Denny Hamlin Cursed, With ‘F’ Word, On NBC Sports Sunday

The use, and misuse, of our public airwaves is a many decades interest of mine. Simply put I believe in standards of good taste. Such a bottom line is not political or old-fashioned. It is not about censorship. It is simply about a firm belief in what should be regarded as an accepted way of behaving in polite society.

I seek that in my everyday conversations and absolutely expect it when listening to programming from our public airwaves. I suspect many others desire the same thing.

Until today I was not even aware there was a Denny Hamlin who races cars for a profession. I wish I could forget him, and what he said on national television. Other than his cursing he does seem utterly forgettable.

With the DVR set to record local news Sunday evening on NBC, and with the sports program running long, meant I heard Hamlin using his fourth-grade mouth to answer questions from a sports reporter. There was apparently some dust-up with another driver that prevented Hamlin from bringing his adult side to the interview.

So Hamlin first called another competitor a “hack” and from there cursed twice with the final verbal assault being the ‘F’ word. With pure red-neck eliding, though I am certain Hamlin is not aware of the term, he even left the ‘g’ off so as to better connect with his base of fans.

Hamlin cursing on national television was a pathetic moment. If one cannot converse in appropriate ways with an interviewer perhaps getting a tutor in language skills would be a place for him to focus this week. Between his giving the finger to another driver, and then his lack of a broader vocabulary so as to express himself, it is clear Hamlin’s lack of driving skills is not all that limits his upward reach.

And so it goes.

Madison TV Sports Report Receives Fair Criticism For Racial Symbol Used Twice

This blog often comments on the media, both to praise and also to offer words for needed improvements. It is that last point which a reader made an effort in conveying with the following comment sent to Madison’s Channel 15, WMTV. He also sent his concerns to me, knowing that it would register here.

I am outraged!  I watched the CW news at 9 and couldn’t believe when the sports anchor reported the Brewers’ score and there was the caricature of Chief Wahoo representing Cleveland on the screen!  So I watched at 10 and the same damn thing!  The team retired this graphic as the racist, demeaning symbol it is years ago.  And yet WMTV uses it twice!  

Welcome to 2021!  

WMTV should apologize on all of your broadcasts tomorrow.  That graphic should be retired from your library.  By the way, I’m not suggesting we erase Chief Wahoo from our history.  We need to learn how things, ignorantly can perpetuate stereotypes.  But you don’t put them on a damn newscast!

For whatever it is worth, WMTV has one of their top anchors, John Stofflet, in a promo closing his laptop, loosening his tie, and talking about how their news team only gives the facts, and not opinions. But after this troubling news from a viewer one has to ask if racist symbols, intentionally or by sloppiness, are to be condoned?

Savannah Guthrie: A Strong Woman Armed With Facts And Truth

When facts and truth are presented in a presidential town hall the nation wins. Savannah Guthrie came to the presidential town hall program prepared to do the work of a reporter. That is all anyone should ask, or expect. And she delivered.

I was very troubled by NBC News allowing Donald Trump airtime on ‘debate night’, given his campaign had torpedoed the commission’s plans to hold one in a safe manner during the pandemic. But I was pleased how Guthrie made sure the program was balanced with facts.

At one point, after pushing Trump on his retweet of a QAnon-linked conspiracy theory, Guthrie said, “I don’t get that. You’re the president. You’re not like someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever.”

When Trump said he wasn’t familiar with QAnon, Guthrie said “you do know,” to which he replied: “No, I don’t know. You tell me all about it. Let’s waste the whole show. Let’s go. Keep asking me these questions.”

After questioning him about his frequent claims of election fraud, Guthrie told him, “There is no evidence of widespread fraud, and you are sowing doubt in our democracy.”

Guthrie pointed out that Trump was referring to anecdotal reports, adding, “Your own FBI director said there’s no evidence of widespread fraud.”

Numerous studies have debunked the notion that there is substantial, widespread voter fraud in American elections, whether those elections are conducted predominantly by mail or otherwise.

When Trump said he couldn’t release his taxes because he’s “under audit,” Guthrie repeatedly countered by saying, “You aren’t.”

Trump also tried to lie his way around the talks over another needed coronavirus stimulus package for the American people. He tried to put the blame on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That is, of course, false.

Trump has been all over the map on this issue. So much so that he is not even aligned with his own top administration officials or Senate Republicans. The latter is just not interested in giving Trump the big deal he says he now wants.

For the record Pelosi’s Democratic-led House passed a $3.4 trillion HEROES Act in May, which Senate Republicans rejected. Extended negotiations stumbled along at which time the Trump administration officials sought to cut the price tag to about $1 trillion. That of course does not meet the needs of state and local governments which are sinking under the weight of a pandemic which has not had any national coordination to stop.

On October 6th Trump abruptly ordered an end to negotiations and told Republicans to focus on the Supreme Court vacancy. Days later, after the stock market reacted negatively, he shifted again and pleaded for a big stimulus deal.

All over the map with his lies and in about 18 days the voters will kick Trump out of the White House.

All COVID Newscasts Underserving America


If one only receives their news via the evening broadcasts from the three main networks it is most likely there is no awareness about a long list of international events that are shaping regions of the world.  I am clearly aware of the enormity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the many tentacles it has on all parts of the nation.  I am also aware of the need to report and juggle events within the roughly 22 minutes allotted for the nightly broadcasts.  But it also goes without saying that news programming needs to adapt during this time of pandemic so the events from Poland to Hong Kong also get covered.

If everyone read a morning newspaper there would be less reason to find concern about the absence from ABC, CBS, or NBC about events that not only impact large swaths of the world but also impact international policy decisions our nation is then required to make.  A well-informed citizenry aids in shaping our national discussion on the issues which our leaders will then be offering a response.

I wrote about the actions nations like China, North Korea, and Iran have been undertaking over the past months, as they hoped a pandemic and the lack of ability from our president would allow them to get away with their long-held desires.  In April I summed up a post entry with these two paragraphs.

There is  no doubt that international players are watching the United States very closely as this pandemic takes hold of the country.  They are most conscious about the lack of leadership exhibited from this White House.  It is troubling to see so many rogue players and confrontational nations seeming to wish to take moves that run counter to international norms.

While there is a lack of credible leadership in the White House there will be those who take advantage of the existing circumstances. At the fringes that is what we are seeing play out on the world stage. It is not something we can dismiss, and it is not something that the television news media in this nation should fail to report.  We need to be aware of international events, even during a pandemic.

A most draconian national security law imposed by Beijing has left Hong Kong in a most perilous position.  Those living in the city can now be jailed for life for vaguely defined laws.  What China deems “subversive” can mean not only a citizen of the city can be forced to the mainland for trial but jailed for decades over the most bizarre of reasons.

A truly important election is taking place this weekend in Poland, where the outcome could signal the beginning of the end of right-wing and illiberal democratic governments in Eastern Europe. (Illiberal democracy is a topic of importance on CP)  Those who follow the trend lines over the past years can attest to the dangerous outcomes for democracy when the press is vilified, courts turn out rulings dictated by oppressive rulers, and human rights are tossed aside like old bread.  Warsaw Mayor Trzaskowski is seeking to remove the right-wing incumbent President Duda.   The outcome is vital to the international tide of democracy that needs restoration.

If a news story on a major network started out with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, when completed, being nearly twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty and as wide as the Brooklyn Bridge is long or that the reservoir behind it is roughly the size of London, viewers would pay attention. Once operating the dam will be the largest hydro-electric project in Africa.  It will produce 6,000 megawatts of electricity, but a massive dispute with Egypt and Ethiopia and Sudan has prompted threats of war and concerns about a future conflict over water resources under pressure because of climate change.

The world is filled with these types of news stories that we need to know about and with newspapers and newsmagazines, many people are better informed.  But there is a huge swath of the public who rely upon television network news for their source of information.  And that demographic is not prone to tune in to PBS’ NewsHour.  So it is incumbent that the three main networks find a better use of the time allotted to them in the evening.

Increasing the length of their national newscast is not an option due to the importance of local advertisers to affiliates around the nation.  Going without advertisers on the national broadcast would add about 8 minutes of content.  If there would be just a cold opening without a playlist of upcoming stories, and also jettisoning the ‘feel good’ story at the end of each broadcast would add at least 3 minutes of airtime for actual news content.

There must be a better way to inform those who tune in to the evening broadcasts and rely on it for most of their knowledge about the world. The recent past underscores why there needs to be a better-informed citizenry, which then allows for a better performing electorate.

And so it goes.

First Post-Mugabe Election in Zimbabwe NEVER Mentioned On NBC, CBS Evening News

I am always desiring to have a citizenry informed about the news and events of not only our country, but also the world.

One of the truly important, and also inspiring stories, took place Monday in Zimbabwe as millions of people voted peacefully in the first election since the long-overdue ouster of Robert Mugabe.  The election was no small thing.  The outcome will go a long way in determining the former British colony’s future for decades.

I went to bed last night listening to BBC radio for updates, and spent the day with either newspaper accounts or media updates via the computer.

But when turning to the evening newscasts on major networks in the United States I found what can only be described as a severe lack of sound editorial direction.   Neither CBS or NBC had a single mention of the story--with CBS not even having a mention of ANY international news.   NBC decided to carry a closing story about a basketball player.

Many minutes were spent on the large and raging wildfires in California.  Yes, they are news and impact many lives.  But from a news editor perspective the stories and images of the fires have been on the nightly broadcasts for a week, and nothing appreciably different occurred Monday.

Meanwhile a very significant vote was underway in a major African nation, where for the first time since Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980 after a brutal guerrilla war against a white supremacist regime, Mugabe was not on the ballot.

And it deserved coverage!

Thankfully each evening in our home we record on the DVR the BBC World News.  The BBC continuously provides full coverage and insight about the world.  It is due to the shortcomings of programs, such as the network newscasts this evening, which help create a citizenry that is under-educated about international events.

International Uproar Over Remark Made During NBC Olympics Broadcast

Words matter.

Joshua Cooper Ramo, facing criticism for a comment made about Korea and Japan, is no longer working with NBC Olympics for its coverage of the Pyeongchang Games.

NBC says Ramo’s assignment has been completed following a divisive comment he made during coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Friday. 

“Every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural and technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation,” Ramo said after directly referencing Japan’s brutal annexation of the Korean peninsula in the lead-up to World War II. It was a comment many Koreans found offensive considering the 35-year occupation remains a painful memory.

Ramo, the co-CEO of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s consulting firm, and a former foreign editor of Time magazine, had been hired by NBC to discuss cultural and political storylines.

However, a petition—signed by 10,000 people as of Sunday morning—said Ramo’s analysis did not represent a “truthful account of history.”

“Any reasonable person familiar with the history of Japanese imperialism, and the atrocities it committed before and during WWII, would find such statement deeply hurftul and outrageous,” the petition said. “And no, no South Korean would attribute the rapid growth and transformation of its economy, technology, and political/cultural development to the Japanese imperialism.”

Will Donald Trump Chicken Out Of Major Interview With NBC News?

With Trump’s shameful and mystifying firing of FBI Director James Comey sending shock waves across Washington and the nation, NBC finds itself in the middle of the storm.  They had been promised prior to this fiasco an interview on Thursday with Donald trump.  That interview is now the most consequential interview of Trump’s presidency.

Obviously at the time of the booking evening anchor Lester Holt had no idea that Comey’s ouster was imminent. At the time the interview was setup it was thought the issue of the health care vote in the House would be front and center.  Now of course the fate of democracy is front and center.  And Holt needs to carry the concerns of a nation on his shoulders as he interviews Trump.   Thursday’s sit-down interview could be the biggest of Trump’s young and poorly run presidency.  Without doubt this is the biggest interview of Holt’s career.

But will Trump try to weasel out of the interview as there is so much anger and troubling possibility as to what caused the firing of Comey?   The intersection of Putin and Trump is one that can not be ruled out.  Might Trump have no way to answer in a way that will not only deepen his political storm?

Matt Lauer Is No Political Expert

Matt Lauer has come under strong doses of criticism following this week’s shoddy way of conducting most important interviews with the main presidential candidates.  He has earned every sour word aimed at him.

What was clearly in need on Wednesday night when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were interviewed was an actual political expert as moderator.  How did Lauer, who has not offered any heavy mental lifting for years on the Today Show, be given such an important assignment?   The American public would have been much more informed and educated had the questions been directed from the likes of Chuck Todd or  Chris Matthews.  If John Dickerson were at NBC I would also champion him for the job.   The same for Gwen Ifill.

Lauer was just plain dismal at not keeping the candidates on topic, and was lousy and simply afraid to “push” a candidate or “call them out” when they hedged or did not answer the question(s).

I want the best and most experienced to ask the questions of the next person to be the president of the free world.  I truly mean no disrespect to Lester Holt, Elaine Quijano, Martha Radiate, or Chris Wallace when it comes to moderating the presidential debates—but seriously how did they make the cut when others who are far more qualified with proven credentials not get selected?  The only moderator I am hopeful will hold firm and keep the candidates accountable while delivering a nice debate environment/atmosphere is Anderson Cooper.

Bring on the political experts for the main interviews and debates and leave the Matt Lauer types to report on the latest movie openings this weekend across the nation.