Presty the DJ for Oct. 30

Today in 1938, CBS (radio, obviously, because there was no TV yet) broadcasted The Mercury Theater on the Air production of “The War of the Worlds,” from H.G. Wells’ novel.

Some number of listeners who missed the opening (such as those listening to the NBC Red Network’s “Chase and Sanborn” show with ventriloquist Edgar Bergen who changed the channel when Nelson Eddy started signing) thought the simulated news bulletins were actual news bulletins about the Martian invasion, or an invasion by Nazi Germany. Half an hour into the broadcast, the CBS switchboard lit up, and police arrived at the studios. As he had planned, Welles concluded the broadcast by calling it the equivalent “of dressing up in a sheet, jumping out of a bush and saying, ‘Boo!'”

Then, the actors and producer John Houseman (before he became a law school professor and pitchman for Smith Barney) were locked into a storeroom while CBS executives grabbed every copy of the script. And then the reporters showed up.

The New York Times/Wikipedia
The New York Times/Wikipedia

At WGAR radio in Cleveland, host Jack Paar (yes, that Jack Paar) reassured callers that Martians were not actually invading. Paar was immediately accused of covering up the news.

The number one single today in 1971:

A low, low moment in rock history: Today in 1978, NBC-TV broadcast “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park”:

(The entire movie, believe it or don’t, can be viewed on YouTube.)

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Oct. 30”

Twitter’s media appeasers

Winston Churchill famously said “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.”

That is John Podhoretz‘s theme:

Big Tech executives were forced to defend themselves and their platforms in a contentious Senate hearing on Wednesday — with most of the passion relating to the suppression of this newspaper’s Twitter feed over the past two weeks.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey explained with an eerie calm that The Post can regain access to its Twitter account anytime it wants — once it deletes a tweet with an image his company has decided violates its standards.

Dorsey’s words echo the ­assurances offered writers in authoritarian states that they will be allowed to publish their other scribblings . . . just so long as they burn the manuscripts the censors find offensive in front of the censors.

Such an insistence would once have resulted in screams of outrage and professions of solidarity by other journalists. But now we see reactions like this on Twitter, from New York Times opinion staffer Charlie Warzel:

“The NY Post leaving a violating tweet up in order to stay locked out of an account in order to use it as a political cudgel is a classic tactic, but it’s usually one you see from ­individual MAGA influencers.”

Thus did a key employee at the Times suggest it was perfectly reasonable for Twitter to demand that another newspaper send its wares down a memory hole.

I haven’t been an employee of The Post for a dozen years. What I am is a conservative who has worked in and around mainstream journalism for 40 years. And what I see in Warzel’s tweet — and in the astounding silence on the part of most mainstream outlets and voices about the treatment of The Post by Twitter — is something neither I nor anyone else anticipated from the web takeover of communications over the past 30 years.

With the emergence of the web browser in the early 1990s, the internet shattered the hierarchy that once dominated American journalism. A world in which the transmission of information had been the province of a wire service, three networks, two newsmagazines and a few powerful newspapers seemed gone forever.

New voices found a new way to be heard. Lone bloggers armed with nothing more than laptops took down the Senate majority leader (for suggesting a racist colleague’s values were ones we needed) and the nation’s most ­famous anchorman (for promoting a forged document).

Then, in 2007, came Twitter. And something very curious happened as it quickly became a bulletin board, gathering place and loose-knit private club for US journalists.

It became a peerless vehicle for the enforcement of mainstream media groupthink.

Twitter was the place where you could establish informal relationships with others in your field with whom you had never worked but whose attention you very much craved.

And you could quickly tell what subjects were of particular concern to those same fellow journalists by the way their tweets echoed each other’s. If a news development appeared 20 times in your latest 30 tweets, you would know it was the topic of the day or the week.More important, if a subject violates the sensibilities of the Twitter journalism community, you sure know that too. Immediately. Offense is taken. Fingers are wagged. Instantaneously, the idea that something is a “bad take” becomes universally understood.

Reputations and careers are on the line — as is the possibility of enhancing your reputation and/or career by joining in the groupthink.

Before the social-media age, the groupthink of the old-media oligopoly was transmitted relatively slowly. The network newscasts and the New York Times were released once a day, after all. So the orthodox take on things might take a few days to reach everybody, and in that time, some other reporting, some other opinions, some other takes might break through.

Now all reporting is instantaneous — and the only “correct” way to look at a news story follows with similar instantaneity.

One of the correct ways to look at things, it appears, is to quash them if and when they are politically and ideologically inconvenient.

It was members of the mainstream media who demanded their fellow journalists refuse to follow up on The Post’s initial story about the revelations on the Hunter Biden laptop — and used Twitter to attack some journalists who dared to retweet The Post story even if they were criticizing it.

George Orwell once referred to the “smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.” That is how Twitter operates. That is what Twitter is — the home of and transmission point for the smelly little orthodoxies of our time.

Presty the DJ for Oct. 29

There is no question what is the number one song today in 1966:

Today in 1983, Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” spent its 491st week on the charts, surpassing the previous record set by Johnny Mathis’ “Johnny’s Greatest Hits.” “Dark Side of the Moon” finally departed the charts in October 1988, after 741 weeks on the charts.

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Oct. 29”

On the shooting brake

First question: What is a shooting brake, you ask?

Ask BBC’s TopGear:

Aston once built a DB5 Shooting Brake. It looks good. More so, it has reminded us just how much we like shooting brakes, which are nearly as old as the car itself (though they’ve changed a bit since their inception in the early twentieth century). Originally conceived for hunting game, shooting brakes were described by Commercial Motor magazine as having “seats for eight persons as well as the driver, whilst four guns and a large supply of cartridges, provisions baskets and a good ‘bag’ can be carried” in 1908.

James and Tracy Bond could have used this had Tracy survived “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” to produce next-generation 007s.

Nowadays, they’ve morphed into a sort of cross between an estate and a coupe. Sports car panache. Estate car space. And, more often than not, a soupcon of knee-trembling suave.

Here are some of our favourites.

You know it’s British when “favourite” is spelled with a U and when “whilst” replaces “while.”

1972 Volvo 1800ES

The all-glass rear hatch earned it the nickname Schneewittchensarg (Snow White’s coffin) in Germany, but that didn’t stop Volvo using the outline as inspiration for the 480 and C30.

1968 Reliant Scimitar

Hey, did you know Princess Anne had one? Probably. But then again, who didn’t have one?


The Scimitar’s production run stretched from 1968 to 1990.


I believe “Scimitar” means “looks like a Ford (Mercury in the U.S.) Capri wagon.”

1999 BMW Z3M Coupe


Is it a Shooting Brake? Possibly, though a small one.

It remains one of the better driving things in the history of the automobile, and the divisive styling’s matured well. We’ll take two.

2011 Ferrari FF

Yep, it’s the GTC4Lusso’s forebear, complete with less clunky (though less history-inspired) name.

Basics? 6.3-litre V12, mad grinning face, Ferrari’s first ever four-wheel drive system, and up to 800 litres of luggage space. …

1992 Aston Martin Virage Shooting Brake

A mess of older Astons were transformed into shooting brakes by bodyfiller sculptors in the sixties, but this one’s the real deal.

Only four were made by the company’s Works Service and it cost £165,000 back in 1992. Equivalent to £290,000 in today’s money. Crikey.

Which is around $350,000.

2005 Audi Shooting Brake concept

Unveiled at the 2005 Tokyo motor show, this design study was based on the second-gen TT and had a 3.2-litre VR6 engine hiding behind the LEDs.

It didn’t make it to production, but as Audi’s range expands to fill every conceivable niche, it’s surely only a matter of time…

2013 Callaway AeroWagon

It costs £9,100 on top of a new Corvette, it doesn’t hold much more stuff, you don’t get more seats or headroom, and there’s no performance benefit.

But hot diggidy, we still want a poor man’s FF quite a lot.

1972 Ferrari 365 GTB 4 Shooting Brake

The thing about Ferraris these days is they’re far too common; any old millionaire can have one. Far better, then, to go for something like this – a one-off 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB 4 Shooting brake, one of the most outrageous ‘brakes ever built. Starting life as the 805th Daytona off the line, it was fully rebodied by Panther Westwards in Surrey, England and has more than whiff of hearse about it.

But who cares about looking like the world’s fastest funeral carriage when you have a 352bhp 4.4-litre V12 to wring out, and enough boot space to move house?

2016 Toyota GT86 Shooting Brake

“It is a fully functioning, driveable vehicle that has been put through its paces on Toyota test tracks,” explains Tetsuya Tada, GT86 chief engineer. “The GT86’s nicely weighted and direct steering ensures the car retains the coupe’s involving driving experience with a slightly more neutral feel in tight corners.”

2016 Ferrari GTC4Lusso

Yep, the same shape as the old FF. But lots is new. The styling has had a big update while there’s a gamut of new tech, including four-wheel steering, plus an additional 30bhp, and a 208mph top speed. Yikes.

New too is the V8 Lusso T, which does without all-wheel drive and has a turbo’d V8 instead of the big V12. It’s barely any slower and looks exactly the same, but promises to be a fair bit cheaper… Click here to read our review of the V12, and here for more information on the new V8.


Presty the DJ for Oct. 28

Today in 1956, Elvis Presley made his second appearance on CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Show, with Sullivan presenting Presley a gold record for …

One year later, Presley’s appearance at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles prompted police to tell Presley he was not allowed to wiggle his hips onstage. The next night’s performance was filmed by the LAPD vice squad.

One year later, Buddy Holly filmed ABC-TV’s “American Bandstand”:

It would be Holly’s last TV appearance.

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Oct. 28”

Biden in his own words

Pre-election revenge

Ira Stoll:


Presty the DJ for Oct. 27

Four days before Halloween was the world premiere of the more recognizable version of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain”:

The song was an appropriate theme for the Friday-bad-horror-flick-show “The Inferno” on WMTV in Madison:

Britain’s number one song today in 1957:

The number one song today in 1966 was the second of two Four Tops number one singles:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Oct. 27”

Cue Finley Peter Dunne

Author Finley Peter Dunne had a number of well known phrases, most notably for this time of every other year “Politics ain’t beanbag.”

(Or “cornhole” in “Sconnie.”)

And so the Trump reelection campaign rolled out …

The media vs. independent thought

The Wall Street Journal:

Some institutions are responding better than others to the stress of political polarization, and one of the worst performers has been the press. Its broad and intense progressive partisanship is escalating into attempts to stifle information and stigmatize opposing points of view.

A case in point is the media distortion of a pair of recent reports in The Wall Street Journal. Our Kimberley Strassel wrote a detailed analysis in her Friday column about the emails and text messages of former Hunter Biden business associate Tony Bobulinski. Journal reporters wrote later that day about Mr. Bobulinski’s claims, and media partisans jumped to assert that the news story contradicted Ms. Strassel’s.

No, it didn’t, as more careful analysts like Mark Hemingway have noted. The Journal news story added the fact that their examination of business records found no evidence of Joe Biden having an ownership stake in the Hunter Biden-Bobulinski company.

But Ms. Strassel never said Joe Biden did. She reported that Mr. Bobulinski provided documents supporting his claim that a stake was envisioned for Joe Biden, but that Mr. Biden ought to respond to clear the record if this wasn’t true. The news story treated the emails and texts as real, and thus tacitly confirmed that they weren’t “Russian disinformation” as Joe Biden and others have claimed.

The news and opinion sections of the Journal operate separately, and we can’t speak for our news colleagues. But our view is that Mr. Bobulinski’s documents and statements are news that the public deserves to see. This is why Ms. Strassel reported the story in meticulous fashion, and we published it. By pretending that the two stories conflict, the progressive media are attempting to say that the emails and texts should never have been reported.

This is laughable coming from the crowd that spent four years pushing the Russia-Trump collusion narrative from 2016 that was ginned up and promoted by the Hillary Clinton campaign. They spun the claims of the Steele dossier, despite no supporting evidence and no on-the-record witnesses. Yet now they claim that on-the-record statements from a former Hunter Biden associate, along with emails and texts that the Biden campaign hasn’t disputed, should be kept from the public.

All of this is relevant beyond next week’s election. If Democrats win up and down the ballot, progressives will control the commanding heights of nearly every American elite institution: Congress, the administrative state, Hollywood and the arts, the universities, nonprofits, Silicon Valley and nearly all of the media.

Yet instead of playing watchdog for the public, today’s progressive press partisans devote themselves to attacking anyone who breaks from their orthodoxy. They denounce independent voices like Ms. Strassel with their Twitter brigades, then they unleash reporters who are ideological enforcers masquerading as media critics. They can’t tolerate any opposing political view. This is why Americans in record numbers don’t trust the media, and it’s why we will keep reporting the news others won’t.

Remember when the media wasn’t trying to curry favor with Democrats?


%d bloggers like this: