NYPD’s Finest Attacks Bicyclist

{youtube}oUkiyBVytRQ{/youtube}Like bicyclists don't already have enough challenges to face on the roads… now we have proof that the cops sometimes feel compelled to deliberately go out of their way to abuse bikers. Officer Patrick had been on the job a whooping 3 weeks when he decided to show how he interprets "serving and protecting."

Best part is the quote from the idiot officer's dad, a retired cop who evidently sees nothing wrong with his kids' behavior. "I'm proud of my son" — even though he decided to shove a bicyclist off his bike?!? Yeah, a really proud moment for the Pogan family there. One for the album, no doubt. We can only wonder what Pogan Sr. managed to get away with in his time as a cop in NY.

Sloppy Guardian

For as long as I can remember, the Guardian has been one of the “go to” papers of record, not just in Europe but worldwide. But this piece, US election: Buffett joins Obama to solve economic crisis,” sucked quite badly. I wonder what that’s about — could they just not be bothered with ediitorial oversight on this one, or is their man on the US political beat, Ewen MacAskill, allowed to phone it in because he has to endure several more months in the US spin machine?

Taking it from the top:

Republicans included Paul O’Neill, former Treasury secretary in George Bush’s administration. His attendance was not seen as an endorsement for Obama.

Not seen by whom? Who decided it was wasn’t an endorsement? The Obama campaign? The McCain campaign? Or is MacAskill doing the royal “we” and voicing his own opinion without attribution?

John McCain, Obama’s Republican rival, who complained repeatedly last week about the US media’s saturation coverage of the Democrat’s visit to Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Europe.

Instead of mindlessly regurgitating the McCain campaign’s embarrassing whine, it would have been more informative had MacAskill bothered to point out that McCain was in fact fortunate to avoid the many column inches that could have been dedicated to his repeated flip flops, lies, and embarrassing gaffes while Obama was travelling. Had the media done its job and covered McCain with the same fervor he would no doubt have whined that they were being unfair.

The senator has survived three bouts of melanoma. He suffered sun damage during his 5½ years in a North Vietnamese prison camp.

Uhm, so the McCain campaign has successfully convinced MacAskill that the Senator’s melanoma is basically a war wound? Since his time as a POW is pretty much all McCain has left to run on that’s not surprising, of course, but had MacAskill bothered to do any real research he’d have found that a) the cause of a particular melanoma cannot be pegged with acurracy, and that b) McCain himself has declared that he thinks repeated severe sunburns in his childhood are the cause.

It’s certainly nice of MacAskill to mindlessly repeat the “he’s a war hero and suffered so much” narrative, but calling it journalism is just wrong. He would have been just as right in stating: “He suffered sun damage during his early years as a white American child of tremendous privilege.”

Although Obama is popular in Europe, he has not established a commanding lead in America. A USA Today/Gallup poll of likely voters published yesterday showed McCain jumping 10 points over the last month to put him on 49% to Obama’s 45%. It is out of step with other recent polls that have consistently had Obama ahead, albeit not by much.

This one is just a doozie. Regurgitating the nonsense of talking heads across the US media, this “he’s ahead but not enough, so he’s really not ahead at all” narrative is vacuous at best.

McCain’s campaign has been largely shambolic, with the US media often behaving as if an Obama presidency is inevitable.

Uh, perhaps they consider an Obama presidency inevitable because he’s held a consistent lead in all the polls so far? Or, oh, wait, maybe “the US media” (who, exactly, is that anyway?) hasn’t really considered him a favorite at all — there’s simply only so much to say about Krusty McSame and his incoherent and limp platform.

But the Republicans are hopeful they have found an economic issue that resonates with the electorate: their candidate’s plan to increase drilling for oil in US waters and in a protected area of Alaska. Obama opposes the move.

First of all, since when has oil drilling itself been an economic issue for the electorate? Gas at $5 a gallon, sure, that’s an economic issue, but who the hell thinks drilling rights “resonates” with the average American? Secondly, as has been shown repeatedly — and even admitted by McCain and other Republican surrogates — drilling in Alaska isn’t going to change oil prices much — not at all in the short term, and by about 1 cent at most in the long term. The same goes for the offshore drilling canard. So rather than lamely pointing out that “Obama opposes the move” — and by the way, what “move?” is that exactly — MacAskill might have bothered stating something like “economists as well as Republican presidential candiates themselves have acknowledged that the ANWAR and offshore drilling issue is strictly PR smoke and mirrors and has no factual basis.” As it reads, MacAskill seems to have taken a page from the US playbook and lamely grabs for the “he said she said” play to make his coverage more interesting.

What a pathetic piece. I wonder if MacAskill is hoping to get a chance to sit in McCain’s extra-special good boy seat on the Straight Talk Express?

Michael Savage Really Sucks

 This really got me peeved. Not sure why, maybe because the whole notion of attacking kids in any way is just incredibly pathetic. So, I followed the suggestion of Media Matters, and tracked down one of the stations in my area, WOR in New York, that broadcasts Savage and his filthy crap. They had already realized that the shit was about to hit the fan and was in full damage control mode with a “tell us what you think” page on their website. While it was clear from their statement that they really wanted to disassociate themselves from Savage without really addressing his stupid and hurtful remarks while the storm blew over it was worth a try. So I wrote back to their general manager, Jerry Crowley:

Dear Mr. Crowley,

You have asked for feedback on the issue of Michael Savage and his outrageous commentary regarding children with autism. As a parent of a child with asthma (yes, he lashed out at them as well) I found his commentary profoundly hurtful.

On your website you declare: “The views expressed by Michael Savage are his views and are not those of WOR Radio. As Michael Savage is a syndicated show, the content is the responsibility of the syndicator, which is Talk Radio Networks.”

Quite so. However, you decide whether to broadcast (or not) Mr. Savage and his comments — whatever they may be; as such, the comments he makes will directly impact listeners’ impression of you and your advertisers. When Mr. Savage on your airwaves declares that most autistic children are frauds then your radio station is the vehicle for that message of profound ignorance and disrespect. Furthermore, while you state that “it is impossible for WOR Radio to know the subject matter in advance of airing” it’s not like this is the first time Mr. Savage has been way out of line, is it? A willfully ignorant shock jock who prefers inflammatory and vindictive conjecture over facts, he’s lashed out at everyone from Muslim Americans to Ted Kennedy (see http://mediamatters.org/issues_topics/tags/michael_savage?f=h_top for a full list). It seems a bit disingenuous for you to feign ignorance of his track record and pretend that you’re surprised that he’d say something inappropriate on the air. Your air.

You can try to distance yourself from Mr. Savage’s idiotic and hate-filled commentary with disclaimers about syndication all you want — or you can realize that if you truly are “in the business of serving the community in which we broadcast” then the time has come to find a replacement for Mr. Savage – just like your colleagues in Mississippi, who just announced that they’ve cancelled his show (see http://www.supertalkms.com/index.php and http://thinkprogress.org/2008/07/22/aflac-pulls-ads-from-savages-radio-show/ ). Those of your listeners who choose to believe as Mr. Savage that autistic children should simply be “told not to act like morons” will probably find some other way of getting their daily dose of the dumb when you do the right thing and sever your relationship with his show. Should people with that mindset decide to abandon your station when you clean up your act they probably won’t be missed…

Sincerely,

And look what I got back — the formletter to end them all:

Dear Valued Listener:

Thank you for your recent email to WOR regarding Michael Savage’s remarks on the radio about Autism. As always, we appreciate and welcome your feedback.

As you may have already seen or heard, Michael Savage’s official statement concerning his remarks is as follows:

“My comments about autism were meant to boldly awaken parents and children to the medical community’s attempt to label too many children or adults as autistic.

Just as some drug companies have overdiagnosed ADD and ADHD to peddle dangerous speed-like drugs to children as young as 4 years of age this cartel of doctors and drug companies is now creating a national panic by overdiagnosing autism for which there is no definitive medical diagnosis!

Many children are being victimized by being diagnosed with an illness which may not exist, in all cases. Just a few weeks ago doctors recommended dangerous anti-cholesterol drugs for children as young as 2 years of age!

Without any scientific studies on the possible dangers of such drugs on children, corrupt doctors made this controversial, unscientific recommendation. Increasingly our children are being used as profit centers by a greedy, corrupt medical/pharmaceutical establishment. As the brother of a severely disabled person who suffered and died in a New York snake-pit of a mental hospital, I know first-hand what true disability is.

To permit greedy doctors to include children in medical categories which may not be appropriate is a crime against that child and their family. Let the truly autistic be treated.

Let the falsely diagnosed be free.”

Savage devoted his entire three-hour broadcast of July 21 to further clarifying and explaining his position on autism, allowing listeners to call in and voice their outrage, support, and everything in between. As part of the show, he interviewed Professor Stephen Camarata of Vanderbilt University, who has tested and treated children with autism for over twenty years. Camarata has stated that “because there are no reliable biomedical markers for autism, diagnosis must rely on subjective rating scales making it difficult if not impossible to conduct accurate screening in toddlers or preschoolers.”

Camarata told Savage on the air that he feels “It is absolutely crucial that we come up with and follow specific, consistent guidelines [for diagnosing autism].” The professor continued, “If we expand the autism spectrum…this broad definition…then we are including people who only have maybe one or two of the symptoms and don’t have the core symptoms of autism in our genetic studies…our neuron-imaging studies.”

When asked by Savage about the oft-cited statistic that one in one hundred and fifty children is autistic, Professor Camarata disagreed. He told Savage that “Because the spectrum does not have a standard definition [that of the American Psychiatric Association], it is hard to know what that incidence is.” Camarata also cited a study in the Journal of Clinical Pediatrics last year that said that thirty-four percent of the children using an autism screening questionnaire were in fact over-diagnosed as being autistic.

Obviously, the topic of autism is fraught with emotion, particularly for those afflicted with it or by it…children, their families, and those who know and love them. With the attention that Michael is calling to this topic, he has opened a public forum via talk radio for the discussion of it. Hopefully this will help to educate us all…Savage included!

It should be noted that WOR is neither responsible for nor endorses the views of Michael Savage. This is a syndicated show that WOR airs for our listeners’ enjoyment.

WOR is in the business of serving the community in which we broadcast. That is our stated goal, and we will continue to do so. We regret any consternation that Michael Savage’s remarks may have caused to our listeners, and we hope that the ensuing dialogue will lead us all to a better place.

Sincerely,

Jerry Crowley

Yeah, so much for a dialogue with their listeners. I have no doubt that WOR and other broadcasters will continue to allow Savage to spew forth his ignorant bile, even though some in Congress had the courage to call him on his bullshit this week. Hopefully other advertisers will come to realize like AFLAC that associating themselves with Savage is like smearing their brand and product in shit.

Update: Lots of pressure on advertisers to get their act together and get off the Savage Hate Hour, see here and here and here, too. Oh, and the grade A wankers at Talk Radio Network claim that Savage’s case of teh dumb was merely <i>”an inartful lapse to supply full context“</i> and would like everybody to shut up and go away, because we’re really just shrill lefties, except the advocacy groups who have led the drive to get rid of Savage once and for all — they can get a free PSA on TRN’s hate network. I’m sure they’ll love that payoff.