Friday, 23 February 2018

CNN and MTV

Back in the early 1980s....I admired M-TV a good bit.  In a normal week, I probably watched six hours of music videos.  My attraction was mostly over the fact that you could take a two to four minute tune....run some great story video in the background, and it was like a sales-job over clothing, cars, lusty women, or Miami.

Over the past decade, I've come to view news networks (MSNBC, Fox, CNN, etc) as having gravitated over to having an effort with a text to attract your attention, and some video-type background that keeps your attention.  All of this....leads to a comparison to M-TV's videos.

Oddly, each of these are built in the same way....three to ten minutes in length.  They've even gone to having actors step in and be occasional fake witnesses to an event....give it that professional image and the right text of words to fill the agenda.

They can sell something....in the same way that M-TV sold clothing, cars, lusty women, or Miami. 

Course, I won't be critical of this....it's their right to be a sort of fake news outlet, and sell 'something'.  The problem here is that as M-TV matured, and audiences moved on....the sales-pitch became tougher each year and a lot of people simply laughed over the images in the end.  It's today to sell clothing, cars, lusty women or Miami. 

So I gaze over at CNN and kinda wonder....at which point will they fail or start to lose viewers?  Well....they already admit their viewer-count is down, and profits are starting to be marginalized. 

I sat this week and watched some of the anti-gun CNN pieces, and realized that it fell into the same path.....clothing, cars, lusty women, Miami, and now anti-gun. Maybe it'll sell for a couple of weeks....at least until the public tires of it, and then it'll just be another theme piece forgotten.

The Cop Story

As the story unfolds from this school in Florida with the shooter....we kinda find today that the school-asset-officer (whatever that means) stayed out of the shooting zone for three minutes.  He never engaged the shooter, and basically did nothing.  It's an older guy.....been with the county police for thirty-odd years, making $75,000 basic pay a year.

I've read a fair bit over the guy, and have come to four basic conclusions:

1.  In terms of being a policeman, or officer, or security guy.....no, he was there as some liaison guy who was supposed to talk to kids, and parents.  Beyond that, I don't think he really had the background or training.  Maybe they gave him a gun, and made sure he showed up twice a year to practice shooting it, but I don't think he was really a policeman.  If they meant for him to be there to protect kids.....I don't think they trained him to really be that kind of guy.

2.  The $75,000 a year?  Well....being some kind of liaison-guy for that kind of salary.....is a joke.  They could have gotten someone fresh out of college for maybe $35k to $45k for this type of work.  The cops were wasting the guy there, for that kind of money.

3.  Is this the kind of guy you have at every school in Florida....for security?  If so, you got a bigger problem.

4.  Finally, I come to necessity of having cops at schools.  I grew up in another era....where the one and only town cop usually showed up at the football games to ensure no fights broke out.  If you got an issue to exist where you need cops on the campus.....all the time?  Well, you need them to be able to arrest and detain kids very easily.  You don't see them giving that kind of authority to the cops in that school.

This guy now?  He'll retire....draw a pension, and quietly move away from Florida.  Sad deal for a guy who was probably a year or two away from retirement. 

The If Situation: Charlie Wilson

I sat the other day and watched Charlie Wilson's War...with Tom Hanks.  Second time that I've watched it.

It provokes a lot of history, and what if situations.

For those who aren't aware of Charley and his history, a brief moment.

Charley was this Democratic (shocking as it might sound) Congressman from east Texas.  He had a military background, and the Congressional job was more or less a playboy-like gimmick for a number of years. Then one day, after the Russians had invaded Afghanistan....Charley got onto this idea....why not stage a guerrilla-like war with the CIA helping those Mujahideen 'warriors' to retake their land.  So in 1983, Charlie arranged a funding vehicle which brought roughly 40-million in shoulder-launched missiles into Afghanistan.  The air-war basically ended within a year, and the Soviets more or less had to admit defeat....leaving Afghanistan.

As the smoke cleared, the US then failed to really review the next step....halted additional funding, and the Mujahideen moved to radical Islam.  This is where Osama Bin Laden became this iconic figure and we progressed to 9-11.

You can look back and realize that all of these problems we have today....go directly back to Charley Wilson.  There are basically two "IF" situations here:

1.  If Charley had never gotten this stupid idea.

2.  If the CIA had funded an after-action step when the Russians had left.

Either of these two steps, would have changed history and prevented 9-11 from ever occurring.

If Charley had never gotten this idea....the Soviets or Russians would still be in Afghanistan today.  Laden would have become a hunted figure eventually, and the KGB would have killed him.  The towers would still be there.  And we'd have marginal two-star security still at our airports. 

CNN, Script, and Acting

There was a time in the mid-to-late 1980s....where CNN was really a news organization.  Today?  It's basically become a drama-center or opera-house. 

I noticed folks talking to a great extent about the town hall-like operation over the Florida episode, and I watched about fifteen minutes of the 'act' via Youtube.  Its safe to say that it was designed for a media event, and to project some agenda item.

Fake?  Well....the problem here is that you sit and watch this, and everyone has cards to read.  When you reach the stage where your question is thirty words long....sometimes even going to sixty words....it's not a real question anymore, and the audience has lost focus by the end.  It's designed now by CNN to be some kind of drama, with acting and moderators-pretending-to-be-journalists.

I sat about ten years ago and listened to a former wrestler describe the layout of an entire season.  The staff of the wrestling headquarters had a big huge white-board set up, and they had around fifteen confrontations laid out for such-and-such wrestler....how they'd interact with this guy....how some bad-guy would arrive, and the dramatics necessary for a successful conclusion.  In a way, CNN has become that type of operation.

One might go and suggest it's time for a TV comedy show to come up and pretend to be some CNN-fake organization, play out the fake drama for entertainment, and just do a parody of the CNN-act.