Well, there they go again …

According to the Drudge Report, CBS will be airing a bio-pic about Ronald Reagan during next month’s sweeps. Great! It should go well with the new book of Reagan’s letters:

In the upcoming CBS telefilm on President Ronald Reagan producer fail to mention the economic recovery or the creation of wealth during his administration, nor does it show him delivering the nation from the malaise of the Jimmy Carter years … It stresses Reagan’s moments of forgetfulness, his supposed opinions on AIDS and gays, his laissez-faire handling of his staff members. The scenes often carry a disapproving tone. During a scene in which his wife pleads with him to help people battling AIDS, Reagan says resolutely, “They that live in sin shall die in sin” and refuses to discuss the issue further.

Or maybe not …

The film’s producers, Zadan and Meron, acknowledge their liberal politics, as do the stars of the television movie, James Brolin and Judy Davis. But Meron tells the TIMES: “This is not a vendetta, this is not revenge. It is about telling a good story in our honest sort of way. We all believe it’s a story that should be told.”

“In our honest sort of way”?? What happened here is that Zadan, Meron, Brolin, and Davis got together with CBS chairman Leslie Moonves, a big Democratic donor and close friend of the Clintons, and dreamt up a hatchet job on the Reagans — if this report checks out. Hardly the fair and balanced group of people you’d hope would take on a project like this, but it’s a free country. No one has to watch if they don’t want to see it. I think I’ll just break out the book instead that night.

CBS News: The Dark Side

CBS has run a truly egregious hit piece on home schooling, which is also posted to their web site:

“I think there’s so little supervision that they really are not protecting those kids,” Marcia Herman-Giddens, of the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute.
Herman-Giddens is on the state task force that reviewed the Warren case. The conclusion: home school laws “allow persons who maltreat children to maintain social isolation in order for the abuse and neglect to remain undetected.”

Let’s see … because of the three or four cases of child abuse (including murder and suicide) of home-schooled kids they found, this is supposedly an evil trend, a conspiracy of child abusers to keep their victims from being noticed. Where is any mention of the hundreds of thousands of abuse cases that occur with children taught in public schools? Or, perhaps, a litany of children assaulted, molested, and murdered in public schools, sometimes by the teachers and administrators? Are there any statistical analyses comparing risks of both systems? I’d settle for risks associated with just the public schools, at least for context. The report estimates that 50,000 kids in North Carolina are home-schooled, and only mentions one case.

Unlike teachers, in 38 states and the District of Columbia, parents need virtually no qualifications to home school. Not one state requires criminal background checks to see if parents have abuse convictions.

No state requires parents to undergo criminal background checks because the children are already in their custody. Children don’t start home schooling until they’re close to public-school age, so there are four or five years where the child is out of the system regardless of whether they later become home-schooled or not. Didn’t anyone at CBS think about that before writing this article? Or is CBS subtly suggesting that parents must be licensed to have children at all?
What stories like this are intended to do is to stir up enough righteous anger — the children are in danger!! we must do something!! — to enable legislators to pass new laws restricting the rights of parents to make decisions for their children. The entire tone of this two-part article is that children who are home-schooled are being kept from background-checked, government-certified experts who know more and care more about what’s best for the child than the benighted, backwoods parents. It’s all about extending the government-enforced union monopoly, with CBS scaring up bogeymen to keep the public frightened enough to knuckle under. Hell, they even threw Andrea Yates into the equation, even though only two of her children were school age, and her psychosis had nothing to do with home-schooling her children.
Outlawing home schooling will not eliminate child abuse, nor will forcing home-schooling parents to submit to background investigations. (After that, they’ll require stay-at-home moms to register as day-care providers.) Based on the prevalence of abusive and dangerous environments in public schools, I’d wager that home-schooled children are actually far, far safer than their peers stuck in the education monopoly.
Thanks to Steve at Meaningful Media for his post on the subject, and if you’re as irritated by this as I am, his post links to protest sites., such as ThinkPink, who posts her own letter to CBS.

Diva alert

Ever wonder what it takes to get someone fired? If you’re Deborah Norville, not much, although it’s not clear if she actually initiated the termination.

Last week, [Norville] was in town and had to stop by the KTVT-Channel 11 Dallas studios to do a live spot at 2 p.m. For the past year, Richard Daniels, 72, has been the front desk security guard in Dallas. At about 1:45, he looked into his monitor and saw Norville hurriedly approaching, assistant in tow. Daniels went to meet Norville–whom he did not recognize–at the door, which stays locked. According to Daniels and another Channel 11 employee who witnessed the following, Daniels began to say, “May I help you?” At this point, they say Norville–lessee, how would Inside Edition put this?–[deep baritone] they say Deborah Norville began acting more like Diva Norville.
“I’m Deborah Norville!” Daniels said she screamed. “I’m late!”
According to Daniels and the other witness, Daniels looked shocked but allowed her to storm in. A news producer, who says she only saw the end of the incident but says Norville was loudly announcing her name, hurriedly rushed Norville back to the office of Steve Mauldin, president and general manager of Channel 11 and UPN Channel 21.

Daniels says he was fired for this, although station management has a different — and unusual — take on the situation:

Mauldin acknowledges the call was made to get rid of Daniels because of the Norville incident but says it was because Daniels was often rude to outsiders entering the studio. He intimated that Daniels took his security role too seriously. “It’s not like people are trying to break down the door to get into our station,” Mauldin says.

Yeah, in the post-9/11 world, be careful that you take security too seriously, especially at a public broadcast center, because we know that nuts and terrorists wouldn’t be interested in attacking those. Sounds to me like the wrong person got fired. (via Romanesko)

Jesse’s Ratings Weak: What a Shocker

Jesse Ventura’s new TV show aired on MS-NBC this past weekend, and as Glenn Reynolds points out, the ratings were abysmal — only an estimated 194,000 people watched it. Glenn is being generous and suggesting that MS-NBC didn’t give it the proper PR support. The Post reports:

Ventura fans would have had to be paying close attention to even know the show was on the air. MSNBC barely promoted it, running on-air promotions for the debut on Friday night and Saturday. The network bought no print ads and no commercials on other networks.
Ventura’s show was troubled almost since MSNBC hired him. It was envisioned as a daily, prime-time fixture, but after its premiere was delayed several times, the network said it would run just once a week on Saturday – generally the least-watched night of television.

However, I had the opportunity to listen to the “Dork of the Week” segment of the show on the radio yesterday, and let me tell you, it was excruciating. First of all, “Dork of the Week” is an epithet that you would expect from a middle-school boy, not a grown man, and certainly not a former Governor of Minnesota. Even if you get past that, Jesse can’t speak without sounding … well, like a dumb middle-school jock. The story was about a scientist who thought that by lowering his heartbeat (through yoga), he could swim with sharks and not be detected. He was spectacularly wrong and apparently is lucky to be alive. This story could have had some entertainment value, if you enjoy literally adding insult to injury, if it had been delivered with a wry touch, the sort of thing that Jon Stewart or David Letterman could do without even thinking about it. Instead, Jesse beat it to death in that clod voice of his.
The final straw is that this story is over a year old (April 21, 2002, to be exact)– so how could he be the Dork of the Week? Not coincidentally, MS-NBC has been working with Jesse for over a year to get this TV show in order. That means that Jesse has been practicing the same story for over a year!! Pathetic. Even with Gary Davis and Arianna Huffington, he couldn’t outscore a rerun of a documentary of Laura Bush.