Thursday, December 3, 2015

Fox News' Shepard Smith not a good breaking news anchor

Watching the news break on Dec. 2, 2015 about the tragic mass shooting in which at least 14 people in San Bernadino, Calif. died, on several channels, I came across Fox News Channel's anchor Shepard Smith. He was trying to handle the voluminous bits and pieces of information coming in that afternoon.

It wasn't long before I realized I was becoming part of a ranting conversation with a person who sounded more like one of a bunch of backyard gossipers voicing opinions over the fence after hanging up the day's wash than a handler of factual information.

Here was a person who should have been delivering the facts as they develop -- and like all other networks -- getting expert opinions on the unfolding event, and he's complaining why police were going to hold a news conference at a particular time period when the event was still active, and "why aren't they ..." and "why didn't they ..."

Sorry, but with a half hour of this manure spreading I had to move on and change channels.

One thing is for certain.  Shepard Smith is good at handling the general news coverage in a light-hearted manner BUT when it comes to a hard breaking news event, he's out of his league.  

Thank God he didn't take his rant so afr that he would have to yell "the sky is falling, the sky is falling!"

C'mon, Fox News, you can do far better than that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What a difference a network makes

It was difficult to see the violence and rioting that took place in nearby Baltimore, MD, yesterday, having visited the city many, many times over the course of 50 years.

As a usual WGAL-TV, Channel 8, viewer (which came from the days of old over-the-air television between VHF and UHF channels), I watched the NBC Nightly News at 6:30 p.m.

I thought they did an OK job covering the riots.  I didn't like the fact the network flew in their anchor, Lester Holt, to appear on a Baltimore street where fire damage occurred. It was not in good taste to also have their "chief political expert" Chuck Todd there to give his view of the mayor's major political test about her response to the riots.  At this point in time, who cares what the political ramifications are?

At 7 p.m., I switched channels and, for the first time in years, watched the CBS Evening News.

My God, was I impressed. First, anchor Scott Pelley was in the CBS News headquarters studio as usual.

Second, the "sound bites" that CBS had of President Obama's talk about Baltimore's event during a news conference were completely different than the ones presented by NBC, and had more meaning, and a more serious message.

Third, CBS found the mother who was videotaped grabbing her son from the demonstrators, ripping off his mask, slapping him for being there and forcing him to go home. Not only did CBS producers find her, but had an in-depth talk which they aired, and for the first time I felt there really are concerned parents in Baltimore.

All in all, CBS had a more in-depth, more truthful presentation of what was going on. And CBS News did not take side-tracks about politics or opinions or take an attitude that they knew the answers to everything.

There is no doubt which of these two networks was more truthful and responsible.

By the way, the NBC outlet in Baltimore, WBAL-TV, continued their own live coverage of the Baltimore situation which they had been doing all day, and did not carry the NBC Nightly News program.  To their credit, they made the right choice not do.  NBC's coverage wasn't worth much.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Gyrocopter is the story? Really?

Here is a real good example of just how shallow our news media organizations are, from "top" network news right down to the local stations and newspapers.

Douglas Hughes was the pilot of a gyrocopter who flew the aircraft from Gettysburg Regional Airport onto the U.S. Capitol's west lawn yesterday (4/15/15) and has been charged with operating an unregistered aircraft and violating restricted airspace. 

Now, we have seen dozens of stories about Hughes and his adventure -- which he publicly claimed he would do --and how he came in undetected in what is some of the most restricted airspace in the country.

Let's get real, folks. The government is never going to be able to put so tight a security seal on some of our agencies that nothing would penetrate. These breaches will happen.

But, alas, our news reporters are going to continue on an intense zeal to press for answers to how to stop such a low flight, and what if that..., and what if this..., and more what-ifs, keeping our security personnel on a constant run to come up with answers to what really is a ridiculous dog-chase-tail scenario.

In the meantime, after one mention in the original stories, these so-called searchers for truth have already left go of what the pilot's original intention was: to bring one letter for each federal legislator to ask for campaign finance reform to make our election process fair to all before it's too late to stop the current multi-million, non-accountable efforts that are legal today.

Therein lies the most important kernel of the whole incident. Most important because what Hughes was trying to present to all of us that our right to a free and fair election of our representative is seriously compromised.  

So, what is more important to you: The fact that a man successfully broke through a secure area and we need to fix it, or that your only representative to make laws you must obey was paid for by big-money contributors to push their own agendas and ignores your needs?

It would be some nice to see some reporters wake up and take hold of the issue and begin exposing it, peeling it back layer by layer to expose what the "campaign finance reform" is really about and the need to fix it fast.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

NBC News takes a severe blow

The problem with NBC News' "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams being caught up in misleading statements about some of his war stories has and will continue to cost the unit dearly.

NBC News was having problems to being with its image anyway. Identifying the "Today" show as part of the news organization has tainted the unit as being a hard news delivery system.  Watching Hoda Kotb and Kathy Lee Gifford drinking booze and walking gossip is not news at all. The earlier gossip section of "Today," the third hour of the four-hour presentation, doesn't do any better.  Matt Lauer would be a detriment in filling the 'Nightly News" anchor chair ... he just doesn't convey an authoritative or commanding appearance.

Chuck Todd comes across as an arrogant young kid who thinks he knows everything when he is based more in statistical analysis.

Lester Holt is the only logical choice in NBC's arsenal if they need to replace Williams permanently.

Williams has been handed a six-month suspension without pay for the statements he made.

NBC has a right to be extremely concerned. Even if Williams returns to the anchor chair after the suspension his credibility and the trust viewers had in him will be gone.  You only need one act to break that trust and it is gone forever. Even if he is to be able to fix some of it, he will always and forever be referred to as the journalist who "expanded" his real role of gathering the news in the war zones.

 NBC News has, over the past few years, diluted its own strength in commanding a large audience by many reasons, some of which I stated here. Brian William just brought it to a head.

The news division had spent much of its energy to assembling a bunch of pretty faces and happy meal content, neglecting the emphasis to present news that affects people from anchors and journalists who have a strong backbone and experience that demands respect.

Friday, January 9, 2015

TV News help terrorists terrorize

What an overkill by television "news" media covering the terrorist situation in France on Jan. 9 which resulted in three terrorists killed in two locations in the country at the same moment.

For over an hour NBC, as example, went back and forth between the two location correspondents and with so-called experts in New York and Washington, covering about every conceivable angle of opinion and suppositions.

The total amount of time to state the actual facts of what happened could be summed up in about 2 minutes. The rest of the time was opinions, predictions, suppositions and fear the TV news media thinks people should have.

That is not news.  A newspaper would stick to the facts and specifically label opinions as opinions by their observers -- and set those off from the factual article.

The bottom line is that the media, especially television, is helping the terrorists spread fear and terror simply by giving them the time to produce the fears.

And it's funny that the television "journalists" themselves commented that this is what the terrorists want. What they don't say is that they have aided the terrorists by extending the time talking about it. But the journalists won't take the responsibility of promoting the fear. What a joke for news.

The way people are getting their new today is really, really sad. Because people are being lured to view/hear news sources by the promotion of blood, guts, emotions and fears, instead of just plain hard facts and let the viewer reach their own conclusions and decisions.