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August 2008 Archives

Cable News Nets Awash with GOP Veep Choice

August 29, 2008 12:49 PM

PalinToday is GOP presidential candidate John McCain’s 72nd birthday and he gave TV newsgathering organizations a present when he announced his dark-horse candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

The 44-year-old Palin is hardly a household word in political circles, having been governor of Alaska for just two years, after earlier serving as mayor of a suburb of Anchorage.

Palin, a card-carrying member of the NRA, is pro-life and took to the stage today with four of her five kids in tow. The fifth enlisted in the military and is shipping out to Iraq on Sept. 11.Wave-the-flag time here.

McCain’s maverick choice has reporters in a feeding frenzy, trying to learn more about her. From what we’re hearing, I sure wouldn’t throw her on stage with her opponent, Sen. Joe Biden, but I wouldn’t write her off, either.

While I think she will pick up few if any disenfranchised Hillary Clinton voters, because they’re liberal, Palin has her own strengths, despite her lack of experience.

She pounded through legislation for the creation of a $40 billion natural gas pipeline in the state as the country tries to find alternatives to imported crude oil. She’s also had some success in fighting the oil companies and battling statewide corruption.

Among Alaskans, she has an 80% approval rating. Does she have a chance?

Big Night for Hillary and CNN

August 27, 2008 11:13 AM

Hillary Clinton

Wearing a bright orange pantsuit, Sen. Hillary Clinton delivered a riveting unity speech in Denver last night. I viewed it on CNN, and the cable net did a fabulous job with its camera work.

Cameras flitted from the charged-up speaker to Bill Clinton, sitting tight-lipped in the VIP section, looking like he was on the verge of tears. Female delegates went wild when Hillary thanked her “sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits.”

But the best was CNN’s deft camera play on Michelle Obama, who was warily watching Hillary on stage. Only once did Michelle crack a smile, and that was when Hillary said, “Wasn’t Michelle Obama terrific last night?”

No love lost there, I’d say. So tonight it’s Bill’s turn. Will he behave himself?

Bochco Blasts Broadcast Nets

August 21, 2008 9:28 AM

In an interview Monday with Forbes.com, Emmy Award-winning producer Steven Bochco explains why he’s taking his latest drama, “Raising the Bar,” to cable net TNT instead of to one of the broadcast networks.

Bocho said the broadcast networks have “devolved,” and that they are overrun with programming that he has no interest in producing, namely reality shows. He also accused the broadcast networks of micromanaging every single aspect of production.

Clearly, Bochco, who produced “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law” and “NYPD Blue,” has had it with the broadcast networks.

Honestly, what was the last prime-time program you watched on a broadcast network?

So kudos to Bochco for saying what the broadcast networks need to hear.

Ed McMahon: New Poster Child for Subprime Mess

August 15, 2008 10:56 AM

Ed McMahon

Well, I guess you can say the 85-year-old Ed McMahon, longtime sidekick of Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show,” has become the official poster child of the subprime lending mess, after he defaulted on mortgage loans with the now-notorious Countrywide Financial Corp.

The story made national headlines when Donald Trump got wind of McMahon’s woes and bought the house in order to lease it back to the octogenarian, letting him remain in his house.

McMahon’s home had been on the market for nearly two years and once was valued at $7 million, but now has an asking price of $4.6 million, according to published reports.

Trump, who didn’t know McMahon, was a fan of Carson and his sidekick and stepped forward, asking, “How could this happen,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Cynics said the publicity-loving Trump did it to get back into the limelight. I say, so what?

Money talks and you-know-what walks. And shame on Countrywide, the lender at the very core of the real estate market meltdown with its questionable mortgage practices.

NBC Olympics on Steroids, and I’ve Had It

August 11, 2008 2:43 PM

Beijing Olympics

I can’t believe this: I just tuned in to watch my favorite show, CNBC’s “Fast Money,” hosted by Dylan Rattigan and it’s been preempted with some boxing Olympics event.

Have its parent companies GE and NBC Universal lost their minds? “Fast Money” is one of CNBC’s fastest-growing shows, and given the volatility of this market, I can’t believe they made such a bone-headed blunder here.

Gold hit a two-year low, Russia and Georgia are at war affecting the price of crude, the market is a mess, and I can’t listen to what the “Fast Money” crowd has to say about it all.

NBC has plenty of other cable networks to overkill with its mindless Olympics coverage. I’m so ticked I just called to complain, and you can, too, at 201-735-2622 and ask for an operator. I got a very tired one who answered, sounding weary from what I hope is a host of complaints.

Just goes to show you why GE’s stock is in the gutter: It knows nothing about business.

Should GE sell NBC Universal?

Absolutely, and I have no skin in this game—I don’t own a single media stock.

Chinese Sanitize & Stifle Olympics Coverage

August 6, 2008 9:36 AM

Tiananmen Square

With the Summer Olympics just two days away, don’t expect to see the real China as NBC broadcasts the controversial events on its various media outlets.

I’m not just talking about the street vendors who have been displaced, the painted walls covering buildings and slums that the Chinese government doesn’t want the outside world to see, or the removal of dog entrees from about 125 restaurants.

Nor am I just talking about how Chinese citizens cannot drive and how the government has shut down factories, both efforts to abate the Communist nation’s notorious air pollution.

I’m talking about how the Chinese government has shut down access to certain Internet sites that it has deemed inappropriate for journalists covering the event. Clearly the Chinese are not living up to certain promises they made that journalists would have unrestricted access during the games.

Bunk. The latest crackdown of media coverage is that reporters now have to make appointments to report and film in Tiananmen.

I hope the International Olympic Committee has learned something from this fiasco. But I doubt that, don’t you?

And I’m double disappointed that our two presidential candidates are spending millions on ad dollars to get in the face of American viewers.