Daily Archives: September 16, 2009

GleN Beck has lost his diddy mind

I’d like to start by saying that I don’t like the way Glenn Beck spells his name. I realize he did not choose the name. But for reasons I cannot fully understand myself, I am opposed to the second, unnecessary consonant. It’s probably only because I don’t like him, and not an actual aversion to the double-N. But I refuse to use it.

So, moving on. GleN Beck has lost his diddy mind.

You know what, forget the actual politics of the country at this moment. Forget the right and the left, forget liberals and conservatives, Michael Moore and Michelle Malkin, Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly, Rachel Maddow and Ann Coulter, Chris Matthews and GleN Beck. Put that all aside for a minute, we can all agree that we disagree.

But here is what GleN said today, Sept. 16:

“Wow… Can I tell you something? (head shake) Is there a single American, a single American (using hand gesture) that wants to see harm come to any member of Congress or the President of the United States, at any time? A single American? (head shake) This is outrageous to say.”

He was complaining about a report on MSNBC, where my girlfriend Contessa Brewer spoke about white people bringing guns to a rally where the President was. GleN points out that the video showed one of the men with a gun strapped to his chest, and that man happened to be black. He keeps talking about how MSNBC “doctored” the video by not showing the man was black. Of course, I distinctly remember seeing that particular video, and noting that my sweetheart was in fact talking about whites with guns when the picture was a black man with a gun. I don’t think the fabulous Miss Contessa was suggesting that ONLY white people were showing up with guns, just pointing out that it was happening. If nothing else, it would have been worth her pointing out that some of those carrying guns were of many different backgrounds and cultures, not just white dudes. And she didn’t, and that’s too bad.

But GleN has a bigger woody for this one than he does for ACORN. And he’s just appalled that my raven haired gal pal would SUGGEST that someone would even THINK to harm the President.

Dude. Whatever GleN is drinking, I want some. Make it a double.

The Secret Service had to investigate more than 500 death threats against Obama last November. GleN apparently has forgotten the cheers of “kill him” screamed out at rallies where Sarah Palin denounced the then-candidate as someone who “pals around with terrorists.” Recent reports indicate that death threats against the president have increased by 400 percent.

And of course, there’s the lovlies over at the Fox Nation, the site put up and allegedly “moderated” by Fox, and some of their unsettling quotes:

  • God I would love to use him as target practice – posted by “Bluesteel”
  • Hope it’s your last – posted by “be,” on Obama’s birthday
  • I hope he gets an exploding cake!! – also posted by “be”
  • And the Koran ain’t thick enough to stop a .308 round…be careful what you hide behind – posted by “Texas Hippy”

Obama’s not alone. Bush faced numerous threats as well. People called him a terrorist, suggested HE be bombed, HIS home be destroyed with him in it.

Same goes for every President down the line. Whoever is in office, someone, somewhere, wants them dead. Not to mention what GleN has clearly forgotten — JFK was assassinated. RFK was assassinated. Ford was shot at. Reagan was shot.

Of course there are Americans who want to see members of Congress and The President of the United States dead. What a terribly ignorant thing to say. And to do so with such fervor, with the dramatic sighs and shrugs and crazy “can you even believe it” eyes.

What the hell is wrong with GleN Beck? And someone, find his diddy mind and return it.

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The little hooligan

I posted some photos on my Flickr page of young George today. See, my sweet boy found a pencil, so naturally, he drew. On the wall. All over the wall.

After I posted the pictures, a few friends commented that maybe they aren’t baby ready — they were horrified. Now, I don’t know if they were horrified that the child had drawn on the wall, or that I thought it was worthy of a picture rather than punishment, but I assume it’s a little of both.

But LOOK at him! Here he is posing with his mural masterpiece:

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Admiring his work:

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Having absolutely NO idea that he’s been a bad boy. Look at that smile:

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They aren’t the only photos of the child being naughty. There are multiple pictures of him on the table, for example:

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This is what happens when you walk away without actually LOOKING what is on the kitchen table.

And of course, he opens things up and makes toys out of objects that ARE NOT toys, such as the famous tampon incident:

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I’m only sorry that the similar photos I have of Hank, such as the time he dumped out an entire salt shaker on the table, and pretended it was a massive Little People snow storm, are on film rather than easily accessable on digital.

So it made me wonder: Am I not strict enough? Are my boys little terrors?

See, to me, and to most parents I know, these incidents are rites of passage. When Hank got home from school today, and saw George’s artwork on the wall, he was horrified. At 7 years old, Hank will never do something as “bad” as draw on the wall again. George is 3, and I only have him this way for so long. He’ll be 7 soon, then 11, then 16, then a man. As a man, he’ll be serious and he’ll work. He’ll have worries and fears. He’ll try and fail at some things, while reaching success at others. He’ll struggle. He’ll ultimately prevail, I hope. And when that happens, I’ll have photos of him drawing on the wall and using a tampon as a whistle.

Until then, I plan to hold on to my foul mouthed hooligans as tightly as possible.

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Gotcha!

So, I have no idea if Kanye West is a jackass. I don’t know him. I know that taking the microphone from someone who just won an award and basically yelling out that she didn’t really deserve that award is a pretty jackass thing to do. But as to whether he is a full out jackass in his day-to-day life — beats the hell out of me.

But the fact that President Obama called him a jackass, and that was instantly twittered or tweeted or, the term I prefer, “twoked” around the world, illustrates a  pretty big point I have made over and over to the people who I speak to as a journalist — there is NO SUCH THING as off the record.

Mr. President, you are talking to REPORTERS. You’re on the record.

Last year, I wrote what I would like to refer to as a pretty “scathing” article (that’s a fun word — “scathing” — say it with me — “scathing”) regarding the city administrator where I work. Seems Mr. Administrator was irritated with me as I questioned why agenda items were being mysteriously left off of the AGENDA. Flustered, he began a tirade of  “So, chastise me, it’s my fault, I’m the city administrator” and “Maybe because I didn’t want to chastise myself in public” and  “Maybe I didn’t want to show my lack of professionalism by not bringing it up. I don’t know why I didn’t do it. I can’t answer that question” and “In the mad rush of the 11th hour I didn’t get it on there, that’s my mistake.”

First — I never got the 11th hour thing, meetings are every other week. But I digress. After this article was printed, everyone from the police chief to my Dad told me I had made the administrator look like an ass. But I most certainly did not. He made himself look like an ass. I just printed it. The administrator eventually called me, hollered at me, HUNG UP on me only to call me back. He said, “I thought we were just having a casual conversation.” I had to remind him, we’re not buddies. I’m a reporter. Asking you questions. You’re on the record.

(Just a little FYI here — this man then refused to talk to me for a year, and you know what, it didn’t affect my ability to report on city news even one little bit.)

Public official + talking to a reporter = ON THE RECORD.

Of course there are exceptions. You certainly don’t want to quote everything someone says to you. This is your bread and butter as a reporter, and if you want people to talk to you, you must be respectful. You must respect their boundaries, at least to a degree. If someone specifically tells me “off the record” or “please don’t print that,” if it is a reasonable request, of course I will honor it. For example, if they say, “off the record, I think that city official is a total jerk,” there’s no point in priniting it, other than to cause trouble, which isn’t respectable journalism. That’s why I’m confused why people were so hurried to repeat the President’s comment. It only serves to stir up trouble, for everyone, inlcuding the people who let it out. But — it wasn’t LEAKED. He said it. To a reporter.

Now, if someone were to say to me, “off the record, I’m the one who stole all the money,” then clearly, all bets are off. That’s getting printed, buddy.

If someone will only speak to you off the record, sure, that’s good for background information. But if you cannot get the information verified, and they still won’t go “on the record,” then you’re wasting your time. I doubt that, had I been there, that I would have posted a blog entry about what the President said. But I certainly would have gossiped about it with other people. It was the President, after all. And I don’t know why Terry Moran thought a Twitter post with his opinion on something that he didn’t hear directly was a good idea, career wise. I mean, really, Terry, if that is you real name? Really? You want to burn a bridge… with the PRESIDENT? Smart move.

This whole thing reeks of “Gotcha Journalism,” a phrase which I find to be completely and utterly ridiculous (tangent again — Sarah Palin sure does a good job making up catch phrases for things that don’t exist. Gotcha Journalism, Death Panels. She should start her own urban dictionary). There’s no “gotcha” in it. YOU ARE TALKING TO A REPORTER. No matter how embarrassed people are when they get busted saying something stupid, they still weren’t “”gotcha-ed.” They said what they were thinking. They just happened to say it to someone with a recording device and a handy little notebook. There’s really nothing I can say or ask that will elicit a response from someone which isn’t somehow true. There isn’t a question I can ask that can suddenly make them blurt out something that they absolutely didn’t mean to say.

As journalists, we need to find a balance between what the public needs to know and what is good old fashioned gossip. But if you’re rolling, then they are on the record. It’s not the journalists who need to be careful. It’s the people who they are speaking to who need to think twice before opening their mouths.

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