Entries Tagged as 'News'

RedState: More News, Fewer Pleasing Lies

David Frum November 8th, 2011 at 10:31 am 58 Comments

Here’s something interesting in a blogpost this morning by RedState’s Erick Erickson. In the course of a fulmination against Mitt Romney and the conservative elites who are reluctantly making peace with him, Erickson writes:

Herman Cain won’t be the nominee because he can’t win women either. Regardless of what you think of the Politico story, Cain’s handling of the story has been an epic disaster. He’s down at least 10 points with women in Iowa. He’s falling even further and doesn’t even realize it. He’s largely been emboldened by a conservative media that is so used to standing by its men that too few are telling Herman that he is now at the point where he must actually sit and answer questions whether he wants to or not and whether he feels maligned or not and whether I think he should have to or not. If he loses women by as big as he is starting to lose the women, he cannot win.

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What the News Owes Entertainment Tonight

September 23rd, 2011 at 6:31 pm 2 Comments

The year 2011 has marked the milestone anniversaries of several of the most important movies and TV shows of all time. Citizen Kane turns 70 this year, and back in January, Hill Street Blues, Magnum PI, and Dynasty had their 30th birthdays. And we already celebrated All in the Family’s 40th at the time.

But while it never equaled (or tried to equal) the quality of the above, this month, another show that has had perhaps the same level of influence as that stellar lineup blows out 30 candles on its birthday cake. On September 14, 1981, Entertainment Tonight first flickered to the light of day (or at least early-evening primetime). And America’s arts and entertainment (and political news) culture has never been the same.

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Is “The Help” Sanitizing Segregation?

August 11th, 2011 at 2:31 pm 55 Comments

Does the light and frothy “chick lit” movie adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel, The Help sanitize the reality of segregation? The Help tells the story of several upper-class Southern white families in the early 1960s, from the amused and bemused perspective of their black housekeepers and cooks – as told to a perky white female journalist.

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Who Said August is a Slow News Month?

David Frum July 23rd, 2011 at 12:20 am 7 Comments

Oslo bombed. The Euro in crisis. Washington DC consumed by debt crisis – all as we head into the so-called dog days of summer, the alleged slowest news week of the year.

When they roll me out from the nursing home to offer advice to aspiring young journalists, I’ll concentrate all my accumulated experience into a single sentence: “Never plan a vacation for August.”

I learned this lesson the hard way in 1989. I was one of group of friends, all journalists, who rented a beach house together in the third week of August. Those were the olden days before email, cell phones, and the Internet. A couple of days into the vacation, we got word that Hungary had opened its border to the West, allowing the emigration of thousands of visiting East Germans: the first step in a drama that would end with the collapse of the communist regimes of Central Europe, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the reunification of Germany.

Good news for humanity, but bad news for our house party, which spent most of its daytime hours in the nearest town, dictating copy by telephone, reading proofs on curly-paged thermal fax paper.

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Why Watch Cable?

David Frum November 28th, 2009 at 9:46 am 12 Comments

As a sometime talking head on CNN, I’m arguing against interest here – but Friday was a day that fully drove home the uselessness of cable news.

All day long, cable breathlessly reported the Tiger Woods story, while managing totally to ignore what had actually occurred. It asked viewers to believe that a non-drunk Tiger Woods had taken his car for a 2 AM drive on the winding streets of a gated community – that he had crashed into a fire hydrant with enough impact not only to injure himself, but to entrap himself in the car – and that his wife, a woman who weighs less than 120 pounds, had used a golf club to smash open the car windshield and drag him to safety. Obviously untrue in every detail, right?

And yet this absurd cover story was repeated over and over again for hours. People who wanted to know what was really going on crashed the servers of the celebrity website TMZ, which had the real story.

But at least that story was unimportant.

Much worse was the coverage of the Dubai default.

Dubai, a hedge fund masquerading as an emirate, owes its creditors $80 billion. Even in these trillion-dollar days, that’s a lot of money. Now it cannot pay.

All day long, the cable networks trotted out “experts” to insist that this default was no big deal, a purely local matter. Not one of them seemed to consider: Hey what happens when Dubai’s creditors begin dumping properties all at the same time, in the midst of the worst commercial real estate slump in a generation or maybe two? What does it mean that the emirate’s landholdings inside Dubai – which helped to secure its huge borrowings – have tumbled to worthlessness? What if Dubai drags its main creditor, HSBC, down to ruin with it?

No, it was all pooh-poohing happy talk.

Only today, with the Thanksgiving holiday behind us, are the major media reporting the anxieties that have gripped market players for the past 72 hours and more.

So much for the 24-hour news cycle.