Archive for the ‘Huffington Post’ Tag

What Are You?   13 comments

I’ve been told that I can be culturally insensitive.

It’s not a goal, I assure you. However, as an old white guy, there are many things that I will never experience. I’ll never be arrested for Driving While Black … though, come to find out, there is a Henry Mowry that’s been arrested for driving while drunk. He skipped on his bail … and I was once briefly detained while a friendly policeman proved to his own satisfaction that I was not a drunkard from Tennessee. That was black.

Thank you, Officer.

I will observe that if I’m occasionally culturally insensitive, it’s probably because of my extremely cloistered upbringing. I grew up in a rural area of Missouri that was pure WASP … even Catholics were an extreme minority. I never met a Jew until I went to college. It’s not that I avoided contact with non-white, non-Protestant people … they simply weren’t around for the first 18 years of my life.

Here I am in blackface, with a black actor, Greg MacDonald, in whiteface. It was in a one act play festival ... and a comment on racism. I submit this as an example of my cultural, uh, expansion.

Here I am in blackface, with a black actor, Greg MacDonald, in whiteface. We appeared in a one act play, presented as a part of a MIzzou festival for amateur writers. The play, with a name I’ve forgotten, was a comment on racism. I submit this as an example of my cultural, uh, expansion. Circa 1975.

I am happy to report that when I went to Mizzou, I broadened my cultural horizons immensely.

I had a Jew for a roommate … and witnessed the making of homemade bagels. I went to a Jewish wedding. I worked closely with people of many heritages at the Mizzou theatre. My horizons were broadened at the land grant state university that was founded in 1839.

Thank you, Mizzou.

35+ years later, I’ve been in the cultural melting pot that is Los Angeles for … 35+ years. Though it was not a specific goal to widen my cultural horizons, that has happened.

This week, a former co-worker posted a Facebook link to a very interesting article from the Huffington Post … that uber-culturally sensitive news site.

My friend linked to an article by a multi-cultural, self-proclaimed “blendiva.” My friend also has a multi-cultural heritage, and she related completely with the Huffington Post author who was tired of strangers questioning her genetic heritage. My friend has been there, too: here’s a typical dialogue with a stranger that my friend remembers:

He: Where are you from?

She: The Bay Area.

He: No, where are your FROM?

She: Oh, you mean what nationality am I? I’m Japanese.

He: You speak English really well.

She: Good thing, ‘cuz it’s the ONLY language I speak.

And here’s another one she remembers:

He (in front of her older daughters): What are they?

She: Half Japanese and half German

He: Well, how the hell did that happen?

Andromeda Turre, from her Facebook page. She's the author of the provocative Huntington Post article ... and she's tired of people asking "What Are You?"

Andromeda Turre, from her Facebook page. She’s the author of the provocative Huffington Post article … and she’s tired of people asking “What Are You?”

I may be culturally insensitive … on rare occasion … but I would NEVER make that kind of comment to another human. I mean, c’mon, who would say something like that?

Back to the inspiration for this post, and my friend’s comments … a post on Huffington Post by a singer named Adromeda Turre. She’s a New York resident, and got tired of the online dating scene when she was consistently asked, “What Are You?”

OK. As I stated in the beginning, I have been accused of being culturally insensitive. But would I EVER ask another human that I didn’t know well … “What Are You?”

No.

Please read Andromeda’s article. The post is here.

Now, I will observe that I am interested in genealogy, and that makes me interested in where I’m from. Yes, I have investigated the heritage of my family, and the heritage of my wife’s family. I’ll fully disclose “What I Am” in an upcoming post.

For now, just know that I’m English, Irish, German, Dutch & Swiss. And I’m just getting started. My wife, on the other hand, is Serbian, German … and some other country that’s changed its name a few times. Slovack, Polish, Austria-Hungarian … something like that.

So, YES, I am interested in my family heritage. But as to what I am … that’s a little tougher. I’m from Missouri, and I definitely worked hard to become a Missouri Tiger. But as much as I identify myself as a guy from the Show Me state, I’ve lived on the Left Coast longer than I lived in the Midwest.

So, what am I? Well, it’s complicated. I can only imagine how that question might frustrate people with a heritage that’s viewed by some as “unusual.”

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Huffington Post: What Are You Is Not An Icebreaker

Solvitur ambulando   Leave a comment

walkingI don’t always agree with Ms. Huffington, but she’s correct here.

Arianna Huffington

Jounalism, I Mourn For Thee (Part 3)   2 comments

Save The Newspaper

The Huffington Post is at it again … now they are trumpeting the cause of the anti-Koch brother factions that are lobbying to keep the non-left-leaning Kochs from buying the Tribune Company. They ran a copy of the above ad in a story this week, all a part of their coverage of the movement to make sure the Koch brothers are not allowed to purchase the eight newspapers owned by the Tribune Company.

Here’s what the Huffington Post had to say:

The fight is on against possible Koch Brothers ownership of the Tribune papers, which include the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.

Unions and liberal advocacy groups are planning protests and running ads (see photo below) on the Los Angeles Times and New York Times websites starting Thursday, according to liberal groups Courage Campaign Institute and Forecast the Facts.

And they have the leaders of the California state legislature behind them. Darrell Steinberg, the California Senate President pro Tem, and John A. Pérez, the speaker of the California Assembly, said Wednesday that they would oppose the sale, the New York Times reports. Both men control seats on the boards of California’s major pension funds.

I oppose it,” Steinberg said of a possible sale to the Los Angeles Times. “I believe newspapers are a public trust. The Los Angeles Times has a long and respected tradition of community leadership and impartiality. The Koch brothers have a long and demonstrated history of a rigid political ideology.”

About one-quarter of the assets held by Oaktree Capital Management, the leading shareholder in the Tribune Company, comes from public pension funds, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. In a letter sent Thursday to Bruce Karsh, president of Oaktree and chairman of Tribune Company, ten public employee unions warned that a sale to the Koch brothers “would be adverse to the retirement security of public employees whose pension funds you are responsible for managing and investing.”

The letter said the Koch brothers are “anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-public education and anti-immigrant.”

My favorite, though, is their quote from an LA City Councilman Bill Rosendahl:

Rosendahl also introduced a motion last week to pull city pension money from the investment firms that own the Los Angeles Times if they sell the publication to buyers who do not support “professional and objective journalism.” The motion was also signed by Councilman Dennis Zine and Councilman and mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti.

The statement that whoever owns the LA Times must be dedicated to “professional and objective journalism” … is just political-speak for they just can’t want journalism that conflicts with the interest groups running scared from a potential sale to the Libertarian, anti-government Koch brothers.

Nowhere in the Huffington Post do they offer any sort of contrary opinion. Nowhere in the article is there any attempt to give the opinion of the Koch brothers. Buried in the 14th paragraph is a quote from a spokesperson for the Kochs … that was addressed to the LA Times. The Huffington Post, apparently can’t be bothered to speak with the Kochs, and they certainly haven’t quoted anyone speaking to the advantages that might be gained through their ownership.

Current management of the LA Times seems to be on board, too. They’ve accepted an ad from the same CourageCampaign.org that created the above ad … here’s what LATimes.com looked like Friday morning:

LA-Times---Koch
Click through the ad to their website, and here’s the lead paragraph:

The Koch Brothers are the worst of the worst. Oil and gas billionaires, they’re known for buying elections, funding anti-science organizations, union busting, dodging taxes, and twisting democracy any way they can to promote their personal agenda.

The truth is, I’m totally neutral in this ownership controversy. I am a daily subscriber to the LA Times. I do want truthful, objective journalism. I have no faith I’m going to get that from the current management of the Times, when they’ll take ads with hyperbolic rhetoric fighting against their potential future employers. What are those people thinking?

Journalism, I mourn for thee.

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Journalism, I Mourn For Thee (Part 2)

Journalism, I Mourn For Thee (Part 1)

Huffington Post

 

Posted May 11, 2013 by henrymowry in Media

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The Truth About Rush Limbaugh   5 comments

Rush Limbaugh

Rush is heard on the EIB Network … “Excellence in Broadcasting.”

This is not a political piece. It’s a media piece. And the media coverage of the Rush Limbaugh Show is generally deplorable.

This week, we’ve been hearing from the media and financial reporters how the CEO of Cumulus Media, Lew Dickey, is saying that the controversy surrounding the Limbaugh show is depressing his advertising sales.

I’m going to stick to facts … not my political agenda. Here are the facts:

1. Rush Limbaugh is the # 1-rated radio show host in America. That was true 10 years ago, it was true last year, and it’s true today.

2. A little over a year ago, Rush gave a description of a woman that was rejected by the Republicans as an expert to provide testimony before congress … but did testify to the Democrats in congress. This woman, Sandra Fluke, said that she believed birth control should be provided to her free as a part of Obamacare. Here’s how Wikipedia describes the incident:

On February 29, 2012, Rush Limbaugh labeled Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute” based on her speech before House Democrats. Fluke appeared to support mandating health insurers to cover contraceptive costs. Limbaugh stated:

“[Fluke] essentially says that she must be paid to have sex—what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”

Political figures, including President Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner, voiced disapproval of Limbaugh’s comments. On March 3, Limbaugh apologized to Fluke for his comments, saying his “insulting word choices” were meant to be “humorous”, and that he never believed her to be a “slut” or a prostitute. Fluke rejected the apology as dubious and inadequate.

3. After these comments (and before them, for that matter), Limbaugh was lambasted by the left. Many advocacy groups attacked him, and continue to attack any advertiser that buys ads on his show.

4. What financial impact these moves have had is not public knowledge. Both sides declare victory, and neither position can be proven. Have advertisers left the Limbaugh show? Yes. Have others joined the show? Yes.

5. It’s also true that Cumulus has its own shows … and replacing Limbaugh with a show that they own might be more lucrative … but perhaps not, given that Limbaugh is the top-rated radio host in America.

6. Limbaugh always refers to himself as an entertainer … “with talent on loan from God.” He’s not a politician, and he’s not required to be anything but entertaining. Which he is, to the largest group of radio listeners in America (are you getting this?).

Rush Limbaugh7. Limbaugh is a divisive, lightning rod personality that is hated by much of the left and loved by much of the right. Personally, I deplore his spiteful descriptions of people like Sandra Fluke … even as I applaud the ratings and revenue he has delivered to radio broadcasters over the last 2 decades. And that he continues to deliver as the top-rated radio personality in America.

8. Limbaugh is syndicated by the Premiere Radio Network, which is owned by Clear Channel. He is not a part of the Cumulus radio network, as the Huffington Post article claims.

9. His show is carried by over 500 radio stations, including 40 significant stations owned by Cumulus.

10. Cumulus also owns competitive syndicated radio shows, including shows hosted by Mike Huckabee and Mark Levin. (note: they are not as big of a deal as Rush. Huckabee is thinking about cancelling his show now, actually.)

11. The CEO of Cumulus, Lew Dickey, has blamed Limbaugh for revenue losses at his stations. Limbaugh’s spokespeople have stated that the problem is the Cumulus stations, not the Limbaugh program.

12. Limbaugh has intimated, through his spokespeople, that he may leave the Cumulus radio stations; his contract with them is up at the end of this year.

13. Is this bad for Limbaugh? Unclear. Is this bad for Cumulus? Unclear.

The truth is that radio networks are very competitive, and Limbaugh’s show is owned by the largest radio group, Clear Channel. His show does appear on many important stations owned by the # 2 radio group, Cumulus. If Limbaugh’s show comes off Cumulus stations, that could hurt Cumulus (as they would be losing the #1-rated host in America). If Limbaugh’s show moves to Clear Channel stations, that could be good for Clear Channel … who wouldn’t want the #1-rated host, if they were available?

HOWEVER, the Huffington Post column today was absolutely inaccurate. Even the headline implied an untruth:

Cumulus CEO On Rush Limbaugh Ad Drop: ‘The Facts Are Indisputable’

The truth is, the facts ARE disputable. And in any event, the Cumulus CEO is hardly an impartial bystander. He’s got an agenda … and millions of dollars at stake. He’s making a case to his investors that he should drop the top-rated radio show in America, saying it’s costing them money.  Is that true? Well, he said it was. Would he take a position to gain a competitive, commercial advantage? You bet.

The Huffington Post column by Jack Mirkinson continues to paint a very twisted portrait of the situation. All of the “experts” quoted in the article are either representatives of the viewpoint of the left (Media Matters, Mediaite) or they are direct competitors for advertising dollars with the Limbaugh Show (Dial Global, Cumulus). I don’t know Mr. Mirkinson, but it appears that he knows how to write a hatchet job. It doesn’t appear, at least in this case, that he understands how to report opposing viewpoints.

Be careful of the “facts” reported by today’s media, people. With the extreme revenue pressure being felt by media, you never know if what media is reporting is properly vetted, effectively edited, or merely provided by an advocacy group or a corporation with a hidden, competitive agenda.

For balanced coverage of Limbaugh’s situation, I highly recommend Tom Taylor Now, a radio industry newsletter (that’s free!). Tuesday’s edition, with Limbaugh’s situation covered in story #2, is here. An indisputable truth is that Rush Limbaugh has been a very successful radio host for many, many years. He has millions of loyal listeners, and he has station owners that fight for the right to broadcast his show.

That’s true.

It’s also true that Limbaugh is a very controversial figure that many people want to fail.

But he hasn’t done that yet. No matter how loudly that viewpoint may be shouted from biased publications such as the Huffington Post.

Disclaimer #1: I work for a radio industry software supplier. Our products are competitive with other products owned and sold by both Clear Channel and Cumulus subsidiaries. The stations owned by Clear Channel and Cumulus are not our customers.

Disclaimer # 2: I worked for many years selling advertising to companies currently owned by both Clear Channel and Cumulus. I no longer do so.

Disclaimer # 3: I worked with Tom Taylor for a couple of years, and he’s the best journalist working in the radio industry. In my humble opinion.

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Journalism, I Mourn For Thee (part 2)   1 comment

Los Angeles TimesLoved a piece in the Huffington Post this week. It reports that if the LA Times is sold to the “wrong people,” then half the staff will leave.

And “wrong,” in this case, is that if the new ownership smells like David and Charles Koch – firmly Libertarian – then the left-leaning staff doesn’t think they want to play anymore.

Chicago TribuneThe paper is a part of the Tribune Company, and the bankruptcy of that company has already had a severe impact on its eight papers: Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Sun Sentinel (South Florida), Orlando Sentinel, Hartford Courant, The Morning Call and Daily Press. The Tribune Company appears to want to sell off those publications, however, and who buys them – and whether or not they break up the group – will have many old school tongues a-wagging. You know, old school … because who really cares about newspapers these days, anyway?

What fascinates me is that there’s no discussion, apparently, about how the paper is already representing a political viewpoint … that’s just accepted.  Well, OF COURSE the LA Times is left-leaning. And if new ownership wants to change that, the staff just won’t stand for it.

So here’s my old school view.  Shouldn’t the first priority be reporting the truth, instead of a political view? Since when do journalists get to use their job as a personal political platform?

Please note, I’m not advocating that ownership gets to use their buckets of ink to advance a political platform, either. Rather, I’m advocating that we have an independent, free press that keeps the rest of us honest. Investigative reporting is not done by our government, and it’s not done by our military. It’s not done effectively by the blogosphere, either. It’s not done by anyone other than our free press, which is important to the strength of our republic.

The current LA Times staff found a way to publicly announce a straw poll conducted by an editor on the newsroom floor.  Perhaps it was intended as a pre-emptive positioner, meant to discourage the Kochs or any other non-left-leaning ownership group from buying the publication. After all, if the staff won’t work for anyone not with a left-leaning view, then the new owners might end up with an empty shell of a company with not enough people filling the desks of this premiere journalistic enterprise in LA.

To which I say, good. Fire’em all. Hire journalists whose first question is not the political persuasion of the owner, but rather, will the ownership have the resources necessary to tell the stories of most interest and relevance to their readers? Tell those stories, tell them truthfully … and ownership’s political persuasion is not that important. The LA Times was owned for four generations by the Chandler family … and they were conservative. And they were revered in this rather liberal community. Why? Because the strength of the newspaper, and the impartiality of the newspaper, was more important than the political persuasion of the owner.

As it should be.

Journalism, I mourn for thee.

More

Journalism, I Mourn For Thee (part 1)

Huffington Post: Half Of Staff Will Leave IF…

New York Times: Conservative Koch Brothers Making Play for Tribune’s Newspapers

Reuters: Who’s Afraid Of The Koch Brothers?

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