Entries in Politics (6)

Tuesday
Jan172012

Gawker, Denton and Daulerio Get Brian Williams/Lana Del Rey Fiasco All Wrong

REVIEWING THE NEWS: The gossip site and its founder, Nick Denton, draw line in the sand of journalistic ethics after posting Brian Williams' personal e-mail about Lana Del Rey.

 

By Kenny Herzog

 

Nick Denton's Gawker Media embodies the blogosphere's curious position as unfiltered aggregator of truth and unchecked court jester. REVIEWniverse has taken the company's principal domain, Gawker.com, to task in the past for the relatively victimless distinction of boasting less-than-credible musical taste. But yesterday, Denton and his new editor-in-chief, muckraking former Deadspin Editor A.J. Daulerio, imposed a substandard of poor journalism when they posted NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams' personal e-mail to Denton without consent. 

By now, you've all read that Williams wrote Denton on Sunday to join the chorus of boos hurled at last weekend's maligned SNL performer, pixie chanteusse Lana Del Rey. It was an informal, clearly personal and off-the-record correspondence in which Williams lamented that Del Rey was "the least-experienced musical guest in the show's history" and good-naturedly bemoaned that "it was a fallow holiday period for those of us who check your shit 10 times a day by iphone [sic]." And you also know that Daulerio, after what we presume was much discussion with Denton and Gawker staff, posted the e-mail verbatim on their site the following afternoon. Lastly, you've heard or seen that NBC PR (no doubt unhappy about the cross-contimination within their brand) sent Gawker a stern but reasonable demand to remove the item, and Daulerio merely updated his original story by making that correspondence public as well.

Frankly, this reeks more of Daulerio's recklessness than Denton's salacious tendencies. Either way, the gauntlet has been laid. It's clear that for Gawker (and as they go, so do countless apers), no friendship or set of basic personal or journalistic principles will stand between them and a childish impulse to determine what qualifies as "news," deliver it with irresponsible whim and no discernable point of view, and let others sort out the consequences and implications while they calculate Web traffic and turn it into liquid ad-revenue gold.

For any of us who've ever worked in a real newsroom or, as consumers, are simply adapting to the digital information age with a bit of blind faith, it's impossible to fathom that Denton and Daulerio's story could be planted with total transparency from the inside. It's depressing to consider the breakdown of accountability within an organization that, like it or not, influences more readers on an average afternoon than most major newspapers even reach in a week.

Gawker may have caught Williams in an untenable position by putting him at odds with his employing network, but something tells us we haven't heard the final word on all this. In journalism and in life, corrupting privacy and closely held relationships can have short-term gains, but almost always precipitates an eventual collapse of relevance and character. Daulerio better realize he's playing with the big boys now, because Denton's just a careless schoolyard bully.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: There has to be some kind of bar before it can be lowered.

DENTON AND DAULERIO RATING: 0/10

WE STILL LOVE BRIAN WILLIAMS RATING: 10/10

NO COMMENT ON LANA DEL REY BECAUSE THIS SITE'S EDITORS HAVE WILDLY DISSENTING OPINIONS RATING: We'll Publish Our Private E-mails About It Later/10

 

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Wednesday
Jan042012

Who Cares About Mitt and Iowa? Justin and Jessica are (Reportedly) Engaged!

REVIEWING THE "DAAAAAMN, THAT'S GONNA BE ONE GOOD-LOOING BABY!" ENGAGEMENT NEWS: Justin Timberlake reportedly popped the question to long-time lover Jessica Biel, and this is one impending celeb nuptial that has us in seventh heaven.

By Crispin Reynolds

Somebody call hot police, cause these two are four-alarm hotties!

 

While all of America spent yesterday evening worrying about some Hanukkah grinch named Mitt and his silly caucus, US Weekly was preparing a bombshell story that put everything into focus. The tabloid alleges that Justin Timberlake popped the question of questions to his stunning piece of brunette babe-candy, Jessica Biel, way back in December whilst the pair was on holiday. 

Oh, deary me, oh my. Sad as myself and Jairem are that J-Timb is off the meat market, we're kvelling and are downright over the cherry moon for this sexy twosome of Manna from heaven. The only thing that could possibly sour our elation is if the news turns out to be false, and Us' "insider" sources get revealed as impostors. But until that moment arrives, we shall merely blush humbly in the wake of such marvelous undertakings.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: I haven't the faintest idea why I've suddenly channeled the spirit of a genteel southern dame.

JUSTIN AND JESSICA ENGAGEMENT RATING: Three Cheers!/10

THE POSSIBILITY OF IT BEING JUST A DASTARDLY RUMOR RATING: Heavens, No!/10

CAN JAIREM AND I ATTEND IF WE SAY WE'RE FROM THE MILITARY AND RECORD A YOUTUBE VIDEO ASKING TO BE INVITED? RATING: Oh, You're Too Kind/10

 

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Tuesday
Dec202011

Mitt Romney Wishes Jews a Misspelled Happy "Hannukah"

 

REVIEWING THE NEWS: The former Massachusetts governor and current Republican presidential hopeful shows how important it is to "believe in America" by Tweeting a questionably spelled holiday wish to his country's Jewish population.

"So ya see, on the 13th night of Narniakah, the Jews ran out of lighter fluid...."


You down with GOP? Yeah, you know me. NOT! Sorry, couldn't help ourselves. The real reason we interrupt your regularly scheduled Tuesday-evening rituals isn't to reappopriate Naughty by Nature hooks as conservative political anthems, but to wag our finger at Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney. 

Roughly two hours ago today, the one-time Massachusetts governor and handsome devil of a Mormon had someone in his campaign Tweet out a little recognition to his Jewish peeps. As you can see from said globally broadcast message, it appears either Romney and/or his social-media handlers are either too lazy to spend 30 seconds fact-checking, don't care enough about a constituency who's way out of their pocket anyway, or have discovered ancient scrolls documenting a previously unknown additional day of celebration in the Hebrew calendar known as "Hannukah." As in, per Romney's Tweet, "Tonight, as Hannukah begins, Ann and I extend our best wishes to all our Jewish friends celebrating the Festival of Lights."  

In fairness, Mitt isn't the first person who's tripped over the double-"n" (although even the KKK manage to get it right). But even the slightest investigation would have suggested preferred and virtually accurate transliterations (Hanukkah and Chanukah are generally accepted, and even Chanukkah among some Rabbinical purists), and someone running for our highest office should be held accountable to that modest standard of diligence and respect.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Merry Krismas, Mitt.

IT'S BAD ENOUGH WE CAN HARDLY FIND A MENORAH WITHOUT SCHLEPPING TO BED BATH & BEYOND THESE DAYS RATING: 8 Days/10

JEWS HAVE BEEN AROUND A BIT, MITT. GET IT RIGHT RATING: 10/10

WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM A GUY DESCENDED FROM THE OLD COUNTRY OF DESERERETERETERET RATING?: 1849/10

 

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Sunday
Dec182011

Death of Kim Jong Il Puts New '30 Rock' Season in Awkward Spot

REVIEWING THE NEWS: A day after 30 Rock unveiled its extended Season 6 trailer, featuring their continuing, satirical Kim Jong Il storyline, the North Korean leader died of a reported heart attack. Will the sitcom still air all eps as planned? And will there be international backlash?

By Kenny Herzog

Hard to say if Jong Il's passing is cause for 30 Rock to pop champagne. (Credit: Art Streibler/NBC)

 

North Korea's pretty shut off from American pop culture, so it's not very likely that NBC's sometimes-political comedy of the absurd, 30 Rock, has been a major topic of interest for its citizens or government. Even if a good portion of Season 5 focused on network head Jack Donaghy's (Alec Baldwin) efforts to rescue his girlfriend, political reporter Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks), who was being held hostage and forced into marriage by Kim Jong Il (who was played with cross-dressed hilarity by Margaret Cho).

Speaking of Jong Il, the longtime North Korean leader and constant nuclear threat died Saturday of what his country's state-run media are saying was a heart attack, brought on by the rigors of "dedicating his life to the people." Man, he must have hated the people.

This brings us back to 30 Rock, which premiered a lengthy teaser this past Friday for its Jan. 12 premiere. Naturally, the clip (viewable below) features new snippets from the ongoing Jong Il spoof. And they are, of course, hilarious. But its fortuitious timing could lead to unwanted attention or protest from overseas toward Tina Fey and co.'s gentle sending up of the late Communist militant. And without having seen the episodes in context, it's tough to say if their satire will appear a bit mean-spirited or simply timely. 

 

But hey, South Park creators Trey Parker and Stone took their shots at Jong Il during the early years of his leadership and were even more on the nose. By the time Jan. 12 rolls around, it's doubtful American audiences or critics will dwell on the connection, nor should they feel particulatly conflicted (Jong Il wasn't exactly a defensible sort). And as suggested above, the jokes will probably just land more effectively. But some of the folks over at 30 Rock, if only to avoid a PR- and logistical-nightmare, have to be crossing their fingers, hoping that Kim Jong-un isn't a Hulu subscriber.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: This could be the best or worst thing to happen to 30 Rock, but will probably just amount to a surreal twist.

KIM JONG IL IS DEAD RATING: Why Can't All Evil Dictators Just Die of Heart Attacks in Their 60s?/10

30 ROCK'S RETURNING! RATING: Yay!/10

THE CRAZY TIMING OF SEASON 6'S TRAILER RATING: Never a Dull Moment/10

 

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Thursday
Oct062011

UPDATE: Hank Williams Jr./ESPN Part Ways: A-Duh

 

 

REVIEWING THE NEWS: The controversial country putz will never sing that annoying song for Monday Night Football ever again.

By Kenny Herzog

We'll always have this picture, which will always be heeeeelarious. 

 

And who said we weren't an objective news source? Of course, our tongue is only planted firmly in cheek because of the seeming formality of ESPN's announcement that it will permanently part ways with Hank Williams Jr., longtime performer of the "Are You Ready for Some Football" Monday night anthem and noted ignoramous. 

We don't want to belabor the no-brainer aspect of their decision, as we've certainly had plenty to say on the matter these past couple days. Although it is worth noting that in response to ESPN's official statement today that they will move forward without his estimable services (and, one assumes, to the indifference his illiterate apology was greeted with), Williams Jr. commented to the Associated Press that, “I have made MY decision.... Me, My Song and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE.”

And with that statement, the confused Repulican "patriot" has invoked yet another nearly two-decade-old comedy sketch that perhaps best sums up what makes him so not worth caring about. This time, courtesy of Michael Showalter, Thomas Lennon and '90s MTV comedy troupe The State (wait for it....):

 

 

IN OTHER WORDS: As they say down south in at least one baseball stadium, "Na na na na/Na na na na/Hey Hey Hey...."

ESPN PARTING WAYS WITH WILLIAMS JR. RATING: Good Decision on Taste Alone/10

WILLIAMS JR.'S MORONIC PARTING SHOT: 0/10

NOW WE'RE READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL: Two-Point Pop-Culture Conversion/10

 

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