Monday, October 25, 2004

US ELECTION NOTES

EIGHT DAYS TO GO

HOTTEST RACE IN THE USA: BRIAN HIGGINS-VS.-NANCY NAPLES

Well, it ain't too long now until the US Election is held- until then, we still have to put up with the barrage of ads for Brian Higgins and Nancy Naples on TV. For those of you who don't live near Lake Ontario, Higgins and Naples are duking it out in a dirty congressional race in the Buffalo area. They have unleashed one attack ad after another on TV and they are calling each other every filthy name in the book. Higgins' ads would put up these crying laid-off workers criticizing all the layoffs and blaming it all on Bush, while Naples ads would attack Higgins' voting record- all his tax increases he voted for at the state capital- some fighter for the middle class he is, they're saying. Anyway, they have a big debate tonight on WNED so I may tune in to check it out.

Interestingly we aren't getting too many ads on Buffalo TV for George W. Bush or John Kerry- the reason is that New York is a solid Blue State and the Bush and Kerry people are focussing their TV fire on the real battlegrounds Ohio and Florida. I looked at all the polling and it basically comes down to these two states, folks. Basically, as it stands now it all comes down to this: if Kerry wins both of them he's on his way to the White House. If Bush loses either state, he'll need to pick up Iowa, New Mexico and Wisconsin in order to retain the White House- all three were Blue States in 2000 and all three show Bush leading right now. You can bet people living in these states are going to be inundated with political ads.

MORE ON CROSSFIRE FALLOUT

I finally got around to checking out the great Jon Stewart appearance on Crossfire where he took the program to task for its partisan hackery, playing into the hands of the agendas of all the political parties. Tucker Carlson tried to make Jon Stewart out to be a partisan shill for Kerry but it totally failed as Stewart accused Crossfire as being part of the problem.

Frankly, Stewart is right. Crossfire and the rest of the cable news shows are now part of the spin/hot air machine of the politicians. They are being used by the pros to promote and introduce talking points and other hot air. They are part of the manipulation machine used to spin a party line, and that's not what they ought to be doing. What Crossfire ought to be doing is calling these people out for spinning their party line. They should be crying "this is spin, this is BS!" every chance they get, but they aren't.

That's why I appreciate a show like the ones Bill O'Reilly or Chris Matthews puts out- they have their own views, true, but they won't put up with spin, they don't put up with any of that bull. But if you want to hawk your party line, go onto Crossfire and you'll have at least one sure-fire ally in either Carville, Begala or Tucker Carlson. They'll help you spew your line of bull and talk about your talking points for days.

In other news Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was in Spin Alley taking a strip off all these spinmeisters and PR people for Conan O'Brien. Good for him, and really funny stuff.

BUBBA'S BACK

Bill Clinton is back from his heart surgery and made a campaign appearance to help John Kerry in Philadelphia- just in time for the evening news. Another example of the hot air machine hard at work- wonder if the evening news will again fall for the bait. "Oh, look at this- Bill Clinton is out of bed!" See, this is why the evening newscasts aren't being watched by young people any more- they allow themselves to fall for this spin and for these contrived media events. And then they report it as news. No wonder people are so cynical. No wonder more Americans prefer to get their news from comedy shows than from any other source.

SINCLAIR FINALLY AIRS THAT KERRY SPECIAL EVERYONE'S BEEN GRIPING ABOUT

Last Friday Sinclair finally aired that hatchet job special on John Kerry's Vietnam war record, and it was pretty dull stuff. It aired on Fox 29 Buffalo in my area and I still can't figure out why they bothered with it to begin with- it was such a boring show. Producing that show was a waste of time by Sinclair as far as I'm concerned. Even as a hatchet job it wasn't very good.

It was actually not all that partisan- it even examined Bush's National Guard service and the questions people raised about that. They also had on pro-Bush people and pro-Kerry people so on the whole it looked like it had some balance to it. Now you have lots of people claiming victory for forcing Sinclair to be balanced, but again, I'm cynical about these people- I think a lot of them were Kerry people to begin with. Then again, it's obvious Sinclair's in with Bush. I'm totally cynical about everyone's motives.

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