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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Ghost of Harry Caray

Comedian John Caponera is famous for his impressions of famed Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray and his unique play by play style.

He's totally oblivious. The game's incidental. I was on Rush Street last night, getting totally inebriated, I close the one bar and went across the street and had a taco at that greasy spoon (there's a triple play). Anyway, I had too many jalapeno peppers, get indigestion you know (there's a fastball off Sandberg's head, both benches empty) so I'm looking for the Pepto-Bismol (he's on a stretcher, I think he's dead) finally I get a hold of some Kaopectate. Heeeeyyyy! The Pope is here. The Pope is here with a group of thirty cardinals. Finally, a group of cardinals the Cubs can beat...

I have become convinced the ghost of Harry Caray is alive and well. In the American media.

There might be no better proof of the media's oblivious, incidental treatment of what's really important in the world than the "controversy" over the comments made by Don Imus on his radio/cable-TV simulcast show. Since the comments themselves were so moronic and racist, there's not much enlightenment to be gained from analyzing them. They were moronic and racist. What IS enlightening is a review of the time spent on "coverage" of the comments and the timing of that coverage in the media.

The April 10, 2007 edition of NBC's Today show spent the entire first hour of the show on the following segments:

* the normal 2 minutes of welcoming chit-chat and self-promotion
* the normal top-of-the-hour 4 minute news summary, including references to the Imus controversy
* the normal top-of-the-hour "here's what's happening in your neck of the woods" weather report
* the main 7:00am in-depth session with Don Imus and Al Sharpton
* the normal bottom-of-the-hour 4 minute news summary, including references to the Imus controversy
* the normal bottom-of-the-hour "here's what's happening in your neck of the woods" weather report
* a follow-up "panel" discussion of regular NBC and/or Imus talking head guests about the Imus controversy
* a five minute promotional segment on the much anticipated 2007 edition of "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?"
* an update on the latest contestant ousted from American Idol

Both NBC and CBS led their evening news on April 10, 2007 with more "reaction" to the comments and "reactions" to "reactions", including coverage of the 30 minutes or so the women of the Rutgers team wasted dignifying Imus' idiotic comments with any response whatsoever. (Ladies... He's a loser. Don't waste your breath or your time.)

The most ironic aspect of the "Imus Imbroglio" coverage involved the comments from the Today show talking head guests about the illegitimate use of public airwaves for such offensive speech.

Can someone explain to me how spending nearly 40 minutes of network time on the most watched morning show in the country rehashing moronic, racist comments from one shock jock constitutes "legitimate use" of the public airwaves? How does that elevate the public's understanding of ANY major problem facing America? As the staffers at the Today show spent all day Monday on the phone trying to line up guests to harrumph about impacts of Imus' comments, did any of them happen to glance at a calendar or a newswire? Monday. April 9, 2007. Four years after the famous toppling of a Saddam statue marking the wildly successful replacement of a brutal, murderous dictator with a shiny new democracy that would bring peace, justice and prosperity to a grateful Iraqi people.

What's that? It isn't a shiny democracy? How many car bombs exploded over the weekend? How many US troops were killed on Monday, April 9, 2007? How much of the invasion costs have been covered by a booming Iraqi oil industry?

If the media wants to address a serious issue about the use of public airwaves, why not turn the light on its own shameful conduct leading up to the war in Iraq? Or its swallowing of the "heroic" Jessica Lynch story hook, line and sinker? Or the debates about post-invasion strategies for civil control of the country that produced the security vacuum that allowed the insurgency to florish?

If the media wants to address a serious issue involving the media and college athletics, why not address the corruption of college sports and higher education in general by media giants making millions off broadcast rights for "amateur" sports where EVERYONE makes money except the "amateurs"?. Why not find out where those NCAA dollars are going and how athletic departments and loser alumni with nothing better to worry about than how their lame college sports teams do in the rankings are distracting the entire higher education system from its core mission at a time when a growing portion of our high-dollar technical work is being farmed out to foreign-born nationals?

If the media wants to provide serious analysis of the ongoing effects of lingering racism, why not address the aftershocks of hurricane Katrina? Why not address how FEMA squandered billions in emergency relief dollars paying favored contractors to hire sub-contractors to hire sub-sub-contractors to do work that was finally done for 30% of the original contracted cost? Why not address how that extra bloat could have at least been used to jump-start new service-oriented small businesses while ensuring they had immediate revenue for immediate, measurable work (not a handout) and immediate experience in bidding for contracts, etc.? Isn't small business supposed to be the real engine of job growth in the economy? Or is that only true once every four years on the podium at political conventions?

Heeeeyyyyy! American media! The game! Pay attention to the #^@*~!% game!