Sunday, March 19, 2006

Miles Cameron can't figure out what news is

Is it too much to expect that Air America Radio could provide news on the news breaks?

Saturday after Saturday, the taks seems to escape one "anchor."

Last night, at the news breaks before the second hour and the third hour, it went beyond "news." Far beyond the product promotion that Frisco Hills did for Ford and Bob Hope DVDs in a supposed new break. The culprit was, no surprise, Miles Cameron.

The two strongest anchors of the news break have been Bill Crowley and JoAnne Allen. Allen's been gone for over a year and is sorely missed. Miles Cameron? He needs to go or figure out what the news is. And this isn't a recent problem for the weekend "anchor."

There were three "items" in the news break (the same news break at both hours). The third item was pure fluff and didn't belong anywhere outside of Good Morning America. Cameron introduced it with, "Most dog owners will tell their dog is the best." And most listeners of Air America Radio, on the third anniversary of the invasion, would tell you to find some real news.
That was his third strike.

First time at bat, he struck out with a story on John McCain wherein McCain trashed Russ Feingold's call for Bully Boy to be censured. This was the lead story with two soundbytes from McCain. Is Cameron confused as to McCain's party membership? "Arizona Senator John McCain is not supporting Russ Feingold's resolution to censure George Bush," Cameron told listeners forgetting that they don't give a damn about John McCain's opinion.

McCain then is heard speaking of how he can disagree with Feingold but still work with him and that Feingold's proposal was "unwarranted, unnecessary and unfortunate." Which is followed by Cameron saying, "Speaking in Connecticut, he says Feingold actions may harm the Democratic Party." A Republican talking point repeated by Cameron. And then comes the sound clip where McCain says, yes, that it may harm the Democratic Party.

Why is McCain being given so much attention by the anchor of the news break for Air America Radio? Why does the anchor not know what Laura Flanders does which is that Feingold's call for censure is not an unpopular stance with Democrats? (Non-elected Democrats, true, also known as "voters" and "citizens.")

So let's get to the second strike, the second news item and, remember, this is the third anniversary of the invasion and protests are going on all over the world with support for the occupation at an all time low.

Cameron introduces the second bit with this, "There's unwavered support and unrestrained concern" as the US begins Operation "Swarmer" -- which we'd already learned, on the first hour of RadioNation with Laura Flanders from Flanders, was a p.r. move and not much of an "operation." Again, Cameron's in the dark. "Unwavered support"? This is Air America, right? Because it sounds like Fox "News."

He tosses to Spencer Raine who says "The US must stay the course now more than ever." Raine then presents two voices on the war. The first says of the war, "We think they're doing the right thing." The second voice says, "They're trying to divide and concur."

With the portion of Americans turning against the war, what Raine "reported" was not just surprising considering that no voice against the war featured (on the third anniversary of the invasion, just to repeat that one more time) but also because the statement (editorial?) by Raine that "The US must stay the course now more than ever" is a puzzler.

It's certainly not news. It's propaganda and it shouldn't have made it over the airwaves of Air America Radio.

As Peter Hart noted on last week's CounterSpin:

On Fox News channel the next day the pundits on the show Special Report were discussing the Iraq war which led NPR reporter Mara Liasson to make this claim. QUOTE "Poll after poll has shown that no matter how pessimistic Americans are about Iraq, there is no big support for a pull out now movement. In other words, still it's like one-in-six think we should withdraw our troops. There is basic support for the project of forming some kind of a stable democracy in Iraq." That's a curious assertion since the latest CBS poll showed twenty-nine percent of the public favor immediate withdrawal of US troops which is more than one-in-six. Another thirty-percent favor decreasing troop levels. And that same poll found that fifty-four percent of Americans think Iraq will never become a stable democracy. Instead of reporting on polls, these reporter/pundits seem to be wishing that the public would see things the way they see them.

It's bad enough that, on Air America Radio, Miles Cameron doesn't even know the basics. But a bigger issue is why the hell this nonsense was covered instead of the protests going on today?
Whether the network as a whole is left of "slightly left-of-center" (as one described it to The New York Times Sunday Magazine shortly before the network went on air), there's no reason for that nonsense.

Product placement and animal stories aren't news, they're filler. They don't belong on a news break. If that's too hard for a Frisco Hills or a Miles Cameron to grasp then they don't need a microphone placed in front of them by Air America. Laura Flanders doesn't need propaganda undermining her show during the news breaks.

In the past, when confronted personally about the weekend news breaks (Frisco Hill), one AAR brass grew enraged. (The news break, the Frisco Hill news break, had obsessed over Lacy Peterson and Scott Peterson -- the sort of crap that's best left to MSNBC.) The brass in question is no longer with the network. If the people upstairs are smart, they'll deal with this situation. At least two complaints showed up on the Flanders' blog about this "news" break. On February 26, 2005 there were similar complaints on the Flanders' blog. At what point does Air America Radio pay attention? (We're not referring to Flanders or her staff, they have nothing to do with the news breaks.)

Did the mainstream not cover the protests? Is that the excuse? (We have no idea, we were out protesting not sitting around watching TV "news.") If that is indeed the excuse, we're sure that some arrangement could have been made with Pacifia Radio for a soundbyte. Before the next protests take place, the news break staff of Air America Radio needs to have their bases covered. They need to provide information on protests. Not just on the third anniversary (though not providing it on this occasion was journalistic malpractice), but on any day where there's significant opposition to the Bully Boy. Don't wait until the night of to start wondering how to get ahold of some audio.

If the news break staff can't figure out what news is, think about running some of the headlines from Friday's Democracy Now! instead. People don't need fluff on the news break. They don't need to hear about a new Bob Hope DVD set, or a new car from Ford or a poll on favorite pets.
On any day. But especially on the the weekend of the third anniversary of the invasion, people don't need fluff about how popular "labs" are as a pet.

And on the third anniversary of the invasion, they don't need a right wing "news" story of how we need to "stay the course" and hear from only those supporting that (unpopular) position. That "balance" is the sort of crap that the mainstream media spits out. (Well, not out of their mouth, to the back and lower.) Air America Radio needs to take a serious look at what the weekend news breaks are providing because they are in strong need of supervision.
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