Friday, 22 October 2010

A Dose of Modern Society

One of the interesting stories that wasn't going to be reported much....up until the Juan William's firing at NPR....was this $1.8 million deal from billionaire George Soros (actually his foundation, but it's still his money in the end).

The $1.8 million (expected to be a yearly donation) is supposed to cover a new "wing" of the NPR side of business.  It's a curious thing.  It's not for classical music, opera or jazz.  It's not for international news.  Instead, it's to put two NPR journalists in every state capital.

We don't know much beyond that statement.  I'm guessing NPR hasn't asked many questions, and they'd prefer not to explain how this will work or why it was necessary.  So I'll answer it for them.

There will likely be a senior journalist hired that will really be a part-time job for some local newspaper from the state capital.  He likely already covers the political side of the capital....so it won't be a big deal for him to put ten hours a week into writing or speaking on more state politics.

Then, we'll have a junior journalist...likely straight out of college in the past year and they will get a chance to study under the senior journalist.....mostly to develop connections and prepare to take the senior slot in five to ten years.  Don't worry....NPR can find a way to dump the senior guy by that point.

Together, the two will do a radio update link each evening....and maybe pass fifteen minutes of what's happening in the capital.  It'll be softball tosses in the beginning.  The two will appear as supportive to each side as possible in the first year.  By the early part of 2012....things will slide a bit as they start picking more on conservatives at the state level.  The timing of this....going with the election of 2012....if you were wondering.

A curious thing will develop by this point....where your local stations will start to note more of these reported events by the dynamic duo in the state capital.  You can imagine the channel eleven folks getting a report from Gus and Charley....then repeating it as fact....whether it was 100 percent fact or 10 percent fact.  The local guys won't be bright enough to figure this out.

Eventually, Fox will appear in the state capital as well....and have one of their guys reporting via the state stations associated with Fox.  Strangely enough, the Fox reporter at the state capital will report a very different group of topics from the NPR dynamic duo.  Locals will notice this after three or four months.  Some folks will ask how and why....but no one will be able to figure this out.

Eventually....there will be Glenn Beck-like characters in every state....discussing each evening the comings and goings of your local political folks in Little Rock or Montgomery.  You will get furious and then jump in the pick-up to drive over to the state capital (something you've likely never done in your life).  You will find two guards to the state capital entrance....facing 3,000 angry conservative guys.  Even the state agriculture commissioner will wonder what the heck happened and how 95 percent of the state residents now know him by his first name.

Months will pass while the nation descends into a massive mess where folks talk politics sixteen hours a day.  Even sports bars start to close as political chat bars open.  Topless bars notice things decreasing and add a conservative stripper and a liberal stripper.    For some reason, the liberal stripper always mentions health care as she disrobes...but ninety-eight percent of the guys never catch that mentioned topic.

Eventually, another part-time journalist program will be developed by NPR to place in each of the 3,000 counties of America....which will then report the political comings and goings at your front-door step.  After three months....you will be able to name all seven members of the city council and all nine members of the county commission.  You will know that county commissioner Bob Smith is mostly drunk while at the meetings but he's a democrat and that's acceptable behavior....as your NPR host will educate you on these matters.

At some point....some folks will finally have enough of this and put a layer of tar on some local NPR host....then run them out of town.  The same folks will journey down to the state capital and look for the two guys there....layer them up with tar....and run them out of town.

NPR will be very upset about this tar and chasing-out-of-town business.  Yes, very upset.  Then some journalists from NPR...will ask for pay raises for the trouble involved....and discover NPR isn't appreciative of their efforts at the state and local levels.

In a way, it's a brilliant move by Soros and his machine.  Within a decade....your distrust in American politics will have pumped itself up to maximum power.  You will grow to hate NPR, journalism, and anything to do with "news".

Analyst Versus Commentator

Remember Alien versus Predator?

I sat and finally watched the movie about a month ago on cable TV.  Halfway through...I was ready to turn it off....I just realized that they were just about equal in terms of evil....and it wasn't entertainment after that point.

Today, we came to find out that NPR has this concept called "Analyst" versus "Commentator."

After this got explained to me (certainly not by NPR because it would have taken an entire hour and involved some UCLA Professor named Wendy who writes books on exciting but dead poets from the 1700s of France) via a web site.

When NPR hires folks to speak on the radio...they want to make a difference on what the person can say on their own.  Juan Williams, before he was fired, was a analyst.  Apparently, if Juan had been a commentator...he could say just about anything he wanted to say. Analysts can only state facts...end of the story.

I sat and pondered over this job description deal.  A commentator can say just about anything they want.  If you work for NPR and want to chat on septic tanks and state some obvious negative things about them, it's ok if you are a commentator but as a analyst....you can only state facts.

As a commentator in Bama, if you wanted to talk on dry counties....you could say anything.  As an analyst, you can only state the number of dry counties and the statistics behind being dry.  Your length of discussion is about six minutes max.  The commentator could chat for hours on dry counties and actually make you weep over how great it is to be dry.

A commentator could chat for an hour over trailer homes and offer you a vast amount of wisdom.  An analyst?  Well....he could talk about how many trailers get sold....how many get destroyed by tornadoes....and then wrapped up his five minutes with everything but a recommendation for or against buying a trailer (only the commentator could have gone that far).

It's comical in a way that folks think this way.  Running a radio show like this?  Well....maybe if you had a team of one commentator and one analyst.....it'd make perfect sense, but no one runs a show like that.

So I'm back to Alien versus Predator....pure evil versus pure evil.  NPR's division of commentators and analysts?  Once you realize the complexity of this mess....it' best to switch over to Ice Road Truckers on the History Channel.  At least in their world....a trucker is a trucker.

Selling An Agenda?

Today, the President came out and kinda admitted that he may not have taken all of the time needed or the effort required.....to explain initiatives of 2009 and 2010 to the public.  He says that he'd like to take some responsibility for that.

Basically, he says that if he had done a better job talking about these things.....then you'd feel better today and vote for Democrats in November.

I sat and paused over this....pondering.  There are three observations.

First, in 1975, American Motors came out with the Pacer.  From day one....it was viewed as a loser.  It didn't sell well.  The market that it did thrive on?  Extra large folks came to view it as the most perfect vehicle ever made....because it had lots of space.  Beyond that...it just didn't sell.  The public didn't buy off on the marketing ever.  There's this point where you have a lousy product, and it doesn't matter about speeches or ad's.....because people perceive things in a different fashion.

Second, as we watched stimulus come and go, then the saving of GM and Chrysler, then the saving of the banks, then came the cash-for-clunker episode, and then came the immigration chat of 2010.  None of them came off as a decent sales job.  They were all crafted in a way that most people questioned in some fashion.  Would better cooperation between congress and the White House have fixed these issues?  Maybe....but for almost every single problem to be seen as difficult to grasp or support...one might think that the agenda was screwed up from the start.

Third and final....what happens when people just refuse your message and your agenda?  This is a odd question for the administration to grasp now at the end of year two.  Luck isn't the answer....nor speeches....nor effective Presidential effort.  At some point, you have to modify the agenda and go for something different.

I suspect 2011 will be a very ineffective year for any accomplishments.  Maybe that's a positive thing.  But it tends to show the White House as uncooperative, as much as the House Republicans might be.  Both might end up doing a 'no-sale' to the public.  Right now....hostilities are running negative and I might not want to be shown as uncooperative.

Just some simple observations.