March 31, 2012

Tomorrow’s New York Post Cover


February 18, 2012

Fox News just declared war on Iran!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 10:49 am

We’re in for it now. Rupert Murdock is the Joseph Goebbels of 2012! The Mayans are gonna be right.


December 18, 2011

Capricious and arbitrary journalism decisions

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 4:43 pm

New exhibit at Beat Museum
Michael Moore speaks to Occupy Oakland

Calling the new exhibit at the Beat Museum as our top selection for the top ten news stories of the year may seem to be an arbitrary and capricious example of poor journalism, but the same people who would get very upset at such a choice by a blogger on some liberal web sites, don’t seem to mind that Rupert Murdoch runs his journalism endeavors with a similar dysfunctional level of personal involvement in the editorial decision making.

How likely is it that any of Murdoch’s lackeys will say that one of the top ten news stories of 2011 is the fact that the integrity of America’s much vaunted Free Press has been compromised and that the Murdoch hacking scandal is Exhibit A on the list of evidence?

Time Magazine named “the Protester” as the Newsmaker of the Year. Will Murdoch concur or will he direct his subservient surfs to ignore reality and spin it with the absurd interpretation that: “It’s about time the liberal media acknowledged the achievements of the tea baggers!”?

During 2011, we heard one reporter on CBS radio news state that JEB Bush has his campaign headquarters in a hotel in Miami (where by a big co-inky-dink the Republicans will hold their Nominating convention). If that fact hasn’t been reported on Fox, is the withholding of that news evidence of an arbitrary and capricious example of poor journalism, or is it indicative of something more ominous?

At one point during 2011, this columnist/photographer was stopped dead in his tracks by a tableau in the lobby of the Shattuck Hotel in downtown Berkeley CA. There were three young men having breakfast together and that wasn’t remarkable in a town that provides a worthy rival for the UCLA baseball, basketball, and football teams. What was astounding was the visual of thee young guys ignoring each other and peering intently at their own laptop computers. We took a photograph of the scene that illustrates the paradoxical aspect of contemporary society whereby friends ostensibly feel more connected to the world by being isolated from each other.

The fact that the image is somewhere in among a vast number of digital files of frames taken with our Nikon Coolpix brings up the fact that now with computerized photography we can shoot the equivalent of several 36 exposure rolls of 35mm color film and not freak-out over the price of the material and subsequent development costs. The down side of the freedom to do an extensive amount of shooting at a news event is that there is a massive amount of boring clerk work for a photo librarian to be done.

The fact that a California housewife won a Pulitzer Prize in Photography for taking a photo of a highway accident, can be used to segue into another story from 2011 that will be ignored by Murdoch’s marauders: Citizen journalists will not (based on preliminary legal precedents being set in 2011) be accorded the same legal safeguards that are available to professional journalists carrying a Press Pass.

That, in turn, brings up another development in the journalism world that will be ignored by Murdoch’s wage-slaves: the increasing number of times when legitimate members of the press are treated like the protesters being rounded up.

That brings up yet another important but unlikely candidate for inclusion on the top ten stories lists: If, as we have been assured, protesters, who are arrested for trespassing, have committed a routine misdemeanor and will not have to worry about anything but a minor fine; why then are people now collecting funds to be used by arrested protesters facing expensive court proceedings?

Will Murdoch’s propagandists include stories about abuses by the privatized prison industry on their list of the year’s top news stories?

Will horrific prison conditions, as revealed by the events at Attica about forty years ago, become one of this year’s top ten stories or will the Project Censored group be the only ones drawing attention to obscure stories such as the one the Los Angeles Weekly ran recently denouncing the conditions in the L. A. County Jail for prisoners with handicaps?

Is the “Island of Trash,” caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Northern Japan, which is slowly drifting towards the USA’s West Coast, going to have any radio active trash when it arrives? Why was fighting the recently ended War in Iraq during 2011 more important than spending money on efforts to minimize the “Island of Trash” threat?

Will any of Murdoch’s practitioners of “fair and balanced” journalism castigate the Jubba the Hut legislative style of Republican Politicians during 2011 or will they ignore the conservatives’ sit down strike and pretend that it’s all President Obama’s fault?

Recently storms on the West Coast have caused some trees in Sequoia National Park to fall down. Is it true that some well known conservative executive with ties to the lumber industry has paid to acquire the fallen timber and will use it to make gavels for various conservative judges around the USA?

Will the Oscar competition for the Best Picture of 2011 produce a heavy weight championship battle between Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg?

Will “No taxes; no mercy” (i.e. no taxes for the rich; no mercy for the poor) be the bumper sticker summary of future historians for the year 2011?

If we had gone to Occupy Oakland, Occupy San Francisco, and Occupy Cal events and taken some photos which would be appropriate for use with a Year-in-Review column, that would tend to indicate that our news value judgment was in synchronization with the editors of Time magazine and that we were only being facetious when we went to San Francisco on Friday December 16, 2011, to take a photo of their new exhibit to use as an illustration for our top ten news stories of the year column.

Wouldn’t that be a bit overboard even for a guy with an Irish-Apache heritage (and most likely related to Che Guevara) or would that be spot on?

Will the quote of the year be: “This is what a police state looks like!”?

The disk jockey should probably pick a song by Amy Winehouse or Lady Gaga as the one tune that will always evoke memories of 2011, but since he is a bit of an old foggy who is blissfully unaware that the Sixties are over, he will play us out with the Stones, “Satisfaction,” Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee,” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” (because they conjure up vivid memories of better years). We have to go see if we can get tickets for a revival of “Hair.” Have a “Beggar’s Banquet” type week.

August 26, 2011

A Day in the Life of a GOP Congressman


August 19, 2011

What If Rupert Murdoch Had Been Captain of the Titanic?

Filed under: Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 7:11 am


August 4, 2011

Murdoch vs. Manning: One gets jail & one gets, er, nothing…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 1:56 am

What if you were to obtain important government information illegally and then disseminate it widely? How should you be punished? If you are Bradley Manning, you will be thrown in jail, tortured, humiliated, deprived of even basic creature comforts and forced to sleep naked in an isolation cell.

Can you even imagine this same thing happening to Rupert Murdoch? Ever?

Let’s compare these two men’s actions. Manning made public some vital information that was necessary to help Americans know more truthfully about what is going on here and thus help us to be able to make better decisions based on correct facts.

Murdoch made public some falsified information that caused America to get stuck with George W. Bush whether we wanted him or not, to get unnecessarily embroiled in several illegal and disastrous wars that cost America trillions of dollars we could ill afford and to support ghastly financial policies that stripped our economy to the bone.

And where are Murdoch and Manning now?

Bradley Manning is currently incarcerated at Leavenworth federal penitentiary — and with no end in sight to his ordeal.

And Murdoch? I’m not really sure where Rupert Murdoch is now — probably in his 44-million-dollar apartment overlooking Central Park? Who knows for sure. But I betcha anything that there is gonna be no torture or jail time involved.


July 26, 2011

Like Taxes, Responsibility Is For the Little People


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 20, 2011

The Day of the Low Crust: Notes on the Demise of the Murdoch Media Empire

Fox’s new reality TV series “Murdoch & Son” premiered July 19th with a 2-hour debut featuring the ‘Old Man’ Rupert Murdoch testifying (but not under oath) and answering questions with his son James before a committee of the British Parliament. While there were occasional moments of hilarity, such as Rupe — a billionaire known for micromanaging his global media empire to the extent that he has fired low-level employees in remote outposts for minor offenses — claiming he had no idea what the top officers of his corporation were up to because, well, he was just so busy doing something else. James himself made impassioned, if preposterous, pleas of his boneheaded ignorance of crimes committed before his very eyes, but he couldn’t match Dad on the giggle-meter. The question is, will audiences believe this kind of broad farce that seems more scripted than real, and Rupert’s declarations that he’s been humbled, and that he is happy to accept the blame as long as there aren’t any consequences? Moreover, will anyone buy Rupe’s logic that, after confessing he was blind to everything happening in his organization, including large payouts for lawsuits involving illegal hacking and arrests of prominent reporters, he is just the man to put things right? That requires a brand of faith available only to those who also worship a Flying Spaghetti Monster as creator of the universe.

Following “Murdoch & Son” we were greeted by the one-hour kick-off of “Rebekah with a ‘K’,” a reality-pod nod to the classic Mary Tyler Moore/His Girl Friday ‘woman in a screwball newsroom’ genre. The plot: henna-haired post-feminist Rebekah Brooks finally lands the editor’s job at one of the world’s largest-circulation newspapers but, once she’s achieved her ambition, her underlings hilariously sabotage her future as they engage in wrongdoing behind her back. Forced to resign and ultimately arrested for their criminal behavior, Rebekah fights back in the only way she knows how — by alluding she was unfit for her high-powered position by dint of her extraordinary obliviousness and neglect. In this writer’s opinion, Fox made a blunder by unveiling this show in the same ‘testifying before Parliament’ format as “Murdoch & Son,” and it shows a real lack of imagination that the producers saddled her with the same sort of incredible excuses used by Rupert and James. Still, the contents of a laptop computer, some personal papers, and a cell phone ‘accidentally’ disposed of in a trash bin near Rebekah’s house and traced to her husband may render enough surprises in future episodes to keep viewers coming back.


July 18, 2011

“If you make the headline big enough . . .”

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

In America, newspaper publishers have always been accorded high rank and special privileges in that democracy’s class-less society. The idea that publisher William Randolph Hearst arranged for the Spanish-American war to happen is widely believed inside and outside the journalism industry. When famed artist Fredrick Remington was sent to Cuba to cover the war, he sent a wire saying nothing was happening and he wanted to return back to the USA. Hearst responded: “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”

Americans, who refuse to believe that Fox News coverage of the Bush election in 2000, the events of September 11, 2001, the run-up to the war in Afghanistan, the Invasion of Iraq, the need for the Patriot Act, and George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004 was anything other than fair and balanced, are quite willing to believe that Fox’s owner did not make any effort to dictate America’s political history or foreign policy.

Did William Randolph Hearst manipulate President McKinley into not opposing a Congressional move to start a new war? (Back then Congress not the President would start a new war.) If Presidents were manipulated in the past; can they still be “played” in the age of cable news that travels at the speed of light?

Did Rupert have anything to do with the British Prime Minister’s invitation to America to join them in using oil rich Libya for target practice? Rupert doesn’t just happen to have a few shares of BP stock does he?

The Hearst saga is echoed in the film thought by many critics to be the greatest movie ever made: “Citizen Kane.” In the Orson Wells classic film, a fictional newspaper publisher, Charles Foster Kane, is portrayed as a champion of the poor and down trodden who cleverly manipulates the United States into the war with Spain.

The New York Times’ lead story for their Sunday, July 17, 2011, print edition (written by Don Van Natta Jr.) asserts that (some) journalists working for the American citizen and renowned newspaper publisher (in Great Britain, the USA, and Australia), Rupert Murdoch, may have hacked some phones in their pursuit of the never ending fight for Truth, Justice, and the Murdoch way of life.

The New York Times story jumped to a full page inside Section One and was augmented by a sidebar story that elaborated the details of Murdoch’s personal full, complete, and (should the qualifier “apparently” be used?) contrite apology to one crime victim’s family on Friday.

The lunatic conspiracy drones have been galvanized into action this past week and are asking questions to raise new suspicions in all three countries. They hint that if the Murdoch employees in Great Britain committed some misconduct (they must be assumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law) in Great Britain, then the “bad journalism” infection may have spread (unbeknownst to Murdoch himself and upper management in the two other countries) to the other news staffs in the USA and Australia.

Have you noticed that if you ask the grunts in corporate America about their assessment of upper management’s job performance, the folks in the trenches will be in unanimous agreement about the fact that the brass can’t differentiate manure from shoe polish but when it’s time for indictments to roll, they assume management “must have known” and the attitude suddenly changes to “Hang ‘em from the nearest tree!” Which is it? Only one can apply. Is it “the boss’ job” to know what’s happening or are they paid large salaries just for appearance sake?

If (subjunctive mood) some of Mr. Murdoch’s employees did stretch the limits of ethical conduct a tad during the Bush era, isn’t it obvious that in the three years of President Obama’s term in office, he has done absolutely nothing about investigating possible journalistic misconduct and therefore he must assume full and complete responsibility for any potential current offenses?

In contemporary American politics, the responsibility principle now applies to President Obama regarding war, torture, war crimes, taxes, recovery, economic stability, ecological issues and home foreclosures, so why wouldn’t it also apply to ultimate blame for the Murdoch scandal?

(Sixties cliché alert?) Journalists are a different breed of cat. Did the journalists reporting about how “carmageddon” failed to materialize seem disappointed?

Back in the early 80’s when the Olympic Games were scheduled to come to Los Angeles, there were similar dire predictions about gridlock. When the marathon of sports competitions began the slight increase in traffic congestion was barely noticeable.

Are some irrelevant news stories used to distract the voters from other more important news items which don’t fit the publisher’s hidden agenda?

Los Angeles can survive fires, earthquakes, Olympic Game traffic, and world famous murder trials. With the ease that they handled the weekend closure of the 405, the folks in L. A. can take credit once more for shaking off a new challenge to their famous “laid back” attitude.

Speaking of diversions on GOP TV (AKA Fox News), will any of the jackasses who try to prove the existence of global warming be among this year’s inductees for the Mad Scientist Hall of Fame?

Why must the Murdoch scandal be called “Rupertgate” or “Murdochgate”? Why can’t rogue bloggers call it “Murdochgeddon”?

On page A-12 of the Wall Street Journal’s print edition the lead editorial asked: “Do our media brethren really want to regulate how journalists gather the news?” That a really smooth way to divert attention away from the real crimes of possible extortion and perhaps even some political blackmail. Nice dodge, guys!

Note for fact checkers who want to play along at home: The Hearst quote at the beginning of this column can be found in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotes (it is in the 125th Anniversary edition on page 702) and since they have one of the best fact checking teams in publishing; that’s enough proof for the World’s Laziest Journalist.

Do it yourself fact checkers are encouraged to view “Citizen Kane,” and read “Citizen Hearst,” by S. M. Swanberg, “The Making of Citizen Kane,” by Robert L. Carringer, and “Lapdogs” (How the Press rolled over for Bush) by Eric Boehlert.

While your at it, check out this quote about the run-up to the Spanish American War found on page 140 of the Bantam Books paperback edition of “Citizen Hearst:” “In Washington, publicity-seeking Senators and Representatives were constantly guilty of indignant statements about Spanish cruelty and oppression based wholly on New York newspaper reports which were highly biased or downright fictitious.”

The Columbia Journalism Review is conducting an informal survey this summer to determine the best film about journalism. We left a comment about our opinion of Network and we’ll leave it to Pulitzer Prize winning film Critic Roger Ebert to remind them of “Citizen Kane.”

If Fox News does ignore Murdochgate, then at some point won’t that glaring omission become an example of substantiating evidence?

If Fox News is ordered to ignore Murdochgate, where can folks with inquiring minds learn more about this breaking story?
Try these websites:

and read these articles:
The aforementioned New York Times lead story on Sunday

and take a loot at:

David Swanson puts it rather succinctly

If Freedom of the Press has become extinct and honest election results are not a source for concern, doesn’t the “lock the barn after the horse is gone” principle apply? Why bother with woulda/coulda/shoulda nonsense at this point?

However, if, on the other hand, Freedom of the Press and honest elections are not DOA but merely wounded, and if Mr. Murdoch has used illegal means to promote his meddling and diminish Americans freedoms, then, unless people don’t really care if scores of Americans died in combat to protect those liberties, perhaps they should (at the very least) send a letter to their representatives in Congress urging multiple investigations as a way of providing triage for the wounded freedoms.

It’s time to insert this column’s closing quote. In “Citizen Kane,” Publisher Charles Foster Kane (Orson Wells) says: “You’re right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars *next* year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I’ll have to close this place in… 60 years.”

Now the disk jockey will play Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” “Down on Me,” and “Bye, Bye Baby.” (What? You think that Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s album “Déjà vu” would be better?) We have to go read up on Col. McCormick. Have a “Remember the Maine!” 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.

May 30, 2011

Down By the Old Rumor Mill Stream, Part Whatever

Devon Keester’s Hollywood Lowdown
“The dark, sweaty juncture where politics and show biz meet!”

[Note: Since Keester’s sources are shady and unreliable and usually found near a vinyl-covered barstool, his ramblings should be taken with a several grains of salt from the rim of his next margarita.]

Biden Over and Out: Obama will not be running with Biden as his Veep in 2012. Word is, Joe Biden is feeling every one of his 68 years and not anxious to enter another national campaign after finally facing the realization he’ll never be president. That’s okey-doke with Obama, as it gives him the opening to offer the VP slot to Hillary Clinton, further underwriting his re-election. Now that the sharp edges of the 2008 campaign have softened, and BHO and Sec-of-State Hill have a good working relationship, he would welcome her as a running mate, and the youthful 63-year-old Clinton would have a springboard for a presidential run in 2016. The only question that remains is if Hillary will sign on. She may not have the stomach for another national campaign herself, preferring, maybe, the governorship of a state to be named later instead. If not Clinton, Obama would like to make history, and notch his appeal to women voters, by naming someone of the female gender. Next on the list if Clinton doesn’t bite is supposedly Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan, although US Rep. Loretta Sanchez of California, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state are said to be strong possibilities as well.

The Story Behind the Story: Yup, Newt Gingrich had a suspicious interest-free revolving charge account at Tiffany’s for two years that racked up $500 grand in billings, but that’s not all. Ignoring for the moment that regular customers pay 21 percent interest on their charges, Newtie’s current wife Callista, when she was a lobbyist, had ties to the silver mining industry from which Tiffany’s fabricates its overpriced doodads, and Gingrich himself, while in the House, interceded to get the jewelry company a very sweet deal on use of public lands for mining. The Newtster may soon have more to worry about than his doomed SNL-skit presidential campaign — the feds are taking notice of his involvement with the Tiff, and whether he actually paid down that half-mil himself or if some or all of it was written off by the grateful company as a lobbying fee. Whichever way it goes, Newt is going to end up in a courtroom somewhere, trying to stay out of the hoosegow, and probably still running for president in his fevered little brain. No wonder Newtie was reluctant to answer any questions about his $500K shopping spree at Tiffany’s — it’s looking like a quid pro quo bribe.

The Story Behind the Story, Part Deux: Sure, it’s been all over the papers like a dog who got into the prune juice that pouty ex-Alaskan Ice Princess Sarah Palin is moving the whole-damn Wasillabilly brood to a luxurious $1.7 million 5-BR, 6.5-bath manse with a concrete swimmin’ hole in Scottsdale, AZ, near enough to America’s wackiest sheriff, Joe Arpaio, to be in the Red Zone if any of his pink-clad prisoners escape. But let’s just get this out of the way: the erstwhile Mama Grizzly is not running for president — her ‘tragic bus’ tour of the Nor’east is just to revive national media interest in her fast-plummeting ‘brand,’ whatever her crackpot brand is these days. How could this be when all the big-time pundits are sure she’s running? Well, she hasn’t been kicked off Fox News, and she’s got a $1 mil-a-year contract there that runs through 2013. But she also allegedly has speaking contracts to read her palm to unfortunate victims through 2014; if she reneges on those contracts — since she can’t legally take the money if she’s a candidate — she’ll have to pay a stiff penalty. That would cost her a bundle out of pocket she can’t afford. Get your laughs now — by 2015 she’ll be off Fox and consigned to introducing second-rate Branson, MO, acts with, “Hi there, remember me? I’m Sarah Palin!”

– Ailes Out at Fox? Speaking of Fox Noose, head-major-domo-top-enchilada, first-among-inferiors Generalissimo Roger Ailes’ contract with king pinsetter Rupert Murdoch is up in 2013. Surely Uncle Rupe will renew it, you say. Not so fast: Murdoch’s recent wife Wendi likes Obama and loathes Ailes, and Rupe’s wives have considerable influence on him; plus, the whole fam damily who will be inheriting the business when Murdoch retires or ascends to Media Jesusland likewise has about as much affection for the former Nixon PR flack as they do for a case of the clap. Word is, James Murdoch, current deputy operating office at Fox parent News Corp, particularly has it in for Ailes after what Rog did to brother Lachlan, supposedly pushing James’ older sibling to the point of a nervous breakdown. The elder Murdoch is also said to not be pleased at the direction Ailes has dragged the GOP-propaganda cable channel; of course, he favors its conservative slant, but the hiring of palpable nitwits like Boom-Boom Palin and Man-On-Dog Ricky Santorum didn’t sit well with News Corps’ Bigga Boss. Look for a shake-up at Fox after the next election, unless the GOP wins Reagan-’84 big.

One More Fox Tale: A deep, deep rumor says the Keith Olbermann ousting at MSNBC was part of a deal with Fox News’ Roger Ailes. Seems Keith, the former ratings king at MSNBC, was getting under Roger’s skin with his gloves-off jibes at Fox personalities, as well as cutting into Fox’s cable dominance as his ‘Countdown’ show numbers steadily increased. In a top secret meeting with Comcast, then poised to buy up MSNBC parent NBC-Universal, Ailes and unnamed execs from Comcast and NBC allegedly struck a deal to lessen the attacks on Fox and dump Olbermann once the Comcast buy-out was finalized; in return, Fox would go easier on NBC and provide some other goodies. Part of the bargain was that MSNBC would get rid of its top rater and Fox would reciprocate. So Ailes agreed to jettison Fox ratings leader Glenn Beck in return for Olbermann’s exit. Roger got the best of the deal — he wanted to give loose-cannon Beck the heave-ho anyway while MSNBC is now struggling in Keith’s old primetime slot, and Olbermann is fixing to cut down those ‘Lean Forward’ numbers even further when he resurrects ‘Countdown’ June 20th on Al Gore’s Current TV network at his old 8e/7c berth.

He Won’t Be Baack: A big dime is about to drop (but not in the form of a ‘bag’) on former Kali-forn-yuh guff’nor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Seems the ex-bodybuilder and purported actor had more than one out-of-wedlock bambino while married to Kennedy-kin Maria Shriver — mayhap as many as 6 or 7 — and all of their mamas want more money or they are calling the media. Add to that the news that the California AG is about to prosecute the Teutonic Musclehead for using state troopers to deliver comely young ‘club’ females 18-to-25 to his Governator living quarters at the Hyatt hotel in Sacramento, a clear misuse of state funds. It’s been reported Schwarzy planned to resume his ‘achting’ career post-politics — fat chance, since the word is the major studios now think he’s not ‘bankable’ at the box office anymore. (Perhaps he can nab the independent-film roles Casper Van Dien turns down, at Van Dien pay, natch.) Oh, and one more thing: all the years of stress on his bones and muscles from over-exercising and steroid use have taken their toll — the 63-year-old Ah-nuld allegedly now has the physical mobility of a man 20 years older and can only function normally by taking prescription painkillers.

© 2011 RS Janes.

February 17, 2011

The Tattlesnake – Post-It Notes From the Underground Part One Edition

Watch out, he’s petting his peeves again!

Messages scribbled on Post-It Notes that were giving me a brain-ache until I wrote them down.

Note to Abraham Lincoln, wherever he is now:

It’s just as well you’re not around today. The idea that Haley “Yazoo City” Barbour and Rick “Secesh” Perry are Republicans would no doubt give you severe apoplexy followed by a fatal stroke anyway.

Note to George Washington, wherever he is now:

Good thing you’re not around, either, to see this 21st century bobblehead-doll America where a good portion of the politicians and electorate, abetted by the dumbed-down corporate media, have forgotten how to read, especially where the Constitution and the Bible are concerned.

Note to Arianna Huffington:

A quote from Balzac seems appropriate: “Behind every great fortune there is a great crime.” Take a couple of million from the $315 mil you got from AOL and throw a few bucks at all the people who worked for free to make your website worth selling. BTW, I can’t find even one person who thinks your AOL merger is a good idea or cares to read your website again. Prediction: the AOL-Huff Post is toast.

Note to Clarence Thomas:

What would you think is a conflict of interest for a judge — a defendant handing you an envelope stuffed with cash right before you voted on his case? (Or has that already happened?) Don’t ask Scalia what your opinion should be on this one — he doesn’t know what a conflict of interest is, either.

Note to Rupert Murdoch:

I guess we should thank you for hiring the mentally-challenged to work in your media empire. I mean, where else would certifiable meatheads like Steve Doocy and Glenn Beck find jobs?

Note to Allstate Insurance:

Stop abusing the English language by claiming you ‘protect’ your customers from mayhem. All of the things depicted in your TV ads would still happen, even with Allstate insurance. The only thing you can do is promptly pay to repair the damage after the ‘mayhem,’ but you can’t ‘protect’ against it occurring in the first place.

Note to Glenn Beck’s Goldline Coins:

If gold is such a great investment, far superior to paper money, why are you selling your gold in exchange for cash money that will, according to your pitchmen, inevitably go down in value? Why not just keep the gold?

Note to the Republican Party:

Okay, the more realistic among you know very well you are a minority party beholden to talk show hosts and a fringe nutcase base, and you can’t win national elections with that 20-25 percent of the American electorate. If this were a parliamentary system, you’d be three separate parties: the Corporate Libertarians; the Christian Theocrats, and the Dixie Racists, none of whom would be able to dominate the nation’s politics. You also have no credible candidates that could beat Obama. If I were a Republican (and thank Jebas I’m not), I’d be shaking in my tasseled loafers.

Note to the Teabaggers:

Although I have great fun lampooning you, I was gratified that some of you in Congress voted against your party and tried to kill that unconstitutional PATRIOT Act. Good for you!

Note to Tea Party Volunteers:

Sophisticated grifters at the national level are scamming you local tea party volunteers. According to this report, the Washington-based national leaders of Tea Party Patriots, for example, are paying themselves fat salaries and none of the money they collect is going back to the local groups. Isn’t this the kind of corruption you said you were against?

Note to Herman Cain (founder of Godfather Pizza and CPAC speaker):

Your political views are as unappetizing as your tasteless cardboard-crust pizza. Stop being a selfish cyclops only thinking about your tax cuts now that you’ve made some money and consider the impact of your lowered taxes on the poor bastards who buy your lousy food.

© 2011 RS Janes.

January 11, 2011

Fox, Beck and Palin – Grim Reaping What They Sow


November 15, 2010

Rupert Murdoch’s New Fox Tea Party Network TV Schedule

What will the defeated Tea Party candidates and their helpers do for a job now? Go to work for Uncle Rupert, of course!


November 4, 2010

Fox Insider Comics

Filed under: Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 4:15 am


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