Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Say goodnight, Dan

Dan Rather was an early hero of mine in the news business.

One of his first jobs in the media was at a gospel radio station in Texas. My first job was at a gospel radio station in Arkansas.

He's a Southerner. I'm a Southerner.

Our news values are very similar. Be skeptical first and always. Afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Patriotism means questioning authority.

Stuff like that. Stuff the right wing castigates, foolishly, as unAmerican.

Now, he's going out to pasture for real, I reckon. Vaya con dios, Dan.


Oh, tell the truth, ER. You ARE Dan Rather. Cept, his voice sounds refiined. Yours sounds like, well, like a high-pitched pig squealin' his way to market.

:-) I'm just joshin', buddy.

Dan was an excellent newsman. Comfort is a good word, too.

Of course, Clem McSpadden is one of the greatest rodeo announcers of all time. I love him and respect him, but it's about time he places the microphone away.
He's not planning to graze in the pasture, apparently:

(from AP)

Rather, 74, has no intention of retiring. He is weighing an offer to do a weekly show at the tiny HDNet, a high-definition network offered on some cable and satellite systems.

"It just isn't in me to sit around doing nothing," he said.
Ol' Clem announced the first rodeo I ever saw, in Fort Smith, Ark., back in ... oh ... probably 1968 or '69.
And good if Dan finds good work! Too talented to go to seed.
a bit dry for my taste, but rather was a class act, indeed.

but cronkite was the master.

ER, you left one aphorism out about good ol' Dan: Never let the facts get in the way of a good story -- when it's about a president you want to get out of office and just a few days before the election.

Rather stopped being an excellent "newsman" a long time ago. He was, however, a great shill for the left right up until the end.
He stumbled, sure.

A shill for the Left? No way. He just didn't kiss the arse of the Right.
It seems that the Right always believes that the Left has a counter-part to whatever they have.
Believe me the Left doesn't. Ya'll are unique.
OK, Doc, I'll take your bait. Name me one overtly conservative network anchor or reporter. Note: I said anchor or reporter. Not commentator/talk show host like Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity.

You take your time. I'll wait.
No bait Nick. Cause to my way of seeing there aren't any overtly Liberal or Conservative major broadcast network anchors or reporters, therefore that's not the counterparts I was thinking about. Nor was I necessarily thinking about "news" types alone.
Conservatives conviently forget that the networks did a number on Carter and the Clintons as well as Regan and the Bushes. They are anti-establishment what ever the establishment is.
Now once you get to the "Cable" networks. Any news reader on "Fox" qualifies as conservative, because that's the way their scripts are written. MSNBC tilts to the left, and CNN is self destructing by trying to be all things to all people and sell more advertisement.

Besides that these "common-tators" shows are on News Stations in quasi-news formats, why should you exempt them? There ain't no "Liberal" that can touch Hanity or Rush. (I think O'Reilly is just crazy and doesn't count. He is more an "any storm for a port" type of guy.)

OK, your turn.
Apples and oranges, Doc. Commentators get to have opinions on the air. Newsmen (or women) don't -- or at least they aren't supposed to.

Your claim was that we on the right always think the left has what we have. But the left, sacrosanct as it is, doesn't have it. Well, I named Rather as a lefty anchor (and would throw in Charles Gibson, Katie Couric and Uncle Walter himself) as examples of my point. You've named not one to prove your point.

So I'm still waiting.
I'm pretty sure Doc named all Fox news readers, which includes all Fox anchors. Even Juliet Huddy(sp?), hot as she is, is a righty.

Oh, you're trying to keep this to the networks. Hmmm. Brian Williams is a NASCAR fan, does that count?

The real point is that none of the network anchors you named, Rather, Uncle Walter, none of them, were fricking "leftist" at all, for God's sake, and were not liberal while sitting at the news desk! *That," mi amigo, is one of the mythical dragons the righties use to keep the money pouring in.

And I am dead serious. Skeptical is not "liberal." Questioning is not liberal. ... and being a hardheaded, hard-hearted, blind yes-man is not "conservative." (And here I'm indicting pretty much all in the Republican and conservative leadership)
Re, "Right always believes that the Left has a counter-part to whatever they have."

Nick, the right got its OWN CABLE NETWORK because it thought "the Left" had the others. *That* proves the point.
nxbkkWow. That's very compelling evidence. I guess I'll concede the argument now.

Sheesh, you guys on the left really think that if you just say it, it's true. Like God speaking the universe into existence.

You can say all you want that the "right"has made up the whole leftist bias in journalism thing, but you forget: I know it's true because I used to be one of them. And you know I wasn't the only one to let my personal, political views cover the way I handled a story -- even subtly.

You are far too erudite to think the idea of left-wing bias in newsrooms -- showing up in the kinds of reporting done and the angle from which stories are reported -- is not far more often in favor of libs than conservatives.
And you must pretty self-absorbed to think that everybody played as fast and loose with journalistic ethics as you did, and that everyone has the same agenda you say you did -- because I don't recall you having any biases at all in the time we worked together. You sure weren't "liberal." You were apolitical and, by your own previous acknowledgement, amoral (and that's not "evil.")

Oh, and "leftist" means one thing, and "liberal" means another, so stop using the terms interchangeably. Sure, there is some liberal bias in the news business -- because questioning authority is "liberal" by definition. But there is no "leftist" bias in the news business, by and large.

And before someone tells me I do the same by conflating "conservative" and "the right" -- the leadership of the GOP today, as well as every follower, flunky and wannabe, self-identifies as being "the right." (.. while actual conservatives weep at the highjacking of their party ...)
Oh, and that *is* compelling evidence. I expect you to concede nothing. Just quit changing the terms of the argument. }:-)
Dang, I wish I'da worked in that newsroom back in the day. That'd a been fun.
It wasn't all that fun. ER was a dictator. :-)
I only made one reporter cry (regularly) and it's because she did not know the meaning of the words "file the %&$@* story!"
I think I'm about to make one reporter cry. Here's why. When I first got here, I noticed that both the full-time newsroom types didn't quite put in a 40-hour week. So that's changed.

In this one case, I pretty much demanded twice as much time so that she could get in her 40 hours. Says something right there, doesn't it?

She has asked, now, to be placed on part time, which is fine. She's a homemaker by trade who had a passion for writing, and when her children grew up, she took this job. She's a good feature write and a strong columnist -- for community newspapers. I wouldn't throw her to any paper with a circ. of more than 15,000, but she works.

She asked to be trained, and I've been doing that. Cept that the things I'm teaching are having a little difficulty getting through. For instance, I've told her three times in the last seven days that portrait photographs work well. Set the subject up in front of the topic at hand -- in front of the bass boat if they're anglers, in front of the computer if their geeks, etc. -- and snap away.

Do not fake the action. Don't have the subject acting like they're talking on the phone if they're not. Don't have the subject pretending to reel in a big un if the boat's in the backyard.

Ain 't gettin' through. Today's subject was a HAM radio operator. Can't see his face, 'cause he's pretendin' to talk into a microphone. Can't see his fancy schmancy equipment because he's pretendin' to talk into a microphone.

And she's out today takin' care of personal business. So I sent her a note, saying, "Can you set up another photo shoot with our HAM radio guy? I don't feel comfortable using the photos with the 'fake' action as presented. If you'd prefer I take the photograph, that's fine. I know this is all knew and I appreciate you taking the photos this morning, but faking action of any sort is something we must avoid."

If that doesn't work, I don't know what to do.
Sounds like she needs a cryin' session.

Ha ha. I may have lost most of my mean streak. I have an intern this summer, 20, will be a junior in the fall. I have not made her cry once! Perhaps I've gone soft.
Nick said:
"But the left, sacrosanct as it is, doesn't have it. "
Never said that. What I ment was that the Left just doesn't have it. Generally, because the Left is not organized. If they were organized then they wouldn't be the Left. Which brings up the central point. The Conservatives don't really know what the Left is because they really think it is like them but on the "other side". That lack of understanding is why the Conservative can always make temporary gains, but can never hold their ground. For the ground they hold is always populated to some extent by the Left.
ER, I was apolitical in the Dem/GOP sense, but I definitely thought liberal ideals held more water than conservative ones, and that's where the bias showed up. Subtly mostly, but it was there -- because I thought if the values I held were the values society would embrace, then -- by golly -- all would be right with the world.

Don't you remember the argument you and I had -- ironically humorous now, given where we sit at the ideological table today -- about whether homosexuals choose to be gay? I was arguing for the "who would choose to be persecuted like that?" side, and you were arguing from the "deviant behavior unless it's two chicks" side. : )

And, as I've said before, we both were privvy to the political leanings of our boss -- and you know that showed up in the stories we covered and the way we covered them. Again, not because he hated conservatives (although we both know he didn't have much use for them), but because he saw his role as a crusader -- and he truly believed that looking at things from the left was better for society.

I'm not saying that there's even an organized hostility to the right in the media -- only that the default position is to support liberal ideals. And it's not as simple as "it's liberal to challenge authority" -- if that were true, then where was the authority-challenging going on when Clinton was in office -- at least from the likes of Rather, Couric, etc.?

The paradigm, I think, is that journalists view themselves as exposers and defenders of "the truth" -- which must, by definition, be filteed through what the individual journalist believes the truth to be. The vast majority of journalists -- by their own admission in surveys -- identify with liberal ideals. So their passions lead them to stories that champion those ideals -- in the same way that the minority of conservative journalists are driven by their passions in the other direction.
Good! He needed to be out on the pasture a long time ago. I'm ashamed he is from Texas... he's been tellin' tall ones for years.
And I'm sure he's ashamed *you're* from Texas. So it's a wash.
Same fer Natalie Maines.

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