Friday, November 11, 2005

TBM Bids Farewell – for Now

Farewell – & thanks, especially to David, Michael, Janet, Mark & Lynx. TBM was an effort to cover the Tampa Bay Media, a task I’ve compared to a gnat chasing a herd of elephants. The goal was an honorable one, but business demands and family needs forced a reality check – in doing so, TBM has determined to sign off, at least for now. Appreciation to those who’ve sent encouragements (you know who you are). Maybe after the holidays, TBM can plug back in. If not, it’s been fun.

PS-1: "Good Night, and Good Luck" to TampaBLAB & The One.

PS-2: Still interested in Tampa Bay Media? Then tune in to “Tampa Bay Media Talk” Thursdays, 6-7 p.m., on WTAN 1340, 1350 and WZHR 1400 or watch “live” online at – the show is hosted by Michael Piotrowski and Janet Sherer.

Whatever happened to Joe Registrato?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Ruth vs. O’Reilly, Round Two

The Tampa Tribune printed a three-score, plus-four, word correction correcting columnist Dan Ruth’s assertion that Fox anchor Bill O’Reilly was/is a “serial sexual harasser.”

The column was Ruth’s reaction to O’Reilly’s take on the Hillsborough County School Board holiday controversy: The Board had OK'd an '06-07 calendar, minus holidays for Yom Kippur, Good Friday or the Muslim holiday Eid Al-Fitr.

O'Reilly loves to give national visibility to such local brouhahas. Ruth is a bit of a ruckus-lover himself. (It was a marriage made in media heaven.) Ding-ding-ding! Let the fight begin. It went well . . . except for that apparent, below-the-belt, “serial sexual harasser” thingy.

Since TBM printed Ruth’s original accusation verbatim, it seems only fair & balanced to pass along the Trib’s correction, so here goes:

Correction: “A column by Daniel Ruth that appeared Nov. 2 incorrectly characterized Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly as a serial sexual harasser. While O’Reilly was accused of harassment in a single lawsuit filed by a former associate producer for the news channel, that lawsuit was settled out of court in October 2004, and no court ruling was ever made on the merits of the case.” End correction

To read Ruth’s barb-filled, anti-O’Reilly column con correction, click here.

Two other bay area columnists jumped into the holiday fray, without generating quite the national controversy that Ruth did. Both are worthwhile reads:

Howard Troxler’s “Hillsborough holiday fuss is a lesson in disrespect” contains his typical wit. For Howard’s column, click here.

Steve Otto takes an oblique approach with “Hey, Turkeys -- This Holiday Slipped By You” and sparkles with his Otto-matic humor. For Steve’s column, click here.

Ruth’s more Samurai-jugular twist no doubt fits his carefully cultivated print persona, which recalls a remark made some years back by a former colleague, George Meyer, after Ruth had triple-bypass surgery:

“A couple of people called and wanted to know if they actually found a heart," Meyer is said to have said.

Btw, TBM is out of town this coming week. We’ll be checking back in with you all upon returning. If O’Reilly-Ruth moves to Round Three, please release a flare.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

O'Reilly vs. The Trib – Round One

In the red, white & blue trunks, “No Spin Zone" Factor fighter Bill O'Reilly; in the black, white & read all over thong: our own Daniel Ruth of The Tampa Tribune. The issue: a vote by the Hillsborough County School Board that dropped school holidays for Yom Kippur, Good Friday and the Muslim holiday Eid Al-Fitr.

For the story that sparked the fight club, click here.

It’s a natural. A Ruthian stand-off. A field of (bad) dreams. A major league . . . well, you get the metaphors.

To summarize, "A school board cannot recognize a religious holiday for the sole purpose of recognizing a religious holiday," sez School Board Attorney Tom Gonzalez.


Then let’s all work Christmas, aye?

But TBM doesn’t have a dog in this fight. Ruth does. For what he said, in a story headlined “Bill O'Reilly's Lies, Lies, Lies Strike Again!” click here.

For those with limited time, or attention span, a few Ruthian tid-bits re: in & of O'Reilly:

* “Claptrap puffery”
* “Toxic waste dump of demagoguery.”
* “Serial sexual harasser.”
* “To whom a cell phone is an X-rated sex toy.”
* “When it comes to fascism, O'Reilly is an expert witness.”

Ah, come on, Dan. Don’t hold back. Tell us what ya reilly think.

And O'Reilly? Did we expect him to be a wallflower? Nope. Came on like gang-busters tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 2) with none other than Hillsborough County Commissioner Rhonda Storms. Now, note, that Storms is not on the School Board, but she knows which way the PR wind blows. (Pun intended.) Invited to attend was Hillsborough School Board member Jennifer Faliero, who was the Lone Ranger vote against the religious holiday ban – she declined.

Wrote Ruth: “Faliero just may have a prosperous career as an elected public servant, having figured out pretty quickly to avoid appearing on claptrap puffery like Bill O'Reilly's toxic waste dump of demagoguery.”

Gil Thelen, the Trib’s 
President and Publisher
, was mentioned by O'Reilly (oh, really?) as was parent company Media General. Ruth (as near as TBM could tell) was not. Come on Dan. Storms said you are not on the intellectual scale of O'Reilly. Sounds like a challenge to me. (Would Judy Hamilton agree?) Give Bill a call. Let’s see if you can knock one out of the park. Don’t let him out-Fox you.

PS-1: Does anybody think this story is goin' away?

PS-2: Any bets on whether the vote gets reversed?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Short Stack: Brits, a Lion, Pets & H2GO

If you’re a fan of British humor (“Nudge, nudge; wink, wink; know what I mean?”) scrounge up your quid and crown until you have the equivalent of $25 US and head on over to WEDU for a night of British comedy celebration on Friday, Jan. 20, 7 p.m., at the EDU Studios,
1300 North Boulevard, Tampa. Julius Cain of the BBC and Mike Seymour of the Programming Service for Public Television will host this “pub party.” The Moon Under Water British Tavern will supply the stew and brew. (Fawlty Towers apparently not invited to cater.) Fo’ mo’ info, call 1-800-354-9338 ext. 2241 or 813-739-2913.
Brit Wit Pub Party - A Backstage Event!

C.S. Lewis fans take note: The first 400 people who make a $30 per month commitment to the Spirit FM (90.5 FM on your radio dial) will receive up to four tickets to attend a Dec. 10th viewing of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” Lewis' fabled tale of adventure and mysticism. The ticket distribution is part of the station’s Shareathon 2005.

"Here, kitty, kitty." Call over Red Rover. Rub some tuna fish on your keyboard for ol’ Kit-Kat. has a pet-oriented page for pets and their pals. The link includes “John Winter's Pet Personals.” (For the early bird uninitiated, Winter is part of the WFLA, Channel 8 morning team. He does the weather, but with a name like Winter, what would you expect.)
Pet Personals

And speaking of babies: WFLA’s Gayle Guyardo, early morning partner in humor and news to the aforementioned John Winter, had her third child Thursday, Oct. 27. (TBM notes that his brother Doug shares the same birthday.) Alena Kathleen Guyardo was born 7 pounds, 13 ounces, at 11:25 p.m. No word yet on whether or not Alena is prepared to do the weather for FLA. (Winter, you’re a marked man.)

It’s a gas – sort of . . . Even with prices at the pump dipping below $2.50, the incentive to nurture, find, create and cultivate alternative fuels may finally have hit Americans between the eyes and in the wallet enough to actually do something about it. That said, Florida Trend’s “Future Fuel” cover story is timely, punctuated as it is with a dead-on rearview shot of a school bus yellow Lamborghini sporting a license plate that says H2GO, a clever allusion to hydrogen, “the fuel of the future.” Still not convinced it’s time for a switch? Then check out for the per gallon rate re: this precious, non-bodily fluid.
Future Fuel

. . . and this additive . . . If you wondered how The Miami Herald managed to get its papers printed despite Wilma’s Cat one-two punch, wonder no more: It electronically transmitted its pages to The Tampa Tribune which printed up 250,000 copies of the Herald that were then trucked down to south Florida. Btw, it’s not usual for newspapers (even those who fiercely compete) to have emergency reciprocal arrangements for just such circumstances.

What ever happened to Greg Tozian?

Update: Robyn E. Blumner’s Oct. 16th Keep Web rude, real (referred to in TBM’s Oct. 22 Short Stack) is now available online with the rest of her columns. Special thanks to Steve Spears for the addition and notification.