Thursday, May 08, 2008

Norman sprinkles the fairy dust

Get a load of Norman Robinson:
It was after that conversation that I began to think about how negative some of us are when it comes to appreciating what we have as a city. To listen to some of us, every politician is a crook, every agency is dysfunctional, every cause is wrong headed, and all the people are of less than average intelligence.

I wonder what we could accomplish if we all adopted a sense of positive energy about our city and about ourselves. Can you recall how it uplifting it was in the chaotic days immediately following hurricane Katrina - when we were all pulling together to help each other get back on our feet? Let us try to recapture that commitment and concentrate on making things work. What do you think?

What a load of crap. Maybe we'd be less cynical about politicians like the mayor if reporters like Norman Robinson started doing their jobs.

I'm sure we all remember how Mayor Transparency got all bent out of shape because WWL reporters actually did their jobs, had a temper tantrum and threatened to cold cock somebody. Of course, after his macho act, the mayor fled WWL for the safer confines of WVUE and WDSU. I guess it was more of a hissy fit than a macho act, after all.

The mayor may, or may not, be stupid or crazy, but he knew exactly what he was doing when he stopped giving interviews to WWL in favor of WVUE and WDSU. News of a potential scandal broke soon after Nagin made the switch, and the reporters at those two venerable institutions did exactly what Nagin expected of them. To be fair, they did ask about the Stone Age/Home Depot deal but didn't ask any follow up questions when the mayor declared the matter "private" and "off limits."

I can't find a link on WVUE's website, but Norman Robinson interviewed the mayor on April 5*. He asked the mayor why he refused to answer questions about the Home Depot deal, the mayor basically just said that it was private, and Robinson let it go at that. Am I laboring under a layman's misconceptions about journalism, or should Robinson have pressed the issue? Seems to me that Robinson should have said something along the lines of, "With all due respect, it's not private you own more than 25% of the company. If you own more than 25% of the company, a law was broken, whether it was broken intentionally or not. Don't you think that the people of New Orleans have the right to know whether you broke the law, unintentionally or not?"

Well, he didn't ask that question. To the best of knowledge, none of his colleagues in the local media did either.

So, Norman, if you're reading this, the way to make us less cynical is to start doing your job. When a mayor who calls himself a "champion of transparency" refuses to share information, it's not cynical to suspect the worst of him. We couldn't possibly be any more cynical about the mayor, but we might be less pessimistic about the city if we had more confidence in the people who reported on city government.

*I'm not sure about the exact date; my sense of time has been a little off due to three nights in the hospital and a week and a half of missed work in early April. I had surgery on the 7th; I believe the interview was the Saturday before I went in.

Hope you're recovery goes well.

If only Norm Robinson's brain cell count equaled the number of times he blinks per minute. I can't stand the local media a-holes whose only talent is a deep-throated voice of authority lacking whatsoever in any intelligence. On my shit list: Garland Robinette, who can't stop boasting about how he likes to get "knocked of his think". That must be like tripping on a crack in the sidewalk.

Garland is pretty annoying but what the hell kind of world is it that allows the Bob and Monica morning show on WWL to roam unpunished?

On most days its kind of like listening to a predictable SNL style parody of "morning news talk" conducted by people who obviously have no idea what they're talking about but are expected to grunt in assent to whatever crazy shit the callers want to rant about. In other words, it's kind of funny.

But then there are the days when the callers say things like "Isn't it time for all these Mexicans to leave?" and Bob just gives that the same approving grunt he would give "Pie is delicious" and you really wonder about WWL's standards.
"people who obviously have no idea what they're talking about but are expected to grunt in assent to whatever crazy shit the callers want to rant about"

Um...I think that IS the actual premise for their show.

And Schroeder, I think you nailed Robinson...if only that voice was somehow connected with a brain, and one actually interested in getting to the bottom of things.
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