TV: commercials, debates, Watergate

Butterfield was asked “Are you aware of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the White House?”

viagra-football-large-2During the first two rounds of the baseball playoffs this season, the networks seemed to have run the same 17 commercials over and over and over again. One was this ad for Viagra, featuring a white woman in a football uniform top. I thought it was an interesting choice to run that ad into the ground, rather than to alternate it with one of the recent ads featuring a black woman (Date Night) or an Asian woman, actress Kelly Hu, both of whom were wearing dresses. There’s some sociological observation to be made here too, I suppose.

Two other overplayed ads were for these fantasy sports sites. I tend to root for teams, not individual players, so this interests me not all. Still, there is a question about insider trading, whether someone working at one company can pick up enough info about the popularity of a player to have an advantage playing at another major site.

During the third Republican debate in late October, when a debate moderator asked one of his rivals about whether the federal government should regulate fantasy football the same as gambling, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey interrupted: “Are we really talking about getting the government involved in fantasy football? Wait a second, we have $19 trillion in debt, we have people out of work, we have ISIS and al-Qaeda attacking us and we’re talking about fantasy football? Can we stop?”

OK, so it wasn’t the most important question on the American landscape. But it was topical, it played to what I think as Americans’ perception of “fairness,” and I thought Christie’s disparaging remarks, about a question not even addressed to him, was mostly to bash the moderators.

Speaking of the debates, the New Yorker has humorously suggested that Republican National Committee and the television networks have agreed that “future Presidential debates during the 2016 campaign will strictly forbid questions about things the candidates ‘said’ or ‘did’.” Even when questions are not as robust as they might be, the responses can be interesting.

That said, the idea of having opening and closing statements makes sense to me. Currently, there is a disparity in the amount of time the ten candidates on stage receive over the two or three hours, and this would somewhat mitigate that.

Speaking of Republicans, I saw Nixon aide Alexander Butterfield on CBS News. When he left the White House, he took 20 boxes files with him, including some documents classified as “Top Secret.” Recently, he turned them over to Bob Woodward who, along with Carl Bernstein, broke the Watergate story for the Washington Post.
fred thompson
During the Watergate hearings, Butterfield was asked “Are you aware of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the White House?”
Butterfield: “I was aware of listening devices, yes, sir.” The man asking the question was lawyer Fred Dalton Thompson, who believed, incorrectly, that any tapes would vindicate the President.

Thompson would go on to act in several movies and television shows, including several iterations of Law & Order. He was also a US Senator from Tennessee for about a decade and ran for President in 2007 and early 2008. He died this week at the age of 73.

Some controversy over the segment of 60 Minutes called Heroin in the Heartland, which a writer suggests was just a Cliff Notes version. Weirder for me: there was NO sound on that piece when I played it back on the DVR, or watched it live, but all the other segments were fine.

I see this LA Times headline: Bill Cosby can be deposed in Janice Dickinson’s defamation suit, judge rules. I swear I read the headline, “Bill Cosby can be deported.”