Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just who is the "scumbag"?

At a time even the wackos at PMSNBC are at least giving lip service to the cause of civility, are at least giving lip service to the need to speak moderately, the "editors" and, indeed, the publisher of the Times Free Press continue to publish hate.

For example, in the issue of Sunday, 16 January, in (as usual) the lamentable Perspective section, in (as usual) the despicable "TheRant" feature are these vicious and ugly and -- worst -- anonymous comments:

ANYONE who says Sarah Palin's Facebook "cross-hairs" postings had nothing to do with the Arizona shootings is a liar.

SARAH PALIN might not have pulled the trigger in Arizona, but she sure enough pulled the strings.

BOY! THIS week has really shown that right-wing loudmouths can dish it out, but can't take it. Typical of bullying nature. (This from, remember, an anonymous person.)

HEY RUSH, big boy, are you doing a dancing jig this week on your show? (Honest, sic.) (No, I don't know what it means, either.)

SCUMBAG SKILLERN and Conniving Coppinger. What a duo! We truly have sorry excuses for county commissioners if the others go along with this dirty pair. (Fact: Fred Skillern had been chairman of the county commission and by law was set to become interim county mayor. Mr. Skillern has a son undergoing some serious and ongoing medical procedures so Mr. Skillern is having to manage the son's business. He felt [reasonably in my opinion] he could not do that and be available for his son and be county mayor; so he resigned the chairmanship position and someone else became county mayor. All this was done in broad daylight, was announced beforehand, and nothing sneaky or dishonest was done, not that such facts -- or, apparently, any facts -- matter to anonymous Ranters.)

So back to the title question: Who is the real "scumbag"?

I suggest it is the editing and publishing personnel of the Times Free Press who allow, nay, who encourage such vicious vitriol -- such anonymous garbage -- in the pages of an alleged "news" paper.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Double standard? Or just bigotry?

Under the heading "Palin has history of being a quitter" is this really rather stupid letter to the "editor": Referring to the fact some people in the Tea Party movement and in the Republican Party endorse Sarah Palin, a writer claiming to be Scott C. Wilson asks, "I wonder if it has occurred to them that they're supporting a person who has a recent history of being a quitter."
Yep, it's a fact that every time she has been elected governor, Sarah Palin quit. Every time. That is quite a record.
The alleged Wilson went on to conclude, "I might be a bit old-fashioned, but when you commit to something you're supposed to finish it. ..."
Now let us hold our breath and wait for the alleged Wilson to note Barack Obama quit his Senate seat with four years to go. (Of course, he actually wasn't often there in that seat even while holding the office, but that's another discussion.)
My number one question on the Sarah Palin matter is this: Why is all the opposition so filled with animosity? Why does no one say "I oppose Sarah Palin because she believes this, or that, or the other"?
No, it's always animosity, very seldom fact based. Sarah Palin is subject to personal attacks that are usually half-baked or hypocritical.
But that's just right for the Times Free Press Perspective.

Vulgarity reigns supreme

Once again "TheRant" demonstrates the small- and dirty-minded character of whoever edits the Perspective section of the Times Free Press.
On Sunday, 5 December, is this: "SARAH! Cause it's about time we have a president we want to see naked."
Besides the general lowness of class, it is moronically broad -- that is, general. I performed an unscientific survey and asked a very intelligent colleague, "Would you like to see Sarah Palin naked?" I was told in no uncertain terms, "Absolutely NOT!" And she also me told not to bother her any more.
Sure, there are lots of people, even otherwise taste-challenged Democrats, who lust after Sarah Palin, at least in their hearts, but is this really family "news" paper material?
By the way, we have had a president apparently many people -- mostly female people -- did see naked, some not at all willingly, according to reports.
While it might not really say anything about the country or society, it certainly does say a lot about the so-called "news" media that someone of that small caliber can be elected to any office.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Big bad Wolfe, little worse editorialist

While the "news" paper can't seem to find any room, or qualified reporter, to report on John Wolfe's views or positions on any campaign issues, it always finds room to mention some failing.
In the Saturday, 30 October, issue, is a big mention on his campaign's not having its filings up to date, and a mention that his 2010 campaign is running with money left over from a previous campaign.
Really important stuff.
But what does John Wolfe stand for?
For that matter, what does any candidate in this or, really, any other race stand for?
Even the allegedly endorsing editorial -- Times editorial endorsements are just knee-jerkily for Democrats -- takes time for a sneer:
"John Wolfe may be fighting a losing battle in carrying the Democratic banner -- again -- in the District 3 race, but he is easily the best informed candidate around." Which is sheer nonsense, of course.
However, in the "debate" mentioned previously, Mr. Wolfe did show more knowledge about foreign policy than the two others who showed up.
However, Mr. Wolfe is woefully lacking in knowledge about, for example, economics, about the Constitution (even though he is a lawyer), and about the nature of human rights.
Come to think of it, that also, and better, describes the editorial writers of the Times.
I guess, if I had to choose between the Times and Mr. Wolfe, I'd take the latter. He, as evidenced by his late radio talk show, is at least willing to listen to other opinions.

Editorial points out a shameful fact

Despite the millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours spent by candidates and campaigns, Tennessee again had a low voter turnout.
There are, of course, many reasons for that, including generally lousy, even terrible "news" reporting.
Another reason is the difficulties placed on ballot access by Tennessee election laws.
Still another is the lack of quality candidates and, in some races, the lack of any opposition to entrenched incumbents.
At least six legislative positions were not contested.
It is not possible to have good government -- if there even is such a thing -- without broader citizen participation.

Monday, November 01, 2010

No surprise: More bad reporting

In its continuing lousy coverage of the Third District race, this is a paragraph from a story on Sunday, 31 October: "Also running are tea party independents Savas Kyriakidis, co-owner of the Acropolis restaurant in Chattanooga, and businessman Mark DeVol, of Oak Ridge, along with several other independents."
Two gross errors: Mr. DeVol lives in Andersonville, not Oak Ridge, and three of the other independents have withdrawn and endorsed Mr. DeVol.
Only Don Barkman has not withdrawn, but he has campaigned almost not at all.
Normal people might think a "news" organization would know this.
And perhaps a genuine news organization would.

More TFP schizophrenia

Only slightly surprising, the Times has editorially endorsed John Wolfe for Congress.
We expect a knee-jerk endorsement for every Democrat, even Democrats who have not campaigned and who are almost totally unknown. (However, apparently strangely, the Free Press often endorses Democrats, at least locally, and it might prove some kind of open-mindedness missing from the Times editorialists but the Democrats so endorsed are nearly always terrible legislators.)
Here is the schizophrenic part: The "news" department continues its mistreatment of Mr. Wolfe (who is an elitist and fascist, but otherwise a nice guy).
In the Sunday, 31 October, edition is this "news" story: "David Wasserman, who follows U.S. House races nationally for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, ... said ... there's no contest in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District. He said Republican attorney Chuck Fleischmann, of Chattanooga, is the heavy favorite over Chattanooga attorney John Wolfe, a perennial Democratic candidate."
Harold Stassen was a perennial candidate. Nelson Rockefeller was a perennial candidate.
John Wolfe ran in 2002 and in 2004. He did not run in 2006 or 2008.
"Perennial candidate" is, of course, a pejorative term, a sneer.
And about what we expect from this rag of a paper.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

No answer from new editor

This is the kind, courteous, concerned e-mail I sent to J. Todd Foster, the new executive editor, who has, naturally, already offered and broken promises to improve the TFP.
Despite so far three attempts to e-mail him, I have yet to receive an answer:

Dear Mr. Foster,
Recently a tele-marketer called to try to sell me on the Times Free Press.
I laughed at the notion of subscribing and told her why.
First, I do get the Sunday paper, and every week I find one particular feature to be a shameful pile of garbage.
Again, this past Sunday, your very biased and/or dishonest editors allowed into your paper some anonymous filth no decent and honest editor would pass:
"The only difference between the tea party zealots and the KKK is that one group wears white cone heads."
"I took someone's advice and listened to Glenn Beck. Well, he's even crazier than I thought."
Sir, you're new here (or at least new in your position) and you might be forgiven for being ignorant of this fact: Just on the edges of the TFP circulation, three black candidates were endorsed by the Tea Parties in their respective districts.
You should know, but the "news" media have been shamefully ignoring of the fact, that black speakers and black members have been at many Tea Party events.
Your other editors, though, have been told this previously, yet this filth continues in your paper.
If you don't understand why your circulation is dropping, and will drop further, this is part of the reason.
A very few weeks ago, I sent e-mails to every editor listed on your Web site, and to several reporters, inviting them to an event with a syndicated columnist. I sent it twice.
Not one person -- actually one, who was courteous enough to send his regrets because of a funeral -- had even the simple courtesy to reply. And of course no "news" people attended, probably because the speaker's opinions did not fit the apparent prevailing bias of your staff.
Sir, even if you don't try to get honest news reporting, you could at least end the disgrace of anonymous garbage in "TheRant" each Sunday.
In the meantime, I'm trying to talk my friend into dropping it completely. Delivery has already been cut to weekends, but that kind of anonymous filth is not welcome in the homes of decent and honest people.
The only real quality there is the circulation department. Your carrier has been perfect.
Too bad about your news and editorial departments.
Yours sincerely,
Michael Morrison

Credit where it's due

As mentioned here previously, several times, the worst feature of a bad opinion section in a very bad paper is the execrable "TheRant."
But when, maybe two or even three times a year, someone manages to get in an intelligent comment, I must give credit. (Though I wonder how it got past the "editor.")
This was in the 24 October edition: "Two weeks before the election and the TFP sure touted the GOP bashing editorals and letters to the editor last week. Coincidence, I'm sure."
One of the very few credits to the TFP is the presence of two different editorial pages, the Times on the left and the Free Press on the right, in both senses.
Yet the Sunday Perspective section is always rather heavily weighted leftward, even though Steve Barrett usually makes sense and both Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams columns are usually featured on the Free Press editorial page.
The foul, hate-filled Clay Bennett cartoon sits prominently on the front page of the section and the racist Leonard Pitts, Jr., at the bottom of page 3.
But usually there is at least a pretense of presenting two sides -- itself a picture of part of what is wrong with the "news" media, that the media don't realize there are many more than two sides.
However, as The Ranter said, the previous week, every "Rant" and every letter was biased to the left, the Democrats.
The new executive editor, J. Todd Foster, invites readers to write him at ... but he has never answered me, so good luck.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

'Journalism' reaches a new low

Candidates for Congress in Tennessee's Third District, some of them, were invited to a "debate" by a local Tea Party organization Saturday, 16 October.
Three showed up, not including the Republican nominee, Chuck Fleischmann. By the way, please note that is a two-syllable name, properly hyphenated between the h and the m. An explanation follows.
So, appearing were independents Savas Kyriakidis and Mark DeVol, and Democrat John Wolfe.
According to the alleged reporter, Jessie Gable, who either slept through most of it, or who stepped out for a smoke, it "was pretty much a free-for-all against Republican nominee Chuck Fleis-chmann, who wasn't there to refute the attacks." Sic. Sick. As I have pointed out before, obviously no one reads the thing, so errors abound uncorrected. (The TV magazine has, for two weeks in a row, had some computer glitch that puts question marks alternating with every letter and space in one feature. It looks something like this: I?t?l?o?o?k?s?s?o?m?e?t?h?i?n?g?l?i?k?e?t?h?i?s? Even for the TFP that is incredible.)
"Democratic congressional nominee John Wolfe and independent Mark DeVol used the debate at Woodland Park Baptist Church to criticize Fleischmann."
Of course they did, among many other things they said.
"Wolfe referred to Fleischmann, who has stayed away from most multicandidate events, as the 'coward of the county.'"
Yes, Mr. Wolfe did, as he has before, noting that was a line from a country song (by Kenny Rogers?). I might not know who performed it, but even I know the source, and the "reporter" implies it's a gratuitous insult.
Mr. DeVol said Mr. Fleischmann was "up in Washington, D.C., picking out his furniture." That is a line Mr. DeVol has also used before, meaning, clearly, that the GOP nominee feels he has a lock on the seat, a feeling Mr. DeVol disputes.
The two independents "emphasized their conservative credentials to the audience of 100 or so people." There were many more than that.
"Indepent candidates Don Barkman, Gregory C. Goodwin, Robert Humphries and Mo Kiah were not present."
Candidates Goodwin and Humphries both dropped out long ago and both have endorsed Mark DeVol. I alerted another "reporter" about that fact, weeks ago, but apparently no one at the TFP talks to anyone else while they're not reading their rag.
Mr. Wolfe gets dismissed this way: "Wolfe stumbled over the words 'Iraq' and 'Iran' in his answers. A group of his supporters clapped after almost every answer, although the audience was asked at the start to hold its applause."
Also not true.
The TFP has always disliked Mr. Wolfe and published lots of inaccuracies or criticisms over the years, and even the knee-jerk Times editorialists have not endorsed him. Mr. Wolfe just laughs it off, not expecting any accuracy or simple decency.
Fact is, though Mr. Wolfe has extreme and, in my opinion, often wacky, left-collectivist beliefs, he also had a lot of facts at hand, and he expressed his ideas and intentions to a much greater degree than he expressed criticism of Mr. Fleischmann.
And that was true of the other candidates, too. They spent their time telling us in the audience what they thought was right, was needed.
Only one other "news" medium even showed up ... well, one-and-a-half. Channel 61 "news" is run by Channel 9 "news." Saturday night, though, Channel 61's broadcast, because of some sporting event, appeared on Channel 53.
After a very superficial story, about like the TFP's, another story followed in which "major races," governor and Congress, were mentioned, but only the names of Wolfe and Fleischmann were reported! Incredible incompetence and/or dishonesty is obviously not limited to the paper.
As I had told the TV reporter, that Chuck Fleischmann did not show up has been beat to death. Every forum and broadcast talk show in the district has harped and harped on the fact.
No, the story was what those attending candidates said, what they promised, what they believed and intended.
Tennessee has the second-lowest voter turnout in these United States. One reason: Because of slovenly "news" reporting, the voters don't know they have more than the usual lousy two choices. (Tennessee has very restrictive ballot access laws, and while Tennessee men and women are risking their lives in Afghanistan "to bring democracy," we don't have "democracy" here.)
Independent candidates get next to no coverage, except for a couple Internet fora and the radio talk shows, which, in Chattanooga, are almost the only open news outlets.
Despite promises by the new TFP executive editor, nothing is improving; everything is still terrible and apparently getting worse.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Times editorial page 'editing' continues to degenerate

"Editor's Note" to a letter, published Monday, 11 October, that endorsed Mark DeVol for Congress uses a cliched and erroneous term.
Letter writer Jim Sims, of Red Bank, endorses Mr. DeVol at least in part because the candidate "is for eliminating Congress' retirement program."
Mr. DeVol, who also favors term limits, stresses that members of Congress are supposed to be public servants, that they are being honored enough by being elected, and that the huge benefits and perquisites cost the people too much and are not deserved.
"Urban myths" is what the "editor" calls that. Even if it were an error, it is not an "urban myth," which is a particular class of erroneous beliefs.
Then, though the "editor" deigned to try to contradict the Sims letter, no answer is given to a really stupid letter from Ann Benton of Signal Mountain.
Among other nonsense, she says, "... corporations are buying Republican politicians."
Fact: More corporations gave money to the Democrat national convention than to the Republican national convention.
Multi-billionaire George Soros has decided not to fund the Democrats this year because, he said, he doesn't "want to stand in front of an avalanche." But you know his heart, even if not his money, is with the Democrats.
She said Republicans want to "Demolish Social Security and Medicare."
Where is any editorial rebuttal to that garbage?