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Obama and Clinton: the racial divide

CBS11's interview with a bluntly outspoken, longtime Hispanic activist raises the pertinent question of race-based voting in the Texas Democratic presidential primary. But will this touchy issue be considered too hot to handle any further by D-FW's television news operations?
Ed Bark

And baby makes four


CBS11 early morning meteorologist Julie Bologna and her husband, Phillip, welcomed their second son on Tuesday (Feb. 26).

The newborn's name is Phillip Rocco, and he weighed in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces, CBS11 says. Congratulations to all.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 19 of the Feb. sweeps

Is Hillary Clinton sinking fast or still holding her own as the Texas primary nears? Two local TV station polls provide different impressions, even though both say her race against time and Barack Obama is a statistical dead heat. The latest D-FW Nielsen ratings also are available for your dining pleasure.
Ed Bark

Small world: ABC's World News to originate from Dallas next week

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ABC's World News and anchor Charles Gibson will be in Dallas on Monday and Tuesday to underscore the importance of the Texas presidential primary.

He'll be joined on both nights by This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos. The two also will contribute to a WFAA8 prime-time election special on Tuesday at 9 p.m.

World News dominates the 5:30 p.m. network news ratings in D-FW, and is in a close battle nationally with Brian Williams' NBC Nightly News.
Ed Bark

Six thumbs down: Idol judges find little to like with both North Texas Jasons

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Grand Prairie's Jason Yeager and Rockwall's Jason Castro

Likable Jason Yeager of Grand Prairie perhaps can pin his hopes on a full-blown Simon Cowell backlash.

If not, he's probably toast after his performance of The Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Running" during Tuesday night's 10-way battle among American Idol's remaining males.

Frankly it wasn't that bad. And even Cowell saw it as a faint praise improvement over last week's cardigan sweater-y "Moon River."

"The simple truth is last week was boring. This week was just awkward and ordinary," Cowell told him. "You're just a quite good singer who can't perform very well. So I'm very disappointed."

Those were his kudos. Yeager ended the song with his head bowed and arms outstretched, a "ghastly" maneuver that "was like you were drunk at a party or something," Cowell said.

Judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul didn't care much for him either. Yeager took it like the 28-year-old man he is, earnestly trying to explain his style and song choice to host Ryan Seacrest in lieu of firing back. But Cowell got bored with that, too, pleading for some "Oscar music" to play him off.

Rockwall's Jason Castro, who pleased the judges last week, fell short in their view with his guitar-strumming version of The Bee Gees' "I Just Want To Be Your Everything."

It was nothing special, said Simon. "I thought the song was horrible because it was too schmaltzy . . . You didn't do yourself any favors at all tonight."

Jackson panned his vocals, but said "it's cute with the guitar."

"It's cute I can get used to," said Abdul, who nonetheless told Castro, 20, to shuck the guitar if he survives Thursday's vote-off of two more males.

Teen sensation David Archuleta ended Tuesday's show and remained a show-stopper with a strong, distinctive version of John Lennon's "Imagine."

Imagine this, though: "I want to just squish you, squeeze your head off, dangle you from my rear view mirror," said Abdul.

Cowell then heaped more pressure on the kid by telling him, "Right now you're the one to beat. And there are 19 very miserable contestants here right now."

Four of them will be going home Thursday. Archuleta may well be going the distance.

Up-close and objective: Night 18 of the Feb. sweeps

What's this? Has NBC5 changed its spots? Also under our microscope: CBS11's unseemly sleight of hand during those nightly health and medical segments. And how sweet it is to see big ratings for ABC's exemplary production of A Raisin In the Sun.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 17 of the Feb. sweeps

The tragic death of police officer Victor Lozada during a Friday morning Hillary Clinton campaign stop remained a big story on late night D-FW newscasts. All four major TV news providers covered it sensitively, but some still stood out.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 16 of the Feb. sweeps

Two popular targets, the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium and UT Southwestern Medical Center, again were in the sights of their principal antagonists -- WFAA8's Brett Shipp and CBS11's Robert Riggs. And oh yeah, there also was that debate in Austin. See how it all played out on late night D-FW newscasts.
Ed Bark

Fox4's Tim Ryan and Megan Henderson hope to see you at the third Uncle Barky Show

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Dynamite yourselves out of the house Saturday afternoon (Feb. 23rd) and get on over to the third episode of The Uncle Barky Show.

Sorry for the Slap Maxwell hardsell, but a worthy charity and more terrific guests will ensure a great time. It all starts at 4 p.m., with Stratos Greek Taverna, 2907 West Northwest Hwy., again playing host. Tim Ryan and Megan Henderson, co-anchors of Fox4's No. 1-rated Good Day, will be on hand to parry with Uncle Barky and then take your questions. And a representative from our guests' designated charity, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, is scheduled to be present to accept a $500 donation in their names.

This is a rare chance to see Ryan and Henderson up-close and off-camera. So please support their charity and unclebarky.com's continued adventures in independent journalism by attending in force. Admission is free, and food and drink specials are plentiful. Hope to see you!

Ed Bark

Campos will keep host engagement at Planned Parenthood's celebration of "Pro-Choice Dallas"

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Emcee Gloria Campos and keynote speaker Bill Bradley.

WFAA8 news anchor Gloria Campos plans to honor a commitment Friday to be "Mistress of Ceremonies" at a Planned Parenthood of North Texas awards luncheon even though the organization is characterizing it as something of a partisan political rally.

Press materials are headlined, "Pro-Choice Dallas comes out to celebrate at Annual Awards Luncheon." Planned Parenthood says that "2,000 pro-choice guests" are expected for the noon luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

The keynote speaker is former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, who recently endorsed Barack Obama for president. "It's an election year, and reproductive freedom is a hot ballot topic," Planned Parenthood says.

WFAA8 president and general manager Mike Devlin, in an email response Thursday, said he discussed the event with Campos after being told of the wording in the organization's "Media Advisory."

"She has no control over the press release and was unaware of its existence," Devlin said. "She has served as emcee for the past several years and agreed to participate because of Planned Parenthood's involvement in medial care for indigent women that involves prenatal care and breast cancer. This group runs 22 clinics in North Texas. That is her primary interest, not abortion services that Planned Parenthood also provides."

Devlin said it would be "unfair" for Campos to cancel her appearance "at the midnight hour." But he said that station management and Campos would "review her participation in the future if the group asks her to participate."

Campos co-anchors WFAA8's No.1-rated 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts with John McCaa.

Up-close and objective: Night 15 of the Feb. sweeps

Presidential candidates and a prominent surrogate descended on North Tex Wednesday, drawing ample TV coverage. Who got what and where, though? Our latest sweeps digest sorts it all out.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 14 of the Feb. sweeps

Police-authorized "Dash Cam" video is always a popular tack on TV newscasts. And who's on board with the Jason Kidd trade? Our latest long look at D-FW's late night newscasts is ready for your inspection. Also, ABC has announced its post-strike spring plans for a group of popular series, including Lost.
Ed Bark

Testing, testing . . .

Barack Obama '08 Desktop Wallpaper

All four of D-FW's major TV news providers touted their live Webcasts of Barack Obama's campaign rally at Reunion Arena Wednesday afternoon.

Only one delivered -- but not without a few problems -- on my still state-of-the-art iMac desk top.

MyFoxdfw.com's live feed kicked in after a minute or so of clicking and tinkering. Its web cam initially had the backs of rally-goers -- and sometimes the backs of their heads, too -- before finally capturing the candidate in closeup at 1:06 p.m. That was my first sighting of him after multiple tries on all four Web sites. But at least it eventually worked on myfoxdfw.

Meanwhile, cbs11tv.com didn't deliver anything, other than "Video Loading." So I finally gave up after several attempts.

NBC5i.com had no video, but did have Obama's audio on what turned out to be a continuous loop. In other words, it wasn't live. But you could keep starting from ground zero if you left the site and came back.

WFAA.com repeatedly was a non-starter, too. Warmup music and the same old video from the rally played on and on, but Obama himself was a no-show during the several minutes I spent waiting for him.

The technology isn't perfect yet, but shouldn't we expect a bit better than this? Are others having similar experiences? Or is it just me?

Captain Kurtz: Still steering blindly ahead

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He goes more than a bit over the top down the stretch, but Charles Kaiser of radaronline.com otherwise makes some strong and salient points about the longest-running conflict of interest in American journalism.

That would be Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz's dual pay-for-play relationship with CNN, where he's hosted the Sunday morning Reliable Sources program for more than a decade.

I've written about this previously -- at my previous employer. But it bears repeating. How can Kurtz take a weekly check from CNN while also purportedly covering the all-news network as part of his beat? And wouldn't Kurtz work up a good deal of outrage if, say, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams moonlighted as a paid Democratic party consultant on weekends but said it didn't affect the content of the Peacock's flagship newscast?

The money apparently is just too good, though. So Kurtz continues to take it with the blessings of his employer. You could structure an entire journalism course around the ethics of that.

Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 13 of the Feb. sweeps

Here we go again with another look at late night newscast ups and downs. The latest D-FW ratings could be a conversation-starter, too.
Ed Bark

Business as usual or buying the news?

Does NBC5 news have a healthy relationship with Children's Medical Center? Or is too much money involved for that? Also, the new field for Dancing With the Stars includes Graceland's Queen B, two goofballs and a pair of very accomplished former sports princesses.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 12 of the Feb. sweeps

D-FW's TV news reporters can be pretty territorial when it comes to who reported what -- and when. But Fox4 doesn't have much in the way of bragging rights lately. Also, Prison Break has its third season finale Monday. The made-in-North Texas series at best is a longshot to go beyond that.
Ed Bark

Just a week away now: Uncle Barky Show No. 3 with Tim Ryan, Megan Henderson


Tim Ryan and Megan Henderson studiously prepare for The Uncle Barky Show while anchoring that other show they do. Photo: Ed Bark

Lest you forget, Fox4 Good Day anchors Tim Ryan and Megan Henderson are coming to the third episode of The Uncle Barky Show on Saturday, Feb. 23rd at 4 p.m.

Our venue, as always, is Stratos Global Greek Taverna, 2907 West Northwest Highway, conveniently located within a few blocks of the new St. Vincent de Paul superstore.

Admission is free and pegasusnews.com again plans to videotape the show in its entirety for its Web site and cable access TV. Best of all, $500 will be donated by Stratos to our guests' designated charity, the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

We promise a lively time, affordable food and drink specials, and the opportunity to ask questions from the audience after our interview. Previous guests have been "The Ticket's" Gordon Keith and CBS11 anchor/reporter Tracy Rowlett, both of whom had a fabulous time, of course.

So support D-FW's only home for independent news and views on local and national TV. And also feel good about helping out a great charity with your attendance. You won't be sorry. And unclebarky.com will be thrilled to have you.

Ed Bark

Will you do a heckuva job, Brownie?

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Jorge Ramos, Campbell Brown and John King are CNN's debate team.

Campbell Brown has been tabbed to moderate CNN's high-stakes, 90-minute debate in Austin Thursday (Feb. 21) between Democratic presidential finalists Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Brown will be joined by the all-news network's John King and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, who will ask questions as panelists. Start time is 7 p.m. (central) on CNN, with a Spanish language rebroadcast then offered at 10:30 p.m. on Univision. CNN.com also will stream the debate live.

The Texas primary is on March 4th.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 11 of the Feb. sweeps

Another one's in the books, with unclebarky.com getting unaccountably wistful about the days when news of actual importance topped the late night newscasts. The latest D-FW ratings are in the house, too.
Ed Bark

Picky picky

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Sayid Jarrah, Hugo "Hurley" Reyes and Jack Shephard of Lost

OK, we're going to try a new periodic feature here on unclebarky.com. And your input is key.

ABC's Lost so far has revealed four of the series' so-called "Oceanic 6" island expatriates, with Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) getting his flash-forward on Valentine's night.

Two other males, Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) and Hugo "Hurley" Reyes (Jorge Garcia), also are part of this select group. The only woman to date is Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly).

So here's our first question(s). Of the three males, who is Lost's most complex and compelling character? Who'd you like to see come out the other end in one piece? And why? Pick from among:

A. Sayid
B. Hurley
C. Jack

Please use the "Comments" selection below to get a dialogue going. We'll also be doing some D-FW-themed "Picky Pickys," always limiting you to three hopefully intriguing choices. So let's see what comes of this.

Up-close and objective: Night 10 of the Feb. sweeps

Here we go again, with compliments for some solid enterprise reporting, a lament by Fox4 sports anchor Mike Doocy and riffs on WFAA8's Cynthia Izaguirre's promotional spots and Fox4 anchor Steve Eagar's snappy comebacks. Also, check out where your favorite newscast stands in the ratings at mid-point of the February sweeps.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 9 of the Feb. sweeps

The candidates are coming, but some of their commercials got here first. Check out our latest deep-delve into D-FW's late night newscasts. Tuesday's D-FW Nielsen ratings made some news, too.
Ed Bark

The Glo. Camp. cackle was still sedated

Wow, have they really been together that long? Gloria Campos had more hair, but also was more restrained in this stately 1992 close to WFAA8's 6 p.m. newscast. And John McCaa was John McCaa.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 8 of the Feb. sweeps

Fox4's "The Cop and the Call Girl" story lasted longer than most men Monday night. Get the particulars, and then check out some interesting D-FW Nielsen ratings.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 7 of the Feb. sweeps

WFAA8's ever-opinionated Dale Hansen did it again, and this time he shouldn't be pleased with himself.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 6 of the Feb. sweeps

Two veteran D-FW gumshoes had some favorite targets in their sights again Thursday night. And there's lots more to report in our latest roundup of D-FW's late night newscasts. Thursday's local Nielsen ratings are in, too. Also, tonight lamentably could be the last night for NBC's Friday Night Lights.
Ed Bark

New Big Brother field includes eyecatching Joshuah Welch of Dallas

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Openly gay Joshuah Welch, 25, of Dallas, will be among the new batch of 16 Houseguests conniving their way through CBS' Big Brother 9

Welch is an advertising media buyer who graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. His starkly candid CBS mini-bio says he "came out when he was 18 years old. He says he was a gay man who played straight growing up, playing football and having long term relationships with women.

"Things changed when he slept with his sister's cheerleading coach -- ruining her cheering career -- and (he) claims that his family has never forgiven him. He's a bit of an exhibitionist, currently considers himself to be a bisexual and doesn't care what people think of him."

Obviously not. Welch also supposedly has a "huge fear of snakes and thinks they are the spawn of Satan."

Big Brother 9, which premieres on Tuesday, Feb. 12th, also includes a contestant named Jacob from Dallas, GA.

Here's some video on Welch, who clearly doesn't have an inferiority complex. In his view, "I'm a walking soap opera."

Up-close and objective: Night 5 of the Feb. sweeps

Fox4 consumer gumshoe Steve Noviello took on Mighty Putty in a featured bout with no undercard. Also see what else happened on Wednesday's late night D-FW newscasts. And the latest Nielsen ratings brought more unusual orders of finish in the 10 p.m. news derby.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 4 of the Feb. sweeps

CBS11's Tracy Rowlett still has the touch while WFAA8's David Schechter also scored with a juicy investigation during Tuesday's "Super Tuesday"-juiced late night local newscasts. Check out their workmanship here. And the latest local ratings are right here.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 3 of the Feb. sweeps

Another one is in the books, with coverage of Bob Knight's sudden resignation at center stage in our latest telescoping of late night D-FW newscasts. See how they handled him, and how NBC5's Newy Scruggs then left anchor Jane McGarry as a woman scorned.
Ed Bark

"Heard you spent some time in the foxhole with Charlene last night"

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Raquel Welch will be striking another pose in new CBS comedy.

Welcome to the Captain, joining CBS' comedy lineup Monday, features Raquel Welch as a woman who still pretty much gets what she wants. This time her character is former prime-time soap star Charlene Van Ark. In One Million Years B.C., she was the less emotive Loana.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Night 2 of the Feb. sweeps

Belo8 and CBS11 both are taking credit for prompting the FDA's official warning that the anti-smoking drug Chantix could have extremely dangerous side effects. Which station has the better case? Also, the latest D-FW Nielsens are in, including some super duper numbers for a certain Sunday sports attraction. Check out the record-breaking national numbers, too. And Hillary Clinton will be David Letterman's guest Monday on the eve of the "Super Tuesday" primaries. How smart is that?
Ed Bark

The. Best. Damn. Super Bowl. Ever. Period.


Fox can't wait to total up the ratings after the New York Giants' sensational 17-14 win over the no longer unbeaten New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

They're bound to be gargantuan for a game brimming with drama, guts and finally the sight of defeated coach Bill Belichick in classic class-less form during a terse post-game interview in which he couldn't bring himself to congratulate the victor.

America's new aw shucks sports hero, Giants QB Eli Manning, may not have the Hollywood hustle of the Cowboys' Tony Romo. Good for him. Here's a quiet, self-effacing Super Bowl MVP who likes to go antiquing as an adult after getting the bug from his mom while tagging along with her as a kid on her treasure hunts.

Romo of course prefers getting manure-faced and then singing with substandard heavy metal cover bands while in the company of dumb Tinseltown blondes. The closest he got to Sunday's big game was a slam-bang Justin Timberlake Pepsi commercial in which Romo quizzically asked "Justin?" after almost running him down.

"Hey, Tony," Timberlake mustered before being sucked along to further misadventures in one of the long day's better spots.

My personal favorite commercial, with Shaquille O'Neal as a jockey, can be seen here along with another funny celebrity-driven spot starring Will Ferrell of the Flint Tropics as a pitchman for both Bud Light and his new basketball movie. A local Super Bowl ad for Crest Auto Group of Plano, featuring a fake, sobbing Terrell Owens, can be revisited at this address.

Here's the elongated Timberlake sight gag, filmed in happier pre-playoff times for Romo. Now Eli's the one who's got game while Tony's slipped to the level of even the NFC East's second banana.

Up-close and objective: Night 1 of the Feb. sweeps

It's that time again. So check out our first of a 20-night tour of late night D-FW newscasts. Also, ratings for Night 1 of the February sweeps are in. And if you'd like to get in touch with your girlyman gene -- and win brownie points with your loved one -- then sit through the Hallmark Channel's Bridal Fever.
Ed Bark