Changing Channels

Stan Atkinson

Rush Limbaugh slips up at times, especially when he’s trying to be funny.

He’s also an old-time values guy, which pleases some and turns off other radio listeners — usually the former as the man has forged a remarkable career.

Rush, deserves credit too for being decent and kind enough this past week to pay homage to another media giant in his own way: former Sacramento TV newscaster Stan Atkinson, who just turned 80.

The pair have a Northern California link, as Rush sharpened his radio skills at KFBK in Sacramento a few decades back and they also became friends. Limbaugh noted the times Atkinson offered him career advice in those days … be true to yourself and know your stuff … was basically what Stan said.

Rush isn’t alone in his love and admiration for Atkinson, who became such a large presence in the city he became known as “Mr. Sacramento” for  his decades-long TV and charity work.

To many of us, he is just a good man and a good friend, as well. Atkinson was once very kind and friendly to a certain news intern, OK me, when I “worked” at the station that made him the most famous: KCRA.

Stan also developed a friendship with my brother, Augie, who cooked for the anchor during his time at Harlows Restaurant on J. St. in midtown Sacramento. (The Sacramento Bee erred in not doing an obit. on my brother, who died this past year, for his relationships with people like Atkinson, though I digress).

Stan is aging quite well, even recently making a humorous video of a current dance routine.

Atkinson continues to be a one-of-a-kind talent, for sure, even into his 80’s though I’ll always remember his open (“It’s 11 o’clock and we have news for you — DRAMATIC PAUSE and fold of paper — Next!)” and close to newscasts (“Sleep well —DRAMATIC PAUSE — and have a good tomorrow!)”

Too much —DRAMATIC PAUSE — but that is Stan!


I had to do it.

I had to “unfriend” a former associate on Facebook a few weeks ago for “accusing” me of only watching FOX News.

Although I “lean right” on many political and social topics, I have spent my career as a journalist trying to be fair …  probably even to the point of overdoing it at times!

(Although, let me be clear that Changing Channels is a blog post based on my opinions of the news, television, etc… an important distinction, esp. after my Joy Behar posts)

This supposed “friend” doesn’t know me and the fact that I watch plenty of CNN and even dabble a bit in MSNBC.

Sean Hannity

However, if I was to do a “report card” on the latter network’s “personalities” it would be: left, left, far left and even FURTHER left for all of them.

CNN too leans left, though not as strongly as MSNBC.

FOX News takes  a beating in some quarters for being a tool of the right wing of the Republican party, but when you break down the anchors’ presentations the network comes in “only” center-right.

In my opinion, Shep Smith is actually center-left, while Bill O’Reilly makes painstaking steps to stay in the center on his very popular ‘Factor’ program.

Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren are arguably right-leaning, while Sean Hannity is further-right, like his radio show, but also regularly argues it out with liberals like Juan Williams.

All in all, not a bad report card, especially when compared to other media outlets.

What say you? Feel free to comment, whether to agree or disagree.


Homer Simpson

Clever writing and sarcastic, cutting humor.

Those are two qualities that bind the FOX animated comedy hits ‘The Simpsons’, ‘Family Guy’ and ‘American Dad’.

Another is their willingness to mock God and faith, and that’s what makes the shows utterly unwatchable to me.

I don’t care that ‘The Simpsons’ is stuff of TV legend due to its long and successful run.

Or that ‘Family Guy’ aired its 200th episode Sunday night, even if it makes me someone lacking a ‘sense of humor’.

I DO care, however, that the shows mock the Bible and Jesus at every turn. They simply have NO limits in knocking ANY and ALL religions for that matter!

The few moments I have watched any of those programs I have literally gasped at the things they say and do and have to quickly change the channel.

I know we can’t return to the days of Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker and The Jetsons.

But can cartoons, even ones of the so-called ‘adult’ variety at least have some standards of decency?

Is that too much to ask?


First off , the winners of election night …

Barack Obama — Obvious choice, he got enough Americans to believe he can turn the economy around despite serious struggles in his first-term. Bill Clinton, to his credit, understood his limits in governing in a Democracy during a second term, it will be interesting to see what Obama attempts to do and how he goes about it with the same opportunity. Made good moves in reaching out to Chris Christie and even Mitt Romney in recent days, but were they political or practical?

US VP Joe Biden

Joe Biden — Made plenty of gaffes on the campaign trail, like getting his locations incorrect and stating things ‘incorrectly’ but still was part of the winning ticket. Some of the best veep’s in history worked behind the scenes to help the president get bills passed and work with members across the aisle, it will be interesting to see if Biden has the political capital or respect of Republicans to do the same. While Obama is considered the ‘transformational’ leader of the country, perhaps Biden can help him develop some limits on what ‘change’ can be accomplished. To do so, however, he may need to behave, ahem, “differently”.

Liberals/Progressives — The nation is now apparently center-left, perhaps for the time being or for a long-time to come. That means more emphasis on government programs that some would argue have a mission to ‘help’ people while others are concerned they may be intended to ‘control’ them. Getting the massive deficit under control will apparently take a back seat to creating or expanding social programs that some feel could bankrupt us.


For the losers …

Romney — Mitt will go into the dustbin of the political scene, like Bob Dole, Al Gore , John Kerry and Mike Dukakis before him. Romney went to the right in the campaign and picked up serious steam, but it was not enough to overcome an incumbent who had plenty of advantages to run on. The Republicans have younger, more exciting candidates for 2016, including perhaps Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal, and whoever the nominee is needs to be a solid conservative from the get-go. John McCain and Romney were apparently TOO moderate to win. Democrats were right to believe they could beat both candidates.

Paul Ryan — I could have seen the young, energetic Wisconsin congressman working the House and Senate to build up their respective relationships with the Romney administration. Alas, the budget wonk won’t have that opportunity and that may actually make America the loser in the process, as well if the deficit isn’t addressed, as it likely won’t be.

Political pundits — Ex-GW Bush advisor Karl Rove takes the biggest hit, along with Dick Morris, both of FOX News. Both predicted wins for Romney, the latter by ‘landslide’ and both have egg on their faces as a result. They weren’t alone, however, as the old political model oversampling Democrats for polls didn’t seem to apply. Many were upset or offended by Rush Limbaugh’s comment comparing Obama to Santa Claus, but did Democrats turn out in droves to protect what some Republicans see as handouts?

Television/newspaper media — Many outlets appeared to stick with the president until near the very end of his first-term, when several newspapers, including the NY Daily News and Newsday, flipped their support to Romney. What was the purpose of endorsing him so late, when so much of the media seemed SO opposed to him throughout the campaign? The legitimacy of the media, what’s left of it, took another serious hit.