Behind the Curtain at TMM

A Week of Painful Lessons

I was on my way home last night when something caught my eye. There was something blowing across the road. It turned out to be clothes rolling across the street like tumbleweeds in an old western movie. I knew right away. I looked to the sidewalk and saw what I expected — bare mattresses piled up, chests of drawers thrown here and there. There were two cream-colored leather couches and some clothes. I was relieved not see any kids' clothes and toys, but who knows? Maybe they had already been picked over, maybe the family had been able to pack them in time, maybe there were no kids. Either way, somebody's pain was out on the street for the rain to wash over and the neighbors to pick through.

Somebody had been evicted.

This has never happened to me, but I know people to whom it has. Setting aside the people who haven't paid their bills because they are just trifling or, those who have tragically died unnoticed and had no one to notify the appropriate people, few things seem worse to me, especially for kids. Where do you go? How do you start over? How do you keep your things from disappearing into the backs of other people's cars and pick-up trucks? How can it not feel like a punch in the gut to have everything you've worked for put out on the street.

There's a dispute over whether we are in recession or not. It's a statistical question — whether we have had x number of quarters of negative economic growth. The answer is no. But we have a record number of home foreclosures, the housing sector is in the doldrums, the stock market is down, and many people are anxious and angry.

I know we have a lot of fun with shopping segments on this program and I don't apologize for that; I think fun is important and few people walk around naked in this country, so if you're going to wear clothes (or shoes ... or whatever), you might as well have some fun getting them and thinking about them.

But at a time when people are struggling just to hold onto their homes and health insurance, it seemed wrong to us to ignore the obvious. We have been following the policy and economic aspects of the story all along, as you know, especially the mortgage/foreclosure issue. But we decided to get personal next week and spend some time talking about how to cut costs, how to deal with the emotion of having to cut back, how to talk to the kids about having to cut back or deal with economic hardship ... and that and whatever else we can come up with. We're calling it Cheapskate Week, and yes, we do hope to have some fun with it.

... And, who was not having fun this week? The Rev. Jesse Jackson.

By now, you probably heard he apologized for saying something nasty about Sen. Barack Obama (in a conversation he thought was off-mic) that involved cutting off a body part.

Who else is not having fun? All the anchors trying to figure out how to tell you exactly what Jackson said ...



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Elder people... always trying to call the younger person Ungrateful, too proud, smelling yourself etc. Who in the heck does Jessie Jackson think he is? He may have done a lot for Black people but he has never been an idol of mine. I find him to be a constant race bater. As an African American male I am trying to move past those issues just as Obama wishes he can. Stay strong Obama!

Sent by KH | 4:00 PM | 7-11-2008

There are times when words fail me. Jesse Jackson's words have put brakes on my oratory skills. But allow me to somehow express myself without being labled pugnacious.
First of all, to even utter the cutting off of a man's testicles is inscrutable to say the least. Then to say that you would like to be the one to do it, is even more cannabolic and reprobated than I can envision.
Jesse accuses Senator Obama of talking down on black people. WHAT! How about this, Senator Obama is telling the truth, and for some reason that boggles my mind, the truth has pissd off the peccant as well as the benighted. Senator Obama's words concerning the absence of black fathers in the home is a FACT. When he said that black men are needed to lead our families and set a positive example for our sons & daughters, and stop blaming others for our own deficiencies he was not talking down, he was telling the damn truth.
Futhermore, when Jesse was cheating on his wife and fathered a child with Ms. Karin Stanford I did not hear one person calling for the removal of his testicles. And I am convinced that adultry is a far greater trangression than calling black men to stand up and answer the call of manhood.
I am also troubled by the pecksniffian action of the Africian American community. Had Don Imus made these statements, there would be a clarion cry demanding his head, yet, concerning this matter, silence seems to be the order of the day.
And before you even think about saying,but he apoligized; allow me to ask, what would provoke a man to even say something so gormless?

Sent by Randy | 9:26 PM | 7-11-2008

I heard your show and was somewhat perterbed by your two guests falling all over themselves to be negative about Jackson and positive about Obama. You let them get away with not truthfully answering your question about the substance of the accusation. Yes, the language Jackson used was crude or "earthy" guy talk, but the FACT of the matter is that Obama does indeed talk down to Blacks. The fathers day speech was a shining example where he created headlines around the GLOBE which said OBAMA BLASTS BLACK FATHERS, OBAMA GETS TOUGH WITH BLACK DADS. None of those headlines distinguished between the many black dads who are active in their children's lives and those who are indeed irresponsible. Obama has also made curious references to feeding our children popeyes for breakfast, government can't do everything, and even telling black students they aren't good enough to be pro athletes. All the while his appearances before Jewish, Hispanic, GLBT, and even Native American audiences are much more laudatory and appeasing toward those groups concerns. Reverend Jackson's delivery was flawed, but his concerns are valid.

Sent by Pearlma | 2:11 AM | 7-12-2008

Peccant and gormless? Oh Randy, you pugnacious orator. Rarely do I get to look up two words in the dictionary when reading comments.

Sent by Randy-fan | 10:45 AM | 7-13-2008

Here's what bugs me about all this: If a white man had said he wanted to cut off Obama's privates, Jackson would have been the first to decry it as a lynching metaphor. The apology would (justifiably) be labelled meaningless, dismissed by saying "Whether he knew the mic was hot or not is irrelevent. He just got caught in the act of saying what he was thinking, and THAT'S what he's apologizing for. Getting caught."

I never thought I'd live to see such interesting and confusing times. Thanks, TMM, for helping me attempt to sort it all out!

Sent by Gerri | 3:20 PM | 7-16-2008

As a media professional who has worked in and around live news studios, everybody should follow this rule: If there's a mic in/around/near/on you, then talk as if your Grandmother was standing right beside you. Would this apply to Rev. Jackson? Hard to say. But it seems to keep the people I've worked with safe. You can never assume a mic is muted if it's been placed on you for a broadcast, even before or after the actual 'cast.

Sent by RC Maples | 9:51 AM | 7-18-2008