Blogs > Frye on the News

Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Emergency manager

I wonder how much play the ending of the financial emergency in Ecorse will get. It is an important story, not just for us in Oakland County, where Pontiac has been under an emergency manager for years, but for the state, as Detroit finally moved into that.

It deserves to be read, as four years of loss of local control has ended. It is a necessary step, if the community's elected leaders are unable to balance the budget, but it is a controversial one, too.

It is most controversial, of course, in Detroit, where politics gets ugly.

Meanwhile, everyone played up the story of the bomb threat at Pontiac High School, including a scroll during the morning shows on WDIV-TV 4. It used to be such threats were not publicized for fear of inspiring other threats, but lately, perhaps because of real bombs and bombings, such threats receive big headlines and live reporting. Let's hope it doesn't happen elsewhere this week.

Monday, April 29, 2013

SI breaks day's top story

They do great work at Sports Illustrated but today's coup of landing the first major sport athlete to come out as gay while playing is major, first for being a first and second for not being leaked or scooped.

It's a shame the value of getting the story out first as the real success is in finding and telling the story well, which Sports Illustrated appears to have done. But Deadspin notes, based on accounts from top editor and a writer, that the James Collins piece included hiding it within the newsroom, a key step in needing secrecy from an office full of reporters.

And of course, at ESPN, the top story remained the non-story, Tim Tebow the celebrity without a job or team or sport. 

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The third-string quarterback has left the building

He is no Elvis when it comes to talent (most people say), but Tim Tebow is up there when it comes to celebrity.

Hence the NY Jets' third-string quarterback, Tim Tebow, was released today by the struggling franchise. Well, they struggled last year after two surprise playoff appearances and two road playoff wins, but in the NFL, it's what you are doing now, or most recently, and prior success matters little.

Tebow, famous for being sincere and religious, has even won a playoff game, beating the Steelers two years ago while in Denver, where the love-hate relationship with NFL fans was created. He was chased out by Payton Manning after leadership there ruled he would not be the team's future. But he never really played in NY and he was hated by many.

He ended the season as the third option and the team drafted a quarterback this weekend, and it's no surprised he was released. But when it happened, the Associated Press issued an APNewsAlert:

FLORHAM PARK, N.J (AP) — New York Jets say they have waived Tim Tebow.

It may seem an overreaction, but you cannot deny the power of fame and celebrity in our news media and in our sports coverage. And considering the exaggerated value placed on him and this story of NY's QB situation, the AP is obligated to make sure member paper's get the story, which is why within an hour they had a lengthy, 35-inch story read for use. I posted it.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Good day for bad news

Presidential candidates lead the pack in the ability to maximize any good news and attempt (usually failing) to lessen the impact of bad news.

It's the 5 p.m. Friday announcement. Sure, it can dominate a weekend, but less people watch news throughout the weekend.

But on a day like today, I always joke that it's a good time to announce that paternity admission, when the headlines are dominated with the ONE story everyone is talking about.

Everyone, except Matt Lauer, is in Boston as the search for the suspect continues, so it's worth a chuckle for the Boy Scouts to announce it may allow gay scouts.

Of course, these things are not always intentional, but it's fair to wonder. PR people should naturally be shrewd.

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Where in the world is Matt Lauer?

Yes, it's a regular feature on the "Today Show" on NBC, but today is a special edition.

I figure it was a gamble and it failed miserably, sending their top guy to Texas, where the big news was yesterday, not today. But he's there, and not looking too happy. At least he's not in London on baby bump duties.

But NBC has done great work in recent days and weeks with its news coverage. It got the drone strike story. It avoided the 'arrest has been made' mistakes in Boston, along with CBS. I saw CNBC did have note up about AP reporting an arrest but it quickly replaced with reports of no arrest from NBC reporters.

Here are some tweets about Lauer's absence from the biggest story of the week, the manhunt and shutting down of Boston, including the slaying of a police officer and killing of first suspect. This has been going on for hours, and NBC was hurt every time they updated the Texas blast story, which is relevant with 12 bodies recovered being announced.

The tweets:

daveweigel ‏@daveweigel 8m
RT @Bencjacobs: The look of unhappiness on Matt Lauer's face as he does a remote from West, Texas is spectacular

 John Walters ‏@jdubs88 9m
I understand more people have died in Texas,but any news producer who sent his best person there (Cooper, Lauer) is a numbskull. Boston...

Of course, Lauer and his team cannot escape the continued news being reported on the shameful departure, forcing out, of Ann Curry, the is keeping as a top editor's pick.

More tweets:

Claire Zulkey ‏@Zulkey 53m
Matt Lauer looked kind of salty about being in Texas this morning.
Followed by Dr. Barbara Holstein

 Sam Rubin ‏@samontv 1h
More "Today" show bad luck. Worlds' eyes are on Boston, & Matt Lauer is live from Texas this morning. @KTLAMorningNews 100% Boston this a.m.

 Julie DiCaro ‏@JulieDiCaro 1h
I bet Matt Lauer is so pissed to be stuck in Texas.

 Ricky Engelberg ‏@rje7 1h
I'm guessing Matt Lauer is contemplating replacing himself in Texas with a scarecrow and chartering a jet to Boston. #todayshow

 FTVLive✅ ‏@FTVLive 1h
While the eyes of the world are focused on Watertown, MA..... 1832 miles away sits Matt Lauer.​

 John Nolte ‏@NolteNC 1h
If Today Show is doing 'Where in the world is Matt Lauer?" he's not laughing.

 Jennifer Rubin ‏@JRubinBlogger 1h
Today is really good w/out Matt Lauer.. Aunt of suspect friend said suspect friendly, beautiful, went to "diverse" high school

 Will Bunch ‏@Will_Bunch 2h
Matt Lauer down in West, Texas is like the Rosenkrantz or Guilderstern of TV news reporting today

 joseph williams ‏@jdub321 2h
#karma RT @jeffkrehely: Matt Lauer seems annoyed that he's reporting from TX, while news breaks back east. Somewhere Ann Curry smiles.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Arrest, yes, no, maybe

What a day for following the news, when The Associated Press had to back off a report from an anonymous source that an arrest was imminent in the Boston Marathon bombings.

I need to look at the analysis of this, but I want to wait first for the authorities to say what is going on, as it seems like information is being held back, perhaps in the name of the investigation.

What is for certain is there is a huge thirst for immediate updates and when they come, everyone devours them. When they are wrong, many many people are quick to denounce the media as an entirety.

But if media types are too loud in their complaints, then perhaps the industry, or profession, should look at complete bans on unnamed sources. That won't happen, so with that, we will have to live with the occasional step backs. Let's just hope no one gets ID'd as a suspect and then suffers the way Richard Jewell did in the Atlanta Olympic bombing.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Basebrawl, forget suspensions, sue one of them

The LA Dodgers pinned high hopes on the arm and shoulder of $147 million investment, or pitcher, Zack Greinke, who is now injured with a broken collarbone after a San Diego Padre charged the mound and rammed into him.

The pitcher had hit the batter, Carlos Quentin, who has been hit plenty of times and by Greinke before, in the shoulder, prompting the charging and the brawl.

Now, Greinke did duck down and meet the larger Quentin, but I see that as responding to a very real threat. Also, there are mechanisms to deal with intentionally hitting a batter, though no one seems to be saying it was intentional, considering it was a 3-2 count in the sixth inning of a one-run game.

So how does the league handle it? It will suspend Quentin. Dodger manager Don Mattingly rightfully argues Quentin should not play until Greinke comes back. That may curb this. But how about this? The Dodgers, who pay Greinke's salary and now must find someone else to pick up wins as they hope make the playoffs, sue Quentin for something like $20 to $50 million. That might end charging the mound. They may not win... this time, but eventually a team suing may win.

They considered charging players in hockey with assaults for fights, but no one liked that, bringing in an external agencies and entity to make judgments on what should be an on-ice issue. But one team taking the other to court, bringing lawyers into it, just as lawyers end up figuring out who pays for injuries in auto accidents, well, that might get a player's attention.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Obituaries of hate

Here in the US, when Ronald Reagan died, I recalled little hate directed his way. Some people brought up his stances that they still disagreed with; however, most commentary from media types and celebrities and political opponents focused upon his successes, his career and his family.

In England, where many opposed British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday at age 87 following a stroke, not all of the press was good. In fact, some of it downright mean.

Here's one sample, from English musician Morrissey, who called her a "a terror without an atom of humanity." Ouch.

We are much more forgiving here in America, cheering Lindsay Lohen on David Letterman and giving Anthony Weiner a shot at becoming NYC mayor.  When Ronald Reagan, who had many detractors, died, I recall little criticism of even his policies let alone the man. Some of it came out when they named an airport after him, but not during the days and weeks after his passing.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

World leaders, Margaret Thatcher and Kim Jong Un

Feel how you may about Margaret Thatcher, the beloved by many, hated by maybe more, British prime minister who died this week, she showed what it was to be a serious world leader.

She is well known here in the US for her close alliance with Ronald Reagan.

I recall her from the national nightly news, mostly Dan Rather, that we watched at the dinner table of my childhood, leading the movement against unions and Soviets, leading a mysterious (to me at that young age) war for some islands by Argentina, fighting the Irish who wanted freedom, and working to help the British economy survive. All these stories were followed here in the US.

But I mention Thatcher not for her politics but for her stature in the world. Fellow leaders and particularly foes (domestic and international), I suspect, respected her. One part of her story is that she's a woman, much mentioned in her obituary. Little part of the narrative from her battles in the early 1980s, as I recall, dealt with her gender. It's an important part of her obituary, yes, but as a leader, she was prime minister first, a lady second.

Her death this week reminds us of the juvenile nature of international relations by North Korea's new boy-president. The video images out of the Communist state are scary, though very comical and amateurish. Shooting a gun, riding a boat, overseeing the border with South Korea are good for internal propaganda, perhaps, but Kim Jong Un, 29 or 30, is an imposing figure not for his leadership skills, military training or overall intelligence; rather, he is scary because he has nuclear weapons and appears to have some issues.

Let's hope it's all grandstanding for the sake of keeping his people in line, but he could wreak significant havoc on the region and the world's economy, making it necessary for us to respond to his threats and to bring the issues with China and Iran to a head.

It makes me remember Mrs. Thatcher fondly, because she and Reagan could go toe to toe with Soviet leaders, standing by principles while seeing a bigger picture, but still not drive the world into chaos. Kim Jong Un is a reminder that it is important for the US to meddle in other country's affairs to prevent incredible harms being brought onto many peoples.

Let him play ball with Dennis Rodman, though I must say it is interesting to read studies of who actually is in charge over there, as this Telegraph piece evaluates Kim Jong Un's aunt and uncle. Of course, it's interesting in the way "The Sopranos" was interesting.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Tiger fans

It may be a drunk-fest but Opening Day in Detroit, or more properly, considering the season started in Minnesota, the home opener is much much fun.

Here's to another baseball season and arrival of spring, finally!

I've attended only one home opener and it was cold and miserable, but what a blast, the excitement, optimism and joy. Even with some people barely able to stand.

This year, there's much pressure on the Tigers, who already seem like baseball's best eight-inning team, and Jim Leyland, and my hope is to dedicate more time to following this season than I've been able to in the past decade. I may buy a season package from my cable company, so I can also watch the Cincinnati Reds, and I hope to attend more than just one game in Detroit.

But again, here's the optimism of early April.

Lions lose offensive firepower

They have Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson in Detroit, and their extra points will be easily converted.

The long leg and steady kick of longtime Lion Jason Hanson will be missed, I believe. He was my favorite Lion overall, because so many times, when the offense sputtered, he would at least get the three points, often keeping them in the game over the two-plus decades he played.

Two keys to his greatness. He made most of his kicks. And he could be counted on from a long ways off.

Good luck in your next career.

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Some thoughts after being away

I went on vacation and it seems the biggest story nationally is the continued gunning down on law enforcement officials.

Another DA was killed in Texas, along with his wife, following the slaying of the top prison official in Colorado. And I saw on airport TV CNN highlighting the slaying of a West Virginia sheriff.

I know the gun debate has people talking about the right to fight a tyrannical government, but to the vast majority of people, the government, especially on a local level, means public safety, and police, prisons and firefighters are the front lines in this.

The slayings in Texas were big news, partly because of the shootout of the suspect in the Colorado slaying. And that person, a felon, getting a gun illegally has resulted in a woman facing a firearm charge, something that is very appropriate, it sounds to me. I wonder where this story goes.