Posts Tagged ‘cable’

Is Merger of Time Warner and Comcast a Good Idea?

by Roger Aronoff on Thursday, February 20th, 2014

This is article 529 of 557 in the topic Media

While some groups such as Public Knowledge and Common Cause are concerned about the anti-competitive aspects of the proposed merger between Time Warner and Comcast, and how it will affect consumers, Accuracy in Media questions the impact this will have on news and information distributed to viewers. By putting Time Warner’s networks, CNN and HBO, under the control of Comcast, will it pull them even further to the left so that they come to resemble even more the outlook and agenda of MSNBC and NBC?

The two companies recently announced that they will be merging in an approximately $45 billion deal. “The merger will face regulatory review by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and probably the Department of Justice,” reports The Los Angeles Times. These reviews could take about a year. “The combined entity would control approximately 38 percent of the high-speed internet market, with 32 million customers,” reports the National Journal. “Consumers could face adverse effects including increased prices, slower data speeds, and more-limited programming offerings.”

Comcast, which owns NBC and MSNBC, has long since thrown in politically with the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. We have repeatedly demonstrated that MSNBC doesn’t Lean Forward, as their slogan claims. Instead, they Lean Left. Way left. MSBNC President Phil Griffin even went so far as to say that the news organization doesn’t have an ideology, just a “progressive sensibility” that guides their news-casting. When the far-left journalist Glenn Greenwald appeared on MSNBC and remarked that the people on this news channel “defend President Obama and his officials and Democratic Party leaders 24 hours a day,” substitute anchor Kristen Welker inadequately replied, “Not everyone on MSNBC does that 24 hours a day.” Granted, not 24 hours a day. They do show endless re-runs of crime and prison shows on weekends.

Katrina vanden Heuvel, the leftist editor and publisher of The Nation magazine, and a columnist for The Washington Post, opposes the deal. In a Post column, she cites the size of the new company, and the potential for anti-competitive practices hurting consumers. But she also cites marketplace-of-ideas concerns: “The protection of free speech under our Constitution depends on citizens having access to many ideas, many sources, many ways of getting ideas and information. Letting mega-corporations consolidate control of key parts of the media infrastructure is a direct threat to that access.”

Is the Obama administration likely to approve the Comcast/Time Warner deal, just as it did the Comcast/NBC Universal deal? The answer is probably yes, if it sees the merger as being favorable to how they will be covered and treated by the new conglomerate. And a lot of people connected to the administration will profit handsomely as they go back and forth between the revolving door.

Not long after Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal was approved by the FCC, Meredith Attwell Baker, “one of two Republicans on the five-member Federal Communications Commission” became “senior vice president of governmental affairs for NBC Universal,” reported  The Washington Post back in 2011. “Comcast said it did not begin discussions with Baker about a possible job until after the transaction had closed,” reported the Post. Baker, an Obama appointee to the commission, had voted in favor of the merger, and then left after serving only two years out of a five-year term.

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Blaming the Victim in Benghazigate

by Roger Aronoff on Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

The media have discovered a scandal they can eagerly embrace, and they are off to the races. Having already found him guilty, they are now trying to determine if New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie knew about or ordered his underlings to create traffic jams entering the George Washington Bridge, from Ft. Lee, New Jersey into New York City; or to threaten to withhold Superstorm Sandy funds from Hoboken, NJ unless the mayor agreed to play ball with a developer with ties to the governor; or if he created a culture whereby all that could happen. Yet few are asking the parallel questions of Hillary Clinton. While those are all valid questions for Christie, the fact remains that Mrs. Clinton was in charge of the State Department during the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, which the recent SSCI report determined “were likely preventable.” Did she create a culture at the State Department that would allow these attacks to occur? Or is the answer, “What difference at this point does it make?”

One person who is getting blamed in the media is Chris Stevens, the ambassador to Libya at the time, who was murdered by the terrorists when they attacked the Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi. Sean Smith was another casualty there. Liberals like Piers Morgan and MSNBC’s Katty Kay are among a number of journalists who have basically blamed Stevens for his own death, as did The New York Times, and third-rate comedian Bill Maher, who wouldn’t be worth mentioning, except that Time Warner sees fit to give him a weekly one-hour show on HBO to spew his venomous ignorance on a range of topics.

How was it Ambassador Stevens’ fault that he and the others died? According to the SSCI report, “General Ham called Ambassador Stevens and asked if the Embassy needed the SST [Site Security Team] from the U.S. military, but Stevens told Ham it did not.” And, again, “Shortly thereafter, Stevens traveled to Germany for a previously scheduled meeting with Ham at AFRICOM headquarters. Ham again offered to sustain the SST at the meeting, and Stevens again declined.”

How does this evidence stack up against reports that he had pleaded, repeatedly, for additional security?

Here is what the record shows: The U.S. Mission had been attacked twice earlier in the year. The British and Red Cross had pulled out before the attacks. On July 9, 2012, Stevens sent a cable requesting additional security support, so that the Tripoli Embassy would have 13 security support personnel. The cable mentions Department of Defense SST as a possibility.

On August 16, another cable was sent, to the attention of Hillary Clinton, who claims she never saw it. The cable reportedly said that al Qaeda had training camps in Benghazi, and that the senior security officer at the U.S. Mission in Benghazi didn’t believe the mission could be protected or defended against a “coordinated attack.” The State Department had signed a contract with the Blue Mountain Group out of Wales, which provided security of sorts. Unarmed security. The only armed security was supplied by the February 17th Martyrs Brigade, a Libyan militia group of which Greg Hicks, the State Department’s deputy chief of mission in Libya at the time of the attacks, said, “Certainly elements of that militia were complicit in the attacks.”

What changed for Stevens between July and August?

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Thanks, Duck Dynasty, for the Christmas gift

by Lloyd Marcus on Thursday, December 26th, 2013

This is article 106 of 114 in the topic Hollywood

Duck Dynasty gave me an unexpected wonderful gift for Christmas; a renewed hope in America. Polling on various social issues confirm that liberals have made significant inroads towards secularizing America into a culture in which anything goes.

The norm on TV is disrespectful kids scolding their parents, cussing, youths sleeping around, the promotion of homosexuality and poking fun at Christians. Traditional principles and values are on the chopping block.

Several months ago, I heard about this cable show, Duck Dynasty, that was kicking American Idol’s butt in the ratings on Wednesday nights. Since the recent controversy surrounding the show, I learned that Duck Dynasty is huge; the highest rated show in cable history.

So what does the show’s popularity tell me? It tells me that instinctively people are drawn to things wholesome and good; traditional principles and values.

I watched a recently produced family Christmas movie. While it was somewhat enjoyable, a subtext of the movie was the female lead feeling hurt over the male lead’s reluctance to ask her to move in with him. Note that marriage was not on her agenda.

Then, I watched my favorites, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “The Wiz of Oz,” “A Christmas Carol” and “The Sound of Music.” There is a reason that millions of people feel their Christmas season is not complete without viewing at least one of these classics. These old movies possess that sappy wholesome intangible something that makes us feel good, safe, warm and happy.

Neither the coarsening of our culture or liberal indoctrination have been able to destroy millions of Duck Dynasty viewer’s instinctive attraction to wholesome tradition family values.

So thank you Duck Dynasty. Thank you for letting me know that the battle for the culture of America is not over. Perhaps, Phil Robertson’s leadership will inspire more Americans to push-back against the tyranny of political correctness.

I still get a thrill hearing George Bailey say in “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “Burt do you know me? My mouths bleedin’ Burt! Zuzu’s petals! Merry Christmas!”; Judy Garland as Dorothy singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”; the nun singing “Climb Every Mountain” in “The Sound of Music.” http://bit.ly/1gTyTAW Yes, I am just a sappy old fashion Christmas kind of guy.

Thus, I will close quoting Tiny Tim in “A Christmas Carol,” “God bless us everyone.”

© Lloyd Marcus

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Will A&E win the award for dumbest business decision of the year?

by Doug Powers on Friday, December 20th, 2013

This is article 103 of 114 in the topic Hollywood
Do you find it as funny as I do that A&E could lose the most lucrative, highest rated non-fiction cable series of all time just because they were in a rush to appease people who don’t even watch the show?Also, any “boycott” of the show’s advertisers isn’t going to work because companies like Under Armour know their customer base, and that base doesn’t look like this.

In spite of their “offense” at Phil Robertson’s comments, A&E continues to milk every last dollar out of the show. Get it while you can, A&E, because that money might go elsewhere soon.

A&E may have made the dumbest broadcast media business decision since somebody gave Magic Johnson a talk show.

- See more at: http://dougpowers.com/#sthash.YGHqMbkY.dpuf

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“60 Minutes” Reveals Little New in Benghazi Exposé

by Roger Aronoff on Friday, November 1st, 2013

This is article 507 of 557 in the topic Media

While there was little news in last Sunday’s Benghazi story on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” it did make some key points that have rarely been heard from mainstream media outlets. The report proves, once again, just how culpable President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are for ignoring the deteriorating security situation in Libya last year, even though their names were never mentioned in the segment.

The segment, which can be viewed online, interviews one “Morgan Jones,” a self-identified Blue Mountain security chief who was at an apartment 15 minutes away when the attack started at the Benghazi Special Mission Compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

Jones raced to the compound, scaled the 12-foot wall, and attempted to enter the compound to assist those inside, but they had already been rescued by a CIA rapid-response team that included the now-deceased Tyrone Woods.

“[The attackers] said, ‘We’re here to kill Americans, not Libyans,’” recounts Jones in an emotional moment. “So they’d give them a good beating, pistol whip them, beat them with their rifle, and let them go.”

Other than Fox News, it appears that the major networks are largely ignoring the “60 Minutes” piece. Fox’s Adam Housley noted on air that he was in contact with Jones as late as last December, until Jones began asking for money to continue talking. Jones apparently was training the unarmed guards inside the compound, and he told Housley, “…the men were supposed to go away when this attack started because they didn’t have any guns or any weapons. They were there basically to keep the riffraff out.”

The “60 Minutes” story highlighted Morgan’s new book on his experience in Benghazi, The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There, but they failed to acknowledge that the book was published by Simon & Schuster, which is a division of the CBS Corporation. Was that CBS’s way of compensating Morgan?

“This colors in some of the story, but it doesn’t advance the scandal,” comments Dave Weigel for Slate Magazine about Morgan’s account of the events that evening (emphasis in original). Why doesn’t the “60 Minutes” piece advance the scandal, you might ask? “But the report tells us more about what we’ve known for a year, and known in detail since the spring of 2013,” writes Weigel. He might have missed the part where Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood, who headed a Special Forces Site Security Team (SST) in Libya, told CBS’s Lara Logan that al Qaeda had posted online three threats: that they would attack the Red Cross, the British, and then the Americans in Benghazi. “They made good on two out of the three promises. It was a matter of time until they captured the third one,” said Wood. The Red Cross pulled out, as did the British after their ambassador survived an assassination attempt. Why didn’t the Americans pull out? Logan asks whether Washington was notified of these threats. “They [Washington] knew we monitored it. We included that in our reports to both State Department and DoD,” said Wood.

These reports were likely not just lost in the ether.

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Can Obamacare Survive Obama?

by John Lillpop on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

This is article 536 of 686 in the topic Healthcare

Although Democrats and the mainstream media are desperately seeking to blame the colossal failure (thus far) of ObamaCare on anyone and everyone but Barack Obama, the truth of the matter is stark, and remarkably different.

Indeed, public skepticism of ObamaCare, and big government in general, continues to soar in magnitude and intensity, in large part because of Obama’s petulant denials about his namesake health care fiasco and his confounding refusal to accept responsibility for yet another huge national embarrassment sponsored, and botched, on his watch.

Obama’s machinations, intended to soothe the nerves of anxious Americans about the ObamaCare guinea pig, are instead highlighting the dramatic decline of the American brand. His aloof detachment and insolence are key in advancing the notion that there is not now, and perhaps has never been, any such thing as American Exceptionalism.

One need only refer to the president’s hokey sales pitch in the Rose Garden on October 21 to understand the depth of his self-delusion and denial.

As reported at the reference:

The nation’s commander in chief Monday became the salesman in chief, repeatedly touting the 1-800 number for his crippled Obamacare health network.

Operators are standing by to receive calls from people who can’t use the malfunctioning website, Obama said at a press event held in the White House Rose Garden.

They can take calls in 150 languages, he said.

“It may be a good deal for you,” he announced.

“Thousands of people are signing up and saving money as we speak,” he declared.

Telephone wait times are only a few minutes, and sign-up only takes 25 minutes for an individual and 45 minutes for a family, he insisted.

“The product is good. … It is high quality and it’s affordable,” said the pitchman.

People are getting medical coverage for the cost of “maybe the equivalent of your cellphone bill, or your cable bill, and that’s a good deal,” he told his midday TV audience.

“It may be a good deal for you,” he announced.

“Thousands of people are signing up and saving money as we speak,” he declared.

Telephone wait times are only a few minutes, and sign-up only takes 25 minutes for an individual and 45 minutes for a family, he insisted.

“The product is good. … It is high quality and it’s affordable,” said the pitchman.

People are getting medical coverage for the cost of “maybe the equivalent of your cellphone bill, or your cable bill, and that’s a good deal,” he told his midday TV audience.”

On and on The One continued with a pathetic snake-oil pitch consisting of misleading and blatantly false promises destined to fool only low-information voters.

Unfortunately, the 800 number Obama touted was always busy, or, when available, refereed callers to the woeful government web site, a technological failure of epic proportions. Another major embarrassment for The One!

After watching Obama’s dreadful Rose Garden performance, the big question of the day is: Can Obamacare survive Obama?

John W. Lillpop
San Jose, California

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New York lawmaker bashes Al Jazeera as Islamist ‘propaganda

by Jim Kouri on Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

This is article 493 of 557 in the topic Media

A New York State lawmaker and Iraq veteran on Monday urged several cable and satellite television distributors to stop broadcasting programing from the Middle East media giant Al Jazeera calling their news coverage “propaganda.”

New York State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a conservative Republican who served as a U.S. Marine officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom, has contacted company’s such as Time-Warner, Verizon, Comcast, Direct TV and Dish TV Network by letter alleging that Al Jazeera is “notoriously anti-American, anti-Semitic and misogynistic.” He’s demanding that they drop the Qatar-based television network from their basic cable packages.

“Whether the customers watch Al Jazeera America programming or they are offended by its news coverage and broadcasts, they are paying to support its broadcasts in the United States through their service charges,” said another former Marine, Detective Mike Snopes.

“Leave it to Al “the sky is falling” Gore to sell his broadcasting fiasco, Current TV, to a foreign interest with anti-American tendencies,” said Snopes.

Snopes is referring to Al Jazeera purchasing Current TV, from former Vice President Al Gore, to use it as a distribution network. It began broadcasting on August 20.

Assemblyman Lalor is urging customers to boycott any television providers that carry Al Jazeera and refused to drop drop it by Sept. 11, 2013.

Lalor noted that he will be holding press conferences later this week to discuss his battle against Al Jazeera America.

In a statement on Monday, Lalor said:

Al Jazeera is the anti-American, anti-Semitic, misogynistic propaganda wing of a foreign government. The network has celebrated brutal terrorists and ‘reported’ as fact anti-Semitic 9/11 truther conspiracy theories. American TV viewers shouldn’t have to subsidize Al Jazeera through a part of their basic cable bill. As a veteran who served in Iraq and a New Yorker I’m outraged that my television provider is charging me to have this propaganda piped into my home. These television providers need to drop Al Jazeera from their basic cable packages. If they don’t, I’ll be proud to lead a boycott until they do. I’ll also encourage municipalities to revoke the monopolies the companies currently enjoy.

To be clear, this is not a First Amendment issue. The free press clause of the First Amendment does not protect foreign powers who wish to broadcast propaganda into our country and our homes. Moreover, at this time my constituents and I are not objecting to the existence of the channel. We object to Al Jazeera America’s inclusion as a basic cable channel that subscribers are forced to pay for and receive rather than as an a la carte channel that can be added to a basic package.

Al Jazeera is owned by the Arab Kingdom of Qatar and has been accused of promoting anti-American and anti-Semitic propaganda.

What troubles many critics of the network is when Al Jazeera held a birthday celebration for terrorist Samir Kuntar, describing him as a “pan-Arab hero.”

Kuntar murdered an Israeli father and his 4-year-old daughter in their home. The Israeli family’s mother accidentally suffocated their toddler son as she tried to muffle his cries while hiding from Kuntar. in addition, Al Jazeera paid for fireworks to celebrate Kuntar’s release from prison.

In the days following the terrorist attacks on Sept.

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New Documentary on TWA 800 Set to Premiere

by Roger Aronoff on Thursday, July 18th, 2013

This is article 51 of 69 in the topic Book & Movie Reviews

An excellent new documentary, which examines evidence that makes the case that TWA Flight 800 was brought down by missiles, a crime or accident that has been covered up for 17 years, is set to premier Wednesday night. The film is titled, simply, “TWA Flight 800,” and it will air on EPIX, a cable network available on many cable systems, tonight, July 17th, at 8 p.m. ET. Today is the 17th anniversary of that tragic event.

Veteran newsman and columnist Wes Vernon wrote an excellent review of the documentary  last month, and said, “I have viewed a pre-screening of the film, and urge you to make it a point to see it and tell your friends about it. It will make your blood boil when you see people in high and respected places uttering lie after lie after lie and threats against eyewitnesses telling them in effect, ‘You didn’t see what you saw.’”

But if you don’t have that network on your cable system, or you want to watch it at a different time on your computer, you can see the trailer or the whole film here through a free trial offer by EPIX.

The documentary was written and directed by Kristina Borjesson, who was an award-winning producer for CBS News. She was assigned to the TWA 800 story, and quickly came to believe that the official story wasn’t true, though she wasn’t allowed, in the end, to report on what she had discovered. Now, Borjesson and her associate in this project, Tom Stalcup, a physicist who has been investigating this case for many years, have brought together a number of people involved at the time in the investigation, including some from within the NTSB and TWA itself, to talk about what was covered up and how it was done. For example, Hank Hughes, an NTSB investigator who headed up the reassembly of the wreckage in a hangar in Calverton, New York, had been telling what he knew since early in the investigation. He told a Senate committee in 1997 that he witnessed evidence being tampered with, and some being destroyed.

TWA 800 is a story that those of you who have followed the work of Accuracy in Media (AIM) for a long time know well. It was a story I worked on when I first arrived at AIM back in 1997. Reed Irvine, AIM’s founder and then-chairman, was approached by two people—Bill Donaldson and Jim Sanders—both of whom made strong but separate cases that the plane was brought down by a missile, or missiles, as opposed to the official story, that it was a spark in the center-wing fuel tank, from an unknown source that caused the tank to explode. Either way, the result was explosions that sent the plane crashing into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Long Island, New York, on July 17th, 1996. All 230 people aboard were killed. Two years ago I wrote a detailed account of AIM’s investigation into the downing of Flight 800, which credited some of the many people who have worked so hard and risked so much to expose the truth about what happened that tragic evening.

Finally, on July 2nd of this year, I got to see the reconstructed wreckage of TWA Flight 800.

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Website of noted cable news network normally concerned about well-being of children ignores story about trial of child murderer

by Doug Powers on Friday, April 12th, 2013

This is article 439 of 557 in the topic Media

A Tweet by @sleannbagley led me to submit my own search and make a new screen shot just so the words were a little more readable. As IOwnTheWorld puts it, “a picture is worth a thousand words”:

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How many stories would have been returned from the search if Gosnell had committed similar crimes against children, except with a gun?

 

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Too Many Battles, Not Enough Bible

by Michael R. Shannon on Sunday, March 24th, 2013

This is article 168 of 240 in the topic Religion

Any television show that simultaneously confounds the pagans and the heretics can’t be all bad. But there’s a basic flaw in the History Channel’s The Bible that makes it hard for the cultural Christian or the spiritual seeker to absorb the message.

This is not to say the program isn’t popular. In fact, it’s wildly popular, but I fear we are preaching to the choir. The opening episode of The Bible attracted 13.1 million viewers, the largest cable audience of the year, and topped both editions of “American Idol” the same week.

Episode two had 10.8 million viewers, more than any other program in the same time period and it finished 11th overall for the week. The third episode gained viewers, inching up to 10.9 million, and was number nine for the week.

This is even more startling when you recall, as Daniel Wattenberg of the Washington Times pointed out, that The Bible “lacked the ready–made, large scale promotional platform and popular lead–in that can drive strong ratings for a new show on a major broadcast network…” It also lacked the nudity, bad language, obscene cartoon characters and titillation that excites the prurient interest of many cable TV viewers — although it does contain some off­–screen fornication, adultery and murder.

On the other hand The Bible had thousands of mentions in church bulletins and word of mouth to help build the audience. (The program is proving to be a Godsend for youth ministries across America.)

So what’s not to like?

As the program is structured it appeals to Christians who know the Bible or think they know it, yet it answers no questions and puts nothing in perspective for the curious viewer who wants to learn more about the Good Book. In fact, the program runs a very real risk of alienating those viewers.

It is very easy for them to ask: Why does a supposedly loving God command King Saul to kill everyone? Why are the Israelites attacking Canaanites who have done them no wrong and were there first? Why did it take 40 years to get from Egypt to the Promised Land? Why didn’t Moses get to enter the Promised Land? What did the Sodomites do that was so bad? (No pun intended.) If David is such a sinner, why does God love him and not other sinners He had killed? What did a child like Ishmael do to deserve banishment? Why did God toy with Abraham and Isaac?

And those are just the questions from the first two episodes! After about the third killing spree Buddhism starts to look pretty good, to say nothing of Unitarianism.

The Bible is ten hours long but even that length means much is truncated and condensed. (Why couldn’t The Hobbit have dispensed with some of the padding and been only Hobbit I and Hobbit II, giving the excess to The Bible?) The series cries out for a narration to bridge the gap and provide continuity and explanation.

Even better, each episode should be followed by a 15–minute scholarly discussion among experts to put the events into an overall context. I don’t mean the secular culture’s favorite Bible experts: Bart Ehrman, the agnostic professor of religion, and Karen Armstrong, the failed nun who is liable to believe most anything.

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