CONSERVATIVES ARE ON TO FOX (FNC)

Can I go ahead and simply write: FOX (FNC) is clearly trending to the political left on an obvious painful journey. Even with Shepard Smith’s recent resignation, being escorted from Fox Headquarters, the network’s leftward trend is hardly diminished

Sorry, committed Conservatives – even you moderate conservatives – this cable network is no longer an exception from the tragic news services of a CNN, or MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS. FNC’s management seems hell bent on becoming a member in good standing with the other left leaning cable news networks.

As Rush Limbaugh, with his 20 million listeners, recently said, “Fox (FNC) really ought to change the name….from the Fox News Channel to the Fox Never Trump Network. Limbaugh is currently raising millions of dollars for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation by the sale of Betsy Ross shirts.

It is a tragedy for the electronic Fourth Estate in this country; we had something of a news alternative with FNC at the beginning of the 21st century; it has wistfully disappeared. Conservative management has vanished.

For example, FOX NEWS SUNDAY treated this ‘second Ukraine whistleblower’ baloney like it had real authentic legs. Watching Chris Wallace (FOX NEWS SUNDAY) pretend Democratic planted stories are, in fact, facts…with his sort of super-journalistic pretense to be….er, “fair and balanced,’ is dreadful. While Wallace does not suffer the twitching Saint Vitas dance-like antics of F. Chuck Todd (MEET THE PRESS), there really is not much difference in his reportage.

Recently Chris Wallace had House Intelligence Committee Rep. Chris Steward (R-Utah) on to discuss ‘damaging revelations this week’ about a “second Ukraine whistleblower” that you know Fox has “confirmed” actually has “first-hand information” about the president’s call to President Zelensky in July.

What a set-up from this supposed fair and balanced TV anchor! To think that Chris Wallace sits in the same chair that those high-caliber journalist like Brit Hume, and the late Tony Snow, makes a mockery of balanced journalism. It borders on nauseous.

FNC recently brought in its latest Democratic heartthrob, Donna Brazile, former DNC Chair, to comment on Trump’s non-collusion and obstruction of justice. Brazile, it may be recalled, suffered this: “CNN said…it was ‘completely uncomfortable’ with new leaked emails that Donna Brazile fed debate questions to Hillary Clinton and announced it has accepted her resignation as contributor.” What was FNC management thinking?

Remember, the recently departed Sheppard Smith joined Rev. Al Sharpton in their mutual suffering over the phrase, “all lives matter.” Dwelling on shifting Fox talents, one cites the 180 degree turn of Judge Andrew Napolitano, whinny Jessica Tarlov, totally predictable Leslie Marshall.

Shockingly, FNC holds Donna Brazile in a special place, and Juan Williams – whose mug shots are a meme unto themselves – shallowly reminding viewers that Nancy Pelosi is right when she says Trump’s putting the citizenship question on the U. S. Census is RACIST.

FNC’s daily fare includes Bill Hemmer (Charming Billy) and Sandra Smith (Queen of interruption), along with more standout personalities as Harris Faulkner, Rick Leventhal, Tammy Bruce, Julie Banderas, and real NEWS gems: Catherine Herridge, Kevin Corke, Ed Henry, Laura Ingle, and Virginia’s own Dagen McDowell.

Bret Baier (FOX SPECIAL REPORT) painfully struggled over Shepard Smith’s departure, seems to float from left to right – and back. Baier has a strong following, including this writer, but the suspicion is that his once reliability may be compromised. Fondly recalling the trustworthiness of those originals brings pleasure: Uma Pemmaraju, Neil Cavuto, Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, Patti Ann Browne, Jennifer Griffin, and Trace Gallagher.

The elegant Lauren Green Fox’s Religion editor, and concert pianist, is in a category by herself.

Night time brings solid work from Laura Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson. Sadly, Sean Hannity has super-smart guess (Andrew McCarthy), but treats them in such a pedestrian fashion that it’s cringworthy. Simple kindness leaves an analysis of weekend FNC best unacknowledged at this point.

Fox News has raked in millions of dollars in advertising – masquerading as the “conservative alternative” to CNN, MSNBC et al; in recent years, the cable network has found comfortable housing for all sorts of Democrats.

Conservative viewers are on to it.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                      

 

 

THE DECLINE OF BOYS

                                     THE DECLINE OF BOYS

A horrifying fact in all these mass shootings, most recently in El Paso, Dayton, and the continuous disgrace of Chicago, is that an over whelming number of shooters are DAD DEFICIENT.

That’s right, “Dad Deficient”.

Today’s boys are in terrible shape…massive numbers without fathers, and any adult male presence. That is the takeaway from the news of the last few days. It’s all found in the beautifully researched book: The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It.

Warren Farrell, author of The Myth of Male Power, and John Gray, author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, combines wide-reaching research, analysis, and self-help advice. The fact that “boys are declining in a dramatic way in virtually every key metric.” is clear.

Worldwide, boys are 50 percent less likely than girls to meet basic proficiency standards in reading, math, and science. The average sperm count of men in the U.S. drops 1.5 percent every year; one in five young men are not fertile. The gap between male and female suicides has tripled in the United States since the Great Depression.

As we noted before, mass shootings are among the most horrific acts of destruction a person can commit, and they have tripled in the U.S. since 2011, and most are committed by males.

And then there is this:

James Howard Kunstler writes…..”In a nation afflicted by fads, crazes, manias, and rages, mass murder is the jackpot for nihilists – begging the question: why does this country produce so many of them?                                                                                                            Answer: this is exactly what you get in a culture where anything goes and nothing matters. Extract all the meaning and purpose from being here on earth, and erase as many boundaries as you can from custom and behavior, and watch what happens, especially among young men trained on video slaughter games.                                                                                                         For many, there is no armature left to hang a life on, no communities, no fathers, no mentors, no initiations into personal responsibility, no daily organization principles, no instruction in useful trades, no productive activities, no opportunities for love and affection and NO WAY OUT”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RACISM…today

RACISM…today

This piece on Racism began as a simple five part series on the Wallace Face Book page….then the subject took off, I’m afraid. Thanks to Jonah Goldberg for ginning me up for this.

Sorry, everyone, but I simply do ot need a tutorial in racism…..it surrounded me as a child in so many different ways. And damn, I do find it regrettable that I did not see it for what it was when I was six years old. Racism simply encompassed the culture when I was growing up….you can find it all in ESSEX MEMORIS & BEYOND, which I wrote in 2014.

If you’ve never had a friend or loved one who said something bigoted, you live in a bubble. If you have a grandparent or uncle or aunt, maybe a college buddy who joked, generalized, or complained about “them” – where “them” can be blacks, whites, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hispanics, Irish, Italians, Arab, Israeli, Poles, women, Asians, gays, straights, trans genders, or any combination of these categories – then you might as well stop reading this, because it’s doubtful we share enough life experience to communicate.

Let’s say, as a grandfather, I am prone to be negative toward the Japanese (Japs) because of my bitter recollections of Pearl Harbor. Heck, I remember when the Green Hornet’s sidekick, Cato, became Filipino overnight…instead of Japanese – on radio.  Am I a racist because I despised them for what they did in that sneak attack? I think not.  

Jane Coaston (Vox) penned an essay, “A Question for Conservative, what if the left was right on race?” Jonah Goldberg responded, “ Question for Conservatives: What if the right was wrong on race?”                                                                                                                    As I have argued many times, the right, broadly speaking, was wrong on the 1960’s civil rights questions…you know – about Federalism, States Rights, and the Constitution – all that technical stuff – and about the fact that Republicans were a lot better on Civil Rights than Democrats.                                                                                                         We all know that ‘racism’ was a platform in many different ways for the Democrats – it is historically undeniable: Democrats founded the KKK, the Knights of the White Camelia, Poll tax, Massive Resistance, and on and on. Liberals hate many of these caveats, no doubt partly out of a mix of shame over the Democratic Party’s history on race, and pride over it transformation.

Leftist Democrats dislike any pushback on their narrative, because they think all of the racists left the Democrats, and joined the Republican en masse, remaining UNRECONSTRUCTED, which is nonsense. That was 1968 – 50 years ago. One point that gets left out of these squabbles is the simple fact that conservatives want to take some share of ownership over America’s racial progress. That is a good thing.                                                                                                                   If these conservatives were the racists they’re often painted as, they would celebrate their alleged ideological forbearer’s resistance. They don’t and that is a good thing. And it is a sad and weird aspect of our tribal times that large numbers of liberals don’t want to allow them to.

Roger Kimball, editor of The New Criterion, recently is quoted as saying the four freshman congress-women who make up the “Squad” should stop using the term ‘people of color’ because it a racist phrase. Besides, he said, “everyone has a color”.

Regarding Presidents Obama and Trump:                                                                                  Obama:                                                                                                                   ….it is easy to acknowledge that many on the right failed to appreciate that racial under tones in some Obama criticism, most obviously the “Birther” conspiracy theories that so exercised some on the right. The mere fact that so many on the right were, for a time at least, willing to embrace the alt-right as part of the conservative coalition doesn’t prove that the left was right all along about the right. Yet, it demonstrates that something had gone terribly wrong on the right. And the fact that there are many people, including the president, willing to play nice with alt-right remains shameful.                                                                                         Trump:                                                                                                                  ….it is difficult to defend Trump on the racism, xenophobia, nativism categories. But his brand of racism is, in my mind not ideological. As Jonah Goldberg writes: “its parochial racism of 1970s – 80s New York City, which still viewed race through the prism of kind of Tammany Hall-style tribalism. You can imagine him reading the New York Post in 1979 saying, “look at what the blacks want now!”. Given that he toiled in the kind of transactional swamp where people like Al Sharpton claimed to speak “for the blacks” in his numerous shake-down efforts, you can kind of understand it.                                                                                                                                                              I know Southern racism –and have a deep understanding of it, which convinces me that Trump is totally removed from that degree, despite the Left’s fascination for labeling him. It simply is not what defines him. And even if you could convince millions of Trump supporter that he is racist to one extent or another, that doesn’t flip a switch in every one’s mind the way it does for some in the minority community, and the race-obsessed.                                                                                                                      Sadly, these race-obsessed are lost to the group that use the word ‘racist’ in dramatic and weaponized ways.

These, candidate Hillary Clinton, are your fiercely authentic irredeemable.                                                  

 

                                                                                                                                                          

HOLDING ARTHUR CLOSE

 NOTE – This was a column written four years ago, which the RTD turned down at the time…..not long after my submission, the RTD published a Michael Paul Williams column they felt preferable. I continue to be proud of this column while watching the Ashe Blvd. become a reality. So it goes.

The expression, “a legacy of slavery”, often surfaces when America’s racial problem and injustice arise in social conversations. I suppose the fact that over 70 % of African American children are currently being raised without a dad present…feeds the social disaster.

Clearly, Arthur Ashe proved this wrong forty years ago. He won the tennis championships at Wimbledon.

Editorially, the Richmond Times Dispatch summarized this man-champion:   he earned eternal membership in the aristocracy of merit. Maybe it’s that merit-business that brings me back to Ashe – not the Confederate flag issue.

Rhapsodizing about my almost contempory Richmonder, the tennis champ conjures up exhausting appreciation – If we can bypass his tennis celebrity, Ashe was so much more… he empowered local student achievement by reconciling the irreconcilable. His model of pure integrity was important to struggling black and white youths alike.

“Days of Grace,” a life-reflecting autobiography, revealed the key. Growing up black and barred from playing tennis in segregated public parks, Ashe improvised. Receiving a UCLA tennis scholarship, after graduating from segregated Maggie Walker High School, this solemn-eyed student blended career with growing personal dignity.

He plunged into poised citizenship, catapulting into national celebrity with tennis achievements (818 wins – 260 losses) until exhaustion indicated a predisposition to heart disease in 1979. Richmond’s champion endured the early era of open-heart surgery – strength and faith abide. Thirty three years later it would be my turn.

A tainted blood transfusion intervened, passing on the AIDS virus; this would hound him into a death sentence…bitterness purged.

Ashe was five years my junior, so our connection was remote. As a public school teacher, I met him twice – for purpose of honoring top high school academic achievers, public and private – at Holiday Inn 3200 in Richmond. Obviously ill, ever resilient, Ashe buoyed by rapturous teen audiences, courageously, shaking hands, autographing automatically, enduring the energy of adolescent honorees…his mentoring reigned.

“Of all my possessions, my reputation means most to me,” he wrote. He tried to live up to rules set by his disciplinarian father, Arthur Ashe Sr. “Don’t do anything you couldn’t tell your mother about,” dad would chide. Amid the perceived quaintness, hamstrung with an ever coarsening culture, Ashe didn’t flinch – his behavioral code remained rock-strong.

As U.S. Davis Cup team captain, Ashe viewed personal conduct and behavior an ultimate responsibility. Lamenting Jimmy Connors’ refusal to participate in Cup rounds, and observing John McEnroe’s bratty exhibitionism sullying America’s reputation, Ashe was mortified.

Then – the honesty in “Days of Grace.” He expressed deep disappointment in basketball greats Earvin Johnson (Ashe thought it demeaning to call him “Magic”) and Wilt Chamberlain. When they publicly bragged of their sexual conquests, he ruminated: “What does this say to youth who idolize them?”

Political liberalism spoke to his personal values: activist government; endorsement of abortion rights; marching in protest movements against South African apartheid, and exhibiting near-worship of Nelson Mandela. He traced black American challenges to slavery and discrimination – then quickly would admonish: “this history of oppression not be used as excuse for anti-social behavior, black chauvinism, or bogus appeals to racial solidarity.”

I wondered what Ashe thought of Frederick Douglass’ quote in the 19th century concerning well-meaning whites. Thomas Sowell assures that Douglass said, “Everybody has asked the question, ‘What shall we do with the Negro?’ I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us.”

“Days of Grace” was required reading in my Advance Placement U.S. History classes at Mills Godwin High School. Frankly, it ought to be required reading in the company of To Kill a Mocking Bird, and The Great Gatsby. Standing alone, his work and citizenship dictate the movement to rename Richmond’s Boulevard: ASHE BOULEVARD.

Passing frequently by his Monument Avenue statue, Arthur Ashe was a god-send to Richmonders who took pride in his example. Abundantly bringing us qualities of soul-enhancing self-examination, the Ashe tradition may give us a Russell Wilson, who could emerge with similar qualities…our culture is desperate for them.

                                                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                              

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT IN THE WORLD !

                                                                                                                  MORE Than MORE the  Kindness of Strangers.: ABOUT 400 college graduates in Georgia will have their student loan debt paid off, thanks to philanthropist, Robert Smith. Smith gave the keynote commencement address at Morehouse College in Atlanta, announcing that his family is creating a grant to eliminate the class of 2019’s student loans…about $14,000,000.00 payout.  “I know my class will make sure they pay this forward and I want my class to look at the alumnus, these beautiful Morehouse brothers, and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward.” Oprah Winfree spoke at Colorado College….and gave all a copy of her new book.

Believe It Or Not Department   IT was late October, 1993, in a fancy private club setting – a  political gathering for Michael P. Farris, Republican candidate for Lt. Governor. It would be the year that George Allen and Jim Gilmore would go on to a big political victory in Virginia.                             A group of us stood in the back area. Former Attorney General, William Barr, had been brought in to introduce Mike Farris….then; he came to the back of the room to listen to Farris’s speech. The former G.H.W. Bush’s AG was right next to me, and we chatted about 12 minutes or so. We both were much younger, but it occurred to me that this guy had a first rate mind, and expertise beyond my depth. He was the real professional….and so he is today.

Governor Ralph Northam: Where are Jeff Schapiro and Patrick Wilson, RT-D political reporters, on the Northam’s nickname at VMI: “coon-man”? I swear we have a right to know.

Duck & Cover Department    “WE really need to have a CONVERSATION” – about anything – this or that. Painfully, what they really intend is they want you to concede your committed position….er, you’re in error, and a complete change of your position is expected on any given issue.

Episcopal Church Of The United States (ECUSA) – Diocese of Virginia:  ONE of the largest diocese in ECUSA (nearly 80,000 members) currently has a “substitute” bishop, er – a “temp.” The Rt Revd Susan E. Goff was not formally elected, nor has she been ordained. Alas, decisions continue to be made, particularly those of an ideological nature, preaching the predictable, while not directly addressing the ‘born alive” bill. Another “new norm” forced on the congregations of this denomination? Purple hair, anyone?

Historians”…Gone bonkers:  POOR Douglas Brinkley, Rice University’s embarrassment, fawns over ‘Master’ and ‘Historic Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. Rather than remaining an objective historian, Brinkley couldn’t help but drool over Speaker Pelosi as a partisan mouthpiece for her tiffs with the hated President Donald J. Trump. Where’s the man’s professionalism?                                                                                                 Historian Jon Meacham, presidential biographer, former Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek – which he ran into the ground – has embarrassed himself further; Meacham was on television, constantly uplifting, and praising Michael Avenatti, the creepy porn lawyer. Meacham joined such luminaries as Joe Scarborough, Soledad O’Brien, and Brian Stelter during, and after, the Brett Cavanaugh hearings for the Supreme Court nominee. Talk about crass judgment and bush-league analysis.

Department of “SCARY”: THE New York Times admits Democratic-run cities are unlivable. Dr. Drew predicts a major epidemic in filthy Los Angeles this summer. On May 22, 2019, the New York Times published and op/Ed, “America’s Cities Are Unlivable, Blame Wealthy Liberals.” By the papers opinion columnist Fared Manjoo, calling “progressives” hypocrites for abandoning “progressive values in their own backyards”.

VIRGINIA’s 7th Congressional District – Rep .Abigale Spanberger.      * Our ‘Abby’ won with 50.4% of the vote in November, 2018.       * Abby spends every moment of representation – distancing herself from her party’s radicals. * Abby did not vote for Pelosi as Speaker.  * Abby was only one of 7 Dems to visit the White House in January, working with the detested Trump.  * Abby voted with Republicans FOR – an amendment that would have required the background system to notify immigration authorities when illegal aliens attempt to buy firearms. * Oh, and Abby has not made “a determination” on impeachment – flipping her interview with Kim Strassel to her “bipartisan credentials.”  QUESTION for the 7th district citizens – where does Abby stand on   a) the open-border crisis;   b) the “born alive” bill to stop infanticide;  c)  the new trade proposals concerning Mexico, and Canada, which must get done.                    HUH?

CONCLUSION:                                                                                        Sadly, men are less free than they imagine. The perceived freest are probably the less free. It has come to me that men are free when they are obeying some deeper inward voice of purpose religion – not following some socially accepted ideology, but facing

 

 

 

 

 

UNACCEPTABLE DIVISIVENESS

                        UNACCEPTABLE DIVISIVENESS

Political polarization – the vast and growing gap between liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats – has become a defining feature of American politics. It has tragic implications – probably bringing us all totally down.

Clinton Rossiter, then a Cornell historian in 1960, referred to this general subject in his piece, “Parties and Politics in America”; it attempted to address the overall subject.

Political parties have been the peacemakers of the American community…the unwitting but forceful suppressors of the “civil-war potential” we carry always in the bowels of our diverse nation. “Blessed are the peacemakers, I am tempted to conclude”, he wrote.

But here is where we find ourselves in 2019….in a deep political ditch.

It is now difficult in these days for Republicans to have solid Democrat friends…as it is for Democrats to have solid Republican friends. That is the truth.

So we must begin somewhere – probably not a balance approach….but a start. Thus, I am obligated, as a conservative person, to inquire of my remaining Democrat friends the following, without accusation.

Do you support, or believe:

  • The Green New Deal.
  • Reparations for slavery, and how that would work.
  • Modern abortion, redefined as permissible Infanticide.
  • Open borders.
  • Packing SCOTUS with additional, preferably liberal judges.
  • Abolition of the Electoral College.
  • Abolition of ICE.
  • Totally free college tuition.
  • Elimination of student debt TOTALLY.
  • Medicare for ALL.
  • A Wealth tax.
  • A 70 % top marginal income tax rate.
  • A 16 year old voting age.
  • Automatic voting rights for ex-felons.

 

There is no lying down of the gauntlet here. It could certainly be said that our current political unrest has nothing on the 1960’s, when Clinton Rossiter observed the above.

All I’m DOING is inquiring.

It seems to me that we are all obligated to address what we are asked to endure – and simply, attempt to resolve issues which divide us – almost totally.

 

OF BLACK FACE & POST BIRTH ABORTION

Infanticide should not be a partisan issue. Every Senator should agree – regardless of party – that a living child should be cared for, not disposed of like medical waste no matter the circumstances of his or her birth….Sen. James Lankford@Senator Lankford.

Yes, Virginians have good reason to be embarrassed – certainly mortified at the Democrat leadership we encounter in this Commonwealth and United States Senate. Most of us never dreamed that we would come to this dreaded political pass.

Our Senators, Mark R. Warner and Timothy M. Kaine, simply piled on to block the “born alive” bill providing medical care to infants who survived failed abortions. Worst of all, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), while touting his pro-life belief, simply dodged a question about supporting legislation that would protect those infants. The Senator’s mendacity is discouraging.

This is how Virginia Democrats feel about “born-alive” legislation to protect the new born?

Then, there is the metastasizing crisis unfolding at the top of Virginia’s state government, particularly in light of their racist campaigning against Republican Ed W. Gillespie in 2017. Remember, Republicans and Gillespie were racists – and sexists; Candidate Ralph Northam lambasted and screamed the charges in advertisements that fall; he led the pack, in large part by excoriating his opponent as a racist for raising the specter of immigrants as source of violent crime, and for leaving Confederate statues in place.

If that wasn’t enough, the current Virginia governor went on later to describe how the procedures for basic infanticide could be accomplished – on a Washington D.C. radio station, WTOP. Finally, the black face and moon dancing episodes splashed his career over the brim.

Then, seemingly clean Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring released a statement saying Northam should stepdown for his black face history. One problem. The hypocritical Herring had a black face history of his own….really!

Finally, there appears Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax with a new twist: two very professional Democrat women accused him of sexual assault over a period of approximately four years; Fairfax happens to be black, aiming for Virginia’s second black governorship in just two years. Talk about political and race complications!

Fairfax’s tactics turned out to be a tad more creative. He now compares his own case – in which these two women accuse him of sexual assault – to a “modern-day lynching” of a black man if the legislature may wish to hold a public hearing on the matter. Where is the shame, truth, or honor?

So in the last two months, the Democrats have left our scarred Commonwealth with disgrace, mortification, plus unwillingness to take responsibility, and helping to resolve the crisis.

Instead they have given us the following:

  • Total non-cooperation of dealing with the “Fairfax difficulty” by being uncooperative in a proposed 50/50 two-party committee to investigate this disaster of public service.
  • Democrats tried to make INFANTICIDE legal in the Commonwealth of Virginia…no doubt about this.
  • The Democratic Governor and Attorney General both admitted to black-facing. They sit in office untouched by their party leadership. What if the Republican had done this?
  • The Fairfax matter seems to slide on despite charges of sexual assault from two different Democrat female professionals. Even the national Democratic leadership is embarrassed by this tragedy.
  • To make the scenario even more scandalous, the Democrats picked an anti-Semitic candidate in a deep blue Northern Virginia district – then elected him to the General Assembly of Virginia.

As Virginians, we have every right to be humiliated and chagrined. How do we get out of this…overcome the stench? Democrats, what gives?

 

      

 

SCARY RELIANCE

“No border, no wall, no USA at all”….Colleges and Universities are adjusting their academic campuses to seemingly hate machines.

Many think our American community is now separated beyond repair. The political party’s hold disdain and malice for each other. Additionally, television journalism, printed media journalist, who used to fight fake or miss-guided news, now simply pretends it doesn’t exist.

Graduating from college in 1960, national politics was deeply divided, yet there was the nonideological party system used as the route to a peculiarly American kind of consensus politics. It seemed to work.

Clinton Rossiter, then a Cornell historian, referenced this in his Parties and Politics in America: “the parties have been the peacemakers of the American community…the unwitting but forceful suppressors of the ‘civil-war potential’ we carry always in the bowels of our diverse nation. Blessed are the peace makers, I am tempted to conclude.”

Television was certainly around, without color, but we did not suffer an electronic media bent on celebrating daily false news, creating crisis hourly.

Recently, FNC (Fox News Channel) had a median viewer age of 68, compared to MSNBC’s of 63, and CNN’s 59. Changing demographics always rule – demanding obvious shifts. Joe Concha, The Hill’s trustworthy journalist, writes on media, consistently expressing disenchantment on how the cable propaganda seems never-ending. Their professional obligations to the American public for fact based reporting borders on empty. For me, it border on repulsive.

“Catch me on #Kimmel TONIGHT @JimmyKimmelLive@JimmyKimmel#ABC”, Bret Baier excitedly tweets. How absolutely sad! If one network attempts a balanced, yet controversial news report, their competitors morph into Chesapeake crabs. You know: the crab who manages to climb out of the basket causes other crabs to pull him back down. That’s what crabs do. It is also what cable news networks do. To the sophisticated news view, it becomes a repulsive dynamic.

All three networks had their strategies: Fox came available in the late 1990’s as a needed conservative antidote – simply offering a choice, and keeping the others honest. CNN came to Richmond in 1980 symbolizing balanced coverage. MSNBC appeared in an almost schizophrenic state where there was little consistency – just flopping around from ideology to ideology.

Today’s treacherous business is simply blocking reports that are unsuitable for the ideology of said cable channel: the Rep. Keith Ellison (house member and vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee) alleged relationship abuse charges; Antifa’ s physical attack on a NBC reporter, and camera man – then unreported by NBC News; the heart-breaking return of human remains from North Korea as a result of the Trump – North Korea agreement –totally unreported except for FNC; non coverage of FISA court applications; even Trump’s positive economic accomplishments. Conclusion the news seems “fixed’.

FNC (Fox News) finds its brand unsettling. Dropping talents like fly’s for the last several years – some no doubt for behavior transgressions – does not denote stability. Others suspect the network’s repositioning to an ideological center-left, which will join the others. Fox News Sunday has been particularly provoking. Once commandeered by the wonderful Tony Snow – then Brit Hume, FNC finds itself in the lap of snarly, interruptive, Chris Wallace – the balance disappears.                                                                                        

Yes, Fox & Friends IS averaging 1/5 million against the unwatchable Joe Scarborough. Unbelievably, Juan Williams shows up a half dozen times daily – one would think his jaded history at the Washington Post would have kept him off the set entirely. Google it if you must.

CNN’s current status is hard, sad, bewildering to its veteran viewers. The once-crown jewel of Cable News Network does not even get the ratings of HGTV. CNN reporter, Jim Acosta, with his recent melt downs at both the Trump rally in Florida, and his remarkable bad behavior at the White House brings disgust. This network is saturated Hate Trump 24 hours daily.

This was the network of the wonderful Kathleen Sullivan; John Holliman, Bernard Shaw, and Peter Arnett, who transmitted for CNN from a Baghdad hotel as the first bombs dropped in Operation Desert Storm, Jan. 20, 1991. Alas, the network of Robert Novak, Nick Charles, Stuart Varney, Sharyl Attkisson, Mona Charen…..what happened?

MSNBC has long been the problem child and dumping ground for NBC News demotions. For example, once near- greats like Willie Geist, Chris Jansing, Chris Matthews (can one believe Matthews use to sub for Rush Limbaugh?); Brian Williams, Joe Scarborough, and Mika; Joy Ann Reid, who seems apologetic on a monthly basis for some earlier writings…..and a seemingly successful Rachael Maddow.

Conclusion: Good night, David….Good night Chet….and good night…for nbc news.

 

 

IN RICHMOND…ARTHUR ASHE BLVD.

ARTHUR ASHE BOULEVARD….it’s time.

Richmond Times Dispatch’s LIVING, Section D: Commemorating Tennis Legend…reunited my attention to the idea of renaming Richmond’s Boulevard.

There was far more to this Richmonder that the fact that over 40 years ago, he won the tennis championship at Wimbledon.

Some years back the Richmond Times Dispatch described Arthur Ashe editorially: “He earned eternal membership in the aristocracy of merit”. For me, it’s the “merit” business that marks his place of honor in Richmond culture. He carried wisdom with “capacity of judging rightly in matters relating to life and conduct”.

One can find it in “Days of Grace”, a life-reflecting autobiography, revealing this man for who he was – what he became. Bypassing his tennis celebrity, I witnessed, in later life, his empowerment of local student achievement by reconciling the almost irreconcilable. His behavioral model: pure integrity, and self-worth.

“Of all my possessions, my reputation means the most to me,” he wrote.

He attempted to live up to rules set by his disciplinarian father, Arthur Ashe, Sr. “Don’t do anything you couldn’t tell your mother about,” dad would chide. Amid the perceived quaintness, hamstrung with an ever coarsening culture, Ashe didn’t flinch – his behavioral code remained rock-strong.

He was forthright about his liberalism….the activist endorsement of abortion rights; his marching in protest movements against South African apartheid, and near-worship of Nelson Mandela. Ashe readily traced black American challenges to slavery and discrimination – but then quickly admonishes: “this history of oppression not be used as excuse for antisocial behavior, black chauvinism or bogus appeals to racial solidarity.”

“Days of Grace” revealed the key. Growing up black in Jim Crow Virginia, barred from playing tennis in segregated public parks, Ashe improvised. Learning to play from Ron Charity at age seven, and then from Dr. Robert “Whirlwind” Johnson at tennis camp in Lynchburg, he plunged into poised citizenship.

Receiving a UCLA tennis scholarship, after graduating from the segregated Maggie Walker, this solemn-eyed adolescent blended his career with a growing personal dignity. Ashe catapulted into national celebrity with tennis achievements (818 wins, 260 losses) until exhaustion indicated a pre-disposition to heart disease in 1979. This Richmond champion endured the early era of open-heart surgery, with abiding strength and faith.

Thirty-three years later it would be my turn.

For Ashe, a tainted blood transfusion intervened, passing on the AIDS virus; this would hound him into an early death sentence, with bitterness purged. Ashe was five years my junior, so any connection was remote.

As a public classroom teacher, I met him twice – for purposes of honoring top high school academic achievers, public and private – at Holiday Inn, 3200 on Broad Street. Obviously ill, ever resilient, Ashe was buoyed by rapturous teen audiences; courageously, shaking hands, autographing automatically, and enduring the energy of adolescent honorees – his mentoring reigned.

Personally, I forced myself to think about an old Frederick Douglass’ quote in the 19th century concerning “well-meaning “whites. Columnist Thomas Sowell assures that Douglass said, “Everybody has asked me the question, ‘what shall we do with the Negro?’ I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us.” That was over a century before the “Great Society”.

“Days of Grace” was required reading in my Advanced Placement U.S. History classes at Mills Godwin High School. Frankly, it ought to be required reading in the company of “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” and The Great Gatsby; this work alone dictates the validity to rename Richmond’s Boulevard: ARTHUR ASHE BOULEVARD.

Passing frequently by his Monument Ave. statue, I am reminded that Ashe was a godsend to Richmonders. His qualities for soul-enhancement and self-examination continue to be essential for his home community. Our culture is desperately hungry for them.

THE FREEMANS NEVER DISAPPOINT

I write of James Douglas Freeman, devoted friend, counselor, and, yes – sponsor, during some dark days in my life.

Doug died August 11, 2018 at 94 years, with a memorial funeral August 16th at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church; he was the son of Dr. Douglas S. Freeman, Civil War historian; Editor, Richmond News Leader; radio commentator on WRNL-AM.

For some astonishing reason, that second generation of Freemans crossed my path from my adolescent years until recently. Doug and I came together in those early Ronald Reagan 1980’s – as I wallowed in my miserable mid-forties, trapped with addiction and partnerships in business, which were seemly problematic. He was my strength all the way.

Douglas Freeman High School opened its door, mid-summer 1954, under W. Howard Mears. The school’s name sake, Dr. Douglas S. Freeman – “The Doc” – had died several years earlier; his roles as commentator, major historian, author of R.E. LEE, carried deep creds. As Doug often said, “my father used every moment of every day to be productive.” And so it began.

Mary Tyler Freeman Cheek (McClenahan) was the eldest of the Freeman second generation; she was deeply involved in Richmond community projects; she was responsible for bringing CBS’ Ed Bradley to Richmond for a forum, and earlier, in the 1950’s, hosted a youth-issues radio show on WRNL-AM. It was an honor for me to be a weekly guest representing Douglas Freeman High School. We’d arrive Thursday afternoon; tape the hour long presentation for broadcast on that Saturday morning. It enabled me to meet and get to know Roger Mudd – yep, that CBS’ Roger Mudd; the talented Bill Morrison, who went on the VMFA; and Ray Schreiner – a favorite disc jockey of Richmond teens. Decades later, Mary Tyler would play a significant role in publishing the book, Douglas Southall FREEMAN by David E. Johnson – then a senior counsel to the attorney general of Virginia.

Anne Freeman Adler Turpin, the second sister, became very special to me; Gladly, I shared this experience with both son and daughter at Doug’s funeral reception. In her final years, she had been director of special learning at St. Bernard’s School in Manhattan. Anne Freeman was a graduate of Vassar College, 1945, with a master’s degree from Columbia  University.                               Babs Stettheimer Adler, her mother in law, shared her concern for this sensitive young lady, who became her son’s wife. “I’m worried about this marriage, because she is such an intelligent girl”, she told several friends. After reading this from The Private and Powerful Family behind the New Your Times, THE TRUST, I understood my positive personal experience with her.                                      In 1956, Anne F. Adler brought her mother, Inez, to the new Douglas Freeman H.S. for a visit. As a student, it was my assignment to show them around. Her graciousness to me was so unforgettable on that morning school tour, I’ve never forgotten it – in my mind she was a gem.

Then the youngest, James Douglas (Doug)….the son.

Closely observing Doug Freeman’s funeral service at St. Stephen’s Church, I realized how many AA program people filled the pews. Doug’s last third of life was devoted to hundreds of others in addiction trouble. Once his own decades-long personal fog lifted, “recovery” became his mission. He returned to the classroom becoming an alcohol rehab counselor at St. John’s Hospital – then at Tucker Pavilion. Freeman went on to serve on the Governor’s Committee on Alcohol and Substance Abuse, and assuming his board membership at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College as a privilege. This addiction business was the fight of his life, finally losing his son, James Douglas Freeman, Jr. (Jamie), to the dreaded disease…but helping along the way those thousands of souls who’d simply lost hope.                                                                                       Doug had served in the Pacific Theater in World War II as a coxswain or helmsman aboard the USS Audubon; he would often put those regimens and challenges to lead others on a path to sobriety. The Rev. William L. Sachs picked up on this in his homily. Doug always kept it simple…90 AA meetings in 90 days – one hour at a time.                                                                                      The measure of Doug’s life reflected well on this second generation Freeman clan. Many walk the streets of Richmond healthier today. Clearly, he was passionately a “Friend of Bill”.