Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

TV is Still Politically Powerful

May 19, 2017

IT  STILL  DOMINATES THE NEWS MEDIA SCENE

If anyone truly understood the political power of TV it was the late Roger Ailes, the creator of FOX News, who, according to news report, died because he fell and hit his head in the bathroom of his Palm Beach, Florida home.  He played a major role in helping Republican presidential candidates from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump get elected by advising them on how to  use TV.

President Trump certainly seemed to  understand Ailes’ “orchestra pit theory.” It enabled him to get tons of free TV news time, especially during the Republican primary fights. TV fell for the ploy hook, line, and sinker. Many, including me, believe this is the main reason he won the nomination. The “pit” theory, I read in Wikipedia, is explained in this Ailes quote:

“If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls into the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?”

During Nixon’s time, TV was, no doubt where, to a large degree, elections were lost or won. It was and still is where most people get their news. At least, that’s what a Pew poll tells us that was the case in 2016..  However, that is changing.

The poll shows that 57 percent of US adults get their news from TV, cable, network, and local; 38 percent from social media, websites/apps; 25 percent from radio, and 20 percent from print newspapers.

However,  the trend appears headed online.  50 percent of people ages 18 – 29 get their news online, 27 percent of them get it on TV, 14 percent on radio and 5 percent print newspapers.

49 percent of 30 through 49 years old get their news online, 45 percent  on TV, 27 percent  on radio, and 10 percent from print newspapers.

Seniors still depend on TV heavily, 72 percent ages 50 – 64, and 85 percent ages 64 plus. The  age 64 plus crowd give print newspapers their highest percentage, 48 percent.

Where I get my news? From TV, online, radio, and magazines.  What about newspapers? Definitely. Big time.  But, not print editions, unless you count the Ledger-Enquirer online copy of the print edition as a print edition. I read both the e-edition and the website edition. I also occasionally sample newspaper websites from Washington D.C, Atlanta, New York,  Israel, U.K., Russia, France, China, and other countries. It’s amazing what’s out there for us to read now.

 

Campaign 2016: What’s in a Name?

June 11, 2016

     Juliet:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

     By any other name would smell as sweet.”

     Romeo and Juliet (II,ii, 1-2)

Hillary Clinton is a “crook.” ” Donald Trump is a “fraud.”  ABC reporter Tom Llamas is a “sleaze.” South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is an “idiot.” Donald Trump is a “jackass.” Bernie Sanders is a “communist.” Donald Trump i s a “pathological liar.” “Bernie Sanders is a “maniac.” Donald Trump is a “nutcase.”  Marco Rubio is a “clown.” Donald Trump is a “con artist.”

Those are just some samples of name-calling in the 2016 race for the White House.  While this election seems particularly notorious when it comes to name-calling, there have been some in our nation’s history that could rival it.

It started with our Founding Fathers.  Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had hatchet men do their dirty work.  Among other things, John Adams was called a “fool.” “hypocrite,” “criminal,” “tyrant,”  and Jefferson was called a  “coward,” “weakling,” “atheist,” and “libertine.”

When Adams’ son John Quincy ran against Andrew Jackson in 1824, things really got ugly. Adams was called “pimp,” and Jackson’s wife was called “slut.”

So, name-calling in presidential elections is nothing new.  Too bad that sometimes it appears to work.  I’d really prefer to hear more from the candidates about the important issues facing the nation at this time and how they would deal with them.

 

Happy 90th Birthday to my “Old Friend” from Plains

October 2, 2014

Carter - Plains 3  015

Yes, I can claim to be an “old friend” of President Jimmy Carter. That’s because he called me that when I met and shook hands with him at the Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains in July.  A group of my friends and I attended his famous Sunday school class.  That handshake was really special because visitors were asked not to try to shake hands with him.  Too many really firm  handshakes cause problems for someone who  has been around for nine decades.  I was going to follow instructions not to do it, but when he recognized me, his face lit up as he grabbed my hand, shook it, smiled his famous smile and said, “Oh, my old friend. How have you been?” I only chatted with him briefly because there was a line of people behind me waiting to have their pictures taken with him and Mrs. Carter.

It was truly an honor to hear those words “my old friend.”  President Carter – I could call him Jimmy and he wouldn’t mind, I’m sure – but, I don’t.  I like  calling him “President.”  Not only because he is one of the people in this world that I  respect and admire the most,  but because so many people were truly shocked when he was elected President of the United States. I wasn’t. I figured he was going to win from the time that he and Martin Luther King, Sr. joined and raised their hands to sing “We Shall Overcome” with the rest of the delegates at the 1976 Democratic National Convention in New York City.

I was in New York attending a dinner CBS News had for affiliated stations’ news departments during the presidential nominating primaries. One of the CBS staffers raised the question of who might get the Democratic Party nomination.  After a list of names was suggested by those around our table, I said, “What about Jimmy Carter?” The New York fellows almost laughed at the thought. I was thinking how sweet it would be if he got the nomination.  How sweet it was. And how much sweeter it was when he won.

The first time I saw him at a 3rd  Congressional District Democratic Convention at the Rylander Theater in Americus in the 1960s, just based on his looks and charisma, I said to myself that man is going places in politics.  That’s when I started covering the man who would rise from chairman of the Sumter County School Board in 1961 to become the 39th President of the United States in 1977.  

Jimmy Carter is not only a brave man,  but, more importanly, he is a good man.

Doing It Not Just To Be Nice, But Out Of Self-interest

September 1, 2014

It was very encouraging to see the members attending the Rotary Club of Columbus Wednesday luncheon give Jamie Vollmer a standing ovation after his talk about how vital it is for business leaders, as well as the rest of the community, to support public education.

Vollmer, a former lawyer and successful  businessman who led the franchise division of the Great Midwestern Ice Cream Company in Iowa,  now spends his time making talks and writing books supporting public education. He wrote the acclaimed Schools Cannot Do  It Alone.

It’s not a matter of being nice, he says. It’s a matter of doing what needs to be done for his and the country’s self-interst. For those who have no children in public schools and oppose paying taxes for them,  he said they should be thinking about the how important it is to have an educated work force, and how they have a responsibility to their communities.  He also pointed out that history is very clear about what happens when the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” gets too wide.  The “have-nots” come for the “haves.”

He’s among those who believe that quality education for all children is what will make for a better life  for all members of a community. I tend to agree.

 

 

We Said This on This Blog a Year Ago. It still Applies.

June 23, 2014

We Need Legislators Who Support Public Education

HERE’S MORE EVIDENCE THAT TOO MANY DON’T

It is very disheartening to see what those who control the Georgia Legislature are doing to our state’s public school system. The evidence became even more abundant when I learned about the tentative Muscogee County School District’s 2014 budget.

The state is cutting MCSD $21 million in funding for the year. That brings to #141 million cut by the state over the past 12 years. How can we believe lawmakers who say they support public education when they do this?

 

The Price of Ignoring the Lessons of History

June 2, 2014

As I read Doris Kerns Goodwin’s latest historical opus,  The Bully Pulpit,  I become more and more astounded by the parallels between the Gilded Age and now. It’s perhaps a prime example of how history repeats itself.

I just read how President Theodore Roosevelt was blamed by Wall Street for the “Roosevelt Panic of 1907.”  Th big money men said President Theodore Roosevelt’s “crusade against business” caused the crash, arguing that “his excessive regulation had paralyzed the economy.”  The actual cause of the crash was the same thing that caused the Great Recession of 2008.  A very large  investment bank in  New York had abandoned sound banking practices to gamble with customer’s deposits. That caused public confidence in financial institutions to fail, and “customers rushed to retrieve money.” The banks had to be bailed out by, “in the absence of a  central banking system,”  seventy-year old J.P. Morgan, who served as a “one-man Federal Reserve,” and the federal government.  Does that sound familiar?

That’s just one example of the parallels to now.  The book has quite a few more,  including a “do nothing” Congress that wouldn’t pass hardly any bills a progressive president wanted during the last two years of his presidency.

The full title of the book, by the way is, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.  .

What I Learned at the Mayoral Debate

April 22, 2014
Uiversity Hall, Columbhus State University

University Hall, Columbus State University

 

It was much easier to follow the debate on TV than in that sad auditorium. I could understand very little of what was said there because of the sound system and acoustics in University Hall. I had recorded it at home because I suspected I might have a hard time hearing in UH.  CSU is really fortunate that it has those great state-of-the-art theaters downtown now.  

As far as the debate was concerned, Mayor Tomlinson pointed with pride, while challenger Martin viewed with alarm. Surprise, surprise!

 

 

 

The Amazing Jimmy Carter

March 26, 2014

488px-JimmyCarterPortrait2The first time I saw President Jimmy Carter was when, in the 1960s, I covered a 3rd District Democratic Party convention at Americus, Georgia.  He immediately stood out as he walked down the aisle of the Rylander Theater auditorium where the convention was held.  His hair style reminded me of President John F. Kennedy’s, as did his radiant smile.  I said to myself at the time, that man is going to make  news politically.  Sometimes I get it right.

He still has that hair and that radiant smile and , at age 89, is still making news.  His advanced years have not stopped him from writing books and going on national TV to promote them.  David Letterman devoted a lot of his Monday night show to interviewing President Carter about world events and Carter’s latest book A Call to Action. 

The book is about the worldwide abuse and violence against women, and how religion has been and is being used to subjugate them. In the book he writes that the depravation of women and girls is the most serious and unaddressed worldwide challenge.  He says it is “largely caused by a false interpretation of carefully selected religious texts and a growing tolerance of violence and warfare, unfortunately following the example set during my lifetime by the United States.”

To be able to do what he does at his age is quite impressive.  His energy level and ability to  entertain as well as inform was as high as anyone I have seen on the Letterman show. His performance should be an inspiration to senior citizens everywhere.

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We Need Legislators Who Support Public Education

June 4, 2013

HERE’S MORE EVIDENCE THAT TOO MANY DON’T

It is very disheartening to see what those who control the Georgia Legislature are doing to our state’s public school system.  The evidence became even more abundant when I learned about the tentative Muscogee County School District’s 2014 budget.

The state is cutting MCSD $21 million in funding for the year. That brings to #141 million cut by the state over the past 12 years. How can we believe lawmakers who say they support public education when they do this?

In order to live with the reduced budget, the MCSD proposes, among other things, closing schools  laying off perhaps up to 40 teachers,  increasing class size, ending adult education,  delaying buying new textbooks, reduced funding for computers, supplies, and building maintenance.

The legislator’s claim that the state doesn’t have the money is nonsense. It’s just spending it on other things.  We need to be sending to Atlanta lawmakers who truly support public education.

For another take on the problem, go to this link.

We Need Lawmakers who Support Public Education

April 25, 2013

In defending budget cuts to public education, some always posit that more money will not fix the problem. Well, that may be true if more money is tried as a solution by itself. For more money to work, strings have to attached. One of those strings is that with higher pay comes higher expectations.

However, there is another factor to consider. Less pay, and less money for today’s electronic teaching aids, can certainly exacerbate the problem.

Parental involvement is an important element in motivating children to achieve educationally, but it is not, in my view, more important than a good teacher.  How many parents spend six hours a day with school-age children?

Good, dedicated teachers can have enormous influence in changing lives for the better.  It happens over and over, and it happened with me.   Going to school did not thrill me at all until the legendary Bob Barr took over the Jordan High band.  He really knew how to motivate kids. Not only did he motivate me, but he helped me get started in my broadcasting career.  When he found out that was what I wanted to  do, he connected me with the late Ed Snyder, then an announcer at WDAK, who mentored me and helped me get my first job in broadcasting.

George Corradino,  who headed up the Muscogee County School District’s music program for years, did the same thing when he was the band director at Columbus High for my late nephew Jack Gibson.  My sister Betty told  me that Jack was about ready to drop  out of  school  until George came along.  Not only did Jack excel at percussion in the CHS band, his grades improved in all his subjects, and, inspired by George, he went on to become a school band director himself.  He ended up getting his PhD and becoming Vice President of Development at Kennesaw State University, which was what he was doing when cancer took him away from us. I run into people all the time who have similar stories.

When I see state legislators and governors slashing public education budgets year after year after year, it tells me we need a big change at the Georgia State Capitol.  Education is essential to the future of Georgia’s citizens. Something has to be done.  We need lawmakers who don’t just say they support education, but show it with their actions.