LIAMW Holiday Music – The Roches sing “Good King Wenceslas”

I’m a huge fan of the Roches and their Christmas album We Three Kings, and this video by Father James Martin at American Magazine explains the strength of the gospel in this carol. Here are both a video explaining the meaning of the carol and the Roches with their gorgeous rendition.

Merry Christmas to us all.

Fr. James Martin, SJ explaining Good King Wenceslas

The Roches singing Good King Wenceslas

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Questions Worth Asking (Maybe)

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LIAMW Holiday Music – Joseph, Who Understood

Today’s song is my absolute favorite contemporary Christmas song, and it is done by a band with the unlikely name of The New Pornographers.  A friend of mine asked recently why a band doing such a nice song has such an awful name.  Here’s the explanation: Many people assume that it comes from television preacher Jimmy Swaggart calling rock ‘n’ roll “the new pornography.” At any rate, enjoy “Joseph, Who Understood,” about the least appreciated person in the Christmas story.

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LIAMW Holiday Music – Robin & Linda Williams: Shotgun Shells on the Christmas Tree

I love this song by Robin and Linda Williams that tells the story of an unexpected Christmas tree with unusual decorations.

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LIAMW Holiday Music – John Denver & the Muppets: A Christmas Together

Back in 1979, long before Disney had bought out Jim Henson’s Muppets, there was a TV special John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together. it was full of the silliness and fun that you would expect from a classic Muppet show.  As a big Muppet Show fan, I remember enjoying the special when it aired, and I’ve long loved the soundtrack album that I used to own.

So with that trip to rank sentimentality out of the way, let’s watch a couple of clips from the show:

Christmas is Coming

12 Days of Christmas


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LIAMW Holiday Music – Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas”

Back in 1984, Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats and others helped assemble a big group of British and Irish musicians to to produce a music video to build awareness of and raise money for famine relief in Africa.  This video, produced by a super group called Band Aid, would eventually lead to the multi-continent Live Aid concert in the summer of 1985.

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LIAMW Holiday Music – Sigourney Weaver & Buster Poindexter sing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

Today I’m starting a series  of holiday and Christmas music videos that aren’t the routine ones you see or hear everyday at the mall or Walmart.

Today’s is Sigourney Weaver and Buster Poindexter (aka David Johansen of the New York Dolls) singing Baby, It’s Cold Outside on Saturday Night Live back in 1986.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

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Star Trek and Ethics

I gave my introduction to media ethics lecture in JMC 100 this morning and made mention of the movie Star Trek 2 – The Wrath of Kahn.

Here’s a link to my blog post about how ethics are portrayed in this excellent film.

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When Words Matter

The words we use matter intensely.  Sometimes they tell others a lot about who we are.  Sometimes when we use the wrong words we hurt people we hadn’t intended to.  And sometimes we don’t have any idea what the actual words are. Here are a trio of recent stories about when words really matter:

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Why Media Bias is Complicated

If you want to ever get involved in a no-win scenario argument about the media, start talking about media bias.  Critics on both the right and the left maintain that there is either a liberal or a conservative bias in the media’s coverage of the news. Journalist and author Richard Reeves notes that for each example of a bias in one direction, there is an example of bias in the opposite direction. Conservatives point out that there are disproportionate numbers of liberals working as reporters. Liberals argue that large corporations own the media and that they slant the news in favor of industry and business.

And you know what? They’re both (to a degree) correct.

And we can see this playing out during the 2014 election that’s going to a vote next week.

As reported on the ever excellent media criticism site

The owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and tells readers that his media outlets won’t be making a governor’s race endorsement this year. What Gerry Lenfest fails to disclose is that he gave $250,000 to Gov. Tom Corbett’s campaign. One of his journalists writes in an email: “Given Lenfest’s history of Corbett donations and the likelihood that the Inquirer’s … left-leaning editorial board (and certainly the Daily News’) would have endorsed [challenger Tom] Wolf, it looks really, really bad.” 

This is absolutely a perfect example of this.  You have a newspapers with editorial boards that lean left, and an owner who leans right.  The owner likely anticipates an endorsement from his papers he would disagree with, so he decides his papers won’t endorse anyone.

When you go to look at the papers, you don’t see the conservative candidate being endorsed, so a reader might assume that there is no conservative bias at play, but in fact it is the owner’s conservatism that may be keeping the paper from endorsing the more liberal candidate.

So, does this mean there is a huge conservative bias to the news? 

Not really.

What it means is that there are multiple forces working to shape how news and opinion are presented through our media that defy a simple attack of liberal/conservative bias.

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