TelevisionWeek's new blog by World Poker Tour boss Steven Lipscomb marks this publication's second blog by a member of the television industry. As the founder of WPT, Steve often is credited with starting the televised poker boom. He's also known to say a controversial thing or two.

Just as Rich Goldfarb, senior VP of sales for National Geographic Channel, offered candid insight into the upfront advertising selling period, Steve plans to pull no punches in discussing the people, practices and pitfalls of the television business.

And remember: TVWeek.com encourages you to respond to what you read here. So feel free to post comments on Steve's blog.


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February 2008 Archives

Election in the Balance

February 22, 2008 8:25 AM

Dear Democratic super-delegates,

The burden you bear is great. And the decisions you make in Denver will reverberate for generations.

I have spent this election cycle encouraging people to care again. In the offices, boardrooms and the streets, I tell you, the cynicism runs deep.

The last two presidential elections should have made us all believe that every vote counts—that every vote is critical—and that we can make a difference. But regular folk, particularly the young ones, remember the 2000 presidential election. They watched nine justices take democracy in their own hands—and out of the people’s hands. And those young people were cynical long before the year 2000.

The result was a kind of nightmare for those of us who care about the future. The cynical voices multiplied and gained strength. It became cool to be apolitical and anti-democratic.

I can't tell you how many times in the last eight years I have had passionate debates with young people. Young people who were so proud of the fact that they did not vote. So proud of the stand they were taking against the system—not by standing up and protesting the system, but simply by refusing to participate in it. It all made so much sense to them.

But now, with this election, we have a chance. People are paying attention again. Young people are paying attention. They have started to believe that the audacity of hope is not a book title, but something more. We have a chance—you, the super-delegates, have a chance—to help people believe again.

Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign asked his supporters to write a letter to the super-delegates to explain why we are supporting his campaign for the presidency. I am writing with a very different message. I am a big fan of Sen. Obama and also believe Sen. Hillary Clinton has a lot to offer. Whatever happens, my message is simple: Support the popular vote. Whoever wins the most popular delegates, please, follow that vote.

If super-delegates are the deciding factor in this remarkable race that has united people, excited people and brought people back to the process, I firmly believe it will take decades to recover. And if the super-delegates ignore the popular vote or change the rules to add disqualified states into the process, the Democrats will lose the unlose-able election. And we will deserve it ... again.

Please stand up and be heard. Tell the world that you will support the people’s choice for the nomination—whoever that is. I beg you to make the statement even if you have already declared an allegiance. The reason is very simple: This matters. It is bigger than us. It is bigger than any candidate. It is bigger than any delegate. And we only get one shot.

Thank you for your time.

On Sen. Clinton's Tactics

February 3, 2008 7:57 AM

Steve Lipscomb's World Poker TourMy wife just read me Ms. Clinton's latest statement trying to link Barack Obama to George W. Bush. Clinton says voting for Obama is like voting for "W" because we won't know what he will do. . . I suppose we are supposed to insert dramatic music with a percussive sting at the end. I am shocked, amazed and profoundly disappointed.

Here's the irony:

While Michelle Obama is standing in Delaware declaring that we are done being ruled by threats and fear, Hillary stands up and adopts the nasty campaign tactics employed so effectively by Karl Rove -- to try and threaten us into submission. That is so wrong!

I've taken some time to dig into the background of this man, Barack Obama. He is the guy who spent his life doing the right thing when no one was watching. He is the guy who made a difference because he felt that giving back was what you do when you are fortunate. He is the guy who has managed to get people excited about a future in which we do not presume that lies, corruption, deception and cynicism are inevitable characteristics of our leaders. He is the guy who has a chance to bind this country together and start healing a world that has so many more similarities than differences.

History does this over and over again. It places us in these moments when we have a chance to stand together. . . and be something extraordinary. And, so often -- for all the wrong reasons -- the voices of fear and hate co-opt the conversation. . . because winning the game or winning the race or getting power becomes more important than doing the right thing. . . or being the right person. And, that is wrong.

Senator Clinton . . . you are better than that. You always have been and you always will be. As someone who has long been a big fan, I hope you will stop listening to the handlers and the strategists. Because even if they are right and this is your best next move. . . it's wrong. And, it likely feels that way . . . .