Tuesday, August 03, 2004

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CONVENTION COVERAGE MANUAL. All right, we survived the Democrats, but the heavy weather for the boys (and girls) on the bus is yet to come. Here are some tips for being a journo in the GOP trench:
-- Reporters are sacked for campaign contributions, and well they should be. Natural Law says election-year contributions should go FROM candidates TO publishers, usually disguised as ad orders or sometimes golf bets.
-- Yes, that's a plank fence around the USA Today newsroom. Ann Coulter gets to write what and where she wants.
-- Photogs, stay alert. Iit would be darling to reprise Nelson Rockefeller on the tabloid fronts, flipping off someone in another delegation. Unfortunately, Nelson is no longer with us, but the great Dick, Cheney, is.
-- There should be no Viagra nor Cialis TV spots booked during convention hours. Delegates are watching on monitors and even if the ad blackout doesn't improve behavior, it can't hurt.
-- Don't look for a Republic Barak Obama. Consultants are everywhere.
-- Balloons are supposed to drop.
-- If one person could create a phony election-year prescription-drug benefit, the world wouldn't need the AARP.
-- A self-cleaning oven is one thing. A federal probe of who leaked the CIA spook's name is quite another.
-- Two guys who don't want to be asked about their glorious accomplishments when they worked in state government are John Kerry and George Bush.

DO NOT SAY THESE WORDS. We were entertained in San Antonio with a show on how to write headlines the way they do at the only newspaper in the world that writes headlines that way, the Wall Street Journal. One valuable moment came when we heard that the WSJ had compiled a list of forbidden headlinese words some years ago, and quit using them. We anxiously await the list's arrival, yea, verily, as the heathens await the light of truth.
(The gasping and choking sound in the background is from a chorus of Texas slotters, wondering how they will keep stories from bumping head-to-tail if they can't say "irk," "tout," or "mull" any more.)
If YOU write headlines, join outa-town agitators everywhere by sending your forbidden-word list to BONG Center (address below) for wide distribution in Texas. Oh, it's not that there are no unspeakable headline words here. One we never use is "do-gooder," with its carryover connotation of civil-rights agitator, free-love hippie environmentalist, whistleblower and political reformer. Texas editors think "do-gooder" is a pejorative.

YOU GO, NEWSDAY. So OK, you got caught charging for ads in a few thousand confetti copies. So OK, leaping with their lawsuit to defend integrity is a consortium of car dealers. We could get a trifecta of lowlife professions if you get get aluminum siding salesmen or telemarketers to file as friends-of-the-court on either side. It could come up over at the Sun-Times, huh?

SO HOW MUCH FOR AN HOUR IF WE BRING OUT OWN SHEETS? The AP says Bostonians were chagrinned to find out that media people wouldn't pay $15,000 for a week's room rent with shower during the Democrats' convention. They're probably the same people who tried to get $3,000 for Elvis records when he died. Hey, Beantown: Reporters have slept in too many saloon booths to pay good beer money for your frilly-curtained space.

BELIEVING IT IN BOSTON. Speaking of Beantown, Doug Pizzi recalled coverage some would like to forget.
"The Post gaffe (something last month about Gephardt or something, who can remember?) brought back fond memories of the Boston Herald at the end of the administration of former Boston Mayor Kevin H. White. White was ending a 15-year stint as mayor (1968-83) and speculation about whether he was going to seek re-election was rampant in the smallest big city in America.
"Nowhere was it more rampant than in the newsroom at the Boston Herald. On the morning of White's scheduled announcement of his intentions, the Herald hit the bricks carrying the headline, 'White will run,'in a font you could read from Miami Beach. Of course, later that day, hizzonna announced his retirement from city politics.
"The story behind the story is that someone, some say White himself, called Herald scribe Peter Lucas, with whom White had been feuding, and said something to the effect of, 'Let's bury the hatchet and to show there's no animosity, I'll give you the scoop. I'm running.'
"It was a major league scoop of something for sure, but a scoop of news it most surely was not. A few days later, TV anchorman Tom Ellis trudged up Beacon Hill to interview White on the front steps of the Parkman House, Boston's version of Gracie Mansion sans the high maintenance tenant. With a twinkle in his eye worthy of Paul Newman, White denied all knowledge of just how that little bit of misinformation could have gotten to the Herald. And no matter what you thought of the guy, you just wanted to believe him."

A LITTLE MORE OCCULT WITH THE HAND THERE, CHICAGO TRIB. Yeah boy, neat story July 25 about the Occult Hand Society. BONG can get by without a mention of its part in the worldwide media conspiracy, but it's shameful to ignore the contribution of Society Founder Heywood Broun. May your takeout be a monument to the folly of thinking the world began with the invention of Lexis/Nexis.

COMIX SECTION. The Further Adventures of Herman "Speed" Graphic,
Ace Photographer for the Chagrin Falls Commercial Scimitar, and
his Faithful Companion, Typo the Wonder Pig.
PANEL ONE: Typo sits alone on the last stool in the Bait Shop,
cheerfully greeting, "Hey, kids! The Boss is out at the teller
machine negotiating a payment on his lunch tab, so I'm keeping his
account active for him! Hey, would ya like to know how to be a big-
city newspaper reporter on a national convention or mob stakeout?"
PANEL TWO: Sternly wagging a finger, Typo asserts, "Well first,
you must never be without the tools of the trade! Always carry your
pen or pencil, a notebook, a pocket camera, two rolls of film, and
your press card!"
PANEL THREE: Typo adds, "And the real pros also keep a few
special items on hand, like breath mints, extra matches, a pocketful
or two of the pretzels like the kind they give you here in these
little bowls right here, sunglasses, bar napkins like the kind they give you here, a spare staff car key, a cell phone, a few swizzle sticks like these, and extra socks and underwear!"
PANEL FOUR: Typo smiles, "Now, you're not really going to need
those socks and underwear, but on a weeklong story with all those TV reporters, you can make your own price for clean laundry! And by then
you're gonna wanna give them the breath mints for free! Also, bring
some playing cards!"
PANEL FIVE: With the silhouette of Speed at the door in his
trenchcoat, a deathbed gift from an ancient mystic wire service
executive editor on a fog-shrouded eastern island, Typo concludes,
"And you'll need one of these ashtrays and a shot glass like this
one, a toothbrush and comb, your bail bond card and -- Hey, Boss! I
kept your glass refilled for ya! -- 12 bags of Beer Nuts or other
prepacked nutrition of the kind I'm putting on the Boss's account!
There you have it, kids! Now frizz your hair up and you're ready to
be a reporter in the Bigs!"

A production of BONG Chief Copyboy Charley Stough, San Antonio Express-News. E-mail
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