Disney blew the roof off the ratings with its 2006 made-for-TV movie, High School Musical. Will they repeat that success with High School Musical 2? The sequel has a hard act to follow. High School Musical (referred to as HSM by its hardcore fans), told the story of basketball star Troy Bolton (played by Zac Efron) and math ace Gabriella Montez (played by Vanessa Hudgens), who crossed clique lines to star in the school show. HSM's touching story line, catchy music and energetic dance sequences , which contain no profanity or sexual references, lit a bonfire in the 'tween set... continue reading
Every year literally dozens of new shows premiere in the vast television universe, the broadcast, basic cable and the premium pay-per-view channels. Critics meant to cover these things can only choose from a fraction of them. What motivates their selection tells you more about them than it does the shows. It can be that a network, sensing a hit, pours its formidable resources into an intense marketing campaign and captures their attention. It can be a Big Name associated with the new release that commands coverage. In some cases, and I'm afraid in far too few cases, the new show... continue reading
How do you prevent runway collisions at America’s airports? Fix the FAA, said CNN’s “American Morning” and ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson.” For a change, the media gave the government a hard time about air travel instead of the airlines, reporting on new Federal Aviation Administration guidelines for better runway safety. "The FAA commission admits that runway collisions are an increasing threat," said ABC’s Lisa Stark, cautioning that new rules could "lead to some more delays," but the report did not indicate the airlines were a part of the problem. Jessica Yellin at "American Morning" focused on the FAA's... continue reading
There is a lot of China import-bashing in the news and a lot of it warranted – food health and safety issues and now toy recalls. But it has spurred protectionist rhetoric in the media while ignoring costs. On the August 15 “Good Morning America,” Chris Cuomo berated Mattel CEO Bob Eckert and asked him if his drive for profits was endangering children. “But fundamentally it comes down to where you’re having the toys made,” Cuomo said. “They’re being made in China, you don’t have oversight, there’s tremendous pressure for them to cut corners and keep costs down, because that’s... continue reading
The deadly rush-hour collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis led to calls in much of the liberal press for tax hikes and federal action on infrastructure repair. The Times' coverage has been relatively restrained on that topic, but reporter Monica Davey's Thursday Page 1 profile of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, " Bridge Failure Can't Fend Off Usual Politics ," indulged in a little partisan sniping. As in a previous profile by Davey,she focused on Democratic criticism of a GOP governor from the Midwest. "It took all of two weeks for the political unity brought on by a deadly bridge... continue reading
Neil MacFarquhar, the Times reporter on the Muslim beat, again goes to bat for the highly controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Thursday's " Muslim Groups Oppose A List of 'Co-Conspirators .'" The text box: "A Justice Dept. action in a terrorism case is seen as an effort to smear a community." The case involves the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, accused of providing material support to what MacFarquhar called "the Palestinian organization Hamas." (Everyone else knows Hamas as an anti-Israel terrorist group.) "Two prominent Muslim American organizations took steps yesterday to reverse what they called a Justice Department effort... continue reading
If you want to know how to obtain carbon salvation, the September 2007 issue of Marie Claire magazine might be the publication worth reading for tips on how to avoid “carbon emissions hell” and how to not “[drown] polar bears.” The magazine featured a guide in its "McBulletin" section entitled "Highway to Heaven," featuring a scale of "good" and "evil" signs showing which fuel-efficient cars will keep readers out of “carbon emissions hell,” so that you can “cruise through the tollbooth at the pearly green gates." Those who drive a Honda Civic Hybrid or a Toyota Prius Hybrid are rewarded... continue reading
What’s been going on in the stock market? CNBC’s Jim Cramer said “Armaggedon.” Chris Cuomo said it was “crashing.” ABC’s Charles Gibson hailed “the most important economic event since 9/11.” In the past few weeks, media coverage of the turbulent stock market and the Federal Reserve’s response has been a “roller coaster” ride for viewers – from network to network, some journalists provided hype and gloomy speculation while others remained calm. CNBC’s Jim Cramer went on an impassioned rant August 6 calling for the Fed to reduce interest rates. “Bernanke needs to open the discount window. That is how bad... continue reading
In the latest CEO hot-seat interview, NBC’s Meredith Vieira asked Northwest CEO Douglas Steenland to guarantee that nothing would ever mess with his airline’s flights again. “Do you fly to San Francisco by any chance?” the host of NBC’s “Today” show asked on the August 15 program. “OK, I have to go out there, are you going to promise me, guarantee me, that if I buy a ticket at the end of August you won’t cancel that flight?” Vieira phrased the outrageous question as though it was Steenland’s fault that a high number of flights had been cancelled earlier in... continue reading
Wednesday's "Political Memo" by Michael Luo, " Question of Sons' Choices Dogs Romney Campaign ," reached into Michael Moore territory in relaying criticism of Republican candidate Mitt Romney for his sons' failure to serve in the military. "Mitt Romney has been asked before on the campaign trail if his sons have served in the military, and he usually has dispatched the question easily enough. "But an awkward response last week in Iowa, in which Mr. Romney said in part that 'one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected,' forced him... continue reading