Thursday, August 30, 2012

Scott Walker vs. MSNBC, Classic Mismatch

I don't think MSNBC will mess with Scott Walker again anytime soon.
They went at him, one at a time like in a Jackie Chan movie. Wack, pow, wack, smack!
First reporter Ron Mott was live with Walker on the convention floor. All fine there. Good questions, tough questions. Respectful. 
Then Rachel Maddow jumped in and took her shots at the Wisconsin Governor (while Mott held the mic for the crew back in the studio.) Her misguided shots were over a statement Paul Ryan made during his speech about the closing of a Janesville, Wisconsin GM plant.  
Ryan said (correctly) that Obama had promised during a visit (Feb 2008) that government would help keep the plant open. The announcement of the plant closing came while Bush was in the White House, then it eventually closed for good while Obama was president. Them's the facts---but Ryan's main point was that Obama promised that government would keep the plant open and government did not fulfill its promise. Obama could've kept the plant open and he should be asked why it's closed, but MSNBC would never go there.
MSNBC had gotten some super-secret information (from their super-duper fact checking crew at Wa Po) about when the plant closed and they were ready to pounce. 
Apparently the MSNBC crew back in the studio didn't really understand what Ryan said, they didn't care what Ryan said, or they didn't know the actual date the plant closed. That would be January 13, 2010. Hmmmmm. Not sure who was in the White House then. I'll have Wa Po check that for me. (For the record, the plant is in "stand by" status right now.) Cars were still being produced at the plant through June 2009.
MSNBC should learn how to search Wikipedia. Here are the entries and dates.

In October 2008, GM announced Janesville Assembly would be largely idled December 23, 2008 when production of SUVs would end.[10] A skeleton crew continued to work at Janesville Assembly through June, 2009, completing the Janesville/Isuzu light truck contract.


On January 13, 2010 GM put Janesville Assembly on stand-by to produce new vehicles due to recent increase in demand for GM vehicles.[citation needed]

Well, Maddow attacked. She incorrectly said the plant closed during the Bush administration. Walker responded calmly and told her there were "two rounds of layoffs," as Wikipedia points out. Wack!
Rachel backed up and changed the issue to the auto bailout. Walker again responded with class and a deft jab and told her the bailout did not work for Wisconsin and pointed out the closing of the Janesville plant. Pow! One down. That was easy---just gettin' warmed up here.
Then Heavyweight Big Eddie (Schultz, who has been MSNBC's main attack dog on Walker---Eddie flips out whenever he talks about Walker) had his turn. Eddie's face got red, his fists were clinched, his voice was raised as he quoted the Washington Post (big mistake, should've used Wikipedia) on the first "closing." Walker calmly reminded Eddie of what he had said to Rachel that a "managed bankruptcy" would've been best for GM. Poor MSNBC crew, they apparently don't know what a managed bankruptcy is. They never responded to that. All they know is government takeover. 
Then Eddie tried one of his favorite tricks, he asked a stupid question, then gave his own stupid answer while not allowing Walker to respond. When Walker was finally allowed to talk, he reminded Eddie of the point Ryan made that Obama promised the workers that government would keep the plant open. Promise not kept.
Wack! Lights out! Peter McNeely lasted longer against Mike Tyson. I was at that fight. It was a first round disqualification. McNeely, like Eddie, rushed out to the center of the ring to attack his opponent at the first sound of the bell. It wasn't pretty. DQ.
Oh, it gets better.   
Reverend Al Sharpton jumped in and trusted the Wa Po date and took his swings at Walker and wiffed badly. I felt the wind here in Vegas. Tawana Brawley would've given Walker a better fight. Pow! Down goes Sharpton!
Three first round knockouts for Walker. 
They do not want a rematch. 
Follow Ron Futrell on Twitter @RonFutrell

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

ABC News: "They Are Happy to Have A Party When Black People Drown"

Updates from John Nolte,

***UPDATE III: Yahoo just announced they have terminated Chalian effective immediately.

***UPDATE II: Romney camp comments:  "It hasn’t even been 24 hours after the primetime speech line up at the Republican National Convention last night, and you can already tell how successful and powerful of a night it really was by the complete and utter meltdown the mainstream media is experiencing today. ... Most shockingly, Yahoo! Washington Bureau Chief David Chalian got caught on an ABC webcast saying that Mitt Romney would be “happy to have a party when black people drown.”
***UPDATE: ABC News reached out to Breitbart News to name the man heard mocking the Romneys during this ABC News livecast: David Chalian (pictured) of Yahoo! News. Chalian is a former political director with ABC News, but according to ABC News has no association with the network now. The headline has been changed to reflect this update, as has the story itself.

This is the culture that the Republicans and Mitt Romney are fighting during this election. 
ABC News was running a live feed of the Republican National Convention and an unknown ABC staffer can be heard saying the Romney's are, "happy to have a party when black people drown." Referring to the timing of the hurricane and the RNC. 
You don't get more egregiousness and indicative than this. These are the conversations that take place in newsrooms. These are the people editing the video tape, producing the newscasts, writing the copy and dictating what the public see on evening newscasts. This is what they believe. You can hear it on their broadcasts through their anchors, but rarely do you get this snapshot of their mindset. 
The comment was met with laughter and was preceded by the statement, "they aren't concerned at all." This was happening while video of the Romney's was playing during the live internet feed. 
ABC News must address this. They owe the Romney's an apology. They know who this staffer is and she must be fired. If not, then they condone this behavior. 
I could write a thousand columns on comments like these, and similar comments I heard while working in newsrooms. The open cries and tears when George W. Bush was elected in 2000 come to mind right now. There was weeping and wailing. It is the culture. Leftists live and thrive in this environment and they are rewarded with advancements. Rarely are they held accountable.

Of course, ABC News and the rest of the Activist Old Media should work to change the culture that harbors leftist bias, but they will not. It's who they are. It's too deep, too ingrained, and they really don't want to change it. It's like telling a rattlesnake not to bite. They will cease to exist before they correct the culture. 
ABC News, you know who said this live on your internet broadcast, the next move is yours. 
Follow Ron Futrell on Twitter @RonFutrell

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Miller vs. Leno, And The Winner Is.....

It's tough to watch late night TV much anymore. Letterman is just a bitter, angry old man. Kimmel will take advantage once ABC moves Nighline out of his way, but that doesn't happen until January; and Leno has now officially gone of the rails. 
Jay had Dennis Miller on last night and, as expected, Miller was rock solid with jokes, and Leno couldn't get out of his leftist way. 
"At this point Biden's so silly they outta put one of those plastic dog collars around his neck so he doesn't hurt himself," joked Miller. All "Jay the Joke Killer" could add was, "I like Joe." Ya, whaddya like him for, he gives you punch lines? Jay, save the punch lines for one of your mechanics---we'd like to have a VP that is actually competent and doesn't sound like he spent the last 6 years sparring Rampage Jackson without headgear. Plugs won't help with that. 
It gets better. 
Jay believes Republicans have a War on Women (he's not joking.) I always thought he was smarter than that; I knew Letterman wasn't, but I thought Jay was. Miller talked about how he likes Barack Obama's execution of the War on Terror (by maintaining the Bush Doctrine) and all Leno could say was, "I think he (Obama) has compassion for regular people, if the Republican Party is missing anything it's this sort of, War on Women." Jay was serious about that. Let's just vote for the spirit of Mother Teresa and we'll have everything we need there, Jay. We would have compassion taken care of, women taken care of, and Chicago's dearly departed could come out of the graves again and have a candidate they could relate to.
Oh, it gets better still. 
Leno then brings up Todd Akin and claims that "he (Akin) was saying what the (Republican) platform shows what many believe." Jay, stick to car jokes. Your politics are about as funny as 4 missing lug nuts on your Duesenberg SG. 
Miller capped it off his spectacular appearance by saying of Obama, "it's been an inept 4 years." "I wanna help the helpless, but I don't give a rats ass about the clueless anymore, Jay." Big cheers for that line.
I don't want to be mean here Jay, but you can now be numbered amongst the politically clueless.  Please, somebody give Miller a late night TV gig. 
Follow Ron Futrell on twitter @RonFutrell

Friday, August 24, 2012

Networks Feature Mormonism Prior to Romney Nomination

I expected the worst when I heard ABC and NBC were going to do in-depth examinations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a life long Mormon and journalist, I had gotten used to the media clouding their reporting on the LDS Church. 

ABC used good judgement by not showing video of the sacred Mormon garments, NBC did not use that same discretion. 

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at the accuracy and context with which the reporting was done. 

ABC's Dan Harris did a two-part series that was simply factual about the LDS Church. No frills or opinions, just the facts about the Church. He focused on the temples and showed video of the inside of a temple yet to be dedicated in Brigham City, Utah. He accurately portrayed the history of persecution inflicted on members of the Church 150 years ago. It was very well done and kudos to Harris for his reporting.

NBC did a full hour with Brian Williams on Rock Center focusing on the LDS Church. They mentioned some of the controversial aspects of the Church, but for the most part, did it fairly. In a conversation with Abbey Huntsman (who is a former Mormon and daughter of former Republican candidate for President Jon Huntsman) Williams talked about how he would like to be able to walk into a Mormon temple and see what was inside, as he could with any other church, but they failed to mention that Mormon churches are open to anybody who wants to go inside, temples are not. It's a minor point, but the distinction between a church and a temple in the LDS faith should've been made. 

NBC's special focused on the service within the faith and how that shapes people's lives. Harry Smith pointed out the welfare services that are second-to-none and how Mormons take care of their own and also serve those outside the Church. You couldn't watch this segment without thinking this would be a great model for the nation. 

I thought NBC did a great job explaining how serving an LDS mission shapes the lives of members of the Church. You learn to serve, you learn to love others, you learn to sacrifice, and when you live outside America for 2 years, you learn to love this country and you forever have a unique perspective of the world. I served in Ireland when I was 19 years old and so much of that experience has defined my life. Mitt Romney's experience in France in the late 60's is a large part of who he is. When Romney talks about his concern of America taking on the negative aspects of European socialism, he knows of what he speaks, and he can explain it in French if he needs to. 

The media may do hit pieces on the LDS Church between now and November 6th to attack a potential Romney presidency,  but for the most part, their coverage this week has been fair and should be applauded.  

Follow Ron Futrell on Twitter @RonFutrell

Sunday, August 5, 2012

ABC Celebrates The "Crip Walk"

I almost....almost could not believe what I was seeing. ABC Good Morning America anchors celebrating the"Crip Walk."

Oh, I understand funny, silly, happy-talk news, but this was over the top.

I'm guessing you don't have to be a brilliant ABC news anchor to know what the 'Crip Walk" is, you could probably figure it out on your own, but I will tell you. It's a dance made popular by deadly Los Angeles gang members in the bloody, decades long battle between Crips and Bloods in the Southland. Hundreds die every year in this senseless battle that has destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of Americans. 

Bianna Golodryga laughed and joked about Serena Williams doing the "Crip Walk" after winning Olympic Gold in women's tennis. Golodryga called it, "one of my favorite moments....a joyful little dance, I believe they call this crip-walking." She then performed part of the dance while on set. What's next Bianna, flashing gang signs? Dan Harris then joked that the weather gal might do "a little bit of a crip walk" after she gets a weather cast right. Yuck, yuck, yuck, yo, yo, yo.

Maybe this is an East Coast, West Coast thing. Perhaps news anchors in New York don't get out west very often and when they do, they stay in Malibu. Having grown up in LA I spent a lot of time living and working in East LA and South Central, I knew the moves and signs of gangsters. But still, when it's called the "Crip Walk" you should have a pretty good idea what it means. If not, use Google.

Crip-walking was banned in LA high schools because of what it symbolized. Even MTV banned its use and refused to show music videos where rappers were crip-walking. Oh, Bianna, it's also called, "hopscotching on crack" by teenagers. If performed in the wrong neighborhood it could cause a fight, or much worse. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Serena Williams did what she did, she's from Compton, and that's how she chose to celebrate, I'm not here to critique that, I'm only looking at the media reaction. ABC News does not have to glorify it or joke about it. It is a gang sign, it is not a "joyful little dance." My only question; was ABC News ignorant, or did they know what this was and joke about it anyway? I'm hoping it was just ignorance. What's next week, a blue bandana?  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reflecting on 25 Years of Las Vegas TV Sports Coverage

The news was not unexpected, but still mildly painful.

The TV station where I had anchored sports and news for 25 years was dropping its sports department. Anchors will now read the sports with the same passion they do a hatchet murder, or a panda being born at the local zoo, and the viewers will get used to it (please pronounce Mark Teixeira's name right.) Perhaps they will.

Certainly, media is changing and some have called this a trend in the business. Consultants (who are usually failed news directors) have told us for years they want to attract females and since they believe women do not like sports, they must lessen the importance of sports, or kill it altogether. You could argue against that premise (which I did) until you were Dodger Blue in the face, but you would never win that argument and eventually management will find somebody who would just shut up and fill the three-minute segment (cut to 2:30 if weather went long.)

The news of removing the sports department did cause me to reflect on more than 2 decades of covering sports in Las Vegas and developing a bond with this community that will never be broken. It's been 4 years since I've done full time news on TV, but I still have people come up to me and think I'm the sports guy. "Hey, good job last night on the sports." I usually smile and say thanks.

I feel fortunate to have covered big-time sports during some great times in Las Vegas. I covered the careers of Randall Cunningham, Andre Agassi, Greg Maddux, Mike Tyson and many others. There were the great boxing events with Hagler, Hearns, Leonard, and Duran. I got to cover the rise of NASCAR and the UFC in Las Vegas, and was green-side for Tiger Woods' first win on the PGA Tour. The first month I was in Las Vegas I covered Kareem Abdul Jabbar setting the all-time NBA scoring record at the Thomas and Mack. Whew! Nice way to break-in back in April 1984. I was no Hunter S. Thompson, but covering the Mint 400 in the glory days of off-road racing was a dirty job long before the days of "Dirty Jobs." I was fortunate to cover World Series', Super Bowls, and NBA Finals.

Certainly, the rise and fall of UNLV basketball was a story that few got to report on up-close. 3 Final Fours in 5 years and then the internal struggle where a university president worked covertly to use the media to remove a coach (Jerry Tarkanian) because he did not have the courage to fire him. Who can forget "Cam Scam" when university officials put a camera in an air conditioning duct in the North Gym to try to catch a violation? I am most proud of covering this story straight up and honestly and my commentaries have stood the test of time. Nothing united this community more than Rebel Basketball, nothing tore it apart worse than the subsequent battles. Those were big, historic stories from 20 years ago that are still being talked about today. Often sports was called upon to lead newscasts because the stories were that big.

What I enjoyed most was the time I spent at local high schools and ball fields covering the youth of this valley and getting to know them through their sports exploits. Sure, it was fun interviewing future NFL star Steven Jackson as he barreled over opponents at Eldorado High, but doing the first, and likely the only interview ever with a Bonanza High tennis player was always rewarding. My former station let me cover grass-roots local sports unlike any other station in town and I will always appreciate that and it had great rewards.

Occasionally we did some serious journalism. There was the time a UNLV Athletic Director was using racist talk in open staff meetings. I uncovered the story and "broke" the story. Other media outlets followed but we reported this story first and did it under the risk of legal action. We were right and we broke a story that needed to be told. 

We made a lot of money with our sports department. I was trusted to produce and host hour-long shows that were highly profitable. We did NASCAR and IRL race shows, Thunder hockey shows, UNLV shows and there was the local sports show we did for 5 years following Monday Night Football, titled Monday Night Quarterback. How about this show from the late 80's that we did from Hawaii introducing a UNLV basketball team in embryo that would later win a National Championship?Aloha Rebels. These were the combined efforts of a lot of people who had passion in the projects. They were a lot of work, and a lot of fun and I believe were the essence of what a good sports department does.

What the future brings with local TV sports is hard to say. If media is one thing, it is chaning. UNLV basketball is making a comeback and Dave Rice is on his way to returning this program to national prominence. Las Vegas will have a major league professional sports team before this decade is out and viewers will want to hear from somebody who knows these sports. I thank my former station for giving me the resources and trusting me to cover sports as it deserved to be. It's also my opinion local TV news viewers (male and female) will seek stations that give them sports with flair, fun and accuracy. I'm guessing consultants don't want to hear me say that anymore.