply the vocal track?]

If Rupert Murdoch were to use political blackmail to achieve his goals, wouldn’t some Paul Wellstoneish fellow do the “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” routine in opposition? What ever happened to Senator Wellstone?

Does that radio guy think that decency and honesty in politics and fair and balanced journalism have done a variation of the “no survivors” results at the Battle of the Little Big Horn? He might be right, eh?

Murdoch came to America, got some legislative breaks, and started Fox News. Does that mean that Paddy Chayefsky was spot-on with a prescient script all that long ago or are there merely some superfluous basic plot similarities?

Would Vincent Canby call the summer of 2011 “brilliantly, surprisingly funny,” as he did “Network”?

BTW if Fox News blatantly ignores the various stories involving Rupert Murdoch, does that mean that they should change their motto to: “the best Biased and Slanted opinions that Rupert’s money can buy”?

The shopping expedition to fog city has had a noticeable detrimental effect on this columnist’s reserve energy level and so we will eliminate any attempts to draw some conclusions for our readers and merely strongly urge them to make a concerted effort to get a chance to see “Network” either again or for the first time, this weekend, and then decide if it was time well spent or if it was a wild goose chase.

Almost thirty five years ago Howard Beale summed it up thusly: “I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’ I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”

Now, the disk jockey will play “Happy Days Are Here Again,” “Dancing in the Dark,” and Fred Waring’s “Little White Lies.” We have to go find a the specifics for next year’s Conspiracy Theory Convention. Have a “good night and good luck” type week.

June 24, 2010

Edward R. Murrow vs. the Cheshire Cat

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 10:55 am

The Quislings who tout America’s free press seem to have forgotten or are ignoring the dire predictions in the 1947 Hutchins Commission’s Report on the press which warned: “As the importance of communication has increased, its control has come into fewer hands.”

In analyzing the Hutchins Report, Louis M. Lyons said: “It is directly because newspaper publishers as a class are among the most conservative groups in America that newspaper performance is as uninspired, as unoriginal, and uninformed as it is.”

Zechariah Chaffee, Jr. agreed: “The sovereign press for the most part acknowledge accountability to no one except its owners and publishers.”

In an effort to compile an accurate assessment of the quality of Rupert Murdock’s job performance as America’s Editor-in-chief, we picked up a copy of Carl Jensen’s book, “20 Years of Censored News” (copyrighted 1997), and started to see if the underreported stories from 1976 to 1995 indicate that the Hitchins Commission was a misguided example of ducky-lucky style overreaction or if it was a spot-on example of prescient concern.

Project Censored in those twenty years focused attention on stories that are still not going to get much time on Fox.

In 1976 their number four story was “Why oil prices go up.”

The topic of Illegal aliens was their number ten story in 1977. Since 1977 the USA has been under the control of Republican Presidents for ten of the ensuing 33 years. Apparently the Republicans have gotten their act together now and will solve this problem if they can get their guy into the White House in 2012.

Project Censored’s number three story in 1978 was “The Government’s War on Scientist Who Know Too Much.” Were they worried about the polar bears back then? No. They thought radiation in a workplace might cause cancer.

PBS as the “oil network” was the Project Censored number eight story for 1979. The ads don’t have any effect on editorial content now do they?

In 1980 the number two stories was about NSA eavesdropping on Americans. How else where they going to protect us from a potential 9-11?

1981 #3 The story asserted that Camp Libertad in Florida was training folks to become terrorists.

1982 # 6 The story was Ronald Reagan as America’s Chief censor. David Burnham, in the New York Times reported: “In its first 21 months in office, the Reagan Administration has taken several actions that reduce the information available to the public about the operation of the government, the economy, the environment, and public health.” Wasn’t he just trying to help Rupert protect you from news that would spoil your digestion?

1983 #10 “The DOD’s Cost-plus Contracting System Taxpayer Swindle” How ya gonna make a profit on World Peace?

1984 # CIA and the Death Squads – Immoral and Illegal

1985 #5 Media Merger Mania Threatens Free Flow of Information

1986 #2 Official U.S. Censorship: Less Access to Less Information

1987 #1 The Information Monopoly #4 Reagan’s Mania for Secrecy: Decisions Without Democracy

1988 #1 George (H. W.) Bush’s Dirty Big Secrects #2 How the EPA Pollutes the News and the Dioxin Cover-up #6 America’s Secret Police Network – LEIU Part II (It was also their #6 story in 1978) #9 U.S. Refuses to Abide by International Court of Justice (Whew! Thank God for that. Otherwise George W. Bush Jr. might be dragged off and be subjected to a War Crimes Trial conducted by foreigners!)

1989 #1 Global Media Lords Threaten Open Marketplace of Ideas #8 Biased and Censored News at CBS and the Wall Street Journal

1990 #1 The Gulf War: Truth was the First Casualty #3 The CIA Role in the Savings and Loan Crisis #5 Continued Media Blackout of Drug War Fraud #9 Where Was George (H. W. Bush) During the Iran-contra Affair?

1991 #1 CBS and NBC Spiked Footage of Iraq Bombing Carnage #2 Operation Censored War #6 No Evidence of Iraqi Threat to Saudi Arabia #10 The Bush Family and Its Conflicts of Interest

1992 #The Great Media Sell-Out to Reaganism #3 Censored Election Year Issues #7 Trashing Federal Regulations for Corporate Contributions #8 Government secrecy Makes a Mockery of Democracy #9 How Advertising Pressure Can Corrupt a Free Press

1993 # The Real Welfare Cheats: America’s Corporations

1994 #9 The Pentagon’s Mysterious HAARP Project

1995 #4 The Privatization of the Internet

This list was compiled in a capricious and arbitrary manner from the book which lists ten under reported stories for each of the twenty years covered in the book. Add to that the fact that they have listed ten stories for each of the intervening fifteen years, and you would have a list of 350 topics, which is way to long to hold most readers’ interest; hence the abbreviated list.

Does it seem like this list is a quant exorcize in nostalgia or is it closer to an accurate forecast of what was to be expected during the George W. Bush era?

Ironically, Project Censored is currently (like many websites delivering progressive punditry) seeking contributions to continue their efforts to circumvent a complete bamboozlement of the public while conservative media seem immune to the harsh effects of Bush’s economic legacy.

Newspaper and TV station owners are strongly denying that the Supreme Court decision permitting corporations to pay for ads aimed at voters will be a windfall to them and their businesses. Is it logical to think that running the ads will add to those media’s overhead costs and are not to be perceived as unexpected bonuses. Extra ads won’t be a bonus? If you believe that you’ll believe that George W. Bush was an F-102 pilot.

Where is America’s free press?

Edward R. Murrow, in a speech title “Why Should News Come in 5-Minute Packages?,” (efforts to find a transcript online were unsuccessful) said: “For if the premise upon which our pluralistic society rests – which, as I understand it, is that if the people are given sufficient undiluted information, they will then somehow, even after long sober, second thoughts, reach the right decision – if that premise is wrong, then not only the corporate image but the corporations are done for.”

Little did he realize that it was news delivered by a free press that was doomed.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (AKA Lewis Carroll), in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” wrote: “‘All right,’ said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.”

Now the disk jockey will play the soundtrack album from “Newsies,” Roy Orbison’s “Paper Boy,” and the Beatles’ “A day in the life.” We have to go search for a scoop. Have a “stop the press!” type week.

March 5, 2009

At long last, Rush, have you no decency?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:02 am

Bill O’Reilly told his radio audience that his mission was to point out errors committed by pin-heads in the media. After we ran columns about meeting an Australian woman who had worked on a war crimes trial connected to WWII and said that Bush qualified as a war criminal and, after looking up what was said about war crimes at Nuremberg, we noted that President Bush might merit some serious consideration for inclusion in a war crimes trial. Then we specifically invited Senior O’Reilly to honor his commitment to scrutinize our performance as his audience’s proxy and point out any errors. He didn’t challenge us and his “no spin zone” radio show went off the air last week. That settles that.

[Isn't it a sorry state of affairs when the self-proclaimed "World's Laziest Journalist" has (with those two on-line columns) done more to assert and establish that President Bush committed war crimes than (to the best of my knowledge and Google search ability) any writer for any of the major daily newspapers? It's better than no one saying anything but it looks very pathetic to citizens in other countries.]

Should we turn our attention to El Rushbo next, or should we first ask how can we get an invitation to come on Dennis Miller’s radio program so that we can compare him with Robert Brasillach? Of course he might not be too eager to be compared to the man who was executed for collaborating with the Germans during their occupation of Paris and environs.

We’d like to hear Dennis Miller’s opinion of just how contagious Bush’s circle of criminal contamination extends and who merits legal redress at a war crimes trial.

Miller’s trying-so-hard-to-be-hip style of unquestioning allegiance to the President reminds us, when we listen to him, of Robert Brasillach who was also very enthusiastic about one particular political ideology.

All during the Bush era we couldn’t square the journalists’ self-proclaimed image as Edward R. Murrow clones while they all, with the notable exception of Keith Olbermann, acted as if they were the personification of the cowardly lion. Was there one other rebel in the mainstream media whose modus operandi wasn’t: “ya gotta go along to get along!”?

Now that Bush is gone it would be relatively easy for nationally known journalists to say something about how they wanted to speak out, but had some namby-pamby reason for remaining quiet, but they still haven’t denounced their own reprehensible professional conduct. Do they think that just because Bush has moved on to the Presidential Library phase of his life, it’s all over and they don’t have to look back?

When Bush invaded Iraq and the journalists were told to “Sieg Heil” or face accusations of being unpatriotic, no one uttered a peep in protest. Do they think that if Rush engineers a Republican Presidential win again in 2012, that the neocons will be chastened and reformed by the Obama example?

Some Republicans wanted a 1000 year majority in American politics and just because they aren’t in the driver’s seat this term, doesn’t mean that they’ve folded their tents and (as per a line in a Lord Byron poem) stolen silently away into the night. For Rush and his toadies, seeing Obama in the Oval office is just like a baseball game where the one team has the lead for the first and second inning, but then is behind one run when the third inning is over. Journalist who ignore the continuing threat from the neocon talk radio propaganda brigade are giving them a pass and do so at their own peril.

True journalists who would emulate Edward R. Murrow would do better to think of Rush Limbaugh as being similar to Senator Joe McCarthy. McCarthy’s political style was not fair and balance and Rush’s bombastic attacks bring to mind the line asking: “at long last, sir, have you no shame?”

Lion tamers’ most important rule is: never turn your back on an animal while you are in the cage with him. Do journalists honestly think that Rush would hesitate one second to tell his dittohead audience a crucial fib if it would produce the Presidential election results he wants?

Just because the conservative talk show hosts tell people with a Southern drawl: “Your a great American!,” doesn’t mean they be accorded the same level of enthusiasm overseas. We know of one fellow who got decked by a sucker punch in the Kings Cross section of Sydney and then beat up rather effectively (broken ribs?) by some locals who weren’t as pro-Bush as their country’s leaders.

Australians are very well informed about American politics despite the fact that not many of them know who Rush, Sean, and Dennis Miller are, let alone listen to them religiously. If they are knowledgeable about the subject and think that some war crimes have been committed, then, perhaps, the ditto heads are being misinformed?

Edward R. Murrow risked his professional career to take on a political bully. His heirs would do well to point out Rush’s shoddy debating tactics or (perhaps) face the prospect of seeing him installed as the person in charge of a Citizen’s Press Oversight Commission after the 2012 election of a Republican President.

Meanwhile, Dennis Miller is probably reaching a daily audience bigger than any newspaper writer has available.

Edward R. Murrow said: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.” Dittoheads detest dissent.

Now, the disk jockey will play a song just for Dennis Miller: Leslie Gore’s “You don’t own me.” And to Bill O’Reilly who doesn’t have a radio show now, we’ll say: “Good night, and good luck.” It’s time to roll the credits and we want to go check the mailbox to see if there’s an invitation from Dennis’ producer. Have a “enjoy freedom of the press while you still have it” type week.

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