Media

Monday, October 9, 2017

Dick Pics: News Channel-5 Nashville Appears on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Posted By on Mon, Oct 9, 2017 at 2:48 PM

Memphis plays itself.
  • Memphis plays itself.
Last Week Tonight's latest installment of "And now, this..." was a thigh-slapping compilation of all those times when local weather people have gone all American Vandal and drawn dicks on TV. The segment included a snippet from Nashville's TV-5
(Video excerpt below).


Everybody should totally take the time to watch this whole important clip because there are so many more dicks where those came from. Still, it's kind of a shame Oliver didn't dive a little deeper into Memphis' sordid "things that look like dicks" history. Like the infamous "welcome to Memphis" sign that looks like a bouquet of dildos. 
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For reference, here's a picture of said sign next to an actual bouquet of dildos.
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And what about that enormous sperm-shaped ribbon of asphalt terminating at the Bass Pro Pyramid? Hmmmmm?
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And while we're on about it, I know she's from Columbia, TN not Memphis, but if you're going to do a segment on things that look like penises, does it get any better than the money-shot campaign materials created by District 65's Sheila "rape-and-incest-aren't-verifiable" Butt?
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Maury Co. Courthouse my behind!

UPDATE:  Your Fly on the Wall often teases and must admit his own mistakes. Because the penis-drawing begins with balls over Memphis I originally identified the news feed as being from WMC in Memphis. But it is News Channel 5, Nashville. I regret the error. It's even funnier this way. Nashville drawing balls over Memphis. Same as it ever was.

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"Bride Closure Begins Tomorrow," WREG Reports

Posted By on Mon, Oct 9, 2017 at 9:11 AM

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Gosh, that just sounds terrible for everybody involved.

And while we're checking out the local TV typos it's nice to see that the folks at Fox 13 are every bit as good at misspelling disturbing as they are at perpetuating racist fear of undocumented workers. 
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We're pretty sure that was an accident, though. Well, the spelling part, at least. On the other hand, from the impeccable helmet-hair to the flanking finger-pistols, this pose seems to have been something the Foxites executed on purpose. 
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Friday, September 22, 2017

"It seems shallow, but there's much more to this hole than what meets the eye."

Posted By on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 1:08 PM

Y'all.
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WREG:
 It seems shallow, but there's much more to this hole than what meets the eye.

"The hole was so deep he disappeared," Gabrielle Adams said. "All I heard was him crying; that's when my mom came and went through there with her head first."...

The hole is about 5-foot-4 — a long fall for a 1 year old...
But what about the adults?

"I'm holding her legs so she won't slip through. She was trying to breathe, but he was still through there."

Covington says the hole curves inside and she had to maneuver down several feet just to lay a finger on her grandson.

"I couldn't breathe, all I could say was 'Lord take me and not my grandchild.'"

Holding back tears, she remembers the moment she finally got a grip on Mon'Terrio.

"I grabbed his shirt then I grabbed his arm then I started praying, and I saw a light and he came on through."
Whew. That was intense. Like Honey I Shrunk "Ace in the Hole" intense.

Please don't misunderstand, falling into holes can be scary, especially for small children. Holes are dark. They conjure grim visions of oblivion. Tendencies toward superheroics and vigilantism may be accelerated, even defined by such a brush. But, unless the hole in this story turns out to be one of the thousand hole-like maws of Xylthos the muck demon it's probably exactly what it looks like: A 5-foot-deep hole/lawsuit-waiting-to-happen. Is it news? Sure. But I think it's also "Shizzle?"

Remember "Shizzle?" That's the special quality WREG wants to see more of in breaking news according to a now year-old help wanted listing. Why run a boring procedural about what it takes to get a potentially hazardous park hole filled when you can relate a harrowing multigenerational struggle against a 5-foot hole that's so much more than just a hole, but really isn't?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Nobody's Banned "Gone With The Wind" in Memphis — Even if the Commercial Appeal Says So

Posted By on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 5:21 PM

Beefed up security at the Orpheum.
  • Beefed up security at the Orpheum.
Let's talk about the B-word. No. Let's talk about the C-word.

No.

Let's talk about the fact that there's an armed guard in front of the Orpheum protecting folks with families who spend their days booking Broadway shows, coordinating the High School Musical Awards, developing concert programs, planning summer camps and curating a popular film series. That's a dangerous job now, apparently, and media — local and otherwise — only add fuel to the fire by misrepresenting what happened there this week when it was announced that, after a good, 34-year run, the Downtown playhouse would drop Gone With the Wind from its popular Summer film series. No matter what you may have read at The Commercial Appeal's website this week, nothing has been banned in Memphis. Not Gone With the Wind or anything else. The word "banned" implies a kind of authority the good folks at the Orpheum just don't have over the distribution and screening of media in Memphis. Any mainstream media that uses that word chooses to pour fuel on a fire that, judging from the presence of the guard out front, may get somebody —probably not the author or editor — burned.
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The Orpheum did what every cultural institution in the country does every single day. The staff made a curatorial decision — a decision that would be valid even if Gone With the Wind wasn't controversial. Why should Gone With the Wind be a tradition and not Selma? Or Bambi or The Big Lebowski for that matter? Why should there always be room for Gone With the Wind and never room for Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust, which is more regionally appropriate, and tells a different and more vital story of the American South than the blazing, over-the-top romance of Gone With the Wind.

Never heard of Intruder in the Dust you say? This is why we curate. We also curate because culture shifts, what's relevant now may not be relevant 5-minutes from now. And relevant or not, a 4-hour film like GWTW is ultimately a less valuable  investment for theaters like the Orpheum than a 90-minute flick that also sells out. Mad Max: Fury Road, for example, would save the Orpheum two full hours-worth of overhead on everything from labor to utilities.


So many popular films have been made since 1939, and there are only so many slots on the Orpheum's Summer series. While there's nothing wrong with reviving  popular films, there are too many great films to choose from to guarantee any one a permanent spot on any lineup. Unless, of course, that film somehow speaks  to a community's identity and has a renewing effect for those who attend. If Gone With the Wind is that film, what does it say about our community?
What fresh bullshit is this?
  • What fresh bullshit is this?
Let's also take a minute to talk about propaganda like this article that begins with an admission by the author that, in 2014, he warned everybody that the Left would ban Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles — a paranoid fantasy that hasn't, and isn't likely to come to pass anytime soon. His proof: OMG Look what happened to Disney's Song of the South!

The stat, referenced by Alt-Right-friendly Breitbart, comes from a 75th-Anniversary survey by YouGov.com, a digital polling site described here as, "An online global community of people who like to share their views and opinions on life... marketed more towards individuals who wish to express their opinions about current events and controversial topics." It's an "opinions for prizes" shop so we're looking at a self-selecting sample in a celebratory context, and maybe not an accurate, contextualized example of community opinion.  The money quote:

"If there is one last bastion of racism still accepted in America, it is the racial condescension we always see from the left, this constant treating of minorities, especially blacks, as children who are unable to deal with a statue or a word or a movie."

The problem here is pretty basic — and ironic. Unlike the practically homogenous Right, fighting to uphold this film and its paternalistic race narratives — the Left is made of minorities as sure as Soylent Green (another slot-worthy film) is made of people.

There's an even bigger problem with this kind of hysterical, and historically unsupported crankmongering. Let's forget how easily this rhetoric comes apart by inserting nouns like Watermelon and Fried Chicken in place of Gone With the Wind in the headline, and for the sake of argument, let's accept Breitbart's highly questionable stats at face value. Let's allow that 73% of African-Americans do, in fact, love Gone With the Wind so much they want to marry it and have its babies, whether they know anything about birthing or not. So what? That stat doesn't mean the film's cultural value merits a guaranteed slot on any Summer film series any more than any other classic or popular film. It's a meaningless number used in the service of specious rhetoric.

Did I mention that there's an armed security guard in front of the Orpheum? Because there is. Because the folks over there made what should be the kind of uncontroversial curatorial decision that is 100% their's to make. Whether it's in light of the tragedy in Charlottesville, or just because it's Tuesday. Now people feel endangered because this vintage playhouse — a true Southern cultural treasure — wants to mix things up, expanding its offerings and its audience in the process. It's bad enough that propaganda organs like Breitbart have become so influential. But it's shameful when local media turns up the pressure by reenforcing false narratives with badly chosen language.



UPDATE: To be fair as I can be the CA's John Beifuss has done great work all around. The CA's issues stem from Gannett and a culture defined by consolidation not community.







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Friday, August 4, 2017

Shelby Co. D.A. Has Twitter Meltdown, Internet Watches

Posted By on Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 12:34 PM

Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich. - JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
  • Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Commercial Appeal, Tennessean, Other Tennessee Papers to be Edited Outside of Tennessee

Gannett Announces Plans to Close Nashville Design Studio

Posted By on Tue, Aug 1, 2017 at 10:36 PM

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You know all those weird mistakes in the Commercial Appeal that make it seem like it's being edited somewhere else, because it's actually being edited someplace else? Well, as of October 1, 2017 the CA won't even be edited in Tennessee. Neither will The Tennessean, the Knoxville News Sentinel or any of the Volunteer State's Gannett-owned papers.


From The Tennessean:
Gannett and the USA TODAY NETWORK Tuesday announced plans to consolidate its Nashville Design Studio, with design work shifting to similar operations in Des Moines, Iowa, Louisville, Ky., and Phoenix, Ariz.

The closure will affect up to 88 jobs once the transition of work is complete on October 1. However, there will be some remote-work opportunities for Nashville employees aligned with the other studios. "The Nashville Design Studio team has been a valuable part of the USA TODAY NETWORK," said Mizell Stewart III, Vice President /News Operations at USA TODAY NETWORK. 

Also form The Tennessean — and note the use of the word continue:

"Readers will continue to enjoy beautifully designed print editions, while at the same time enjoying our outstanding news coverage on their smartphones, tablets and desktops. We are fully dedicated to providing the best and most engaging content possible — however our readers want to consume it."

Unless further changes are announced it appears all production work and editing for Gannett's 100+ daily newspaper properties will be done at one of the USA Today publisher's three remaining studios in Des Moines, IA, Louisville, KY, and Phoenix, AZ.

Gannett announced it would sell the Tennessean's offices in August, 2016. They announced the closing of their Asbury Park design studio in April. The Commercial Appeal's offices are also on the market and overnight employees have been advised to work from a coffee shop, home, or some other location that makes them "feel secure."


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NewsMax CEO Worries About Sinclair Broadcast's New Acquisitions, Media Consolidation

It's a Conservative-Propaganda-Organ-Eats-Conservative-Propaganda-Organ World Out There. Be Careful Where You Step.

Posted By on Tue, Aug 1, 2017 at 2:15 PM

Boris Epshteyn — Coming to WREG soon?
  • Boris Epshteyn — Coming to WREG soon?
Industry trade magazine AdAge reports that Christopher Ruddy has asked the FCC to take time and carefully weigh any decision allowing the Sinclair Broadcast Group to go through with a deal that would bring the media conglomerate a total of of 233 local TV-news stations, including Memphis’ WREG.

Via AdAge:

"I am calling for delay," Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, a conservative outlet with a 24-hour cable news channel, said in an interview. "I think it needs more vetting."

Ruddy, a friend of President Donald Trump, adds a conservative voice to liberal critics of the deal who are wary of Sinclair building a network of local stations featuring the company's pro-Trump commentary.

If you don't know who the players are here NewsMax is a frankly conservative multi-platform media company where TV hosts comfortably compare unflattering news reports about President Trump to “lynchings.” That comparison's no anomaly at NewsMax, which recently dipped its toe in the cable news business. Though marketed as Fox-light it's been a reliably safe space for Right-Wing cranks and conspiracy theorists.

Sinclair's been collecting local news stations. Holdings currently include ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX affiliated properties in an environment where local TV news has more reach than all four major cable news stations combined with NewsMax tossed in like a set of Ginsu knives. Frankly conservative and unapologetically Trumpist, Sinclair requires local stations to air segments by former Trump staffer Boris Epshteyn, the sixth person interviewed in ongoing probes into Russia's impact on U.S. elections.


For pretty much everything you need to know about Sinclair and Boris, and what might happen to Memphis' WREG if the FCC approves Sinclair's latest takeovers click here.

So basically we've reached this weird patch of Spacetime where a company invested in a national cable news product promoting kooks and conspiracy theorists can run headlines like "Local Broadcast Wins as National Media Increasingly Distrusted" with a straight face.

Welcome to The New Fairness in a marketplace of ideas that's somehow even worse than it was when  irresponsible media narratives were seeded and tended by media organs with no agenda beyond basic profit motive.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dammit Gannett: "Where's Elvis" Edition

Posted By on Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 3:07 PM

Maybe it's time to change Fly On the Wall's long-running "Neverending Elvis" tab to "Disappearing Elvis." This is from Saturday's Commercial Appeal. And it's starting to feel personal. 
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Memphis Billboard Contains Porn

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 2:19 PM

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Well, it contains the word, anyway.

A Memphis billboard off I-40 near Whitten Rd. has a strong message for glossy women's mag readers: "Cosmopolitan  Magazine Contains Porn." Which seems a little extreme, if you ask me. Unhealthy body standards, sure. And maybe a peculiar strain of neurosis-inducing content obsessed with the male gaze. But — and I haven't consulted with Mae Beavers for the definitive ruling — to call it porn sounds like a stretch.
Your mama does.
  • Your mama does.
This isn't a new complaint. One of the loudest "Cosmo = porn" voices is a Hearst heir. She's been at it a while.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Commercial Appeal Editor To Staff: "Work From a Coffee Shop."

Posted By on Mon, Jul 17, 2017 at 5:51 PM

Are you lonesome tonight?
  • Are you lonesome tonight?
Before cracking the latest, darkest chapter in a seemingly endless series of dark chapters, about the last dark days of the Commercial Appeal, it might be helpful to remind readers why the CA's parent company Gannett is exactly like one of the voracious, many-tentacled gods inhabiting the nightmare world of horror maestro H.P. Lovecraft.

Lovecraft's deities are terrifying because they aren't supernatural. On the contrary, like sprawling media companies in possession of properties in distant, disconnected markets, they follow a system of natural laws far beyond the scope of human understanding. They are essentially materialist, trans-dimensional beings originating somewhere else in the multiverse and, as such, they are indifferent to any  suffering or destruction caused by self-interested incursion into the human realm. So too, enormous media conglomerates pursue agendas that are so far removed from the basic needs of Jane and Joe Subscriber from Anytown USA, it becomes impossible to accuse executive leadership of malice, no matter the resulting chaos. The madness is evident in everything from Gannett's gutting of local news staff, to its reliance on unknown editors from far away places who can't be expected to know the landscape.

As bad as it all sounds, the worst was only prelude to unspeakable terrors lurking just beyond the horizon. See, The Commercial Appeal's a ghost these days — a ghost running on a skeleton crew. Its longtime home at 495 Union is for sale, and even when the enormous structure is occupied during much-reduced business hours, vast expanses lie empty, unused and unknown. Who knows what fell creatures lurk in the cold gloom of the parking lot, let alone the ragged wastes between circulation and the morgue? If I worked in a building possessed by some outside entity with interests so utterly unconcerned with my own, I know I'd probably dock my laptop at the neighborhood coffee shop instead of my cubicle. And judging by this actual, sad, verbatim memo from the CA's newly installed Executive Editor Mark Russell, that's what management suggests as well: Get Out!!!

"A few updates:

*Starting today (Monday), building security in The CA’s 495 building has been reduced to 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For this week, if you work after 5, and need an escort to your car, please ask a colleague to accompany you. If you are worried about working in your department alone after, say, 6 or 7 p.m., please consider leaving at 5 to work from a coffee shop, home or some other location that has what you need and where you feel secure. And the same thing goes for someone starting at 6 a.m. Please work from a coffee shop or home if you are worried about being safe coming in at 5:45 before security starts this week. Later this week, I will update you on the security plans going forward when I know more."
But does he really want to know more? Is it worth the madness to come?

(Click the vid to hear the memo read aloud in the style of Welcome to Night Vale)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Is a Trump Surrogate Coming to WREG?

Sinclair Media triples order for "must air" installments of "Bottom Line" with Boris Epshteyn

Posted By on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 4:57 PM

Race to the Bottom
  • Race to the Bottom
"Bottom Line With Boris," doesn't even sound like a real news segment. It sounds like something made up by the Onion News Network. But it's real — at least in the sense it exists. And if the FCC approves Sinclair media's rule-fudging acquisition of WREG, former special assistant to President Donald Trump, Boris Epshteyn will be popping up on Memphis TV screens several times a week.

For whatever it's worth, Mr. Bottom Line is also the sixth person questioned by the House Intelligence Committee in its ongoing Russia probe. Throughout the campaign Epshteyn was pro-Putin and his financially  conflicted commentary mirrored Russian propaganda on the Ukraine. He parted ways with Trump in March, but continues to stand by his man in his private sector editorials.

This week Politico broke news that Sinclair tripled its weekly order for must-air "Bottom Line with Boris" segments.

Memphis won't be alone. If/when the Sinclair deal goes down — and there's no reason to believe it won't —  72-percent of all Americans will live in a Sinclair market.   It's a big deal, to borrow from Vox, "Because local news programs are some of the most-watched shows in America."

"Most watched" translates to 4-times the combined audience of the top three cable news stations — CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC.

While national news outlets like CNN become targets in political info-wars, local news delivers the eyes and ears of the nation, and Trump-entangled Sinclair is on the verge of acquiring Memphis' top-rated station.

Right now WREG's still a Tribune Media property.  Should that change prepare yourself for commentary like this.
This.

This.

And, ironically, this.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

WMC's Jerica Phillips Interviews a Dog

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 2:41 PM

Well, sort of...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Drax the Destroyer Guest Tweets for MLGW?

Posted By on Wed, May 31, 2017 at 1:40 PM

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Judging by a recent round of defensive, hyper-literal tweets from the official MLGW account, it would appear that Memphis' public utility has hired in Drax the Destroyer to man social media during this period of post-storm crisis. Drax, the blunt alien powerhouse who struggles to understand metaphor and most figurative language, responded negatively to a tweet by Memphis newsie Joyce Peterson. When Peterson accurately explained how "45,000 customers without power" means more than 45,000 people remain in the dark, Drax answered back sharply:  "This tweet is unequivocally wrong and malicious."
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After a number of Twitter uses invited Drax to munch a chill pill MLGW's guest tweeter doubled down on his initial pronouncement: "Our customer is not a house or an apartment building. Our customers of record are people who have families, employees, and customers."
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While it's cool of MLGW to bring in such a big celebrity and card-carrying Guardian of the Galaxy, the PR gig may not be a good fit for Drax's skill set, which is basically destroying things.

Insert your own "covfefe" joke here.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

CA Follies: Get It Together Gannett

Posted By on Tue, May 9, 2017 at 9:48 AM

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The Commercial Appeal's lost its editor to St. Jude, name brand staff to layoffs, and its ability to prevent tiny, tragic errors. You know, like when you run an above the fold A-1 headline about a woman from "Columbia," who runs a Colombian diner, right next to a picture of the smiling subject wearing a correctly spelled Colombia t-shirt.

Seems like somebody was sipping too much juice down by the Bug Light Stage this past weekend.

And here's a classic case of "don't know if they're coming or going" from Saturday's edition. Read the sub-headline, then read the opening paragraph. Then go ahead and cry in your cubicle a little. It's okay, really it is.
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Monday, May 8, 2017

Commercial Appeal Reports Unfortunate Festival Sponsorship

Posted By on Mon, May 8, 2017 at 3:39 PM

Memphis in May's Beale Street Music Festival can be a gorgeous weekend on the river. It can also be a crowded, muddy, buggy mess, and turning one of the festivals concert stages into an enormous Bug Light is a terrible, terrible, terrible idea. That's why FOTW is happy to report this is only a typo.
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