News agenda – Friday October 24, 2008

Here’s what’s coming today:

We’re going to hear more about the markets today. The overseas markets melted down (how many times can something melt?) overnight and then Wall St. opened sharply lower. An analyst on CNBC, with panic in his voice, shouted “don’t panic.” How bad is it right now to be in the stock business? The BBC pulled its guy off the campaign and sent him to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to tell us it’s bad.

By midmorning, the market was down about 350 points, which the American people have already been conditioned to shrug at.

There was an interesting moment in the coverage this morning on CNBC when resident curmudgeon Mark Haines went off on his co-anchor. It happened when some CNBC reporters were bending over backwards to find something positive in the markets and Haynes started singing the theme from “Annie.”


“Do you want it to be cloudy for the rest of your life?” the co-anchor asked, sending Haines into a tizzy.

“That is such horsehockey I can’t believe it,” he said. “I deal in reality. I’m not talking about what I want; I’m talking about what’s going on. If you can’t stand the truth, then get out of the kitchen, but don’t expect me to paint this thing with a rosy color.”

It was an outburst that almost made it worth losing half my retirement fund. Almost. Still it raises the question of whether bad news begats more bad news.

Meanwhile, life seems to be going on.

On the talk shows, this being the end of the MPR membership drive, Midmorning is dusting off a couple of oldies. In the first hour, a reprise of the show on traffic and what it says about us with Tom Vanderbilt who wrote a book about it. I live-blogged the program so ignore references to it. You can read the original posting here.

In the second hour, a look at our easily distracted selves. By the way, on the CBS Early Show this morning, there was a segment on a new product that parents can install on cellphones to distract their kids from texting while driving.

MPR’s Midday brings in the big guns today. Mark Seeley, U of M climatologist joins Gary Eichten to talk about the weather, which – if you haven’t noticed — stinks. We’re obviously set to challenge the record for the most consecutive number of days without sun. NOAA, it’s reported today, is about to award a contract for a new $7.5 billion satellite which will tell us faster that the weather stinks.

Out in Hutchinson, Minn., the lawsuit between the parents of a boy who wore an anti-abortion T-shirt to school is over with the school district agreeing to pay the kid $1.

On the campaign trail, another former Republican governor is endorsing Barack Obama. William Weld, the first governor I ever met who knew the lyrics to every song by the Rolling Stones, joins Arne Carlson in his support. Like Carlson, Weld is old-school Republican, the kind of Republican the new-school Republicans are referring to when they characterize someone as a RINO — Republican in Name Only.

Some items we’re staffing: The University of Minnesota School of Journalism is in day 2 of a conference, “The Obama Effect.” Perhaps it’s me, but news coverage of the coming election is starting to sound very much like the week before last January’s Super Bowl, which of course was won by the New England Patriots, who remained undefeated. It was an amazing performance that went exactly as the football pundits were predicting and it warmed the hearts of Patriots Nation citizens everywhere.

In the “controversies in other states” file: The rumor is that the Patriots and Tom Brady are at odds over his decision to have his season-ending surgery in Los Angeles.

Minnesota Majority is holding a news conference at 11 a.m. about its suspicion of potential voting irregularities. We already know what they’re going to say, based on what’s on their Web site. The group snapped pictures yesterday of some addresses where people who registered to vote say they live.


Abbott Northwestern is having a news conference at 11:45 to talk about successful experimental surgery to save twin boys.

This afternoon, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition will protest raids conducted this week in St. James and Madelia. Tangent time: See Sea Stachura’s interesting story today about Gaylord, Minnesota, where Latinos are claiming discrimination at the hands of the local police.

Tonight, Norm Coleman, Al Franken, and Dean Barkley are holding another debate on TPT’s Almanac program. If you’ve seen one debate in this race, you’ve seen them all. But this one isn’t sponsored by Debate Minnesota and the hosts of the program know how to make politicians answer questions instead of giving stump speeches. A Hmong organization has a Senate forum this morning. Only Barkley and Franken confirmed their attendance.

Norm Coleman is teamed up with Rudy Giuliani today with stops in Mankato, Owatonna, and Rochester. For a trip down memory lane, here’s the MPR story of a previous Giuliani visit, when it appeared he had a shot at the top of the ticket.

On All Things Considered tonight, Tim Pugmire will look more closely at the latest polls in the 6th District race. The latest poll comes from MPR and shows a dead heat. Another poll out today shows Obama in good shape in swing states. Here’s the PDF document of the NPR polls.

In the LA Times, Bachmann is making a splash. Commentator Patt Morrison finds it unbelievable that a member of Congress had never seen Chris Matthews’ Hardball before.

John Ydstie of National Public Radio will lead off tonight’s coverage on All Things Considered. A peak into the ultra-secret NPR assignment board reveals the substance of the report. “Markets: What the hey?” it says. Jim Zarroli will follow with a piece asking “where’s the bottom?”, thus violating News Cut’s Principle of News Stories: All questions should have definite answers.

And former MPR staffer Dan Gorenstein will have the sad story of Scott Dimond, a New Hampshire National Guard soldier killed by a bomb explosion in Afghanistan, which was caught on video. His National Public Radio story tonight has already run on New Hampshire Public Radio and you can find it here.

The regional Emmy Awards are being presented tonight Saturday night. The Emmys aren’t just for TV anymore, although I’m not sure the Emmy folks “get” online, try as they might. Posting a Microsoft Word document announcing the nominations is the first clue.

This is my last day filling in for Jon Gordon on MPR’s Future Tense. Blogging here will be a bit sporadic today as I’m working on Monday morning’s program on the possibility we’ll be flying around here with our own jetpacks.

  • The latest poll by SurveyUSA has Tinklenberg up by 4. MN6 is getting very interesting.

  • Alison

    With a summary like this I could almost turn off the radio and miss people asking me for money all day. Thanks, Bob!

    Your CNBC picture reminded why I never turn on my TV. If MPR sounded like that looks I’d throw away the radio. How do you get anything out of lookign at that mess?

  • Bob Dole

    I agree with Alison. I can’t stand those 24 hour “news” stations.. I don’t get cable, the only thing I miss is espn or BTN for watching the Gophers…

  • Jen

    Wait a minute. I love CNBC! It’s the only news I actually can stand to watch. Of course I think the stock market is ripe for the picking- I can’t get enough of this ‘bad’ news! And I must say, as a first time reader of your blog, that Patriots’ reference made me drop my jaw. Boldly funny!

  • james w.

    Why is MPR so clueless? You wrote, “A Hmong organization has a Senate forum this morning. Only Barkley and Franken confirmed their attendance.” That “Hmong organization” you’re referring to is TakeAction Minnesota. The flyers around town explicitly said so!

  • Bob Collins

    The press release wasn’t sent to me so I never saw that. I went off the AP daybook which didn’t mention this organization at all. It was held at the Lao Community Center. Bad jumpt to conclusion that Lao Community Center was hosting.

    But thanks for the kind clarification.