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Ed Driscoll

The Memory Hole

History’s Second Greatest Monster

April 19th, 2014 - 7:00 pm

In “Charlie Chaplin, monster,” Roger Lewis of the UK Spectator reviews a new biography of the other world figure of the first half of the 20th century with the tiny mustache, and finds him to nearly as tyrannical in his own way:

No actual birth certificate for Charles Spencer Chaplin has ever been found. The actor himself drew a blank when he went on a rummage in Somerset House. The latest research suggests that he was born ‘in a gypsy caravan in Smethwick, near Birmingham’. But surely the truth has been staring people in the face ever since the Little Tramp first popped on the screen: Chaplin is the lost twin of Adolf Hitler.

Peter Ackroyd almost suggests as much. Both men first drew breath in April 1889. They had drunken fathers and nervous mothers. There were patterns of madness and illegitimacy in the family tree. They were short and sported an identical moustache. They had marked histrionic skills, each man ‘appealing to millions of people with an almost mesmeric magic’. They were despotic towards underlings — and Chaplin’s The Great Dictator is less political satire than back-handed homage. Hitler watched it at a private screening — twice.

Which dovetails eerily well with this 2006 observation by Ron Rosenbaum, the author of the 1998 book, Explaining Hitler:

And speaking of trivializing, there is no more trivializing, over-rated, treatment of Hitler than Chaplin’s dimwitted, laboriously unfunny Great Dictator. Yes Chaplin made some funny movies, but when he tried his hands at politics Chaplin made a movie that did nothing but help Hitler because he made him seem like an unthreatening clown just at a time, 1940, when the world needed to take Hitler’s threat seriously.Yet Chaplin’s film makes it seem like Hitler was nothing but a harmless fool (like Chaplin, same mustache and all). And he made it at a time, during the Nazi-Soviet pact, when the world most needed to mobilize against Hitler’s threat. And yet Chaplin, to his eternal shame ended the film not with a call to oppose fascism, and its murderous hatred, but rather—because he was following the shameful Hitler-friendly Soviet line at the time—ended his film with a call for all workers in the world to lay down their arms—in other words to refuse to join the fight against fascism and Hitler.

Today, the left seamlessly transmit their memes through an endless variety of media, but even in 1939 and ’40, what Rosenbaum describes above was a multimedia theme of the left while the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact was in force, until Hitler violated it in 1941, much to Stalin’s shock. Chaplin in film, Dalton Trumbo in print, and Pete Seeger in song (when he wasn’t swindling obscure black South African artists out of millions in royalties.)

Within the film industry itself, Chaplin was the precursor to much of the business’s darker side: Like Stanley Kubrick, another obsessive, vertically challenged director, Chaplin’s “one unfulfilled ambition was to star in a biopic about Napoleon,” Lewis writes. And speaking of Kubrick, Lewis asks, “Did Chaplin inspire Nabokov to write Lolita? He’d have been a better Humbert Humbert than James Mason.” Which brings us to the similarities between Chaplin and his cinematic successor in the second half of the 20th century:

The girls he liked were dewy 15-year-olds — he’d wait until they were 16 before he married them, when they’d find themselves mistress of a large mansion in Beverly Hills and a body of servants, plus an obligation to the School Board of Los Angeles ‘to continue their education’. As with Woody Allen, Chaplin could help his brides with their homework — or maybe not. ‘Charlie married me and then he forgot all about me,’ was a frequent complaint cited in divorce hearings. He was always off chasing fresher meat, painting his private parts with iodine to ward off the clap. Louise Brooks was terrified to see his ‘bright red erection’ coming at her in the dark.

On that note, do I even need to add, read the whole thing?

(Found via the Brothers Judd; headline inspired by H.J. Simpson.)

The Latest Beauty Treatments from Adobé

April 18th, 2014 - 7:02 pm

“PhotoShop whiz transforms this model in 37 seconds,” Rare.us notes.

Yes, it’s amazing what those fine skincare treatments from the Adobé line of cosmetics can accomplish:

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) intensified his criticism of armed militia members supporting rancher Cliven Bundy, calling them “domestic terrorists.”

“They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said Thursday at an event hosted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, according to the newspaper. “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”

“Reid: Bundy backers ‘domestic terrorists,’” The Hill today.

On the Senate’s first day back since an Arizona gunman critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others, Majority Leader Harry Reid urged his colleagues to join him in a more civil debate over the chamber’s upcoming legislative fights over health care, deficit reduction and the debt limit.

“There is no evidence that partisan politics played any role in this monstrous attack. Even so, we should be more civil anyway. Being more mindful of the weight of our words always helps. We have much more to gain than to lose from civility and discretion. …” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said Tuesday morning in his opening remarks on the Senate floor.

“Some may be inspired by the town halls of two Augusts ago. Others by the heated election debates. Some may be motivated by the conversation that started after Arizona. And many will seek more civility simply because it’s the right thing to do,” Reid added. “Whatever the reason, I hope the turn to more responsible rhetoric is more than empty rhetoric. I intend to do my part.”

“Reid calls for civility in wake of Tucson,” The Politico, January 25, 2011.

“I hope the turn to more responsible rhetoric is more than empty rhetoric. I intend to do my part.”

Feel free to begin anytime you like, champ.

Reid’s latest rhetorical meltdown (and he’s had so many of them already) is on top of Joe Biden calling the Tea Party terrorists as well in 2011, at least according to the Politico.

Of course, if they really were domestic terrorists, future Democrat presidents would be launching their political bids in their homes, they’d be getting fat book contracts and tenure at prestigious universities, Rolling Stone would be running Jim Morrison-esque cover stories, the New York Times printing up fawning profiles, and Robert Redford would be making sympathetic movies about them.

By the way though, if you’d like to say thanks to Senator Reid for his latest Profile in Rhetorical Courage, you can leave your compliments on his Facebook page

Remember the good old days when politicians used to stay bought?

“Obama, Biden, Schumer, And Hillary Clinton Took Money From Koch Brothers,” the Weasel Zippers blog notes, along with this rather extensive chart:

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“Harry Reid unavailable for comment,” the Zippers add. Instead, he’s currently experiencing his own symptoms of what George Will dubbed leftwing Tourette’s Syndrome yesterday:

Much more at Truth Revolt.com. As Moe Lane wrote a week ago when Charles Schumer got a nasty attack of Koch Derangement Syndrome, “Did you really think that people wouldn’t go looking, Chuck?”

Oh and by the way, guess who else is a Koch-funded politician….

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” Mr. Obama said at least 36 times. You remember, right? If not, just click on the  video flashback atop this post.

Even Politifact, the leftwing “fact” “checking” organization, grudgingly awarded Obama their “Lie of the Year” last year in the face of this reality.

Guess who proofed at least some of those speeches for the Obama administration, in-between taking credit for shutting down the government last fall? “Let HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell explain Obamacare lie,”  Marc Thiessen suggests in the Washington Post:

When speechwriters finish a draft presidential address, it is circulated to the White House senior staff and top cabinet officials in what is known as the “staffing process.” As part of that process, nonpartisan career policy experts at OMB review the speech and are responsible for attesting to the factual accuracy of everything the president says.

So thanks to Burwell’s nomination, Americans may finally get to the bottom of how the biggest presidential lie in recent memory made it though OMB’s fact-checking process — not once but dozens of times.

The first time the lie surfaced — when Obama told the American Medical Association on June 15, 2009, “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what” — it wasn’t on Burwell’s watch.

But Burwell was OMB director when Obama declared on Sept. 26, 2013: “Now, let’s start with the fact that even before the Affordable Care Act fully takes effect, about 85 percent of Americans already have health insurance — either through their job, or through Medicare, or through the individual market. So if you’re one of these folks, it’s reasonable that you might worry whether health-care reform is going to create changes that are a problem for you — especially when you’re bombarded with all sorts of fear-mongering. So the first thing you need to know is this: If you already have health care, you don’t have to do anything.”

Burwell should explain to Congress and the American people how her office allowed blatant falsehoods to get into presidential speeches, including whether political aides overruled career policy advisers who warned that the president’s claims were untrue.

Sadly, “Burwell will still get confirmed,” predicts Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler, “only this time there will be harder questions and maybe a handful of votes against her.” And perhaps some excellent fodder for ads in September.

Oh, and regarding Burwell’s hapless predecessor, “Sebelius Misspells Successor’s Name in Farewell Email,” to conclude her hapless Washington career.

By the way, where does Sebelius go next?

“Kathleen Sebelius may have a future in the private sector but her public office service is over,” said Kansas Republican Party Chairman Kelly Arnold. “Voters in Kansas have never supported the idea of Obamacare and having Sebelius as CEO of it has turned Kansans away for any support for her.”

All too often unfortunately, disastrous failures in government are often rewarded with lucrative private sector contracts — just ask an earlier and equally spectacular Democrat “Mistress of Disaster,” Jamie Gorelick.

Update: And thus, the circle is complete: “Sylvia Mathews Burwell Proved Her Loyalty by Digging Through Vince Foster’s Trash.”

Just NBC the Giant Memory Hole!

April 14th, 2014 - 12:22 pm

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NBC CEO once donated to Rick Santorum (R-PA), who’s no fan of gay marriage. Jeffrey Lord of the American Spectator wonders when this story will be breaking on MSNBC, or when the network will call for his resignation, a la Mozilla’s Brendan Eich — though I suspect that in either case, he’s not holding his breath:

So in the wake of the Mozilla/Brendan Eich kerfuffle? When push comes to shove on business executives who give money in the name of what leftist gay activists are calling homophobia? Forced to choose between a powerful liberal media insider — aka the Rick Santorum-supporting NBC/Universal Chief Executive Stephen Burke (a $2,000 contribution to Santorum’s losing Senate re-election bid) — and gays? The liberal media fell suddenly silent.

Whatever happened to MSNBC’s famously gay hosts Rachel Maddow and Thomas Roberts? And MSNBC reporter and Brendan Eich critic Adam Serwer? Or Media Matters and its gay leader David Brock? America Blogs gay activist John Aravosis? Or Michelangelo Signorile, the editor-at-large of Huffington Post’s Gay Voices. Or Bob Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment? And, yes, where is Tina Fey?

Not to mention Slate, a publication whose senior tech writer Will Oremus was only this week insisting that any CEO who was an opponent of gay marriage was not fit to be a CEO. We brought to light the fact that Slate’s sister company the Kaplan Educational Foundation had a CEO who was repeatedly and deliberately on record as opposed to gay marriage. But Slate’s Oremus, like MSNBC, Media Matters and the rest has gone quieter than a church mouse in a morgue.

Let’s do a little compare and contrast.

Read the whole thing. And kudos to Dropbox, unlike Mozilla and Brandeis for sticking with Condi Rice as a boardmember, in the wake of the left’s latest hate storm.

Clearly Barack’s Sycophants

April 13th, 2014 - 6:35 pm

mussolini_obama_lerner_forward_6-13-13-1

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

● “Attkisson: CBSNEWS producers don’t want to deal with ‘headache’ of covering Obama controversies…”

—Headline, the Drudge Report today.

● “CBS’s Bob Schieffer Interviews Dem. Elijah Cummings, Ignores His Relationship With Lois Lerner.”

—Headline, Newsbusters today.

Good thing CBS News doesn’t have a half century history of being wildly partisan towards the left, while continually feigning objectivity…

Related: Meanwhile, at NBC, “Andrea Mitchell Fails to Ask Kathleen Sebelius Obvious (HuffPost) Question About ‘Resignation.’”

Unexpectedly.

letterman_colbert_big_4-11-14-1

Meeting of the President’s Elite Palace Guard.

We’ll get to CBS’s decision to replace David Letterman with Stephen Colbert in a couple of minutes, but first, some backstory, as they say in Hollywood, for why this all has a feeling of deja vu about it.

After an article at Vulture.com last week on David Letterman’s retirement mentioned HBO’s 1996 TV movie The Late Shift, based on the best-selling book by the New York Times’ Bill Carter, I rented the movie from Netflix (on DVD, not streaming, alas.) As Matt Zoller Seitz of Vulture writes, “I know showbiz journalists and a good many regular viewers who can recite every twist in Carter’s narrative the way Greek children used to be able to recite the highlights of the Peloponnesian war. (Remember when Leno hid in a closet and eavesdropped on his bosses?)”

It’s a fascinating curio of a (made for TV) movie, once you get through the uncanny valley effect of the actors playing Letterman, Leno, and Johnny Carson. Physically, John Michael Higgins, who plays Letterman is actually pretty spot on, but you’re always aware it’s an actor in a Letterman toupee imitating Dave’s many tics and neuroses. Daniel Roebuck, playing Jay Leno is as stiff as plywood, and wears what looks like the prow of the Titanic as prosthetic fake chin covered in a layer of smeared-on make-up, phony looking even in the standard definition video I watched. And appearing at strategic times in the films, Rich Little plays Rich Little playing Johnny Carson. (Which must have been loads of fun for Little as payback: he was performer non gratis in the last years of the Carson Tonight Show for reasons never explained to him, despite his many appearances on the show in the ‘60s and ‘70s.)

But that’s the challenge when making any film about real-life celebrities known by millions. For the audience, if you can suspend disbelief and get past the waxworks leads, behind them are arguably the real stars of the film. These are the performers playing the behind the scenes chessboard manipulators, including Kathy Bates as Leno’s ball-breaking first manager, Helen Kushnick*, Bob Balaban as NBC executive Warren Littlefield, and Treat Williams as then-Hollywood power broker Mike Ovitz. (Who has since, as John Nolte of Big Hollywood writes, run afoul of what Ovitz called “the Gay Mafia,” in a very different cautionary tale than the main topic of our post.)

Of course, what ultimately makes The Late Shift work as a TV movie is the taut script, based on Bill Carter’s source material, which runs from a discussion between two CBS executives who want to steal Johnny Carson’s thunder by stealing away Jay Leno from the network, followed by Kushnick planting a “tip” in the New York Post that NBC was planning to replace Carson with Leno, followed by an aging, peeved Rich Little playing an aging, peeved Johnny choosing to retire at the top rather than face a bruising power struggle with NBC. NBC’s executives, Warren Littlefield, played by Balaban and Reni Santoni (“Poppy” the restaurant owner on Seinfeld) as his lieutenant, John Agoglia, both like Leno because he’s an easygoing team player, and not a petulant head case like Letterman. Once Letterman knows he won’t get the Tonight Show, he turns to Ovitz, who first helps him to break his contract with NBC, then lands him his deal with CBS, and a boxcar-sized payout.

What particularly makes The Late Shift such an interesting film is that when it was originally shot, it looked like CBS got the better of the deal, with Letterman dominating the ratings. As it turns out, according to the Internet Database:

Subsequent airings after the initial release have added an additional epilogue on how the Hugh Grant interview boosted Jay Leno’s ratings past David Letterman’s.

Thus Littlefield and Agoglia, despite being portrayed as Machiavellian manipulators on massive scale, end up looking like rather smart guys, in spite of themselves. Perhaps unintentionally, the film contrasts the difference between Letterman and Leno in the way they treat their production crews. Letterman, as big a neurotic backstage as in front of the cameras, barks at his staff after what he thinks was a bad show. An hour into the film later, when NBC decides to fire the bruising Kushnick as executive producer of the Tonight Show, Leno issues a “we’ll be OK gang, we’ll all get through this together” speech to console the troops.

As portrayed in The Late Shift, the young Leno appears fairly comfortable in his skin — offscreen, he’s a shier, more puppy dog like version of his stand-up comic persona. Letterman, as numerous critics wrote in the 1980s, is essentially an actor portraying a talk show host, trapped in the middle of the goofy whirling vortex of the first postmodern talk show that poked fun at all of the  gimmicks of Big Time Network TV at its hokiest polyester worst. Late Night picked up the baton from the recently-concluded original Lorne Michaels-era of Saturday Night Live (hence the appearance of Bill Murray on Letterman’s first show). It was new and fresh and plenty of fun at 12:30 at night in the mid-’80s, particularly as a contrast to the phone-it-in final years of the much more staid Carson-era Tonight Show.

But by the 21st century, Letterman appeared to be continually bitter at first George W. Bush, then Sarah Palin, then the Tea Party, then Mitt Romney. Concurrently, since 2008, Letterman has played supine Palace Guard to Barack Obama — a kindred spirit; another postmodern impressionist of a sort. As a result, Letterman’s shtick eventually became as freeze-dried as the talk shows of the ‘60s and ‘70s he used to parody. While Letterman was born in Indianapolis, in escaping flyover country for a career in New York and Los Angeles, the hungry young comedian turned surly old man lived out a variation of the warning voiced a decade ago by Christopher Caldwell of the Weekly Standard: “the laments of the small-town leftists get voiced with such intemperance and desperation. As if those who voice them are fighting off the nagging thought: If the Republicans aren’t particularly evil, then maybe I’m not particularly special.”

Leno, taking his cue from Johnny Carson, while very much a “Progressive” himself, is smart enough not alienate his core audience, and departed with enormous goodwill when he was pushed out by NBC this past February.

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Strike Out

April 9th, 2014 - 4:37 pm

“Hank Aaron Compares Republicans That Oppose Obama To KKK,” CBS’s Atlanta affiliate reports, in which a legendary athlete taints his later years via an ugly political slur, and declares half his fans racist:

Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron compared Republicans that oppose President Barack Obama to the Ku Klux Klan.

Speaking to USA Today Tuesday on the 40th anniversary of his then record-breaking 715th home run, the 80-year-old Aaron said that Republicans are hindering Obama’s job performance.

“Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated,” Aaron told USA Today Sports.

Aaron continued: “The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”

Aaron stated that there is still room for improvement for race relations in the U.S.

Hammer, heal thyself:

Similarly, Democrat President Woodrow Wilson could not be reached for comment.

Update: “I idolized @HenryLouisAaron as a kid, but sir, I’d like to chat with you re: history, Democrats & the KKK,” tweets Allen West. Much more at Twitchy.

My Back Pages

April 9th, 2014 - 1:47 pm

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

The individuals in the Tea Party may come from very different walks of life, but most of them have a few things in common…Each and every one of them is the only person in America who has ever read the Constitution or watched Schoolhouse Rock. (Here they have guidance from Armey, who explains that the problem with “people who do not cherish America the way we do” is that “they did not read the Federalist Papers.”)

Rolling Stone, “The Truth About the Tea Party,” September 28, 2010.

Flash-forward to today:

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“Rolling Stone Mistakenly Plants John Hancock on Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Back,” Josh Encinias, at the NRO Corner today. As Justin Green of the Washington Examiner tweets, “Pro tip: John Hancock didn’t sign the Constitution.”

But it’s a nice bit of karmic blowback against a magazine, which in addition to despising anyone to the right of Pete Seeger, last year thought Boston bomber Dzohkar Tsarnaev was so totally cool and early Jim Morrison dreamy that he was worth featuring on their cover. In his terrific new book Not Cool, Greg Gutfeld describes that gesture as the end product of a sclerotic leftwing magazine on life support, asking, “If the Rolling Stone offices had been the target of bombing, would they have put such an adoring photo on their cover?”

Actually, maybe they would. Think back to Robert Fisk, the leftwing British journalist and namesake of the popular Blogosphere technique of fisking, who famously wrote after being attacked while covering the war in Afghanistan in late 2001, “My Beating is a Symbol of this Filthy War.” Fisk added, “In fact, if I were the Afghan refugees of Kila Abdullah, close to the Afghan-Pakistan border, I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.” In other words, In other words, ‘I totally had it coming.’

Or as Gutfeld himself quips, “If only bin Laden had been younger and hotter. If only he’d had abs. Then Jann Wenner, publisher of Rolling Stone, who put the Boston Bomber on the cover of his rag, might have done him first.”

quadruple-facepalm_4-7-14

ATTENTION INTERNET: THIS IS A QUADRUPLE FACEPALM ALERT. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL — assuming Mother Jones’ story is accurate, of course:

Last week, the online dating site OkCupid switched up its homepage for Mozilla Firefox users. Upon opening the site, a message appeared encouraging members to curb their use of Firefox because the company’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, allegedly opposes equality for gay couples—specifically, he donated $1000 to the campaign for the anti-gay Proposition 8 in 2008. “We’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together,” the message read. “If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal.” The company’s action went viral, and within a few days, Eich had resigned as CEO of Mozilla only weeks after taking up the post. On Thursday, OkCupid released a statement saying “We are pleased that OkCupid’s boycott has brought tremendous awareness to the critical matter of equal rights for all individuals and partnerships.”

But there’s a hitch: OkCupid’s co-founder and CEO Sam Yagan once donated to an anti-gay candidate. (Yagan is also CEO of Match.com.) Specifically, Yagan donated $500 to Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) in 2004, reports Uncrunched. During his time as congressman from 1997 to 2009, Cannon voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, against a ban on sexual-orientation based job discrimination, and for prohibition of gay adoptions.

William A. Jacobson of the popular Legal Insurrection blog notes that Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller was the first to report on Yagan’s donations (Ross’s article is date-stamped last Thursday), and that Mother Jones failed to credit Ross for his detective work. In any case, as Jacobson adds, “So when does the boycott of OKCupid start?  After all, the people who took down Eich did so based on the, ahem, purest of principled judgments.”

See, that’s problem with breaking out the torches and attempting to imitate the crowd in a 1930s Universal horror film: you can very easily get scarred yourself by the blowback. It will quite interesting to see where both Firefox and OKCupid go from here, having both jumped off the cliff in short succession.

Exit quote:

Although the source of the quote is pretty rich, as that great philosopher Murray Slaughter once said of another journalist who frequently descended into madness, when an elephant flies, you don’t complain about how short the flight is.

Oh, and heh.

Related: The Rise of the Anti-Tech California Left.

Don’t Ever Change, CBS

April 7th, 2014 - 7:34 pm

“CBS’ ’60 Minutes’ admits to faking Tesla car noise,” USA Today reports:

What is it about Tesla and its ability to make major media outlets look like fools?

The latest example came a week ago today when CBS’ 60 Minutes aired a report on Tesla and its amazing electric car. It was basically the kind of coverage that any automaker would kill to have (and must have left flummoxed General Motors executives wondering why they never got it for the plug-in Chevrolet Volt).

Just one problem: As the Associated Press reported, a CBS editor made what is being called an “audio error” in dubbing the sound of a loud traditional car engine over footage of the much quieter Tesla electric car. The Model is whisper quiet, no matter how hard you push it.

Auto website Jalopnik broke the story of the fake sound and CBS was in retreat all week.

Unlike NBC’s malicious edit of the audio of the transcript of George Zimmerman’s 911 call, this sounds like awfully small beer, other than it’s a reminder that even in a news report (or news-ish, given the editorializing that 60 Minutes is notorious for), that plenty of sound effects are added in post production. CBS’s backroom audio boffin likely watched raw footage of cars zooming past and simply reached for the nearest collection of sexy race car sound effects, forgetting that coal-powered (heh) electric-powered cars sound very different than their internal-combustion equivalents. Or often, they don’t make much of a sound at all; Glenn Reynolds recently suggested adding “a Jetsons-style bleebing sound” to offset their silent acoustic signature.

And actually, audio sweetening of TV news and documentaries dates back to the Jetsons-era of Jurassic television. If you watch the DVD collection of Thames’ World at War series from the early 1970s, you’ll hear the same squeaky sound effect pasted under numerous tanks from all of the armies as they rumble past the (silent) newsreel cameras, and many of the same gun and rifle sound effects used over and over again as well. (I believe that many, if not all of them came from the British film industry’s legendary Cinesound sound effects collection, which were also used extensively in mid’60s and early 1970s UK-based productions, including Gerry Anderson’s shows such as Capt. Scarlet and UFO, as well as the original James Bond films. I used a few of these sound effects as well in some of my later Silicon Graffiti segments as a subtle homage.)

In recent years, the backroom technicians at all of the networks have been caught making mistakes on Chryons and the like, a combination of likely poor training these days in college, better scrutiny from the Blogosphere, and the sheer amount of programming television is required to crank out to meet the ravenous demands of the 500 channel cable and satellite set-top box. But CBS, the home of Rathergate, which caused Dan Rather his job, and helped supply the original name of our humble little outpost on the Internet, has to be extra careful out there.
(more…)

Don’t Ever Change, New York Times

April 7th, 2014 - 4:59 pm

“‘NYT’ Alters Ezra Klein Quote from ‘WaPo’ Criticism to Slam on Industry,” Warner Tood Huston notes at Big Journalism:

On Sunday evening, the NYT published a piece about Klein’s jump from the Post to his new Vox.com’s “explanatory journalism” news site. In the first piece, writer Leslie Kaufman quoted Klein as saying that the Post was somehow keeping him from doing journalism correctly, which was one reason he left print media:

“We were badly held back not just by the technology, but by the culture of journalism there,” he said of the Post, as he offered a preview of his new site, Vox.com, which was scheduled to launch Sunday night.

But by Monday morning, that quote slamming the Post was softened considerably and given a new direction:

“We were badly held back not just by the technology, but by the culture of journalism,” he said of daily newspapers, as he offered a preview of his new site, Vox.com, which was scheduled to be introduced Sunday night.

Clearly, the quote morphed from one specifically faulting The Washington Post for its policies to a more general criticism of the newspaper industry as a whole.

There is no way to tell, of course, but either the The New York Times misquoted Ezra Klein in the first place on being “badly held back” at The Washington Post, or Klein changed his mind and wanted his quote to be read as a broad critique of the whole newspaper industry, instead of one solely directed at the Post, and the Times bent to his will after the fact.

Whatever happened, readers got the changed quote, with no explanation of why the change was made at the Times website.

Ever since current editor Jill Abramson famously said in 2011, “In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth.” — only to have that quote airbrushed out hours later, it seems like the Times’ touch-up artists have gone into overdrive, removing doubleplusungood crimethink remarks, even after they’ve been quoted by dozens of blogs and Websites before the Gray Lady has tossed the original quote down the Memory Hole:

But then, with the second PJM/New Criterion Duranty Awards coming up next month in New York, perhaps the Times simply wants to relive the good old days when they could airbrush with impunity.

Don’t Ever Change, ABC

April 7th, 2014 - 4:30 pm

Give that man an Emmy — Dan Harris, smart enough to claw his way through ABC’s corporate structure and replace Ted Koppel as host of Nightline sure knows how to play dumb when asked about ABC’s leftwing slant. As Tim Graham writes at Newsbusters, Harris appeared on the Steve Malzberg Show on Newsmax TV, where based on the transcript, Malzberg gave Harris a pretty good grilling over ABC’s biases, before Malzberg asked him isn’t water wet don’t most journalists at ABC lean left?

HARRIS: I don’t know, liberal might be overly strong. We actually have some very, very powerful voices, and I’m not going to say who, within our building, who are conservative. Very, very powerful….

MALZBERG: On air?

HARRIS: Yes. So –

MALZBERG: Name one?

HARRIS: No. But I wouldn’t name one I thought was liberal either.* So I’m just being fair. Having said that, I’m open to the possibility – very much open to the possibility that there is absolutely a subconscious bias that manifests in just exactly the thing you’re talking about. But in my time there, I’ve never heard someone say ‘We’re gonna go get this guy because he’s a Republican.”

* Not even former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos? (And as Graham adds, “Please see our list of the five worst Dan Harris media-bias outrages. I vote for his silliness about Saddam Hussein getting 100 percent of the vote!”)

It took a few years, but with Harris’s non-denial denial, the dinosaur media troika is complete: In 2007, Andrea Mitchell appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show and much to her chagrin, was asked about bias at NBC. Mitchell’s response?

Mitchell on Chris Matthews: “I don’t think he’s a liberal thinker.”

And later: “I don’t feel there is bias in what we do at NBC News. And I don’t think there’s bias in CBS or ABC.”

In 2003, one year before Dan hit the fan at CBS, Lesley Stahl sounded virtually identical to ABC’s Dan Harris, when asked about the bias at CBS by Fox’s Cal Thomas:

[Stahl:] I’m going to attack your premise and say that I think the voices that are being heard in broadcast media today, are far more — the ones who are being heard, are far more likely to be on the right and avowedly so, and therefore, more — almost stridently so, than what you’re talking about.”

Thomas pounced: “Can you name a conservative journalist at CBS News?”

Stahl was flummoxed and denied that anyone at CBS is biased in any way: “Well I don’t know of anybody’s political bias at CBS News. I really think we try very hard to get any opinion that we have out of our stories. And most of our stories are balanced, and there are standards that say they need to be balanced. So if you have one side, you try to get the other side. And I’m not saying we don’t have opinions, but I’m saying we try to cleanse our stories of them.”

Lucy Ramirez could not be reached for comment.

Don’t Ever Change, CNN

April 7th, 2014 - 3:19 pm


CNN redlines the irony meter — if only there was a big sexy story involving politicians allegedly gun-running with mobsters just begging to be covered as a change of pace.

Two USA Todays In One!

April 6th, 2014 - 1:32 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

“Caro: Obama is Lyndon Johnson’s legacy.”

—Headline, USA Today, May 3rd, 2012.

“Obama is no LBJ (and couldn’t be).”

—Headline, USA Today, today.

Plus note this whopper in the latter article from former LBJ aide Bill Moyers:

“2008 was not 1963,” Moyers says. “Obama faces an implacable Republican Party radically opposed to any and all government and willing, or so it seems to me, to tear the country apart to achieve its goal.”

That’s pretty rich considering this headline at Hot Air, not to mention the fact that Moyers is doing plenty of American demolition all by himself:

Unsafe At Any Speed

April 1st, 2014 - 11:32 pm

Does the Obama administration bear any responsibility in the recently announced recall of GM cars, after a series of fatalities? Let’s flashback a few years:

On Monday morning, President Obama announced that the Treasury Department would back the warranties of new General Motors and Chrysler vehicles.

“If you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired, just like always,” President Obama said during a speech from the White House. “Your warranty will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it’s ever been, because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty.”

That’s from a March 30, 2009 New York Times article titled “Understanding Obama’s Auto Warranty Plan,” back when the Obama administration still had that new hopenchange smell, was starting from zero, and all things seemed possible — and the craziest leftwing rhetoric and corporatist fantasies seemed believable. You can see the full passage quoted in the National Archives and Records Administration’s Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States at Google Books, and in the above news clip, excerpted from a Silicon Graffiti video I shot back then.

Flash-forward today; Jim Geraghty links to a CBS-Connecticut article titled, “Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal Urges People to Stop Driving GM,” in which Obama’s fellow Democrat urges his state’s voters to eschew the products of his president’s bailout:

General Motors Co. said it is recalling 1.5 million vehicles worldwide, because the electronic power-steering assist can suddenly stop working, making them harder to steer. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is among those calling for GM to make a stronger statement and tell owners to stop driving their cars immediately. Blumenthal believes GM made a decision to hide the defect of ignition switches.  Blumenthal along with Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey is introducing legislation aimed at better auto safety reporting.

* * * * * *

In response to the panel, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a statement Sunday saying it had “reviewed data from a number of sources in 2007, but the data we had available at the time did not warrant a formal investigation.”

The cars were recalled by GM due to a flaw which causes ignition switches to move from the “run” to the “accessory” or “off” position, which causes the car to stall and disables the air bags and power steering. The recall includes the Chevrolet Cobalt, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac G5, Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky from the 2003-2011 model years.

Geraghty adds:

Considering the risk from the switches, Blumenthal’s advice isn’t the most outlandish conclusion in the world. If an owner of one of the recalled cars wants to drive it at all, he should remove everything from the key chain and drive the car to the dealer, very carefully, over the smoothest roads possible, and get the car checked out.

The problem is that we’ve been told for five years that General Motors was a national institution that had to be saved at all costs, including billions of taxpayer dollars. Now Democratic lawmakers are really, really eager to drop the hammer on GM for hiding the danger these cars presented to the public. That may be (and increasingly appears to be) completely justified, except the same crowd told us five years ago that all of us had to chip in to save this company, so they could keep making these cars that Blumenthal wants everyone to stop driving.

Note that according to CBS-Connecticut, the recall covers cars built during the 2003 through 2011 model years. That would cover the 2009 period during which Mr. Obama promised the American people that “If you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors…starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty.” In much the same way that, as Mr. Obama was also saying back then, if you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance. But then, Duffman says a lot of things.

Exit quote:

I hope someone in the Obama administration will get out the handcuffs, the SWAT teams, or the U.S. army if need be, march into GM headquarters in downtown Detroit and haul away anyone who is there who had anything to do with this. And if they already left town, hunt them down and bring them in to face justice.

Given what Mr. Obama promised the American people in 2009 and his role as de facto CEO of Government Motors, did Michael Moore inadvertently threaten the president today?

Update: As I added in the comments, of course Obama wasn’t aware of problems with GM cars during his watch as wannabe-CEO. But if you’re going to pretend to be in charge when it’s all upside (via the taxpayers’ money), then he must accept the consequences when disaster strikes.

Mr. Obama is Commander in Chief of the left’s War Against the American People, after all.

More: From Ace on “the media’s complete lack of mention of Steve Rattner, Obama’s ‘car czar,’” and the MSM’s “unexpected” reluctance to ask “any questions about President’s Auto Industry Task Force, just how thorough their review of GM was, and how they managed to miss so many consequential lurking safety issues.”

‘The Media Hate Republicans’

April 1st, 2014 - 4:07 pm

“Why do organizations like CNN let Democrats’ arrested for felonies slip through the cracks?”, Glenn Reynolds asks in his latest USA Today column:

CNN, home (also until last week) of Piers Morgan, whom Yee had praised for his anti-gun activism, didn’t report the story at all. When prodded by viewers, the network snarked that it doesn’t do state senators. Which is odd, because searching the name of my own state senator, Stacey Campfield, turns up a page of results, involving criticisms of him for saying something “extreme”. Meanwhile, CNN found time to bash Wisconsin state senator and supporter of Gov. Scott Walker, Randy Hopper over marital problems.

But there’s a difference. They’re Republicans. When Republicans do things that embarrass their party, the national media are happy to take note, even if they’re mere state senators. But when Democrats like Yee get busted for actual felonies, and pretty dramatic ones at that, the press suddenly isn’t interested.

We’ve seen this before, of course: Washington Post reporter Sarah Kliff dismissed the horrific Kermit Gosnell trial as a “local crime story”, even as the press was going crazy covering another equally local crime story, the George Zimmerman trial. Likewise, another state senator, Texas’ Wendy Davis, got national attention when she filibustered an abortion bill, a story that fit conveniently with the “war on women” theme used by Democrats.

It’s almost as if “what’s news” is just a synonym for “what advances the narrative chosen by the Democratic Party.” The question that “news” operations like CNN may want to ask is, how many people are really interested in getting their news from party organs.

“Almost?”

Related: Of course, there’s “a whole lotta Democrat corruption going on,” even beyond Leland Yee’s alleged arms trafficking, as Michelle Malkin wrote in her column last week, running down the latest interfaces between the DNC and various police blotters:

Has Nancy Pelosi seen a newspaper lately? (Pro tip, hon: Like the Obamacare monstrosity, you have to read it to find out what’s in it.) I’d love to see her face in the wake of the veritable epidemic of Democratic corruption now sweeping the country. Pelosi’s blink count must be off the charts.

I’m going to make it easy on Pelosi and put all of the latest cases in one handy rogue’s gallery reference list. But let’s not be naive. It’s clear to me that the Barack Obama/Eric Holder DOJ is clearing the decks before the midterms. Prediction: The FBI’s GOP corruption shoe will drop right before the elections for maximum distraction and damage.

File it away; come the fall, expect plenty of gonzo October Surprises from DNC-ABC-CBS-NBC-CNN-PBS.

Two Michael Moores in One!

April 1st, 2014 - 12:03 pm

He is large, he contains many politically expedient multitudes:

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested and made to pay for their pre-meditated decision to take human lives for a lousy ten bucks.

* * * * * * * *

I hope someone in the Obama administration will get out the handcuffs, the SWAT teams, or the U.S. army if need be, march into GM headquarters in downtown Detroit and haul away anyone who is there who had anything to do with this. And if they already left town, hunt them down and bring them in to face justice.

—”Michael Moore: Hunt Down and Execute GM Officials Behind Ignition-Related Deaths,” Big Hollywood today, quoting from Moore’s Facebook page.

Michael Moore, filmmaker and unabashed right-wing-basher, also took to Twitter to post: “When Palin put crosshairs on a map w/ Rep. Giffords & 19 other Dem congressmen/women, she urged followers to “reload” & “aim” for Democrats.”

“Sarah Palin ‘Targeting’ Blamed for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Tucson Shootings,” Yahoo, January 8th, 2011.

“If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the w/crosshairs 20 pols, then 1 of them got shot, where would he b sitting right now? Just asking,” Moore also tweeted that day.

Possibly on the Democratic National Committee, who also used plenty of target clip art and rhetoric, since it’s standard for all political campaigns. But having ranted about civility, clip art, and gun language in 2011, Moore makes it very easy to point out the left’s hypocrisy when they quickly resumed their own use at hyperbole so quickly after calling for an era of new civility.

Oh and speaking of which, at least as of today:

leland_yee_moore_404_4-1-14

Or to put it another way: “Because narrative.”

“Bob Kerrey Calls Obama a Delusional Liar; Renders Himself MSM Nonperson,” P.J. Gladnick writes at Newsbusters:

Imagine if a former Republican presidential candidate and U.S. senator had called a current Republican president a delusional liar whose programs are wasteful. Would the mainstream media not be all over the story? Such a person would be interviewed at length by Wolf Blitzer on CNN as well as made the rounds of the morning talk shows and the Sunday news programs as well. The media buzz would be red hot on this topic for days extending into weeks.

Well, there is such a person but because he is a Democrat saying these things about President Obama, we can expect him to become an MSM nonperson. Such seems to already be the fate of former presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey. It is no surprise that his extended criticisms of Obama appeared in a Daily Mail article in Britain, not in America where the shunning seems to have already begun. Here is what Kerrey has to say about Obama which you most likely won’t see in any major liberal news outlet in America:

The Nebraskan straight-talker told MailOnline in an exclusive interview that Obama isn’t up to the job of bringing liberals and conservatives to the table to rescue America’s slowly choking entitlement programs.

And Obama, he said Wednesday in his Manhattan office, knew full well he was lying when he promised that the Affordable Care Act would allow Americans to keep insurance plans they liked.

‘He had to know he was misleading the audience,’ Kerrey said quietly, recalling the newly minted president’s countless promises as Congress and the public debated his signature health insurance overhaul.

‘On the other hand, he may have said it so many times,’ he added, ‘that the spell-checker wasn’t in the room – the spell-checker, the fact-checker – somebody who says, “Excuse me, Mr. President, but I hope you know this…”‘

Obama’s infamous four-Pinocchio pledges, Kerrey explained, never stood a chance of being fulfilled because there were ‘a million people out there with policies that, for one reason or another, run short of the minimum standard. I mean, they bought something cheaper!’

Read the whole thing; Kerrey is just getting started.

But no wonder Kerrey has dematerialized; the socialized medical scheme crafted by the president has mysteriously vanished as well.

Perhaps in addition to covering the missing Flight #370, CNN will look into the disappearance of both Kerrey and Obamacare — along with another Democrat who’s recently mysteriously vanished.

But they won’t of course — even as the network wonders why its ratings have vanished as well.