Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world

10/20/2005

Omar Simpson

Filed under: General,Media,World — Dangerous Dan @ 12:56 am

The Arab satellite network MBC has purchased the rights to air The Simpsons in Arab countries (in Arabic, of course). Homer has become Omar and Bart has turned into Badr. And it's not The Simpsons, it's Al Shamsoon. Other than the language, there will also be a few other changes. The Koran forbids references to things like bacon and beer, so those have got to go.

I know. Given those restrictions, you're probably trying to think of the one or two episodes that can still be aired. Not a problem – they'll just make minor modifications:

Homer Simpson's ubiquitous Duff beer will now be soda in the Arab version of the show.

Hot dogs will become Egyptian beef sausages, and donuts will become popular Arab cookies called "kahk." Moe's Bar has been completely written out of "Al Shamshoon."

Mmmmarrghhh… kahk. And what will become of Duff Man? I'm a little curious how they expect to get around not having Moe's Tavern since so many scenes take place there.

Fortunately, not everyone has gone mad:

With characters who are Jewish (like Krusty the Clown), Hindu (like Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu) and Christian (like the family's pastor, Rev. Lovejoy), Al Jean — "The Simpsons" executive producer — says those changes mean they aren't "The Simpsons" anymore.

"If he doesn't drink and eat bacon and generally act like a pig — which I guess is also against Islam — then it's not Homer," Jean said.

All I know is that I would pay good money to see The Simpsons spoof their portrayal as Al Shamsoon.

9/27/2005

Katrina Coverage

Filed under: Media — Dangerous Dan @ 11:03 pm

The LA Times has a nice little piece on the reporting in New Orleans after Katrina hit. It deals with the media feeding frenzy and how many unverified and unsubstantiated rumors of ghastly crimes taking place in the Superdome and convention center got reported as fact. All those stories of numerous people getting shot, raped, beaten, or a combination of the above have been discredited. Part of the reason these stories got so much attention is that the press loves accounts of chaos, murder, and mayhem. Here's another interesting angle, though:

Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss cited telephone breakdowns as a primary cause of reporting errors, but said the fact that most evacuees were poor African Americans also played a part.

"If the dome and Convention Center had harbored large numbers of middle class white people," Amoss said, "it would not have been a fertile ground for this kind of rumor-mongering."

So the enlightened liberal minds of journalism were more likely to believe these rumors because they involved blacks? The folks who are reluctant to publish the race of minority criminals for fear of perpetuating stereotypes were nevertheless prepared to accept that blacks could not avoid plunging into violent anarchy once controls were removed? This speaks volumes.

This, of course, plays to a theme. Liberals always think minorities need government aid, special treatment, and affirmative action in order for them to succeed in the world. Conservatives think minorities should be able to succeed on their own merits and efforts, and yet it's the conservatives who are accused of having low opinions of minorities. At least the conservatives think highly enough of them that that they should be successful without a condescending paternal entity to guide them. Of course, liberals tend to think that of all the common folk, but minorities tend to get it more than others.

9/2/2005

Brown

Filed under: Media — Dangerous Dan @ 2:06 am

Earlier this evening I was watching Aaron Brown on CNN. I was quickly reminded why I don't like the man. He often comes from a blatant leftwards bias and he has this classic condescending smirk that you can count on seeing at least once every three minutes. I was putting up with him, but got fed up around the time he was talking to CNN's Pentagon correspondent. Right after asking a bunch of politically-charged questions, he smirked and commented on how politics sure are playing a role in things… as if he’s playing no role in that. It drives me straight up the wall when media folks act as if they're passively reporting on a story or viewpoint that they are actively influencing.

I turned off the TV.

I thought about turning to FoxNews, but I had already left that because I was annoyed with O'Reilly. He seriously made the suggestion that we should just stop buying gas on Sundays as a way to save fuel and stick it to the oil companies, which is a seriously flawed idea. Even if no gas is purchased on Sundays, it will just be bought on Saturdays or Mondays. The required gas consumption will be the same and the same amount of fuel will be purchased. On what day it's purchased is irrelevant.

8/25/2005

Dollar vs. Euro

Filed under: Media,Pics,Politics,World — Dangerous Dan @ 12:27 am

Does anybody remember all the fretting late last year and earlier this year about the weak U.S. dollar as compared to the euro? The euro was up to around $1.35 and there was all this doom and gloom in the media and about the political implications. You might be wondering why you haven't heard anything about it lately? This might be why:

money graph

The dollar's been steadily rising against the euro this year. For some reason, the improving prospects of the greenback have escaped the media's attention. During the original "crisis," they also tended to omit how the euro is heavily propped up by the EU, that the single currency has been very bad for several member economies, and how there's been some vague mumblings among some to withdraw from the monetary unit. I'm no economics expert, but I think that long-term, the long-established currency of the world's largest economy is a better bet than the new one created when 12 disparate economies got mashed together.

8/23/2005

Huff-Po Blog

Filed under: Media,Politics — Dangerous Dan @ 10:20 pm

You know, I've been keeping an eye on Huff-Po's blog lately and it's turning into another DailyKos, only with the guy who's the voice of Ned Flanders (and others). All the posts are from noted, or just known, liberals advocating hard-left positions and nearly all the comments are from folks telling the author in incomplete sentence fragments how smart, deep, and wise they are. I knew Huff-Po was going to be liberal, but c'mon.

8/17/2005

Study on Fox News

Filed under: Media — Dangerous Dan @ 11:03 pm

The NYT is reporting on a study that examined whether the introduction of Fox News in particular areas had any effect on said areas' voting patterns. The conclusion: it didn't. This isn't particularly surprising. It's not as if a different presentation of the news is going to suddenly shift the electoral map. I believe the professors who conducted the study have it right in that people will view the information presented by the station with a certain bias. If you tilt left, you're likely to be suspicious of Fox News as it's seen by many lefties as the great broadcast boogeyman and the VRWC's media whore. Conservatives on the other hand will view it more favorably as it presents the news from a non-liberal perspective, unlike most other media outlets. So really it just tends to confirm what people already think.

I ordinarily trawl the internet for my news (from a variety of sources) so I don't actually watch much TV news except for special events or live coverage. Then I usually just choose the channel that has the most complete coverage, best picture, or most interesting/informative commentary (or least commentary if I prefer they shut up and let things speak for themselves).

Now for my obligatory nitpicking on NYT verbiage:

An appealing feature of their study is that it does not matter if Fox News represents the political center and the rest of the media the liberal wing, or Fox represents the extreme right and the rest of the media the middle.

It's nice how the mere 'liberal wing' is contrasted with 'the extreme right.' Why not the extreme left?

Reporters’ Sources

Filed under: Media,Politics — Dangerous Dan @ 11:46 am

When reporters use anonymous sources, they normally bend over backwards to ensure those sources remain anonymous, up to and including going to jail rather than reveal identities. You may recall not long ago that Matt Cooper of Time magazine was in this situation because he would not tell a judge who let him know that Joe Wilson was married to a CIA agent, Valerie Plame. Time eventually decided to reveal the source who turned out to be Karl Rove. I thought it particularly telling that a media outlet opted to waive its normally ardent commitment to confidentiality in this case. If it had been most anybody else, they would have protected the source, but this is Republican strategist and Evil Genius Karl Rove we're talking about. This is a guy liberals despise and wouldn't mind see being hung out to dry. So when I read this quote from Time's editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstine, I believe my suspicion is somewhat supported:

A 90-second conversation with the president's spin doctor, who was trying to undermine a whistle-blower, probably didn't deserve confidential source status.

It seems Mr. Pearlstine already had his mind made up about the roles being played.

8/12/2005

It’s Getting Worse

Filed under: Media,Politics,Society,World — Dangerous Dan @ 5:04 pm

Cindy Sheehan is now appearing in an ad that will air in the Crawford area and anywhere else Bush visits. Ostensibly, this is because it is directed at Bush. Practically, the move limits the financial cost of ad buys while maximizing its exposure through the rest of the media. You can see the ad here.

Really it's just the usual agitprop for the left-wing. The only addition is that she had a son who died in Iraq. That latter fact is the only reason the anti-war folks and the left love her so much. Sheehan is extraordinarily useful to them and gives the veneer of credibility and patriotism that they have in short-supply.

One thing she does say in the ad is "Casey was only 24 years old…" I couldn't help but think, "Yes, and at only 24 that's plenty old enough to make one's own decisions, like re-enlisting in the military."

8/10/2005

The Informative Media

Filed under: Media — Dangerous Dan @ 2:34 pm

CNN.com headline: "Nonsmokers can be cancer victims, too"

Ya don't say?

8/9/2005

CNN Headline

Filed under: Media — Dangerous Dan @ 11:11 am

CNN.com has a little story up about Enola Gay pilot Paul Tibbets. It's nothing much and is mostly human-interest stuff. It bears the headline, "Enola Gay pilot recalls fateful flight." Here's the headline on CNN.com's main page, though: "A-bomb pilot: We knew it was going to kill"

Sheehan

Filed under: Media,Politics,World — Dangerous Dan @ 12:55 am

I don't really care that much about the Cindy Sheehan story, but I’ll post about it anyway. She's the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who is now protesting outside of Bush's ranch in Crawford, TX. Drudge has highlighted an article from last year that quoted Sheehan as not being nearly as anti-Bush as she currently is. Now, sure, perhaps she's gotten angrier and more bitter in the past year. That is, her interpretation of Bush has changed. That's fine. What's troubling is that her portrayal of actual events has changed as well. Last year, she described her meeting with Bush in very positive terms. Now she says that Bush essentially brushed her off. This latter portrayal also contrasts with how most family members of fallen soldiers have described meeting Bush. I think this is a case of grief combining with bitterness, moonbattery, and those who wish to exploit her. I imagine if you took a poll, most mothers of those killed in actions would disagree with Sheehan. But those mothers aren't interesting. This one mother is coming out against Bush and so she is garnering inordinate and unwarranted attention and the fact that she is being so vocal has led the anti-war movement to rally around her as if she is the very mouthpiece of all military families. She is being used.

This is similar to the phenomenon surrounding the 9-11 families. A small minority of families who lost loved ones on 9-11 were vocal opponents of Bush. Suddenly, they were being portrayed as speaking for all or at least most 9-11 families.

One last thing to point out about this is the reaction of Stephen Elliot on Huff-Po. He thinks the doubts raised about Sheehan's credibility amount to a smear campaign, similar to that of the Swift Boat Vets’ (which wasn't one either), that was launched by the Bush administration. First, it's hardly smearing when one merely presents past public quotes by the question in question. That's valid. All she need do is explain the discrepancy between her two portrayals. Second, as Michelle Malkin noted, this did not come from the administration, it came from freepers and all they did was dig up a not very old news story. Third, I think it's telling when some people think the administration or some political cabal is behind stories against folks like Sheehan or Dan Rather. I tend to believe they think that because that's what they would do were they in the position to do so.

8/1/2005

Current TV

Filed under: Media — Dangerous Dan @ 12:56 am

Current TV, i.e. Gore TV, is now on the air. I'm glad I don't get it. Judging from the broadcast schedule on its website, I think the channel would drive me batty (were I to bother watching it, of course). Each program lasts no more than 10 minutes. It's like MTV on a No-Doz bender.

7/29/2005

Stone

Filed under: Media,Society — Dangerous Dan @ 12:05 pm

It's hard to beat Oliver Stone for being an idiot. He's currently planning a big Hollywood movie about the 9/11 attacks. That would be fine except that he's also a Bush-hater, is a typical cultural relativist, and has a tendency to manipulate and make up historical events in order to make his conspiratorial storyline mesh. So expect a presentation of 9/11 as being something America earned, the terrorists are just confused angry men, and Bush's response to it was that of a bumbling fool. In other words, expect a dramatization of Michael Moore's already fictional account.

On a related note, Stone's chutzpah extends to his last movie, Alexander. It was a major flop, but that, of course, isn't his fault. Despite the fact many historians and classicists didn't like it, movie critics didn't like it, and the general public didn't like it, Stone is chalking it up to kids misunderstanding history.

He says, "Because of BRAVEHEART, I think kids see ancient times as, 'Hey man, that's violence!' They don't see it as separate cultures that in some cases had stronger values than ours.

"The Greek culture in its entirety is what I was going for, or the Persian culture. It's not just a hero's tale. Alexander was a flawed hero, a complex character.

That's right, it failed because kids just couldn't appreciate his perfect and superb presentation of ancient history. It's nice when somebody always has ready excuses for their own failures.

6/2/2005

Minor Grammatical Irritation

Filed under: Media — Dangerous Dan @ 12:35 am

The headline on CNN.com's homepage now reads "What Turner would do differently with CNN at 25." It previously read "What Turner would do different with CNN at 25." Note the lack of 'ly' at the end of 'different,' meaning the phrase had no adverb. Unfortunately, poor 'differently' often gets abused in this context when people incorrectly leave off the last two letters. It's just a pet peeve of mine.

As for the article itself, it's ok. I'm not a fan of Turner's politics, but the man was a revolutionary force in the news field. In regards to things he would change about CNN, he did say this, which I liked:

…maybe a little less pervert of the day. I mean, there's a lot of perversion around, I know that, but is it really news? I mean, some of it is. I guess you've got to cover Michael Jackson, but not three stories about perversion at the lead of every half-hour.

The perverts' lobby will be very upset.

5/26/2005

Reporting in Iraq

Filed under: Media,World — Dangerous Dan @ 11:36 pm

Freelance journalist in Iraq Michael Yon has a very interesting post up about the process for reporting news in Iraq. The basic gist is that that media reports are interpretations of brief SIGACTS (significant action) briefs from the military. Watch the flow:

SECRET
TACREP: XXXX
Subject: Smalls Arms Engagement
Time/Date: 2120 L 24 May 05
Narrative: Alpha Company 1-24 INF reports small arms and RPG, vicinity…. Reports 3 friendly WIA (1 litter-urgent, 2 routine). 4 Enemy KIA…

When this SIGACT is translated by a PAO, this might come out: "3 US soldiers were wounded by small arms in Mosul, Iraq. The soldiers were assigned to Task Force Freedom." News agencies that call or request information will get some variation of this report.

Such reports flow from all over Iraq to a place in Baghdad called the CPIC (Combined Press Information Center). The CPIC is like the Uber-PAO for Iraq, serving all branches of the military, and other nations in the Coalition. The CPIC collects those reports and makes a release that might go like this:

"3 US soldiers were wounded in a small arms engagement in Mosul. 3 US soldiers from Task Force Baghdad were wounded by a car bomb in Baquba while conducting convoy operations in Diyala Province. 1 US soldier was slightly wounded by an IED while conducting combat operations in Baghdad. 2 US Marines were killed in a Humvee accident in Anbar Province. A Blackhawk helicopter made an emergency landing near Ramadi. No injuries were reported."

This will hit pages all over the world, but in a newsier voice:

"A US helicopter made an emergency landing near Ramadi under unknown circumstances. An insurgent website claiming affiliation to Al Qaeda in Iraq says they shot down the helicopter with a surface-to-air missile. A US military spokesman would not comment. Elsewhere, one US soldier and two Marines were killed and seven other service members were wounded in Iraq, along with at least 18 deaths from a suicide car-bomber near the Syrian border. This brings total Coalition deaths in Iraq to 1,800. In other news, photos of the former dictator of Iraq in his underwear have infuriated the Arab world and angered the Pentagon, which promised a full investigation…"

He also notes that the many small humanitarian acts of U.S. forces don't get reported because they don't get into the SIGACT briefs and therefore don't work their way down to the media's reporting. That and the media isn't much interested in them:

I write about them when I can, but there's an irony to all of this that is hard to escape. Most of the acts of kindness I witness are done from an instinctive altruism that almost always seeks anonymity. And there is that other problem with catching people doing good–the cynical media is quick to ascribe cheap motivations to soldiers who reveal their humanity through their decency. And does anyone really care about the soldiers who, after having arrested a suspected insurgent, then spent the next twenty minutes trying to find a home for the two little puppies he was keeping?

It's longish but a good read. He's got lots of other good stuff and is hereby blogrolled.

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