Tag Archives: The Today Show

Not fat enough yet? NBC can help.

Today is not only Casual Friday but also, checking out my calendar, I find it’s Grave Disappointment Day as well.

On Grave Disappointment Day there’s no blog, sadly. Traditionally it coincides with the Swami taking his car in for its 15,000 mile service even though it only has 11,000 miles on the clock, due to some silly contractual clause in the lease, which means he has to sit in Starbucks for hours filling in time rather than doing something constructive. Writing nonsense, for instance.

Sorry. There’s nothing I can do. Blame Audi.

But I’m not abandoning you entirely. Let me keep you entertained with an item of modern stupidity.

The Huffington Post yesterday featured a clip from The Today Show, in which Matt Lauer interviews a dietitian about exciting ways to feed a family on a road trip.

However – and here’s where the idiots in society start cheering – she advises them to eat a whole bunch of food that is recognized as being thoroughly unhealthy for them, if not artery-clogging – from Taco Bell and McDonalds, for instance. Rather than emphasize nutrition, she concerns herself only with calories. Fabulous.

For a country where a large proportion of the population has large proportions, bordering on being clinically obese, it’s one of the most delinquent pieces of mass programming I’ve seen in a long while and makes me want to hold both sides of my head and scream.

It’s HERE. Enjoy.

www.cashpeters.com

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Ask your doctor if Purobutimansoprol Soothing Nighttime Formula, Cherry Flavor is right for you.

Recently, I admitted that, beyond a cursory glance here and there to keep up with the overall direction of everything, I don’t follow the news any more. I guess people were surprised to hear this. Things were said. Remarks made.

I, in turn, not surprisingly perhaps, was surprised by their surprise. Because why would I watch the news? Give me one convincing reason.

Ever since it ceased to be about facts and keeping the general public informed and became more about opinion, money, and ratings, the news, I would advocate, is actually not news at all, but a bunch of eye-catching trivialities dressed up as substance to distract you from what’s really going on. Here’s why.

But first: a word from our sponsor: Veridian Dynamics.

Anyway, back to the news thing.

For a start, TV companies are beholden entirely to their sponsors. When was the last time The Today Show, for instance, or the CBS Evening News or even one of the cable news shows did a scathing expose of the pharmaceutical industry and the damaging side-effects of all the dangerous drugs they sell? I’m feeling bold this morning, so I would venture to say NEVER. 

Why?

Oh, come on! You know why. Because the drugs companies have bought up every ad break they can get their hands on to advertise their evil products.

Haven’t you noticed? 90% of the ads on the morning shows end with the words, “Ask your doctor if Purobutimansoprol Soothing Nighttime Formula, Cherry Flavor is right for you,” or somesuch gibberish, followed by a blizzard of possible side-effects, read very fast, that must have been written on a roll of toilet paper, it goes on for so long – everything from dry mouth to renal distress to heart failure. Side-effects that viewers by the million seem happy to ignore. 

No network would ever dare risk offending one of its major sponsors. If they did, the sponsors would pull their ads and, with them, millions of dollars in revenue, and it’s all about money. So, as always, big pharma gets a free pass, with the result that:

  • the whole nation is hooked on drugs;
  • people are growing steadily sicker;
  • reporters who should be investigating this topic aren’t being allowed to; and
  • the culprits escape without a trace of blame.

By the way, our sponsor and mighty overlord Veridian Dynamics issued a great commercial recently.

The question is: if this blind-eye bias from the news shows is happening with the pharmaceutical industry, what other areas are not being discussed or looked into because scoundrels or criminals are buying up ad time?

I’m no doomist, but I’m beginnining to think we’re truly screwed. As individuals, we’re growing smaller and more insignificant every day. In the broader picture, our private concerns matter less to Washington than they ever did; our needs are considered irrelevant to anything the government is doing, or Wall Street, or the banks, or big corporations.

The GOP, for instance, has switched its focus entirely these days from advancing policies that might excite voters or working for a stronger America, to being the Party of No: working to undermine, attack, deride, and thwart the current administration in all its plans, while at the same time ardently fighting to protect the rights and profits of a battalion of powerful special interest groups and other lobbyists from whom they earn millions of persuasion-dollars each year. Why aren’t the news shows all over that?

Everywhere you look, the prime motivator now is simply money, success, having more, owning more, beating the other guy past the post. It’s not capitalism any longer, it’s naked greed unapologetically pursued, and it’s unhealthy. 

As is often said by Veridian Dynamics….

So when I catch a TV news broadcast, on whatever network, I don’t feel I’m watching a vehicle for the delivery of truth. All I see is a glossy product filled with color and graphics but short on facts. Carefully manufactured, heavily censored and crafted so as not to test, probe too deeply, or offend. A flash of bright lights dominated by the swiftness of the news cycle and, like a small, eager child, prone to being sidetracked or mesmerized by every fleeting, sensational bauble, no matter how insignificant or bogus. 

So why would I want to watch that?

Why would I want to watch Fox News, and see that prime ass and needless irritant Glenn Beck trying to keep the spotlight on him no matter what it takes? By accusing Obama of being a racist, for instance.

Why would I want to hear that MSNBC‘s David Shuster had a meltdown after shusterthe camera accidentally caught his bald spot, when in fact this story was entirely made up by a gossip columnist in one of Rupert Murdoch’s rags? Murdoch owns Fox, Fox hates MSNBC, so Murdoch’s other “news” arms feel entitled to undercut MSNBC wherever it can.

Why would I want to watch Lou Dobbs ignoring all the facts and continuing to push the fiction that President Obama wasn’t born in America? On CNN???

No, no, no, no, no.

There’s too much airtime to fill. Too many people trying to fill it. Too much irresponsible, immature, irrelevant crap they’re trying to fill it with. And it’s all done, not to keep us informed, but to line their own pockets.

That’s why I don’t watch news. And someday I’ll thank myself for it.

TV Swami – he say NO to news for the second time in a week.

www.cashpeters.com

Veridian Dynamics.

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When TV hosts attack…Star Wars…Jonas Brothers

I’m going to talk about this feud between Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart that’s all over the news.

First, though, I want to say something else. About blogging.

It’s not hard to tell when somebody is new to something. They’re very, very enthusiastic for the first couple of weeks, right? Positively brimming with fresh ideas that they’re eager to communicate to you. Not only that, but they’re willing to sacrifice a dozen other, less boring activities in order to get down and do this new special thing they’ve discovered. My dad’s passion for bird-watching comes to mind.

But then the initial burst of activity is over. What was, to begin with, fun, stimulating, and a challenge, starts turning into a small chore, and they find that the novelty doesn’t just wear off but turns yellow and gathers traces of mildew on it, like last week’s towels. That’s the critical watershed. It may take a year,  it may take only a few days to reach the damp towel moment, but once it’s happened, there’s no going back. From that point on, every time they embark on what was once such a bright, shiny, exciting new activity suddenly becomes a grind and they want to quit. My dad’s passion for bird-watching comes to mind.

His explosion of interest began the day he bought the book at the store and lasted well into the following week when he got around to reading it and discovered how unremarkable and dull birds are – they hatch, they fly, they make nests, they eat, they crap, they get attacked and eaten by cats, and they die horribly; that’s the average life-cycle. Once he knew that, he never picked the book up again and we gave it to a charity shop.

As you probably guessed, I was about to draw a parallel here between my dad’s shortlived hobbies (remind me to tell you about his clock-making binge) and writing this blog. But actually it’s not quite like that. I’m not bored with it at all. In fact, it’s been quite gratifying on one level to have so many people stop by and read my thoughts every day. It does an ego good to feel wanted and know it serves a purpose.

Or rather, it did. Until I took a look at the blog statistics and spotted something interesting.

People aren’t really coming here for me. I hoped they were, but they’re not. I get the most hits on this site, it turns out, when I mention somebody else. Anybody, it seems, will do. As long as it’s not me.

Rachel Bilson is a good example.

Dropping Bilson’s name, for no other reason than that she’s my neighbor and marrying Hayden Christensen from Star Wars, instantly attracts traffic from fan sites and other blogs around the world, curious to know what I’m saying about the (presumably) happy pair. And look! See what I did just then? I just mentioned Star Wars too. That’s a biggie. I can expect a huge response to that now, I’m sure. In fact, I’d better go doll myself up and put a clean shirt on. This blog’s going to be like Home Depot on a Sunday morning; I need to look my best.

Another sure-fire visitor-count winner is The Simpsons. A passing reference to them got a lot of people very excited the other day. So they stopped by as well, just to see what I was saying about Homer. Which was nothing, it turned out; I’d stuck his name in at the end of something else for no particular reason.

Oh, and let’s not forget Hugh Laurie. For some reason, House fans trawl the web at all hours of the day and night, hunting down any reference to the show or its lead, and their diligence brought them here, to the TV Swami blog, where they became instantly disillusioned to find that there was nothing of any substance about House and Hugh Laurie at all, I’d simply shoe-horned them in for the sake of it. I’m not expecting those people back again. They’re upset. We’re not speaking.

And perhaps I should also mention the Jonas Brothers and Rihannah.Y’know, just because.

The reason I’m telling you this, in case you’re wondering, is because the whole issue of how to gratuitously whip up public interest happened to cross my mind last night as I tuned in for the very public brawl between CNBC’s Jim Cramer and The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart. You probably heard about it. And how the result was not just a bloodbath, but the best TV bloodbath EVER. Or at least the best since Jon Stewart did the exact-same thing in 2004 to Tucker Carlson on CNN’s Crossfire, a show that never recovered and died soon after.

If you don’t know how we got here, let me give you a summary: Jim Cramer’s an ex-hedge fund manager who’s made it big as a crazy-shouting-manic financial advisor on TV. I’ve only followed two of his tips.  Both times I lost what was, for me, a ton of money. So I don’t trust him at all. And now I find I’m not the only one.

Jon Stewart was on fire yesterday. He blamed CNBC and Cramer for being in bed with the very Wall Street criminals they’re reporting on and supposed to be exposing. Caught in the crosshairs, unable to run away, Cramer was high-pitched and helpless. He had nothing rational to say. He was dithery, stuttery, lame. Worse, he’d made the mistake of trying to defend himself on The Today Show and even Martha Stewart earlier in the week, where he dared mock Jon Stewart for being just a comedian and hosting a variety show.

Bad move. TERRIBLE move.

Cramer was booked as a guest on The Daily Show Thursday. He said beforehand that he was nervous. He was right to be. But even then, he didn’t see what was coming. Stewart tore him apart, not only limb from limb, but cell from cell, molecule from molecule. It was horrendous to watch, squirm-making, both funny and sad, diabolical and delightful, all in one.

The bout was also peppered with commercials. More commercials than I ever remember seeing on this show. Why? Because Comedy Central knew they had a winner. The media had chattered so much and for so long about this escalating feud that it became headline news, and people who normally aren’t interested in Jon Stewart and don’t even know who Jim Cramer is, much less invested in Best Buy a couple of years ago on his advice and watched it tank, tuned in to see this contest of heavyweights.

Actually, to be fair, there was only one heavyweight in the match. The pairing wasn’t fair last night. Then again, fairness didn’t come into it. We’re in a deep recession. People have lost their savings and houses and pensions and security. They’re angry. They wanted blood. And they got it.

Now, enough about them. Famous people. Back to me.

In a simple TV blog I can’t do any of that. I can’t give you a bloodbath every day. But clearly, good writing and interesting topics alone are not enough to make this page a magnet to web traffic.

However, what I can do, I now realize, is up the ante by riding on the back of other people’s bloodbaths. I can namedrop like fury whenever the opportunity presents itself, and sprinkle famous people, noteworthy people, newscentric people, throughout the blog – Barack Obama, Katie Couric, Doctor Who; there, see? – to draw in readers.

So that’s it. From now on, this will be my plan.

That way, the blog will stay popular, new people will come constantly, and The TV Swami will stay fresh and alive and exciting, and not go the way of my dad’s momentary fascination with bird-watching. And, later, clock-making. And winemaking. And caravanning. And playing the organ. And, come to think of it, being a father.

The Daily Show showdown gets five magic carpets out of five.

TV Swami – he say YES.

The Cramer/Stewart fight is here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/12/jim-cramer-on-daily-show-_n_174503.html

Stewart’s take-down of Crossfire and Tucker Carlson is here:

http://www.spike.com/video/jon-stewart-on/2652831?cid=YSSP

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