Tag Archives: Rupert Murdoch

An Australian teacher becomes a hero on airplane, doing what comes naturally. 65-year-old pitcher Bartolo Colon is just the best. And Bernie’s right about needing a left-wing Fox News

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I usually save stories like the one I’m about to share for Good News Friday’s, but this one moved me so much I kind of feel like I need to share it right away. Plus, it’s nice to start off Monday with a happy tale.

I’ve written before in this space about my buddy Konrad Marshall, a native Aussie and fantastic journalist who I worked with many moons ago. Konrad and his terrific wife, Nikki, moved back Down Under a few years back, and he’s now writing for “The Age” newspaper there.

This weekend he shared the story of Sophie Murphy, a special education teacher in Australia who was on a flight from Sydney to Melbourne a few weeks ago, when something very unusual happened.

A 14-year-old boy with Down’s Syndrome was feeling unwell, and laid down in the aisle of the plane and could not be moved, not by anyone. The plane could not land, 179 other passengers were stuck, and so the pilot, with nothing else having worked, asked:

“Is there a teacher on board this flight? Is there a special needs teacher on board?”

There was. Murphy, 42, is a teacher of two decades experience, now lecturing and completing a PhD at the University of Melbourne.

And how Murphy got this boy to feel better and help him through the flight is just beautiful. Read how she did it here.

“”Teachers get such a bad rap,” she says. “I was proud to go back there, knowing I could help. This is what every single teacher does, every single day.”

What a wonderful woman. This story, by the way, has gotten huge attention in America the last few days, NPR’s Weekend Edition interviewed Murphy here.

**Next up today, this may sound crazy talking about a 42-year-old pitcher, but Bartolo Colon might be the most fun player to watch in Major League Baseball right now.

I’m at best a casual fan of the sport, but whenever Bartolo does something goofy or incredibly athletic, I can’t stop smiling.

So Saturday night, when Bartolo hit his first career home run and his teammates and the Mets announcers went nuts, it blew up Twitter and made me really happy. (OK, Gary Cohen on the call maybe got a little carried away calling it “one of the greatest moments in baseball history.”)
Colon is just a wonder. God bless him.

**Finally today, I must admit that as Bernie Sanders’ chances for winning the Democratic nomination have officially been reduced to nearly zero, I haven’t been paying as much attention to his day-to-day interviews.

But he said something to Rachel Maddow the other night that caught my attention, and it’s something more Democratic politicians and future leaders should also be talking about.

Bernie said, “I think we have got to think about ways that the Democratic Party, for a start, starts funding the equivalent of Fox television.”

This has long been a sore spot for Democrats. Fox News, over the past 20 years, has become an enormous boon to the Republican Party, parroting out talking points, helping build up stars in the party by giving them tons of air time, and, sad but true, driving so much of the debate in this country to the right.

And Fox News exists because Rupert Murdoch, who has 84 gazillion dollars, decided in 1996 that he wanted to start a political cable channel that would put his points of view out front.

And it has worked incredibly well. With Donald Trump being a rare outlier (in this and everything else, it seems), Fox News makes or breaks candidates and issues.

And the Democrats, we don’t have anything like that. We’ve got billionaires, but not as many, certainly not as many in politics. And if we ever got a true blue cable channel dedicated to putting forth liberal, progressive ideas, maybe the dialogue would change a little bit in America.

I know MSNBC sorta half tried the last few years, and Air America radio almost kinda worked. But I’m talking about a huge investment, long-term, in a channel that would do for progressives what Fox News has done for conservatives.

Since so many people get their news only from TV, and since so many of our “mainstream” networks refuse to call out GOP politicians on outright falsehoods, I think a progressive TV channel it would go a long way toward giving Democratic issues the kind of “equal time” they don’t get elsewhere.

I know, I know, I’m dreaming again. But it really is a good idea.

ESPN may finally be getting a rival, thank heavens. Some joy, at last, in Newtown. And CNN, sinking to new lows

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As a kid, I thought ESPN was the greatest thing invented since Hot Wheels.
A 24-hour all-sports cable channel devoted to showing games and highlights? What could possibly be better than that?
And at first, that’s all ESPN was. But it grew and grew and grew and now resembles something like the monster Audrey from “Little Shop of Horrors,” devouring everything it sees.
ESPN does its best to ruin sports now, not promote them. With their inane babbling idiots on in the afternoons, their constant over-obsession with people like Tim Tebow, Tiger Woods or LeBron James, and their reduction of every game to only the best dunks or touchdowns, ESPN has become a bloated mess that most of us sports fans endure because they have the rights to so many big games, not because we enjoy the network.

So in what may actually be a Michael Lewis first, I’m rooting for Rupert Murdoch in his new venture.The gazillionaire media titan is announcing Tuesday that he is going to start a rival to ESPN, calling it Fox Sports 1. Eventually, one hopes, Fox Sports 1 will bid for rights to MLB, college basketball , NBA and NFL games, and maybe even have a nightly highlights show that focuses on, you know, highlights and not the hairspray sportscasters’ latest stupid catchphrases.

Competition is desperately needed for the Goliath that is ESPN. I don’t like most of what Rupert Murdoch stands for, but he’s about the only guy with enough money to truly rival ESPN.
I hope he succeeds.

**So this was actually on CNN the other day. CNN, the network that broke new ground in cable news, that covered the first Gulf War in 1991 live as it happened, that gave us Bernie Shaw and Judy Woodruff and all kinds of great broadcasting talent.

Sigh.

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**Finally, it’s been awfully long and painful winter for the citizens of Newtown, Connecticut.
But Monday night there was actually some good news to report, as a devastated community tries to move on after the December massacre of children.

The Newtown High School boys basketball team, seeded 29th in the Connecticut state playoffs, upset No. 4 seed Crosby, 61-58 on Monday night.

It’d be too much to ask for the boys from Newtown to channel their inner Hickory High, wouldn’t it?
But at least for one night, there was some joy in a town that desperately needs it.
I hope it brought a smile to your face, as it did mine.

The Murdoch scandal just keeps growing. Suing your sister for Duke tickets. And a Tim Stauffer update

I haven’t written about the Rupert Murdoch/England/voicemail hacking story yet, because, well, no good reason. I just hadn’t gotten around to it. But now that this thing keeps growing and growing (Murdoch took out a full-page ad in his papers this weekend apologizing, and then Rebekah Brooks, one of his most trusted lieutenants, was arrested Sunday), I had a few thoughts:

— Slowly but surely, this scandal is growing beyond Britain and is going to have an impact on his properties in the U.S. Can you imagine if evidence comes out that Fox News has stealing Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton’s voicemails? You have to believe that if ole’ Rupert’s papers in England were doing this stuff, the NY Post, Wall Street Journal and Fox News could’ve been doing it, too. I’ll be stunned if the Post isn’t somehow implicated.

— Hard to believe that after so many years of vicious success, something like this could bring down Murdoch. Is it possible he’d have to sell Fox News?

— As a former journalist (God that feels weird to type, the former part) this is what I always wonder about scandals like this: Was it worth it? Was there really anything so juicy or interesting that it was worth the risk? Great piece by Carl Bernstein in last week’s Newsweek about Murdoch and the culture he created.

— It’s been hilarious watching the British politicians squirm as they try to distance themselves from Murdoch, a guy so many of them are in bed with. There is no one human being in U.S. politics as influential as Murdoch is in the U.K.
— Finally, I’m sure Fox will somehow report that this is all a big ole’ Democratic plot.

**So Duke basketball tickets are a pretty hot item. I know I’d love to get my hands on some, being a huge fan and all. Having been there a bunch of times in my life, I have to say Cameron Indoor Stadium is one of the greatest venues in all of sport.
Well, the  Caudle and Dorton families of Raleigh, N.C. tend to agree. A woman named Katina Dorton is currently suing her sister, Sophia Caudle over Duke season tickets once belonging to their late father. Dorton claims that Sophia’s husband arranged for the tickets to be transferred to he and Sophia without any prior consent from father John Dorton.
I’m totally with Katina on this one. Those tickets are way too valuable to give up without a fight.
And hey, nothing like a good family feud!

**You may remember that I’ve written a few times about my old pal Tim Stauffer, a pitcher for the San Diego Padres who is a really good guy with great parents, and has suffered through tons of injuries and disappointment in his major league career. Every few weeks I check the MLB.com website to see how he’s doing, and I’m thrilled to report that through the first half of this season, Timmy has been freaking fantastic.
Even though he plays on a crappy team that never scores any runs for him, he’s got a 2.97 ERA, which is phenomenal. He’s got a 5-6 record but is finally pitching like the guy who was a Top-5 pick in the draft seven years ago.
Good on ya, Timmy.