08 September 2006

A House Divided

Brother against Brother

Daniel Patrick Moynahan, the late Senator from New York is credited with this observation: "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."

And yet, this weekend, we will see, finally, whether or not Americans operate from two discrete systems of facts.

You are aware, no doubt, that now a majority of Americans (according to the Harris Poll) believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9-11. And that a larger majority believe that "weapons of mass destruction" were found in Iraq.

Neither "fact" is true, and were only believed by a minority of Americans a mere year ago. So what's happened? How have solid facts given way to unsupported (and convenient to the ruling junta) opinions? Ten years ago I wrote this:

[NOTE: In the winter of 1994, I wrote the following, which appeared in the January 1995 issue of the Santa Fe SUN ...]
Civilization -- that is, those codes of public conduct (and private hypocrisy, for that matter) which we share with our forebears, England, Rome, Athenian Greece, etc. -- is under a merciless and unrelenting attack. and those attacking are armed with FAX machines, satellite uplinks, cable television, simultaneous radio syndication on "robot" AM and FM stations, 800 numbers, cellular phones, computerized mailing lists, and even the Internet and the WorldWideWeb.

The barbarians are at the gate; the heretics' court is about to be called into session. To listen to talk radio is to listen to America, and what is out there isn't very nice.

What has happened to public debate? What has happened to "debate" proper? In the words of one cartoonist, the wife at her computer tells her raging husband, "When I want your opinion, I'll listen to Rush Limbaugh" ....
Of course, CBS News featured something akin to this plea on Tuesday, September 5, 2006, the first night of the fluff news with Katie Couric. Alas, the "plea for moderation" and "civil discourse" was more than a decade late. Tonight, the stage was handed over to Rush Limbaugh. And he said one thing that I agree with:
"When Good negotiates with Evil, Evil will always win."
Which brings us to the Red and the Blue.

We have the bloggers over at redstate dot com writing of 9-11:
ABC 9/11 mini-series gets Democrats upset -- by telling the truth
By NotSoBlueStater

Since the release of Fahrenheit 9/11, multiple acts of Democrat grandstanding during the 9/11 hearings, and the political spinnings of the "9/11 Widows", I've always had the sense that most people think that our last, best chance to thwart 9/11 was for the Bush Administration to react forcefully to it's own August 6, 2001 PDB. This idea obviously works well for the Democrats, because it deflects attention from the Clinton Administration's almost complete inaction during the years prior.

That may change in a few days.

The Democrats are apparently outraged by the content of the ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11 -- scheduled to be aired as part of the fifth anniversary of 9/11. And for a simple reason: It may shatter the protective cocoon they've been living in -- in a way that right-wing bloggers never could -- by simply playing the story down the middle.
As I note this, the following just played in my radio headphones:

"This is a special edition of the Sean Hannity Show: "THE BATTLE FOR AMERICA."

The "battle"? With WHOM, Sean? With ME? With my American right to have an opinion? To hold that an illegal conquest is, in fact, illegal? That you can't wipe your ass with the Constitution? That concentration camps and secret prisons are Stalinist and not American? Is it ME you're at war with?

And is it, finally, the Red against the Blue?

Yeah, well Limbaugh must have been laughing his lard ass off. Having led the charge to remove Dan Rather over a questionable document (never proven a forgery) whose factual specifics were backed up by multiple sources, including the secretary to the military officer whose report was called into question, Limbaugh now sat in the CBS catbird seat, spewing his "facts" to millions of network viewers -- his reward, in a sense, for the putsch on the truth that he was head cheerleader for.

Listen to some more of what Rush Limbaugh said:
Unfortunately, some Americans are not interested in victory. And they want us to believe that their irresponsible behavior is Patriotic. Well, it's not.

When the critics are more interested in punishing this country over a few incidents at Abu Grahib and Guantanimo Bay than they are in defeating those who want to kill us; when they seek to destroy a foreign surveillance program which is designed to identify those who want to kill us and how they intend to do it; when they want to grant those who want to kill us U.S. constitutional rights (grammar sic), I don't call that patriotic.

Patriotism is rallying behind the country, regardless of party affiliation, to defeat Islamo-Fascism. Patriotism is supporting our troops on the battlefield, not undermining the mission and morale.
Where to begin? That there is NO SUCH THING as "Islamo-Fascism?" Fascism, as defined by the original Fascist, Mussolini is often defined by a quote that while often cited has never been successfully found: ""Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini"

No: Here's a more precise version, straight from Benito's own pen (he was a journalist before turning to conquest):
The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and useful instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organization of production is a function of national concern, the organizer of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.

State intervention in economic production arises only when private initiative is lacking or insufficient, or when the political interests of the State are involved. This intervention may take the form of control, assistance or direct management. (pp. 135-136)

-- Benito Mussolini, 1935, Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions
Doesn't sound much like Islam, does it? Or how about this:
Fascism recognises the real needs which gave rise to socialism and trade-unionism, giving them due weight in the guild or corporative system in which diverent interests are coordinated and harmonised in the unity of the State. (p.15) (in other words, no unions).

Fascism is definitely and absolutely opposed to the doctrines of liberalism, both in the political and economic sphere. (p. 32) (Funny, so is Limbaugh).

The Fascist State lays claim to rule in the economic field no less than in others; it makes its action felt throughout the length and breadth of the country by means of its corporate, social, and educational institutions, and all the political, economic, and spiritual forces of the nation, organized in their respective associations, circulate within the State. (p. 41).

- Benito Mussolini, 1935, The Doctrine of Fascism
But here's the really fun quote, in case you were wondering what "Islamo-fascists" might be:

According to Colombia University Professor Robert O. Paxton,
"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."
But that's not really the big deal. They're lying their asses off. What else is new? Who cares?

Well, you'll be pleased to know that one of Mussolini's Fascist slogans was: "Me ne frego," literally "I frig myself about it," closer, in meaning, to "I don't give a damn": the Italian Fascist motto. Best rendered, "I couldn't give a fuck."

And Rush does a good job of defining another Fascist motto: "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato, "Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State."

[both translations courtesy of Wikipedia]

But listen to what I wrote nearly twelve years ago:
And this is what one hears on talk radio: griping and sniggering. Talk radio is only the tip of the iceberg: Geraldo, t-shirts and a plethora of others come to mind.

But there is a terrible effect. We know, historically, that when you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind. Sow anger and reap bloodshed. The case of Paul Hill is not a farfetched one.

Paul Hill shot and killed a doctor and a retired gentleman who'd agreed to accompany the doctor to protect him. The doctor was performing abortions. Paul Hill, one does not doubt, was never involved with the painful circumstance of an abortion, either personally or peripherally, but he killed them just the same, in the name of his 'God.'

John Brown engaged in the same tactics in "Bloody Kansas" in the late 1850s. The first battle of the Civil War took place at a little bit of forested campground on a prairie 15 miles south of Lawrence, Kansas, called Black Jack. Within ten years of that first bloodbath, initiated by John Brown and his boys, 26,000 died in a single afternoon of carnage at Antietam. Europeans could not believe the numbers (many more died of their wounds, added silently to the abattoir).
No: we have been choosing up sides for a long time now. We have the Red and we have the Blue. The irony that the "Red State" fanatics are the self-same fanatics, in many cases, who used to declare "Better Dead than Red" back in the commie-hating days goes unnoticed and unremarked.

When "SuperSize Me" declared on CBS News on Tuesday that we needed civil discourse, I had to laugh. Here's what I wrote then:
A radical form of moderation is needed. Extremism in defense of moderation might seem contradictory, but it may also be an absolute necessity ... But in the meantime (and I do mean mean time), we have to stand up for some degree of civility. Perhaps, like Grandma used to say: "I respect your opinions, but if you continue to speak like that, I'm going to have to ask you to leave." Barbarism masquerading as civilized behavior is still barbarism, after all.
Alas, I think that time has come and gone. No one was interested then, no one even gives a damn now -- "Me ne frego."

No: the 9-11 movie that ABC is putting on Sunday and Monday will cleave this nation right in two on the 'facts.' Clinton is given the blame (using cooked-up scenes made out of whole cloth) and Bush's infamous bungling of 9-11 (My Pet Goat) is neatly shunted to the side in favor of the Red set of Facts: Il Bushe is strong. Il Bushe protects us.
For Fascism, the growth of empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, is an essential manifestation of vitality, and its opposite a sign of decadence. Peoples which are rising, or rising again after a period of decadence, are always imperialist; and renunciation is a sign of decay and of death ... But empire demands discipline, the coordination of all forces and a deeply felt sense of duty and sacrifice: this fact explains many aspects of the practical working of the regime, the character of many forces in the State, and the necessarily severe measures which must be taken against those who would oppose this spontaneous and inevitable movement -- Mussolini, (with Giovanni Gentile): the 1932 Italian Encyclopedia definition of 'fascism.'
The movie on ABC/Disney will be presented without commercial interruption to commemorate the fifth anniversary of 9-11. Sean Hannity will be doing a special show on Monday with the screenwriter on what (it now looks like) was edited (or, as the Righties seem to insist with their "facts" censored).

Step back into my wayback machine again:
The dogs of war do not return meekly to their kennels. When discourse and reason cease, violence cannot be far behind. That is history's lesson.

Today, when Paul Hill is discussed on "talk radio," the victim is invariably referred to as an "abortionist" by the literate, and "an abortion doctor" by the less so. The other victim is rarely mentioned at all. His death is not interesting ideologically.

Do you see how important it is that we frame our speech precisely? If we say it one way, there is no excuse. But, stated the way it now stands, it almost seems (if your views run that way) that Paul Hill might have a case for shooting two unarmed men in the back with a shotgun. (How noble!)

We of America hated the Russians for fifty years. Then, the Russians were gone: no more Communists left to hate. We have no one left to hate now, none to vent our self-righteousness, our "freedom" and "American Dream" on but ourselves.

But hatred is a very difficult habit to break, and hating (for over fifty years) becomes a kind of need. And, lately, one hears 'liberal' spoken in the same tones, with the same hateful inflections once reserved for pinkos, commies and subversives (whoever they finally turned out to be).
Well, they turned out to be "Islamo-fascists," and, of course -- according to Rush -- you and I who oppose this insane round of pointless wars.

What ever happened to "Get Osama"? How come Il Bushe, after not mentioning Bin Laden for over TWO years, suddenly quotes him in four consecutive speeches neatly coinciding with the kickoff of the fall election campaign?

Why do I even ask these rhetorical questions?

You're smart. You've already got it figured out. You're probably way ahead of me.

But might I note: when the Civil War hit, the American (Northern) Baptist church took the Bible, and proved to the soldiers going to fight against slavery that God demanded it. The Southern Baptist church took the SELFSAME Bible and proved that God divinely sanctioned and approved of slavery and sent THEIR soldiers to fight for "states rights."

No: having succeeded in driving "facts" from CBS, the Red Staters now want their 9-11 rewrite on ABC to succeed. And NBC's Brian Williams brays that he listens to Rush at least once a week.

Not only are they entitled to their own opinions, they are entitled to their own facts: although we, who oppose them with every bit of moral fiber we can muster, are neither entitled to facts nor opinions.

This weekend we'll know. Are there two 9-11s? Are there two Americas, irreconcilably and irreversibly opposed? Must antipathy be our way of life, and civil war its inevitable consequence?

Must we, Red and Blue, finally come to blows?

Because, as Lincoln (whose party you Southern cracker, bigoted, know-nothings have hijacked) said: "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

(If that is so, and just so's you know: When the war begins, and it's perfectly legal and even patriotic to shoot the bastards on the other side, I got dibs on Rush -- I called it first.)

Here is what I wrote then:
"The barbarians are not waiting politely for us to answer the doorbell. And it is not their homes that will burn."
Here is what I write now:
Either stand up for liberal democracy now, or forever hold your peace (or, more likely, have a musket forced into your hands). If you were waiting for your moment: this is it. Or don't. But don't ever say that I didn't warn you.
Oh, my long-ago little essay's title?
"The Rush-ians Are Coming, The Rush-ians Are Coming."
Looks like they're here.


06 September 2006

Katie Couric, Whore

Mac and I were on KOPT (AirAmerica) radio yesterday morning doing our monthly gig, and the reaction to my little "Rocky" mashup was gratifying. So if you'd like to download the mp3 (1.3 megs, 2:47) click here: http://www.hartwilliams.com/!rocky.mp3 Right click and choose 'save as'. Makes a great ice-breaker at political rallies. Now ...

Follow the Money

[Warning: In my sinistral way, I will be discussing the CBS putsch in graphic terms. If this offends your delicate sensibilities, please avert your eyes.]

859 articles this morning trumpeted the ascendance of Katie Couric to the CBS news anchor's chair. It is supposed to be yet another, increasingly meaningless, "FIRST" for women -- although I remain unconvinced that Couric is, in fact a woman. If yesterday's performance was any indication, she is a triumph of audio-animatronics, as robotic as they come, but a remarkable simulacrum of human life. ("The skin is so lifelike!")

859 articles discuss the finale of the GOP putsch of CBS news (finally getting even for Edward R. Murrow's shellacking of Senator Joe McCarthy). None notes the death of news. None notes that Couric entered the studio a whore, with Viacom acting as her pimp.

I must apologize to whores everywhere for the comparison, here. Still, if the soiled lingerie fits, one must wear it, and Viacom/CBS/Katie Couric left such a foul stench in the bedclothes of the national discourse that the metaphor is more than appropriate, and, again, I apologize to whores for it. Because I've known some decent whores. I didn't see a thing last night that was decent at all.

Consider the headline in the San Jose MERCURY NEWS: "Couric's CBS debut includes first photos of Cruise baby"

What a succinct summary of the redux of CBS news! Scooping the NATIONAL ENQUIRER! Whoo hoo! The whores and pimps of tabloid row must be green with envy (or veneral pox, take your pick).

It was, friends, gawdawful. Couric looked like she was either attempting to force gravitas to ooze from her pores, else she was severely constipated. Fine: some first night flop sweat is understandable, but it was PHONY. False. Ersatz. Fraudulent. Fake. Bogus. Sham.

Almost as bad as the coverage of the disaster. Here's some leads (names not suppressed so as not to protect the criminally lame):
  • People Magazine: "Frankly, it was all very unedifying..." (of course, PEOPLE Magazine talking about "edifying" is like Michael Savage talking about "reasoning together.")

  • "Katie Couric became the first female solo anchor of a network newscast last night, the culmination of pointlessly intense media interest and a significant ..." SF Chronicle

  • "Katie Couric's debut as CBS anchor came on a slow news day. But she filled her half-hour broadcast with new segments and feature stories." Chicago Sun-Times

  • "The most talked about TV program of the season came off without a hitch last night when Katie Couric made her debut as the first solo woman anchor in TV ..." Louisville Courier-Journal, KY

  • "A woman anchored the CBS Evening News alone Tuesday night, and the House of Murrow did not fall down." Houston Chronicle
So, is having a cunt such a big deal? Really?

For thirty years since I left high school, I have listened to an unending litany of joyful shrieks as anything that a woman had now done was the equivalent to Neil Armstrong's "one small step." After awhile it grows tedious. And after still longer, it grows offensive.

And, finally, as with the coverage of the disaster of last night's broadcast, it becomes criminal: as if Kouric's gender were the ONLY thing that mattered, and as if it covered for what was, in fact, an amateurish performance on a soft news show unworthy of the soft-news bilge that Couric used to shovel out in her prior incarnation on NBC's Today Show.

[For those of you who are still grappling with it, I'll attempt to help you out: Equality means just that: No more; no less.]

Haven't we moved beyond the circus side-show freak modality of viewing women? Is her genitalia REALLY such a big deal unless her performance is sexual? (Which it wasn't.) Are we still astonished that a woman can speak, read, write, operate heavy machinery?

Good lord. Grow up, America. Of course they can.

[And, if this offends you in any wise, then riddle me this: When will the moment come in our march to 'equality' that people AREN'T viewed through an exclusively genital lens? When WILL people be seen based on what they do and who they are, and NOT on the position they take for urination? Or on secondary sexual characteristics most often seen as useful in the mammalian suckling of young? I'd really like to know. Meantime, I will continue in my satanic manner to view people as people, and judge them by their deeds and words, and not by their plumbing.]

Of course, the Boston Herald takes the prize for the most revoltingly sexist lead:
  • "Katie may have leg up, but it's not on news Boston Herald, By Mark A. Perigard. CBS is spending $15 million a year on Katie Couric. That comes to $7.5 million per shapely leg."
"Per shapely leg"???? What? Are we supposed to fuck her?

I give up.

Doesn't ANYBODY get that this sexual obsessiveness is JUST as demeaning to the women as the men? I mean wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where Katie Couric might have gotten the job without having to flash her breasts? Or just because CBS considered her qualified?

The problem with this mindless tokenism is that it strips the woman who actually DOES accomplish something of her fundamental personhood and humanity: it makes it seem that IF she didn't have tits and a cunt, then she wouldn't have gotten the job! Schweet bouncing buddhas.

Stop it. (The media was disgusting in its obsession over the gender of the newsperson, and not at all interested in the quality of that news.)

I don't give a shit, frankly, whether Katie Couric sits or stands to pee: the only thing that ought to matter is whether or not she did the job, and the blunt answer is NO. Unless, of course, her job was to act as a media whore for a propaganda machine oiled and maintained to keep the public from its "right to know." (That "right to know" that the vile media have flogged for two centuries as the excuse for their most egregious excesses, and now use as the cover for their betrayal of that very 'right.' Were there justice, we'd take these blow-dried phonies out and horsewhip them in the public square.)

And in that respect, Murrow must be spinning in his grave. But then, ANY journalist worth his salt should be. Or well on the way to that dank destination. Truth is increasingly meaningless, while style is all. Thus, PEOPLE Magazine reviewing the broadcast. The "news" broadcast.

Tom Shales got the lead right in his Washington POST article this morning (until, that is, he crashed on the sexist shore of genital evaluation):
A title change would seem to be in order. Maybe "The CBS Evening No-News." Or "The CBS Evening Magazine." Or "30 Minutes."

Whatever it was, Katie Couric did a brisk, engaging job of getting the strange new show off the ground last night as, at long last -- and after one of the most relentless hype hurricanes in history -- she debuted as the first woman to be solo anchor of a major network newscast. K-Day had come at last!
You are invited to read it. It makes several good points, but when Shales decides to comment on Couric's attire, I realized that he'd slithered from media analysis to fashion show critic with only a slight grinding of gears and very little smoke.

Can no one in America just LOOK at the newscast? (Or should I say, the NON-newscast?) But, to be fair, Shales DID nail the fundamental sexism that marked the debacle of Couric's debut on the new, de-Ratherized CBS News:
"Yesterday, though, was apparently a no-news day in the opinion of Executive Producer Rome Hartman, the staff and Couric herself, since the half-hour began with a '60 Minutes'-style piece on the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

"The real purpose of this report was to show off Lara Logan, the intensely telegenic reporter who serves as foreign correspondent. She went undercover in Afghanistan, much as Rather had done many many years ago. But as a woman, Logan said, her Taliban hosts 'insisted I cover everything but my eyes.'

"The story was in fact largely about her -- about how dangerous it was to do the story, about what a big, "unprecedented" exclusive it was (Brian Ross seemed to have much the same story on ABC's 'World News Tonight' with Charles Gibson) and how she had to tippy-toe away from the camp through a minefield, led by a guide."
But why are we surprised? I don't bother trying to get my news from ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN or MSNBC. (At least with Fox, you know you're being conned, although I don't watch them either). My 99-year-old father-in-law gave up on CNN last month. He'd given up on all the rest earlier, and after a century of reading the newspaper, and watching the news, he can't believe this crap either. He cancelled his subscription to the local paper months ago when he decided that there wasn't any actual NEWS in the newspaper.)
  • Deseret News: "Couric's newscast wasn't without showbiz elements. It was either very brave or very stupid to unveil the 'exclusive first photos' of Tom Cruise's baby on Couric's first night, opening her up to charges of being a lightweight..."
So, one can't fault the CBS Evening Nooz with Katie Couric for being ephemeral fluff. It's ALL ephemeral fluff, after all. But even by the standard of ephemeral fluff, the show was a disaster. (Unless, of course, you were expecting a wacky, zany laff-riot, in which case you were not at all disappointed.)

The story that "stood out" -- as if one turd could be seen as exceptional in a dark cesspool of faux nooz, or truth noir -- was the story on the big oil strike in the Gulf of Mexico. Rather than lead with the story, as NBC Nightly Nooz did, they shunted it to the middle of the broadcast (no pun intended), with a pre-commercial teaser about the segment entitled "Eye On Your Money."

Having announced the oil strike, the reporter visited the drilling rig in the gulf, then waxed poetic about the troubles the oil companies have had, a bad thing that happened during Katrina, and how it won't have any immediate effect on the price of gas -- As THOUGH it possibly could! So much for giving a damn about "your money." The story was unfocused, dream logic: incoherent, leading to no actual point, and featured one of the great moments of clueless popularization ever recorded.

"How much oil is that?" oozed the unctuous CBS newsman, condescending to we, poor, unwashed. "Let's put it this way, with that much oil, you could drive your car 55 million miles."

(Quote and numbers may not be exact.) Unbelievable: you take an incomprehensible figure (billions of barrels of oil) and translate it into an equally incomprehensible analogy (leaving aside the fact that not all oil translates directly into gasoline, but also provides asphalt, paraffin, plastics, etc. etc. etc.) Having never driven a mere MILLION miles, I have no idea what the hell the idiot was talking about.

But then again, it is perfectly consistent with the report, which was supposed to be about a big oil discovery, and how it affects your pocketbook, and could manage to illuminate neither bit of information. Crackerjack stuff.

Even the comatose Howard Kurtz at the Washington POST noticed: "But it was mostly about Anthony Mason touring an oil rig, with more of the correspondent in the piece than is customary in nightly news reports."

Couric interviewed Tom Friedman, NYTIMES columnist in a fundamentally pointless and irrelevant bit of moronic fluff, and introduced a "new" feature, which is nothing more than a national version of the old Fairness Rule 'guest editorial.' The editorialist was the fellow who shot the documentary "Supersize Me" and he cried out for civility in public discourse.

Fine. When you identify a schlock documentarian as an "author," THIS author has some civil discourse for you, CBS and Katie: FUCK you. That's right: FUCK you, and fuck the snake you slithered in on.

Just because you aren't journalists doesn't mean that because you call yourself by that title you get to call non-authors "authors." Keep your vile distortions and lies to yourself, and I'm sick to fucking death of civil discourse. I've tried to reason with the right wing fucks, and now I'd just as soon shoot the bastards as talk to them.

Speaking of which, the "free speech" segment will feature Rush Limbaugh on Thursday. (I guess three hours a day wasn't enough for the drug-addled gas bag).

There was more, but I leave it to you, gentle reader, to check out the 859 articles and stories about the non-event that Katie Couric's taking the helm at CBS' not-the-news turned out to be.

Compare and contrast this with this short and to-the-point post on Preemptive Karma today:

MSM Doing a Bang-Up Job!

It was reported yesterday that a big part of the media hype over the Couric anchor-drop was a story about James Horner (Oscar-winning composer of soundtracks, including Star Trek II, Titanic, Braveheart, Field of Dreams, Apollo 13, and other modern classics) who was trying to compose the new "theme" for the Katie Couric show, all 10 seconds' worth ... Well, let the Wall Street JOURNAL complete the odious tale:
... for the past three months, Mr. Horner has been working on what he says is one of the biggest challenges of his career: Writing a 10-second clip of music that will introduce Katie Couric each weeknight on the "CBS Evening News." The process has been strenuous, in large part because Ms. Couric and CBS brass wanted him to pour an ocean of imagery into a musical teacup.

"It must be urgent and serious, yet light," says the program's executive producer, Rome Hartman. "Flexible, yet memorable. Regal and encompassing the grand history of CBS News, yet moving forward."

The music couldn't sound too similar to the "Roman fanfares" of NBC and ABC, Mr. Horner says, adding, "Katie told me she wanted something that reminded her of wheat fields blowing rather than Manhattan skyline."
Yeah. Wind through the wheatfields, which is a lot of what the news content of last night's "Premiere" reminded me of. Infotainment, with less and less info and more and more tainment. Alas. One can either laugh or cry, but I find myself doing both.

Of course the problem isn't Katie Couric, per se. But she's the whore who laid down for her paying customer, Viacom. There is no "moral superiority" in this cesspool. It's just a cesspool: one that's stealing your right to know, and, therefore, your democracy from you. And if you aren't mad, then you're a collaborator, and history itself, and your children will judge you harshly for rolling over and playing dead.

Speaking of which ....

Of course, The Washington POST's lickspittle "media critic" Howard Kurtz creamed all over himself in his article today. You'd have thought that Joe Pulitzer himself had risen from the grave for this landmark event:
Katie Couric broke the mold last night. Her "CBS Evening News" was more magazine show than news show, more "60 Minutes" than Cronkite headline service. In fact, the number of full-fledged stories about something that happened yesterday amounted to -- let me count here--one.

From her "Hi everyone" greeting to her closing appeal for people to go to the CBS Web site to suggest a signoff line, you knew you were looking at something different.

And the journalistic quality was pretty high.

I'm sure some will say there wasn't enough news in the "Evening News." And they will have a point. But that's the tradeoff if you're going to do longer, more textured pieces and new features on a half-hour broadcast.
Yeah, Howie. Who the hell needs "news" on the news? I mean with that journalistic quality being "pretty high" (which is, coincidentally, what Kurtz seems to have been while watching the show and/or writing his "review) and all.

When journalists who are morons review moronic exercises in journalism, the output is sure to be moronic. Way to go, Howie. You've justified our faith in you. ("Media critic" my ass. Kurtz is the lapdog antithesis of media criticism, and if EVER we needed criticism of a supine and subjugated media, it's NOW, kiddies.)

Yeah. She's running a contest for her "signoff" line. You heard that right. I've got a suggestion: "We're CBS and you're fucked." It's short, sweet, and, more to the point, the truth.

And besides, the whole "newscast" was "me" news, in case you hadn't noticed. Me: Katie. Me: Anthony Mason. Me: Lara Logan.

And, finally, here's how to be a sexist dumbass using the Queen's English:
Couric's debut a news milestone
Times Online, UK

The newscaster Katie Couric became last night the only woman to head an evening news programme on a US television network when she presented her first edition of the CBS EVENING NEWS.
I guess CNN, Fox, MSNBC and the rest don't count. Just the old "big three," right? A "big three" that's becoming increasingly irrelevant, and, if Katie Couric's "performance" (literally) last night is any indication, rightly so.

Just remember to always use a condom: You don't know where that anchor's chair's been.