“Stan has no friends! And he didn’t even realize.
He’s like America: The Guy!”
Roger from ‘American Dad’
Les Moonves is behaving like a drunk king cackling on a pile of gold coins.
As executive chairman and CEO of CBS, Moonves’ is overjoyed by the scratch he’s earning CBS through the loosely collected nonsense that is the Donald Trump campaign. (Mitt Romney agrees with me.) Moonves’ disregard for how Election 2016 affects the country proves a key point I’ve been making for a long time: for-profit media is run by arrogant, greedy, soul-sucking monarchs who only care about satisfying advertisers. And themselves.
MOONVES: ‘HOW THE DONALD’S CYNICAL CON JOB IS WORKING PERFECTLY‘
Turns out The Donald’s carnival barking is not just good for his primary election results—it’s also fattening CBS’ bottom line.
“We had 14 million viewers on a Saturday night. They’re throwing bombs at each other—I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s gonna be a very good year for us.”
Lee Fang at the Intercept acquired the audio of Moonves’ address, which Thom Hartmann included on a recent program. “This should cause every federal legislator to say, ‘oh my god.’ This is astonishing.” Have a look at his segment below:
We’ve all seen the signs of media news run amok, but this is one of the few times that it’s been so naked and plain, right in front of our eyes.
I reached out to Lee Fang to ask about the audio and how it was made/acquired. I’ll let you know if I hear anything back.
When I hit certain milestones in numbers of editions of Cranky Yank, I’m gonna do special commemorative stories that correspond to edition number in some way.
Some weeks ago I did a report on #OscarSoWhite (aka #OscarSoCracker), talking about how progress looks through the Academy’s nomination lens. After the awards were held this past Sunday, I decided this would be the way to mark my 10th edition of CY.
Think of it as a cheesy commemorative coin but with no value and questionable legitimacy.
Without further preamble:
THE OSCARS: 10 REASONS WHY IT WAS A TELEVISED DUMPSTER FIRE
Despite being mired in controversy, the Oscars, through its telecast, had a chance to buoy its listing ship. They boasted Chris Rock as host; they added a number of multicultural presenters; and changes to its future membership rules gave the Academy more breathing room to show it’s listening.
That is, until Sunday happened. Despite hitting some good notes, the show overall was like a 11th grader on meth: mostly insane with bouts of lucidity. Here are 10 reasons why that’s true:
1. Stacey Dash is still an idiot. In a word, the joke appearance bombed. More than that, the Oscar bit gave precious stage time to a dingus who didn’t deserve it. Although I’m a huge fan of Clueless, Dash has tried to turn the spotlight back to her with any chance she gets. She’s an attention whore whose Oscar invite should have stayed in the pitch room. If the bit had been uproariously funny—and had gone further in to Dash poking fun at herself—that would’ve been different. Not funny, ill-conceived, clunky and lame. For a broadcast that was trying to mend racial fences, adding her was a big mistake.
2. Some of the camera people were out to lunch. I saw at least 2-3 moments were the camera bounced around and pointed at nothing. I know it’s live TV, but still.
3. ⬆️ The ‘TYSM!’ tickers. This was a WTF moment in pop-culture history, where a frenetic ticker was supposed to help curtail playing off award winners. Guys, please stop. I’d rather hear what they have to say. Not to mention the fact that it didn’t work, and people still thanked whom they wanted to acknowledge, and the orchestra still rudely shooed people off the stage. Fail.
4. Gross ABC cross-promotion. All networks who host big shows do it, but ABC was a bit more naked about pushing Jimmy Kimmel on us. Variety has more about that.
6. Girl Scout Cookies. I know the bit was big for them (though not as big as he had boasted), but for viewers it was an awkward public service announcement and time filler.
7. ⬆️ Asian accountants. Terrible. Not funny, racist, and the kids were not directed properly and it bombed.
8. Slamming Jada. What the hell did Jada Pinkett Smith do to you, Rock? “She wasn’t invited just like I’m not invited to Rihanna’s underpants” was tasteless and dumb. I’m thinking Jada would’ve been asked.
9. ⬆️ Closing-credit Irony. Producers and/or showrunners decided to play “Fight the Power” over the end credits—and they ended up stepping on a rusty rake. At a time when they’re supposed to send viewers away with (supposedly) a positive feeling about movies—and to forget about the #OscarSoCracker controversy—they co-opted a song about protest, which ended up being a soundtrack overlay of white people congratulating each other. Playing that rap song reminded us why the #OscarSoWhite controversy popped up in the first place (they played it at the beginning, too, apparently). A prime chance at a good final tone turned out to be as flat as David Cook.
10. Overall acute boredom. Producers had a chance to allow us to, at least for one night, either forget and/or atone for all the shitty treatment of People of Color and reward for flicks for being great. (A relieve, if however falsely, the White Guilt that the controversy created.) Chris Rock did an admirable job with the monologue—and to me the highlight of the night was this pretaped bit about black actors invading Oscar-winning films (complete with a Leslie Jones cameo).
Overall the 2016 Oscars telecast gets a grade of D for severe lack of focus and missed opportunities.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) February 28, 2016
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) flipped the long bird to Debbie Wasserman-Shultz… This one’s for you, Lynn Lamousin: Atlanta is getting its first Cat Cafe… Opposition to Georgia’s Religious Oppression Bill (actually called “Freedom,” so that’s my edit) is loud and consistent; some companies have threatened to relocate their operations if the bill passes. Twitterati reaction was swift:
— Will's Nikki Haley 'Popcorn Factory Karen' Hotline (@bywillpollock) March 1, 2016
— James Allen Grady (@JamesAllenGrady) March 1, 2016
Georgia must stop discrimination in the name of religious freedom https://t.co/E9R9ueejJr
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) February 27, 2016
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) February 26, 2016
Say what you will about American Idol—I’ve watched since the very beginning, and the show ends its run this year. This Kelly Clarkson moment is a rare gem that shows an Idol alum returning “home” and showing how artists can touch people. The look on Keith Urban’s face is priceless; Nicole Kidman is a lucky gal.
The point of this show is to dig up undiscovered talent and let them take the creative ball and run. Kelly Clarkson is the epitome of that diamond-in-the-rough who made it big; a humble Texas gal who has never let up in her creative drive and we’re so much better for it.
This year, its final season, they are well on their way to choosing a great bookend to Kelly: La’Porsha Renee. She’s one of the most skilled, nuanced musical storytellers the show’s ever seen. I pick her as the winner, whether she comes out on top or not.
Each time La’Porsha takes the stage it’s a masterclass in vocal phrasing and power. Any time you can get an 8-month-pregnant gal up on her feet for you is a good day, right?
The saddest part? Idol showrunners have taken a cleaver to the format so severely that it’s a shadow of its former self. With only one night of festivities and a two-month-long contest, it’ll end with a whimper, that’s for sure.
— Will's Nikki Haley 'Popcorn Factory Karen' Hotline (@bywillpollock) February 25, 2016
With a h/t to Penny Frulla, this hilarious mash-up of The Producers and the Trump campaign is a delicious bit of spoofery. Check out “Trumped,” here:
“The Purpose of Life” by Dylan Saccoccio. Indeed.
That’s it from me Cranker Darlings. Apologies for the tardiness again this week—I’m in full-blown allergy reaction. We’ll see you right back here next Thursday at 2.
Will Pollock is a crabby New York City escapee living in Atlanta. He’s a freelance multimedia journalist and author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—and check out the book links below.
Don’t forget to comment below. Cranky loves company.