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AFTER THE ARIZONA SHOOTING, GRAPPLING WITH POLITICAL OPPORTUNISM AND THE MEDIA BLAMESTORM
I’ve now listened to three full days analysis of the tragedy in Arizona which left six people dead, 14 more injured including Rep. Gabriella Giffords who’s still fighting for her life. The 72-hour blamestorm seems almost as crazy as the events of Saturday, drowning out just about everything reasonable citizens should really be debating. But instead of looking at gun laws that allow an unstable student to buy an automatic weapon in 15 minutes or less, we’re talking about who besides the shooter has blood on their hands.
Paul Krugman, for one, wrote in the Sunday New York Times that the toxic rhetoric from the right is to blame. He specifically named Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly among those who stoke the anger. Krugman connects the dots from a 2009 Homeland Security report that warned of a rise in right wing extremism to a 300% rise in threats against members of Congress. He writes that many threats were made by those mentally disturbed, and then offers this premise: that something in America is whipping up a great number of them to act out their illness with violence.
Paul! The Nobel committee is calling. They want their prize back. Your argument doesn’t even factor in, uh, the impact of the economy on mental health. Read the rest of this entry »
I Think the Sherwood Video is Wickedly Funny, but “Alan Smithee” Will Have to Get the Credit
note from your friendly blogarist: “Anonymousity” will be a continuing discussion in our daily Xpress, the blog with the slug line “we put our name to it.”
The inaugural address parody of Ben Sherwood is now viral, at least throughout the news business. And it is more than a stunning welcome for the new president of ABC News.
As vividly as I can recall “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” and “Where were you when the space shuttle blew up,” I suspect I will always be able to answer “Where were you when you first saw the Sherwood video?”
While I think it is wickedly funny, I also think it’s a scathing, and harmful indictment of Anne Sweeney and her decision who will lead ABC News out of the mess in which they are now mired. And I think that’s too bad. I, for one, would like to see ABC News, where I spent 17 years of my career, restored to its glory days and financial stability.
ABC NEWS FORECAST: BLAMESTORM WINDS GATHERING
Years ago, when Betsy West left ABC News to be a vice president at CBS, I sent her a going away card that read, “We don’t blame you for leaving…” continuing on the inside, “but after you’re gone, we’ll blame you for everything else.”
It’s particularly funny to anyone who knows the standard operating procedures of network news. I should have bought a stack of cards to send “notes to self” over the past five years.
Sadly, over the years, ABC News has been reduced to a toxic soup of pathologic gossip, witch hunts and abuse of power by management. Someone took the humanity out of human resources and turned it into a weapon of mass destruction. Read the rest of this entry »