Archives: July 2008
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Apparently John McCain missed the Barack Obama teflon memo. The latest, and now controversial, ad out of the McCain camp includes images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, that maybe are supposed to suggest…we’re not sure, that Barack doesn’t wear underwear? That he’s a bad parent, who dates his bodyguards? Maybe if the whole thing wasn’t so laughable we’d be offended (we mean, seriously, Britney and Paris? they don’t exactly inspire adulation). Some people are suggesting that the ad is racist because, in the words of Josh Marshall, it is “pushing the caricature of Obama as a uppity young black man whose presumptuousness is displayed not only in taking on airs above his station but also in a taste for young white women.” Many people are noting it was just this sort of imaging that the GOP used against Harold Ford Jr. back in 2006.
McCain says the interpretation is ridiculous. Obama responded with his own video saying McCain is taking the low road. Truthfully, we think it’s just one more instance of McCain demonstrating he actually has no idea whatsoever about anything that could remotely be called current. Watch both videos for yourself after the jump.
We’ve sort of been ignoring the Montauk Monster up until now, mostly because between the water bug we found in the bathtub yesterday and seeing Jaws at far too young an age we’ve had our fill of scary water monster stories. However! Being that it’s a slow Thursday in July, and there is very little else to tell you about (you know, notwithstanding the blow the court just dealt to Bush over whether White House aides can be subpoenaed, or, the fact that the Bush administration is trying to make birth control the equivalent of abortion under the eyes of the law) we bring you the Montauk Monster!
Gawker is calling him Monty, and he washed up on the beach earlier this week looking very much like something out of Where the Wild Things Are only scarier because he came out of the depths of the ocean. Add to that the fact that no one seems to know what it is! Fox News is speculating it might be a raccoon or a dog and a commenter at Gawker writes in to say the whole thing is a photoshop hoax, though Gawker isn’t buying that argument. Some folks suspect it’s merely part of a viral ad campaign, though for what we hesitate to ask. Here at FBNY we’re all sticking with it being an animal experiment gone awry signifying that we are all destined for alien abduction on October 14, 2012. Or else it’s a dog, though we’d rather it be a monster than a sad drowned doggie, truth be told. Who wants to go to the beach!
SmartMoney deputy editor Matt Heimer put down his abacus to compete on Jeopardy last Friday. We caught up with the self-professed FBNY fan in the game show afterglow to talk Trebek, velociraptors, and his rigorous pre-taping training. He wouldn’t tell us how much prize money he won, but he did tell friends at his viewing party that he was “not paying for all the drinks.”
Heimer had support from SmartMoney colleagues, who showed up to watch his game show debut. SmartMoney.com’s Rob Wherry and Ken Shadford even set up a practice Jeopardy game in the magazine’s video production room back in April to prepare Heimer for battle.
Heimer said he used to watch Jeopardy a lot when he first moved to New York and couldn’t afford to do much besides watch TV. He tried out and didn’t make the cut back in the ’90s, but he still felt his “really immense capacity for remembering useless information” should be put to use on-air.
“I had a blast,” he said. “My biggest hope was that I wouldn’t do anything embarrassing that I’d be teased about for the rest of my life.” He watched another taping where a category was “Financial Planning,” but Heimer didn’t get so lucky with his own game’s categories. His performance met his expectations, and he’s especially proud of his answers “Peter the Great” (a Daily Double!), “velociraptor,” and “beefalo.”
His advice to Jeopardy hopefuls? “There are a ton of media people out there [for whom] it’s worth rolling the dice.”
Go on, hit Trebek with your best shot.
This news comes to us via Just Jared, and has yet to be confirmed (so, sort of similar to John Edward’s alleged love-child news coming to us via the National Enquirer, one supposes). Anyway, the pictures will not be published this week and needless to say, all the money is probably going to charity.
What does it all mean? According to the ever-vigilant Times purple is the new beige, or blue, or whatever news anchors used to wear prior to this week.
Is this, as the Times seems to suggest, some sort of code for “we are not biased!” — purple being what you get when you mix red and blue. Or is it all just a mid-summer sartorial coincidence? Or is the Times merely feeling the mid-summer lack of news (and, if so, who are we to criticize?) We leave it to you to decide.
“If current trends in advertising are permanent, we have a really serious problem.” No kidding. Words to live by from Sam Zell who may have met his Waterloo in the form the Tribune deal he orchestrated last year, which he is currently referring to as “the deal from hell.” No doubt slightly more hellish for the couple of hundred employees that have lost their jobs in the past few months. And it’s not going to get better anytime soon thanks in large part to the enormous debt Zell has piled on, which “is forcing Tribune to take more and more desperate actions.” It’s unclear whether the fact Zell threatened to “cut off their ties” of Tribune executives “if he caught them looking so formal at future meetings” is one of them. Also worrisome: Zell’s obvious disdain for the newspaper business, his questionable hiring practices, and the fact that his COO, Randy Michaels, a former “shock jock, has installed “jukeboxes, pinball machines, and a sculpture of a six-legged man running in circles.”
Meanwhile, in a scraping the barrel sort of way, there is some good news coming out of the Tribune-owned LA Times. Top editor Russ Stanton told staffers that the recent newsroom “deep cuts” had numbered 135, instead of the expected 150, and that fewer pages would be lost. So there, the road to newspaper hell is not without its tiny rays of sunshine.
Despite promises to the contrary, it looks more and more like Chinese officials will limit media access during the 2008 Olympics kicking off in eight days. (Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise. The country promised clean air, but that wasn’t exactly true either.)
Given Beijing’s decidedly negative attitude towards snooping reporters, perhaps in-country journos should consider staying anonymous. Deadspin’s trio of intrepid comrades have chosen this route, citing a “healthy fear of deportation (and an outside chance of imprisonment).”
Mark Glaser‘s Mediashift went the other way, recruiting University of Missouri journalism student Elle Moxley to blog about her experience on the ground in Beijing as a media volunteer. Moxley, along with 58 other students, has toured the city and been less than impressed. “By the end of the day, we are calling this ‘Propaganda Tour 2008,’” she writes.
She rapidly became even more disillusioned with the state of the country:
As I navigate Beijing’s packed streets with a knowledge of Mandarin that begins and ends with xie xie (“thank you”), I’m not so sure [the media freedom exists]. I might not speak the language, but I can still read the signs.
Great stuff, but watch out for those mascots. They look cute, but censorship is no laughing matter.
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