GE, NBC Execs Bemoan Conservatism

Tuesday, 21 Apr 2009 03:33 PM

By James Hirsen

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. GE, NBC Execs Bemoan Conservatism
2. Janeane Garofalo’s Lefty Mindset
3. Stephen Colbert Out of the Conservative Closet?
4. Eco-Hypocrisy for U2’s Edge?
5. ‘Conservative Idol’ Susan Boyle
 

1. GE, NBC Execs Bemoan Conservatism

You’d think the guys who run General Electric and NBC Universal would be more concerned with the fact that their respective company earnings have taken a dive.

NBC Universal had an earnings plunge of 45 percent in the last quarter while GE experienced a 35 percent first-quarter earnings drop.

So what do the highly paid managers of these venerated firms spend their time thinking about?

GE CEO Jeff Immelt and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker reportedly held a secret meeting to figure out how to stop CNBC from expressing criticism of the Obama administration, according to the New York Post.

At the meeting, the two Jeffs, both leaders of firms with genuine business difficulties, were focused on whether CNBC has become “too conservative” or is engaging in too much “Obama bashing.”

The straightforward and spontaneous on-air utterances of CNBC personalities Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer were apparently the catalyst for the gathering.

Shareholders of these companies should take note.

It sounds as if the Jeffs want to emulate loser media like The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Boston Globe instead of trying to use business savvy to replicate the profitable Fox News Channel.


2. Janeane Garofalo’s Lefty Mindset

Joel Surnow may rue the day that Janeane Garofalo snagged a role on “24.”

Garofalo’s recent public pronouncements are likely to have throngs of conservatives turning the hit TV series off.

The politically outspoken actress does provide a look into the lens through which liberals are viewing any and all critiques of President Obama.

The left sees Obama solely within the historical context of being the first African-American president, and as such, his success in all of the micro and macro apparently has to be defended.

Within their universe, criticism of any issues, statements, policies, etc., must take a subordinate position to the historic achievement.

During the 2008 presidential primary campaign, then-candidate Barack told a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Fla., “We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?”

His gentle yet deliberate toss of the race card had many pundits troubled about a future in which any negative evaluation of Obama’s words or actions would be dismissed as racist.

This is exactly what Garofalo attempted to do on MSNBC's “countdown” program when she asserted that those who attended the recent anti-tax, anti-big government rallies were “a bunch of teabagging rednecks.”

She described attendees as being motivated by bigotry.

“This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up,” she said.

Evidently, her unbridled conservative hatred was on full display at the thought of radio icon Rush Limbaugh making a “24” visit.

Garofalo told the Village Voice, “When Rush Limbaugh visited the set, and when Lynne Cheney visited the set, I refused to have my picture taken with them or meet them or anything.”

“When somebody came to me privately and said, 'Do you want to meet them?' I said absolutely not,” she rudely added.

Rush recently indicated to the Radio Equalizer blog that he had never visited the set while Garofalo was a member of the cast of “24.”

Which begs the question, What would make Garofalo think Rush Limbaugh would actually want to meet her?


3. Stephen Colbert Out of the Conservative Closet?

After a parody of the National Organization for Marriage's “Gathering Storm” ad was featured on his show, a new theory emerged about cable satirist Stephen Colbert.

Could the Comedy Central star’s bits really contain right-of-center messages, making him a genuine closet conservative?

NOM released a statement to the press in which the group’s president, Maggie Gallagher, posited, “I’ve always thought Stephen Colbert was a double-agent, pretending to pretend to be a conservative, to pull one over on Hollywood. Now I’m sure.”

Colbert’s cable character, who is a loosely modeled caricature of Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, began the segment by showing the original NOM video in its entirety.

The comic shared that he “loved” the footage because it was “like watching 'The 700 Club' and The Weather Channel at the same time.”

“Thank you Stephen for playing our ad in full on national television — for free. HRC eat your heart out. Plus we all had a great chuckle, too!” NOM Executive Director Brian Brown said.

Colbert pointed out that New York Gov. David Paterson had introduced a bill to legalize gay marriage and cracked that he “thought Massachusetts would be a gay promised land, a ‘Gaysreal’ if you will, but then the same-sex chickens came home to gentrify their roost.”

He also snapped that gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed in New York because “it's hard enough as it is to get a wedding announcement in the Times.”


4. Eco-Hypocrisy for U2’s Edge?

U2 guitarist David Evans, aka The Edge, owns some choice land in Malibu, Calif.

The rocker wants to build five houses high atop a Malibu hill, all of which would have ocean views.

Sometimes celebrities who tout environmental causes run into difficulty when they simultaneously want to make some serious cash off their real estate holdings.

Evans is being accused of threatening the fragile Malibu ecology.

Celebs, including Dick Van Dyke, Kelsey Grammer and James Cameron, among others, would be impacted by Evans’ project since they live in the Serra Retreat area below his property.

The environmental concern over The Edge’s six proposed Malibu mansions involves extending a road on rugged slopes through slide-prone areas, running a water line under the rock-laden topography and grading more than 70,000 cubic yards of dirt.

The Irish band for which The Edge plays his famous echo-laden melodies is well known for its political advocacy.

Local councilman Jefferson Wagner recently hurled an insult at the U2 guitarist.

“For somebody so revered even to be orchestrating this type of development in such a sensitive area is hypocritical,” Wagner told the Los Angeles Times.

The councilman claimed that the result of The Edge’s proposed development is “a permanently scarred mountainside for the benefit of a very few that for many years all will view.”

The Edge will need the approval of the California Coastal Commission. But the deputy director, Jack Ainsworth, has “significant concerns” about the development including potential damage to the habitat, truck traffic and possible landslides.

The U2 band member will have his plans looked at by the commission this June.


5. ‘Conservative Idol’ Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle is an authentic phenom.

Fifty million and climbing have tuned in to see and hear the YouTube angel lift them in song.

Media watchers are in awe just like everyone else. But they’ve also been digging deep to try and come up with a way to explain Boyle’s immense appeal.

Most have missed the main reason why the public is so enamored and filled to the brim with emotion.

In our British and American cultures, superficiality has become the norm, and this is especially true when it comes to our celebrated.

Image is controlled, persona puffed up, mistakes expunged, messages scripted and perception programmed.

Boyle comes along and makes it as real as real can get. No agent hyping, no publicist pitching, no stylist primping, no coaches prodding — no one dictating to us what we’re seeing and hearing. In a nutshell, there were no barriers to block our view or shade the truth.

Susan presented to the world her unvarnished self. That just doesn’t happen very often onscreen or off.

In an equally profound sense, we just can’t help but resonate to Britain’s newfound talent. In common parlance, we can relate.

Taking risks takes courage, something most of us have difficulty harnessing and maintaining.

Boyle had additional motivation, too, a higher purpose for her actions; and that was a desire to honor her departed mom.

When we attach something to our endeavors that is greater than ourselves, courage frequently rushes in. This makes Susan something else we all strive to be at some time in our lives — a hero to someone else.

Deep in our traditional collective soul is the parable of the underrated individual who ultimately triumphs. It is the stuff of fairy tales, TV dramas, and movie matinees.

Screenplay guru Blake Snyder calls this story element “fool triumphant,” when an individual who would normally be overlooked ends up the victor.

For the millions who listen to Susan sing, the inspiration lingers long after the music fades.

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