The Claireifyer

Almost everything you think you know is changing

Claire Dobie

Claire Dobie
Martinez, California, USA
April 26
freelance writer, editor, researcher, proofreader
I was a TV news anchor and reporter in three major markets and now focus on writing, editing, research and proofreading. See my crude but functional website at My favorite quote is Mark Twain's "The difference between a word and the exactly right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." With approximately 2,000 books in my garage library, ninety-nine percent are reference books because I am an admitted information junkie. I could not tell you the current hottest novel except "Fifty Shades of Gray" because my friends and daughter read it. Not really interested. Research--not S&M--is my heart. I've interviewed Ronald Reagan, Sen. Ted Kennedy, the Sr. President Bush, Governor Jerry Brown, and entertainers such as Patti LaBelle, Sister Sledge, David Brenner, and Melba Moore. Seizing the day, observing people, smiling at strangers (especially those with grumpy faces), and yielding to the guy in the car who's been trying to get into traffic for the past five minutes are my favorite things to do.


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DECEMBER 31, 2010 12:49PM

Hey! Forget the "experts." Bring on real people.

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I'm a has been. And thank God for that!

For at least 20 years, since I got out of the "business"of TV news, I've been an outspoken critic of the medium.  I have problems with anchors who are really just readers and have no idea what the story is about. You can recognize the situation when there's a glitch with the prompter and the reader is dazed and lost.

 Good looking. Brains optional

There are some veteran reporters and anchors out there who are informed and smart (Andrea Mitchell, Keith, Larry O'Donnell, SixtyMinutes crew) but their numbers are dwindling.  What seems to matter more is looks and the ability to speak as fast as possible. These qualities boost ratings and leave time for more commercials.

I see a plethora of reporters who mis-pronounce words and display their ignorance of simple grammar.  I say don't make fun of Sarah (and no, Iam not a fan) unless your speaking skills are flawless. I've heard anchors utter some egregious grammatical gaffes  and these are not colloquialisms. Back in the day, we would at least recognize the flub and make the correction tout de suite.


I think I'm on a few TV producers' no-fly lists. I try to send e-mails to TV anchors and/or producers and I always get a bounce back. I even sent a letter to MSNBC (and it was honest, constructive criticism but certainly not threatening in any way) and three weeks later, it was returned--unopened (I think) and marked "REFUSED." Does this mean they can dish it out but can't take it?

 For my honesty, I am rewarded by being ignored, even shunned. Oh. boo hoo.  The only thing that upsets me about this is that  it further contributes to the dumbing down of America. If people hear something on TV, it must be true or right. "Where are you at?" is the one I hear too often. Whaaa! This is journalism?

 I'm a big MSNBC fan. In fact, if I know people like JoanWalsh or Anthony Weiner or Patricia Harris-Perry or Bernie Sanders will be guests, I'm glued--live--and recording as well. I like to quote verbatim.

So now I have a dilemma. I have a suggestion but I'm not even going to try to send it to MSNBC. They hate me. They really hate me. That's a good thing. I don't need to be loved. I need to ensure the regular, hard-working (or wish they were working) people of America are recognized and represented.

Do It Live!

So, I'll tell you here and maybe they'll read it.  It's simple. Put some regular people on the show as guests. Yeah, why not.   You know, like Mary Smith, the administrative assistant at one of those small businesses. She's bright and keeps up with the news and she has an opinion on health care and some solutions. And no talking points. She's talking from the heart.

What makes former, Retired Ambassador Whazhizface any more of an expert than Mary Smith is when it comes to which legislation Obama's going to have the toughest time pushing through in 2011. Why isn't anyone talking about the ninety-niners' situation ? Except Big Ed. A regular guy from what's left of the middle class community might bring that up.

And what about some lucid explanations of certain news issues  instead of five minute sound bites. Whoaaa. You left out the most important part. What ever happened to that woman in Truckee, California whose home was raped and pillaged by (allegedly) Bank of America. They even took the ashes of her late husband. No way! Way....well,  at least from the one mention I heard. How about some followup?

Speculation Theater

I call today's "news" speculation theater. It's entertaining and almost wholly comprised of opinion--speculative opinion-- based on hunches and fifty year old history patterns that are obsolete in this new age of technology and surveillance nd war againstinvisible enemies. Jobs? You want jobs? I'll give you jobs AND happier customers! Get rid of those  automated systems and hire some real people. This is how corporations "think"they're saving money, when, in reality, they are losing customers. Your approximate wait time for a reversal of this policy is three to five years.

Real News

Ah, well, whaddarya gonna do? You're better off watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart where you can be both entertained and get facts with the satire.  Even the networks have given him credit (and rightfully so) for pushing through the 9/11 bill for first responders. Know why? He brought in "real" people as guests.

The quality should go in before the name goes on.

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