Beating a Dead Horse?

I’m tempted to take an unpopular stand here, and tell you all the media attention being given to Barbaro’s death is a little excessive, a little over the top. Does Barbaro’s four years on this Earth merit the kind of news coverage it’s getting? I mean, I didn’t get “Breaking News” alerts from all the local TV stations and the C-J when President Ford died.

The headline I chose here, by the way, may be morbid but is most appropriate.

There was this children’s book author, Shelley Fraser Mickle, whose commentary on NPR compared the horse with Mozart, Babe Ruth, Tiger Woods and Muhammad Ali. She talked of meeting the horse in Pennsylvania and knowing what the horse was thinking. “Those who rode him thought there was no bottom to the well of his speed,” she said. I wonder if she spoke to Edgar Prado, his jockey, or an exercise rider.

He raced just six times, winning five (including the spectacular 2006 Derby) but his horrible breakdown in the Preakness Stakes was a public tragedy. So his ill-fated recovery was chronicled everywhere, but especially in Louisville, the genesis for stories of miraculous medicine, the cruelty of the sport and the human emotions of regular folk.

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Good News for DN! Fans

There’s a significant number of Amy Goodman fans around here, so they’ll be thrilled with news that the Democracy Now! television show is now airing in Louisville. It’s on WYCS-TV, channel 24 on your dial, but way out at 138 on Insight. So you’ve got to seek it out. No word yet on whether Public Radio Partnership president Donovan Reynolds is considering adding the show on WFPL Radio. The show features interviews with national public figures and challenges the established media, and appeals mostly to liberals.

The Louisville Media Reform Group has been pressuring the PRP to air the program for some time.

Here’s the latest from WYCS’ Mark Stanton:

Democracy Now! is now airing twice daily on WYCS-TV. The program can be seen live at 8am M-F; as well as the regular tape-delayed broadcast at 7pm, M-F. Beginning Monday, February 5, the evening broadcast will be moved to 8 pm, with the live morning program continuing at 8am. WYCS can be seen on Broadcast Channel 24 and Insight Digital 138.

Ira Grupper’s View from Memphis

I wasn’t the only Louisvillian writing about the National Media Reform Conference in Memphis. I really enjoyed meeting Ira Grupper, who wrote the following column for a labor-focused newspaper published by the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

LABOR PAEANS—February 2007

by Ira Grupper

(Published by FORsooth, newspaper of Louisville, Kentucky chapter of F.O.R. [Fellowship of Reconciliation])

The Media Is The Message—But For Whom?

A sea of people, over 3,500 strong, converged on the Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee on January 12 for the National Conference for Media Reform. The hotels, even the Beale Street tourist area (“home of the blues”) were festooned with placards welcoming us, and our disposable incomes.

Read moreIra Grupper’s View from Memphis

Lunsford Ready for Critics

stumbolunsford12907vv.JPG“I was like a maiden racehorse (last time). This time I feel the call.”

With those words, Bruce Lunsford announced he was making a second run at the Governor’s chair, with Attorney General Greg Stumbo as his running mate. In 2003, Lunsford dropped out of the Democratic primary just before the election. Lunsford says he understands the heat he’ll face from opponents and critics in the media, but plans to run a positive campaign by embracing his Democratic roots. Among the highlighs of today’s press conference in Frankfort:

On the past support of Rep. Gov. Ernie Fletcher: “That was then, this is now. I made a mistake in overestimating Ernie Fletcher. He didn’t clean up the mess, he made it worse.”

On his bankroll for the race: “As much as it takes to win.”

Lunsford gave loads of credit to Stumbo, who said that he had been approached by each of the other candidates in the race (except Johnathan Miller) about running on their ticket. Lunsford said that Stumbo was far ahead of the other Lt. Gov. candidates in terms of experience and public service.

The campaign’s Web site is here.

Reform Group Calls for Cable Action

Here’s some good information on the local cable franchise issue, courtesy
of Mark McKinley, head of the Louisville Media Reform Group.

The Metro Cable Television Commission is scheduled to meet Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Urban Government Center, 810 Barrett Ave.

While in Memphis, Lauren-Glenn Davitan, Exec Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, turned me on to The People’s Guide to the Telecommunications Act of 2006 (a freebie: Google it – part one is history/background of the industry and policy, part two is action). Dense, but digestible; very helpful in providing context to many of today’s issues, like cable franchise agreements and broadband.

Currently, there’s INVISIBLE local oversight of Insight, Kentucky’s largest cable operator. Metro Councilman Ken Fleming, chair of the Council’s Cable sub-committee reviewing cable issues, has been AWOL since September with his report of the subcommittee’s findings. It’s been over a year since the County Attorney’s office concluded that Insight broke the franchise agreement. But local DECIDERS are ok with that.

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C-J Putting Citizens to Work

David Hawpe’s Sunday column explains a good portion of the newspaper’s new strategy to get readers involved — and it sounds to me like a lot of work for C-J customers.

One letter writer earlier this week questioned the C-J’s inclusive strategy — the writer didn’t like the fact that a day’s worth of the op-ed page was being turned over to bloggers, otherwise known as amateurs. It is a reasonable question to ask whether you’d rather see the work of professional columnists (from Maureen Dowd to Cal Thomas) or the musings of local bloggers.

Read moreC-J Putting Citizens to Work

This Week, We’ll Do Movies

The news from Utah this morning was better than good for Hart-Lunsford Pictures. The Louisville production company’s film “Grace is Gone” captured not one, but two awards at the prestigious festival. Writer-director James Strouse, of Goshen, Ind., won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award while the movie captured the Audience Award, voted on by attendees at the festival. Even better news came early in the week, when the movie was sold to a distributor.

Another Hart-Lunsford motion picture, “Dedication” was also sold during the festival. Word is that the phones are ringing off the hook in Hart-Lunsford’s local offices, from scriptwriters, actors and others wanting to get on board the bandwagon. I wrote about the company in an August cover story for LEO. The two movies are the first to be completed by Hart-Lunsford, so it’s especially surprising to win, kind of like winning the Kentucky Derby with your first horse.

Read moreThis Week, We’ll Do Movies

The Big Story: Lunsford/Stumbo

The media buzz on Friday was all about the Governor’s race. With the filing deadline looming next Tuesday, it appears the last of the Democratic slates may be the most formidable one — Louisville businessman Bruce Lunsford and attorney general Greg Stumbo.

Stumbo appeared on WHAS Radio’s Francene Show at about 11 Friday, and said he was out of the governor’s race. When asked whether he would run for his old job as attorney general, Stumbo hesitated, and said there might be one other possibility. Francene pressed him about a run for lieutenant governor, but she only asked him about running with former Louisville mayor Dave Armstrong. Had she asked about Lunsford, I think the story of the Lunsford/Stumbo slate would have become public sooner.

Read moreThe Big Story: Lunsford/Stumbo

Stumbo to Francene: No to Gov. Race, but…

Attorney General Greg Stumbo chose radio talk show host Francene’s show to announce that he wil not join the crowded field of candidates on the Democratic side in the race for Governor. But he wouldn’t rule out a run on a yet-unannounced slate as the lieutenant governor. Stumbo, on WHAS Radio, wouldn’t say whether or not the top of such a slate might be former Jefferson County Judge Dave Armstrong.  He said he might run for re-election as attorney general, but didn’t commit to that race either.

The deadline for filing for statewide office is Tuesday.  Stumbo said that he thinks former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry leads the pack of current candidates that includes state treasurer Johnathan Miller, House Speaker Jody Richards and former A.G. Steve Beshear.

Francene also had current lieutenant governor Steve Pence on the show. Pence says he will not run for elective office in the  fall election, but wouldn’t rule out a political campaign in his future.

Your Morning Fluff?

FACT: In Louisville’s morning news race, WLKY-TV moved from third to first in the November ratings race from 5-7 a.m., edging WHAS-TV by 2,000 households.

FICTION: It’s all due to the chemistry of the WLKY-TV morning team.

In his Jan. 25 column, C-J TV critic Tom Dorsey quotes anchors Paul Moses and Abby Miller, who say that the “chemistry” of the on-air group has vaulted them above the competition in the morning. Dorsey’s column goes on to give glowing bio information on the anchors, weather girl Kim Stevens, reporter Jim Bulleit and traffic reporter Monica Hardin. Dorsey quotes station manager Jim Carter on WLKY’s stability in the anchor spots and a claim that it is the only station with two reporters covering hard news in the morning. The story is delivered complete with a WLKY-TV promotional photo of the group.

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