Friday, December 12, 2008

The TR: Blago's Balls of Steel, More Blood in the News Industry, and Begging Oprah

After a really great November, Chicago returns to tragi-comic opera. It's an early O honeymoon test -- the right-wing blood sport has been good fun. Expect O to continue staying gracefully out of the muck as we ...

The Forecast

... comb through the audiotapes. Wow, we're seeing people we actually KNOW. And can Jesse Jackson Jr. really talk his way out of being "Candidate Number 5"? Maybe he'll do some soft shoe with Client Number 9 Spitzer. Expect more players to emerge. And soooooo ironic that the Trib (aka "Thorn in Blago's Side") declares bankruptcy even as Chi-town politics go vaudevillian.

Speaking of which, other depressing newspaper news include the slashing of Gannett's team, the closing of Cox's DC office and NPR's across-the-board budget cuts (including elimination of programs "News & Notes" and "Day to Day"). This must be why over the last few months we've had nearly a dozen name-brand journalists in our tiny little agency asking for jobs ... (Oh, and one more giant X-mas-sales-can't-save-us sad face: KB Toys is going out of business, too.)

O's Afghani policy is going to shake up wonks for a while. Will the escalation bog O down as it did Gorbechev? This may become the big story of 2009 as our newly minted security team gears up for a truly defining challenge. (Which may remain an untold story, of course, as the news industry implodes. Go, go, citizen journalists!)

And, of course, our new energy team has its big rollout next week, accompanied by media tutorials of what it all means. Every time the President-Elect's appointments are announced, his approval ratings shoot up, and we expect that winning formula to continue.

Three cheers for the internetz!!! The Pulitzer Prize will now accept submissions from online-only publications. Thanks for finally taking progress seriously, guys! Now, don't the words "The Pulitzer-Prize-winning Turner Report" sound golden to you?

Expect the continued onslaught of holiday-shopping-on-budget stories. Lean times mean lean coverage.

The Week That Was

We've already said enough about Blago. EXCEPT, in our two favorite blogosphere stories, buddy Colin Delaney awards him a brand spankin' new "balls of steel" statuette, and Matt Cooper offers advice (from personal experience) on how to cut a deal with Fitzy.

Wednesday's valiant "Call in Gay" effort didn't keep many people home. Guess when you're financially shaky you just don't feel up to playing that protest card. After this and the Prop 8 musical, we've just got to ask: When will there be a hardcore grassroots fight, instead of well-meaning but empty gestures?

All hail Tina Fey, new queen of YouTube (and Vanity Fair). Her Palin impression set the online world on fire. Now if only that could translate to solid ratings to keep 30 Rock on the air! Yes, we know about Hulu, and you're missing the point. Stupid 21st century... even the slackers are too lazy to watch TV.

Now for some entertaining (and disheartening) garbage with which to end your week: The Most Outrageous Comments of 2008. From Obama as a "crap sandwich" to "autistic kids are frauds" to ... well, let's just say it gets worse. Kind of like nasty road kill -- you kinda hafta look.

Just 'cuz the Tribune is deep in the red doesn't mean they can't bring Kris Kringle down with them. The newspaper's call-out for photos of children terrified by department store Santas got an avalanche of responses. Horrifying and utterly fascinating. Odds are one of our readers will identify one of these pictures and respond with an angry e-mail. We'll risk it! Enjoy.

Finally, a special message from the culture minister who just can't help herself: Dear Oprah, I know we mentioned you a lot last week, and usually I have nothing but good things to say. But for the love of carbs: STOP APOLOGIZING ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT. You and your celeb-royalty status set an example for millions of women worldwide. ACT LIKE IT. Please?


They reached a bailout agreement, but not for Detroit. And nothing on North Korea. So we'll call it a wash. We LOVED ya at the holiday party! (Especially all those divine people who told us how great the TR is, natch!) Good luck with the rest of the party-hopping season, and we'll see you in the trenches.


Suzanne said...

Great link -- Blago for idjits:

Anonymous said...

Snarky seems out of place in our new political environment. The term “snarky” is the old "hate speech" style that coincidentally grew out of the Neo-conservative period while there was propagandizing of fear and meanness for the theft of the American trust. Bloggers fell victim to this as did the rest of us. "Snarky" seems to feel out of place now.

Also – on Jesse Jackson... With so many Democrats being ethically or morally scorched to ashes, any astute leader would have to wonder why. I read somewhere that Jackson allegedly responded to the quest for the Senate seat by setting up a fund raising event for Blago's reelection. That doesn't necessarily sound illegal. Jackson claims he is not under investigation. As the courts take over in their own time, we'll find out and perhaps ask ourselves, "Who benefited from Jackson's actions?"

In journalism, you allow all sides represent themselves, right? But, did ego, desperation or naivety come into play in Jackson's quest to guarantee the seat? That's where good political advisors come in. Seems Jackson didn't have any, or not the right ones. If
Jackson's dilemma amounts to a legal fundraiser, then he only has a lesson in how to restore belief in his integrity. If Jackson is smart, integrity actions are the next things he will do. After all, in today's America, everyone deserves a second chance, right? Meantime, enough already! People's time is better spent providing their government ideas to prevent the "Bush Economic Depression."

Ben said...

Certainly we at TR Central eschew hate speech. We admit to being occasionally "irritable or short-tempered" (snark, American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language) and "crotchety or snappish" (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary), though those definitions date back to the dawn of the 20th century (the word has been around since 1866). Snark has come to mean "critical in an annoying, sarcastic, grumpy, wisecracking, or cynical way" (Mavens’ Word of the Day). We try to annoy only the perpetrators of malfeasance, to direct our sarcasm to acts and decisions that have arguably earned it, and to leaven our snark with humor.

Misdeeds, short-sightedness and carelessness seem as common today as they did before the current troubles began, and in fact are largely responsible for them. So we feel bound to keep snarking.

Nonetheless we count on reader feedback to let us know when we hit the wrong note or the wrong target, or (especially appreciated) to tip us off to an under-reported or non-reported item of interest to PR/media mavens and their associates. Frankly, we appreciate reader feedback of any kind. So thank you, and please continue to share your thoughts with us!

TheFeministBreeder said...

Am I the only person who thought that Oprah didn't look good skinny? Some people just need meat on their bones. Some people look better heavier - and Oprah is one of them. Perhaps she should end this life-long struggle against her normal body, and just let herself look the way she's supposed to look. You can be healthy without being dirt-skinny.

Suzanne said...

Thank you for those words of truth, Feminist Breeder! Oprah would do all of us a favor dialing down the weight drama. Some of us just carry a little extra padding.

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