Sam Fulwood III Misses the Point on Browns vs. WOIO News

The Cleveland Browns are currently working to get out of their deal with Channel 19 WOIO in Cleveland. The deal was in place so that WOIO could broadcast the Cleveland Browns' pre-season football s. The problems started when WOIO aired a news story featuring a 9-1-1 call placed by Nancy Fisher on July 9th after discovering her 6-year-old daughter had drowned in a creek on the family's property. Fisher is the sister of Browns owner Randy Lerner and he was understandably upset with the network for a 9-1-1 call that was more sensationalist than necessary.

Lerner said "I just don't know how you do business with people who do that to you."

Under the circumstances, I can't really disagree. The story of the drowning with connections to the Cleveland Browns is certainly newsworthy, but the gut-wrenching 9-1-1 call is probably not necessary except to titillate and shock viewers.

The two sides appear to be prepared to battle it out in court. It seems like all pretty straight forward jasminlive stuff. Then I read the most recent opinion piece by Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Sam Fulwood III, titled "Treating the rich just like the poor." In his article Fulwood takes this situation and turns it into a story of courageous journalism and the public's right to know.

Really? Is that the issue here?

Fulwood says, " Airing the audio was perfectly defensible, and similarly dramatic stuff gets on the air every day."

While I can't disagree that similarly dramatic "stuff" gets on the air every day, I am left wondering if that is the way it should be? Hearing the horror of a person after discovering that their daughter has drowned is not an important part of the story. But don't get me wrong. I am not naïve as to what TV news has become. We all realize that TV news is a big ratings with their ever-increasing Doppler numbers, and their increased broadcast of shocking news. Here is the difference. Understanding what the is about and accepting these newscasts as "the way it should be" are two very different things.

Fulwood's article continues in another direction as he explores some hypotheticals.

" What if the person who called 9-1-1 was an ignorant-sounding person from some poor Cleveland neighborhood, instead of an affluent person from a suburban estate?"

OK, that's an easy one. The "ignorant-sounding person from some poor Cleveland neighborhood" probably wouldn't have any leverage like the Browns TV deal to try and punish the channel for unnecessarily dragging a family's emotions through the grinder of their television ratings battle.

So what?

Just because Randy Lerner is a powerful guy and can exert his power when he feels he isn't treated properly, means nothing to this situation from a philosophical standpoint. Just because this happens to poor people all the time doesn't make it right. True, that Lerner has more opportunity for recourse, but what does that matter to the idea of whether the call should have been played or not?

Fulwood doesn't seem to think that the call needed to be played except that if it happens to poor people then Randy Lerner should have to take it too. Since when do two wrongs make a right?

Fulwood raises another hypothetical, "Or what if the dispatcher hadn't handled the call properly?"

Another easy answer. That is a completely different case. The story now deals with a public service (911) not working properly. That is news under a completely different heading. Reporting that there might or might not be problems with dispatchers working emergency phone lines is definitely under the guidelines of news that the community should know about. It is a far cry from what we are talking about here with Lerner's situation.

The rest of Fulwood's argument seems to center around the idea that one person shouldn't dictate to a news department what is considered news. I agree with that notion whole-heartedly, but here we have a situation where every jasmine live channel (I think) reported the news, but only one channel took it to the offensive level to Lerner by playing the audio to try and titillate their audience.

Yes it is news. Report on it all you want. When you cross that line into a family's private anguish, they deserve the right to speak up. In our society rich people from the suburbs, especially those owning the Cleveland Browns, have more opportunity to do that. Is that a surprise?

So that is exactly what Randy Lerner did. He felt that the news department did something to him by playing the call. He has the right and means to speak out about it and not do business with them.

So we are still left with a question. WOIO didn't show any bravery by playing the call, and it didn't enhance any single viewer's ability to be informed, so how is it defensible?


It's time for some more either/or on Friday. The rules are simple. Select one or the other. No substitutions. Can't say neither. Explain why you choose what you choose. Link back here or leave it in my comments. That is all.

1. Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

Despite his recent successes, I am going to choose Bill Gates. He isn't the innovator. He isn't responsible for Pixar. He didn't create my iPod. But, he is about to be retired and take on a grandfatherly persona, I think. That appeals to me for whatever reason.

2. Newspapers or Magazines?

Magazines. Newspapers are over now that I can read my news on the Internet. What's left? I wait for all the magazines like Wired, Alternative Press, Rolling Stone, Spin, etc to arrive.

3. Urkel or Screech?

This is a difficult one. Urkel and Screech both disappeared off the face of the earth after their TV shows, but only Urkel was on in prime time. Say what you want, but prime time TV is much more gooder than whenever Saved by the Bell was on.

4. Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson?

Despite the fact that it is everyone else's least favorite of the chaturbate series, Die Hard 2 is still my favorite. Bruce Willis it is.

5. The Godfather or Goodfellas?

Goodfellas is a classic even though nobody remembers how bad the end of the movie gets with all the cocaine and prison and stuff. Still, I am taking The Godfather all day and night over the memorable lines in Goodfellas.

6. Hamburgers or Hot Dogs?

If this were a question about baseball only, then I would have to say Hot Dogs, but in any other non-baseball context, I have to take burgers over hot dogs every single time.

7. The letter Z or the letter Q?

I have to take the letter Z because I don't want to always have the letter U following me around.

8. Isiah Thomas or Marge Schott?

The worst GM in the history of the world, or the owner on record saying Hitler did some good things? I guess I take Isiah Thomas because at least he was a good basketball player at one point.

9. Video s or Movies?

Movies. As much as I love playing video s, I don't know what I would do without two-hour escapes via directors, actors and writers.

10. Thanksgiving or Fourth of July?

I love the food on the Fourth of July better, but due to the fact that it is usually 110 degrees on the fourth, I am going to have to take Thanksgiving. Turkey is overrated, but there is football on and it isn't sweltering, at least where I live.

Is the IPod Nano Too Small?

Yesterday, my 60 Gig IPod Photo decided that it didn't want to interface with my PC anymore. I plugged it into the USB cable and the screen on the IPod changed like it always does to say that it was connecting to the PC. The little USB device manager said that a portable hard drive was connected, but none of the IPod-specific programs would recognize my portable jukebox. Itunes wouldn't work. My Winamp IPod plugin didn't react. Even the factory program that is used to flash new software updates onto the IPod wouldn't recognize the device so that I could try to reset the IPod to factory settings. So, I couldn't update my IPod and I couldn't fix it.

Luckily for me, I have something of a backup. A couple months ago I purchased an expensive piece of recording equipment on EBay and the seller threw in a free 4 GB IPod Nano to entice potential purchasers. Yesterday, when faced with not having any way to listen to my recorded radio shows in the car, I decided to free the lil IPod from its shrink-wrapped sarcophagus. I plugged it in and away I went. The computer recognized it and in no time I had eight hours worth of programming in my pocket.

Sure, it is perplexing that the Nano had no problems connecting while my ginormous IPod wouldn't connect. (It is even more perplexing that the guy at the "Genius Bar" (blech!) at the Apple Store was able to get it working on one of the in-store Macs.) But that is not why I am writing this.

The reason that I am writing today is that, I think we have finally hit the point where the form-factor is smaller than it needs to be. The first thing I noticed after getting this Nano up and running is that it is a burden to carry around, not because it is too big, but because it is too small.

I don't have huge hands. In fact, I find it difficult to stretch my fingers across the frets on my guitar in order to play most scales. Even with my stubby fingers, this little MP3 player is too small to hold comfortably in my hand. It is so small that I worry about putting it in my pocket with my cell phone. If I was wearing even slightly form-fitting jeans or something, I would worry about its health as it sits in my pocket while I move around. As I continue to try to get used to this Nano, it strikes me just how insubstantial this device seems in contrast to the wires that connect my ear bud head phones.

I think it might be time to start doing some additional research on minimum sizes for technological devices. Just because you CAN make it smaller, doesn't mean that you should, necessarily. I understand that making these things easy to carry around is important, but when you go too small, I think you actually decrease the device's usability. I would love it if my 60 gig IPod was reduced in size and weight by probably about 25 or 30%, but any more and it too would become increasingly difficult to carry around.

Am I off base on this one? Am I the only one who has found the Nano to be too small?

Roethlisberger Hurt in Motorcycle Wreck

WTAE-TV, citing a person in the police department it didn't identify, reported that Roethlisberger has a broken jaw, a broken left sinus, a 9-inch cut on the back of his head, lost teeth and has severe injuries to his knees from hitting the pavement.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was badly hurt in a motorcycle crash Monday and undergoing surgery. The extent of his injuries was not known.

Roethlisberger was in serious but stable condition, said Dr. Larry Jones, chief of trauma at Mercy Hospital.

Dude. Are you serious? It is true that I despise the Steelers, but only on the field. All I can say is what a dumbass. Kellen Winslow did this last year and erased an entire season because of all the li nts he tore while being a daredevil on his bike. Now Roethlisberger hurt himself badly enough that he reportedly had surgery yesterday?

You guys are all retarded. Get yourself behind the wheel of a car and protect your money, the investment of your employers and the mental health of all your fans. Why should your fans and your team have to enter a season trying to defend the Super Bowl with a question mark in the lineup because you just HAD to ride a motorcycle?

The Browns fans shouldn't have had to do it last year, and the Steelers fans shouldn't have to do it this year.

Competition For Your Internet and Television

A new bill was passed this week which will make it easier for more companies to compete to offer video services. Up to this point, the cable companies have negotiated municipality by municipality. The idea is that competition will increase the reach of broadband and introduce some additional price competition.

Then I read this.

But many Democrats said the measure did too little to ensure that broadband services would be extended to lower income and rural areas.

They also said the bill does not adequately address "net neutrality," preventing companies from discriminating against competitors or less affluent consumers by restricting access or charging higher fees.

While I agree to an extent that the bill doesn't explicitly say it, the introduction of competition should lower prices and drive different companies to fill more niches than are currently being addressed. We have seen specialty cell phone companies and cell phone plans aimed at the less affluent. Why would these people automatically assume that the free market in television and Internet services won't address these real life issues as well?

If unfairness forms after this bill has been passed, then by all means address the problems, but to over-legislate something that you want to be free from restrictions seems a little bit goofy to me.

So open it up. Let's see what shakes out. Certainly you have to believe that phone companies will be very active with their standing relationships with huge numbers of people.