Category: Media

The Media Blackout Day 2

I would be lying if I said this was easy. It most certainly is not. I am an unrepentant information junkie. I am the equivalent of the guy walking along the beach with the metal detector, listening intently and picking up everything from gold coins to tarnished metal buttons. Even as I have already learned a lot about my media habits just in the past couple of days, the reality of it is that I am quite content with the life of media consumption that I lead. I must thank my wife, who has been very helpful in reducing the amount of television she watches in order to minimize the background noise that inhabit.

The most interesting turn my daily routine has taken is that the newspaper has become my salvation. In the absence of the electronic media, a newspaper is all that stands between me and complete cluelessness. I have been a subscriber to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since my wife and I bought our house almost three years ago. Subscribing at the apartment complex proved to be more complicated than it needed to be. My wife is not a newspaper person; few people that I know personally are. The people I know who DO subscribe to the newspaper MAY read 5-10% of it. What I have always discovered is that the people who DO read the paper tend to be older. When I was small, my mother got the paper on three days: Sunday (Sales papers), Wednesday (food sales papers), and the day after Steelers games. When she married my step-father, a prodigious newspaper reader even if he only believed half of what he read, I learned HOW to read the newspaper. Even though I was only 7, my step-father showed me how layout indicated what the newspaper man thought was important. He also showed me how TV news differed from the newspaper; how even though the news was faster on TV, people who read the newspaper always knew more.


How the real truth was told in the newspaper, because the real truth took much longer to get out. (even if he didn’t believe half of what was being written)


“People who read the newspaper always know more”, is a refrain I carried with me for a long time. That refrain has updated itself in how I inform myself online. I find myself looking online at newspaper sites to gain information about events rather than looking at one of the national cable newschannel websites or at the local TV news affiliate websites.

What I have learned most about this experience as it applies to me is that I have strayed away from the wisdom my step-father imparted to me. While it is not outside the realm of possibility for the newspaper industry to vanish before I return to my normal media consumption, I am making my mind up to continue my newspaper reading habits, because even though I don’t see the news, I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything.


Media Blackout: Day One

The first thing I observed was silence.

Deafening silence.

I have never been deluded into not acknowledging that I have a fear of silence. I have always been of the belief that background noise settles my mind and focuses it, first on whatever I am listening to and then onto whatever else I deem important enough to think about. I grew up in a home that had something on at all times. My mother had either a TV or a radio on wherever she was. After thinking about it, I realize that this was something I took from her.

I didn’t struggle with disconnecting from Television very much at all. Of all the things that I was giving up, I found television to be the one item that I was LEAST bothered about. My most enjoyable experience of the day was replacing Random TV Viewing with a morning perusal of my local Newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (a McClatchy owned Newspaper, a fact I will pontificate on at a later date). Granted, there are several Documentaries that I have been meaning to watch along with my daily diet of talking head blather, but I know very well what a timesuck television can be. I will add that the primary reason that I am starting this project so much earlier than my classmates (it is due to be turned in on Tuesday, March 24, 2009) is because I knew that I didn’t want to deal with my lack of television overlapping with any meaningful part of March Madness, the name used to denote collegiate athletic conference championships and the NCAA Basketball tournament. While I will miss a few of the minor conference championship games, I will end my Media Blackout just in time for the Big East Conference Championship, which is where my favorite team growing up, the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, will play for back-to-back conference championships. Everything else that I find myself watching can be delayed or just plain old forgotten about. I didn’t even bother to adjust my DVR to see if there was anything I needed to record while I was away.

Unplugging from the Internet will be far more difficult (I say as I blog using a technical loophole as we speak)

I was slightly late to the phenomenon of the Internet, Joining AOL on Christmas Eve, 1997. It wasn’t until 1999 that I began to use the Internet for something other than chatting with other people and exchanging emails. As broadband connectivity became available, I found the internet becoming a more and more functional part of my life. Now, There are very few parts of my life that aren’t impacted by the internet, chief among them, my online banking and billpaying.

While I have long since soured on the radio, as someone who finds himself driving an average of 1500 to 2000 miles a month, it is an invaluable source of background noise. Whether it is the entertainment masquerading as information that is Talk radio, or the information masquerading as entertainment that is public radio, or the useful idiocy of sports-talk radio, It can always feed my never ending yearn for background noise in the event My ipod and my FM modulator are not playing nicely in the car. Easily the hardest part of this experiment will be avoiding the instinctive reach for the radio dial the instant the engine roars (or in the case of MY little four cylinder, putt-putts) its approval of the Starter. Driving in silence is going to be the most painful part of this experience, by far.

I never thought I would miss Tim Russert. Now I do.

Meet the Press is dead to me.

While I never worshipped at the shrine of the world’s most famous Buffalo Bills fan or drank the chunky everyman Koolaid that was served by NBMSNBC when Mr. Russert passed away suddenly, I worried about the future of my Sunday morning talking head show of choice.

I always considered Tim Russert by far the least of all the evils provided by Sunday Morning Blabfests.

This week with George Snuffalupagus is hampered by the Banality of George Snuffalupagus and the general assholishness of George Will.

Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer has Wolf Blitzer on it, and that simply will not do.  Plus it comes off as regular ole CNN.  I need more gravitas than that.

Fox News Sunday is…well, its Fox News for folk who are too old and stubborn for Cable.

And CBS is determined to Hide Face the Nation from me by starting it on the Half-Hour.
So After St. Timothy of Buffalo passed away, they DeMothballed Tom Brokaw to fill in and offer the necessary gravitas through the campaign.

Now after all attempts to keep trotting Tom out there for another two years have failed…NBC has decided to give the job to David Gregory as a carrot to keep him around until Matt Lauer makes his inevitable exit from the Today Show.

As a devoted viewer of MTP, this is unacceptable to me.

What allows MTP to work is its gravitas.  David Gregory has the gravitas of a T-Pain Hook.

It’s been my opinion that the Smartest and Sharpest and most evenhanded person at NBC should do MTP.  It was Russert until he passed.  Brokaw worked in a pinch, I knew that unless NBC went and stole someone (*COUGHGwen Ifill*COUGH) There was going to be some drama with the pick.

David Gregory needs to be getting his groove on with Mary J. on the Holidays and leave the big chair to a weightier personality.


But NBC has spoken.  And my remote will respond.

Face the Nation, here I come.

*goes to Reprogram DVR*

They almost pulled it off. Obama-Biden it is.

You just cannot keep secrets anymore.  But damn if Team Obama didn’t try.  They whispered about it…connected the dots…but they refused to break it.

Their restraint speaks to the airtight nature of the Obama campaign.

Once the Secret Service was dispatched to the Biden family, it was impossible to hide.

But it didn’t break until after the 11:00 news cycle, so for all intents and purposes, People will wake up to this news, they didn’t go to bed with it.

On a Saturday, a 9am text can EASILY be the wake up call to regular folk.

So on a certain level, The roll out was a success.

Personally, I LIKE Joe Biden.  I had the opportunity to interact with him a few times while I was on the Hill and I found him more than amiable.

Part of me wanted it to be someone else only because THEY initially said it would be him.

End of the day, if Obama says it’s Biden.  I am okay with it.

Barack Obama is too gracious to gloat…I, however, am not.

Posted to a Blog that died on January 16, 2007 <–note the year.

Now, let us marinate on what this truly means.

Here we have a black man man with a white mother and a Kenyan father, born in Hawaii, with a somewhat checkered past who rose through Columbia College and Harvard University Law School and the Illinois State Assembly to the United States Senate and now stands on the brink of history.

Blah blah blah.  but what does it MEAN, REALLY?

Well it means this:

For the first time in history, A man of color is positioned as a front runner for the office of president of the United States.  And he has formed a committee to explore that possibility.

More Blah Blah Blah…You aint sayin nothing to me….Give me something.  You go through all these changes to “Free” yourself and now you give me spin…..CTB….What does this MEAN?


This means everyone out of the pool…the shark is coming.  I am sure you have heard the following:

“we don’t know anything about him”

“He doesn’t have the experience”

“He can’t win because he is Black”

“He Can’t Beat Hillary”

“His middle name is Hussein”

“They won’t let him win”

Let me address these in turn.

We don’t know anything about him –  If you don’t know about Barack Obama, you don’t WANNA know about him.  He has TWO books that have been NY Times best sellers.  One is a fairly in-depth memoir that covers his background.   One is a wonkish sort that alludes to building a better America.  The man has a microphone constantly stuck in his face and is pretty much the go-to man for thoughtful progressive (liberal, for those of you who get off on such terms).  Trust and believe, if the man wasn’t the real deal, he wouldn’t be getting this kind of push.  Today, Chris Matthews said that, as a writer, he believes that if you cannot express your thoughts on paper, you cannot think.  He went on to say that Barack Obama is one of the most formidable writers of this political generation.  What Senator Obama says, comes from HIS pen.  That speaks volumes, to me.

“He doesn’t have the experience” – Experience is overrated.  Nor does Experience get you elected.  This isn’t carpentry.  This is government.  To be honest, the more you govern, the more inept you become.

Government tends to be a vacuum.  The longer you are in government, the more detached from reality you become. You lose your edge.   You lose touch with reality.  You end up doing less leading and representing of people and more…governing.  You have hearings, you hold press conferences, you go on TV, you compromise, you cease to be a representative and go to playing one on TV.

Barack Obama has been in the US Senate for 3 years. Before that he taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago. That is long enough to get a decent grasp on the practice of Government to go along with the formidable academic understanding of Government he already has.

“He can’t win because he is Black” – People will say that until it happens.  They said that about Mayor of Chicago, and Mayor of Philadelphia, and Mayor of New York, and Governor of Massachusetts. That isn’t really an explanation.  It just hasn’t happened, YET.

“He Can’t Beat Hillary” – This is a more useful argument than he cannot win because he is Black.  Hillary is the front runner because she is viewed as inevitable and unbeatable.  She is neither.  Hillary is polarizing in ways that confound the imagination, even in her OWN party.  Additionally there is a certain sense of fear that Hillary, because of her polarizing nature, can’t win the general election on her own terms anyway.  In terms of qualifications, even with the additional 3 years in the Senate and 8 years as first lady, I view them as equally qualified, exchanging the whole real life thing for the 20+ years of government life that she has been living. 

His middle name is Hussein – Stop.  Just Stop.  If you really think that is an issue, all the rest of this is pretty much irrelevant

“They won’t let him win” – who is this THEY?  If the PEOPLE want him, they will have him.  Will the fight from the GOP be any different than if Hillary wins?  Any different than last time with Kerry?  I didn’t think so.

One thing nags at me.  If Senator Obama is truly about change, the Secret Service better get on it’s game.

And that is NOT a joke.


This Just In: The Sun does not Rise and Set on Barack Obama or his candidacy

There will be no links…no explanation beyond simply this.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright is an esteemed speaker and has been in demand for almost 30 years.  The schedule he kept this past weekend is no different than the schedule he has kept in the past.

The only difference is that the press wants to make this all about the campaign.  Because that is all they know and care about.

This may SHOCK and surprise you but Jeremiah Wright has a SIGNIFICANT fan base.  He has been doing his numbers for YEARS.

If you only know Jeremiah Wright as Barack Obama’s soon-to-be-former Pastor…then your vantage point is not unlike that of a child who visits the ocean for a day and decides that he knows all about the inner workings of the lives of dolphins.

The dolphins do not jump out of the ocean solely for your entertainment.  They would do it if you weren’t here.

And If you ever stop looking…they continue to jump.

And in the case of Jeremiah Wright…I will be watching.