Thursday, November 22, 2012

The More I Know, the Less I Expect From My Fellow Man

I'm just an old dinosaur. I still read the paper every morning. Yep, the old inky-fingered habit of going out on the front lawn, getting the paper, unwrapping it and settling in with morning coffee in the easy chair and finding out what is going on in the world.

I believe that the newspaper is still the best way to get your news. It's not the fastest, for sure. Between the evening news, the emails from all the news sources I've subscribed to over the years, and the 24 hour news cycle that bombards me from every monitor that fills my day, whether I'm sitting in a restaurant, or pretty much any place of business these days, or at the gym, or the news popups on my iPhone and iPad, there are very few headlines that I haven't already heard about by the time I pick up the morning paper.

But the ones that I haven't heard about yet, those are the ones that are often the most interesting. Like today, this Thanksgiving 2012, there's a small story about two news co-anchors at the Bangor, Maine television station WVII, who unexpectedly resigned on-air at the end of the 6 PM broadcast. The article is about 15 column inches long, and throughout it gives no reason for the resignations, except for vague allusions to  "a dispute over journalistic practices".

Mike Palmer, the station vice president and general manager, is the only person quoted in the story, and he comes off a bit heavy handed. A read-through of his comments left me with the sense that he was basically saying "good riddance to bad rubbish". Yeah, I know, pretty dated reference. But hey, I'm fifty-eight years old, and it's my blog, so if you think you can do better, then get your own blog.

The last paragraph of the story is the payoff, though. It's so delicious that I want to quote it verbatim; "WVII [an ABC affiliate] and another station that Palmer manages, Fox affiliate WFVX, have made headlines before. In 2006, the New York Times reported that Palmer prohibited his staff from doing stories on global warning."

Really? As late as 2006? Who's the dinosaur now?

This guy Palmer is a real piece of work, isn't he? A little Googling filled me in better on his history. Like the story said, in 2006, the two stations he managed were no longer allowed to report stories on global warming. But there's more to it than that. It was after one of his stations did a live report from the opening of the movie An Inconvenient Truth. He sent an email to staff asking, "where we should send the bill for the live shot Friday at the theater for the Al Gore commercial we aired", and then went on to say he wanted no more stories on global warming until "Bar Harbor is underwater, then we can do global warming stories. Until then, no more." His rationale was that "a) we do local news, b) the issue evolved from science to hard politics and c) what you might have heard from the mainstream media, this science is far from conclusive".

When you try to find out more about this guy, he's a bit like smoke; easy to see but hard to pin down. Except for a short quote in the most recent article about the anchors quitting, he isn't given to interviews or explaining his actions. Which pretty much leaves those of us wondering about this great, fat idiot to draw our conclusions by inference and Googling. But we're left with inference only, because after reviewing 12 pages of Google results, I still couldn't find anything about Mike Palmer except that he's a global warming denier and two of his station news anchors told him to shove their jobs up his butt on television, and all across the internet as the video goes viral.

In fact, the only thing out there about him other than these two stories is his Linked In page, where I learned that he started out in Sales & Marketing. Now, how a person who whores products and services for a living gets to make decisions about news content, well, that's beyond me. To deny global warming even in 2006, much less today, is a genocidal exercise in putting lipstick on the biggest pig of all; our planet and our future on it.

Good luck with your Karma, Mr. Palmer.

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