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The Scandal of the Local Newsroom (you won't believe...never mind..you will)
Ace ^ | 15 October 2008

Posted on 10/14/2008 3:37:19 PM PDT by SE Mom

I have a BA in journalism, and over time have kept in touch with a number of people who are still working in that profession. So when one of them emailed me the following about the atmosphere in today's newsrooms, I wasn't surprised at all. This person does offer some hints at the end on how to push for more fairness in your local coverage:

....

It's unbelievable here. I've been through a few election cycles and have gotten pretty used to the open sneering every time a Republican candidate appears on the television, but this year is unlike anything I've ever seen.

Anchors were openly cheering when the news came out that Sarah Palin's daughter was pregnant. Some of the comments were so over-the-top childish and nasty that I couldn't believe what I was hearing. They're obsessed with her. They hate her even more than they hated Bush. And they all talk openly about how "stupid" and "unqualified" she is. It's pretty much a hostile work environment for the few conservatives who work here.

I've pretty much been keeping my head down and concentrating on my work, but yesterday was the final straw for me when some snot-nosed, twenty-something liberal producer responded to a request to take a phone call from a viewer complaining about lack of election fraud coverage by saying, "Tell him it's because we hate Republicans."

I want you to post this story on your blog to get the word out. The average person doesn't understand how obnoxiously left wing, the average local newsroom staffer is. The nightly newscasts they're watching every night are being put together by producers who have nothing but disdain for the people watching.

The irony is that these people are for the most part, some of the most ignorant, unimpressive individuals that you'll ever meet. They know next to nothing. They have no expertise in any area. They just repeat shit they read on the wires. Most of them aren't even from the communities where they work. They migrate from station to station, climbing the ladder as they go.

But they do think they're both smarter than and superior to you. Especially those of you who live in rural areas.

It's time people register their dissatisfaction about these clowns. It won't change the coverage, but contacting them in the right way can be hugely disruptive to their operations.

Here's how to do it. First, have a specific complaint in mind before you call. Make sure it's a local issue so they can't duck it. Be prepared, succinct, and polite. Study up on the topic before hand. Your goal is to put them on the spot and make them answer specific questions.

Local television newsrooms are extremely busy just before their newscasts air, so time your calls accordingly for maximum disruption. Most local stations don't have a dedicated call taker, so you're likely to get routed to whomever is available. It might be a producer, an intern, or even an anchor. No matter who you get, they'll be busy and stressed out and looking to get rid of you as quickly as possible. Keep them on the line for as long as you can.

Newsroom personnel hate to be questioned on anything. They're notoriously thin-skinned about their work. What you'll find beneath the surface if you're persistent is an almost unfathomable ignorance about the stories they cover. Expose this ignorance by asking them basic information about whatever story (or lack of coverage) you're complaining about. If the issue is voter fraud, ask them to explain to you their understanding of your state's election laws. In almost all cases, they will not be able to. Follow up by politely asking them how they can accurately cover stories that they don't understand. You'll probably get a nasty, defensive reaction. Congratulations, it's working.

If they try to blow you off, ask to be routed to someone in charge like the news director, assistant news director, an executive producer, or the general manager. If they lose their cool and hang up on you, call back and try to get the GM or news director. Ask them why their newsroom staff is rude to callers and appears to feel unaccountable. Follow up with emails.

I can't stress enough to your readers how important it is to be polite and informed. If you do your homework, you'll have these people spinning in circles. You may not be able to change their coverage, but it should knock a little of the arrogance out of them and make life more difficult.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 2008election; 2008electionbias; agitprop; americanpravda; bias; collusion; despotism; dnctalkingpoints; doublestandard; flyovercountry; goebbelswouldbeproud; howtostealanelection; ivorytower; jesusland; leftwingconspiracy; mediabias; obamanation; obamunists; partisanpress; tyranny; ussa; yellowjournalism; zogbyism
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1 posted on 10/14/2008 3:37:19 PM PDT by SE Mom
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To: STARWISE; Miss Didi; Dog; holdonnow; Bahbah; AliVeritas; Ernest_at_the_Beach; penelopesire

Yikes! ping


2 posted on 10/14/2008 3:39:07 PM PDT by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: SE Mom
The irony is that these people are for the most part, some of the most ignorant, unimpressive individuals that you'll ever meet. They know next to nothing. They have no expertise in any area. They just repeat shit they read on the wires. Most of them aren't even from the communities where they work. They migrate from station to station, climbing the ladder as they go.

Your typical news dept. employee fits this profile like you wouldn't believe. Non-news dept. folk are a lot more...well, sane.

3 posted on 10/14/2008 3:40:06 PM PDT by GOP_Raider (If I wanted a Chicago politician as my President, I'd vote for Richard Daley)
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To: abb

A pretty solid blog entry that might be of use. I mixed in a comment of my own in post #3.


4 posted on 10/14/2008 3:40:55 PM PDT by GOP_Raider (If I wanted a Chicago politician as my President, I'd vote for Richard Daley)
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To: SE Mom

I know a reporter at one of the nation’s largest newspapers and the same thing applies there, as well. The few conservatives who enter journalism are working in an atmosphere more hostile than most of us can imagine.

MM


5 posted on 10/14/2008 3:41:07 PM PDT by MississippiMan
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To: SE Mom
Newsroom personnel hate to be questioned on anything.

But it's so satisfying to accomplish. :)

6 posted on 10/14/2008 3:43:53 PM PDT by GOP_Raider (If I wanted a Chicago politician as my President, I'd vote for Richard Daley)
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To: GOP_Raider

Most of us know this- but it’s unusual for us to hear from someone inside who is being HONEST about what they see..


7 posted on 10/14/2008 3:45:19 PM PDT by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: MississippiMan
The few conservatives who enter journalism are working in an atmosphere more hostile than most of us can imagine.

Indeed. Worth repeating.

8 posted on 10/14/2008 3:46:34 PM PDT by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: GOP_Raider

Most of them aren't even from the communities where they work.

This very true in our rural area. The editors are rotated through the Gannett system, inject whatever spin they can (or are instructed on), and move on.

For many years the warnings have been around about centralized media control.

From this rural perspective it is ugly.

9 posted on 10/14/2008 3:50:17 PM PDT by jnsun (The LEFT: The need to manipulate others because of nothing productive to offer)
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To: SE Mom

i worked in tv for 15 years and this is the same advice i have been giving
to people and tried to give to republicans via newt gingrich. i could
not get him to believe me. that’s what is so depressing about someone like katie couric. she got her start through adultery with newsroom boss.
she knows nothing. far less than sarah palin. they must publicly be confronted with the truth and embarrassed by name. bush sr. stumbled into that
with dan rather and scored many points.


10 posted on 10/14/2008 3:50:39 PM PDT by gussiefinknottle (woof!woof!woof!)
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To: SE Mom
Anchors were openly cheering when the news came out that Sarah Palin's daughter was pregnant. Some of the comments were so over-the-top childish and nasty that I couldn't believe what I was hearing. They're obsessed with her. They hate her even more than they hated Bush. And they all talk openly about how "stupid" and "unqualified" she is. It's pretty much a hostile work environment for the few conservatives who work here.

It isn't "pretty much a hostile work environment", it IS.

File charges on them with the Human Resources department and possibly seek a legal charge.

When they call Gov. Palin "Big Oil With T!ts", a "crazy b!tch" (as Betty White did on air), report how Sandra Bernhard said she'd be gang raped by black men in New York, call her a c##t, etc. and LAUGH at the reports of such activity off camera it IS a hostile environment. When they call her a hypochristian for having a pregnant teenaged daughter, that is religious discrimination.

Go after them. Turn the tables.

11 posted on 10/14/2008 3:53:28 PM PDT by weegee (In 2006 the Democrats took over Congress. 9% approval, $4gal gas, economy tanked. Had enuff CHANGE?!)
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To: SE Mom
Most of us know this- but it’s unusual for us to hear from someone inside who is being HONEST about what they see..

It's not shocking to me as well--I work in the same industry that he does. Ordinarily I tend to bite my tongue on FR, because I never know when a coworker might get a wild hair and find out what I might say.

Quick story: one night we were in the middle of an afternoon newscast when our producer wrote a story that read "an SUV slammed into a telephone pole..." and then went on to the remainder of the story. At this point I'd had enough. Speaking while thinking, I said "could we quit saying that SUV's drive themselves into objects for once?" Our producer (who I know well enough to give him grief for his mistakes) was annoyed enough to say "yeah, and I'm going to take writing advice from an engineer."

Without missing a beat, I said "personification is for children's books, not newscasts."

12 posted on 10/14/2008 3:53:51 PM PDT by GOP_Raider (If I wanted a Chicago politician as my President, I'd vote for Richard Daley)
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To: gussiefinknottle

Who is Bush Sr.?


13 posted on 10/14/2008 3:54:21 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Obama and ITS thugs are made paranoid by Sarahnoia. (stole from molly_jack2007))
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To: SE Mom

Think globally, act locally. Cut the guy wires on their transmitter towers!


14 posted on 10/14/2008 3:54:56 PM PDT by ExpatGator (Extending logic since 1961.)
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To: GOP_Raider
one night day we were in the middle of an afternoon
15 posted on 10/14/2008 3:55:45 PM PDT by GOP_Raider (If I wanted a Chicago politician as my President, I'd vote for Richard Daley)
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To: SE Mom
There used to be a saying, "First, kill all the lawyers..."

Now, I'm thinking the priorities of that adage are wrong.

16 posted on 10/14/2008 3:59:39 PM PDT by Gaffer ("Arguing with a Liberal is like not wiping yourself after taking a dump" Scatological, but true.)
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To: SE Mom
Ignorant, arrogant, and fanatical. Marvelous. If I recall correctly from my days in Engineering college, Journalism majors were pretty much at the bottom of the heap, just above basket weaving and flower arranging.
17 posted on 10/14/2008 4:00:11 PM PDT by Mad_Tom_Rackham ("The land of the Free...Because of the Brave")
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To: SE Mom
the same bigoted snotty attitude that gave us this the day after the 2004 election:


18 posted on 10/14/2008 4:00:20 PM PDT by weegee (In 2006 the Democrats took over Congress. 9% approval, $4gal gas, economy tanked. Had enuff CHANGE?!)
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To: GOP_Raider

Agitprop. Pure and simple. I can’t recall the last time I ever heard a newscast about a sedan hitting something or a Cooper mini. The make of the vehicle isn’t so important in those reports.


19 posted on 10/14/2008 4:02:39 PM PDT by weegee (In 2006 the Democrats took over Congress. 9% approval, $4gal gas, economy tanked. Had enuff CHANGE?!)
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To: SE Mom

I saw this attitude during base closure hearings several years ago. Anchors from two local stations sat in the press box and were constantly preening. The female anchor for the other station, she was locale and had friends at the base, sat among the observers and was taking notes.


20 posted on 10/14/2008 4:05:20 PM PDT by Peter Horry (Mount Up Everybody and Ride to the Sound of the Guns .. Pat Buchanan)
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To: weegee
Agitprop. Pure and simple.

There was the vocabulary I was looking for.

21 posted on 10/14/2008 4:05:35 PM PDT by GOP_Raider (If I wanted a Chicago politician as my President, I'd vote for Richard Daley)
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To: GOP_Raider
"yeah, and I'm going to take writing advice from an engineer."

Wow, I can't believe someone in the journalism industry would have the gall to say that. That individual must be too stupid to realize how much more intelligent engineers are.
22 posted on 10/14/2008 4:08:29 PM PDT by randomhero97 ("First you want to kill me, now you want to kiss me. Blow!" - Ash)
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To: MississippiMan

Re the “atmosphere more hostile than most of us can image” for conservatives in newspapers.

Now we know how the believers in freedom in Venezuela feel.

Just wait till Obama and his thugs get into power. They will make Chavez seem like a small-town politician.

Chicago politics comes to America.


23 posted on 10/14/2008 4:09:13 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: Mad_Tom_Rackham
Journalism majors were pretty much at the bottom of the heap, just above basket weaving and flower arranging.

That's fairly common on college campi. Walter E. Williams has said rather frequently that education majors typically have the lowest aggregate GPA. I do believe that if there wasn't an education major, journalism majors would take over that dubious distinction.

24 posted on 10/14/2008 4:10:22 PM PDT by GOP_Raider (If I wanted a Chicago politician as my President, I'd vote for Richard Daley)
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To: GOP_Raider

ROFL! Bravo:)


25 posted on 10/14/2008 4:11:48 PM PDT by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: MindBender26

This might interest you!


26 posted on 10/14/2008 4:12:38 PM PDT by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: gussiefinknottle
After a little over 10 in TV myself, I saw a lot similar things, just on a local level.

I enjoyed the technical part of my job and miss that part of it but really don't miss the politics of the place.

I can actually point out "Quad Videotape Operator" as another of my many useless skills. The quad was in the same room as DVC Pro, DV, and Digital Beta.

If the quad was given a day's warmup time, it didn't give much trouble. It was an adventure getting it patched into a digital production router.

27 posted on 10/14/2008 4:14:15 PM PDT by wally_bert (Tactical Is Still Missing A Chair! Star Wreck In The Pirkinning......)
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To: weegee

When they call Gov. Palin “Big Oil With T!ts”, a “crazy b!tch” (as Betty White did on air), “”

I used to wait on Betty White and her mother years ago when I was a grocery checker in Hollywood.
I always thought she was pretty nice.
If she really said this, I am truly disappointed.
I will never watch anything again that she is in.
Does she have an e-mail or website that I can register my disgust with her??


28 posted on 10/14/2008 4:17:10 PM PDT by ridesthemiles
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To: GOP_Raider

what about sociology majors?


29 posted on 10/14/2008 4:22:14 PM PDT by robomatik ((wine plug: renascentvineyards.com cabernet sauvignon, riesling, and merlot))
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran; gussiefinknottle

He's the father of Bush Jr.

Neither of whom (out of however many senior/junior Bush pairs there are) were ever President of the United States of America. Hope this helps!

[just in case it slid on by, like a bush league ballplayer missing the bag]

30 posted on 10/14/2008 4:30:00 PM PDT by 7MMmag
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To: SE Mom

if you think all newsrooms are like this you are an idiot. It is true most people have to move from city to city to move up in the business. How many of you would want to sit in hodunk Iowa (or name another random state, I have nothing against Iowa personally) Newsrooms are filled with recent college grads who read everything given to them. In my experience there are just as many republicans as democrats in LOCAL newsrooms. I know many of you won’t believe that fact, but it is true. Calling and yelling as a producer or manager won’t make them change their newscasts. Especially in smaller cities they don’t have the time or manpower to care about people calling for ACORN coverage, just like they don’t have the time to care about the other side yelling about whatever. If you want coverage get people together, hold rallies, send press releases made well ahead of time, get local officials together. My friends who work in newsrooms hate nothing more than people who call and demand attention and then yell about not getting what they want. In smaller cities you’ll get a cock 20 something who thinks he or she knows best. In bigger cities you get someone in their 30’s or 40’s who actually do know news better than you. The point is just calling to complain doesn’t get anything done, think before yelling.


31 posted on 10/14/2008 4:31:59 PM PDT by trobone
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To: 7MMmag
During the President G.W. Bush election with Albert Gore.

A person I knew was voting against Bush JR., I said I would not vote for Junior either.
He was happy and agreed he would never vote for Junior.

I showed him that Albert Gore JR. was the only Junior in the race.

32 posted on 10/14/2008 4:37:14 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Obama and ITS thugs are made paranoid by Sarahnoia. (stole from molly_jack2007))
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To: SE Mom

I know the local affiliates in Washington and Baltimore are horribly biased.

They have no problem giving one side of a story, even if it means doing harm too minors accused of a politically correct allegation without evidence.


33 posted on 10/14/2008 4:38:34 PM PDT by rbmillerjr ("There is a PoliticalSurge coming")
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To: GOP_Raider
They have no expertise in any area. They just repeat shit they read on the wires. Most of them aren't even from the communities where they work. They migrate from station to station, climbing the ladder as they go.

My ex-fiance (God bless her) used to be a producer for local television. She would be the first to tell you this is true. She used to have to move all over and eventually ended up working for the Fox Network in NY, where she eventually got tired and quit.

34 posted on 10/14/2008 4:39:04 PM PDT by Smogger (It's the WOT Stupid)
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To: trobone

Welcome to Free Republic.

Did you read the post? Did you read anything in the post that suggested calling and yelling to complain? Did you read anything suggesting that even calling to ask questions would result in any changes in coverage?

Nor did you read that every local newsroom across the country is exactly like the one in the piece.

By the way- as a newcomer to Free Republic you might not want to start out calling people here idiots.

And about that paragraph idea we learned in middle school..


35 posted on 10/14/2008 4:39:06 PM PDT by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: SE Mom

I forget where I heard this, but I believe it was after the 2000 elections and someone polled journalists as to which way they lean...conservative or liberal. 90% said they were liberal! 90%!!! That is why our voice isn’t heard.


36 posted on 10/14/2008 4:40:19 PM PDT by bushbuddy
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To: trobone
>>In bigger cities you get someone in their 30’s or 40’s who actually do know news better than you.<<

LOL. Troll much?

Look, all kidding aside, are you seriously stating as fact that we must accept everything they spew just because they are older, that somehow age equals wisdom and they know what is news and the people don't? Are you seriously suggesting that as they age (and move up in the market) that their politics don't turn decidedly left?

Really?

By the way, calling people that share anecdotal evidence and using past experience as a guide, "idiot(s)," is hardly polite.

37 posted on 10/14/2008 4:53:21 PM PDT by Hulka
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To: SE Mom

I’m a longtime reporter for a major newspaper. {By the way, it happened by fluke, not by pursuing the “profession.”} During the ‘92 election, when, because of our computer system, everybody had access to what everybody else was doing, stories about the elder Bush were “slugged” by words such as “trash,” “scum,” “liar.” Stories are identified inside a newspaper by what they are “slugged.” Now, it’s 16 years later, and the bias and arrogance is much worse. When I went into the office yesterday, the first three conversations I heard were all ripping on Sarah Palin. This, in a workplace where people are losing jobs daily because of multiple reasons including, obviously, the blatant bias combined with an even more disgusting elitism.


38 posted on 10/14/2008 4:56:05 PM PDT by line drive to right
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To: robomatik
what about sociology majors?

I dated a sociology major for a brief period of time, and she really wasn't my stein of beer. But I do tend to be a bit of a know-it-all, so take it for what it's worth.

39 posted on 10/14/2008 4:58:27 PM PDT by GOP_Raider (If I wanted a Chicago politician as my President, I'd vote for Richard Daley)
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To: SE Mom

When you get an answer about voter suppression, ask them to explain exactly what that is, could they clarify how voting is suppressed, and what evidence exists for suppression in any election since 19_ _.

I think that claim is bogus.

I’d like to know the numbers of personnel handling voter registration cards, how many precincts there are per county, how many ‘urban’ seniors are dismissed to ‘help’ with voting, etc., etc.


40 posted on 10/14/2008 5:00:35 PM PDT by combat_boots (From the Bush Derangement Syndrome(TM) to the 0bama Worship Cult in which NOTHING matters. USSKKKA)
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To: trobone

41 posted on 10/14/2008 5:01:29 PM PDT by StAnDeliver
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To: Gaffer
Ever see the old Three Stooges chestnut "Crime On Their Hands"?

The boys are reporters that the femme fatale Bea, (Christine McIntyre), thinks are cops looking to bust a gang of jewel thieves.

When she finds out they're not cops but reporters, she gives them a huge triple slap and calls in the gang boss and his henchman and informs them not only are they reporters, but that Shemp swallowed a million-dollar stolen diamond.

Henchman "Muscles", (Cy Schindell), utters the immortal line...

"Lemme plug 'im boss, I love to rub out reporters!"


42 posted on 10/14/2008 5:04:08 PM PDT by Emperor Palpatine ("Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.")
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To: ExpatGator
Think globally, act locally. Cut the guy wires on their transmitter towers!

One could also think economically and act capitalistically (if that's even an available adverb). Keep track of what advertisers you see in a particular newscast and don't shop with them or use their services.

Even with the drive-by network programs, take a look at the commercials that you see in those shows. Obviously, you won't be using Summer's Eve if you happen to be unfortunate enough to catch "The View" or Viagra if you're watching the old drive-by evening newscasts, but as a simple nota bene, take a look not at the show itself but the advertisers (the "clients" as they are often called).

43 posted on 10/14/2008 5:08:38 PM PDT by GOP_Raider (If I wanted a Chicago politician as my President, I'd vote for Richard Daley)
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran

Haha! That’s good. Reckon there were more than a few that got away with pulling the same joke. Not that that diminishes it any.


44 posted on 10/14/2008 5:13:26 PM PDT by 7MMmag
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To: SE Mom

Thank you for the welcome.

I did read the whole post. While it did not advocate yelling it did advocate calling repeatedly until one of the busiest people in the building takes your call. while a voice may not be raised, as someone who has had to answer phones, a raised voice is not needed to sound like someone is being argumentative or complaining.

The point I was hoping to make was that calls and e-mails are easily ignored. They are all kept on file for FCC purposes, but there are better ways to get a point across.

I have been reading these forums for months, and a theme I have picked up if people here feel underrepresented in the news in general. I feel like calling or e-mailing is a poor answer. I feel it is a fair opinion. I feel if you want to change the way the media acts there are two good ways to go about it.

First, holding counter events. Large groups attract cameras and reporters. Have the events be organized ahead of time. Tell the media ahead of time through well written press releases, e-mails, faxes, stop by the station in a suit and say “hi”. Have them be large and legal. Have them based on issues, not personal attacks.

Second, if you don’t like the media, change it from the inside. Encourage your children to go into writing, go to J-school, get jobs in newspaper and TV. Have them work harder and more fair than anyone else and then the TV/newspaper/magazines you see might slant the way you want them to.

Once again, thank you for the welcome. I’ve been here for a while, but just have never posted.


45 posted on 10/14/2008 5:26:55 PM PDT by trobone
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To: gussiefinknottle
i worked in tv for 15 years

During the first OJ trial I called a local tv station about something I had seen in the courtroom. Finally talked to a lady that tried to brush me off. It wasn't until I got to the you-are-not-listening-to-me stage and told her I'd just call another station that she finally paid attention.

Did you have anything to do with the coverage of the OJ murder trial or know someone who did? If so I'd like to freep-mail you a question.

46 posted on 10/14/2008 5:34:00 PM PDT by barker (Obama's skin is not nearly as dark as his soul.)
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To: trobone

Oh the newbie thinks we’re all stupid. How cute!


47 posted on 10/14/2008 5:43:25 PM PDT by Dianna
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran

oh, i always call 41 sr and 43 jr.


48 posted on 10/14/2008 6:10:07 PM PDT by gussiefinknottle (woof!woof!woof!)
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To: barker

i was in the south. other than watching the feeds, i don’t know much more
about it. i wasn’t friends with reporters on west coast.


49 posted on 10/14/2008 6:11:51 PM PDT by gussiefinknottle (woof!woof!woof!)
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To: SE Mom
They just repeat sh!t they read on the wires.

It's my opinion that the majority of people get most of their news from the short news blurbs on the radio at the top and bottom of the hour. If you have more of an insight into the stories that are referenced, the reports are often biased or wrong! For example the other day I heard something like this: "Barak Obama, campaigning in Detroit today said, 'Obama quote'. Mean while, Senator McCain and Governor Palin held a rally in (some location)" I hear this and I think, where is the equal time? The AP or Cbs news or whom ever have pretty much given Obama a free commercial spot! grrrrrrr!

50 posted on 10/14/2008 6:15:51 PM PDT by stayathomemom ( nowanemptynester)
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