Friday, May 27, 2011

Web content for Friday, May 27th, 2011

Welcome to Countdown Online
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Worst Persons: Bill Shine & Ed Rendell, James Murdoch, Bill O'Reilly
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via YouTube

First Guess: Is Glenn Beck... Good?!
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via YouTube, h/t fferkleheimer



Well. Here it is. My new online home.

Countdown online, or if you've somehow already forgotten the formal name: Current-dot-com-slash-Countdown.

I always like moving into a new house and boy has this one got a lot of stuff in considering we're just beginning to buy the furniture and program the giant massage walls and stuff like that.

You will find show segments from Countdown on Current TV here, obviously. But that's only part of the deal - and much of the rest of the deal is already up and running - videos like the commentary series "First Guess" will be done as web-exclusives, there will be Thurber readings that only appear here, stuff like the Contra-dictionary and the Countdown Word Storm, and staff and contributor blogs and links, and there will even be daily in-progress updates from our new Countdown newsroom inside the new Fortress of Solitude.

And don't forget the latest in computer technology: using our contacts inside the highest levels of Silicon Valley - a thing, what you can put your zip code into, and it'll tell you what channel Countdown and Current are on. Huh! Huh?

And nearly everything on the site is in color!

So. Welcome. Whether you're old FOK (Friends of Keith) or new FOK (Friends of Keith), stick around, kick the tires, enjoy yourself, and, no flipping!

Worst Persons:

Greetings from Countdown Online and the Worst Persons of the Day - a special all-Fixed News edition.

The bronze, a tie between the Vice President of the quote "news organization" unquote, Bill Shine, and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

Governor Rendell said the recent expose on Fox's news fraudulence in "New York" Magazine, quote:

"Strips away any thin veneer of impartiality that Fox may have, simply because it admits it was a proving ground, for presidential candidates."

Rendell is right - so why is he on the list? Because during the Democratic presidential race of 2008 he had said, quote "I think during this entire primary coverage, starting in Iowa and up to the present - Fox has done the fairest job, and remained the most objective of all the cable networks."

It was crap then, and it's crap now.

Of course Mr. Shine responded to Rendell's more recent and more **accurate** assessment of the Fox B-S Machine by saying, quote: "Governor Rendell didn't seem to have an issue with our credibility or impartiality when he was trying to shake us down for more money before signing with MSNBC."

Of course, since Mr. Shine did **hire** Rendell, this means, Mr. Shine, that you also didn't have an issue with paying him to kiss Fox's ass.

The runner-up: James Murdoch. As you may have heard my boss Al Gore say - -

Incidentally, do you have any idea how nice it is to say "my boss Al Gore"? -

Anyway, Murdoch decided to impress Daddy by kicking our network, Current, off his cable system Sky Italia, long after his employees there had worked out a deal to keep the network on. You have to understand that in Italy, where an aging, debauched, corrupt media magnate - an Italian Rupert Murdoch - is Prime Minister, Current is the primary independent television news network.

It appears, and I'll take Al's word for this, that this was a preemptive strike by Murdoch and Fox... against **me.** Because we all know how well it worked out the last time for Fox, when Daddy Pirate fired me ten years ago this month, for reporting the truth about his negotiations to sell his baseball team, even though I had cleared that reporting with all of Rupert's right-hand men.

Right, Jimmy Murdoch. **That's** how to impress Dad: repeat his dumbest mistake and remind his greatest American foe to keep reminding everybody what threats the Murdochs and Fox are to freedom of speech, in Italy, in the United Kingdom, in Australia, in this country - and how Fox has become the enemy of American Democracy.

But the winner: it's so nice to see Billo the Clown stepping up his game a little bit in anticipation of my return as his worst nightmare.

The Frank Burns of News went on the air the other night and cited a poll about the credibility of news people, conducted by Suffolk University.

Quoting: "By the way, according to the same poll, I, your humble correspondent, am the most trusted political TV guy in the country, by far. CNN's Anderson Cooper is second."

There's always a caveat, and Billy always leaves it out.

The **real** winner for "most trusted political TV guy in the country" wasn't O'Reilly, it was "I Don't Know," with 21 percent.

So O'Reilly was the runner-up, then?

Nn-nn. The runner-up was "None" - with fifteen percent.

O'Reilly was third - at nine percent.

"I Don't Know" or "None" - 36 percent. O'Reilly, a quarter of that.

"I, your humble correspondent, am the most trusted political TV guy in the country..."

As Winston Churchill once said of his successor Clement Attlee: he is a humble man, who has much to be humble about.

See you on Current on June 20th.

First Guess:

Look Deeply Into My Eyes And Repeat What I Say... Mr. Beck!

I'm K.O.; welcome to Countdown Online and another First Guess.

For a long time I have listened to and read the words of Lonesome Rhodes Beck - it's why I have gray hair - and I've been left again and again with the impression that Beck's delusions are like those we see late in the movie "Network" where the corporate titan who owns the company that owns Howard Beale brings him in, screams at him, and explains the world to him - and Beale runs out and starts spouting the same nonsense on the air.

Like Beale, Beck says it all with such conviction, such certainty, such borderline religious ecstasy, that it's as if he's just been proselytized and is now repeating what he's heard. I keep seeing that scene over and over again. Ned Beatty explaining that "there are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There is no third world. There is no west. There is only one holistic system of systems; one vast inter-woven, inter-acting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars... That is the natural order of things. You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and you! Will! Atone!"

And in the movie, the next thing you know, Howard Beale is out there telling people that the individual is dead and the corporate state is a good thing.

Most of the people on Fixed News are like this. They repeat completely absurd arguments - Obama's not from here, all Muslims are terrorists, Bill O'Reilly is sane - but they do it poorly, as if they can't quite remember the talking points; as if they heard it and they agreed with it, but right in the middle they were thinking "oooh, look, a kitty!" and they missed whatever the filling was in the B-S sandwich. This explains the morning show in particular, where Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Gretchen Carlson seem to be in perpetual competition to see who can get as many details wrong as possible.

But Beck - Beck is different. The morning clowns forget, and O'Reilly must necessarily embellish, and Dobbs can't hear very well any more. But Beck is, and I know what I'm saying when I use this word: Beck is **good.** Beck gets the whole memorize-and-repeat stuff.

And I think I've finally found out why. Years ago, we found out that a Fox Vice President named John Moody, who was at my college radio station until the year before I got there, used to send out quick editorial notes every morning that defined the wacky conclusions that all of Fox's worker bees were supposed to say, and conclude, and support, and defend, and lay down their lives for. That mantel has since been picked up by others, and the middling results continue - a kind of garbled word-of-mouth fundamentalism.

But Beck is different. And now comes New York Magazine's article on the inner workings of Fox Noise - a must-read incidentally - and the analysis of it by Media Matters. That organization notes that at least six times since August, 2008 - as recently as the 11th of May - Lonesome Rhodes Beck has pronounced as if it were fact that President Obama had created or was creating his own national police force.

What this is, of course, is a simple paranoid reaction to a speech Obama gave in 2008 in which he proposed expanding "Ameri-Corps" from 75,000 people to 250,000. "AmeriCorps" was a Clintonian expansion of the old "VISTA" group - Volunteers In Service To America - and most intriguingly its 75,000 size was reached when it was doubled by... President Bush.

But to the crazy, it's "Obama's Private Army."

And now, finally, we get this from New York Magazine, about then-White House Advisor David Axelrod and Fox's Puppeteer Roger Ailes.

Quoting: In one meeting in 2008, Ailes told Axelrod that hew as concerned that Obama wanted to create a national police force. 'You can't be serious,' Axelrod replied. 'What makes you think that?' Ailes responded by emailing Axelrod a YouTube clip from a campaign speech Obama had given on national service, in which he called for the creation of a new civilian corps to work alongside the military on projects overseas. Later, Axelrod related in a conversation, that the exchange was **the moment** he realized Ailes truly **believed** what he was broadcasting."

There it is, in inglorious color. The exact provenance of the crap Beck and the others spew out. Roger Ailes, madman, paranoid, genius - sees the benign and the normal, mixes in his own prejudices and hatreds and especially fears - Roger Ailes lives waking and sleeping, the life of the terrified man - and then recites them to Glenn Beck like Ned Beatty's "Arthur Jensen" recites them to Peter Finch's "Howard Beale."

Only, Ailes and Beck are **real.**

And now we must ask again why Beck is leaving. Has the puppet somehow realized he **is** a puppet? Or that the puppeteer might be crazier than he is? And when he goes off on his own, who's going to keep him hooked on The Crazy?

See you on Current on June 20th.