The Forgotten Influence Of MuchMusic

For almost 15 years, my Dad was obsessed with taping music videos.  He actually kept track of every single one he ever recorded on Beta & VHS by writing them all down on these tiny pieces of three-ring paper that he kept in this tiny brown binder.  The list was alphabetized by artist.  Under each name were the video titles (not always the correct ones) and the corresponding cassette(s) they were recorded on.  Some were recorded multiple times because he either loved them so much or just wanted to record right to the end of a blank tape.  (In 2004, most of them (we’re talking hundreds of tapes) were finally thrown out after years of collecting dust.)

When he started doing this in the early 80s, he would set the timer for programs like Friday Night Videos on NBC and City Limits on a local Toronto station called City TV.  Hosted by aspiring songwriter Christopher Ward (and occasionally featuring a young comic named Mike Myers), City Limits aired every Saturday & Sunday in the wee hours of the morning.  Every episode was six hours long.

The mix of performers pantomiming to their singles was always eclectic.  In between videos featuring mainstream acts like Phil Collins & Pat Benatar were more cutting edge outfits like Depeche Mode and Siouxsie & The Banshees.  Looking back, it’s amazing the show was able to showcase so many different clips during their epic weekend broadcasts.  There weren’t many videos being produced during this period.

So you can only imagine how initially thrilled my Dad was when MuchMusic launched on August 31, 1984.  Unfortunately, The Nation’s Music Station began as a Pay-TV service (my Dad wasn’t going to give our local cable company more dough) so, he only taped videos during their free preview weekends, a semi-regular sales tactic employed to attract more subscribers.

Just a few years later, Much became part of our regular cable package.  And every day until the fall of 1995, Dad was constantly watching hoping to catch something he hadn’t already recorded before.  When he wasn’t watching, he asked me to take over so he wouldn’t miss anything.

Of all the video shows Much aired in its early years, there was only one he couldn’t miss:  the Hostess Sneak Previews.  Usually hosted by Steve Anthony, a blond, curly-haired goofball who drove my Dad nuts, it was the best place to see the latest clips.  Even after the cancellation of CBC shows like Video Hits & Good Rockin’ Tonight and another City-TV program called Toronto Rocks, among numerous others, he would continue to suffer through Anthony’s “paper hell” schtick (there were no teleprompters) just to add the newest titles to his growing collection.  (He must’ve taped tens of thousands of clips over the years.)

I’m not sure now why Dad lost interest in them altogether, but about a decade later, MuchMusic itself would drastically cut back on fully honouring this part of its mandate.  For most of the first half of its existence, with the exception of Erica Ehm’s Fashion Notes, every program it aired dealt exclusively with music.  Besides the regular hours devoted to random videos, there were specialty shows devoted to specific genres:  Outlaws & Heroes (Country), Rap City (Hip Hop), X-Tendamix (Dance), Soul In The City (R&B), Clip Trip (International), Pepsi Power Hour (Heavy Metal), MushMusic (Adult Contemporary), French Kiss (French Canadian), Indie Street (unsigned bands), The Wedge, The Punk Show and the revamped City Limits (Alternative Rock) and the Coca-Cola Countdown (Pop).

On Saturday nights, there were the Big Ticket Concerts.  On Saturday afternoons, there was the all-request show R.S.V.P. (Requested Songs for Video Play), which was spun off into Daily R.S.V.P. during weekday broadcasts.  There was Much West (featuring Terry David Mulligan with his giant cellphone covering Canadian music on the West Coast) and Much East (the two Mikes covering the East Coast).  There was the daily artist Spotlight which featured videos & interview excerpts of the biggest names in the business, past and present.  And then, on Mondays, there was the MuchMusicMovie which only featured musicals like Quadrophenia and Purple Rain.

Today, as Much celebrates its 30th Anniversary, only two of these shows remain on the air:  the weekly Countdown (minus its original sponsor) and the Much Movie (which isn’t restricted to music-themed features or a specific day any more).  (FEBRUARY 22, 2016 CORRECTION:  Actually, they still do Spotlight every Monday night at 6 p.m.  Hostess Sneak Previews is now Brand New Shit.  Instead of Rap City, there’s simply Hip Hop.  The Wedge is now just Alternative.  There are shows dedicated to EDM and dance music.  And Back Trax is now the three-hour Throwback Thursday.)  Yes, they still play videos for a couple hours every afternoon.  But for the most part, today’s Much is nothing like yesterday’s MuchMusic.  There are far more sitcoms, dramas and reality shows, totally unrelated to music, dominating its daily schedule.  (FEBRUARY 22, 2016 CORRECTION:  While it’s true that Much only plays between 2 to 3 hours of videos in the early afternoon, they’re also playing videos between 6 and 9 p.m. on weeknights.)

It’s sad, really.  When Moses Znaimer, the founder of both Much and City-TV, ran things, the channel mattered.  There was a serious mission to honour not just music in general, but Canadian musicians specifically.  MuchMusic went out of its way to push homegrown talent like Platinum Blonde, The Tragically Hip, The Northern Pikes, Jann Arden, Sloan, Alannah Myles (who found great success collaborating with Christopher Ward), Chalk Circle, I Mother Earth, 54-40, The Barenaked Ladies, Blue Rodeo, The Tea Party and countless others to national success, while existing stars like Neil Young and Rush continued to flourish.

Thanks to its VideoFact program (since renamed MuchFact) which helped fund videos for indie acts, bands like The Pursuit Of Happiness, Moist, Maestro Fresh-Wes and The Age Of Electric were all able to get major label deals.  French Canadian performers like Celine Dion, Roch Voisine and Mitsou would’ve never broken out of Quebec without the nationwide platform that the channel provided for them.  And because Much was dedicated to breaking acts from various genres, Shania Twain, Alanis Morissette and The Rankin Family were all able to build their own audiences through the excessive airings of their respective videos.

In the last decade or so, it’s hard to think of Much as the influential tastemaker it once prided itself on being.  Beyond the breakout successes of Billy Talent, Sam Roberts, Metric & The Arcade Fire in the early Aughts, the channel is now far more interested in promoting Fresh Prince & Simpsons reruns and teen sudsers like Degrassi than pushing the next great Canadian act.  (Sorry but Hedley, Michael Buble, Carly Rae Jepsen & Justin Bieber just don’t count.)

To be fair, Much’s decline isn’t entirely its own fault.  Part of the problem, of course, is the Internet.  Thanks to YouTube and countless imitators, music fans can become their own video programmers by simply scouring extensive lists of clips online at their leisure and playing them in an instant.  Since the channel rarely plays classic videos from the past anymore (FEBRUARY 22, 2016 CORRECTION:  As noted earlier, they do play old clips on Throwback Thursday), if one wanted to see, say, Killing Joke’s Love Like Blood right this second, one could do so right now with absolutely no difficulty (as long as one has a fast ISP).  And if one was desperate to see something brand new that’s just been released, well, it wouldn’t take one long to find that clip online, as well.

But what’s lost in that process are passionate TV programmers and VJs urging you to check out an artist or a band you’ve never heard of who they think you’ll really dig and follow for years to come.  There’s no steering you towards the dangerous, the exciting and the unexpected any more.  (Yes, Much has videos on its website but it’s really not the same.)

In fact, when Much does play videos during their afternoon Videoflows, there are no VJs introducing them at all.  It’s up to you to find out more about the current artists they still bother to play.  Unfortunately, few of them are worth caring about.  (What the hell happened to rock and roll?  Is it truly dead?)

Today’s music fans have a plethora of choices when it comes to seeing videos on the Internet.  During my childhood, there was no on-demand, only request shows and no guarantee of that request being granted on-air.  (I was able to get a Rush video played on Toronto Rocks once when Christopher Ward guest hosted, though.)

Still, it was fantastic to watch a channel that played nothing but videos for hours and hours, exposing you to a world of music you never knew existed, reminding you of established acts you had forgotten about and introducing you to artists who would become lifelong favourites.  (It’s why my Dad became a major fan of the Crash Test Dummies.)

As it celebrates 30 years on the air in Canada, that’s the MuchMusic I wish still existed.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
2:01 a.m.

CORRECTION:  City Limits was actually six hours long, not five like I originally wrote.  The correct running time for the program has been added to the original text.  My memory is not as good as I thought it was.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, August 29, 2014
2:33 a.m.

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Published in: on August 26, 2014 at 2:02 am  Comments (2)  

SummerSlam Trivia

1. Hulk Hogan has never defended the WWF Championship at SummerSlam.  The two occasions he was champion during the event (1989 & 1991), he wrestled in tag team matches.  He’s also undefeated.  He’s won all six of his encounters.  Also unbeaten is Ric Flair (he’s 2-0) and the short-lived Finnish villain Ludvig Borga who defeated Marty Jannetty in his only appearance at the annual supercard in 1993.  Borga committed suicide in 2010.

2. Brutus Beefcake was supposed to win the InterContinental title from The Honky Tonk Man at the inaugural show in 1988.  Despite having chased the champion for nearly a year, it was decided just weeks before that The Ultimate Warrior would take his place instead.  To write him out of the match, Beefcake started a feud with Outlaw Ron Bass.  After The Barber saved a jobber from being harmed by him post-squash during one of the weekly TV shows, he cut Miss Betsy (Bass’ bullwhip) in half and part of his cowboy hat, as well.

Subsequently, an infuriated Bass interfered in Beefcake’s own squash with a different jobber and proceeded to cut him on the forehead with Bret & Bart Maverick (his spurs).  Yes, a slightly bloody forehead was the reason Beefcake didn’t appear at SummerSlam 88.  (Curiously, Bass didn’t wrestle, either.)  Because no official opponent was announced before the event, The Honky Tonk Man demanded anybody come down & fight him for the title.  The Warrior’s music hit and in less than a minute, he ended the longest IC reign in history.  Beefcake would never get another chance to become champion.

3. Speaking of the Warrior, he was supposed to turn heel at the 1992 show.  In the build-up, Ric Flair & Mr. Perfect tantalized fans by claiming that either the man from Parts Unknown or his opponent, WWF Champion Randy “Macho Man” Savage, both popular babyfaces, had secretly aligned with them, two nefarious villains.  Unfortunately, Warrior was against this plan.  So, instead, during their WWF Championship match, Flair & Perfect attacked both men.  (Warrior won the match by countout but not the title.)  Warrior & Savage would later briefly team up themselves to become The Ultimate Maniacs.

4. SummerSlam 1992 was the only event in the show’s history to not air live on pay-per-view.  (It was also the only time it was held outside of North America and in an outdoor stadium.)  Because it took place at Wembley Stadium in London, England, it was decided to tape everything in advance rather than deal with the cumbersome time difference.  The show took place on August 29th but was broadcast stateside on the 31st.  Because of the wide reach of the Internet, this could never happen today without pre-taped spoilers being leaked by attendees to online dirt sheets.  (Back then, the World Wide Web was only in its infancy.)

Furthermore, 3 matches that took place during the taping never aired during the initial North American broadcast due to time constraints.  They’re also not on the DVD of the show.  For the record, Papa Shango beat Tito Santana; Hacksaw Jim Duggan & The Bushwhackers defeated The Nasty Boys & The Mountie; and Tatanka pinned The Berzerker.

5. Mr. Perfect was not at 100% when he unsuccessfully defended his IC title against Bret “The Hitman” Hart at the 1991 show.  Despite suffering from a back injury, he wanted to put over his real-life friend during Hart’s second attempt at becoming a singles star.  Hart’s proud parents, Stu & Helen, were in attendance.  During the post-match interview with his father, Lord Alfred Hayes cut him off while he was still talking.

6. The Undertaker nearly died at SummerSlam 1996.  During his infamous Boiler Room Match with Mankind, he suffered a severe staph infection.  Had he not gone to the hospital in time, he wouldn’t have survived.  Thank goodness that portion of the match was pre-taped the day before the live show.  This was the encounter where his longtime mentor, Paul Bearer, turned on him & joined forces with Mankind who handed The Dead Man his first SummerSlam defeat after four consecutive victories at the event.

7. During the preparation for their match at SummerSlam 1997, Owen Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin argued over one of the spots they were planning.  Hart wanted to do a reverse piledriver like a traditional piledriver where the man delivering it lands on his ass.  Knowing firsthand how dangerous that is (years earlier, Austin executed that exact move to a Japanese wrestler named Masahiro Chono with disastrous results), Stone Cold was adamant it be performed like the Undertaker’s Tombstone where the man delivering it lands on his knees.  In the end, Hart did it on his ass and Austin suffered a neck injury so severe for a few moments he couldn’t feel anything in his extremities.  There was a deep concern that he was paralyzed.

Complicating matters was that this was an IC title match and Hart, the champion, was supposed to put over Austin to make him the new titleholder.  Having to wait around a bit before Austin could continue, the ending was as awkward as it gets.  Hart pretended to lose his balance as a seriously hurt Austin struggled to perform a reverse roll-up to get the pin.  Hart never apologized for the mistake and Austin never forgave him.  The King of Harts tragically died two years later during his botched entrance at the 1999 Over The Edge event.

8. What was the first heel turn in SummerSlam history?  Believe it or not, it was Sapphire in 1990.  At the time, she was Dusty Rhodes’ cornerperson.  But after she failed to show up for her match with Sensational Sherri (who won by forfeit), she later turned up in a fur coat with The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase.  (He had been sending her expensive anonymous gifts for weeks.)  Dumbfounded and heartbroken, Rhodes lost a quick match that night to the Macho King Randy Savage.  Sapphire died in 1996.

9. The Model Rick Martel and Shawn Michaels squared off in the first villain vs. villain match at SummerSlam at the Wembley extravaganza in 1992.  It had an unusual stipulation:  no hitting in the face.  (Both characters were self-absorbed pretty boys.)  Sensational Sherri, then in the corner of Michaels and instrumental in getting him over as a singles star, was booked to be torn between both men.  It ended in a double countout.  She stuck with Michaels.

10. The WWF Championship was successfully defended at SummerSlam until 1997 when Bret Hart defeated The Undertaker to win his final world title, thanks to an ill-timed chair shot by guest referee Shawn Michaels, the man who would beat him for it at that year’s infamous Survivor Series.  11 more World Champions have been pushed at the event since then.

11. The ECW Championship is the only title that has never changed hands at SummerSlam.

12. If you’re the InterContinental Champion preparing to defend your title at the biggest event of the summer, you should be worried.  New IC Champions have been crowned 14 times, more than any other title.

13. No villain has ever won a traditional steel cage match at SummerSlam.

14. What was the shortest match in the history of this show?  There’s a tie for that honour.  In 2009, Christian defeated William Regal to retain his ECW Championship.  And in 2013, Randy Orton cashed in his Money In The Bank contract on just-crowned WWE Champion Daniel Bryan to steal the title.  Both matches, according to Wikipedia, lasted 8 seconds.  What’s the longest one?  The 7-on-7 elimination tag team match that pitted John Cena, Bret Hart, R-Truth, John Morrison, Chris Jericho, Edge & the returning Daniel Byran against The Nexus in 2010.  It lasted more than 35 minutes.  John Cena was the sole survivor.

15. Ryback & Kane both made their pay-per-view debuts in the WWE at SummerSlam under different characters.  In 1995, Kane was originally Isaac Yankem, Jerry Lawler’s sadomasochistic dentist.  He lost to Bret Hart by DQ.  And in 2010, Ryback first emerged as Skip Sheffield as part of The Nexus in the above-mentioned elimination tag match.

16. Ted DiBiase wrestled his final match against Razor Ramon in the opening bout of the event in 1993.  Something went wrong at the end when Ramon used his Razor’s Edge finisher to get the 3-count.  (It wasn’t performed safely enough.)  DiBiase was too hurt to ever compete again but thanks to his magnificent promo skills he was retooled as a manager both in the WWF and later, the WCW.

17. The Legion Of Doom made history in 1991 when they defeated The Nasty Boys for the WWF Tag Team titles.  They became the only tag team to have won the AWA, NWA & WWF tag belts, a feat that can never be repeated.

18. SummerSlam is the only one of the original four, ongoing WWE pay-per-views (WrestleMania, The Royal Rumble and The Survivor Series being the others) to be the setting for two successful Money In The Bank cash-ins.  Alberto Del Rio took advantage of a power bombed CM Punk to win the WWE title in 2011 and all Randy Orton had to do was cover a pedigreed Daniel Bryan to snag it in 2013.

19. The only time Jesse “The Body” Ventura wasn’t a colour commentator during a WWF pay-per-view event in the 80s was at the first SummerSlam in 1988.  The reason?  He was the guest referee for the Megapowers/Megabucks tag team main event.  He reluctantly made the 3-count for the babyfaces.  11 years later, while governor of Minnesota, he controversially returned to guest referee the Triple Threat match between Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mankind & Triple H for the WWF Championship.  Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy won the title.

20. There has been at least one new champion crowned at every SummerSlam with the notable exceptions of 1993, 1996, 2003, 2006 & 2007 where there were none.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, August 17, 2014
8:17 p.m.

UPDATE:  Because Dolph Ziggler won the IC title from The Miz and Brock Lesnar destroyed John Cena to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion at SummerSlam 2014, the figures originally mentioned in numbers 10 & 12 have now been updated to reflect these changes.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, August 17, 2014
11:35 p.m.

Published in: on August 17, 2014 at 8:17 pm  Comments (2)  

The Sadness Beneath

(For Mr. Williams.)

How could he end such a beautiful life?
Why did he throw it all away?
Did he not think of his kids & wife
And all who loved to watch him play?

Unanswered questions from a chorus in shock
Fumbling for reason in a time of grief
He often seemed as solid as a rock
And never in need of permanent relief

It’s hard to understand a troubled mind
That deludes itself into believing the worst
That out there, you’re funny, sharp & kind
But in here, you’re trapped, lonely & cursed

The sadness beneath is a silent killer
And no one but its victims can be aware
So you mask the pain, pretend to be a pillar
While quietly drowning in a sea of despair

You accept the lies that define your thinking
But work twice as hard to hide their influence
The truth gets lost in your heavy drinking
Completely buried in this deadly confluence

Behind the jokes is a trail of shame
Launched by traumatic events of the past
An extraordinary man with a famous name
Ravaged by dishonesty much too fast

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
11:00 p.m.

Published in: on August 12, 2014 at 11:01 pm  Comments (1)  

A Former Obama Aide’s Revealing Rolling Stone Article

Reid Cherlin used to work for The Obama Administration.  After the election of the new President in 2008, he worked in the Press Secretary’s Office as one of its spokespeople.  He left the gig a couple of years later.

In a new piece for Rolling Stone magazine, he recounts his experiences from the inside.  It has to be read to be believed.

You see, Mr. Cherlin, as he readily admits in the middle of paragraph seven, is an unabashed Obama fan:

“I’m biased in that I think Obama is right about most things.  I also believe he’ll be remembered as an excellent president.”

And he thinks his former boss is deeply misunderstood, thanks to those big meanies in the media or “the filter”, as he dismissively describes them:

“It’s always an easy story to point out where the president has failed to deliver on his promises.”

Throughout the article about Obama’s “messy relationship with the press”, Cherlin’s tone is often defensive with regards to press criticism, very much reflecting the feelings of his former boss.

Take Politico, for instance.  Founded during the 2008 campaign, “Obama’s advisers detested Politico from the start, accurately recognizing its potential to wreak havoc on their carefully crafted narratives, and to inspire their competitors to indulge in the same bad habits.” In other words, they hated the site for performing the terrible crime of journalism.

And then there are the individual reporters who angered the Administration.  In April of this year, New York Times White House correspondent Mark Landler got reamed out in Air Force One’s press cabin in front of his colleagues for co-writing a cover story that declared one of Obama’s foreign trips a flop while it was still in progress.  Because it was an off-the-record moment, “a definitive accounting of what was said is hard to come by…”

So, Cherlin paraphrases:

“…the thrust of the president’s message was this: Foreign policy is hard, you guys are scoring it like a campaign debate, and moreover, you’re doing it inaccurately.”

Foreign policy is hard?  Good Lord.  As for supposed examples of journalistic inaccuracies, none are mentioned.  Huge shocker.

Some journalists who pissed off Obama got punished for leaking information the government expected to be kept secret, albeit until they deemed it ready for public consumption.  Buzzfeed reporter Chris Geidner was “openly snubbed” by the White House for reporting on a “secret strategy meeting” with LGBT activists.  His punishment?  Being purposefully left out of a conference call that involved news of an upcoming executive order.

“Two months before, the White House had levied similar punishment on The New York Times for skirting a restriction called an embargo (information provided in advance on the condition that it can’t be reported before a certain set time). Times writers used their own sourcing to report the story early, and the next time an embargoed document came around, detailing one of the president’s upcoming speeches, Times correspondents found themselves excluded from the party.”

Not only do journalists get punished for disobeying silly restrictions like this that are imposed on them by these paranoid government officials, they can get bypassed completely.  Following the phony controversy surrounding this famous Obama comment about conservatives – “They cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” – made during a private fundraiser in the 2008 Presidential campaign, according to Cherlin, the White House “began exploring ways to re-exert control, ignoring the media altogether.”

Which explains why the announcement of Joe Biden as Obama’s running mate was done via text.

Beyond the grudges the Administration holds against specific journalists, it’s startling to read Cherlin’s comments about the press in general and how the government is supposed to react to their questioning.  Consider the Veteran Affairs scandal that erupted this year.  As a chorus of critics demanded the resignation of General Eric Shinseki, the embattled VA Secretary who Obama selected to run the troubled agency in 2009 after promising to cut ridiculously long wait times for severely injured war veterans, President Obama initially stood by his man.  Then, during a Press Room briefing weeks after the scandal broke, he finally announced Shinseki’s departure.

Cherlin is perplexed by this.  While correctly noting that the VA’s problems are “systemic” and go back decades, he can’t understand why Shinseki had to be removed from his job:

“…vets face long waits and substandard care on a systemic basis, and…firing the head of the agency probably will do nothing to change that.”

Then, he quotes former WH Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:

“…Washington has these things where in order for a story to stop and the next chapter to be written…there have to be these inflection points…”  Like “ritual firings”, Cherlin adds.

In other words, why do we have to fire these incompetent people?  It’s not their fault!  This isn’t their problem!  They didn’t start the fire!  Blame the other clowns who came before them!

With regards to the persecution of journalists like the widely respected New York Times national security reporter James Risen, Cherlin quotes an anonymous Obama official who absurdly asserts that this is one of those “Bush investigations” that the administration didn’t initiate but merely inherited, as if the President had no choice but to keep it going.  And that Obama “expressed both publicly and privately his frustration with the way they are being handled and has said reporters should never be in trouble for doing their job.”

Curiously, this follows a brief summary of the Risen case (the Administration wants him to testify in the Jeffrey Sterling leak case because they believe he was the source for a chapter in his State Of War book involving the secret US cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear facility) where Cherlin correctly notes that “the Supreme Court, at the urging of Obama’s Justice Department, declined to hear Risen’s appeal.”  Despite Obama asserting that “reporters should never be in trouble for doing their job”, he won’t stop hounding Risen to testify when he knows the reporter will never reveal his source and is prepared to go to prison if it comes to that.  (If journalists can’t protect their sources, why would anyone confide in them?)

It’s bad enough Cherlin doesn’t mention the most serious of Obama’s transgressions (drones, Gitmo, Bagram, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, the war on drugs, excessive deportations, the war on whistleblowers, the NSA’s global surveillance state, delays in releasing the CIA torture report, prison torture, racial profiling of Muslims, the militarization of law enforcement) when listing a number of unflattering media stories that have diminished the President’s stature.  It’s even worse when he suggests that the reason the media is so brutal to Obama in the first place is not that he has questionable policies but because the traditional news business is dying and as a result, anybody can be a journalist as long as they can do Buzzfeed listicles and have any kind of political grievance regardless of its factual validity.

Cherlin quotes recently retired WH Press Secretary Jay Carney, previously a 2o-year journalist who worked for Time Magazine, who claims that because “of all the cutting and slashing” of media jobs “everybody’s strung out and incapable of taking a breath and actually thinking about what they’re saying or writing.”

No actual examples are given.  Furthermore, there is much whining about having to respond to any reporter inquiries at all, whether they be serious or otherwise.  The overall sense of powerlessness Cherlin & others convey in the article is striking.  It’s as if they’re not responsible for anything bad that happens.

There’s an interesting section where Cherlin writes about his own interactions with the media.  It turns out he was a screamer, particularly when reporters wouldn’t play ball.  He wasn’t the only one:

“It didn’t take long for the group [of White House press aides] to earn a reputation as overly quick to scream to get their way, or to exact a price for stories they saw as unfair.”

Toddlers are less childish.  At any event, it was a failed tactic:

“…as the years passed and the novelty of an Obama presidency leached away, the atmosphere of presumption and entitlement to good coverage has worn poorly.”

“Presumption” and “entitlement”.  The idea that it’s imperative upon the press to heap constant praise on this federal government or else speaks volumes.  Ironically, considering the lack of skepticism that a number of beltway journalists exhibit when covering this administration, particularly on national security issues, I’d say Obama is still getting his way, despite all his growing scandals.  His persecutions of government whistleblowers and the journalists who employ them as sources are proof of that.  With some notable exceptions, he has scared the media into various fits of self-censorship.  A definite chill is being felt throughout the entire news business.

Cherlin’s Rolling Stone article is accompanied by an illustration of a wounded, bandaged Obama glaring sullenly at a small group of journos reimagined as voracious lions ready to pounce on him repeatedly.

Unfortunately, the reality, despite Cherlin’s often wimpy, unfounded assertions, is quite the opposite.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
7:58 p.m.

 

 

Published in: on August 5, 2014 at 7:58 pm  Comments (3)