Quote of the Day postsMonday February 24, 2014
Quote of the Day: Harold Ramis
“I have a great respect for the moviegoing experience. It’s such a unique thing. You’re not getting up and walking around the house or flipping channels during the dull parts. You’re in a dark space, and the movie fills most of your field of vision. You’re surrounded by sound, and the colors are deeply saturated, and faces are fifteen feet high. If it’s done well, you’re really going to feel some big emotions or have some big belly laughs. That’s why I’ve tried to stay away from mild satire. I want an audience to feel something more powerful for their ten bucks. If they’re going to spend two hours with me, I’d like to take them someplace special.”
-- Harold Ramis, who either wrote, directed or co-starred in (or all three) “Animal House,” “Caddyshack,” “Stripes,” “National Lampoon's Vacation,” “Ghostbusters” and “Groundhog Day,” in an interview with The Believer magazine in 2006. He died today at the age of 69.
You're Not Reading This
Here's a quote from Alex Pareene's excellent piece, “Wow. Facebook Just Did Something to Crummy Meme Sites. And What They Do Next Might Shock Everyone,” on Salon.com:
One of the open secrets of the Internet is that no one reads anything on the Internet. People do go around clicking on all sorts of things, but the majority of people who clicked on this piece stopped reading it a few paragraphs ago.
A few things:
- I always forget this open secret. Probably because I'm a writer. Some part of me always thinks, “If I just make it interesting enough ...” Some part of me is still thinking that.
- It's always nice to outlast others, even in something like reading.
- Read Pareene's whole piece. I don't keep up with all this—the switch in Facebook's algorithms and which sites it helps, etc.—but I do care about it. Not to mention the whole “What's the future of journalism?” discussion and the effect, positive or negative, Facebook could have on it. Google, too, by the way. I've been complaining about that for years.
Quote of the Day
“Civility itself took a dive with the rise of Fox, and has never recovered. The shouters, the boasters, the haters who show up at town hall meetings or pollute the Web with dark fantasies get their behavioral cues from Fox. O’Reilly is famous for telling guests to 'shut up,' for cutting off people he disagrees with, for smugly praising his own performances and bringing on sycophants to do the same. By comparison, Ron Burgundy is a model of humility.”
-- Timothy Egan, “Bill O'Reilly's Gift for the Ages,” The New York Times, Feb. 13, 2014
Cf. How Fox News and its viewers see themselves as the last bastions of the polite values of small-town America.
Little Don Segretti is Alive and Well and Working at Fox News
Some modern examples of “ratfucking,” Don Segretti's domain during the Nixon administration, as reported in Gabriel Sherman's “The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News—and Divided a Country”:
[Fox News VP Brian] Lewis’s staff regularly fed reporters with embarrassing news and gossip about Fox’s competitors. After Andy Lack was quoted in the Times declaring he was “America’s news leader,” a Fox PR person sent an email to reporters that featured the quote and a Photoshopped picture of Lack’s face superimposed onto Napoleon’s body.
After MSNBC anchor Ashleigh Banfield generated positive headlines for her post-9/11 dispatches from Afghanistan and Pakistan—which featured her head wrapped in a shawl and her Clark Kent–style glasses peeking out—Lewis’s deputy, Robert Zimmerman, wanted to embarrass her in The Washington Post. “Take her out,” Brian Lewis told him. Zimmerman called Post reporter Paul Farhi and fed him a tip that foreign correspondents were laughing that Banfield, despite her intrepid image as a foreign correspondent, was scared to leave her hotel.
One morning in late fall 2001, Ailes called Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy and narrated a script for him to read. “Steve, just say that [CNN news anchor] Aaron [Brown]’s your dentist. Then have your co-anchor say, ‘He’s not a dentist. He’s on CNN!’ … No matter what happens, even if they torture you, say he’s your dentist!” Doocy obediently followed Ailes’s stage direction.
“Fighting with Roger Ailes is a full-time job, and I already have one,” [NBC News President Bob] Wright said.
The story gets worse during the Iraq War. The lengths they'll go to push their narrative. The lengths they'll go to end that narrative at Firdos Square.
This is a truly shameful period in American history ... and brought to you by Roger Ailes.
Fox News: We decide. You repeat.
Quote of the Day
“It's just Fox.”
-- Karl Rove urging caution within the Bush camp in the early morning of Nov. 8, 2000, after John Prescott Ellis, chief of Fox News's decision desk, called Florida, and thus the election, for his first cousin, George W. Bush. Several networks followed, then rescinded their projections after it became apparent Florida was closer than expected. The early calls helped give Bush a decided advantage and legitimacy, and Gore a disadvantage and illegitimacy, in the messy month-long aftermath of the election. From Gabriel Sherman's tell-all book, “The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News—and Divided a Country.” It's a good book. Buy it for the Fox News watcher in your life. Probably won't do any good but you never know.
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