Letter From New York 02 24 15 Contentious Times…

Waking in New York City this morning, I grabbed my mobile and checked the weather. There was a wind chill of 5 to 10 below zero. I wanted to curl back up and wait for the day to warm. Thankfully, despite the cold, it was brilliantly sunny and therefore I felt brighter if not warmer. After a couple of cups of coffee and a hot, hot shower I ventured out into the world; my cheeks were burning from the cold by the time I made it from Riverside to Broadway.

After a few errands and some work on my Indian Visa application, I headed south to the West Village where I met up with my friend Mick Kaczorowski, Executive Producer par excellence, recently departed from Discovery, for a long, good catch-up lunch.

After lunch, I headed to Staples and purchased a printer for the NY apartment and then sat down to blog.

There is the growing brouhaha over whether Bill O’Reilly of Fox News “embellished” his war reporting credentials. David Corn in the magazine Mother Jones wrote an article about Mr. O’Reilly having his own “Brian Williams Moment” and Mr. O’Reilly responded with what I gather is typical vitriol by calling Mr. Corn a “guttersnipe.”

I don’t watch Bill O’Reilly or Fox News. I don’t watch CNN either. I am a cord cutter so I don’t have cable in my home. But in the moments I have had exposure to Mr. O’Reilly, I have found him distasteful so I haven’t searched him out online either.

His efforts to quell the controversy don’t seem to be working. They just seem to put the spotlight more on a situation that would probably have gone away if he had ignored it. But that is not the O’Reilly style. He has gone on to threaten a reporter from the NY Times and has drawn the ire of several colleagues who were with him in Argentina during the Falkland War. One of them has called his version of events a “fabrication.”

O’Reilly covered the war from Buenos Aires. There was a riot while he was in Buenos Aires. He did cover that. One reporter described that riot as the “chummiest” riot he had ever seen but there is footage that O’Reilly showed on his program last night.

The video shows unrest and chaos but no shots being fired. One person reporting on the O’Reilly tempest said that O’Reilly had “yet to find the bodies.”

Nothing much will come of this. Fox News likes controversy and I’m sure it will give a boost to their ratings. Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News and master spinmeister, is thoroughly behind the consistently high rated O’Reilly. NBC launched an investigation into the Brian Williams story; Fox News will not look deeply at O’Reilly’s actions.

It says much about the organizations.

In other media news, Keith Olberman was suspended from ESPN for a few days over churlish tweets about Penn State.

Things continue to be tense in Ukraine and it is now being called this generation’s West Berlin.

There have been more suicide bombings in Nigeria and masked men kidnapped an 87-year-old American missionary, the Reverend Phyllis Sortor. Soldiers from Chad claim they have killed over 200 Boko Haram fighters.

The three British schoolgirls who flew on their own to Istanbul last week to apparently join IS have successfully managed to cross over into Syria. Also in the land of IS, dozens of Assyrian Christians have been abducted and taken from their villages. Thousands more have fled.

In less violent news today, Greece made more concessions and a four-month extension has been granted them to work out their future. Markets in New York and London ended up for the day.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell is working on a deal to keep the Department of Homeland Security from being defunded. It will be interesting to see if he can get the Republican Congressmen to go along with the scheme.

And, as widely expected, President Obama vetoed the Keystone Pipeline Bill, issuing in a new period of contentiousness between the White House and Congress.

What will be contentious for me is seeing if I can get the new printer printing tonight. I must remember to read the instruction book!

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