Monday, April 27, 2015

Not a Packers Fan

With pro football's draft day looming, it appears da Bears, Green Bay's arch-rivals, are once again trying to pull off some sort of trickery. According to a Chicago radio station report (probably a plant), local authorities have called in the FBI to search for a man who allegedly robbed a Chase Bank branch in Chi Town's Woodlawn neighborhood while wearing a Packers cap.

Surveillance camera footage supposedly taken inside the bank shows a robber with a
Definitely not one of ours.
Packers logo on the front of his headgear. Suspicion is mounting in Green Bay that the image has been altered.

Odds are about as long as those favoring the Bears to win the Super Bowl that this man is a Green Bay Packers fan. We are not above stealing the Bears' signals or some of their better players (Julius Peppers comes to mind), but we have no need for Chicago money.

Cash is not a Packers problem. Again this year, the corporation's 100,000 or so stockholders will get no dividend despite multimillion dollar profits.

No one knows for sure what da Bears are up to with this robbery story, but now that we're on the alert the plot is destined for failure--like a Jay Cutler pass in a key situation

Monday, April 20, 2015

Modern Media Work Magic

Critics lamenting the vast changes in American news media continue to mutter throughout the land, and my voice has been among them for some time. The main concern is the disappearance of investigative reporters as newspapers continue to decline and die.

We oldsters reason that without ethical media watchdogs to create awareness of government, corporate, or ideological excesses democracy cannot flourish, or perhaps even exist. But recent events bring hope. Perhaps the old dogs simply are being replaced by a whole new breed that may prove capable of doing a better job of guarding the public interest.

Recent events in Indiana show that internet media can expose unsavory political actions and force change. And they can do it with remarkable speed and effectiveness.

On March 26, Governor Mike Pence expressed pleasure as he signed into law a "religious freedom" bill that supposedly had the benign purpose of defining  rights generally protected by the U.S. Constitution. The measure had overwhelming support in the legislature. Laws in one-party states, such as Indiana, enacted by wide margins and enthusiastically supported by the governor usually are impossible to overturn or modify without major electoral upheaval or campaigns that can take years to develop.

Justice was served remarkably quickly.
Yet the Indiana law bit the dust in a matter of weeks. The opposition said the law clearly would allow discrimination against a minority, in this case LGBT people, and that was intolerable. A huge storm of protest erupted within days. Statements by individuals on blogs and in social media led the way. Facebook and Yelp participants played major roles in the outcry. Businesses and organizations took action to penalize Indiana economically by canceling meetings, postponing investments, or threatening to pull operations out of the state.

Gov. Pence quickly went on television to explain that the law really did not promote discrimination. He failed miserably to make the case. As criticism and punitive actions mounted, he surrendered and backed a change in the law to make it clear it will not permit discrimination because of sexual orientation.

The fallout from the protests was dramatic. Pence's approval rating within Indiana plummeted. He went almost instantly from consideration as a presidential candidate to a man fighting for his political life.

I doubt any such change would have happened in the past when newspapers, radio stations, two press associations, and three television networks constituted our media.The Indiana law signing might have rated a couple of paragraphs in the Indianapolis Star. The Associated Press might have condensed that to a few sentences if its editors decided to circulate the news at all. Chances of the item drawing any national media attention would have been extremely low.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which keeps an eagle eye out for injustices, perhaps would have launched a protest. And probably few people would have paid any attention to it. It is doubtful the law would have become any sort of factor in Indiana or national politics.

Our traditional media developed over many years. Internet media still are the new kids on the block. The newcomers just proved they can work magic in righting a wrong that the institutions being replaced could not match.

Many questions of responsibility and ethics surround the internet as a news purveyor. But there always were similar issues with traditional media. Perhaps we critics of media change should relax a bit and just watch the new kids grow up and see if they mature into solid citizens.