Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Clay Aiken smear process continues. Sigh. Frankly, I am tired of the whole thing as it is so patently absurd. Perez Hilton and other gay gossip mongers really do not display qualities I would deem appropriate for a gay role model. At least, I hope not!

It is frightening, however, how this smear campaign parallels what is going on around us all the time. When we hear something on Fox news, or anywhere else for that matter, do we take the time to research their sources? Do we even notice if they have even quoted any sources? And, if the piece of news seems cockeyed to us, how many times does it have to be picked up by other media, friends and associates, etc. before we come to believe it is true?

I want to cite a debunked news story from the past couple of weeks that is politically based. It has to do with Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton.

From Obama's website -
In the past week, many of you have read a now thoroughly-debunked story by Insight Magazine, owned by the Washington Times, which cites unnamed sources close to a political campaign that claim Senator Obama was enrolled for “at least four years” in an Indonesian “Madrassa”. The article says the “sources” believe the Madrassa was “espousing Wahhabism,” a form of radical Islam.

Insight Magazine published these allegations without a single named source, and without doing any independent reporting to confirm or deny the allegations. Fox News quickly parroted the charges, and Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy went so far as to ask, “Why didn’t anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised — spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father — as a Muslim and was educated in a Madrassa?”

Link - Barack Obama

Further information on the debunking of this lie can be found at an interesting site I found.

Link -

Wait, it gets better. Enter the conservative talk show hosts who then proceeded to report that the Obama story was leaked by Hilary Clinton!!

Summary: Melanie Morgan, Lee Rodgers, Rush Limbaugh, and John Gibson all forwarded the accusation made by a website controlled by Rev. Sun Myung Moon that Sen. Hillary Clinton was responsible for spreading information linking Sen. Barack Obama to a madrassa, or Muslim school. None of the four cited any evidence, other than the article, that Clinton was responsible for promoting the madrassa story, and the article cited no one by name.

Link -

Well now, the debunking of this story has actually been highly reported on. CNN, I am sure, delighted in breaking their expose as it shows their competitor, Fox, in the poorest of light for perpetuating a story without checking sources. But, how many people now have a half buried thought that there could be something valid about the story even though it was proven inaccurate. After all, where there is smoke, there is fire. Right?

This kind of thing has been going on forever, of course, what is an election without smear campaigns? How does this relate to Clay Aiken? Well, it is basically the same thing, make something up that is calculated to destroy his fans belief in him . Rally together some team members (haters) (talk show hosts) and get the word out over the internet. The gossip mags and media will pick it up and pretty soon the main stream press is reporting it as news. And, no one along the line has done any checking of sources.

I have decided to rely on my own instincts as regards Clay Aiken. I watched him on AI, I have been to many concerts, I have read his book "Learning to Sing", I have listened to many interviews and watched him on countless tv talk shows and I have met him briefly in a Meet & Greet. This isn't "knowing" him, obviously, but my instinct tells me he is who he says he is and that's good enough for me. Always has been.

Some other interesting blogs I can recommend:

A heartfelt essay on Clay's journey from AI2 until today, the 4th Anniversary of Clay's AI audition.

And, the 911 blog has a new entry that is thought provoking.
Claymate 911

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Friday, January 19, 2007

AI6 - Is it my imagination or are the judges even meaner and the contestants even wackier than last year? Or, is it like childbirth, and we somehow forget the pain by the time we get to the finale?

I watched the last two nights, and on some level I am ashamed of myself. Did I cringe, you bet!! And I read a magazine and turned my attention away from the screen as soon as I determined it was another bad singer. Why do I even have it turned on? Well, I honestly don't know. Maybe hoping to see a first glimpse of the next winner. I can tell you I enjoy it much more when we get past the abusive period.

Perhaps next week I will TIVO it and fast forward past the nastiness.

Now, I realize the auditions are not real. I know those bad auditions are staged. AI wouldn't take individuals who are horrible singers and/or have non-conventional looks and/or possible mental and psychological issues and string them along and put them on TV to be humiliated by the nation. Would they?

Tis perplexing. I also don't understand those that come back year after year to be humiliated. Well, those people obviously LIKE to be humiliated, and those that know they are put through as a joke, those who agree to be a laughingstock for a few minutes, I have no problem with them trying for a few moments of "fame". They signed up for it and get what they are looking for. Don't they?

What I really worry about are those that appear to be a little unhinged; I hope AI, in their eagerness for ratings & revenue, isn't causing actual pain above and beyond what is necessary to kindly inform those individuals they aren't right for the show. They wouldn't, would they?

Each year since the first I watched, AI2, has become more manipulative and contrived. I wonder if AI hasn't finally jumped the shark. It was lots more fun watching this cute singer guy evolve than anything I've seen since.

Clay knocking them dead at the finale of AI5

The claymate911 blog has been updated. Check it out. claymate911

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

I am a fan of Clay Aiken. As a fan I follow his career. I go to concerts, I watch him on TV and I read about him in the media.

As a fan, these are the things I am supposed to do. And, it is enjoyable for me - it is a hobby to add to my many others.

Unfortunately, this hobby has given me a sad lesson in learning the truth about today's press and the media. Because of my "Google alerts" and the fact everything Clay does seems to be "in the news" I have discovered that I no longer believe what I read or see in the news.

I watch Clay Aiken on TV or in an interview and then I read what is written about what I have just seen and find it's spun into something completely different. And the nastiness? Unbelievable. I have been wanting to blog about this, but haven't been able to put the words together. In the last couple of days two blogs have been posted that I would like to share. This first one was posted on Clay's Official Fan Club Blog and is reposted here with the permission of the very talented author. Thanks for writing it and thanks for letting me share it on my blog.
01/13/07 : Public Relations or Media Integrity Issue?

“We are in the process of creating what deserves to be called the idiot culture. Not an idiot sub-culture, which every society has bubbling beneath the surface and which can provide harmless fun; but the culture itself. For the first time, the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal.” ~ Carl Bernstein

Chuck Taylor of Billboard magazine recently wrote a review of Clay Aiken’s latest single A Thousand Days in which he barely spoke about the song itself, the music, or the artistry but stated, “Aiken's challenge at this point is more a public relations issue. As press reports continue to spread repeated tales of his lack of humility and haughty, diva-like disposition, how much longer before fans retreat and any semblance of radio support fades like a Christmas wreath?”

Press? I contend that Clay Aiken doesn’t have a public relations issue as much as our society has a journalistic integrity issue. When did rumor mongering become tantamount with journalism? Why is credence given to faceless blogs and gossipers? The internet, while a powerful resource is also like the Wild, Wild West of old where there are no rules and anything goes. Where faceless people hide and are spreading malicious rumors as fact and where publications that once researched before reporting, such as Newsweek, are now using the plethora of gossip sites and blogs as legitimate news sources.

“The media tends to report rumors, speculations, and projections as facts... How does the media do this? By quoting some "expert"... you can always find some expert who will say something hopelessly hopeless about anything.” ~ Peter McWilliams

I recently watched the debut of a new show starring Courtney Cox-Arquette on the Fx channel called, DIRT and it scared the hell out me. The show depicts the goings on at a tabloid called DIRT and “shows” all the machinations of how they get their stories. I found it to be very realistic and saw that IF you are a celebrity and someone has it in for you, they will stop at nothing to trash you, right or wrong.

I wrote about this subject in my blog almost a year ago and it is sad that in this time, not only has the issue not gotten better it has gotten worse. When the likes of Perez Hilton and have become more mainstream and are made credible by being given a forum on radio and TV, we have a problem.

“Never make negative comments or spread rumors about anyone. It depreciates their reputation and yours.” ~ Brian Koslow

If Clay Aiken has a public relations issue it is ONLY because sensationalism sells and ALL the good, legitimate stories of his compassion, his philanthropic works and the stories of how he has changed lives for the better are deemed not newsworthy.

I am sorry, but would a “diva” perform a concert while suffering from vertigo so badly they need help to just stay upright? Would a “diva” visit elementary school children and reward them for writing a book about one of their classmates who lives life with a disability and the lessons they learns from her? Would a “diva” take the time to film a public service announcement for a local children’s choir who shared the stage with the orchestra with which he was performing? Do “divas” worry about making a difference in the world? Do “divas” graciously spotlight and encourage those with whom they share a stage? In my experience the answer to all of these questions is no.

It is a shame when society and the media have made it so easy for people who have experienced disappointment, based on their own contrived expectations, are allowed to publicly berate and trash another person solely based on twisted opinion of facts. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

“Man is a being with free will; therefore, each man is potentially good or evil, and it's up to him and only him (through his reasoning mind) to decide which he wants to be.” ~ Ayn Rand

It appears to me that many have decided to be evil.

The second blog that I recommend can be found here : claymate911

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