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When Coverage Went Nuclear

January 13th, 2014 No comments

Remember that thing with filibusters that happened a little while ago? What was it again?

Oh yeah… the Senate went

Mushroom Cloud

NUCLEAR

That is to say, the Senate used a contentious rules interpretation (“the nuclear option”) to decrease the number of votes needed to overcome some forms of obstruction.

I’m quaking in fear! Aren’t you? Nuclear! Doomsday! Zombie Ayn Rand!

Almost two months later, Democrats don’t have unbridled power, Republicans have ceased planning apocalyptic retribution, and Obama still has trouble getting his appointees confirmed. I think the media crapnado surrounding this event may have been a little overblown. It’s not like Senate rules have never changed before, and the current definition/use of “filibuster” hasn’t been around that long. They didn’t even get rid of all the types of filibustering that force cloture votes: just a few of the most jerksome. Mitch McConnell threatened that Republicans will get rid of even more obstructionist measures once they are in the majority (gasp!), and I for one can’t wait. I think these charts sum it up nicely:

Falling number of Senate bills passedObstructionism on the rise

I know that the Senate is supposed to slow down the legislative process, but dear god. Time for less filibustering! The Senate is not getting things done, and being forced to vote on cloture every time Harry Reid wants to wipe his nose is not helping.

But I digress. What I wanted to share was a cool comparison of how different media outlets covered this event. I happened to snap a few screenshots of the main webpages for different news organizations the day this change went through. I think the headlines say a lot about each media source:

BloombergCBS News CNN Fox News HuffPo LA Times MSNBC NBC NYT Politico Reuters Time Washington Post WSJ

Guessing Game: Fox News, North Korea, or Hugo Chávez?

December 19th, 2010 1 comment

Ok, here’s the game… I’ve listed attributes that apply to either Fox News, the North Korean government or Hugo Chávez – Can you guess which is which? (Answers below):

Source A Source B Source C
Claims to be the only trustworthy source of information:
Says other news sources are actively undermining the country:
Evokes a siege mentality:
Uses emotional appeals and prophecies of doom to gain support:
Has suggested Barack Obama is the devil or the antichrist:
Receives funding from Middle Eastern regimes or royal families that Fox News has linked to radical Islam:
Doesn’t believe in and/or care about global warming:
Believes a malicious economic ideology threatens the nation:
Does not like Israel:
Generally despises major international organizations:
Wants to spread worldview:
Has a Twitter account:

Answers: Scroll down to bottom!

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(Source A = Hugo Chávez, Source B = Fox News, Source C = North Korean government)

Thanks for playing!

Comedy Central Grows Up

December 14th, 2010 1 comment

Probably lost in the hubbub for most people was a seemingly small piece of news: Comedy Central just unveiled a new logo. It’s only the third time ever that the network has changed its logo, and this time represents a thorough rebranding. The new logo is minimalist, corporate, and perhaps kinda… boring. Well, that’s been the first-glance reaction so far from many people anyway.

Comedy Central's old logo (left) and new logo (right).

It seems like a lot of people are ready to just scratch their heads at this new logo and say, “It’s not funny,” and wonder what the bigwigs were thinking. I have two quick points to make though: this logo is really quite clever and it highlights some pretty important changes going on.

You see, Comedy Central is no longer just about potty humor and some cheap pranks to make you laugh. No sir, today’s Comedy Central is about potty humor, cheap pranks and sociopolitical commentary to make you laugh. For example, South Park’s first episode was about Cartman getting an anal probe by aliens. It’s most recent episode is about Stan’s parents withdrawing into personal interests to avoid facing marital issues. Yowza!

And let’s not forget the Colbert Report or The Daily Show with John Stewart! Comedy Central is now a primary source of news for many folks. Throw in Sarah Silverman and other programming for adults, and you start to realize one overarching principle that guides the network forward: irreverence.

That’s what the logo represents. It doesn’t just bear an uncanny resemblance to the copyright symbol ©, it’s practically a cheap Chinese knock-off! So here is Comedy Central basically laying down the deal in nothing less than their logo, saying “Here’s a fat finger we’re gonna stick in The Man’s eye, and the eye of anyone else who thinks they’re The Man.” The logo you see here is pretty static, but you might begin to realize how snarky it is once the network starts slapping it on their stuff willy-nilly as their own personal “Comedymark.” As fastcodesign.com puts it, “The copyright is the ultimate emblem of the corporate world. Here, Comedy Central is literally turning it on its head. The joke is subtle but clever.” The logo might also entail a nod to the Copyleft movement and the freedom it embodies. Mark my words, this new logo isn’t just a logo – it’s a sign that Comedy Central is growing up and will be continuing its unpredictable path into the center of America’s sociopolitical awareness.

In Comedy Central’s own words:

“We should explain… Our logo has changed. No longer do you see the big buildings and globe, that quite literally said, COMEDY CENTRAL on top of it. Please welcome the new mark. We affectionately call it the COMEDYMARK. It works WAY F*CKING better then that other one we had. Big building-y globe, you served us well, but we moved on.”