deadlines amuse me

exploring how the world works and why it works that way …

Archive for September 2007

Quotabull

leave a comment »

I am intently focused on this matter and will make it a priority to correct the errors and minimize them in the future.

— Kerry Weems, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, quoted in a Sept. 10 New York Times story that says, “Private insurance companies participating in Medicare have been allowed to keep tens of millions of dollars that should have gone to consumers, and the Bush administration did not properly audit the companies or try to recover money paid in error.”

What’s important is to fully vet these kinds of videos before putting them to air, which we’ve consistently done over the years.

— CNN spokesman Megan Mahoney, explaining why CNN delayed running a video of Osama bin Laden on Sept. 7 by a half hour after Fox News and MSNBC. CNN had ended its 27-year relationship with Reuters eight days earlier and had to obtain the tape from the Arabic news network Al Jazeera.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 13, 2007 at 11:47 am

Posted in Uncategorized

On keeping’s one head in time of crisis

with 2 comments

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I became one of only a handful of the 150-plus professors at my university who did not cancel their morning classes. I did not for two reasons.

First, students needed the familiarity of routine in which to find some measure of comfort and counsel. They needed to be seen by adults who could determine which of them really needed the help of the university’s counselors.

Second, I teach journalism, and my two morning classes were both news writing. The tragedy of that day provided, sadly, the rarest of teaching opportunities.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 11, 2007 at 1:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Sen. Thompson’s warning about dissent: ‘Be afraid. Be very afraid.’

leave a comment »

You’re a manufacturer of automotive tires. You want to sell as many as possible. So you stick a baby atop a stack of tires in a TV ad, subtly suggesting to viewers that if they don’t buy your tires, the baby will get whacked. That’s the fear card.

You own an insurance company. You want to sell as many policies as possible. You do ads on TV that not so subtly tell viewers that without your company’s insurance coverage, they will be bankrupt, bereft of health — or dead. That, too, is the fear card.

Selling goods and services through the device of fear is standard fare in advertising. That’s true in politics as well. Remember that famous Michael Douglas speech in “The American President” about his opponent?

And whatever your particular problem is, friend, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: Making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it.

In at-last-he’s-a-presidential-candidate Fred Thompson’s first full television interview on Sept. 7, he pulled out the fear card, saying, in effect, “We should be afraid, and it’s the fault of dissenters.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 9, 2007 at 11:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized

For sale: $3 billion worth of bullshit

with one comment

This is your only warning. Turn off your TV set — or your will to live — or vote — may be decimated.

The Television Bureau of Advertising forecasts that the politicians who want your vote will spend about $3 billion in 2008, a presidential election year. As noted earlier at S&R, the presidential candidates alone have collectively raised more than $265 million since the beginning of this year. The eventual nominees will need to raise more than $500 million each to have a chance to win in November.

Now, toss in the folks running for the House and Senate. Add the chumps, er, chaps, who want to be governors and attorneys general. A whole passel of politicians are looking for your money — so they can spend it on campaigning to enlighten you about them, their promises and their records. Riiiight.

Remember, this estimate is $3 billion for television advertising. By politicians. So what do you think we’ll find out in the ads they’ll shell out all that cash for?
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 8, 2007 at 8:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Quotabull

leave a comment »

I’ve got God’s shoulder to cry on. And I cry a lot. I do a lot of crying in this job. I’ll bet I’ve shed more tears than you can count, as president. I’ll shed some tomorrow.

— President Bush in in one of six roughly hourlong interviews with book author Robert Draper.

I made a decision to lead. One, it makes you unpopular; two, it makes people accuse you of unilateral arrogance, and that may be true. But the fundamental question is, is the world better off as a result of your leadership?

— President Bush in in one of six roughly hourlong interviews with book author Robert Draper.

I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers. I don’t know what my dad gets — it’s more than 50-75” [thousand dollars a speech] … Clinton’s making a lot of money.

— President Bush, whose personal assets have been estimated at $21 million, in a December 2006 interview with book author Robert Draper on his post-presidency plans.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 6, 2007 at 1:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Ad revenues at newspapers: More bad news

with one comment

Conditions at American newspapers are going to worsen, and there’s a billion reasons why.

Because of incompetent or inept or unimaginative top management scared silly by Wall Street profit expectations, you can hardly recognize newspapers any more.

Newspapers have physically shrunk. They’re narrower and not as deep. That means less space for news despite protestations to the contrary and “smart business decisions” such as front-page ads and he-said, she-said arguments about the future of news.

Staffs in all departments of newspapers have decreased through layoffs and attrition. All this means less credible news as fewer people do more work, as reporters with less time use fewer sources — sometimes just one — or lean more heavily on “anonymice.”

You know why. The current business model in the news biz says: “Maintain profit margin” because Wall Street demands it. But advertising revenue — the money coming in — is decreasing. Therefore expenses — the money going out — must decrease. Ergo: Cut the size of the paper. Cut the size of the staff. “Enhance” the Internet presence. Sacrifice a necessary role in how a democracy functions and blame Craigslist.

Well, folks, don’t count on better things ahead for newspapers, because they can’t afford it (or so they say.)
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 3, 2007 at 5:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized