Poppy Harlow Has Patience of a Saint

Poppy

Yesterday CNN’s Poppy Harlow had an interesting encounter with Roy Moore’s – spokeswoman Jane Porter. I use the word encounter instead of interview because Porter refused to actually be interviewed, preferring instead to ignore Harlow’s questions and say what she wanted. This is not a new tactic, but it has become overused to the point of being infantile.

… journalists are going to have to start informing interviewees that if they continue to evade and ignore the questions asked the interview will be terminated

Sooner or later, and I hope it is sooner, journalists are going to have to start informing interviewees that if they continue to evade and ignore the questions asked the interview will be terminated. It is a journalist’s job to ask tough questions. If the person being interviewed does not like a question they can tell the asker that they will not answer it, but to have them ignore the question and drone on about a different topic should not be tolerated.

Responses to questions that begin with:

What I think you should be asking
The real issue here
What’s more important

Should be cut-off immediately as they are clear indicators that the interviewee is not going to answer the posed question, but is going to go off on a different tangent entirely.

In yesterday’s encounter Harlow, who evidently has the patience of a saint, spent most of the time asking Porter if she was going to answer a specific question, but she never got a simple yes or no.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

No Need To Stand In a Hurricane

Every time there is a hurricane or tornado the same thing happens, and Hurricane Irma was no exception. Media outlets deploy to the region in masses and, as if we would not believe them, place correspondents outside in the elements.  When there is nothing happening these reporters can fill hours with background and warnings, but once the storm hits they essentially become human weather vanes. They are buffeted about by wind and rain, knocked over by gusts and often dodge projectiles such as street signs or windows. They stand there shouting, often inaudibly, while trying to stay upright.

Will it take a serious injury or death to put an end to this silliness? Lots of weather maps with meteorologists’ explanations and images of the storm are what gets the message across. No need to have a soaking wet Chris Cuomo or Anderson Cooper or Rosa Flores to convince me that there is bad weather.

My sympathies to those who braved the conditions, but I do not think there is fake weather!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Kellyanne Conway’s CNN Caper

This morning I watched Counselor to President Trump Kellyanne Conway ramble on for over an hour on CNN. They should have changed the name to Conway Nonsense Network for the segment. It was not an interview, although Chris Cuomo did address numerous questions to  Conway, more of an exercise in avoidance and obfuscation on her part.

Conway’s caper this morning was nothing short of laughing up her sleeve – and by extension the Trump administration’s sleeve – at the U.S. electorate.

As a kid I used to hate it when a classmate was making a fool of himself; I would feel embarrassed for them. That same sense of unease was what I experienced today watching the ever-grinning Conway.

It is not uncommon for political spokespersons to nuance their replies to touchy questions. Conway choose to ignore them entirely only to later claim she answered them. It seems to me that the people of the United States deserve to have straight answers to straight questions from any spokesperson, Democrat, Republican or Independent.

Conway’s caper this morning was nothing short of laughing up her sleeve – and by extension the Trump administration’s sleeve – at the U.S. electorate. There was nothing nuanced about it, nothing shrewd or crafty about it. She merely responded to questions with questions or spoke about an entirely unrelated topic.

CNN must alter its approach to covering the Trump administration

No doubt exasperated, Cuomo reached a point when he allowed Conway to run on. Letting her pull out as much rope as she wanted to hang herself.

CNN must alter its approach to covering the Trump administration. Rather than pander to the White House for Conway to appear, the network should continue to cover the president but refuse to present her, or any other spokesperson without some sense that the person will not ignore questions and filibuster.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

There’s got to be something Anthony Bourdain does not like

I enjoy watching Anthony Bourdain on CNN. His travel/food show is well done and he is a fine host. His sense of humour is subtle and witty, and his appreciation of fine food is second to none.

He is the opposite of Mikey in the old Life cereal advertisement who does not like anything (except of course Life).

He travels the world for his Parts Unknown series bringing interesting and exotic locations to the homes of everyday folks. While on his treks around the world he mixes with the locals and has no qualms about trying absolutely any food that may be presented to him. He is the opposite of Mikey in the old Life cereal advertisement who does not like anything (except of course Life).

The problem, I find, is that this detracts from his persona inasmuch as no matter what he eats, he always finds it wonderful, exquisite, superb. But – you knew that was coming – just once I would like to see an episode in which he tries a local delicacy and blurts out “Sweet jumping Jesus, that tastes Christ awful!”.

… just once I would like to see an episode in which he tries a local delicacy and blurts out “Sweet jumping Jesus, that tastes Christ awful!”.

Sooner or later,if only to give credence to the authenticity of Bourdain’s culinary acumen, they have got to air a show where he tries something that really goes against the grain. The show, and the host, would grow in my opinion if he were to bite into something, grimace, break out in a cold sweat, turn away from the camera and spit. Then, being the quintessential host, turn back to the camera and state unabashedly “Wombat testicles in a canary sauce seem to be an acquired taste”. Just once. I know I would be a fan for life. Although I do feel a little like the old Happy Days character Ralph Malph who would write in asking a particular TV program to feature a human sacrifice!

Instead he continues to globe-trot and eat whatever is put in front of him then rave about it. But one of these days …

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Mainstream Media and Russian Hacking

One often hears the term ‘mainstream media’ these days. It is often used derogatorily by President Trump to indicate those news channels and publications that do not support him. It is not the job of any media outlet to support any president; rather the constant questioning is a necessary means of checks and balances. Without these in place, the public would be un- or wrongly informed.

Yet sometimes in an effort to be neutral, the mainstream media gets it wrong.

Yet sometimes in an effort to be neutral, the mainstream media gets it wrong. The current hot topic – Russia’s alleged hacking of last November’s US election – is a case in point. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, in a joint statement said: “The U.S. Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations. . . . These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”

Whenever a network correspondent speaks about the hacking and how the investigation is ongoing and how there can now be little doubt that the election was hacked, they quickly blurt out “But not in such a way as to change the outcome”. They get that in so fast that it sometimes sounds as if they are saying the two things at once. Often they even lead with the statement that the election was clean, then go on to explain how it was hacked. To my ears it just does not ring true.

I believe that in truth they do, quite understandably, want to take some people’s guns away: those who have criminal records, those deemed mentally unfit, ideally those who have not shown that they are capable of safely handling a gun.

It reminds me of when these same media outlets talk about gun control. Just as they have finished illustrating the common sense of background checks, comes the disclaimer “Of course I don’t want to take anyone’s guns away. We have a Second Amendment’. I believe that in truth they do, quite understandably, want to take some people’s guns away: those who have criminal records, those deemed mentally unfit, ideally those who have not shown that they are capable of safely handling a gun (you have to pass a test to get a driver’s license, but anyone can obtain and use a gun).

So if I follow that logic, should I assume that many reporters and analysts, while discussing the hacking are really wanting to say “Anything is possible, the outcome of the election has been placed in serious doubt given the vast amount of Russian hacking”?

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

I Nominate “Pivot” as 2016 Most Overused Campaign Word

Constant pivoter Kayleigh McEnany far left. Carol Costello far right
Constant pivoter Kayleigh McEnany far left. Carol Costello far right

After what feels like decades the US election campaign is down to the last four days. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are picking up the pace as they crisscross the country in a last effort to secure votes.

Perhaps the only group more fatigued than the candidates are the umpteen surrogates who continue to pop up on television screens to shill for their man or woman.  Personally I will be pleased when I can turn on my television and not hear one of these spokespeople use the word ‘pivot’. No longer do candidates change their opinion, or modify their stance. Nope, they pivot.

I hereby nominate the word pivot as the most used during the campaign.

pivot

To my mind pivoting is what a basketball player does, or a second baseman trying to turn a double play. When candidates or their supporters pivot it is anything but athletic or smooth, it is annoying. To pivot for these folks means to talk about whatever you want, instead of answering the posed question. As one analyst put it, if asked about the weather talk about baseball. It’s cute but when you are running for president of the United States it is also unacceptable.

Too often responses to questions put to a Trump spokesperson about Trump begin with What’s really important is Hillary’s lack of … 

CNN’s Chris Cuomo had two surrogates on yesterday and told them they could not mention, or allude to, their opponent when answering questions. It was a breath of fresh air. Too often responses to questions put to a Trump spokesperson about Trump begin with What’s really important is Hillary’s lack of … Pivoting at its worst.

On a constant basis CNN’s Carol Costello tries to rein in candidate surrogates when they pivot from the question she asked to a safer, if totally unrelated, topic. Sometimes she is successful, other times the speaker just blabs on over her requests to answer the question. But at least she tries. It would seem the use of the word pivot has become pivotal to describing replies to questions.

Do these surrogates think the electorate is stupid? If your candidate’s spokesperson always evaded questions might you not get the impression something is being hidden?

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Trump: Uncharted Not Unchartered

trump_bush

As I write this the 24-hour news channels are in raptures over the latest Donald Trump gaffe. Wall-to-wall coverage of his gutter-mouth chat with someone called Billy Bush in 2005 has kept the news mills grinding overtime, unearthing numerous other examples of Trump’s misogynist tendencies as illustrated on the Howard Stern radio show.

The way I see it there are two people who come out of this looking at least as bad as Donald Trump. The first is Billy Bush who is heard on the recording gleefully sucking-up to Trump, and the second is Rudy Giuliani.

Countless references have already been made to the unique nature of this year’s election campaign, but this news of the Republican Party on the verge of imploding has, dare I say it, trumped them all. The way I see it there are two people who come out of this looking at least as bad as Donald Trump. The first is Billy Bush who is heard on the recording gleefully sucking-up to Trump, and the second is Rudy Giuliani.

In 2001 after the terrorist attacks on New York then mayor Rudy Giuliani became an overnight sensation. He was calm yet angry, serious, strong and in control. Now as one of Trump’s top advisers he has gone from being America’s Mayor to being a clown. He has steadfastly backed Trump even in this most recent affair.I suspect he has been promised a significant position in a Trump administration, much like Chris Christie. Sadly for these coattail riders their futures are tied to Trump’s and that is not looking like a good career choice right now.

Illustrating the uniqueness of the in-fighting in the Republican Party on two occasions that I heard the word ‘unchartered’ was used instead of uncharted.

But of all the terrible things that one could hear on CNN today, the most egregious was not uttered by Trump, but by others, including the usually bang-on Wolf Blitzer. Illustrating the uniqueness of the in-fighting in the Republican Party on two occasions that I heard the word ‘unchartered’ was used instead of uncharted.

Uncharted is a word that indicates a new experience, from the old days when a body of water would be discovered and therefore no ‘charts’ existed. (Think Gilligan’s Island theme song – The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle. Yep, you’ll be humming that all day now, sorry.) This is the word that should be use to denote a new set of circumstances. Unchartered would indicate that whatever was being referred to has no constitution or had not been rented. Perhaps all those cars on the AVIS parking lot are unchartered. Certainly Gilligan and the Skipper’s vessel was not unchartered.

C’mon Wolf.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+