Just Wondering... -- Did anybody really want to watch a mini-series about Adolf Hitler? Apparently CBS thought so, as they offered one up as a cap to their Nielsen ratings May sweeps lineup. I guess it might have had some "historical significance" or maybe we would have even "learned something" by watching it. Face it, like all good American consumers, the way we really like our reality TV is all tarted up and escapist.
Liberal Media -- Really! -- Sick of all talk radio coming exclusively from the right? Well, Rush Limbaugh's boss apparently agrees. Clear Channel radio, which owns some 1,200 stations across the country, just announced it is considering reprogramming some stations in markets dominated by right-wing talk (like, all of them). The new format? All left-wing talk, all the time. The idea, apparently, is that there's market share to be had, but sandwiching liberal talk show hosts in between Rush and Sean Hannity just hasn't worked.
Is there a market? The more than half of Americans who voted for somebody besides George Bush might say so. From a corporate standpoint, it's brilliant -- right-wing talk is already saturating the market; there's no growth left in it. But if Clear Channel follows through on the announcement made by exec Gabe Hobbs over the weekend, for once liberals may not care if Clear Channel makes big bucks.
Times Has Changed -- It was a bit humorous to hear Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen complain to a Senate committee about how the Spokesman-Review failed to cover the parking garage deal back in the mid-1990s. Sure, it's easy to throw stones, but Blethen might be living in a glass house on this one.
Back in those days, guess what project was cited as the role model for Spokane's? Pacific Place in downtown Seattle. When critics revealed that the parking garage portion of the deal might enrich the private developers, the Seattle Times jumped into action, with stories and a sharply worded editorial. Controversy was erupting. Guess what happened next? Nothing. The Times let the story die. Now the Blethens didn't have a stake in Pacific Place, but speculation is that the story was going to get too ugly (kind of like what happened here), and management pulled the plug.
To the Times' credit, however, in the recent dispute over what to do about their Joint Operating Agreement with the Seattle PI -- they'd like to dump the JOA, which would likely kill the other daily -- they hired an outside reporter with no ties to the Times to cover the story for them. Now that's the way to do it.
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Publication date: 05/22/03