Random skyward weapons fire, spontaneous erections, and much praising of the lord are the reactions by forum trolls at Free Republic upon hearing the news that Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc plans to broadcast the Stolen Honor documentary film about ten days before the presidential election, later this month. Initially viewed by many as a Swift Boys Noise redux propoganda production, Stolen Honor was only previously available on DVD and pay-per-view basis on the internet. In this highly charged and radically divided election season, however, indie films and videos portraying either presidential candidate are getting more attention and buzz than if Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston had released the highlights of their private sex video tape collection.
And seriously, Brad. If you have any tapes, it's high time you share the love, bud.
When I blogged about the 2nd presidential debate in Town Hall Tap Dance, I told you how the news media outlets were likely to declare the debate a tie and promote the contest in order to make money. Subsequently, in USA Today, media columnist Peter Johnson asks the perennially question, "Are the media playing politics?" and highlights the difference between the presidential debate candidates' performance characterizations made by broadcast and cable news outlets.
Johnson handily cites a recent Center for Media and Public Affairs study showing the difference between cable news (CNN, FOX) and the broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) in a table entitled "Cable's Even Split". Basically, this study analyzed the positive and negative comments made about Bush and Kerry. Johnson's table highlights that the broadcast outlets favoring Kerry heavily after both presidential debates, and comments on NBC praising Kerry over Bush more that 2-1.
Rather than looking to one of its 527 corporation minions, like the Swift Boys, in order to put a tourniquet on George Bush's public opinion hemorrhaging, the Bush Cheney 2004 campaign must have made an emergency conference call to Sinclair Broadcast Group executives.
It has been reported that these fat cats whose political contributions are given 98% of the time to the GOP plan to preempt normally scheduled programming on their television station holdings for three days in order to broadcast the anti-Kerry piece Stolen Honor. Sinclair's television group includes 20 FOX, 19 WB, 6 UPN, 8 ABC, 3 CBS, 4 NBC affiliates and 2 independent stations and reaches approximately 24% of all U.S. television households. This is the same corporation that stopped it's ABC affiliates from reading the soldiers' names killed in Iraq.
I am not slamming the Stolen Honor piece. I have not seen it. Unlike the GOP faithful at the Republican National Convention that slammed and loudly jeered Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 911 -- but then admitted they had not even seen the award-winning documentary film, like respected Senator McCain has done -- I am merely pointing out that broadcasting Stolen Honor seems like typical GOP dirty tricks. Do you see any so-called battleground states in the SBGI sphere of influence map? I do.
Before you get your own underwear in a jumble, like the Michigan GOP did, Sinclair Broadcasting has posted this on their corporate website home page:
We welcome your comments regarding the upcoming special news event featuring the topic of Americans held as prisoners of war in Vietnam. The program has not been videotaped and the exact format of this unscripted event has not been finalized. Characterizations regarding the content are premature and are based on ill-informed sources.
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has been invited to participate. You can urge him to appear by calling his Washington, D.C. campaign headquarters at:
if you would like to make further comments on this matter, you may do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yeah, that's just great SBGI. Thanks for the information. Right after I follow your instructions, I'm going to call John Kerry on his cell phone and ask him, "So, when's the last time you beat your wife?"
I think it might be more appropriate for me to send SBGI an email and simply ask them to put their money where their fair and balanced mouth is. If SBGI and the GOP wants to further move the political discussion away from reality and talk about the Vietnam War instead of Iraq right before the presidential election by elevating the status of a film previously only seen by uber-conservative forum trolls by broadcasting it to millions of people in the country, maybe someone should be looking into SBGI's FCC license and other relevant corporate documents.
Here's an idea that's fair and balanced. Pre-empt the O'Reilly Factor for three nights in a row and broadcast Fahrenheit 911 in its place. I'd really love to see that.
Predictably, the Town Hall Tap Dance was not overly impressive as a defining moment for either U.S. Presidential candidate. I realize this sounds immediately cynical to most of you. However, let's take a closer look at who you might actually be.
1. You have always supported George Bush through thick and thin. No matter how many lies, distortions, mistakes, or acts of incompetence, arrogance and corruption come out of the Bush administration, he's your buddy. You are a Dubya-defender. You are a Bush World cultist. You will vote for Bush.
2. You believe George Bush already stole the 2000 presidential election and you certainly don't want him to have four more years in which to run amok with his neo-con foreign policy, his clenched sphincter cultural attitudes, or his pesky way of compassionately outsourcing your job to the third world. You're hopeful that John Kerry can turn this mess of a country around. You will vote for Kerry.
If either of those descriptions even remotely characterizes your feelings, then you already know who won Friday night's presidential debate, don't you? If you need someone in the editorial media to back you up, you can easily find it. If you look toward the candidates' punditry, they'll agree with your own astute assessment of the debate. That's their job, remember?
And don't forget what the jobs of most media outlets really are -- bringing in ad revenue. If not declaring the debate an outright tie, headlines are likely to focus on the closeness of the overall contest. They will sell the contest, make it exciting, and make money. It would be counter-productive and unprofitable for any media business to declare that either candidate has absolutely trounced the other one. This election, if nothing else, is an absolute cash cow for media.
If Bush fell on his face during the first debate, the expectation by any thinking person would be that he simply had to do a little better in the second debate. His wife could likely find some happy seratonin uptake inhibitors rolling around in the bottom of her purse like orphaned tic-tacs to help Dubya turn his nervously defensive stupidity into compassionate conservative buddy-speak.
3. You are undecided. You watched the town hall meeting where undecided people asked questions about the issues that concerned them, but you still can't make up your mind who to vote for come November. You tend to annoy your friends while eating out because they have to wait ten minutes while you weigh your fluctuating desire for both soup and salad. You get nervous choosing between paper and plastic. Not only do you shop for holiday gifts the evening before, but also then spend the holiday red-eyed and listless because it took you all night choosing the perfect wrapping paper and pretty, fluffy bow combination for each gift recipient.
If you are undecided, I encourage you to decide, rather than become apathetic. In order to help you, I've illustrated a four step plan in Homeland Security threat level colors that you can adopt. I respect someone who votes more than someone who succumbs to their own confusion or doesn't care enough about our country to be involved in its future. In my opinion, you're self-centered and sociopathic, if you do nothing.
Rather than attempting to lay out articulate arguments for my own views on various issues that may be of common concern between us, let me make it simpler than that to assist you. You can always read my take on foreign policy and important domestic policy issues. You can boil the entire election down to an admittedly over-simplified, but hopefully clear, selection.
If you think you, your family, and our country as a whole is doing just great and can do no better -- you have to stay the course, break out the anal vaseline, and vote for Bush. If you think the country deserves better leadership, some fresh thinking on the domestic and international problems that face all of us, and a change at the top -- you will vote for John Kerry.
Do vote for someone. You know how I feel about apathy. Even if you choose to take it up the ass for four more years with Dubya, I did remind you to bring vaseline, and I'll still respect you in the morning.
Friday night, John Kerry and George Bush will debate for the 2nd time in St. Louis, Missouri. For the 1st debate, I blogged a cynical prediction, was completely surprised after watching it and had to sarcasticly blog some post-debate highlights. After that, I did some research about the economy and jobs, and blogged about domestic issues. Those things are likely to come up in Friday's Presidential debate, as we didn't get very much of a preview of domestic issues from the Vice Presidential Smack Down in Cleveland. Nonetheless, because I know you'd miss it, I dutifully percolated some of my cynicism and sarcasm to blog a VP debate parody for your personal snickering pleasure. Let loose with a few out-loud snorts, if you feel the urge. No one knows you are reading how Dick Cheney looked and acted like Smeagol, even if you are a hereditary Republican.
During my own schizo web surfing today, I laughed my ass off reading Saladin's call for more mud-slinging in political ads and when he started, "This is John Kerry. He has a melty face." I mean, honestly, develope a sense of humor about these things and unclench that right-wing sphincter once in a while. You'll make the people around you hate you a little less and you'll be able to throw away that dusty package of chocolate laxatives I spotted the last time I snooped through your medicine chest. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. You also need a refill on your Zoloft prescription, too -- you silly, bouncing, socially-anxious cartoon bubble.
There are other things going on, besides the televised political truth-fest. I think, as Americans, some of us are watching the debates in anticipation of a complete derailment by one of the candidates. George Bush's last performance was a slow motion train wreck, I have to admit. Other people are putting the debates into perspective and turning it into a drinking game.
On Friday, you could also raise your glasses in a toast because this person received the Nobel Peace Prize. Or, if you're alone on a perfectly good Friday night, you could always advance your standing among your overly-achieving geeky friends by memorizing the list of people who have received the Nobel Prize in their field of expertise since 1901. That might be cool.
Here's some easier Nobel trivia:
Besides the Peace prize awarded today, can you even name the five other fields of expertise in which a person can become a Nobel Laureate?
What was the last year that no Peace Prize was awarded?
Hint: The same year, 3 Americans shared the Nobel Prize for Physics, "for their jointly developed theory of superconductivity, usually called the BCS-theory."
Not much of a hint? Sorry. That was for Final Jeopardy, too. You go home with nothing.
If you get terribly bored tonight during the presidential debate, you could always play some of the many educational games at the Nobel website. Some of the games are suggested for users 18 years and up, too. So, if you're under 18 years of age, be a rebel, break the rules, and learn something.
Honestly, simply reading some of the biographies of past Nobel Laureates is an inspirational history lesson. And, you can learn quite a bit from some of the eduational games at the Nobel website.
See? Next time someone accuses you of just downloading porn while being online, you can stun them by responding, "No, actually, I was reading the 1907 presentation speech by C.D. Wirsen when the Nobel Prize for Literature was given to Rudyard Kipling. Did you know that he created Baloo the Bear and Mowgli from the Jungle Book series and it was originally published in 1894?"
Besides, I download porn in the background, minimized, while I'm reading something else.
I recently got word from Jamie at Rock the Vote that the effort to register new voters in the U.S. has reached the impressive one million person mark. Not only that, but it's growing fast. Some 35,000 people each day are finally getting off their asses.
That's great! Thanks to all of you who already used the Rock The Vote voter registration partnership tool that I set up here at Thunderstorms.
Another benchmark was also reached this week. For 32 of the 50 states in the country, we've now passed the deadline date to register. But, that still leaves 18 states that can still make a difference.
Honestly, since this election is so important, I wouldn't leave it up to chance to see who is going to President of the United States. So check to see when your own state's registration deadline happens. You may still have some time to register yourself, or remind the drooling slacker next to you to register.
Tuesday night, the citizens of the United States had the opportunity to see their Vice Presidential candidates debate in a casual setting. It was a penultimate example of reality television.
It was a voyeuristic parody of PBS debate moderator, Gwen Ifill, having a dinner party from hell. It seemed to me that she simply invited the wrong people to sit around the dinner table and have a conversation about any topic. Poor Gwen. It was like watching talk show host Oprah Winfrey interview motivational speaker Tony Robbins and Smeagol (Gollum) from the Lord of the Rings movie. John Edwards was trying his hardest to instruct Dick Cheney how to make a positive change in his life; if not for himself, for the good of the country.
At the same time via the wonders of split-screen television, Dick Cheney was clearly troubled. Recently permitted to venture out from his habitation in the infamous secure and undisclosed location for the re-election campaign season, I believe Cheney was uncomfortable with Gwen Ifill's staged lifestyle intervention with John Edwards. Practically glowing with his concrete bunker pallor, Cheney simply slumped over the dinner table and constantly rubbed his hands together. Watching Dick Cheney while Edwards spoke, I was on the edge of my seat in expectation that the television camera might catch him muttering, "Precious ... my precious ... it's mine."
Sadly, unlike reality television, I wasn't granted my voyeuristic fantasy of a spontaneous moment in reality. As near as I can tell from reading the post-VP Smack Down accounts from both camps of punditry, one thing becomes clear -- reality and truth have no place settings at the dinner table of campaign politics or debates.
These important debates do offer one thing. Since truth, in many cases, is absent from the debates, you can get a feel for a candidate's character and style, however. You can also imagine how each political party's team would react during a real world crisis. Imagine. Terrorists are running rampant in Gotham. The call goes out. Which Dynamic Duo do you want to show up to save the day for truth, justice and the American way?
So what are the candidates' character and style? John Kerry is experienced and seems to think about everything that comes out of his mouth. Edwards is less experienced, but would be a loyal and dutiful sidekick. Dick Cheney is experienced, sober and serious. George Bush is clearly the less experienced and nervously passionate one. He is obviously Cheney's Boy Wonder. These presidential debates highlight a nagging problem that has haunted the George Bush administration and the GOP since 2000. Who is really in charge?
The Bush Cheney 2004 campaign has made a terrible mistake. They have hitched their candidates' wagon with the theme of the importance of choosing a president that can best protect us all from growing security threats that face the nation. They think they'll win the election if they stay 'on message' and 'stay the course'. Isn't it the definition of insanity to keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome? Iraq isn't an asset. It's a cartoon anvil screaming down through the sky.
I don't know about you, but if the need arises and the call goes out, I don't want the Boy Wonder showing up. I want the real Batman to be in charge. Come November, Cheney can retire and return to his bat cave. Perhaps Halliburton will buy him a tanning bed.