Tuesday, 13 March 2012
HBO has repeated the movie three times and the total audience for “Game Change,” which is based on a book with the same name about the 2008 presidential campaign, now stands at 3.6 million.
The movie was especially praised for Julianne Moore’s portrayal of Ms. Palin as she was selected to become John McCain’s running mate in 2008.
Ms. Palin has denounced the film as inaccurate, though she has not specified which elements of the film are wrong. One of the other major characters, Steve Schmidt, who was the chief strategist for the McCain presidential campaign, appeared on MSNBC this week and praised the movie for its accuracy.
Palin and her partisans have trashed the movie for one very good reason: no matter how sympathetic to Palin’s personal predicament the film may be, the central plot point is that John McCain and his campaign team picked a shockingly unprepared person to be his running mate.
Steve Schmidt, McCain’s senior political advisor, and other top campaign operatives were primary sources for the book on which “Game Change” was based. They have attested to the accuracy of the details in the film and I have little doubt that what shows up on the screen reflects what really happened. Still, perception of reality being a very individual thing, I’m also sure Sarah Palin may have experienced the same events in a different way.
For example, at the end of the movie, Schmidt, played by Woody Harrelson, and Palin, entirely inhabited by Julianne Moore, have a confrontation over Palin’s demand to deliver an election night concession speech. The script gives Schmidt the kind of heroic lines that we all wish we could come up with at dramatic moments and the effect is to make Palin’s speech idea seem insane. Obviously, Palin, then and now, would not agree.
Still, having observed the 2008 presidential race with obsessive fascination, I found “Game Change” entirely on target and the complaints of the Palinistas quite obviously self-serving. Palin may never accept that her notoriously bad interview with Katie Couric went awry because of her answers, not because of Couric’s “gotcha questions,” but her perception does not alter the truth of what everyone witnessed: a candidate for vice president who was ignorant about very elementary facts of foreign policy and government.
Almost any man-on-the-street interview will reveal a similarly huge gap in the knowledge of average Americans. Like candidate Palin, average citizens may not know what the Fed is or who runs the British government. They might find it hard to name the news magazines or newspapers they have read lately because, like her, they don’t actually read them. This is both disturbing and understandable. Most people aren’t paid to pay attention, unlike professional pundits and politicians. The political game goes on above their heads and they feel estranged from the process.
In 2008, Sarah Palin’s life experience was far closer to that of the people than to the professionals. While the pros were appalled that she had no command of the facts, the folks out on the rope lines recognized someone who had come from among them. They saw an attractive mother of five, beset by insiders and media elites, who was battling back and expressing gut feelings that were the same as theirs.
That appeal was what made Palin an overnight political phenomenon. As the movie shows, Palin understood the power of her persona and came to believe she could save McCain’s campaign by ignoring Schmidt and the political experts. She may well have believed herself to be a Ronald Reagan-like figure for whom destiny had greatness in store.
Perhaps she could have become a female Reagan, but Reagan did not become Reagan overnight. He honed his stagecraft for decades; Palin had a short stint as a local TV sports reporter. Reagan served eight years as the governor of the nation’s most populous state; Palin had worked less than two years as governor of big, empty Alaska. Even when he was president, there were still unsettling moments in press conferences when Reagan seemed as baffled and inarticulate as Palin was with Couric. But, by then, Reagan had years of experience on the big stage and could finesse his way through. Palin had just a few days of frantic coaching on the basics before she was thrown into the media maelstrom.
The blame for this reckless choice lies with the smart guys, like Steve Schmidt, who thought they were clever enough to transform the presidential campaign. The biggest lesson of “Game Change” is not that Sarah Palin is dumb, it is that all the wise guys who manipulate the chutes and ladders of the American political system only flatter themselves when they think they are so much smarter than everyone else.
Save for the occasional disastrous talk show, Magic has always made us watch, particularly when he and his glitzy Lakers were dueling Larry Bird in the Celtics during the NBA's '80s heyday. Yet it's also true that even for those of us who wax nostalgic for those days, we will always remember watching Magic more than anything else for a reason that resonated well beyond the world of sports.
0n November 7, 1991, Magic stepped to the podium in front of black curtain at the Great Western Forum and told the world that he was HIV-positive. "Because of the
HIV virus I have attained," he said. "I will have to retire from the Lakers." If you're of a certain generation, the words rattled you to your core. I can still remember the blood rushing from my face while watching the announcement on CNN in my college apartment.
He occasionally smiled, forcing it for the first time perhaps in his life, but his eyes did not. At the height of the AIDS epidemic, the words of this extraordinarily vivacious athlete shook a generation. He vowed to beat the disease, but the statistics countered with an awful reality. As he spoke that day, you believed Magic Johnson, just 32 years old then, was going to die, possibly publicly and surely soon.
The film, directed by Nelson George, is extraordinary as the basketball player and the man himself. For the basketball junkie, the NBA archival footage of Magic as the peak of his powers is reason enough to tune in. But "The Announcement'' also delivers for those wondering how Magic survived the devastating news and the 20 amazing years since.
It becomes quickly apparent that his beautiful wife, Cookie, who has rarely spoken at length publicly about his diagnosis until now, is the heroine of the story, something her husband, whom she first met at Michigan State, recognizes bluntly. "If she had left," Magic said, "I probably would have died.''
"The Announcement'' is a must-watch, but it is not without obvious flaws. I'd put it a notch below ESPN Films's best offerings, such as Jonathan Hock's "The Best That Never Was.'' Very little time is spent on Magic's promiscuity and how he contracted the disease other than vague and seemingly sentimental those-were-some-times references to wild nights at the Forum Club, where Magic was the superstar among superstars and women treated him accordingly.
I would have liked to have heard from former teammates Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Byron Scott, A.C. Green and Michael Cooper. Only James Worthy's voice is prominent. Comedian Chris Rock, a longtime friend and collaborator with the director, is overused, particularly when he's talking about the anything-goes L.A. nightlife in the '80s. Rock was 20 and only on the fringes of fame in 1985. I'd rather have heard more from someone who experienced the times with Magic, or more from his friend Arsenio Hall, and yes, this is probably the only circumstance in which I'd say that when Chris Rock is an alternative.
But those are small gripes about a film you'll want to watch again immediately the moment it ends. As Magic, who narrates much of the film, charmingly banters with a crew member, you'll recognize that few men could handle November 7, 1991, the announcement, and the aftermath, with the grace, determination, and positivity of Magic Johnson. Magic's words, as recalled by longtime Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, are sure to stay with you. "When God gave me this disease, he gave it to the right person." What a remarkable, reassuring thing it is to see him alive and thriving in every way two decades later.
Early in the 1980–81 season, Johnson was sidelined after he suffered torn cartilage in his left knee. He missed 45 games, and said that his rehabilitation was the "most down" he had ever felt. Johnson returned before the start of the 1981 playoffs, but the Lakers' then-assistant and future head coach Pat Riley later said Johnson's much-anticipated return made the Lakers a "divided team". The 54-win Lakers faced the 40–42 Houston Rockets in the first round of playoffs, where Houston upset the Lakers 2–1 after Johnson airballed a last-second shot in Game 3.
During the off-season, Johnson signed a 25-year, $25 million contract with the Lakers, which was the highest-paying contract in sports history up to that point. At the beginning of the 1981–82 season, Johnson had a heated dispute with Westhead, who Johnson said made the Lakers "slow" and "predictable". After Johnson demanded to be traded, Lakers owner Jerry Buss fired Westhead and replaced him with Riley. Although Johnson denied responsibility for Westhead's firing, he was booed across the league, even by Lakers' fans. Despite his off-court troubles, Johnson averaged 18.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 9.5 assists, and a league-high 2.7 steals per game, and was voted a member of the All-NBA Second Team. He also joined Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson as the only NBA players to tally at least 700 points, 700 rebounds, and 700 assists in the same season. The Lakers advanced through the 1982 playoffs and faced Philadelphia for the second time in three years in the 1982 NBA Finals. After a triple-double from Johnson in Game 6, the Lakers defeated the Sixers 4–2, as Johnson won his second NBA Finals MVP award. During the championship series against the Sixers, Johnson averaged 16.2 points on .533 shooting, 10.8 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. Johnson later said that his third season was when the Lakers first became a great team, and he credited their success to Riley.
During the 1982–83 NBA season, Johnson averaged 16.8 points, 10.5 assists, and 8.6 rebounds per game and earned his first All-NBA First Team nomination. The Lakers again reached the Finals, and for a third time faced the Sixers, who featured center Moses Malone as well as Erving. With Johnson's teammates Norm Nixon, James Worthy and Bob McAdoo all hobbled by injuries, the Lakers were swept by the Sixers, and Malone was crowned the Finals MVP. In a losing effort against Philadelphia, Johnson averaged 19.0 points on .403 shooting, 12.5 assists, and 7.8 rebounds per game.
As part of that campaign, a petition was initiated on the administration’s We the People public petition website to remove Limbaugh from the AFN.
Petitioners have one month to gather the 25,000 electronic signatures for an official White House response, and as of this writing, the anti-Limbaugh petition needed 631 more signatures by April 3 to reach the 25,000 threshold.
“He has regularly demeaned women,” the anti-Limbaugh petition claims. “His remarks this week were well beyond the pale of what should be broadcast to our military and their families, supported with our tax dollars. We have a moral objection to our tax dollars being used for such a purpose. You should move immediately to cancel any further broadcast through government facilities of his venom. There is no excuse for the U.S. government, in any capacity, giving this man an audience.”
The pro-Limbaugh counter-petition, which was only created on Sunday, presently has 455 of the 25,000 necessary signatures.
“Threatening to take Rush Limbaugh off AFN is a direct threat to free speech,” the petition reads. “There are plenty of liberal-progressive entertainers who make much worse and offensive comments, yet we don't hear the White House or any liberal screaming for them to be censored. We the signed demand Rush remain on AFN.”Rush Hudson Limbaugh III ( /ˈlɪmbɔː/; born January 12, 1951) is an American radio talk show host, political commentator, and an opinion leader in American conservatism, and is particulary influential in matters affecting the Republican Party. Limbaugh began in radio job at age sixteen, which was followed by a series of radio jobs. In 1984 Limbaugh became a talk show host, California for Sacramento radio station KFBK,
In the 1990s, Limbaugh's made the New York Times Best Seller list with his books The Way Things Ought to Be (1992) and See, I Told You So (1993). From 1992 to 1996, Limbaugh hosted a half-hour television talk show. Limbaugh frequently criticizes liberal policies and politicians, and often takes issue with what he perceives as liberal bias of major media in the U.S.
The Rush Limbaugh Show
Main article: The Rush Limbaugh Show
Limbaugh's radio show airs for three hours each weekday beginning at noon Eastern Standard Time on both AM and FM radio. The program is also broadcast worldwide on the Armed Forces Radio Network.
Radio broadcasting shifted from AM to FM in the late 1970s because of the opportunity to broadcast music in stereo with better fidelity. Limbaugh's show was first nationally syndicated in August 1988, in a later stage of AM's decline. Limbaugh's popularity paved the way for other conservative talk radio programming to become commonplace on the AM radio. In March 2006, WBAL in Baltimore became the first major market radio station in the country to drop Limbaugh's nationally syndicated radio program. In 2007, Talkers magazine again named him #1 in its "Heavy Hundred" most important talk show hosts.
According to a 2001 article in U.S. News & World Report, Limbaugh had an eight-year contract, at the rate of $31.25 million a year. In 2007, Limbaugh earned $33 million. On July 2, 2008, Matt Drudge reported that Limbaugh signed a contract extension through 2016 that is worth over $400 million, breaking records for any broadcast. A November 2008 poll by Zogby International found that Rush Limbaugh was the most trusted news personality in the nation, garnering 12.5% of poll responses.
Limbaugh had a syndicated half-hour television show from 1992 through 1996, produced by Roger Ailes. The show discussed many of the topics on his radio show, and was taped in front of an audience. Rush Limbaugh says he loves doing his radio show but not a TV show.