9 items from 2009
Smallscreen comedic actor Tommy Smothers took Penn Jillette to task for appearing on Glenn Beck.s TV show. In the Crackle network of webisodes, "Penn Says" is a regular platform for engaging comedian and performer Penn Jillette to discuss whatever is on his mind. Smothers, described as a childhood hero by Penn, was apparently livid with him, and screamed at him for being "wrong" and "evil" about appearing on the conservative Glenn Beck show. Jillette defended his decision to apear on Beck, and other talk shows where he and the host don't see eye to eye on key issues. Watch the whole thing: *Nsfw language Talk Synopsis: When Penn Jillette has an opinion, it's a safe bet he won't »
- April MacIntyre
Meet the man who turned some of Fox News Channel’s biggest fans into its harshest critics.
When on-air analyst Marc Lamont Hill was fired by Rupert Murdoch himself last Friday, the news was probably overshadowed by the all-out war being fought by the cable news channel and the White House. But when the CEO of News Corp. publicly pink-slips a guy at a shareholders meeting in response to a question from an activist shareholder, it’s worth noting.
The question came from Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media, which together with another conservative-leaning media watchdog, David Horowitz, had called on Fox News repeatedly from their respective blogs in recent weeks to dump Hill. Ordinarily, these men were ardent supporters of Fox News, but Hill’s amply documented roots in radical leftist politics were too much for them to take.
Nevertheless, their insistence on Hill’s ouster underscores a naivete »
- By Andrew Wallenstein
I've had these thoughts for some time, but have been reluctant to express them. Now so many others have voiced them that it's pointless to remain silent. I am frightened by the climate of insane anti-Obama hatred in this country. I'm not referring to traditional conservatives or Republicans. They're part of the process. I'm speaking of the lunatic fringe, the frothers, the extremist rabble who are sweeping up the ignorant and credulous into a bewildering and fearsome tide of reckless rhetoric.
There have always been nuts. Remember when the John Birch society thought Kennedy was a communist? In those innocent days most of the American people were reasonable. They'd shake their heads in wonder at such a weird notion. Kennedy might be one of those liberals, but he wasn't a commie. And when people said Johnson murdered Kennedy? Also ridiculous. But slowly, ominously, things began to change. After his death, »
- Roger Ebert
Whatever you think of Michael Moore -- whether you love him, hate him, or (like me) believe that he's an ingeniously captivating big-picture muckraker who can truly be great when he sticks to reality (which he often does), but is anything but great when he proves overly willing to bend it -- few would deny that he's the most prominent, incendiary, and headline-grabbing, the most influential feature documentary filmmaker of our time. (I would say that the other pre-eminent nonfiction Big Cheese is Ken Burns, who works on PBS in what is by now almost a form of his own. »
- Owen Gleiberman
Read about the top 5 talk-show controversies of 2009
Olbermann's request for fact-finding was a somewhat cheeky reply to...
Read More > »
- Mickey O'Connor
Today, after weeks at the number one spot on Amazon's non-fiction politics book list, Glenn Beck's Common Sense has been bumped by a new arrival, Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, by first time author and progressive activist David Swanson. Beck, one of contemporary comedy's most extreme right wing targets is host of nationally syndicated radio show, has a hugely successful, multi-million viewer evening show on Fox News, and has had several other best-sellers out previously. Swanson is a progressive activist, co-founder of downingstreetpapers.com and a regular writer on www.opednews.com. As an activist, he's been arrested several times, for protests calling for ending the war or pursuing justices through impeachment. His book bumped Glen Beck's book to second and Michelle Malkin's Culture of Corruption to 3rd place in non-fiction politics and was last seen as »
- Rob Kall
Bill O'Reilly has been brought low by the same process that afflicted Jerry Springer. Once respected journalists, they sold their souls for higher ratings, and follow their siren song. Springer is honest about it: "I'm going to Hell for what I do, and I know it," he's likes to say. O'Reilly insists he is dealing only with the truth. When his guests disagree with him, he shouts at them, calls them liars, talks over them, and behaves like a schoolyard bully.
I am not interested in discussing O'Reilly's politics here. That would open a hornet's nest. I am more concerned about the danger he and others like him represent to a civil and peaceful society. He sets a harmful example of acceptable public behavior. He has been an influence on the most worrying trend in the field of news: The polarization of opinion, the elevation of emotional temperature, the predictability »
- Roger Ebert
Fox News is on track to have its most-watched year ever, showing significant ratings growth despite having just come off a highflying election year.
With the second quarter coming to a close, Fox News averaged about the same number of viewers as the top three other cable news networks combined. And while rivals including CNN (-22%) and MSNBC (-18%) took hits following last quarter's inauguration-fueled boost, Fox News (-3%) remained nearly steady.
Compared with last year, the Fox News (averaging 2.1 million viewers, 509,000 adults 25-54 quarter-to-date) is up 35% over last year in primetime viewers and 48% in the demo. CNN (805,000 viewers, 210,000 in demo) fell 16% in viewers and 29% in the demo. MSNBC (787,000 viewers, 259,000 in demo) climbed 15% in viewers and about on par, -3%, in the demo. And CNN Headline News (553,000, 201,000) showed very strong growth, up 39% and 37%, respectively, and is on track for its best second quarter.
The new standings are strong enough to »
- By James Hibberd
Best.Gay.Week.Ever? I don't think so. First, there was that Amazon.com kerfuffle where the online merchant began treating almost all books dealing with gay subject matter (even purely academic ones) as adult content — excluding many very worthy titles from their sales rankings system and standard searches.
One sad result? When you type in "homosexuality" as a search on Amazon, the results are skewed dramatically toward crap like this:
(Here's my bit of unsolicited advice to Amazon shoppers who might be interested in A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality: "Do everyone a favor and don't have kids!")
So what's going on here? On the surface, it sure looked like Amazon had adopted some sort of conservative policy to effectively bury positive gay representation on their site.
But then company spokespersons variously blamed it on a computer "glitch," and a "ham-fisted cataloging error" and made assurances they were working on a fix. »
9 items from 2009
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