The Spectacle Blog

Media Bias Monday: The Decline of Al Jazeera

By on 1.25.16 | 3:38PM

This month, Al Jazeera America has announced it is going out of business. That's no surprise as that anti-American network's US operations were never successful.

The parent network, Al Jazeera, was already in trouble, as it has a reputation for being anti-American (it has even made a documentary sympathetic to 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden). It's owners, who rely on oil sales for support, face decreasing fuel prices (at least $2 a gallon in most US gas stations on the east coast) - such problems aren't helping the Qatar-based news service's woes. But clearly, Al Jazeera America had even bigger problems: the market has spoken and has decided nobody wants to see America painted as an oppressive villain to Islam and to the entire world.

It’s Not to Be

By on 1.25.16 | 12:14AM

The Denver D surely took Tom Terrific out of his game Sunday. He could hardly do a thing without one or more guys in orange blowing their nasty breath in his face. I kind of regret it. I was looking forward to Brady being on hand and smirking when the over-inflated Roger Goodell presented the Vince Lumbago Trophy to Robert Kraft. (Or is it the Guy Lombardo Trophy?) And I always enjoy Bill Belichick’s detailed and florid answers to reporters’ stupid questions after big games. Alas, it’s not to be.

Pats Fall Short; Broncos Win AFC Final & Will Face Panthers in Super Bowl L

By on 1.24.16 | 6:58PM

Although they came close, it was a disappointing afternoon for the New England Patriots as they fell to the Denver Broncos 20-18 in the AFC Final.

With 12 seconds left in the game, Patriots QB Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski on fourth down to bring the Pats within two. But on the two-point conversion, Brady was intercepted for the third time in the game. A failed off-side kick by Steve Gostkowski sealed their fate.

Brady was under pressure the entire game from the Broncos' defense, particularly from Aqib Talib, Malik Jackson and DeMarcus Ware, and was sacked four times. Despite 310 yards, Brady never got untracked.

Broncos QB Peyton Manning completed 17 out of 32 passes for two touchdowns. It was the fourth time Brady and Manning faced each other in the AFC Final and the fifth time overall in post-season play. Manning has now won three of five of these matchups, although overall Brady has won 12 of their 17 games against each other. But that didn't matter today. Manning will be playing in his fourth Super Bowl, his second while in a Denver uniform.

Trump Probably Could Get Away With Murder

By on 1.24.16 | 1:07AM

I know Donald Trump was joking when he said he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue, shoot someone and not have his poll numbers go down.

Yet he's probably right. Donald Trump could shoot and kill dozens of schoolchildren and his supporters would say it was the kids' fault for getting in his way. If his supporters stuck up for him after he questioned John McCain's bravery and stuck up for him after he mocked a disabled reporter is it really a stretch of the imagination that they would stick with him for committing murder?

It's a morbid thought, but we live in the most morbid of times.

Whose Side Is the RNC On?

By on 1.23.16 | 5:29PM

Has the Republican National Committee been infiltrated and infested with Democrats? Or perhaps body snatchers? The boys and girls on first Street Southeast do make it difficult for anyone to say, with a straight face, that he’s a Republican.

First the RNC annoyed those frustrated with business-as-usual, don’t-rock-the-boat Republicans by making it clear they would try to torpedo insurgent Donald Trump, who was unacceptable to them but wildly popular with the Un-Boehner crowd. Then they went hat-in-hand to the Donald, pleading with him not to run as an independent. Now they’re making kissy-face with Trump, letting on that the unimaginable may not be so unimaginable after all, and have thrown National Review and principled conservatives under the bus because that venerable conservative organ published a series of cogent arguments as to how Donald Trump is not anything remotely like a conservative and is unfit to be president.

The RNC has cashiered NR from partnership in the upcoming Houston debate. RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said NR was cast into outer darkness because the magazine had decided to “go after one of our own.”

Like Dolly Parton Needs a Third…

By on 1.23.16 | 2:53PM

As if this election cycle weren’t confusing and dispiriting enough, word now arrives that former New York Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg is “seriously considering” running for president as an independent.

It’s truly difficult to apply the adjectives “serious” or “seriously” to this cycle. Just how many New York nutters with out-sized egos and money to burn are there?

Like the Donald, Bloomberg has been a Democrat, a Republican, and an independent. It’s truly hard to say where he would draw support from beyond the anti-gun and anti-Big-Gulp crowds. He claims he might be willing to spend a billion dollars of his own money on a campaign, demonstrating once again that it’s possible to have more money than sense. The NYT headline says Bloomberg “senses an opening” in the race. What with the Trumpkins and the Hillaryites emotionally welded to their candidates, it is beyond hard to see where this opening is.

Look for the spirit of Harold Stassen to announce soon.

Bill Johnson, R.I.P.

By on 1.22.16 | 2:22PM

Bill Johnson, the skier who became the first American to win a gold medal in Alpine downhill skiing at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, died today in an assisted living facility in Oregon at the age of 55.

I do remember Johnson winning the gold being a rather big deal at the time. In particular, I remember him appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. That was a long time ago. Carson was still at the helm of The Tonight Show and Yugoslavia was still a country.

I must admit I hadn't given Johnson much thought since that time, but evidently the years after his gold medal triumph were not kind to him. For lack of a better way of putting it, Johnson's life simply went downhill. Sure he didn't help himself by partying too much which resulted in him not making the U.S. Olympic team for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. His fall continued with divorce, bankruptcy and the drowning death of his infant son.

#FreakoutFriday: Government Dietary Guidelines and You

By on 1.22.16 | 12:17PM

Last week, the US Dietary Guidelines Committee—which is a group of really healthy government employees—issued their latest guidelines on how and what you should eat. I could list a few of the findings but I have better advice: ignore them.

Why? Firstly, they’re likely to change next week. We’ve all seen this in action: one day, Americans are told eggs are good for you only to be told to avoid them the next. At one point pregnant women were told to avoid tuna fish; today, expectant moms are told that fish is an important source of food for a growing baby. Booze was good last month, but bad this month.

But there’s a second and probably more compelling reason to ignore the dietary guidelines: given the schizophrenic nature of this government-issued diet advice, it’s better and probably safer that you decide what’s best for you based on your own conversations with your doctor or your nutritionists.

Trump-Cruz 2016? If Cruz Isn’t Qualified to Be Prez Then How Can He Be VP?

By on 1.22.16 | 11:38AM

Jeff is calling for a Trump-Cruz ticket.

Maybe Jeff didn't get the memo, but Trump has been arguing that Cruz isn't qualified to be President because of his Canadian birth. In which case, if Cruz isn't eligible to be President then how can he be eligible to be VP?

After initially stating he would not file suit during last week's GOP debate, The Donald had changed his tune by Sunday and suggested he might file a lawsuit against Cruz after all. But who knows what Trump will say this Sunday, never mind after February 1st.

If Trump beats Cruz in Iowa, Cruz fades in the polls and Republicans coalesce around The Donald then I think Trump will say, "Ted was born in Calgary? Gee, I didn't know that. It's no problem for me." At which point, a Trump-Cruz ticket would certainly be a possibility. In fact, I'm sure Cruz would be at the top of Trump's VP list.

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