Tag Archives: TV

The Tattlesnake Obama Infomercial Seals the Deal Edition

While the Tattler doesn’t usually like the kind of wan-music-in-the-background soft emotional porn of the ‘Oprah-ized’ infomercial, Obama’s half-hour spot Wednesday night avoided most of the worst aggravations of this TV clich窠especially the forlorn solo piano music sound track with flourishes of swelling strings redolent of tacky video matchmaking and cancer treatment center ads.

It featured battleground-state stereotypes a laid-off white male Ford Motors worker, a Latina woman trying to make ends meet, an elderly black couple hampered by chronic illness and worried about the future, et al — struggling with life in Bush’s downsized economy, but at least the people were real and their stories didn’t sink into cheesy Lifetime-channel melodrama; Obama’s interspersions in office surroundings reminiscent of Camp David were obviously intended to make the Low-and-Slow-Information-Voters of Middle America, awaiting the ballgame, feel comfortable with him as president, which was the main point of this smart $4 million investment.

Obama laid out his economic plans clearly, appeared mature and confident, and didn’t, as I recall, mention Sen. McMoribund or the Ice Princess even once. Contrast this with tone-deaf McCain’s free hour on Larry King following Obama’s spot in a country thirsting for unity and a different direction, he mostly griped about Obama and reprised the half-baked GOP themes of the past four election cycles, although he finally admitted he really didn’t believe his Democratic opponent was a socialist, negating all of the frantic rhetoric emanating from his campaign to the contrary. (Incidentally, if you know anyone who supports McCain, ask them exactly what he plans to do about the economy that is fundamentally any different from what Bush has done.)

Bill McInturff, McCain’s lead pollster, claims he has internal numbers that contradict the national polls showing Obama way ahead he proclaimed that McCain was “functionally tied” with Obama (whatever that means), but didn’t comment on why, if that’s true, McCain has been forced to spend money defending states that have safely been in the Republican column for decades, including his home state of Arizona. (Perhaps McInturff has been consulting the same secret figures Karl Rove used in 2006 when he boasted to an NPR reporter that the Republicans would hold Congress — “You may end up with a different math, but you’re entitled to your math, I’m entitled to the math.” Two weeks later, the GOP was blown out by the Dems in the off-year election. Following the drubbing, it leaked that Rove’s fatuous optimism was merely a ‘job requirement’ and not based on any inside information in other words, ‘the math’ was entirely in his head.)

McInturff’s private polls notwithstanding, and barring a monumental screw-up by Obama or Biden, or some sort of, at this point, impractical and impracticable mass voting treachery by the GOP, you can get used to saying ‘President Obama’ after next Tuesday.

Wednesday night’s well-produced infomercial sealed the deal.

The Tattlesnake On the Media Beat Edition

Rumors Slipped Under the Doorway:

Word is billionaire George Soros, with additional backing from fellow moneybags Warren Buffett, is going to cause heads to explode in the right-wing media universe as he’s supposedly planning to spend mega-millions to buy Air America Radio, along with failing radio stations across the land, and start a well-financed alternative to Clear Channel’s network of conservative talkers. He’s also looking at purchasing some regional small-and medium-market TV stations that are down on their luck to compete with the typically GOP-friendly mumbo jumbo broadcast in those areas. Soros and Buffett aren’t doing this strictly for altruistic reasons they’ve studied buying patterns in the current depressed economy and it’s clear: the better-educated listeners of progressive talk radio have more disposable income than the downtrodden audience of right-wing media. While many advertisers have been shy to buy time on liberal radio, the trend is turning the other way now, what with the general unpopularity of the Republican Party and George W. Bush in particular. Will they be able to get the deal past the GOP-dominated FCC? Stay tuned

Speaking of which, Rupert Murdoch is said to be quietly seeking a buyer for the Fox television network, including the Fox News channel. Revenues and ratings are down at Fox in general and Fox News in particular, and some of the news channel’s nameplates, like Bill O’Reilly, are retiring soon or have become public punchlines, such as Sean Hannity and Steve Doocy. Bloomberg is rumored to have cast the top bid so far.

Look for rattled Republicans sensing electoral disaster to campaign this year without any reference to the party in their media advertising. Moreover, watch for them to campaign AGAINST some of the GOP agenda of the last eight years. “Appear to be independent,” is the private advice that went out from the RNC, according to rumor. Deflating the prospects of some GOP incumbents and first-timers is word from on high that the national party’s cupboards are bare and not to expect financial help even in tight ‘safe’ districts, only millionaires willing to spend their own cash need apply.

Hot on the heels of the success of ‘Reel Time with Bill Maher,’ HBO is allegedly on the verge of offering radio host Randi Rhodes her own weekly ‘no-holds-barred’ hour, featuring a free-wheeling stand-up/panel format similar to Maher’s show. With her rumored MSNBC deal scotched after her controversial separation from Air America Radio, HBO sees an opening for Rhodes’ savagely funny, profanity-laden style. Word is, the pay-cable channel wants to have her up and running by late summer, if she’ll sign on.

Meanwhile, speaking of MSNBC, Rachel Maddow keeps expanding her television orbit, regularly appearing on at least three of the ‘Place for Politics’ programs and as part of their election coverage, but the cable news channel’s execs continue to dither over giving Maddow her own show. They’d better act fast the dull and snarky Campbell Brown is gasping like a carnival goldfish over at CNN and they’ve been sizing up Rachel’s class act as a sharp and satirical and more youthful — addition to their political coverage including taking over Brown’s low-ball primetime hour, opposite MSNBC ratings star Keith Olbermann. It’s no secret that Olbermann and Maddow are good friends and simpatico politically would she mount a challenge in his time slot? All’s fair in love and TV, they say, so we’ll have to see how this plays out, but word is the Air America Radio talker is a little weary of parrying with the likes of ‘Uncle Fudd’ Pat Buchanan and his precious pup Michael Smerconish at MSNBC.