The only voice on Fox News I trust

"This is CNN"

Used to be the boss

Let me start out by saying that I worked at CNN for seven years. I enjoyed most of that time. It was during that period that Fox News passed CNN in the ratings. It was interesting to watch the corporate masters with TimeWarner in New York try and find a solution. There is a school of thought that Fox viewers tend to willing to watch a lot longer during the day, while CNN viewers just swing by for a quick hit of news and then go on their way. There was also a thought that people would turn to CNN for major breaking news stories. That led to the company making a number of changes at the top to see whether there was a way to adjust the rest of the lineup to see if there was a way to hold on to the increased audience.

There was a disturbing summer where it seemed like our daytime coverage was mirroring Fox’s, with newsroom managers rushing to get live pictures of every helicopter police chase in the L.A. area. Very sad to watch news coverage predicated on what your competitor is doing. It always seemed to ignore the notion that the people watching the other channel don’t really care what you’re showing… ’cause they’re watching the other channel! And the people watching you don’t care what the other channel is watching… ’cause they’re watching you!

This Week

Anyway, Barbara Walters was hosting “This Week” on ABC this morning. I didn’t see the entire program because I was actually doing some work Sunday morning, but I did catch the roundtable segment of the program.  George Will was there, as usual. The other guests were Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize -winning economist, Arianna Huffington, founder of the “Huffiington Post,” that collection of liberal blogs and Roger Ailes, president of the Fox News Channel. Much of the discussion is on the Huffington site here, it’s also on the ABC News site here.

Anyway, most of their general news coverage isn’t significantly different that anybody else’s (although I know it seems like there’s some opinions coming out). I’m not saying anything about prime time – commentators do not provide news coverage. They provide insight and opinion on the events of the days – even if you don’t agree with anything they says.

They're #1!

Anyway, when Walters asked Ailes about Fox News’ impact on politics, he made the point that he’s not a politician, he’s in the ratings business. Excellent point, and actually that’s the only thing anybody needs to keep in mind about the coverage of Fox News. Ailes, who’s been in TV a nice long time, all the way back to the Mike Douglas Show in 1962. Ailes knows media, and he knows it well. By infusing a point of view into the coverage, he’s made his network number one.

I’ve read the opinion of some who see Ailes as the de facto head of the Republican Party because of the clout the network has with its audience. I take Ailes at his word. He programs to win ratings, because ratings mean money for his employer, Rupert Murdoch. Does he have a point of view himself? Probably. Does it jibe with the point of view of people who watch Fox News? Probably. So, if you don’t like it, don’t watch.


Maybe we should just be friends?

All for One?

I was listening to some talk on morning radio the other day about the movement toward consolidating Memphis and Shelby County. Specifically, the discussion was about the steps the Metropolitan Government Charter Commission will take before a consolidation issue is put on the ballot this fall. I know that Memphis mayor AC Wharton is a proponent of consolidation, noting the savings taxpayers would enjoy without the double spending on city and county services.


Is that the case? I when I left Memphis in 1998, it was to move to Nashville, which is part of a consolidated government, with Davidson County. One mayor, one cop shop, one sanitation service, etc. From that standpoint, yes, it seemed cheaper to pay for one service rather than two.  That doesn’t take the costs of the actual consolidation into consideration. So – are we hearing everything we to need to hear about the up-front costs of combining all the separate services and systems that would have to become one? Interesting piece in the Sunday paper. It notes that cost savings are not the usual results of merged governments. The piece notes “while some governments have realized modest savings, most see costs stay flat or even go up after a merger, according to Marc Holzer, dean of Rutgers University’s School of Public Affairs and Administration.”

Let's Just Be Friends

There is the argument of having one voice to represent the entire area when it comes to business recruiting, lobbying officials in the state and national capitals. Hey – what’s wrong with everybody making their own best case? If Memphis can use it’s position as a transportation hub, along with its surplus of low-cost warehouse space, there you go. If another of the towns in the metro can demonstrate better quality of life, improved educational quality, lack of crime, then good for them. Maybe Memphis should spend its time and effort on improving the things that need improving, rather than try to be the voice for everyone in the area.

I Haven’t Been Well…

Cold-Sufferer's Best Friend

I’ve been struggling with a cold the last few days. I tried to ignore the scratchy throat in the mornings, especially since it would clear up later in the day. That lasted until Friday, when the congestion, headache, runny nose and sneezing caught up with me. I started the Zicam that morning, followed quickly by a does of DayQuil.  I took care of one thing at work and headed to Kroger, where I loaded up on chicken soup, NyQuil, more Zicam and Cold-Eze. Then it was straight home. After a few minutes of watching “The View,” I lapsed into a cold medication-induced coma. Except getting up for medication refills, I was pretty much asleep from about 10:30 Friday morning until about 2:30 Saturday afternoon. I felt better than I had before, but didn’t necessarily feel good.

You can never really be sure of where you picked up a cold. I did stop by a hospital this week; there’s always a good chance of getting sick when you’re around a hospital. Especially when you brag to a co-worker that you’ve managed to get through cold & flu season without a cold or the flu. That’ll show me.

I Feel Like He Looks

It’s tough to get anything accomplished when you feel like crap. I hadn’t felt like blogging for a while. I was reminded of that Saturday evening when the lovely Peggy Dierssen asked me on Facebook whether I was still blogging. Yes dear. It was Larkins that gave it up… because he couldn’t take the heat — could you Joe? Could you!? Sorry, I think that’s the NyQuil talking. I’ve been a tad lax on a number of things lately , including blogging. I’m hoping to get back on the ball, once I feel a little better.

It’s the Little Things…

Almost Perfect

As I mentioned, I finally got my car back from the body shop. Yes, it took an incredibly long time. The first thing I noticed was that a lot of drivers don’t seem to notice my car on the road. It does have a low profile, which may make it harder to notice. That may have played a role in that kid smacking into me a few weeks ago.  Some goober in a black Mercedes almost did the same thing on 55 the other day. It may be time for something a little bigger.

The car itself runs fine, although I’d gotten used to driving bigger rentals and borrowed cars over the last month and a half. Now, the first time I went to put gas in the car, the little door that covers the gas cap wouldn’t close. A delayed effect of the wreck, probably. The upside is that the guy who runs the repair shop told me to bring the car back in in 30 days to make sure things are still working. So hopefully, I’ll be able to get it fixed…

Excuse me now, I’ve got to go blow my nose.

Black Beauty

My long national nightmare is over. After being without my car since the 4th of December, I’m back behind the wheel of my 1999 Toyota Celica. That was the day a skinny teenager in an F-150 crushed my driver’s side door in an accident on Kirby Parkway. Promised delivery dates of Christmas, New Year’s and the week after New Year’s came and went. I became enough of a regular at the Enterprise Rent-a-Car on Union Avenue for the woman at the counter to know me by name. I eventually reached the limit of what my insurance would pay for what turned out to be three different rental cars.

Here’s the fun part. I called the body shop while I was in California last week. They told me that the car would be ready by last Friday. While I accepted most of the estimated delivery dates with a grain of salt (okay, more like a boulder of salt), I did mention this time that they really had to deliver this time since the insurance money had run out and I’d be paying the entire cost of a rental on my own. I was fairly busy on Friday, catching up on a lot of the stuff that collected on my desk while I was out of town. The day goes by – no call from the body shop. My ride comes by at 5pm, and we head to the shop. I had a couple of last-minute things to do in the office, so maybe it was actually 5:05pm. Which meant that by the time we got to the shop, at 5:35, they had been closed for 5 minutes and my fully repaired car was locked inside the garage for one more weekend! When I got home, I found out that the shop had left a message on my home phone at around 3 in the afternoon. Hmmm… I was sure they had my cell number.

Bright and early Monday, I was there when the garage door went up and the owner pulled my car out to park on the street. One $500 deductible later, and I was driving my own car for the first time in more than a month. I was a couple of blocks away, on my way to work when my cell rang. It was the secretary at the body shop, telling me she had forgotten to return my credit card. As I turned around (the wrong way down a one way street!) it occurred to me – hey, she called me on my cell phone – they had the number the entire time!!!

Look Ma, no dents!

Anyway, look at this – it’s a thing of beauty:

Now that I’m behind the wheel of my own ride again, please, give me a wide berth – they’re taking bets at work on how long it’ll be before I’m in another accident!

No One Gets Up Early

Once again, I’m on assignment. This time, I’m in the Pacific Time Zone, spending some quality time in Palo Alto and San Jose, California. Stanford is a beautiful campus, but, as often happens in this part of the country, it’s cloudy, wet & chilly. But only on our shoot days. The day we got here and the day we leave should be nice. That won’t really help picking up exterior video.

Will in the Lift

The Lobby

We’re up the street from Stanford, in downtown Palo Alto at the Cardinal Hotel. It’s one of those historic old California hotels, 86 years old, with many of the original architectural touches still in place. Even the elevator has an outer door that you have to hold open while the interior door slides open. You almost expect a guy in a uniform on the inside asking “what floor, mac?”

Here’s the thing. Everyone is nice. The bike lanes on and off campus are huge. But – except for the Starbucks around the corner – we haven’t been able to find a single restaurant in the area that opens for breakfast before 7am. Not one. Nothing wrong with Starbucks, but a place with tables and food that’s not zapped in a microwave would be nice.

Waiting, Watching, Wondering

Back on December 6, I mentioned that I had taken my car to Gordon’s Auto Body on Beale Street after it was hit on Kirby Parkway. They were backed up at the time, and because of that, told me it could be Christmas before I got my car back. Apparently, they were busier than they thought, because the week it was supposed to be done they told me that it would definitely be the week of New Year’s. Okay, I thought.  State Farm was covered 80% of the cost of a rental car, so at least I had a way back and forth. Well, just before New Year’s they told me they were grinding on it (!) and that it would be the week after, ’cause they were so busy. Last week, they were painting, but that was a problem because it was so cold, the paint couldn’t dry. It’s supposed to be done this week.

Of course, Enterprise Rent-a-Car called the after I had heard from the body shop and told me that the insurance company had reached the limit on what they would pay for the rental, and that I had been paying full price for several days. Since I was going out of town, I went ahead and dropped the car off Saturday.

Will the car be ready to pick up this week? Stay tuned.