Monday, April 12, 2010

ABC News - Freedom of Speech Unleashed!

Every Friday evening, MeanMesa meets up with a group of acquaintances.  It's warm, not political and very refreshing.  However, just before we begin our weekly "get together," there are the inevitable moments where conservations can be a bit more, well, casual.

This most recent Friday was no exception.  Before any other of the others had arrived, MeanMesa found ourself alone with two cranky neo-cons of Biblical proportions.  Now, not to introduce any confusion, MeanMesa regards both of these two men highly and definitely counts them as close friends -- regardless of their politics.  Just to keep things a wee bit more dynamic, MeanMesa was proudly sporting a wonderful tee shirt -- bought at a local thrift store -- with the following printed very legibly on its front:  "Proud to be a Bernallilo County Democrat."  (Albuquerque is in Bernallilo County, New Mexico.)

The "focal points" of the ensuing argument may be of interest here.

Neo-con number one "broke the ice" with a "talking point" crack about the recently passed health care insurance reform bill.  "Why don't all those people just get a job and buy their own health insurance."  Of course, there were the predictable MeanMesa punctuated repartees.  The remainder of that short snippet of debate would only make this post even longer.

However, literally nanoseconds after that first salvo had been handled, neo-con number two launched his own attack.  "I saw a woman at WalMart using her food stamp card for groceries while her two kids were playing with their cell phones in the check out line."  Once again, MeanMesa responded with an inflammatory "So what?"

However cute those brief interchanges might be, the point lies somewhat afield from the  precise words spoken.  Each of my neo-con friends, once having said his corresponding lines, sincerely believed that he had presented an overwhelming argument in favor of his position, whatever that might have been.

The question arising in the geriatric mind of MeanMesa was "How do these otherwise relatively reasonable folks slip into such a state of failed logic?"

By the way, both neo-con number one and neo-con number two enjoy Medicare health insurance coverage.  MeanMesa's IQ dropped about five points as a result of the conversation.

If this posting has "two anchors," this unsettling anecdote is one of them.

Next, MeanMesa reflects on the equally unsettling emails which came rolling in after our last post about ABC News, Rupert Murdoch and Disney Land.  If you haven't had a chance to read it, feel free to do that now, but come back for the rest of this one.

Those surprising emails, almost to a letter, suggested that, perhaps, MeanMesa had been, shall we say, a tad bit "over caustic" in our criticism of the shell game being played out by the networks, particularly ABC, and, even more particularly, ABC News.

Caught completely off guard at the prospect of even possibly having irritated a few MeanMesa visitors, there was no alternative but to carefully re-examine the, uh, evidence.  And, in fact, it will be precisely the results of that re-examination which will, hopefully, present the second of the two anchors mentioned earlier.

MeanMesa, always cordial and respectful almost to a flaw, sat and watched every word of tonight's ABC News, looking for possible mistakes we had made in our terribly biased and unfair first estimate.  

So, here's the "news" from ABC News, April 11, 2010, Channel 7, KOAT, Albuquerque.  By the numbers...  And, since this might be a 21st Century version of what they called "yellow journalism" in the distant past, well,

1. President Obama is meeting with his Russian counterpart to sign an extension to the START treaty concerning nuclear weapons.  The main focus of the negotiations (actually completed last Thursday...) was to take necessary cooperative measures to keep the nukes out of the hands of terrorists.

2. A story about the Kentucky woman who sent her adopted Russian son back to Russia because she couldn't handle his apparently severe behavior problems.  The Russians, never particularly famous for conditions in their orphanages, complained about the child abuse of having the unattended boy on an airliner for 10 hours.

3.  The same story from a Russian viewpoint was reported by the famously objective George Stephanopolous.  He plans to interview President Medvedev and report on the conversation on Good Morning America Monday.  George promised "more later.."

4. The "news" program inserted a "one liner" from Chuck Schumer complaining about the new "carry-on baggage fees" planned by some domestic air carriers.

5. A similar "one liner" announcing the passing of Dixie Carter, a star of the Designing Women series.

6. A humorous commercial from Allied Bank about an "egg management charge."

7. A quick note concerning the drug Toviaz, complete with warnings, side effects and an admonition to "talk to your Doctor."  It cures overactive bladder in women.  BTW, you are supposed to "have a doctor."

8. A friendly reminder that the sleep aid Lunestra can assure a good night's rest if you don't become suicidal or decide to drive your car around while you are "sleep walking."  Maybe, "sleep driving?"  Again, side effects and a "talk to your Doctor."  MeanMesa realizes that most Emergency Rooms don't treat insomnia for indigent, uninsured patients.

9. Finally, the "news" broadcast was able to get to the TIGER WOODS Story.  He's playing in the Masters Golf Tournament and losing because he is so sincere and upset about his, uh, problem wifey.  His advertising sponsor, NIKE, likes the story so far because it centers on REDEMPTION.

10.  Another "one liner."  This time a "cutesy" report about the last tail gate party in the parking lot of the Dallas Cowboys' stadium.  The stadium, famous for the hole in its roof where "God can look down to see His football team," will be demolished by local, Dallas Texans.  We all know how that works.

11. Next, a nice message from Reclast, a once-a-year bone strengthening treatment for those who suffer from osteoporosis.  As usual, there are warnings about side effects, the admonition to "check with your Doctor" and a web

12. Following this, there are a few short comments about Total Raisin Bran.  It seems that buckets of minerals and vitamins are added to the giant pot in the factory where this $4 per box nutritious delight is manufactured.  Next, maybe, the neo-cons running the Supreme Court would like to nominate this marvelous product to the "top tier" of the food pyramid.

13. There was a nice, folksy commercial from the entirely "grass roots" club of positive attitudes about the Oil and Gas Industry, what good citizens they are and how many millions of people they employ in the production of medicine, cosmetics, plastic doo-dads and, of course, noxious  gas producing gasoline.  It was sponsored by the, uh, Energy electronic, "human flavored" food substitutes.

14. The next commercial brought us a few comments from our friend, Chlor Trimetron, a decongestent of some sort which will not make us feel drowsy -- even if six commercials in a row will.

15. Finally, the last commercial was from our friends at All State Insurance.  When we select them for car insurance -- and, if we don't have a wreck -- we get a 5% rebate on our premiums.  Wait a minute.  How does that policy fit in with the "shared risk" idea, and why didn't they just lower the price 5% unless you have a wreck, then raise it?  Oh well.  MeanMesa smells a gimmick.

16. After the commercial commercials, ABC felt obliged to advertise their own network's Monday offerings, again on Good Morning America.  "When should you take the car keys away from your aging parents."  If you can't figure this  out without the help of the "experts" on Good Morning America, maybe you're parents didn't raise you very good judgement after all.

17.  Back to the "news."  This time a "one liner" about increasing violence against Jews.  The ABC "news expert" blamed European Muslims pissed off about the attacks on Gaza.  Duh.

18. To end this "news" segment, a drawn out tale reiterating everything that anyone has said -- so far -- about the sex abuse scandal and Pope Benedict.  The Pope asked the Virgin Mary to protect the Church.  The story included a heart wrenching interview with a predictably upset victim.

19.  Back to the commercials.  There was not so much as a chance in Hell that we would get through this without an erectile dysfunction advertisement -- you know, the bath tubs facing the sunset?  Lilly Pharmaceuticals suggested daily Cialis for those sudden romantic surprises.  Good luck getting it in an Emergency Room -- even after health care reform.

20.  Next, we hear from AdVair, a miracle drug to improve lung functions for those with COPD.  Naturally, there are side effects, a web site and, by the way, "ask your doctor."

21.  At last, a product that television "news" viewers can actually purchase all on their own -- Dr. Scholl's orthotic insoles!

22.  Then there is the friendly reminder to use Advil for whatever pain you might have.

23. Two more quick plugs for the ABC Network.  The first is for Extreme Home Makeover.  The second, for Good Morning America -- an interview with the Russian President and George Stephanopolous.  Is ABC having trouble getting viewers for Good Morning America?  MeanMesa has never seen it.

24.  The finale for this "news" presentation is a report on "mysterious street signs" with humorous messages instead of traffic instructions.

And, there you have it.  Free speech, uh, unleashed.

Perhaps also interesting is a quick recap of what wasn't in the "news."  MeanMesa assumes that this was no more than a simple oversight.  Apparently, according to ABC "News," all this stuff either "isn't true or doesn't matter."

There are the two giant American land armies in Iraq and Afghanistan who, it turns out, are in one hell of a shooting war today, and yesterday, and most likely, tomorrow.  Most of the government of Poland has been killed in a plane crash in Western Russia.  The people of Kyrgasztan are fighting tooth and nail for their freedom a few miles away from a critical US Air Force Base at Mana.  The Iranians have trotted out a shiny, brand new high speed centrifuge to refine uranium for their bomb after our own little dictator and his draft dodging cronies repeatedly scared the hell out of them to win the last US "election."

This sickening list of misplaced priorities could go on much longer.

Thanks, Disney Land.

By the way, does anyone else consider this to be yet another Education Reform story?  Oooops.  Does anyone consider this educational? Something which might produce an "informed electorate?"

Hell, could this be the source for the snappy comebacks from MeanMesa's neo-con friends?  Is this source of information relied upon as the unclean hordes of American hill billies and bigots stay "up to date" with current happenings?


Free speech is a right with responsibilities.

So is public education.

MeanMesa says "Hey, ABC News.  Straighten up your act or get off my public air waves before you completely wreck the country."

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