Archive for August, 2010

O’Reilly’s Warriors: Culturally Illiterate?

August 6, 2010

Gretchen & Margaret: No spanking alllowed! Really? O’Reilly Factor “Culture Warriors” Gretchen Carlson and Margaret Hoover went to war woefully unprepared Thursday. During their segment, both Gretchen and Margaret did know the facts of their lead story (about a Connecticut high school teacher who had been charged with sexual assault for purportedly spanking an obstreperous female student) but not the applicable law.

When host Bill O’Reilly had introduced the spanking story and his blond battling beauties had recited the relevant facts, host Bill O’Reilly asked, “Do we know in Connecticut public schools whether corporal punishment is allowed?* Emphatically, Gretchen asserted, “Corporal punishment is not allowed in any school system anymore. No way!” Equally confident, a beaming Margaret declared, “Corporal punishment is not allowed. No, not allowed! Not allowed.”

Unconvinced by their bluster, O’Reilly replied, “In some school systems, it is.” Rendered uncertain, Gretchen responded, “Seriously?” Smiling, Margaret scoffed, “No, no, no. Bill O’Reilly, when you taught in Miami, they allowed you to hit children.”

Losing his own certitude, O’Reilly answered, “I could be wrong on this but I don’t think I am: in some school districts, corporal punishment is allowed. I can’t imagine it’s allowed in Connecticut but it is allowed in some school districts. So, we don’t know that: we don’t know whether it’s allowed or not.”

Subsequently, when O’Reilly and Gretchen tried to move on to discuss the particular Connecticut case, Margaret persisted, “Let’s be very clear. It is very unlikely that anyone anywhere in the United States teachers are allowed to beat children in the classroom. Unallowed. Corporal punishment is probably not allowed.” She continued, “The most that a teacher should ever be able to do is grab a kid by the wrist and take them to the principal’s office. This is totally unacceptable.”

Realizing that Margaret was merely opining, O’Reilly remarked, “We’ll clarify tomorrow. I’ll clarify tomorrow about the corporal punishment.”

Unfortunately, both O’Reilly and his “Culture Warriors” were unprepared to clarify the most salient issue of the story, i.e., the legality of corporal punishment in the Connecticut school system. If they had merely Googled the matter, they would have quickly learned that 20 states allow corporal punishment but Connecticut does not. To make matters worse, their negligence was all the more acute since the topic has come to the fore with the recent introduction (June 29, 2010) of the “Ending of Corporal Punishment Act” by U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY).

O’Reilly’s “Culture Warriors” Thursday: Unread and unarmed.

*O’Reilly Factor – 08/05/10 (@8:30 p.m. ET)


Oops! AM Airs “N” Word

August 4, 2010

Bleep! Bleep! Bleep!…”N*****.” No, it was not a rap video nor a Chris Rock comedy routine that let the “N” word rip today: rather, it was CNN’s American Morning.

Initially, AM had somewhat successfully censored the offensive term thrice when it first aired an interview with the mother of the Connecticut Budweiser distributor killer’s girlfriend.* During the segment with CNN correspondent Alison Kosik, the girlfriend’s mother indicated that the gunman Omar Thornton had been racially harassed and gave instances using the ‘N’ word thrice explicitly. When she did, AM producers bleeped it but it was not completely rendered inaudible each time.

Approximately, an hour later, CNN ran the story anew. Reading the headline news account, co-host Kiran Chetry stated, “People who knew the alleged gunman…are trying to make sense of the shooting rampage….The mother of Thornton’s girlfriend says he was angry about his treatment on the job.”** After she did, producers ran a clip of the interview again. However, this time the mother was unedited: She stated, “He was being harassed racially at work. Supposedly, there [were]…pictures on his cellphone…showing that there was the word ‘n*****’ written on the bathroom walls.”

Strangely, neither Kiran nor co-host John Roberts apologized nor even mentioned the apparent slip-up. However, AM executive producer Jamie Kraft apparently noticed: He did not run the story again during the second half of the show. Apparently, someone else at CNN took note as well:, When Kosik’s report resurfaced later on CNN Newsroom with Kyra Phillips, the mother’s interview was conspicuously cut.***

*American Morning – 08/04/10 (@6:16 a.m. ET)
**American Morning – 08/04/10 (@7:15 a.m. ET)
***CNN Newsroom – 08/04/10 (@9:01 a.m. ET)

Banderas: “Not My Fault”

August 3, 2010

Censored “Bear Alert” video appears on Fox Report. Less than a week after Julie Banderas told her Twitter followers that she “would never condone animal cruelty” and had instructed her producers “not to air the bear on a trampoline video on [her] show ever again,” her recalcitrant FR producers did just that. Albeit briefly AND censored.

Caught in the middle of an internecine Fox Report “feud” between weekday anchor Shepard Smith (who strangely relishes the video of a sedated black bear falling from a tree onto a trampoline, being catapulted high into the air, and falling forcefully face-first into the ground) and weekend host Julie Banderas (who has renounced the video, has banished it from her show forever but also has strangely purged those very proclamations from her Twitter page), Fox Report producers appeared to search for a middle ground. And, perchance, they actually found it on the “Bear Alert” Sunday.

With Banderas’ animal rights bona fides in question  (in light of her strong positive Tweets against “animal cruelty” and consequent decision against ever airing the Trampoline Bear video again coupled with her almost immediate erasures of those Tweets from her Twitter page), Banderas seemed eager to clear the air. Before her “Bear Alert” segment, to her fans and followers, she Tweeted, “[C]oming up.. a fox bear alert!”

Later, when Banderas was reading the “Bear Alert” about a New Hampshire black bear “house thief” as field bear footage ran, prankster producers inserted a censored Trampoline Bear clip into the video. (The bowdlerized footage showed only the Trampoline Bear falling onto the trampoline and bouncing high into the air: the bear’s crashing into the earth was appropriately excised.) When the Trampoline bear clip aired, Banderas exclaimed, “You guys!” as the floor crew erupted in laughter. When Banderas finished her report, she shook her head and remarked, “Hm. Tried to get that one past me. Not my fault!”

Happily, Banderas appears to be standing firm in her animal rights position. Furthermore, perhaps, adventitiously, the Fox Report producers may have found a Trampoline Bear video compromise that will still amuse Shepard Smith. If not, i.e., Smith really needs the bear’s crashing head-first into the hard ground and crumpling underneath its own weight for a laugh, then he may well earn the title Shep de Sade.

Natali: “My Baby Boy Miles”

August 1, 2010

Clayton is his father. Sunday CNET TV anchor Natali Del Conte confirmed Sunday that she is indeed that “Natali” that is the mother of Clayton’s child, Miles Benjamin Morris. In a Tweet yesterday evening, Natali stated, “My baby boy Miles made his first network TV appearance today! He’s a star!!” In this missive, she linked to the Fox & Friends Weekend video entitled, “Welcome Miles Benjamin Morris! Clayton shares photos and home movies of his newborn son.”

In that clip played on F&FW Sunday morning, Clayton is shown at home changing the diaper of his son for the very first time. Co-anchor Dave Briggs stated that the video had been sent in by Miles’ mother and identified her only as “Natali.” Even though viewers may have had little question as to her identity, Natali herself removed all doubts Sunday evening in her Tweet.

Welcome, Miles!