The News Wednesday Night: Droning On and On
What if I were to tell you that there was an amazing expression of America’s democratic ideals taking place during tonight’s national nightly TV news?
This beautiful display of what it truly means to have a representative democracy, of course, didn’t happen ON the US nightly news shows — ABC World News, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News. Instead, this exercise in freedom of speech and assembly was ignored by every network.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) seems well lubed despite now being in the ninth hour of his filibuster. Senator Paul wants answers on the Obama administration’s drone program. Paul’s filibustering the nomination of John Brennan — known drone user himself — as the new CIA director. This nomination was reported earlier today as easily passed. Then Paul started talking. The Twittersphere is buzzing with #StandWithRand.
Something is actually happening in the Senate, and somehow it’s being ignored by all three networks tonight. Instead, they all lead with … it’s snowing. Not only is it snowing, but each network has to tell you that the snow is wet and heavy. CBS calls it “heart attack snow.” NBC reporter Reynolds Wolf holds a big wet clump of snow and says it’s “thick, heavy snow.” ABC reporter Ginger Zee says a shovelful of snow can weigh ten pounds, which is “more than this gallon of milk” that she has cleverly placed in the snow. Ten pounds is more than a lot of things. Why Zee has decided on a gallon of milk is uncertain. Maybe the milk just happened to be sitting in the snow. Who knows?
While NBC reminds us of superstorm Sandy — in case we haven’t seen their near nightly reports on the disaster since it occurred last October in the network news show’s backyards — no network mentions that Sandy victims will be among those facing sequester cuts.
It took seven minutes for any network to get out of the fucking snow. For those of you who are the gambling type, NBC was the first nightly news outlet with a reporter standing on the shore in a storm. I know, a had a dime on ABC, too. Play the favorite, I told myself, take the easy money. What can go wrong?
ABC anchor Diane Sawyer is upset about some other sequester cuts: the White House public tours have been canceled. CBS also gets to the sequester cuts, but they don’t mention the Sandy victims’ aid being cut. Instead, they focus on a dinner President Obama is throwing for Republican leaders to discuss the sequester. You know The Media will be very upset if they are not invited. Don’t worry. They won’t report anything from the dinner. All they want is the access, to rub elbows with the rich and powerful, and to taste Lobster Newburg on the taxpayer dime.
Back to Senator Paul. I think he’s trying to eat a Snickers bar. Some bits drop from his mouth, and he laughs in this incredibly charming, childlike way. It’s the first time I ever actually thought Rand was anything more than a robot his father built.
CBS moves on to Pope news. Thankfully, it’s none of the glorification of pomp and circumstance, or the pointless guesses as to who the next Pope will be, or when it will be announced. CBS reporter Mark Phillips gives the Church a beat-down tonight. He covers a press conference held by victims of predatory priests. Phillips even lists the US cardinals who the victims’ group says should not be considered for the Papacy because of their role in Church sex crimes. Among the three, Phillips reports, is Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, who ABC anchor Sawyer gleefully interviewed the day after Pope Benedict XVI resigned. Sawyer didn’t report how Cardinal Dolan lied about paying off pedophile priests so they’d quit the Church. Rather, Sawyer smiled as she suggested Dolan could be the first American pope. Throughout that entire Sawyer interview with Dolan, I couldn’t help but feel they had not only met before, but clearly traveled in the same societal circles.
While Sawyer creeped me out weeks ago with her genuflecting interview of Cardinal Dolan, it’s NBC anchor Brian Williams giving me the willies tonight. Williams says President Hugo Chavez’s death is important to the US “because Venezuela sits on so much oil.” I almost expected Williams to lick his lips while telling us about that delicious Venezuelan crude just sitting there for the taking now that Chavez is six feet deep. Maybe we’ll get lucky and strike oil while burying the old dead general. I’ve heard of ‘vulture funds,’ but is America the first ‘vampire state’?
ABC actually gets to the drone story! Reporter David Curley tells us that drones may soon get FAA approval to fly in US airspace. With the FAA set to close 173 control towers due to the sequester, something Curley doesn’t report, you would think this would be a bad time to start allowing unmanned drones to fly the same flight lanes as commercial or any other aircraft. You’d also think Curley might mention Senator Paul’s ongoing anti-drone filibuster. Instead, Curley laughs off the story, like he does all his reports.
Senator Paul is now eating nuts. Let’s hope they’re Kentucky pecans or his constituency will be very upset.
ABC starts up their exceedingly moronic, and what I hoped had been abandoned, ‘Instant Index’ segment. On Monday, ABC didn’t run the bit, which is always filled with trivia “sent in by viewers like you.” Now, they’re apparently back, blaming this bullshit on “viewers like you.” Tonight’s sickeningly sweet treacle includes some precious Sawyer lines. Sawyer tells us there are rumors Princess Leia played by Carrie Fisher may return in the new ‘Star Wars’ movies. After Sawyer tells us Fisher joked that the Princess would now be a senior, Sawyer adds, “All we want is to watch Princess Leia one more time.” Diane, ‘Star Wars’ is not live theater. It is a series of movies. Therefore, you can watch her “one more time” whenever you want. That’s why DVDs and Netflix exists. Sawyer continues the review of pointless news by sharing that the iPhone was going to be called ‘MOBI.’ The name iPhone was owned by somebody else. Apple settled with the name’s previous owner and we now have the iPhone. Sawyer adds, “Thank heavens.” Sawyer then shares a tweet with the viewing audience. Actress Valerie Harper has been given three months to live by her doctor due to brain cancer. A fan of ‘Rhoda” tweeted, “The reason we are all so sad is we are all ‘Rhoda’ now.” Not only do I not feel very ‘Rhoda’ right now, I’m also sickened by the sentiment — or should I say lack of it. This is nothing more than plugging Ms. Harper’s character’s name into a cliche. I’m betting this tweeting creep also buys plush toys and writes signs, then visits tragic scenes he’s watched on the news. If there is such thing as a tragedy voyeur, I’m betting this trolling tweeter is it.
Meanwhile, Senator Paul continues with his filibuster. This really is a wonderful example of America’s democratic fervor. It has everything: standing up for what you believe in, putting your health on the line for your beliefs, and conveying lots of misleading information. For instance, Paul starts to ramble on about how the US should support the doctor who supposedly helped the US to find Osama bin Laden. Paul does not mention that the doctor had made a polio vaccine clinic a front for the CIA. In turn, this strategy has led to polio workers around the world being assassinated, based on the misconception that they are all spies.
ABC ends by becoming the very last media outlet to report on the Harlem Shake. This isn’t the Harlem Shake jumping the shark; this is the Harlem Shake flying over the shark in a Saturn rocket.
Coincidentally, both CBS and NBC close their broadcasts with stories on bridges. CBS’s is on Peggy Wallace-Kennedy, the daughter of fabled racist Alabama Governor George Wallace. Kennedy-Wallace describes how difficult it was living as the daughter of such a prick. Every year for five years, Kennedy-Wallace has marched on Montgomery’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, where the deadly Bloody Sunday events took place. Wallace-Kennedy marches each year arm-in-arm with Congressman John Lewis, who was beaten bloody on that same bridge Bloody Sunday.
NBC’s story bridge is a little light. It seems that San Francisco’s Bay Bridge now has a cool light show.
None of the networks report that there are now over a million Syria war refugees, how the Sinai is plagued by kidnappings and torture, why UNICEF condemned Israel, revelations the Pentagon had a ‘dirty war’ veteran running secret Iraq detention centers, news South Korea threatened the North, how we now have record US child poverty, organized crime is now trafficking ivory or that 2012 was the planet’s second-worst year ever for greenhouse gas emissions.
Oh, and Rand Paul is still going on about drones.
Remember, this is what so many Americans fought and died for.
USA! USA! USA!