By Doug Porter
We’ll start off today by talking about UT-San Diego, always one of my favorite topics. With advent of the New Year there are changes afoot at our local daily newspaper, changes that have me scratching my head… But hey, they’re the experts, right?
I learned via Twitter yesterday that Manchester’s minions are now required to gain management approval should any TV or radio station ask them to comment on pretty much anything. It seems as though UT-San Diego has done a deal with Clear Channel, one of the mega-corporate media meisters. Although they operate a half-dozen or so outlets locally, what we’re really talking about is giving KOGO (home to Rush Limbaugh and other righties in San Diego) and XTRA Sports radio first shot at any UT staffers.
The radio station most likely to feel the impact of this move will be KPBS, which regularly airs UT scribes talking about local news on its Midday Edition. It’s no secret that management at the daily fishwrap views the local NPR outlet as a competitor, given that KPBS has actual reporters who ask questions and write stories about subjects not necessarily in line with Lynchester Logic™.
I actually think this move by the UT is a good thing as it will keep Manchester’s’ news-a-torials in front of an audience that he already owns and limit opportunities to spread the paper’s brand of reality to audiences that might otherwise not engage or interact with the brand.
Where’s the Beef News?
Speaking of news, what’s the one thing missing with the much ballyhooed ‘redesign’ of UT-San Diego’s web site? Oh yeah, news. Actual Content seems to be the one concept that got left out.
But if it’s graphic bling you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place. Think World News Daily (wingnuttia central on the web) meets Windows 8 TV commercial.
Go ahead, click through to the site. They’ve dropped the ‘paywall’ for a few days, hoping people will check it out. You first view will contain exactly one (sort of) news item: a graphic ‘headline’ that switches through mostly feature and puff pieces. There’s virtual file drawers that may or may not contain news to click on, ads to read and plenty of promo for UT-San Diego.
If you’re willing to scroll down a bit, nestled amid the self-promos and the ads, you’ll see the “Editor’s Picks”. That’s five teasers (for what they hope is) eyeball candy. And a couple of news story headlines are thrown on the page for good measure. Scroll down further and you’ll be offered multiple opportunities to watch UT-TV videos/news, a collection of cringe-worthy amateurism trying to pass itself off as the real thing. It’s like watching local TV in Mayberry without the bouffant hairdos.
Scroll down even further – that’s one click and four scrolls, for those of you keeping score – and you will finally arrive at a collection of news headlines, sorted and color coded, waiting for yet another click before you read actual content.
I say keep up the good work down there in Mission Valley. Soon all we’ll hear is the sound of one hand clapping.
Survey Finds Hating Congress is Hip
There’s a gaggle of stories out there in medialand today about the new poll released by Public Policy Polling that finds approval of the United States Congress has slipped into single digits. Eighty five per cent of all Americans see our legislative branch in a negative way. ( 6% have no opinion, and 9% actually like them) From Washington DC’s The Hill:
Congress didn’t fare much better when compared against a wide swath of generally disliked staples of modern life. Asked for their preference between Congress and lice, the microscopic insects prevail 67-19 percent. Ditto colonoscopies (58-31 percent), root canals (65-32 percent), and being stuck in traffic (56-34 percent).
The article also noted the Congressional approval rate is lower than that for Nickleback, a Canadian rock band that’s hip to dislike these days.
The Trickiest Centennial
We don’t have Richard Nixon to kick around any more, but if we did, he’d be a hundred years old today. Even though San Diego was his “lucky city”, the editors over at our local daily were too busy putting more “pop” into their website to note this milestone. Here’s the Orange County Register’s ‘nuanced approach’ to Tricky Dick’s legacy:
Wednesday will mark the date, 100 years ago, of a winter day so cold that Hannah Nixon was advised it would be better to bear her fifth son at home than risk traveling to a hospital. That was the day a small, kit-constructed home surrounded by citrus trees saw the birth of the man who would become the 37th president of the United States
“He leaves a very complex legacy,” said Tim Naftali, a presidential scholar. “Richard Nixon’s legacy will always be a mixture of light and shadow.”
I’m no fan of Nixon, but I do find it ironic that many of the government programs that modern day conservatives rail against were enacted during his administration. I guess that’s why he’s a “non-person” now at the UT-San Diego.
Qualcomm at CES: Born Mobile and Cringe Worthy
It’s that ‘gee whiz’ time of year, when we get breathless reporting from Las Vegas about the latest gadgets, apps and do-dads from the Consumer Electronics Show. The event is sometimes characterized as nirvana for nerds. Certainly Consumer Bob over at NBC7 News gets into an annual tizzy reporting on all this stuff. Already we’re hearing about driverless cars, curved screen TVs and a “smart fork” that helps you eat the way mom would like (stop shoveling!).
The buzz on the interwebs this year was as much about style as it was substance. Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs keynoted this year, and the opening night’s program left some texting WTF? From the Verge:
2013 was the first time in many years that Microsoft didn’t host the opening keynote for the Consumer Electronics Show here in Las Vegas. Instead, the show went to Qualcomm and its CEO, Dr. Paul Jacobs. We weren’t quite sure what to expect beyond a new series of processors, but what we got was weirder than anything we’ve seen in all of our collective years attending CES. While Chris Ziegler translated the surreal experiences into a liveblog and I took photos of the craziest moments, the rest of the Verge staff took to Twitter to react to the event. You can relive the insanity right here.
You can find less critical account of the evening at Mashable, who called the event ‘a Good-Time Nerdfest’:
From the moment the lights came up on the CES 2013 keynote stage at the Venetian, it was clear Qualcomm had a reboot in mind. The visuals were stunning and Qualcomm introduced a new idea: “Born Mobile.” Considering I just wrote a post wondering if CES could survive the mobile revolution, I liked the direction Qualcomm was taking.
And there were a lot of celebrities, a number of them true nerd candy.
Director and producer Guillermo Del Toro was there to promote his new blockbuster movie Pacific Rim (robots versus monsters!), but those who know Del Toro know his dark, violent and sometimes twisted vision (he produced Pan’s Labyrinth). Instead of shying away from that sensibility, Jacobs and Del Toro used it to illustrate the rather extraordinary ultra HD power of the Snapdragon 800 processor and screened one of the most disturbing movie clips I’ve ever seen at a public event.
When the clip wrapped, Jacobs and Del Toro were a bit like a couple of 14-year-old boys pleased that they had just made the adults squirm. The rest of their interaction was painfully stilted (dare I say corny?), but it’s unlikely I’ll ever — ever — forget what I saw. And, yes, I also grokked the awesome power of that little chip.
Too Busy to See Vice President (UPDATED)
It’s no secret that I’m critical of WalMart. Their lowest common denominator approach to customers and their employees saddens me. And sometimes (so I’ve heard) shopping there can be a genuinely scary experience.
This account about WalMart from the AtlanticWire really burns my toast:
Joe Biden is getting his task force on gun violence off the ground this week and inviting folks to White House for some informational meetings. It’s hard to imagine anyone would say no, right? Well, Walmart does unimaginable things all the time, and this is no exception. On Tuesday, a company spokesperson toldThe Wall Street Journal that they declined to meet with the vice president due to a scheduling conflict. What on Earth do they have going on? Presumably the only thing that could be more important than a meeting with the vice president would be a meeting with the president, and we’re pretty sure the White House would’ve spotted that scheduling conflict before inviting Walmart to swing by.
This news is troubling for a couple of reasons. On one hand, folks on all sides of the issue have been eager to participate in what’s sure to be a policy-making conversation about gun control. Heck, even the National Rifle Association has agreed to meet with the administration. They’d just look insensitive if they turned their backs on the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings at this point. On the other hand, as the nation’s largest gun seller, Walmart has an obvious economic stake in this debate and has said that gun sales are a big part of its strategy going forward. It’s also sure to be a target of stricter regulations since its stores played a role in several recent mass shootings, most notoriously when it sold bullets to Jared Loughner before he shot Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others in 2011. It also ended up in an awkward position when it pulled the Bushmaster AR-15 from its online store after the Sandy Hook shootings.
We’ll give the big box retailer the benefit of the doubt for now. Its executives are probably doing very important things instead of meeting with the Vice President Biden about the future of American children. Like bribing government officials in Mexico or denying workers benefits or something.
UPDATE – Noon, Weds… From Huffpo:
Acknowledging that it underestimated the Obama administration’s expectations about its involvement in gun control talks, Walmart said Wednesday company representatives would attend a meeting at The White House on Thursday to discuss firearms.
Walmart initially declined to have a representative attend the White House meeting,citing scheduling conflicts in a statement given to the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
Two Months Worth of Black History Shows at the San Diego REP
Previews begin this weekend for the first of four productions at the San Diego REPertory Theater honoring Black History Month.
January 12th will see a sneak peek for Clybourne Park, a comedy about race, class and real estate in America, written by Bruce Norris and directed by Sam Woodhouse, co-founder and artistic director of the San Diego REP.
The winner of the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play, the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, and the 2011 Olivier Award for Best Play, “Clybourne Park” has jokes flying amidst hidden agendas.
Act one of “Clybourne Park” is set in 1959 in one of the most famous fictional houses in 20th century drama: the dream home of the Younger family in Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” where a white couple ignites controversy when they sell their bungalow to the area’s first black family.
Act two takes place in the same house, but fifty years later with the situation reversed. Gentrification is coming, and it is a white couple who want to buy and demolish the house posing a threat to the balance of the now all black neighborhood.
Opening night is Friday, Jan. 18 on the Lyceum Stage and performances run through Feb. 10th.
Frederick Douglass Now illuminates the life and work of abolitionist and pioneering feminist Fredrick Douglas. Obie Award-winner Roger Guenveur Smith complements Douglass’ 19th century texts with an original narrative that explores the African American experience. Performances are Feb. 4, 5 and 6 at 7 p.m. in the Lyceum Space.
Guenveur Smith will also direct the West Coast premiere of Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop. The winner of the 2009 Olivier Award for Best New Play, the drama dares to imagine what happened to Dr. King on the final night of his life, before his assassination on April 4, 1968 while standing on the balcony of Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.
After delivering his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech Dr. King retires to his room and orders coffee from room service. Camae, the maid who brings his coffee and seems ordinary, later reveals that she is much more and launches King and the audience into a fantastical and spiritual mystery of American history.
The Mountaintop” opens for preview on Saturday, March 2, 2013 in the Lyceum Space. Opening night is Friday, March 8 and performances run through March 31, 2013.
KuumbaFest is produced by the African American Advisory Council of San Diego Repertory Theatre. The 21st annual “KuumbaFest” is San Diego’s longest running and premier celebration of African-American expression, culture, and heritage. Performances run from Feb. 22 to 24, 2013.
“We at San Diego REP are so proud that we have hosted the ‘KuumbaFest’ for 21 years,” says Sam Woodhouse. “This festival is the longest running festival of its kind west of the Mississippi. We are pleased to support all that ‘Kuumba’ does for the place we call home.”
To learn more about San Diego REPertory Theatre, to purchase tickets, or make a donation, visit www.sdrep.org.
On This Day: 1902 – New York State introduced a bill to outlaw flirting in public. 1973 – Mick Jagger was refused a Japanese visa because of a 1969 drug bust. The event halted the Rolling Stones’ plan to tour the Orient. 2002 – The U.S. Justice Department announced that it was pursuing a criminal investigation of Enron Corp. The company had filed for bankruptcy on December 2, 2001.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Carlsbad (Roosevelt St. btw Grand Ave. & Carlsbad Village Dr.) 1 – 5 pm, Encinitas Station (Corner of E Street & Vulcan in parking lot B) 5 – 8 pm, Mission Hills (Falcon St. btw West Washington & Ft. Stockton) 3 – 7 pm, North San Diego at Sikes Adobe Farmstead (I-15 at Via Rancho Parkway. 12655 Sunset Dr., Escondido.) 11 am – 2 pm, Ocean Beach (4900 block of Newport Ave. btw Cable & Bacon Sts.) 4 – 8 pm, San Marcos – Cal State San Marcos (333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., Parking Lot B) 3 – 7 pm,Santee (10445 Mission Gorge Rd. abandoned school parking lot) 3 –7 pm, Temecula (40820 Winchester Rd. Promenade Mall, parking lot btw Macy’s & Penny’s) 9 am – 1 pm
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I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.
mr. mike says
Twitter version: “U-T? More like FAIL-Tee!!!”
John Lawrence says
Wal-Mart is sending a LOBBYIST to meet with Joe Biden. I hope Biden hands him his lunch. Obama should go ahead and do whatever he can with executive orders to restrain gun violence. That will send the righties into a huge tizzy running around with their hair on fire.
“The article also noted the Congressional approval rate is lower than that for Nickleback, a Canadian rock band that’s hip to dislike these days.”
The simple reason for that is they suck and always have. Anyone who likes them has bad taste in music.