June 20, 2014

Summer, Soccer, and Military Advisors

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

Jumbled SF

Jumbled Geometry

After being acquitted of murder charges, O. J. Simpson received a rather official looking letter from the Court. As a citizen who had never been convicted of a felony, he was being ordered to report for consideration for jury duty. According to reliable anecdotal evidence, O. J. walked into the courtroom and the judge took one look at the sport celebrity and immediately dismissed him. The judge was looking for a member of the jury not a new media circus.

There were rumors in the Los Angeles area that on O. J.’s last night in custody, a jailer approached the defendant with a larger than usual supply of items the turnkey wanted autographed. According to the rumor, he explained that O. J. wouldn’t be available for autographing sports memorabilia the next night (i.e. he was going to court the next day and then walking out the front door) and so the chance to have O. J. sign more stuff was on a “now or never” priority basis.

The Santa Monica Outlook ran a squib about the jury duty dismissal and offered it to the Associated Press (which is run on a co-op basis) and the AP editor turned it down. The reasoning was that at that point the public had reached saturation level with all facts connected to the life of O. J. Simpson.

The autograph anecdote never got traction because it was just a rumor.

Twice recently we came across books that reported that Adolph Hitler was a very funny guy in cocktail party settings. We have read that der Fuhrer could mimic Goring to perfection. Admitting some humanizing aspects in the personality of a fellow who was going to be portrayed as a raving maniac just didn’t help matters, so it has always been best if journalists omitted related facts and anecdotes from their books which substantiated the view of that dictator as an affable amateur comedian.

Recently the news coverage of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day (“jour j” for those of you who speak French) Invasion used the number of members of the military who lost their lives during the longest day. Very little mention is ever made of the dress rehearsal which claimed more lives than the actual invasion did. (Google “Operation Tiger.”)

Recently, we picked up a used book titled “the Tuskegee Airmen Mutiny at Freeman Field,” by Lt. Col James C. Warren (USAF ret.). We had never heard about that incident but since it happened just about the same time as VE Day it doesn’t seem like a “cover-up.” It’s more like a news value imbalance that was due to timing. (Google hint: Freeman Field Mutany)

Has a book been written about the explosion and deaths at Port Chicago?

When does a fact turn from irrelevant extraneous information to game changer status?

The challenge that faces citizen journalist is similar to giving a jigsaw puzzle to a blind person. When the high price journalists get stonewalled, how can a citizen journalist realistically expect to report on what is going on inside top secret strategy meetings for politicians or corporations?

Recently, we heard the term “fact pattern” for the first time and realized that the concept was crucial to the nature of product development at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory (located somewhere in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Berkeley CA). If information that doesn’t fit the fact patter must be ignored and/or disregarded by the mainstream media, it becomes the primary ingredient for the next trendy conspiracy theory.

According to one obscure news report we monitored, the latest internal poling available to Rep. Eric Cantor showed him leading by thirty points. He got blind-sided and lost the primary election. Only conspiracy theory nuts would follow the Cantor item with a reference to the fact that the results from the electronic voting machines are not verifiable.

If you love New York City, then Donald L. Miller’s new book, “Supreme City (How Jazz Age Manhattan gave birth to modern America),” will make you swoon.

Isn’t the number of troops who are being sent back to Iraq just about equal to the size of an extraction team? Did you see “Argo” before it won the Best Picture Oscar or after?

Are the peacniks in Berkeley, who didn’t approve of sending the military advisors to South Vietnam, going to let the redeployment back to Iraq slide because the President has a good voice and a nice smile?

Is it true that Iraq will be divided up? The Kurds will get a one third portion, the Isis rebels will get a second third, and BP will get the oil fields.

Our contention that Journalism in the USA is approaching flat-line status got some back-up Sunday in the New York Time’s Week in Review Section via an opinion piece written by Chelsea Manning asserting that Americans often get news that doesn’t correlate with military intelligence reports.

Remarkable but extraneous information from the pop culture beat may be “water cooler” topics of great importance, but in a democracy where the founding fathers envisioned a free press keeping voters fully informed about important issues the concept of “broccoli journalism” become relevant. According to the man that coined the term, broccoli journalism is like the vegetable it is named after, meaning that it is an important but unpopular ingredient for a well balance diet (of information).

Kids who are destined to become contrarians will love broccoli, spinach, and sauerkraut the minute they are told other kids hate those items but if you are playing the law of averages, most children will balk when served those items. Haven’t evening network newscasts started to include cute cat videos? If network executives want a hip young demographic for their network evening news broadcasts, why don’t they have attractive and young rookies manning the anchor desks? (How old was Edward R. Murrow when he made the reports from London during the Battle of Britain?)

MTV introduced the concept of V-jays to television and had a good deal of success with the innovation. Suppose the networks tried to lure young viewers with young anchors. (Could they be called N-jays [short for news jockeys]?) Isn’t the average age of the Fox viewer that of someone who collects Social Security checks? Could addiction to Fox be considered binge viewing for Conservatives?

Didn’t a mug shot of an attractive young man just go viral on the Internets? (Google hint: (Jeremy) Meeks mug shot)

Could Lincoln Pilcher be considered a journalist?

The generation that came of age during the Sixties demanded a greater voice in running the world they were inheriting; hence the success of Rolling Stone magazine. Now that hippies are old enough to be in senior management positions, their attitude seems to be “What do kids know?”

[Note from the Photo Editor: Since we don’t have access to photo ops with famous politicians, fugitives, or movie stars, we have to settle for a photo of an urban scene with a jumbled geometric pattern in San Francisco which could be a visual metaphor for the convoluted situation in Iraq.]

Who was it said: “If you keep doing what you were doing and expect to get different results, you’re crazy!”?

Now as the limited role of the advisors in Iraq is about to begin, the disk jockey will play Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction,” Sgt. Barry Sadler’s “Ballad of the Green Beret,” and Jerry Lee Lewis’ “You went back on your word.” We have to go buy some suntan lotion because summer starts tomorrow. Have a “Cowabunga, dude!” type week.


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