things you may not have seen last week

If news were fish, would be a sushi shop in Oklahoma.

Ive got a lot of old news here, stuff that I probably shouldnt be serving up. But its good stuff though, so I feel like I dont really have a choice. But I will caution you. This stuff might not be the freshest stuff there is out there. If youre the kind of man or woman that likes to get your news before its eyes fog over, youre in the wrong place.

So, here we go.

First, I was absolutely shocked by this story in the Washington Post about an NBC affiliate station in Tampa, Florida that runs a series of paid advertising spots in the form of an interview program right after the Today show every morning. The show, called Daytime looks and feels just like your typical interview program, but what the audience doesnt know is that everyone appearing has paid $2,500 and up for the privilege. I imagine that the hosts, a man and a woman, even make with the witty Regis and Kathy Lee-like banter between these paid spots. Heres a quote from the article:

While Land likened the paid segments to an “infomercial,” the slickly produced “Daytime” looks like a regular local morning show, with NBC’s peacock logo and a “News Channel 8” insignia at the bottom of the screen. On one program last month, co-host Debra Schrils was seen taking a swamp-buggy tour at Florida’s Babcock Wilderness Adventures before chatting up the company’s tour director in the studio. “I never knew that existed, and it’s just south of here! And there’s so much wildlife!” she gushed.

I cant believe that they can get away with running the NBC logo and the News Channel designation over this. Its absolutely insane. And its probably something well see a hell of a lot more of. Be on alert.

If I were in Tampa Id take up a collection to buy a segment, and then Id go on and talk about journalism and ethics… and maybe Id throw in a few mentions of the new issue of Crimewave too. Its just $4 and it will be available on our website on November 1.

Secondly, there was a really good piece on Salon about the designated free speech areas that are being used by US Secret Service to corral protesters a good distance away from our President and Vice President when they appear in public. If youre saying something nice and holding up a God Bless You, George sign, you can stand right up front. If youre holding up a sign asking about the 16 words in his State of the Union Address concerning Iraqs nuclear ambitions, then youre hustled off to the fenced-in area a thousand yards away. The article is accompanied by a photo, which, if it were real, would be the best piece of photo journalism ever. I suppose that it could be real, but its just too perfect Heres a clip from the article:

“It looked more like a concentration camp than a free-speech area to me, so I said, ‘I’m not going in there. I thought the whole country was a free-speech area.'” The detective asked Neel, 66, to go to the area six or eight times, and when he politely refused, he handcuffed and arrested the retired steelworker on a charge of disorderly conduct.

Thirdly, as if all there werent enough, George Bush last week decided to sidestep national media, the folks who might ask the tough questions, and go directly to the regional news outlets that he felt were more likely to carry his message about how well things are going in Iraq without commentary. And heres a quote from a Washington Post story on the subject:

Bush aides make no apologies for targeting local media — which, they say, tend to be less cynical. “We believe local media and regional broadcasters are more interested in letting viewers or readers see or hear what the president has to say,” said Dan Bartlett, White House communications director. “It’s less analytical and more reporting.”

And, lastly, heres a news story from the BBC. It would appear that another one of the men named by the FBI as a hijacker in the suicide attacks on Washington and New York has turned up alive and well.

I could go on and on, but I think you probably get the point by now. Were fucked.

Good night.

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