Category Archives: Media

So, now it’s news?

Posted by Lex, on August 8, 2008


Well, John Edward’s sordid little tale can apparently now be told by the mainstream media, now that hizzoner has opened up and admitted to the truth of the basic allegation. While continuing to deny parentage of his so-called “love child” with a former campaign worker.

The story – first exposed by the National Enquirer in late July- was deemed not newsworthy by most of the major media outlets until today, whether for its suspiciously middlebrow provenance or simply for the pain it might inflict on Edwards’ long suffering, cancer-stricken wife. Although that second rationale seems rather self-serving: The gentlemen of the press are more considerate of the former presidential candidate’s wife than the gentleman himself. And this despite the fact that Edwards remained a contender for a cabinet post, if not the actual VP nomination, at least until this story that no one would talk about broke. I mean, there were actual pictures.

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Special Planes

By lex, on March 26th, 2011

Embedded within this otherwise unexceptional article about a young F-16 pilot’s first look at the wolf was this curious quote:

Captain Thulin and his squadron mates studied photographs of possible targets — from several types of tanks to artillery pieces — and how they would look from 20,000 feet using infrared targeting sensors. The pilots also pored over information about Libya’s surface-to-air missiles, including deadly SA-5 mobile launchers.

“We were studying the terrain, what buildings were made of, what it looks like over the desert using night-vision goggles or during the day,” said Captain Thulin, a native of Lake Orion, Mich., who mentioned the differences between Libya and verdant northern Italy, where the squadron normally trains. “We were preparing so when in combat, it’s more of a reflex.”

Late last Saturday night, Captain Thulin got the call he knew would be coming: his mission was scheduled. By 2 a.m. Sunday, his F-16 roared down the runway at Aviano heading for Libya. Twice during the flight to his destination, Captain Thulin refueled in midair with special planes. He was in constant communication with air traffic controllers as well as intelligence analysts updating him on potential targets.

This is the Gray Lady, the New York Times, containing “all the news that’s fit to print.” Writing about air refueling tankers as “special planes.”

Honestly. It is to weep.

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Editors and predators

Posted by Lex, on May 29, 2008


A pair of Blockbuster Revelations!!!! this week. First, former MSNBC reporter Jessica Yellin told CNN co-worker Anderson Cooper that editors at the news outlet pushed her to trim her stories covering the White House to a more positive breeze:

“The press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president’s high approval ratings,” Yellin said.

“And my own experience at the White House was that the higher the president’s approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives — and I was not at this network at the time — but the more pressure I had from news executives to put on positive stories about the president, I think over time….”

But then a shocked Cooper jumped in, asking, “You had pressure from news executives to put on positive stories about the president?”

“Not in that exact…. They wouldn’t say it in that way, but they would edit my pieces,” Yellin said. “They would push me in different directions. They would turn down stories that were more critical, and try to put on pieces that were more positive. Yes, that was my experience.”

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Compared to What?

Posted by Lex, on August 26, 2010


VDH asks a salient question:

I am always amused by the Indian, Pakistani, Arab, or South American journalist, who comes to the U.S. to be educated, stays, marries an American, begins writing in places like Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, or the Washington Post, starts lecturing red state/middle America about its blinkered prejudices, praises in the abstract his godforsaken and long since abandoned homeland — and since arrival has mastered the proper phraseology and referents to please an entrenched elite left who hired and alone reads him. America is always to be judged in the abstract, never in the sense of “compared to what?”

It’s not just the ironic envy of people from exotic locations, of course. It’s perfectly possible – perhaps even necessary – for a certain class of citizen to simultaneously and passionately hold the beliefs that 1) America is a den of economic inequality, irremediably racist, genocidal, guilty of rapine imperialism and, B) too pure and noble to entertain even for a moment doubts (far less dialogue) about whether it is either appropriate or tasteful to build triumphal “cultural centers” a block or two from from the site of a national catastrophe.

Orwell opined that it is a matter of controlled insanity to simultaneously and fervently hold two mutually contradictory beliefs.


I rather think it’s more “controlling,” than controlled.

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Pop Culture

Posted by Lex, on February 6, 2010

Andrew Klavan explains it:

See if you can spot the difference between reality and American culture. In reality, President John F. Kennedy was a fierce Cold Warrior who twice tripled America’s military presence in the Vietnam War to try to stop the spread of Communism and risked nuclear disaster by standing up to the Soviet Union in Cuba. He was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, an America-hating leftist who had once defected to the USSR.

Now, the culture: in Oliver Stone’s film JFK—nominated for Best Picture Oscar in 1991—Kennedy is a peaceful lefty contemplating a withdrawal from Vietnam. He’s assassinated by a vast right-wing cabal that includes every single person in America except for Oliver Stone. Reality, culture. Can you spot the difference?

More examples abound.


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Don’t Try This At Home

Posted by Lex, on October 5, 2008


It’s not West Virginia in 1948. And you’re not Chuck Yeager.

“Frank Knight had just announced that Capt. Chuck Yeager was going to fly over,” Kelley said. “I didn’t see a plane in the sky. I looked east, below the horizon, about where the Capitol is, and I saw a plane.

“I actually had to look down to see it. That’s how low it was. I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness!’”

He watched that jet fly right under the South Side Bridge.

The jet did a victory roll and roared out of sight.

“The crowd went nuts.”

“We all just looked at each other open-mouthed in disbelief,” said Boggs. “Then there was a swell of applause. By then, Yeager was probably halfway to Cincinnati.”

The press never broke the tale, and an unmolested Yeager went on to break the Mach 2.0 record and command fighter squadrons, among other achievements. That was back in the time when the US press could be in the tank for a military veteran and war hero.

Times change.

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James Madison vs. Mark Zuckerberg

Madison vs Zuckerberg

Having programmed computers for 25 years, I came to the conclusion that there is very little “new” under the sun. I can remember working for a boss, Gene Bishop – now long gone – who told me about the heady days of working in IT at Aerojet General, when they were building rockets to go to the moon.

He was referring then to what we came to know as spreadsheets and saying that with their giant mainframes, they had designed the equivalent of a spreadsheet. Without CRTs – terminal screens –  – first as “dumb” terminals dependent on all of their information from the mainframe – 100s – 1000s of feet or even miles away, it took some human effort to think with 2 or 3 dimensions  and read a printout on the old mainframe paper.

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