Tag Archives: media

Republican citizen voices more important than ever

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Republicans and Democrats alike frequently criticize the general tone and specific messaging pushed by various major media outlets.

For those Americans who consider themselves to be conservative, almost exclusively Republicans, the usual suspects include broadcasters such as CNN, MSNBC, and NPR and print/web sources such as The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Huffington Post.

Leftists frequently bemoan the messaging and tone that comes from the Fox News network, including Fox Business, as well as media outlets such as One America News and The Washington Times.

For decades, liberals had a monopoly on mass messaging pushed to the American public through broadcast and print news. Slowly over the last two decades or so, conservative voices, once relegated to talk radio, have grown in influence. This has been thanks to the Internet and cable news.

Still, there remain more liberal resources. The influence of the old school networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC continues to wane. However, there remains a large segment of America who still receive their news from these sources, especially at the local news level.

The vast majority of newspapers and TV entertainment programs in America remain under the control of liberal media organizations as well. The messaging pushed out to the public is overwhelmingly liberal, unless you specifically go looking for conservative voices.

That fact makes the continued efforts and expansion of independent Republican voices more important than ever. It is one of the main reasons that I put effort into this website and into my all around social media presence.

Michelle Malkin is the queen of American conservative bloggers. Born in my hometown of Philadelphia and raised across the Delaware River in South Jersey, the 47-year old Malkin makes her home in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband and two children.

A decade or so ago, Malkin gave occasional space at her michellemalkin.com home to an anonymous contributer known only as “See-Dubya” who once described their blogging as follows:

“Actually, blogging is kind of therapeutic. Especially when you’re a red-state person living in a blue, blue state, and your neighbors would burn a peace symbol in your yard at midnight if they knew how you really felt about things. Some people do yoga; I pound the keyboard. The blood pressure goes down either way.”

Your own therapy aside, the continued presence and growth of American bloggers of a Republican persuasion is vitally important thanks to the upcoming midterm elections here in the United States.

The facts are that, no matter who sits in the Oval Office, the President’s party loses an average of 30 congressional seats in normal midterm elections.

One reason this happens is what is known as the “presidential penalty” – voters from the President’s party are happy that he won. History shows that happy voters are much more likely to stay home than angry, possibly more motivated, voters from the opposition.

Per Tom Murse writing for Thoughtco.com:

In the 21 midterm elections held since 1934, only twice has the president’s party gained seats in both the Senate and the House: Franklin Delano Roosevelt‘s first midterm election and George W. Bush‘s first midterm election. On three other occasions, the President’s party gained House seats and once it was a draw. On one occasion, the president’s party gained Senate seats.”

This means that in 15 of the 21 midterm elections, the President has seen their Party lose seats in both houses of congress. These are the odds that congressional representatives in the Republican Party of President Donald Trump will be trying to buck this coming November.

The re-election bids of those GOP incumbents will be made all the more difficult thanks to the efforts of the major media outlets. They will continue criticizing the President at every turn, thus shining a negative light on any candidate who might support him or his policies. This in addition to actually slanting their more local coverage towards individual congressional candidates in specific elections.

Republican bloggers need to ensure that we are pushing as conservative a message as possible, and supporting Republican candidates as aggressively as possible this year.

There will be some hard-fought GOP primary campaigns in various U.S. Senate and Congressional races across the country. Whether your favored candidate wins or loses those elections, the fact remains that ANY Republican candidate will be better than any Democratic Party alternative in the fall. After the primaries, it will be time to set aside any internal differences and back the winners.

If you are a Republican blogger, make sure that you stay active this year. I write on a wide variety of topics, not just politics. If you follow me regularly, you will also find many pieces on sports, entertainment, faith, and other issues. As the year moves along, I will have plenty of political commentary.

Imagine the Senate and/or the House of Representatives under the control of the Democratic Party. Can you imagine Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the House? Chuck Schumer holding tie-breaking votes as the President of the Senate?

I encourage you to continue your own efforts in blogging, posting on social media, and in any other way that you can help Republicans beat the odds in November’s midterms. It is vital to do your part as our President continues working to make America great again.

Continued propagation of ‘fake news’ may be our collective fault

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President Donald Trump may not have coined the phrase “fake news”, but it absolutely seems as though the practice has exploded since he took office.

 
Just last week during his speech in front of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the President delivered the statement “it wasn’t until I became a politician that I realized how nasty, how mean, how vicious, and how fake the press can be.
 
The statement was greeted by a loud chorus of booing. At least it sounded that way to those watching on a popular German news program. 
 
However, the broadcaster ‘ARD’ later admitted that it had “boosted” the sound clip to make it appear louder than it actually was, per Chris Tomlinson at Breitbart. When originally heard on CNN, for instance, the booing was moderate, and obviously came from media in the back of the room.
 
The ARD editor-in-chief then made the following statement as part of his defense for the move:

By the way, newspapers also make comparisons when they enlarge image sections and may even mark them with a red circle – nobody would come up with the idea of calling this manipulation, but rather journalistic precision.”

Journalistic precision? Now there’s a new one.

But this statement perfectly sums up the tactics repeatedly used against the President by the former “mainstream” media here in America, which include cherry-picking from quotes and highlighting stories with unflattering photographs.

In a 2017 year-end article, Georgina Rennard with the BBC did a nice job defining “fake news” as follows:

  • Completely false information, photos or videos purposefully created and spread to confuse or misinform
  • Information, photos or videos manipulated to deceive – or old photographs shared as new
  • Satire or parody which means no harm but can fool people

Liberal news outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, NPR, and more have consistently been violators. This is particularly so in their coverage of the President, his team, and his programs.

Dan Gainor at Fox News did a nice job breaking down the media’s 2017 anti-Trump efforts in a piece characterizing their “round-the-clock journalistic insanity”:

“…the media have been claiming Republican politicians are evil, racist, crazy or stupid (or all four) for years. Journalists and their lefty partners in slime are running that game on Trump more aggressively than they ever tried with President Ronald Reagan. None more than CNN. The network’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter was freaking out about his view of Trump’s mental health back in August. “Is the President of the United States a racist? Is he suffering from some kind of illness? Is he fit for office? And if he’s unfit, then what?” He began 2018 with a claim the year was starting off with “madness.”

Outright fake news is also spread by the manipulation of statistics, mischaracterization of actions, and advertising disinformation campaigns.

As an example, attempts have been made to support an increase in homicides against the LGBT community. A recent and widely cited study reported that there were 28 murders of members of the LGBT community in America in 2016, which supposedly exploded to 52 such murders in 2017.

However, what the report fails to point out is that the 2016 figure leaves out the 49 murders of the LGBT community at the Pulse night club. The exact motive for the timing of the shooting may be in question. But that the LGBT community was specifically targeted because of who they are is presumed by many.

Add those 49 to the reported total of 28 in 2016, and you have 77 murders in the LGBT community that year. This means the 52 of 2017 is actually a decrease. However, are even those statistics revealing the truth of the problem?

Chad Felix Greene for The Federalist did a nice job of breaking down the statistics in detail just yesterday, and summarized the situation as follows:

“…4 of the 52 cases in 2017 were possibly anti-LGBT driven, and yet the headlines will continue to shout an 86 percent increase in anti-LGBT hate crimes. The more the LGBT media manipulates the narrative to perpetuate politically convenient fear, the less average Americans will appreciate true violence towards the gay and transgender community. This unethical behavior in journalism and advocacy organizations only harms the people it is attempting to protect.”

The “fake news” practices have now spread to social media platforms as well. Facebook in particular has come under recent scrutiny after one of their former executives revealed that the site frequently pushes political disinformation through their advertising practices and policies.

This past week in Vanity Fair’s ‘Hive’ section, not exactly a purveyor of conservative thought, Maya Kosoff quoted from a source in a recent Pew Research Center report on the issue:

“It comes down to motivation: There is no market for the truth,” an executive consultant told Pew. “The public isn’t motivated to seek out verified, vetted information. They are happy hearing what confirms their views. And people can gain more creating fake information (both monetary and in notoriety) than they can keeping it from occurring.”

Unfortunately that idea of publishing only “verified, vetted information” has even become tainted as such information is frequently massaged to fit whatever narrative the media source wishes to convey.

Fake news is now even spreading to – get this – pornography. Nicole Lee at Engadget wrote earlier this week on the emerging phenomenon of artificial intelligence aficionados swapping out porn stars faces for those of more mainstream celebrities in adult videos.

Reddit user “deepfakes” posted a video of Gal Gadot’s (Wonder Woman) face swapped onto a porn star’s body (he’s since created more fake porn with other celebrities). According to Motherboard, the video was created with machine-learning algorithms, easily accessible open-source libraries and images from Google, stock photos and YouTube videos.”

The problem reaches into almost every industry. Any issue for which it is important to influence public opinion is susceptible to “fake news” pushed by print and online sources, both old-school “reputable” and pop-up, fly-by-night types.

In a piece on “fake news” in the pharmaceutical industry this week, Paul D. Thacker at STAT wrote that he came across the practice used in the tobacco industry a decade ago. He then found it being utilized in pushing pharma products such as Avandia in more recent years.

“The pharmaceutical industry doesn’t need to design a new strategy to confuse the public or beat back the FDA, I explained, because tobacco created the playbook that most industries now follow.”

In response to what has been estimated by the GOP as 90% negative coverage from the media this past year, President Trump advertised for weeks that he was going to put together a “Fake News Awards” for 2017.

In mid-January, those were finally announced. Some of the Fake News Awards “winners” were Paul Krugman of the New York Times, Brian Ross of ABC News, Dave Weigel for the Washington Post, CNN, Newsweek, and Time magazine.

Defenders of these “winners” frequently claim that the stories were simple mistakes which were later retracted, or they say that correction articles or reports were later published. Also, in some cases reporters were fired for their actions.

However, what such defenders rarely point out is that the damage has already been done. The initial story was usually blasted across headlines and blared across as lead stories on broadcasts. Meanwhile, the retractions were usually low-key, especially in comparison to the original incorrect story.

“Fake news” has been around for millenia. It has gone on for as long as any man or group of men has sought to influence any other group with propaganda. The problem today is arguably bigger than ever.

When we can no longer depend upon what previous generations believed were reliably honest and unbiased news sources to be anything more than propaganda arms of a particular political party, how do we know what is truth?

Frankly, many Americans simply don’t seem to care. Most of us seem perfectly happy to read, listen to, and believe whatever sources support our own worldview. In the end, the continued propagation of “fake news” may be our collective fault.

Phillies Broadcasters Get Mixed Grades

As the play on the field has deteriorated over the last few seasons, the performance coming from the Philadelphia Phillies TV broadcast booth also deteriorated. Long gone were the glorious days when fans were able to enjoy the sounds of Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn during the majority of the Phils’ TV and radio broadcast innings. Tom McCarthy, Chris Wheeler, and Gary Matthews made listening to TV less than enjoyable for many.
Despite changing some of the personnel on the TV broadcasts this season, the performance has remained uneven at best. Radio, on the other hand, has emerged with an incredibly enjoyable team. This all makes for an overall mixed bag. Here is a look at some of the key broadcasters, with a grade on their performance:
TOM MCCARTHY: ‘C’ – McCarthy only even gets this high of a grade for one reason, and that is his obvious love of the team. I don’t want my broadcasters being a downer, and I can’t stand the negativity that often comes from local sports talk radio. But McCarthy is way too far on the other end of the spectrum. He is not just a “glass half full” kind of guy, he is a Pollyanna. His jokes are not funny, and he tries to put a positive spin on almost everything, often when criticism of a player or the team is what is warranted. He seems like a really nice guy, and my gut tells me there is no way that decision makers will make a change. But as the lead man on TV broadcasts, he is a problem the longer he is kept. The Phillies would do well to find a better day-to-day baseball voice.
MATT STAIRS: ‘D’ – I will always have a warm and fuzzy place for Stairs in my fan’s heart for two reasons. First and most obvious is the homerun. You know which one. The 2-run moonshot crushed deep into the California night off Jonathan Broxton that gave the Fightins a 2-run lead in the 8th inning of Game #4 of the 2008 NLCS vs. the Dodgers. You may not remember the second though. I was driving home from the Jersey shore in early April of 2009 when Stairs crushed a homer at the end of a road game in Colorado. It would be the final homerun call in the career and life of Harry Kalas, who would pass away the following day. Stairs does not come across as personable on the air, and though he has the anecdotal stories required of an ex-player in the booth, he does not have the story-telling ability to relate them well enough. At this point, he looks like a mistake hire for the job, ala Gary Matthews, and we had to put up with Sarge for years.
JAMIE MOYER: ‘C’ – I preface this by saying that I love Jamie Moyer. He is a Philly guy, born and raised. He graduated from my Saint Joe’s alma mater. He helped pitch the team to a World Series victory. He was the last player my age to play for the Phillies. He does tremendous charity work, loves the organization, and is a likeable guy in so many ways. But on the air he seems to be forcing it. I think that over time, and with the right professional broadcasting partner in the booth, Moyer could be a longterm gem. For now, he gets the midling ‘C’ grade. But I believe there is more here. Because of who he is overall, I am much more willing to give him the chance to prove that than I am with Stairs.
Jamie Moyer, usually observant, fails to notice as Raul Ibanez's t-shirt begins to explode. (Image courtesy of 1.bp.blogspot.com)

Jamie Moyer joined the TV broadcast team this season. (Image courtesy of 1.bp.blogspot.com)
MIKE SCHMIDT: ‘A’ – The greatest position player in the history of the franchise was brought in this season to provide a player’s perspective for Sunday home games. For the most part, Schmitty has been excellent. He has great stories to tell from glory days of my youth. He is a fantastic conversationalist. He does a nice job of analyzing what a player or pitcher may be trying to do at a certain point in a game. At times he takes over the broadcast too much. My guess is that’s a natural outcome of the limited home-game Sunday opportunities he gets. If he were a regular, working every game, my bet is that he would be not just good, but great. I doubt the Phillies could get him to give up his life in Florida to do the traveling it would take to be a regular broadcaster. Shame.
RICKY BOTTALICO: ‘B+’ – Ricky Bo is not the greatest studio analyst and commentator in the history of pre and post-game shows. Not by a long shot. He can be too animated at times, and at times he just comes off as a buffoon. But I still like him. Why? Because Ricky Bo is one of the few associated with broadcasting this team who isn’t reluctant to call a spade a spade. He is not intimidated by bad circumstances, and doesn’t get carried away with good. He gives his opinion, usually strongly. I like that, even if he lacks polish. He needs to stay around in-studio.
BEN DAVIS: ‘A’ – Does it get any more handsome and chiseled than this guy? But let’s put aside his movie star good looks. The man was a baseball player, one from our area, born and raised a Phillies fan. And he does a really nice job on-air of expressing his opinion. Another one who is, like Ricky Bo, not afraid to hand out criticism when warranted. he’s sometimes a little stiffer, but he does the job with just a bit more polish than Ricky. Another one who needs to stick around in-studio.
JIM JACKSON: ‘B+’ – It’s so hard for me to listen to Jim Jackson and hear a Phillies game coming out of that voice, after hearing him broadcast so many Flyers games on the radio over the years. The guy is an excellent broadcaster, that isn’t the problem. He just doesn’t, for me anyway, have what I am looking for in an everyday baseball voice. As a Flyers broadcaster, I would give him an ‘A’ grade. Nice backup guy and post-game show guy, which is usually his role anyway. He is worlds better than Chris Wheeler or Gary Matthews, so that’s also a plus.
SCOTT FRANTZKE: ‘A+’ – The simple fact is that Frantzke is a great baseball radio broadcaster. The further fact is that his personable, natural chemistry with regular radio partner Larry Anderson is as tremendous as it is rare. Whether delivering the play-by-play, where his voice is perfect for the job, or commenting on issues surrounding the team on-field and off, or in bantering with Anderson, he is personable and professional. He also has a tremendous, understated humor. I didn’t think it would be possible to ever again experience a Kalas-Ashburn type enjoyable performance. With Frantzke and LA, it may not be quite at that legendary level – yet – but it is much closer than I ever thought I could hope to enjoy again. The team must keep him on board.
LARRY ANDERSON: ‘A’ – His work with Frantzke is the stuff that legends are ultimately made of in a baseball broadcasting team. Together they enjoy an on-air chemistry that is impossible to force. Their timing and humor together is impeccable. LA brings the former player perspective, and continues to display passion of the game and the team. I only gave Frantzke the slightly higher ‘+’ designation because of Scott’s play-by-play abilities. But when Frantzke and LA are together it’s magic. As I already said, they are as close to Kalas-Ashburn as I ever had a right to hope to expect to enjoy again in my lifetime. The powers-that-be need to be sure to commit to this team as long as possible. Wouldn’t it be awesome to get them on TV for at least a few innings each game as well? If Harry and Whitey could do it, why not Scott and LA?
The Phillies get other regular contributions from Comcast folks such as Gregg Murphy, Neil Hartman and Leslie Gudel. All three of them do a tremendous job of hosting, interviewing, analyzing, and commenting on the team. I refrain from giving them grades simply because they are neither former players, nor everyday game broadcasters. But all are professional, personable, and do a nice job in whatever role they are asked during any particular broadcast.
Overall, the Phillies broadcast team would get a ‘B’ grade, with an ‘A’ for the radio guys and a ‘C’ for the TV broadcasters. Replacing McCarthy with a better everyday baseball play-by-play voice would vastly improve that TV end. Maybe figure out a way to have that new TV guy and Moyer switch off a few innings each game with Frantzke/LA in the radio booth, ala with the old days of Kalas/Ashburn. Those would be my main suggestions for improvement going forward.

Day Baseball Vital to Game’s Popularity

The picture to the left comes from the 1984 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres. It shows Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell taking a lead, with Padres 1st baseman Steve Garvey holding him close.

In Game #4 of that World Series, Trammell, a borderline Hall of Famer whose case will continue to correctly be argued moving forward, hit a pair of homeruns to lead the Tigers to a 4-2 victory and a 3-1 lead in the series that they would win a day later. Well, actually they would win it a night later. And that would be end end of World Series day baseball.

That Game #4 in which Trammell homered twice had a starting time of 1:30pm EDT. It would be the last World Series game played completely in natural daylight. The following day’s Game #5 had a start time of 4:30pm EDT, but by the time the Tigers were celebrating their victory it would be dark. That would be the last World Series game played in natural daylight at all.

I say “in natural daylight” because Game #6 of the 1987 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and Saint Louis Cardinals was played during daytime, but the game was indoors at the Metrodome, and thus was not the beneficiary of a natural daylight atmosphere. Still, at least that game was played at a time when most kids could stay up and watch the entirety.

So it has been 30 years since baseball fans have enjoyed the beauty of the game in a championship setting played when it was most meant to be played, in daylight on a beautiful afternoon under a sun-soaked sky. It has been almost those same 30 since most kids have been able to stay up and watch on TV as a World Series victory celebration takes place.

These days, thanks to more playoff rounds, the World Series is generally played during the last week of October. The average daytime high temperature for that week in Detroit and Boston is in the upper-50’s, in Saint Louis it is the low-60’s, even in climate-friendly Los Angeles the average daytime high is around 70 degrees.

However, the night temperatures at the normal game time for each of those location is about 20 degrees cooler. As anyone who has ever played the game, or sat outside to watch a game, can attest, baseball was most certainly not meant to be ideally played in temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s. But because of television network contracts, that is what we usually get – the championship of our national pastime decided in conditions not normally seen all during the rest of the playing season.

Not only is the quality of the experience diminished for the fans in attendance, and the game itself often made more of a challenge for the players in these conditions, but that aspect of growing the game by allowing young fans to experience the thrill of watching a full World Series game has been lost to at least a couple of generations. Who let’s their 10-year old stay up until midnight to watch the World Series, unless perhaps it’s their hometown team playing?

There is nothing like the experience of sitting outside on a nice, sunny afternoon watching baseball. That experience would certainly be better on a Saturday afternoon in Detroit or Boston or Philadelphia than it would on a Saturday night during the last week of October. It is time for baseball to recognize this vital aspect of their game, and build it into the next television contract, if not amend the current deal.

There should always be at least one World Series game played during full daylight hours. A 2:30pm EDT start time for all World Series games played on Saturday should be the norm, built into those TV deals. There should also be an effort by MLB to ensure that during the regular season, there are at least a handful of weekday games played during daylight hours, ideally with at least one such game every single day.

Day baseball is when many young fans get introduced to the game. There are also many MLB fans who have shift work, and who cannot watch and follow games during night hours. Opening up more opportunities for these fans, even on a limited basis, should be a priority for the folks running the game.

There are billions of dollars involved in these television contracts these days. Having a few dozen of the involved games played during daylight hours by contract would certainly not affect those big deals in any truly measurable way. Meanwhile, the accompanying good will and outreach would be appreciated by many fans currently restricted.

Baseball was meant to be played during the daylight hours, under cloudless skies with the sun shining brightly, on a green grass. The realities of television, and fans ability to follow the majority of the season after work hours during evening and nights is the new reality. That is understandable. But MLB should always be looking for opportunities to embrace more that ideal of the day baseball experience for it’s fans.

EWTN News Nightly

On Tuesday evening, anchor Colleen Carroll Campbell signed on to the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) live at 6pm EDT to launch the latest, and perhaps most ambitious and necessary, Catholic television since the network began over three decades ago.

For one night in each of the next few weeks, and then ultimately on an as-advertised nightly basis later in the fall, the world will begin receiving coverage of the stop news stories of the day with a Catholic Christian perspective on “EWTN News Nightly.”

Colleen, a fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center is a particularly astute choice to become the first “face” of this type of program on the largest religious media network in the world. She is a respected journalist, author, broadcaster, and also the lone female speech writer to President George W. Bush. She has published a pair of books: 2002’s “The New Faithful” and her new release “My Sisters the Saints” published last year.

Colleen has experience with EWTN previously, where she has become noted for her interview program “Faith & Culture” since 2006, which is still airing regularly. In it, she goes one-on-one each episode with a leading Catholic intellectual leader on a wide variety of important issues.

She is also the exact type of woman that far-left liberals love to hate: an attractive, articulate, intelligent female who is an unashamed spokesperson for her faith. Her style is far more accommodating than attacking. She presents her opinions with a soft, easy clarity that can be disarming to modern television viewers and radio listeners who have become used to the ravenous and bitter tone in much of today’s media talking heads and pundits.

On the first night of broadcasting, “News Nightly” began and highlighted it’s coverage with an in-depth and multi-faceted coverage of the current crisis in Lybia. True to its Catholic mission, EWTN not only covered the news story straight, but also discussed effects of the crisis on the Christian community in the area.

It was fairly obvious that this was a dipping of the network’s collective feet in the water, production wise. My guess is there will be some tweaks to the set and the style as the show does indeed move to true nightly status. But it was all-in-all an exciting opening night for anyone looking for something different in the way our news stories are presented.

I am personally looking forward to becoming a regular viewer of this program as it grows, already having set my DVR to record the next episode. I would encourage not only all Catholics and other Christians, but anyone interested in a somewhat different but no less important take on top news stories to give “EWTN News Nightly” a try.