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Doc Sportello

Doc Sportello's Journal
Doc Sportello's Journal
May 12, 2023

Trump's team revels in town hall victory as CNN staff rages at 'spectacle of lies'

A couple of takes from this reporting: I'm coming to the point of view that Licht is more a lackey stooge who is in way over his head. He's one of those oily, amoral types you find in large organizations whose main talent is playing the system and sucking up. His ridiculous excuse for the disaster that it served democracy was not only self-serving but showed he doesn't have the faintest clue about our democracy - and really doesn't care anyway. His interaction with dump in the article illustrates that.

The other is that Collins is not some poor reporter who doesn't deserve blame but rather a Haberman-like tv personality who plays both sides.



Trump was not particularly concerned by whether the broadcast would get high ratings, though he told CNN’s chief executive, Chris Licht, backstage that he would boost their ratings, to which Licht nodded and said he should have “a good conversation and have fun”, two of the people said.

Trump’s advisers saw the town hall ultimately as a strategic win for the former president, who revelled in playing off the live audience of Republican and Republican-leaning voters in New Hampshire, which is hosting the first 2024 GOP presidential primary, and talked over the CNN moderator, Kaitlan Collins, as she tried to factcheck him in real time.

In stark contrast to the Trump camp’s jubilation, the mood inside CNN was dour amid widespread reports of internal disgust. The network’s own media reporter Oliver Darcy wrote in his newsletter on Wednesday that it was “hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN”. But the Trump campaign appears to have got what it wanted out of the CNN town hall in part because it negotiated the terms of the event with an unusual degree of leverage, according to multiple people familiar with how the planning unfolded.

Trump’s team also figured that CNN worked for its needs because it could have Collins as the moderator, a rising star who co-hosts the network’s morning show but has also remained on the Trump beat and has taken care to preserve her relationship with the ex-president.


May 12, 2023

CNN Employees Are Not Happy With The Network's Trump Town Hall

This adds to Darcy's opinion piece this morning and includes a shot by Herr Licht at their media critic (who may get the door like Stelter did).


“I don’t know anyone who was happy with last night,” one unnamed journalist told Vanity Fair. “The mood is absolutely the lowest it’s been in the Licht tenure, and that’s saying a lot.

Multiple CNN insiders also gave their reactions to Rolling Stone, calling the event “appalling,” “just brutal,” “a fucking disgrace” and “1000 percent a mistake.” One questioned why the network would arrange a town hall that was “stacked with his voters.”

Michael Fanone, the former Washington police officer who was assaulted by rioters during the 2021 Capitol attack, now serves as an on-air contributor for CNN. He told HuffPost that he was upset by the broadcast.

“It’s worse than I could have ever imagined. It’s an absolute disaster,” he said. “There’s no way to fact-check this guy in real time. He’s a volcano of bullshit.”


May 11, 2023

CNN faces harsh criticism after Trump unleashed a firehose of lies during its live town hall

Some light criticism of CNN's disaster by their media reporter. And no, doing "fact-checking" afterward on a show no one watched does not mitigate or justify the decision to give free air time to an evil criminal. Besides, as Tapper admitted, there wasn't enough time to fact check all the lies. If so, then why have him on in front of an admiring audience? Because of ratings for a failing network shift instigated by a repug owner and, more importantly, for that owner, changing the narrative to fit the desires of the oligarchs.

We'll see if this take gets Darcy fired, like they got rid of Brian Stelter.


It’s hard to see how America was served by the spectacle of lies that aired on CNN Wednesday evening.

Trump’s team was, naturally, delighted with the result, according to reports. “Advisers to Trump are thrilled at how this is going so far for him,” The NYT’s Jonathan Swan reported. “They can’t believe he is getting an hour on CNN with an audience that cheers his every line and laughs at his every joke.”

Neither could anyone else.


May 9, 2023

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: The Covid-19 emergency is ending. It's time for the patient to leave the hospital


But right now, the trends – in cases, hospitalizations and deaths – are all still high but thankfully moving in the right direction for my patient, our country.

This is also true globally. “For more than a year, the pandemic has been on a downward trend,” WHO’s Tedros said Friday, explaining why the PHEIC declaration was coming to an end. But he said that he would not hesitate to declare a global health emergency again if there is a significant rise in Covid-19 cases or deaths in the future.


If the US weekly death rate at the end of April held steady for 52 weeks (or represented the average weekly death rate), we would have about 54,700 deaths per year. This puts Covid on par with a bad influenza season. And remember, when it comes to flu, less than half the adult population in the United States gets a vaccine every year.

Solid medical science in the form of vaccines and effective public health strategies, such as high-quality masks and indoor ventilation, can get us only so far if there isn’t a collective will to use them.


May 2, 2023

Here's why you need to be cultivating awe in your life


Empirical research by me and other psychologists has found that the cultivation of awe can be done, as with mindfulness practices, anywhere, and only takes a minute or two. You don’t need a lot of money, nor to travel to exotic locales, to find awe; it literally is always around you, if you just take a moment to pause and open your mind to what is vast and mysterious nearby. Still other studies suggest that awe is up to the task of responding to the crises of individualism, of excessive self-focus, loneliness, and the cynicism of our times, and even to some extent to rising problems of physical health.

Feelings of awe shift attention away from the self toward what is around you – to being, in the words of Jane Goodall, “amazed at things outside the self”. In one simple test of this power of awe, students who were led to look upward into a stand of eucalyptus trees just for one to two minutes later reported less narcissism and entitlement than students in a control condition, and these awe-filled students offered more help to a stranger in obvious need nearby.

Today I regularly teach students simple awe-practices that orient attention outward: to look to the sky, or clouds, for example, or a stand of trees, or the movement of city dwellers making their way to lunch; or to the collaborating sounds within a moving piece of music.


I have been trying to do this every chance I get. It helps.


April 10, 2023

Succession - WOW (spoiler)

I can honestly say I have never seen a series pull off something like that. To me a truly historic moment in tv history. In the third episode of the final season they kill off the main character. There are seven more to go. And the way they did it was unque too. Brave.

April 6, 2023

Anti-vaccine activist (and pal of trumpers) Robert Kennedy Jr announces run for president

I lost any respect for RFK Jr. years ago as well as interest in him, so was unaware of his paling around with traitors like Roger Stone and Michael Flynn and election deniers. Oh, his anti-vaccine "charity" had almost $7M in revenue while targeting vulnerable populations with their disinformation. I posted this not as an announcement story but because it includes facts about his recent and disgusting past.


In 2021, Kennedy released a book, The Real Anthony Fauci, in which he accused the top infectious disease doctor of assisting in “a historic coup d’etat against western democracy” and promoted unproven Covid treatments such as ivermectin, which is meant to treat parasites, and the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.

His push against the Covid vaccine has linked him with anti-democratic figures and groups. Kennedy has appeared at events pushing the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and with people who cheered or downplayed the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.

His anti-vaccine charity, Children’s Health Defense, prospered, with revenues more than doubling in 2020 to $6.8m, according to filings with charity regulators.

The organization has targeted false claims at groups that may be more prone to distrust the vaccine, including mothers and Black Americans, experts have said, which could have resulted in deaths during the pandemic.


March 17, 2023

Hey, Irish Americans: Your "Celtic" tattoo isn't Celtic -- because that whole idea was made up

I post this as an American of Scots-Irish (mostly) descent. I enjoy trad music from the Isles and Guinness beer. But O'Heir makes substantive points about the celebration of "Celtic" culture and how off-base most of it is. An easy, fact-based read that some won't like but here it is:



Let's have a little talk among ourselves, Irish Americans. Let's celebrate our diversity. No, I'm serious; that's the real story of our heritage. There is no pure ethnic identity to be found deep in our ancestry, or in anyone else's. To quote the Harvard geneticist David Reich, whose research on ancient DNA has upended the study of human prehistory, "Present-day populations are blends of past populations, which were blends themselves."


Where I'm going here with all this, my Irish-American friends, is that the real and endlessly complicated story of Ireland's past is a lot more interesting than the search for some made-up "Celtic" essence that never existed, and which always ends up at two connected destinations: blatantly fake racist B.S., and somebody trying to sell you something. This ever-frustrated quest for plastic-shamrock authenticity is one of the big reasons why so many Irish Americans feel bewildered or alienated by the realities of contemporary Ireland, a small island of abundant contradictions and deep historical ironies that doesn't want to be a misty stereotype of itself — but is still willing to play that role for the Yanks if there's enough money on the table.

There is a darker side to Irish-American bewilderment, although we're on friendly terms and I won't accuse you of that: I mean the retrograde right-wing tendency exemplified by Sean Hannity and Mick Mulvaney and Kellyanne Conway and any number of other Trump-affiliated Republicans, which remains attached to an idealized, nostalgic vision of Ireland as a Gaelic-Catholic-nationalist (but English-speaking) monoculture, the land of saints and scholars and "comely maidens dancing at the crossroads," to quote the 1943 St. Patrick's Day address by Éamon de Valera, the American-born, half-Hispanic leader who shaped 20th-century Ireland, for better and (mostly) for worse.

When those "make Ireland great again" folks look across the Atlantic today and see a country whose current Taoiseach (i.e., prime minister) is a gay man of Indian ancestry, and where the starting goalkeeper for the national soccer team is Black, I can only hope they feel outraged and baffled. They should be: Jesus, Mary and Joseph, how did Ireland turn woke? That's the world telling them that their understanding of Irishness is bound for the rubbish bin of history.

February 20, 2023

Highly recommend 'Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President'

I had it on my watchlist and this moment seemed perfect to check it out. The doc is told though the perspective of Carter's love of a wide variety of music and that works as a fitting synopsis of the man's life, views and his effect on the world. It also includes a reference to the need to reevaluate his presidency and wipe off the dirt unfairly dumped on him by the repubs and enablers in the media.

There are so many thoughtful tributes from musicians and others. As one put it, paraphrasing: 'we're told not to meet our idols because you'll be disappointed. That wasn't true with Jimmy Carter.'
A couple of others:
Rosanne Cash telling of voting for Carter as a teenager, then going to bed on election night 1976 not knowing who won; then being awakened in the middle of the night when her parents, Johnny and June Cash, were whooping and hollering because Carter had won.
Also, and this is fitting for an example of how low current repubs have sunk, is John Wayne wishing Carter well while speaking on inauguration night to a roomful of celebrating Democrats. He said: "I am a member of the loyal opposition, with the accent on loyal."

The documentary is a beautiful tribute to a truly great man.


January 16, 2023

Alabama basketball player charged with murder

Darius Miles of the Alabama men's basetball team is one of two men charged with muder after an incident Saturday night.


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