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Editor's Notebook

Anyone else tired of being afraid?

IMG 1904Bombings in New York, New Jersey and a stabbing elsewhere in the country this week sent the Chicken Little in all of us scurrying about once again - ranting the end of the world was coming, the sky was falling and terrorists would soon consume us all.
I have but one question: When do you get tired of being so scared?
If I ever was fearful terrorists would end us – and I can tell you I never have been convinced a bunch of yahoos in pickup trucks and IEDs could do anything more than instill fear – then all of us should be long over the spell of fear these sidebar characters cast.

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Facts, opinions and Snowden

IMG 1901 1Economics teaches us the more of a commodity we have, then usually the less valuable that commodity is to us – or as the economics professor used to say, “The demand curve slopes down.”
With that being said, if you couple that thought with the well-known maxim regarding opinions and their proliferation, then one must come to the logical and factual conclusion that opinions are worthless.
Edward Snowden didn’t get in trouble for releasing “opinions.” He got in trouble for being a whistleblower regarding hard data – real information – you know “facts.”

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Facts, Opinions and Snowden

IMG 0243Economics teaches us the more of a commodity we have, then usually the less valuable that commodity is to us – or as the economics professor used to say, “The demand curve slopes down.”
With that being said, if you couple that thought with the well-known maxim regarding opinions and their proliferation, then one must come to the logical and factual conclusion that opinions are worthless.
Edward Snowden didn’t get in trouble for releasing “opinions.” He got in trouble for being a whistle-blower regarding hard data – real information – you know “facts.”
Those facts are the coin of the realm and increasingly hard to come by.

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The home of the afraid

 

Donald Trump wave

It doesn’t take long, once outside of the United States, to understand the high degree of insulation we both enjoy and suffer from in our Republic.

In the four countries my wife and I have visited since we left on vacation last week, when the locals find we are Americans, a wonderful conversation usually commences,

“Is it as cool as your movies?” I’ve been asked by those who haven’t visited. We are usually asked how large our country is and do we travel around it.

I remark how in five hours I can visit five countries in Europe, but I can actually drive for 10 hours in Texas and never leave the state.

That usually gets their attention.

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In memory of ye old "Tip Line"

 

Walnuts

It was called the “Tip Line.”

Every newsroom had them and many still do. Every place I worked the tip line was attached to an answering machine which played a pre-recorded message and then recorded whatever tip the viewer or reader had to offer.

A human being, usually a younger producer, intern or desk assistant would listen to hear if the “tip” on the tip line was worth covering.

Many of the tips were not worthy of our attention. Some of the more memorable ones included the tip that Ronald Reagan and Oliver North were sitting naked on fence posts outside of an assembly hall in San Antonio.

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Here's another clue for you all

Timeout for Life

 

 

 

Boy did I take a beating this week – pun intended.

Not physically, but by several of my so-called liberal friends who told me I’d sold my soul to the devil or worse, to the GOP or perhaps Donald Trump, because I suggested corporal punishment – in some cases – is warranted by parents.

When browbeaten by a dozen or more of these do-gooders, my first reaction was, “Hey, it wasn’t me. It was my evil twin Skippy.”

Kind of like John Lennon saying, “Here’s another clue for you all. The Walrus was Paul.”

Nobody believes it and it isn’t true anyway.

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Rockin' in the Free World

 

MC DC - It Could Always Be Worse for Metro

For those visiting the beautiful Washington D.C. area there is much to offer the casual tourist.

The right time of year and you can see the wonderful cheery blossoms. There is always the Smithsonian and the Nation’s toy box of museums down on the mall that can keep you busy for a week.

Then there’s the seat of Democracy – a little bar that offers great deals on bourbon – just kidding. But besides Congress, the White House and the usual history, you can branch out and take day trips to a variety of historical locales that show the First World splendor of the Capital of the Free World.

Just don’t look too closely at the worn varnish and rusted metal.

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Newspapers and the Cosmic Future

20150601 181228-X3Moving forward beyond the GOP and Democratic Conventions we are forced to once again evaluate the effectiveness of our media in presenting news we can use.

As we wrote last week the short answer is we’re not doing so well. We are producing news you want rather than news you need.

The bottom feeding, bottom-line nature of our business has become so overpowering even John Oliver on Last Week Tonight mentioned it on his HBO series this week. It was part of his declaration that local newspapers are in trouble and without them we’d all be reduced to watching Wolf Blitzer bat around a ball of yarn.

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The question of the moment

IMG 0112The convention I saw on television was not the convention I attended in Philadelphia. Many pundits talked about how the Democrats teetered and careened nearly off track from the beginning of their convention after another email controversy led the party to dump the DNC chair.

Since my first convention was in 1984 and it featured Kentucky Governor Martha Layne Collins and a Democratic Party shouting at the wind against Ronald Reagan, I really couldn’t see the point.  The 2016 Democratic Convention appeared much different to me than to the television reporters and pundits – many of whom weren’t on the planet in 1984.

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Big britches and little itches

Brian Karem in hat  Lennon t-shirt

“Move over here,” the woman commanded. I moved.

“We’re reporters working here. This is my work space. I need quiet,” a young AP reporter shouted from his seat at the Democratic Convention as 50,000 people refused to acknowledge his importance.

“Hillary has to prove herself to me bro’,” a Bernie Bro shouted during an impromptu sit-in as the Bernie Bros defied the candidate they supported after he threw his support to Hillary Clinton.

Earlier in the day Bernie, a man of the people, sat down with his Vermont delegation and the Secret Service and the DNC volunteers banned reporters and anyone else from entering “The Bowl” of the Convention floor except through one chokehold point because the man of the people wanted to show how populist he was by casting his vote with Vermont.

The S.S. didn’t tell anyone what was going on. When asked why hundreds of people who already had to pass through background checks and metal detectors needed to move for the “Man of the people,” A well-oiled S.S. commando said, “Move.”

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