Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Odds and ends

A little of this, a little of that...

* Joe Bruno is old enough to be Eliot Spitzer's father, and the old man seems intent on teaching the youngster a lesson. Not that governor doesn't deserve to be slapped on the wrist, but it's infuriating watching Bruno take Spitzer to the woodshed when it's the Senate majority leader who was wasting taxpayers' money when he (legally) used state aircraft in large part for political business. Spitzer says he had nothing to do with what Bruno calls "political espionage." And the governor claims he'll testify under oath. Let's get it over with and move on to the business of state government, including rectifying laws that enabled Bruno to do what he did to set off this donnybrook.

* Speaking of politics, it's the first day of August and political controversies abound -- from the aforementioned Spitzer-Bruno spat, to the prematurely overheated Kingston mayoral campaign, to the three-way match for Ulster County district attorney (the latter two races connected by the sideshow of the mayor and spouse of one of the DA hopefuls engaging in a barroom tiff caught on videotape). This doesn't even take into account the parade of candidates and debates in the race for the White House. It says here, it's a good thing for politicians that most people don't pay attention at this time of year. Memories will be short when crunch time rolls around.

* I've been blogging a lot about broadcasting, a sidelight for me. But I keep forgetting to pose this question: Is WFAN's Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo the most ignorant, incoherent and irresponsible sports talk host around, or does he just play that role on the radio? If it's the latter and he's merely acting, the man ought to be on the Broadway stage.

* I'm not expecting Rupert Murdoch to ruin The Wall Street Journal. It's a brand name with which he'd be crazy to mess. But I must confess I'm curious to see what he'll do with the other properties he's purchased, including the Times Herald-Record of Middletown. My old friend Jim Moss, the Record's former publisher, didn't mince words. In a Record story today, Moss said of Murdoch's acquistion of the Dow Jones-Ottaway chain, of which the Middletown paper is a part, "given the way the company's been managed for the past half-dozen years, it's hard to believe the paper could fare any worse under any other company."

* My packet of material for tomorrow morning's recording of the next Media Project program included this 30-year-old quote attributed to the Washington Post's legendary columnist David Broder: "I would like to see us say over and over until the point has been made that the newspaper that drops on your doorstep is a partial, hasty, incomplete, inevitably somewhat flawed and inaccurate rendering of some of the things we heard about in the past 24 hours, distored despite our best efforts to eliminate gross bias by the very process of compression that makes it possible for you ... to read it ... If we labeled the paper accurately, then we would immediately add: But it's the best we could do under the circumstance, and we will be back tomorrow with a corrected, updated version."
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