Posts Tagged ‘Meet the Press’

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SUNDAY’S REALITIES

March 3, 2014

CRIMEA and the UKRAINE

It’s been a long path to “nowhere” since Florence NIghtingale almost 160 years ago or to the Yalta Conference of 1945. But, although time passes, the Black Sea, the Crimea and the Ukraine remain a flashpoint threatening world peace.

I understand the key elements here revolve around Soviet KGB style-thinking Putin, a key military advantage in the 1940s, and Russia’s fears that their lease on land to house that massive fleet and navy personnel of theirs may be in jeopardy.

But step back and think about that.

Is the US, its allies and the world really ready to be drawn into that conflict over housing a fleet-much more important 75 years ago than it is today? Not so much, I think.

I know for most, the horrors of that war live only in a textbook. But as a student of Dr. Deutsch at UM in the 1960s, I certainly have a different perspective, and even so, no solutions. I just keep thinking how ironic it is that Khrushchev is the one who gave the Ukraine the gift of the Crimea in 1954 and 60 years later, they want it back. So they have only themselves to blame, from my warped way of thinking.

And equally ironic is that in this current disagreement in which Russia fights for a home for its Black Sea fleet, they encounter once again the Tators whom they deported from Russia in 1944…a people whom they have been trying to eliminate since the 18th century. The Tators represent some 10-15% of all those that live in Crimea. Will they deport them one more time, or in good Soviet stead, will they just kill them this time? And then what will the we do?

With all this reeling around in my brain, I took a break from the STRIB and tuned in to “Meet the Press”.

I expect I will be viewed as the one out of step, but that Meet the Press discussion today attempted to paint Obama as the weak, out of touch leader who won’t put war on the table. I was particularly concerned about a phrase repeated over and over (paraphrased as- ) “This conflict between the Russians and Obama.” What?!! Most of them sounded like Putin was justified in invading a foreign country – simply because Obama did not threaten war.

Everything that panel said; every position they took REINFORCED old out-dated 20th century thinking – just like Putin represents old Soviet Union thinking of the 20th century. I felt like I was caught in a time warp and had been whisked away back to my youth. And shame on me; I also thought Obama was the President of the United States; not just a name of some individual stirring up trouble against a foreign country. But apparently I was wrong- at least in terms of our national news position as heard on Meet the Press!

It was a very scary moment as it pointed out we have very few open minds or minds that understand the impacts of this giant shift being revealed to us as we move into the 21st century. I felt like I had been transported back in time fifty years to an old COLD WAR era before we learned there could be a better way than wars.

Of course, none of us have the expertise to know what lies ahead, but we sure all seem to be mimicking the mistakes made by the experts as the 20th century was born. Remember those that knew best then and led us into not one, but two world wars? Seems to me, we at least should TRY alternative options that might be available before we point fingers and draw up troop movement plans.

Little did I know a panel on Meet the Press would become not only the prosecutor of the President of the US on trial, but also the judge and jury of our land. Personally, I call what I witnessed just more evidence of the hubris of the Press today.

NUCLEAR WASTE LEAKS

Meanwhile, as we stand on the precipice of yet another war, it seems to me we have an equally important situation for which we cannot blame the Soviet ghosts we see everywhere. No, this one we caused ourselves and although it was not even worthy of mention on Meet the Press, the STRIB gave it space in not just one, but two articles this morning.

“Worry about Leak at Nuclear Dump Grows” at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant – and outdoor unprotected storage site at Los Alamos; and new reports of problems at the Washington State Hanford nuclear reservation where design and integrity of storage tanks are being questioned in “Safety of Waste Tanks Doubted” article.

Those both seem to be strong signals to me that we’d be best served to get 1940s-1960s disagreements resolved soon so we can turn our attention to the mess we have made of our work ever since!

NICOLLET AVENUE

And now back to something I really DO know a little bit about. Although I object to building a “Nicollet Island” in the midst of Nicollet Mall, I applaud the progress towards correcting the K-Mart urban planning mistake made at Lake and Nicollet.

Indeed, my drean would be to eliminate this foolish error made by the white man and reestablish the native people’s connections from the Mississippi River all the way to the Chain of Lakes.

And with that worthy dream, I’ll get back to re-ordering my desk for the new life that awaits me tomorrow.

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THE EVOLUTION OF MEET THE PRESS

October 28, 2013

THE EVOLUTION OF MEET THE PRESS

We got our first television in the late 50s – and MEET THE PRESS became a “Must See” event in our family.  It has always been the weekly resource for well–researched current events that reported without a bias, and gave equal time to multiple sides of an issue- whether that be political or otherwise.

Enter David Gregory.  For a long time, I thought it was just me.  I didn’t particularly care for him, but I felt I was not giving him an unbiased chance simply because I was so vested in his predecessor, Tim Russert .  However, over time, I became more disenchanted…sometimes to the point I would just turn it off.

Sunday might have been a turning point. 

My first clue was when the Governor of Kentucky pushed back on Gregory and flatly told him he was wrong.  Hmmm…Gregory is the Moderator, not the opposing viewpoint, right?  What is wrong with this picture?

Next, we had a single guest – Andrea Mitchell.  She was introduced as NBC’s expert  and together she and Gregory had a public discussion about Obama…filled with ”Is not”, ”will not”, and ”did not”  which culminated  with  a justification that Obama was wrong and weak based on Saudi Arabia and Israel’s  unhappiness with him.

Even at this point, I am thinking:  OK, Cheryl…the whole world seems to think this is a mess Obama created; perhaps you should rethink some of what you understand to be the situation.

And then the conversation transitioned to the latest Snowden leak.

And Meet the Press failed the test.  (see below)  They did not even bring up the most important question.

I shut off the TV because Meet the Press in my mind has crossed the line.  Instead of reporting and discussing news of the day and its possible impacts, its mission has evolved to “GOTCHA”.

It makes me sad that this oldest program on TV, long the friend of America, has fallen into the pit of sensationalism and ratings only.  Although, it does free me up to get to church ON TIME instead of a few minutes late!

 

MY PLEAS TO THE PRESS:  Just the facts AND THAT MEANS ALL the facts:

The latest in the Snowden epic is a release of a document that indicates eves-dropping activities from 80 US embassies and consulates.  It included several countries in Europe we consider our allies, including Germany.  Here are the dates I can find so far:

2002       NSA MAY have included Merkel’s personal phone in the dragnet

2005       The document leaked by Snowden indicates Merkel’s phone number was accessed.  However that document reveals the number being caught in the dragnet, but one cannot determine if the number was actually listened to.   

2009       Obama is inaugurated as President of the United States.   (NOTE:  This is at least four years and possibly seven years after the reported incident occurred.)

2010       NSA reports to Obama they have the numbers/are eves-dropping. I presume the actual date of that is recorded someplace, but I could not find if it was January or December.

20XX      At some point, NSA was told to STOP by Obama. Obviously, someplace there is a record of that.

20XX      Snowden steals document – I am sure by now, investigations could tell us the date it was stolen, but I do not have at hand. Nevertheless, the impression from Press was “IS”  listening in not WAS listening in.

2013       Snowden reveals the leak.

2013       Obama/Merkel phone call;  Obama assures Merkel the  US is not now nor will in the future eves-drop on her conversations.

Now, I am not a reporter; I am not expected to be the one who digs into the facts, but really, am I the  only one in the world that wonders why the dates above in red have not been revealed?  And am I the only one in the world that recognizes this began in 2002 and NOT after Obama became President?

I’m just saying, fill in the blanks and report the story in full.

 That was the reputation of what Meet the Press would do in the past.  That is not the story of Meet the Press today.   This may indeed be a major misstep that can be attributed to President Obama himself or it could be a risk taken that starts a movement toward meaningful conversations and actions; or it may be a twisted fact that sells magazines, newspapers and TV program ratings.    What I most fear it is that some of the continuing propaganda is being seeded by the Tea Party who are so intent on discrediting Obama as a man that they forget some of the spin discredits us as a nation.  And as a citizen, that really irritates me.

 

MY OWN TAKE ON THE MIDDLE EAST TODAY

For as long as I can remember, the Middle East has been an issue…early in my growing-up and adult life, it was trumped by Viet Nam a bit, but it has ALWAYS been a delicate balancing act because we have brought together in a very small place three major religions of the world (READ:  Commitment and Emotion) and a whole lot of oil (READ: Economics and Riches ….and somehow, that all means trouble.

Of course, we need to heed voices of concern from Israel and Saudi Arabia re Iran and Syria…but we also have to acknowledge that bellicose confrontations have not yielded results in the Middle East despite 45 years of trying to out-shout one another.

Of course, there is a possibility that movement in discussions toward eliminating chemical weapons and  nuclear capabilities could all be a ruse…but it could also be an opening to talk to one another and initiate possible change.  Does anyone expect that Israel will be worry-free (or even happy)?  No, but responsible countries cannot ignore the possibility that change could ultimately come and the bellicose confrontations and threats have not achieved much to date except death-so I think it is worth the effort to test it.

So when I read headlines like “Syria files plan to destroy (chemical) weapons” and “Anti-US signs ordered removed in Iran”…I continue to think:  “It’s working; proceed with caution; and see where this takes us.”

Of course, those complaining that Obama is foolish and weak; Obama is not following through; and all the other common Republican talking points that the Press has swallowed up as truth are really MOST INTERESTED in short term results – the Press wants ratings so they can keep their jobs; the politicians want votes  so they can keep their jobs.  And too bad about the viewers and readers that are searching for the truth.

Neither seem to understand  changes predicted for our world are here and now-not something that might happen in the future.   The Digital World has connected us all and that change alone calls for collaboration and compromise.

Unfortunately, all we know is WIN /LOSE, military might and wars.

All I can think of is another headline today that is also pretty thought-provoking – “Iraq crumbles under new attacks.”  To me that raises the question – how much money did our little boys spend playing live war games for ten years and with what result?

Sometimes I think that men will never give up their toys; thus their inbred-looking-backwards stupidity will be the death of us all.

 What I DO know is that in my mind, Meet the Press has moved from a thoughtful trusted resource to Edutainment at best.  I only hope the “evolution” has not stopped there but will survive this hiccup and that soon it will right its ways and continue on.

 


 

 

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I HAVE A DREAM

August 25, 2013

Last week, I saw “The Butler” and I cried.

Yesterday, I was encouraged to see the Minneapolis Rally in honor of the March on Washington 50 years ago was multi-cultural although press coverage last evening seemed to position it as a “remembrance” not a call to action.  That made me sad…because the job is not done.

This morning I read Lee Shafer’s column in the STRIB and I got mad. 

Shafer reported on wage discrepancies between graduates of two college campuses (St. John’s and St. Ben’s) of the same organization and governing body….with very differing results.  The separation of these two campuses – based on the sex of the students- resulted in an Investment Return of $193,900 per woman graduate and $860,800 return per male.  Even for the well-educated, the discrepancies continue…all these fifty years later.

Generally, the press coverage as we approach the 50th anniversary of the “I have a dream” speech has indeed tried to point out that the motivating reason for the march and the speech was jobs.  Generally, the press has done a fair job of reminding the public that the work is not done and the issue has expanded to all non-whites as well as to women’s rights and to the GLBT community.  

More important, it has made me think a bit about my own journey in those 50 years.

 My parents both had eighth grade educations; my father worked as a machinist and once we were all in school, my mother worked in retail sales. The fifth of six children, I graduated third (or maybe fifth- I can’t remember exactly) in my class from high school in 1963 and was the first of my siblings to earn an Associate in Arts degree and then go on to graduate from the University of Minnesota in 1967.  I worked through-out junior high, senior high and college and after a couple years in the travel industry world, in 1970, I entered the world of “corporate America”.   I became the first “woman” director at that company; and went on to become the first “woman” director and the first “woman” vice president in a second company in a similar industry.

In a time of great transition within my corporate organization, I was sent to Ohio to oversee the shutdown of a sister-company of 900+ employees-not as part of a team, but as a woman, with one other woman from the corporate organization to which my corporate group reported.  She was responsible for the physical assets sale/transfer to Mpls;  I was responsible for the people. 

No, we did not have representation from Human Resources.  It was hard duty in hostile territory but the worst part was the realization that we were sent to do the job because we were expendable.

 Not once did we see anyone from corporate nor from the organizational group to which both this location and I reported.  Not once in those six months did I receive a phone inquiry to see how I was doing…a few times, I got a call about something we were NOT doing according to plan and why not – and that was it.   When I returned and ultimately discussed this with the VP of Human Resources at the corporate level, his response was they could not send the male VP of HR of the specific group in which I reported because “it would have been too hard on him emotionally.”

What a hard lesson to learn.  I thought I was succeeding in the business world because of my abilities when in reality, I was allowed to succeed only to protect a white man who probably would not have done as well.  This is a well-kept dirty little secret still alive and well in corporate America today.

I left that organization, wiped the slate clean, and have spent twenty years successfully running my own business.  Without a sales organization, I have been able to achieve $1 million dollars annual sales 2 of last 3 years.  Since 2000, I have been recognized with industry awards EVERY TIME I have submitted a job for consideration, and along with a collaborative of very talented others, my company has made headlines in local, national and international press for events produced by me.  And of course, there is this month’s achievement, as MPI launches a new international initiative focusing on Meeting Design for results supported by a case study based on two events I executive-produced.

Growing up with the Civil Rights movement inspired me to do that.  I was not a white male; but I, too had a dream.  That dream has not been realized for far too many African-Americans, other multi-cultural populations within the US, women, and the GLBT community.  And so today, I watched the Civil Rights focus on Meet-the-Press…and I cried again.

 

 

 

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WARS BETWEEN COUNTRIES vs GLOBAL DIGITAL WARS

August 4, 2013

WORLD TERRORISTS ALERTS

As Interpol joins the US in issuing terrorist alerts…and the rash of recent prison breaks freed almost 2000 Al-Qaida prisoners from Iraq to Pakistan to Libya, the world should definitely stand alert; I will be listening to Sunday morning news programs today to get more information, that’s for sure.

But already, I anticipate I will be irritated because I will hear again the references that infer Obama doesn’t know what he is doing because it has already started. 

I can’t help but ask -what about the release of 2000 Al Qaida from prisons including those long held and mistreated at Abu Ghraib do we not understand?!!??

No one said Al Qaida green sprouts weren’t dangerous and no one said there was no danger.  Obama only said the threat was generally diminished in countries where we had been addressing the problem with drones and boots on the ground and there, Al-Qaida had been eviscerated by US counter-terrorism… I admit, as that message is dug up 90 days after the conversation, it could be construed to show he does not know what he is talking about-particularly in view of the chatter being picked up that indicates something BIG is in the works.   And if there is a possibility, no doubt it will be seized upon.

But a couple questions before we pounce:

  1. 1.    What was the context in which that statement was issued?  I don’t remember, do you?  Something about the drone program and counterterrorism needs but other than that….?
  2. 2.    How do we as American citizens presume to know on a daily basis what message to the world was being conveyed at the same time, or why?

It’s the old caution:  Beware of thinking the “facts” one has are the only “facts” that exist.  You will usually be proven wrong.

It all is a complex and constantly changing situation and not well–suited to back seat driving and speculation, so I try to learn more before I pass judgment…even though my nagging instinct is to lash out to those who continue trying to refocus the argument to include as enemies:   Obama, women, gays, and all multi-cultural inhabitants of our country.

And here I am, a few hours later…about to say, I told you so, as I take in the coverage on Meet the Press.

After a brief discussion about chatter coming from Yemen, we had a quick segue into the G-20 meeting in Russia and the fact, that Obama will go; but will not be meeting individually with Putin because of the NSA/Snowden situation.  I knew it was going to happen, and here is the confirmation that scandal trumps security,  but was so disappointed it did. 

We heard a little bit about chatter similar to pre- 9-11 that was ignored first time around; we learned a bit about suicide vests or car bombs talk; we heard a bit about resubmitting budget requests to the tune of $48 million to increase security in vulnerable embassies and within just a few minutes…it was all about the NSA “scandal” and the FISA Court.

But then we quickly segued again into Obama being cautious after how wrong on Benghazi he was. No, I thought, Obama was NOT the guilty party that denied increased security- it was CONGRESS –although the muck-up over talking points explaining what happened seems definitely to rest within the White House.

My reaction?  The threat and chatter discussion should have been expanded to Great Britain and other NATO allies who are also picking up the chatter and taking precaution instead of viewing it as another opportunity (only by a big stretch of the imagination) to pin the “tale” of blame on the donkey.

Then we transitioned to the panel of public commentators starting with Rick Santorum who spewed out a 2016 campaign sound bite, and we were off on the patter….even going back to a news clip from 1975 of Frank Church warning we needed to be careful that the country did not turn their “watch” on the citizens.

I am sorry two ranking Congressional leaders Democrat and Republican were so quickly dismissed from the conversation, but apparently, there was a rush to get back to the Obama/NRA/FISA Court bashing.

 Even the repetition of the fact that there has been a 90 minute discussion with senior leaders in both parties at the White House and Obama had expressly communicated that he welcomed the discussion and together they agreed Congress would move forward on two significant steps to modify that which had become law in the Bush Administration got no reaction nor even a comment from the moderator or the panel.  No potential scandal there, I guess – just good governing….so why feature it in the news?    

Another opportunity wasted on Meet the Press to generate a thoughtful discussion…and just maybe one that would have included looking forward into the digital world that has emerged and how that should start changing our thinking.  Nope; back to the comfort of 1975…confirming that when the Press knows the outcome, they are better able to report on it I guess.

TARGET’S DIGITAL DRIVE

But I will admit, the Press is not the only one to miss a move to the digital world.  I have been among the many asking what was happening at Target…had they lost the golden touch of innovative retail marketing they once owned?  I’ve participated in several conversations recently about how they have changed since the “good old days”.

So I visited a little less; I bought a little less as my perception became cemented in the “same-old, same-old” reaction.  No, they would not lose me as a customer; a Wal-Mart switch would go against all I value; but they were no longer the recipient of the share of my dollars they once were.  Not to say they would notice – living downtown ensures they had not seen the last of me…there is not much retail left to choose from!  So me and my red card get at least a weekly workout!

But this morning’s feature on Target “Innovation from the Inside Out” gave me pause to RE-THINK.

While I have been busy reading and preaching all about the digital age of the 21st century, I forgot to look around me.  So I missed the emphasis change from the big box (and even the smaller, urban box) to the revolution happening to Target on line.  One more thing on my list now….off to the Target website to see how this is playing out. 

 

 

 

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MEET THE PRESS

May 2, 2010

I’ve been an avid viewer and supporter over the years of Sunday morning’s MEET THE PRESS. Its 9:00AM schedule dictates when I get up (so I have the Sunday paper read and digested before the show) and which church I attend – my favorite downtown, or a neighborhood church that allows me to leave for services AFTER the show is over.

Today they unveiled a new set which is modern, updated and gorgeous. But I’m afraid it won’t help. I have tried hard since the passing of Tim Russert to switch my loyalty to the current commentator but I can’t put away a nagging thought in the back of mind.

Has the mission of the show changed as well as the look, the feel, and the commentator?

I admit, every week I struggle with separating out the personality of Dick Gregory which I read as impolite, cocky, condescending, and intent on divisiveness rather than guaranteeing a honest, informed discussion of issues in our nation. Discussions always have more than one point of view, and more than one “right” answer. And certainly, despite highly political and controversial guests, in the past, moderators chose to present an overview as non-partisan as possible under the circumstances. I have always looked to MEET THE PRESS, along with the PBS NEWS HOUR for unbiased facts and thoughts which I could weigh to draw my own conclusions on an issue.

I’m certain that my own prejudices are impacting how I received the message of the show; but, as an example, I cite the discussion this morning about the tragedy of the BP oil rig and the fast-moving oil leak that threatens so much of our southern shores, their environment and their economy. No matter how hard I tried, I felt like the main goal of Gregory was to get someone to point a finger of blame – at BP or at the US Government – for a slow response- in order to create a sensational breaking headline. I read the information drill-down as a hunt for whose fault is this terrible tragedy. I felt like I was witnessing yet another media-manufactured divisive issue to support ratings against the entertainment-focused cable news channels. I was encouraged that all parties interrogated ignored the bait.

There is a difference, folks, between good issues discussions and ratings. It’s becoming harder and harder for me to stay tuned to the issues and what the guests are revealing of their positions in response to tough questions, when I continue to be distracted by impolite interruptions, the frequently raised voice of the moderator, and a performance broadcasting “smug, swaggering and self-satisfied “. The new set will not help me with that.