Larry Conners Sacked

In the service of their convenient Goddess of Journalistic Objectivity, Belo Communications / KMOV sacked anchorman Larry Conners:

In a statement on the station’s website, president and general manager Mark Pimentel said:

“We regret to announce that Larry Conners is no longer a KMOV news reporter.

“For KMOV, there is no higher cause than unbiased, objective news reporting. It is what our viewers expect and it is what we work very hard to deliver. We can accept no less. Larry is certainly entitled to his opinion, but taking a personal political position on one of the Station’s Facebook pages creates an appearance of bias that is inconsistent with important journalistic standards.

“Larry’s departure has nothing to do with the particular position he took, but it does have to do with our belief that his actions made it impossible for him to report for KMOV on certain political matters going forward without at least an appearance of bias. Bringing you accurate and unbiased reporting is the reason we exist.”

Which is, of course, nonsense.

I wondered:

Larry Conners has been on the air in St. Louis for a long time. Undoubtedly his salary is pretty good (from his perspective). Is it bad from KMOV’s persepective? Is Belo / KMOV looking to dump an anchor fondly enjoyed in the St. Louis area because he’s old and expensive, and they have seized upon this as a reason to do it, to make it Conners’ fault, and to seek the approval of the hipster/Washington Avenue loft demographic?

Further down in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, past the fatuous journofan service, we get the real meat of the nut:

Professionally, Conners has been taking hits at KMOV, which replaced him in late April with former sportscaster Steve Savard (alongside Sharon Reed) on the marquee 10 p.m. newscast.

For several months, Savard had filled that slot while Conners recovered from shoulder surgery. Ratings for the Savard newscasts were better than with Conners, sources said, leading station officials to make the switch permanent when Conners returned to work.

Savard also has been anchoring, again with Reed, the 6 p.m. newscast since Conners went off the air because of this recent flap. Generally, stations have their top anchor team host both the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts.

His Facebook posting provided a convenient excuse and time to sack him. So the corporate powers-that-be did that, and made a Show of Their Integrity in doing it.

Now, back to their regular slant, no doubt, which is licking the hand of government that feeds them access.

Man, powerful people are sure getting comfortable in telling transparent falsehoods, are they not?

Springfield’s Most Wanted, Age 5 (Allegedly)

This actually happened to a friend:

On Sunday evening, we attended a gospel concert by a group from a college in New York, a group that includes my children’s babysitter from when they were babies and toddlers. We agreed to host her and another group member overnight, which meant that we were treated to a dinner at the hosting church. My children, at the prompting of their father, traveled through the gym to get the members of the choir to autograph their programs, and they eventually cajoled the tour bus driver to sign as well.

As a reward, after the dinner, the bus driver let them sit in the bus driver seat and honk the bus horn. Now, this is a full touring bus, not a school bus. The sort of vehicle where you have to start the engine to get the horn to work. A truck horn kind of horn.

The older boy sat in the seat and tootled the horn, at least as much as one tootles and industrial-grade noisemaker that blasts out a 100 decibel chord.

The younger boy, freshly five (which means he can be tried as an adult for noise violations, I understand) hopped into the seat and played that truck horn like a percussion instrument, beating out a tempo not unlike the one a choir member had tapped out on a conga drum during the concert.

And how he grinned. Beamed. He thought that was the highlight of his young life, and he might be right.

The bus driver joked about the neighbors calling the police, and we dispersed to treat the young ladies in our charge to an Andy’s Frozen Custard and a night’s sleep.

The next morning, we discovered the neighbors called the police.

But the memory of that grin–of course we didn’t take pictures or film it, that’s evidence and requires a degree of foresight we lack. But I will never forget that smile of pure joy in simple loudness and power to make that loudness that the boy shone. Even though he probably will.

It’s worth whatever fines the driver has to pay or years taken out of his life in prison.

What a cool story for my friend to relate. Would someone look up the statute of limitations on noise violations for him?

Government Critic Removed From Broadcast Television

KMOV anchorman Larry Conners posted on Facebook that he might have been targeted by the IRS for asking a tough question of President Obama during an interview before the election.

For posting on Facebook this sort of musing, his television station pulled him from the air and stifled him with a gag order:

Longtime KMOV (Channel 4) anchorman Larry Conners is “off the air” until further notice.

The station is examining Conners’ recent allegations that he was targeted by the Internal Revenue Service after interviewing President Barack Obama.

“He’s not suspended. We just all thought it made sense (for him) to take a few days off,” news director Sean McLaughlin said Thursday.

“We take this very seriously, and we don’t expect this to drag on. We’re still looking into the situation and weighing our options,” he said.

That’s the story from yesterday. On Monday, the inquisition moves forward:

A meeting between KMOV (Channel 4) executives and anchorman Larry Conners — who is off the air until further notice — has been set for Monday.

The station is examining Conners’ recent post to Facebook alleging he was targeted by the Internal Revenue Service after interviewing President Barack Obama.

Today, Conners’ attorney, Merle Silverstein, issued a statement saying Conners “is barred by corporate from making statements, posting on Facebook, or participating in interviews on the IRS issue.”

Silverstein’s statement concludes, “That is the only reason for his silence.”

The story is all full of the Sanctity of Unbiased Journalism:

Michael Valentine, a vice president with Belo Corp., KMOV’s parent company, told the news website BuzzFeed that Conners “owes a duty to our viewers to report in an unbiased manner.”

“His Facebook post and his Twitter posts, as a result, were inappropriate,” he said. “And we don’t condone personal posts that jeopardize the journalistic nature of our business. It’s really that simple.”

How cynical am I? Let’s peel back the layers of cynicism:

  • I wonder if Belo / KMOV minds if its on-air reporters speculate off-hand in an approved fashion, which might be pro-government. Because we’ve all seen how the papers and news stations have pretty much become lick-spittles for government at all levels, whether through multi-part and seemingly multi-annual booster sessions for additional government children’s programs (Springfield News-Leader, do you recognize anything about yourself here?) to promoting government largesse on sports facilities to approval of government incentives for redevelopers of downtowns or new developments of strip malls to strip sales from existing, full tax-freight paying businesses (unless, of course, the new development will have a Walmart, which is viewed with skepticism to say the least). Would he be on the air today if he’d mused that he thinks this is all blown out of proportion? Come on, cyn with me.
     
  • Is KMOV and its parent Belo afraid of what this now-viral musing of its anchor might mean to future access to the powerful or–dare we say it–corporate relations with the IRS?
     
  • Larry Conners has been on the air in St. Louis for a long time. Undoubtedly his salary is pretty good (from his perspective). Is it bad from KMOV’s persepective? Is Belo / KMOV looking to dump an anchor fondly enjoyed in the St. Louis area because he’s old and expensive, and they have seized upon this as a reason to do it, to make it Conners’ fault, and to seek the approval of the hipster/Washington Avenue loft demographic?

I guess we’ll know more on Monday, but regardless, this is a poor, poor reflection on KMOV and Belo.

In My Day, Sonny, It Was After A Trial

St. Louis man convicted after firefight with police

In my day, people who were engaged in writerly arts, especially professionals in the field, had some expertise with these crazy preposition things and tried to use the right ones to accurately convey whatever knowledge or propaganda they were trying to pass on to the reader.

I see from reading the story that the fellow was convicted of charges stemming from the firefight, so I guess he could be convicted for the firefight, but he’s convicted after the firefight just in the same way that he was named after me.

I also see this firefight occurred because

[He] had a history of misdemeanor convictions related to marijuana possession when a SWAT team went to his Shreve Avenue apartment on March 5, 2012, to execute a search warrant on a tip that he was dealing it.

Lovely. A SWAT team going for a small-time drug dealer. The gunfire at the SWAT team justifies the SWAT team going after small-time drug dealers.

The Only Swedish You’ll Ever Need To Know

Today’s lesson in the Swedish language: Ogooglebar means unGoogleable; that is, something you cannot find on the Internet using a search engine.

Or maybe not.

I’m not really sure how useful the word really is given that most things are, in fact, discoverable on the Internet.

And, yes, I am a little behind on my Wall Street Journal reading, but I’m almost caught up. At which time I can begin blogging about the hot stock tips from last year’s Forbes.

Pop Quiz

I took Pew’s short Science and Technology online quiz because I like quizzes, and:

13 of 13

Of course.

The problem with the quiz, of course, is the wording of some of the questions. Also, the repetition of global warming as scientific consensus.

When the question is, “Most scientists agree,” one must recognize that most scientists are not specialists in the field under question. Which goes triple if you include ‘social’ scientists.

(Link seen on AoS ONT.)

Book Report: Suspect by Robert Crais (2013)

Book coverThis book is not an Cole/Pike book. It’s more along the lines of Demolition Angel, wherein the book focuses on a member of a branch of the police force that’s not your ordinary detective or street cop. In Demolition Angel, it was a member of the bomb squad. In this case, it’s the K9 unit.

A patrolman is shot and left for dead after being in the wrong place in the wrong time. His dreams of joining the SWAT are out the window, but he remains on the force if only to find the people who killed his partner. He joins the K9 unit and learns the ways of dogs and partners with a former Marine bomb-sniffing dog from Afghanistan and together, they piece together what’s going on.

It’s an engaging read, happily free of political asides that only serve to remind me that the author would rule me if he could, but there are still a couple of knocks. The shifting points of view include anthropomorphizing the dog which seems a little unserious to me. Also, the ending is very abrupt and cinematic.

But Robert Crais is still one of the few living authors I can read.

You’re forgiven if you think I’ve reviewed this book before. But that was Suspects, which I read back in 2006.

Books mentioned in this review:

Congress Is Salvation Or Something

I don’t know how election to the United States House of Representatives represents salvation, return to righteousness, or proof of repentance and proving one’s return to goodness in spite of one’s past sins, but I am not a political reporter for Gannett:

Disgraced ex-South Carolina governor Mark Sanford won his bid for redemption on Tuesday night, defeating Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch for his old seat in Congress.

Me, I would have used the term election or office in this case, but I am an old fashioned fellow who doesn’t see theological or apotheosis implications in mere service as a representative of one’s constituents.

(Link seen via Instapundit.)

Book Report: Battle Mask by Don Pendleton (1970, 1978)

Book coverThis book is the third in the Executioner series and the earliest I have (and one of the last I got). In it, Mack Bolan is fresh from his big LA expedition that left his team dead or in jail, and he’s still in California. He turns to an old army associate to give him a new face as the old one is widely known. The Mafia catches wind of his plans and learns where he went, but not before Bolan infiltrates the local den as a freelance headhunter looking for Bolan.

It’s standard fare, pretty good for the Pendleton books. It introduces Hal Brognola to the series. It has events that later books refer too–and most of the later books refer to the events of these first few books a lot, and then the later books a little. I wonder what Pendleton must have thought about these books and series and how long they would have gone on. Could he have expected to write thirty-something of them over a decade? It might have made these early books a bit tighter in their universe. Or maybe I’m making that up.

At any rate, one more down, seventy-seven (of the Executioner series alone) to go.

Books mentioned in this review:

An Excellent Illustration of the Importance of a Well-Armed Militia

In a column preceding Cinco de Mayo, local Springfield columnist Richard Thompson argues the importance of civilian gun ownership:

Cinco de Mayo celebrates a great Mexican military victory in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. On that date, 4,000 amateur Mexican soldiers armed primarily with old rifles and machetes defeated 6,000 heavily favored French troops, well trained and well armed. Indeed, at that time the French army was arguably the most formidable fighting force in the world. The last time France had lost a battle was at Waterloo, Belgium, in 1815. Napoleon I’s defeat there is enshrined in our language. “He’ll never win this one; he’s met his Waterloo.”

Of course, if you’re familiar with Mr. Thompson’s other columns, you’re recognize he is unlikely to mean to make that point. But he does.

Maybe There’s a Landfill in New Jersey that Needs a Team

The owner of the Chicago Cubs has unmet publicly funded stadium needs, so of course he threatens to move the team:

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts caused a stir Wednesday when he said publicly for the first time that he would consider moving the team if moneymaking outfield signs central to his Wrigley Field renovation plan failed to win the city’s blessing.

Oh, for Pete’s sake. You can try this with the newer expansion or transfer teams, with their mercenary up-and-down fair-weather-fan fan bases (and I include the St. Louis Rams, almost twenty years in town now, among these younguns), where perhaps a transfer from Pensacola to Tampa might yield enough financial rewards to merit the move, especially if the fan base in the originating city is not very deep and tends to not notice the team when it’s not winning.

But when you take a historic, storied franchise and threaten to move it, we know you’re bluffing. You can’t move the Yankees to Sacramento, you can’t move the Cubs out of one of the largest markets in the country to Tulsa (or even Gary, Indiana, same media market but not a good location for traditional fans). It would make no long-term financial success. The team owners know it. The elected and unelected city officials should know it.

But it’s part of the dance. It’s political cover to roll over and spew public money for private benefit or the team will move. Now that the picadors have finished their work, the public treasury can be gored theatrically.

But note to Chicago Cubs owners: You could not get the ticket sales over the long term by moving the team to another city with a bigger better publicly funded stadium, you would not get the instant merchandising fan base from a move, and, besides, no other city wants your stinkin’ Cubbies anyway. Well, maybe there’s some pit in New Jersey that would take them, but no where in civilization.

Adjust Your Climate Models Accordingly

Yes, there’s snow in Springfield today (and ice floes in my swimming pool, word). It’s a day of some records with interesting implications, we can infer from this Springfield News-Leader story:

The Ozarks broke a record today in measurable snowfall. According to John Gagan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield, the last time the Springfield-area saw measurable snowfall this late in the spring season was May 2, 1929.

But that’s not the only record expected to be broken today.

The last time there was even a trace of snow in May—meaning flurries, but no accumulation—was May 6, 1944.

The temperature will also be significant. Currently, the record low for the coldest day in May was May 4, 1935 at 43 degrees.

So.

One must infer, then, that on May 6, 1944, and on May 2, 1929, it snowed when the temperature was 44 degrees or warmer, must one not? If May 4, 1935, was the coldest low temperature on record, then these other recorded days must have had higher low temperatures, ainna?

And computer models (!) based on data with this precision is exactly why we must return to subsistence levels. QED.

Maybe The Swedish Thing Has Gone Too Far

All right, so I read a book on Swedish history, which led to my new taste for lingonberries and then to commenting on Swedish news. When will it end? When will Brian J. cease with this little blog goofery fixation on Sweden?

Not yet.

So I mentioned I went to the Friends of the Clever Library book sale this weekend; I didn’t say that I avoided the Friends of the Springfield Greene County Library sale, although I sort of did.

Because I knew I’d buy a bunch.

But I did not avoid it entirely; instead, we went on Saturday, half price day, twenty minutes before they closed and about seven minutes before the volunteers started checking the charges on their cattle prods. The limited time frame, I knew, was all I could count on to limit myself, and I headed right to the LPs.

Where I scored:

The Swedish Gospel Singers

Apparently, this is the 1966 album that started it all for the Samuelsons, who together or separately have released albums together or separately as late as 2005 (although Rolf, the older, passed away in 1981). Or so I kinda glean from the Swedish Wikipedia page.

The album is mostly in accented English, although a song or two are in Swedish. I’ve only listened to it once, but it’s not bad, and I’ll listen to it again although gospel is not a native genre for me to follow, I seem to be acquiring a couple LPs here and there, especially when they’re in a foreign language.

Oh, what else did I get? A Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass album (….Sounds Like…), a couple of Doc Severinsen albums, a couple Mood compilations (one for dining, one for sleeping), a Longines Symphonette Society Christmas collection, and a collection of music from Brazil. The sorts of things I listen to on my hi-fi. I keep meaning to bore you with a regaling of my listening zones where I listen to music and the different kinds of music I listen to while I’m in that zone. One of these days.