Monday, May 2, 2011

TV Police: NASCAR On FOX From Richmond, VA

This case is going to require a lot of talking to unravel. Talking is what Darrell Waltrip does a lot during the FOX telecasts. One minute Denny Hamlin is the favorite, but the next he has a feeling this could be a big night for Mark Martin.

There is only one person who can out-talk DW. Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson came from Georgia and wound-up in Los Angeles leading the LAPD's Major Crimes Division. Once she got you in a room there was little doubt you were eventually going to spill your guts. She could out-talk anyone on the planet until they pleaded for mercy. She is "The Closer."

Friday night SPEED telecast the Nationwide Series race from Richmond. The cameras showed the track, the racing and followed the stories. Saturday night FOX produced the Sprint Cup Series race. The cameras showed one or two cars mixed with endless in-car camera views. Two different networks, two different telecasts...same track.

Chris Myers is back in fool mode and that is a shame. The pre-race show was goofy and filled with awkward laughter. That was mixed with what Waltrip passed off as serious thoughts. His "Revved up" segment this week was him yelling at fans that hated the fake "lovebug" two-car racing at Talladega. Waltrip made it clear if you were a real fan, you better like it.

In the background of the outdoor pre-race, fans were standing. Four of the fans held up signs. Two said "NASCAR on FOX" and the other two said "FOX Sports." The signs were identical.

Jeff Hammond continues to try and be the voice of reason between Myers and Waltrip. Hammond was banished to the Hollywood Hotel once the race was underway and was never a presence. Despite the long periods of silence during the actual racing, Hammond did not have a place in the telecast.

Mike Joy sounds defeated. His energetic calls of NASCAR races seem to be in the past. Whether that is what the new FOX management told him to do or he is just tired of the overpowering Waltrip persona, the energy is gone. Rick Allen on SPEED Friday night was head and shoulders above Joy and that is certainly a changing of the guard.

Digger is back and is now in 3-D. In the race, it obscured a replay of a questionable accident that brought out a very questionable caution flag and then was in animation mode during a spin on the track. It was a tough night for Digger.

As we have mentioned in the past, as the race winds down the pit reporters fade into the background. There was so much more information that should have been provided, especially during long green flag runs. FOX has the most experienced pit road team and the least utilized. There was never a field rundown in the event.

Aerial shots were repeatedly used as replays to solve the issue of who hit who. They were replays because the FOX director refused to use this video source live. It was the one angle that allowed racing throughout the field to be shown at one time. It was rejected for the entire three hour telecast.

This was a continuation of the production style of NASCAR on FOX this season and clearly something that the network feels good about. FOX has been in the sport for ten seasons and won national Sports Emmy awards for NASCAR telecast productions. All of this proves that TV is subjective and we all have our views on what we would like to see.

We invite your post-race comments on the NASCAR on FOX telecast of the Sprint Cup Series race from Richmond. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

France Set For Monday ESPN Appearances

In typical ESPN style, it was a factual note without emotion or a shred of useful information. Just the facts:

Brian France, chairman and chief executive officer of NASCAR, will be a special guest on Monday’s edition of NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program, airing at 5 p.m. ET.

France will be in the studio and join part of the one-hour Monday roundtable edition of the program to discuss the sport with ESPN NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven, senior writer Ed Hinton, NASCAR Now lead reporter Marty Smith and host Allen Bestwick.

In addition to appearing on NASCAR Now, France also will be interviewed on SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship news and information program, during the 10 a.m. program. The interview will re-air in later editions of SportsCenter between noon and 3 p.m. Monday.

So, the NASCAR Chairman is heading to Bristol after a weekend when ESPN dumped the Nationwide Series race to show the second day of the NFL Draft. The entire NASCAR racing weekend belonged to FOX and SPEED.

Sunday, Bestwick was busy on Twitter gathering questions from fans that he could use in the discussion. Monday morning, ESPN and NASCAR were both promoting the France appearances on social media outlets.

We will update this post after SportsCenter and NASCAR Now and summarize France's remarks.

Update #1: France appeared on SportsCenter, reinforced that the sport was on a comeback and that fans were impacted by the tough economy. He confirmed Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the biggest franchise in the sport and his success was good for all. He restated that the changes to the Chase for the Championship were designed to reward racing for the win instead of just running for points.

We invite your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

President Obama Announces Bin Laden Death

It was a dramatic speech that was hastily arranged at the last minute. Sunday night at 11PM ET for a live Presidential address meant only one thing. Something big had happened. The networks scrambled. The President appeared.

These were his remarks:

Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory. Hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky.

The Twin Towers collapsing to the ground. Black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon. The wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.

And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table.

Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child's embrace.

Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

On September 11th, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other and our love of community and country.

On that day, no matter where we came from, what god we prayed to or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family. We were also united in our resolve, to protect our nation and to -- to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice.

We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda, an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda, to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we've made great strides in that effort. We've disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense.

In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.

Yet, Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda. Even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat his network.

Then last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain. And it took many months to run this thread to ground.

I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside Pakistan.

And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abad Abad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties.

After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda's leader and symbol and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies.

The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al Qaeda.

And his death does not mark the end of our effort. There's no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. I've made clear just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11 that our war is not against Islam. Bin laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries including our own.

So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity. Over the years, I've repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we've done.

But it's important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.

Tonight I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.

The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war.

These efforts weigh on me every time I, as commander in chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one or look into the eyes of a service member who's been gravely wounded.

So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are.

And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda's terror, justice has been done.

Tonight we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who've worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work nor know their names, but tonight they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.

We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.

Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11, that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.

And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.

The cause of securing our country is not complete, but tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history. Whether it's the pursuit of prosperity for our people or the struggle for equality for all our citizens, our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

He didn't need to say anything else. Today, we will be taking your thoughts on this historic event and the impact of the original attack on the lives of us all. NASCAR can wait.