January 22nd, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Meaning of only U.S. liberal radio network shutting down?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Air America has crashed. The liberal talk radio network is going out of business.

The network that once boasted hosts like Al Franken and Rachel Maddow launched in 2004 during the Bush administration. It was meant as a liberal alternative to right-wing commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
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But Air America struggled from the beginning - with several management shake-ups, a bankruptcy, followed by a $4 million sale.

The network described itself as "the only full-time progressive voice in the mainstream broadcast media world" when it launched... saying it offered dissenting views on things like the Iraq War - when such positions were called un-American.

But nearly six years later - and 1 year after the inauguration of Democratic President Barack Obama - Air America says it will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy – ending programming for good on Monday. The network cites the "very difficult economic environment," pointing to a steep decline in radio ad revenues.

Conservatives suggest the "passing" of Air America is a reminder that the country is center right. After all - tough economy or not, Limbaugh still draws in 10 to 20 million listeners each week.

Meanwhile a recent Gallup Poll shows that conservatives finished 2009 as the number one ideological group in the U.S. for the first time in five years. 40 percent of Americans identify as conservatives, compared to 36 percent for moderates and just 21 percent for liberals.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that the country's only liberal radio network is going out of business?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Liberals • Media Coverage
December 16th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Where does controlling the volume of TV ads rank as an issue?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Congress is turning its attention to one of the most pressing issues of our time: lowering the volume of TV commercials.
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That's correct - apparently we no longer need to be concerned with the little stuff... you know... like the worst recession since the Great Depression, health care reform, skyrocketing deficits, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 10-percent unemployment, a crisis in education... the commercials on television are too loud and something must be done.

The House has passed a measure by a voice vote called Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act - or CALM... which says that ads can be no louder than the TV shows during which they appear. An identical measure is making it way through the Senate.

Supporters call loud ads annoying and frustrating and say they came up with the bill after finding out this was a common complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. The measure would require the FCC to set new rules within a year - and start enforcing them a year later. Meanwhile - experts say viewers may not even be able to tell the difference if this becomes law.

When asked why Congress has to get involved in this, Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns of Florida said: "You can say, 'Well, that's fine. Just turn it off. But it's constantly an irritant when you have to do it. And we've got all the new bowl games coming up."

I now want to sharpen a pencil and jam it in my ear because I cannot take it anymore.

Here’s my question to you: On a list of the great issues of our time, where does controlling the volume of TV commercials rank?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Government • Media Coverage
December 7th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Did 'SNL' Tiger Woods skit go too far?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"Saturday Night Live" is known for pushing the envelope when it comes to its satirical take on the news; but some say the show went too far this past weekend with a skit about Tiger Woods that insinuated domestic abuse.

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The comedy sketch shows Woods holding a series of press conferences - where he tries to apologize for acts of infidelity. In each appearance, Woods appears more bruised and battered, eventually turning up with a golf club wrapped around his head - presumably having been put there by his wife.

But critics insist this is no laughing matter and ask if the show would have done the same sketch if it were a man suspected of beating his wife.

One person who probably wasn't laughing at this sketch was the show's musical guest, Rihanna, who was assaulted by her boyfriend, Chris Brown, earlier this year.

Meanwhile the Tiger Woods story and the alleged number of mistresses is growing larger by the day. Unofficial accounts have the number at nine with MSNBC reporting there could be more than a dozen women linked with the golfer by the end of this week. It's a wonder he ever had time to practice his golf game.

With all the tawdry headlines - no surprise that a new poll suggests Woods' popularity is circling the drain.

The CNN/Opinion research Corporation poll shows 60 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Woods; and 25 percent have an unfavorable view. That's down from an 84 percent favorable and nine percent unfavorable in 2001.

Here’s my question to you: Did Saturday Night Live go too far insinuating Tiger Woods was the victim of domestic violence?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Media Coverage
December 1st, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Why do celebrities who travel via private jet tell us to save the environment?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The hypocrisy of some celebrities knows no bounds.

The London Times has a piece called "Taking the private jet to Copenhagen" - a reference to the upcoming international climate summit. This report highlights actors, musicians, politicians and other so-called "green" celebrities who have fleets of jets, multiple homes, and on and on - leaving carbon footprints as they travel through life that would put a dinosaur to shame.
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For example:

  • John Travolta has 5 private jets (including a Boeing 707). He once flew to London on one of them to encourage the British to fight global warming.
  • Harrison Ford used to own a Gulfstream jet, but now makes due with a smaller Cessna Citation Sovereign eight seat jet, four propeller planes and a helicopter.
  • Oprah Winfrey, who preaches about being environmentally friendly on her TV show, traveled in a 13-seat Gulfstream jet for years until she replaced it with a faster Bombardier Global Express.
  • Tom Cruise has five planes, including a customized Gulfstream jet.
  • As for the king of global warming preachers, Al Gore: It's been estimated his Tennessee mansion uses 20 times the electricity of an average U.S. home. And he spends $500 a month just to heat his indoor swimming pool.
  • Meanwhile recent owners of gas guzzling SUVs include Gwyneth Paltrow, Barbra Streisand and Cameron Diaz.

All of the above mentioned celebrities are active to a greater or lesser degree in urging the rest of us to fight global warming.

Here’s my question to you: Why do celebrities who travel around in private jets want to tell the rest of us how to save the environment?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Media Coverage
November 30th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Reality TV gone too far when it comes to W.H. 'crashers'?


President Obama greets Michaele Salahi at last week's state dinner. Turns out Salahi wasn't invited. (WHITE HOUSE PHOTO)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The White House "crashers" are just the latest example of why reality TV may have entered dangerous territory.

Michaele and Tareq Salahi made it past Secret Service and inside the White House for President Obama's first state dinner without being invited. They met the President and the Vice President.

President Obama insists he still has "full confidence" in the ability of the Secret Service to protect his family. But the agency has said it's "deeply concerned and embarrassed" - as it should be.

Some lawmakers want criminal charges brought against the couple. That's an excellent idea.

There are reports the couple wants in the neighborhood of half a million dollars for an interview about their story. They deny it.

And the couple is being considered for the cast of the reality TV show "The Real Housewives of D.C." They had television cameras following them around the day of the state dinner.

Another grab at 15 minutes of fame by people who would live their entire lives unnoticed otherwise. Remember the Colorado father of the so-called "Balloon Boy?"

This loser was trying to get media attention for his own reality show when he made up a story about his six-year-old son being carried away in a home-made helium balloon. He agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge.

Reality TV has given these people the idea that anyone can be a celebrity - and some are committing dangerous, and potentially criminal acts, just to get on the tube.

And to think it all started with a fat, naked guy wading around in the water looking for fish on a CBS program called "Survivor." In retrospect, it seems pretty harmless.

Here’s my question to you: Has reality television gone too far when it comes to the White House "crashers"?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Media Coverage • White House
November 30th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Does Tiger Woods owe an explanation?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

He's the most recognizable name in sports and arguably the greatest golfer who ever lived. But Tiger Woods has a problem.

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Woods earns millions playing golf and hundreds of millions more in endorsements. One estimate has him as the first billionaire sports star. The mind-boggling endorsement money is based in part on Woods' squeaky clean image and his ability to persuade the rest of us to buy the products he's selling.

But last week a tabloid alleged that Woods has been having an affair with a New York nightclub hostess. According to the Associated Press - the woman has denied having an affair with Woods.

Then last Friday at 2:25 in the morning, Tiger crashed his SUV leaving his driveway - hitting a fire hydrant and then a tree. The neighbor who called 911 said Woods was unconscious at the scene of the accident, and police said he had cuts and bruises on his face. He was taken to the hospital and treated and released.

For three days Woods refused to meet with state police to talk about what happened. He still hasn't and he's not legally obligated to.

The airbags on his car didn't deploy, but his face was cut and swollen. Police say when they arrived they found Woods' wife over him - claiming to have broken out the rear window of his SUV with a golf club to help him escape.

Then yesterday a terse statement from Woods on his web site saying it is all a private matter and nobody else's business.

Finally - late this afternoon, word that Woods has canceled plans to attend his own golf tournament in California because of his injuries.

Here’s my question to you: Does Tiger Woods owe anyone an explanation?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Media Coverage • News Media
October 6th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

What should CBS do about Letterman?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If you're known as The Tiffany Network, having your late night star admit he was fooling around with women who work for him on his show tends to take a little luster off the company reputation.

Dan Rather was summarily shown the door by CBS when it was revealed he made a mistake in a report about President George W. Bush. No tolerance at the network of Edward R Murrow - even for the man who inherited the mantle of anchorman for the CBS Evening News from the most trusted man in America - Walter Cronkite.

Now they have Dave Letterman going on his late night talk show and admitting to the entire world that he had sex with women who work for him on his program. His sex life aside, this is not proper business behavior in any office in this country in 2009.

We supposedly have gotten past the days when young women could be pressured into having sex with their bosses in order to get a promotion or a raise. But apparently not at the Late Show with David Letterman.

Andrea Peyser writes a column in the New York Post in which she quotes a former Letterman staffer describing a "toxic" atmosphere in the studio. "Everyone inside the program knows what it takes to get ahead," Peyser writes.

Letterman's a funny guy, but this isn't funny. This is insulting to women.

Meanwhile, CBS reportedly has a policy that bosses need to disclose any sexual relationships with subordinates - but Letterman officially works for his production company Worldwide Pants - They put out a statement saying he didn't violate any of their rules. How convenient.

Here’s my question to you: What should CBS do about Dave Letterman?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Infidelity • Media Coverage
September 30th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Are Obama critics creating a hateful, dangerous environment?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Tom Friedman writes a scary and sobering column in today's New York Times called "Where did 'we' go?" In it - he compares the political climate today in the U.S. to Israel in 1995... right before the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Friedman describes the "ugly mood" in Israel at the time... where right-wingers were trying to de-legitimize Rabin. They questioned his authority and shouted death threats at rallies.

Friedman says the parallels to America today turn his stomach:

"I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left. But something very dangerous is happening."

Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into de-legitimizing his presidency.

He's right. You don't have to look any further than protesters comparing President Obama to a Nazi or a Facebook poll asking if he should be killed.

Friedman says even if you're not worried about violence against Mr. Obama - you should be worried about what's happening to American politics.

He talks about the "cocktail of political and technological trends" that make it possible for "idiots of all political stripes" to take advantage of the system... things like excess of money in politics, the 24/7 cable news cycle, the blogosphere and a permanent presidential campaign.

Meanwhile - Republicans are pushing back against claims that conservative rhetoric is creating a dangerous environment for the president.

Party Chairman Michael Steele says of people like Friedman, "Where do these nut jobs come from?" Which to me sort of proves Friedman's whole point.

Here’s my question to you: Are critics of Pres. Obama crossing the line in creating a hateful and dangerous environment?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


September 30th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Some in Hollywood think Polanski shouldn't be punished

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to the case of director Roman Polanski, many of our so-called Hollywood celebrities seem out-of-touch. Once again. Polanski was arrested on his way to a film festival in Switzerland on a U.S. warrant dating back to a 1977 child sex charge.

He had pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, served 42 days in prison - but fled the U.S. for France before he could be sentenced.

The award-winning director of movies like "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby" now sits in a Swiss prison cell - which is exactly where he belongs.

But Polanski's lawyers are fighting his extradition to the U.S. - as are more than 100 Hollywood types who've signed a petition against the arrest; people like Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese.

Actress Debra Winger says it's "a three-decades-old case that is dead but for minor technicalities." Yeah, one technicality being he fled the country to avoid sentencing after officials said he drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl.

Whoopi Goldberg says Polanski didn't commit "rape-rape," whatever the hell that means. And Harvey Weinstein says Polanski was the victim of a "miscarriage of justice." Hey, Harvey: He pled guilty.

California officials have kept the pressure on for all this time and insist they won't bow to pressure from Hollywood.

How would you feel if it had been your 13-year-old daughter?

Here’s my question to you: What message does it send when some in Hollywood don't think director Roman Polanski should be punished for a 1977 child sex charge?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Media Coverage
September 15th, 2009
05:42 PM ET

Do celebrities behaving badly say something about us?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

These days it seems like some so-called celebrities are acting more like third graders than the role models they're supposed to be. At the top of the list is hip-hop star Kanye West, who was a grade A jerk at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday when he jumped on stage and ripped the microphone away from teenager Taylor Swift, saying Beyonce should have won.

Kanye West took the microphone from Taylor Swift during her speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

West has since apologized several times - but he ruined a young girl's moment in the spotlight. Even Pres. Obama called him a "jackass."

In sports - Tennis star Serena Williams cursed out a line judge a third her size in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open, saying she would "take this ball and shove it down your f--ing throat." This happened after an earlier temper tantrum where Williams slammed her racket on the court and broke it.

In the very same tournament, Roger Federer also swore at the chair umpire, saying: "Don't tell me to be quiet, OK? When I want to talk, I talk. I don't give a _____ what he said."

Meanwhile a recent YouTube video apparently caught golf great Tiger Woods throwing his club into the weeds in anger.

Some of our politicians are acting like pigs as well. Congressman Joe Wilson called President Obama a liar on the floor of the House during the president's address to Congress.

And Democratic Congressman Pete Stark of California told a constituent during a town hall meeting that he wouldn't "waste the urine" to pee on the man's leg.

It's not hard to figure out why some of our children don't respect their parents, their teachers, the police or any other authority figures in society.

Here’s my question to you: Do celebrities behaving badly tell us something about the rest of us?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Media Coverage
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