The world of late night television been through upheaval lately, none of which seems specifically designed to make it funnier. First, Jay Leno retired and ushered in Jimmy Fallon, who has all the late-night charisma of a slice of Steak & Shake Texas toast. Not to be outdone, Fallon replaced himself with SNL alum Seth Meyers who was mostly notable for making SNL less funny. And not to be outdone by his NBC competitors, David Letterman will be replaced by Stephen Colbert, who is not a late-night talk show host or stand-up comedian, but a caricature of a Fox News talk show host last popular in 2004.
Andrew Sullivan has denounced as a “rhetorical lynch mob” the criticism of liberal pundit Ezra Klein for hiring a controversial young writer at Klein’s new project Vox.com. The left-wing thought police at Media Matters for America attacked 23-year-old Brandon Ambrosino as “a gay man who has made a name for himself by suggesting that being gay is a choice and whitewashing anti-gay bigotry and discrimination.”
The target this time? Donald Trump.
BuzzFeed and McKay Coppins, BuzzFeed’s political editor, are at it again. Why wouldn’t BuzzFeed and Coppins be targeting Trump? Trump is not only a potential Republican candidate for president or governor of New York, he is famously an Obama critic.
And BuzzFeed itself? Contrary to the way it relentlessly brands itself as a source for “news,” the site is nothing more than the latest social media plaything of liberal activism.
What, indeed, is nearly as rare as hen’s teeth? Answer: A major newspaper’s correction to an erroneous story.
It happened earlier this month in the Washington Post. On September 8 last year, the Post carried a story about a little-known Ukrainian port, Oktyabrsk. It strongly implied that the Ocean Fortune, “a 384-foot-long workhorse of the global arms trade,” was loading Russian armaments to be transported to Hafez el Assad’s regime in Syria.
The story said the ship steamed south, “slipped “ through the Bosporus Strait and turned toward the Mediterranean, “Then it disappeared.… Not a trace of the ship was seen for two months.” The article indicated the ship’s automated transponder was turned off.
What were you expecting?
We refer here to that dustup last week over an official MSNBC pre-Super Bowl tweet about a Cheerios commercial that featured a bi-racial family.
The tweet read:
Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family,
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus picked up the phone and protested directly to MSNBC president Phil Griffin. Griffin apologized, the tweet was deleted and the employee fired.
Nothing to see here, folks, move on.
Not so fast.
Again, what were you expecting? What else could possibly make some MSNBC employee post such an incredibly racist slur? How about the reality — voluminously documented over two centuries — that the American Left is and always has been a racist sewer? Why else would an employee of this network that notoriously advertises its addiction to Jim Crow — judging by skin color — think he could write such garbage and get kudos from the boss?
Meet MSNBC. Better described as Jim Crow TV.
Rachel Maddow is smirking today. That, of course, doesn’t distinguish this from any other day. Maddow’s smirk has become part of her now-predictable style, along with the chirpy delivery, the dressing-up of partisanship as wonky pragmatism, and the endless repetitious snark after playing clips. (“What was the name of the act there? Hoot-Smawley? Known to everyone else as Smoot-Hawley?”) But Maddow has particular reason to be self-satisfied today. Chris Christie is trailing Hillary Clinton in a new poll by eight points, thanks to the Bridgegate scandal that Maddow’s network, MSNBC, has been covering relentlessly.
Anchorman 2 is only two hours long, but based on its intensive marketing, which went on for almost a month ahead of the movie’s release date, any viewer could reasonably expect a life-changing theatrical experience. Will Ferrell showed up in character, as suave ’60s news anchor Ron Burgundy, in every SUV commercial, late-night talk show, local news broadcast, obscure Midwestern dive bar, and small-town parade float from sea to shining sea between Thanksgiving and Christmas. He released a book, a Scotch-flavored (well, butterscotch) Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and a Scotch-flavored Scotch, all designed to either promote Anchorman 2 or to begin a slow process of global domination. His media saturation was supposed to build excitement for the sequel. It ended up being almost better than the picture itself — and a better critique of the media industry.
When technology — or anything — becomes all the rage, it’s only en vogue thing to do is speak out against it. So for years I’ve interacted with social media sites, mostly Facebook, Twitter sparingly, determined to benefit from the good they offer, reject the bad, and move forward without becoming that curmudgeonly person who harps on about the dangers of technology.
Alas, I’ve succumbed.
Facebook offers good qualities as a virtual institution, which is really what it’s become. It provides a way people can keep informed and connected, laughing and crying. This can be a good thing. I’ve often discovered important news or personal anecdotes that have saved me from embarrassment (It is? Happy Birthday then!). It’s also good to peek in on the lives of some friends, if just to know they’ve recently gotten a new job or lost a loved one.