Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Who went and made Lauer campaign ethics czar?

Matt Lauer is not the only self-professed journalist to try to impose on others what he thinks are his better ethics. What I want to know is, who asked him?
Lauer, a host of NBC's "Today," was the moderator earlier this week of a debate or forum (or whatever) between the (two major) California gubernatorial candidates. The site was a California "women's conference" (read "liberal women's conference," and reactions from the audience bear me out; it was a lot like watching "The View"). The campaign between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman has become increasingly hard fought, even bitter. Brown has called Whitman a "whore" (in the political sense, but a whore all the same). I'm sure Whitman has gotten her licks in.
In his usual namby-pamby, Rodney King way, moderator Lauer besought the two candidates, "Could we get the two of you to promise not to run anymore negative [he did not define "negative," natch] campaign commercials?" Brown, the Democrat man, said something like, "Well, I'd sure be willing to try," and got big cheers from the audience. Whitman, the Republican woman (and probably the only Republican woman) at the women's conference, said she would be glad to, but not at the expense of the truth or the issues. Big grumbles, boos and hisses all around.
The responses were totally predictable. But the main question remains, "Who is Matt Lauer to issue such a 'challenge' in the first place?" Put another way, "Why does it seem to be the supposed guardians of free speech who often seem to want to limit it?" because Lauer is hardly the first to decry "negative campaigning."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Piling On: My Little NPR Rant . . .

Gee, I have to "register" to get on the NPR ombudsperson's site to comment? Well, I knew that because I've been commenting for years, but now I wonder if Geo. Soros' people might come after me. Anyway, I will be happy to explain why to your local affiliate when I do not renew my pledge. I'm a daily journalist and so I understand that I "give up" some (most?) of my free speech rights in deference to my customers. Juan was NOT ID'd with NPR. He was following the rules. His contract was no secret to NPR. I don't think he crossed the line, and, wonder of wonders, the man is (was?) a known liberal. Watch out, Mara Liassen (sp?); you're in MoveOn's crosshairs. And now, NPR, will you follow your own standards vis a vis Nina Totenberg? (AIDS humor, ha ha.) And perhaps your CEO should resign for slandering Williams AND the mentally ill. Heck, better yet, why not drop your govt. funding so you can be independently liberal? Fox has proved that fairness (along with conservative commentary) makes money hand over fist. Why not NPR? or PBS? or Air America? or MSNBC? Maybe the liberal drumbeat will prove commercially attractive. Nah.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

There are many ways, but only one best way

Deep thoughts:

We've all been instructed to follow the road signs as we travel along life's way. I took a right turn at this one -- it's in Sullivan County, Tenn., near the Bristol Motor Speedway -- and though it was not a through street, it was a very well kept, very pretty and pleasant street that I think I could be very happy on. But then I had to turn around at the cul-de-sac and head for work. (Well, actually I had to turn around and hurry to a place where I could punch out a quick blog post before I went to work.)

I'm all about metaphors, but I'm also all about the plain sense of things, and the message I received through the radio embedded in my tooth right then was plain -- as plain as the tinfoil hat on my head: "You only think you're domesticated, pal. You're still a barbarian, and you need to listen better to the one God gave you too civilize you."

And her name just happens to be . . .

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yes, I helped win a Pulitzer Prize . . . No, really! I did!

The real medal is solid gold. Mine's bronze, but it's golden to me. "Underfoot, out of reach" was the name of the series about rich deposits of natural gas right underfoot in Southwest Va., and how millions of dollars in profits have been locked in a state-run escrow, out of reach of rightful recipients.

At least that's the publisher's opinion, so from now on I'm going to take a little more ownership of that prize. I did, after all, design a lot of those pages over the run of the series. Reread the already heavily edited stories. Tweaked the preconceived headlines. Proofed the pages. Asked a few cogent questions. Ran many a followup as new laws took shape in the Virginia General Assembly.

But now I have prize-winning proof! Just as Tin Man has a heart on a chain, and Scarecrow has a diploma, I now have my very own 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service Journalism medal.

The soon-to-depart publisher visited folks in the newsroom today one by one to say thanks and to give each a little bronze replica Pulitzer medal of a paperweight size, mounted on a little slab of polished marble. Classy memento, very classy guy. Makes me proud. And I will most certainly miss Carl Esposito as he and I both move on.