Pop Quiz: What is Missing on the News Channels?

Drudge lays out the most recent ratings for the news channels,

MSNBC ON DECK AS CNN EXPERIENCES SUMMER COLLAPSE IN RATINGS
FOR FRIDAY NITE [7/25/03]

FNC O’REILLY 1.6 [RATING]
FNC HANNITY/COLMES 1.4
FNC GRETA 1.3
FNC SHEP SMITH 1.2
FNC BRIT HUME 1.1
CNN LARRY KING LIVE 0.8
CNN AARON BROWN 0.5
CNN PAULA ZAHN 0.4
MSNBC HARDBALL 0.4
MSNBC OLBERMANN 0.3
MSNBC ABRAMS 0.3
BUCHANAN/PRESS 0.2
SCARBOROUGH 0.2

What is missing? Well news. Only the Countdown does any significant reporting and perhaps Hume from time to time. How about some reporting? Actually I can’t say that, I can’t sit through Zahn, Brown or King so maybe Brown or Zahn sneak in some actual news stories. But who cares, I watch news for news. Olbermann is the only inventive style up there with the rest being designed for people to yell at each other.

Lance Going For 6 and Tyler was Amazing

Bonnie DeSimone has done another bang up job covering the Tour de France.

Lance, of course, won, and Tyler came in 4th with a fantastic time trial. While Tyler is amazing, he is also 32 making it hard to believe that beyond Lance’s career he’ll be around. However, if he can stay healthy next year he may well be the strongest challenger along with Ullrich who is only 29.

I wouldn’t bet against Lance next year.

Illinois Senate Roll Call Comments

All right, given the field is starting to settle this might work as a slightly better feature. I’ll put it on a regular schedule after this week once I determine the best time to do it.

That being said, what are your thoughts on the contenders? Who is up, who is down? Why? Remember both parties’ scrums are ready for analysis.

Correction to Prison Video Taping Story

More posts later, but I wanted to issue a quick correction. Yesterday I gave kudos to the Pantagraph for breaking the story that Blagojevich was monitoring newscasts from around the state using prison personnel. It was a good story, but it appears that the Pantagraph didn’t do the initial legwork–Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax did. Last night I read a similar story in the State Journal-Register, and that story credited Miller which confused me. Not having time last night to track down the story, I left it for today.

Before I could check, I received confirmation today that the story had been, well, stolen without credit. Bad Pantagraph and Good Rich Miller. The Miller story was much better for what it is worth. It is only available to subscribers though.

Let me plug the redesign again. Not only does he post sample stories on many days, but it provides one of the better central locations to find Illinois political news and information.

One Bad Thing To Say

Greg Blankship also promotes a recent policy paper on ILLINOIS’ CORN SYRUP CRISIS.

Hypocrisy knows no bounds,

In 1997, Mexico imposed illegal antidumping duties on U.S. exports of HFCS. This has been part of a concerted effort on the part of Mexico to unilaterally renegotiate NAFTA. The HFCS dispute is just the most egregious example of illegal antidumping duties but, by far, not the only example. Rice producers, pork producers, poultry and beef producers have all faced similar measures. And, if Mexico is rewarded for its behavior on HFCS, we can be assured that these other producers will also eventually be blocked from the Mexican market.

Kinda like having big sugar quotas to keep out cheap sugar that allows the high fructose corn syrup to actually be competitive economically? Uh-huh. The only reason HFCS is big business is because we limit cheap sugar imports. If you want free markets be consistent and be for free markets for all instead of picking and choosing on your outrage.

One Good Thing To Say

In an interesting use of media, The Illinois Policy Institute has a blog, A New Can of Worms, written by the Director Greg Blackenship.

What do I like about the Illinois Policy Institute? Not much and the next post will show one reason. Essentially it is another ‘think tank’ that is really cover for a political party.

That being said, Blackenship makes an astute observation about Rich Miller’s comparisons of Blagojevich to Dan Walker,

This says at all. The carping from the Capitol is deplorable. Thinned skinned state legislators and a culture that is used to operating like Leonid Breschnev’s Politboru are finally being challenged in Illinois. (Come to think of it the apathy toward not only our legislators and constitutional officers but the entire state government is also reminiscent of the Breschnev era. So, yeah, the Breschnev era might be good analogy.) While the Governor is being denounced for going back on his word — by people who have made a living at it — he is out using the trappings of the Governorship to gather public support for his positions. This is a no win situation for the constitutional officers and angry legislators. They need to get over it and adjust to the new realities.

Rich Miller has begun comparing the Governor and his strategy to Gov. Walker — the last Democrat to hold the office: "After about a year in office, nobody trusted Dan Walker, a self-centered, serial prevaricator with dreams of national office who thought he was smarter than everyone else and who relentlessly promoted himself as an independent by deliberately picking demagogic fights with other politicians. Sound vaguely familiar?"

Rod Blagojevich isn’t Dan Walker. Walker tried to replace Mayor Richard Daley the First as head of the IL Democratic Party. Blagojevich isn’t picking fights with the Party (Speaker Madigan is its leader) and, unlike Walker, Blagojevich has a few years of national politics under his belt. Watching Bill Clinton and George W. Bush up close and working with Ald. Dick Mell (his father in law) and Clinton strategist and Fmr. DNC Chairman David Wilhelm gives Blagojevich a base of support and political smarts that Walker never had. No, Blagojevich is not Dan Walker.

Like a President, Governor Blagojevich is seeking a public debate on matters of state. This is what I want, debates on prescription drugs, taxes, Medicaid Reform, and fiscal reforms. Just like we are winning at the national level, we’ll win at the state level. If we are confident in our ideas, then conservatives should be egging Blagojevich on.

Everytime the "insiders" demand the Governor come back to Springfield and negotiate — which means essentially to work behind closed doors — they look bad, not the Governor. He’ll win that one everytime. It is 2003, not 1903 and it is about time the Illinois political culture catches up with the times. Thanks to Internet, talk radio, and cable tv we govern publicly today, not behind closed doors. Our leaders either need to grow up and learn how to operate in the twenty-first century or move on.

In the end, Blagojevich may not be able to beat the establishment, the first guy to challenge rarely does. Think Glasnost. But he may weaken the establishment to the point where the next one who comes along does finally finish them off. If Blagojevich can at least do that, then he will have done a service to Illinois conservatives.

The Permanent Campaign is stupid, and hopefully counterproductive. The budget is slightly better, but still structurally a disaster. While I completely disagree with Blackenship on most issues and I think a public debate hurts his positions, his analysis of Blagojevich’s political skills is quite good. Other than angering the Hispanic Caucus, his moves so far haven’t really cost him much and probably helped him for reelection with Topinka’s ranting.

Now, That’s a Tactical Error

Blagojevich is having state employees in the Department of Corrections monitor television coverage of the Governor. This is a great story and kudos to a paper that was nothing more than an AP reprint for years at turning into a serviceable local paper.

The governor’s office contends that having state workers monitor TV news helps Blagojevich determine hot issues in different regions of Illinois.

An internal Illinois Department of Corrections memo notes that a $64,000-per-year state prison psychologist at East Moline Correctional Center was appointed to review tapes of daily news broadcasts from local TV stations.

The memo specifically notes that the psychologist should look "for any newscasts concerning Governor Blagojevich."

"When there is information on a tape, complete the attached form and route the tape to the Warden’s Office by 9:15 a.m.," the May 14 memo said.

The memo was issued as Blagojevich argued with state lawmakers that the state’s prison system is bloated with bureaucracy.

I hope you turned off your irony meters before reading that. If not, well you needed a new one anyway.

The really stupid thing is this is what you have the party do. The party has money to do such things or you may be able to do it out of Lege offices. Given the Speaker has an extensive ‘case work’ staff, that staff could take the time to do the same job. Not exactly the best way to use state resources still, but certainly a lot smarter way of going about it. Or just have private party funds pay for it–it isn’t that expensive.

It really is a twofer–bad public policy meets bad politics.

Updated above–if searching search term Capitol Fax and Pantagraph.