September 25, 2010

Jonathan Klein’s ‘Pajamas Moment’ Accelerated Alternative Media’s Growth

JonathanKleinNews consumers of America owe a debt of gratitude to Jonathan Klein. Really.

Yesterday, Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted the ignominious end of Klein’s nearly six-year term as head of CNN/US.

If there is an example of anyone who has overseen a bigger audience decline and loss of competitive position and survived so long, I don’t know who he or she is. Fox News, which first passed CNN in total viewers in January 2002 (interesting how this basic factoid is not at Fox’s Wiki entry), now routinely trounces CNN and CNN Headline combined by a factor of 1.5 to 1 or more. On Thursday, Fox’s primetime audience of 574,000 was 75% greater than the CNN pair’s combined total of 329,000.

But before he arrived at CNN to do his damage, Klein inadvertently did the nation a service.

Klein’s accidental good deed took place during the Rathergate controversy in 2004. The “story” was that President George W. Bush had somehow received favorable treatment as a member of the Texas Air National Guard in the 1970s. A commenter at FreeRepublic questioned the legitimacy of story-related documents he was seeing on a CBS “60 Minutes” segment, and it snowballed from there. Ultimately, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs reproduced exact replicas of the documents involved in Microsoft Word using technology that could not conceivably have been accessible to the controversy’s players on typewriters existing at the time, proving beyond any reasonable doubt that the crew at “60 Minutes,” including producer Mary Mapes and host Dan Rather, had either been duped or were knowingly promoting falsehoods. In the meantime, a swarm of center-right blogs found a wide range of other evidence poking other holes in the story and questioning the motivations of many who were pushing it.

The episode quickly ended the CBS career of Mapes, and eventually led to Rather’s departure from the network.

In the midst of all of this, Klein, who worked for CBS from 1982 to 1999, appeared on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor as a “Former CBS News Executive.” He defended his former employer’s work thusly:

It’s an important moment, because you couldn’t have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances, and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing what he thinks.

Klein was right of course, but not in the way he thought. The guys in pajamas were right, and CBS, despite its “multiple layers of checks and balances,” was wrong.

Klein’s appearance brought further visibility to an already-growing blogosphere, helping to spur further interest in alternative media, thus accelerating its growth. To name just one example: In August 2005, the Media Research Center started NewsBusters.org with the help of Matt Sheffield, who had been running RatherBiased.com. Without doubt, something like NewsBusters would have eventually appeared, but it’s pretty clear that the Rathergate episode, Klein’s arrogant and embarrassing statement, and other blogospheric debunkings of establishment media stories during the 2004 presidential campaign hastened NB’s arrival. There’s also little doubt that what happened in the fall of 2004 inspired thousands of others to try their hands at blogging. Many of them, to Jonathan Klein’s sure chagrin, have since become key alternative media contributors.

That’s why today, as I blog (in street clothes), I say to Mr. Klein: “Thanks, big guy. We couldn’t have done it as quickly without you.”

P.S. It’s also interesting that Mr. Klein’s “Pajamas Moment” is “somehow” not present at his Wiki entry.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: Miracle mom — Mayo surgeons cut her in half, cleared out her cancer

Filed under: Health Care,Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Winnipeg, Canada and Rochester, Minnesota:

Posted: 18/09/2010 1:00 AM

Manitoban Janis Ollson and family are in magazine ads for the esteemed Mayo Clinic for a very good reason: she’s the first person surgeons cut in half, removed much of a cancerous midsection, then put back together with a happy ending.

On Friday, the Balmoral, Man., woman was at her daughter’s school to talk to students about Sunday’s Terry Fox Run, and how funds raised for cancer research are keeping people like her alive.

Three years ago, the 31-year-old was pregnant with her second child and had been suffering years of horrible back pain when Canadian doctors diagnosed her with bone cancer, chondrosarcoma.

Sarcoma experts in Toronto said they’d literally have to cut her in half to get at the untreatable cancer, remove her leg, lower spine and half her pelvis.

The problem was they didn’t know how to put her back together again.

They certainly didn’t know how she would have a decent quality of life. They consulted with the Mayo Clinic and the Rochester, Minn., doctors decided to try something new.

Ollson became the first person to receive a “pogo stick” rebuild, with her one good leg fused to her body with the reshaped bone from the amputated leg.

Three years later, she is alive and kickin’ — snowmobiling and grocery shopping — with her husband and two kids on their half acre in Balmoral.

“Where we live, we use ATVs and snowmobiles. I use my ATV to take my daughter to school… There really isn’t a whole lot that stops me,” she said.

“I don’t like to be left out.”

Today, she’s cancer-free, although she lives with the knowledge it could return at any time.

She uses a prosthetic pelvis and leg, wheelchair, crutches or walker, depending on what she’s doing and where she’s going.

“I have no problem getting around. If I need to, I’ll crawl (up stairs) or scooch like a kid,” she said.

“I don’t want people to think ‘we can’t invite the Ollsons because they can’t get in here with a wheelchair.’ ”

“I want to live life to its fullest.”

In 2007, her life nearly ended. …

******

Janis Ollson’s first surgery to remove the cancer, her leg, part of her pelvis and lower spine took 20 hours, 12 specialists and 20 units of blood. She spent a week out of it and then had a second surgery to put her back together. That took eight hours and more than 240 staples. The surgeon put her back together, attaching the bone to her spine with pins and screws, close to her centre, almost like a pogo stick.

Go here for the rest of the story.