World Series 4th-least-watched, averaging 14.1M viewers
Wednesday, October 31
Eds: APNewsNow. Updates with Fox saying 2017 average viewers was revised to 18,926,000 from 18,909,000. With AP Photos.
NEW YORK (AP) — Boston’s five-game World Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers averaged 14,125,000 viewers on Fox, down 25 percent from last year and the fourth-lowest ever.
The Series featuring a pair of large-market teams averaged an 8.3 rating and 17 share, Nielsen said Tuesday. That was down from a 10.7 rating, 20 share and 18,926,000 average viewers for the Houston Astros’ seven-game win over the Dodgers last year and 40 percent from 23,386,000 average viewers for the Cubs’ seven-game win over Cleveland two years ago — Chicago’s first title since 1908.
The only Series with fewer average viewers were Philadelphia’s five-game win over Tampa Bay in 2008 (13,062,000), San Francisco’s four-game sweep of Detroit in 2012 (12.7 million) and the Giants’ seven-game win over Kansas City in 2014 (13,825,000). The rating was the third-lowest, ahead of only a 7.6 in 2012 and an 8.2 in 2014.
Boston’s 5-1 win in Game 5 on Sunday was the most-watched of the Series, averaging 17,634,000 viewers. The opener averaged 18,314,000, followed by 13,507,000 in Game 2, 13,250,000 in Game 3 and 13,563,000 in Game 4.
Ratings represent the percentage of U.S. television households tuned into a program and shares represent the percentage watching a broadcast among homes with TVs in use at the time.
More AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Opinion: Low-Cost Broadband for Kids
By Maurita Coley Flippin
At the Congressional Black Caucus’s recent gala, the Rev. William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign said, “We don’t need another banquet. … We need a movement to make this country treat poor people right.”
And Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley urged us all to use technology to “protect the vulnerable (and) mobilize a global movement across the world to protect the education, health and security of our people.”
It’s a powerful, inspiring idea — use technology to protect the vulnerable.
But it faces one major roadblock — too many low-income families and people of color don’t even have internet access at home: 30 percent of families with yearly incomes below $50,000 lack home access; overall, more than 30 percent of low-income families with school-age children lack home internet service.
The challenge is even greater in communities of color: For African-Americans in the lower economic rungs, that number rises to 48 percent, while Hispanic-Americans are increasingly likely to be “handheld only” internet users, with more than 80 percent relying on mobile devices that aren’t adequate for key tasks like job applications, college admissions, or accessing government information and benefits. Overall, low-income Americans are twice as likely to be found “digitally unprepared” to compete in the modern economy.
Policy wonks call this the “homework gap” since it translates into schoolchildren’s inability to complete homework that must be done online, something I have seen personally watching my great niece painstakingly work through complex homework on her smartphone.
But some kids don’t even have a personal smartphone with Word, Excel or other typical software as an option to get their homework done. In Washington, D.C., at Anacostia Library, kids line up after school to use computers. Because of the demand, kids are limited to 30-minute stretches, after which they must get back in line and sign up again. No child should have to face these obstacles.
Sadly, these obstacles are magnified over time. Study after study has shown the lifelong setback imposed by the digital divide and how it compounds the injustice of underfunded pre-kindergarten programs, impoverished schools, and very large class sizes.
It is abundantly clear that our society has a responsibility to close the homework gap. This can be achieved through public-private partnerships and investment. Thankfully, companies have begun taking steps to, in the words of the Rev. Barber and Prime Minister Mottley, “protect the vulnerable.”
One of the earliest low-cost internet access programs was launched in 2010 by the nation’s largest internet provider, Comcast. With the encouragement of the Obama administration, Comcast blazed the trails for an innovative public/private sector service branded “Internet Essentials” that offers low-cost ($9.95/month) internet service and addresses other factors that families often need to get online: local community mentoring, digital skills and literacy training, and low-cost computers to ensure that families can make the most of their access.
According to the NAACP, this effort, which has moved 6 million Americans online, is the largest campaign ever by the private sector on the digital divide. And now other companies have followed suit with their own low-cost options for qualifying families. Charter’s Spectrum Internet Assist program allows low-income families to add in-home high-speed internet to their cable and phone service for just $5 per month; AT&T’s access program provides low-income families with up to 10 Mbps for $10 per month.
But that’s not enough. Every major industry should be encouraged to first address the needs of the vulnerable. Whether it’s the digital divide, the health divide, the housing divide or the community reinvestment divide, industries should be encouraged or required to address these gaps that affect vulnerable people. It’s the essence of social responsibility.
I visited Detroit recently, and the biggest conversation was around “inclusion” of the vulnerable communities who weathered the storm as the nation’s once prosperous and fourth-largest city’s population has declined 63 percent since 1960. The city is rapidly being revitalized in many places, but the gains — and the opportunity and hope it brings — are spread unevenly and unfairly, and outside the center city too much of Detroit remains neglected.
Detroit is just one example of an unfortunate phenomenon that is plaguing many major cities in our nation. But fairer access to broadband and new opportunities provides one way to turn the tide. Other industries must step up and do their part to spread out the benefits of new technology and resources.
There is hope that others will follow as we continue to see results. As kids go back to school this season, at least many communities now have access to low-cost broadband — and THAT’s what I call a “back to school special.”
ABOUT THE WRITER
Maurita Coley Flippin is president and CEO of the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council, a national not-for-profit organization promoting equal opportunity and civil rights in the media and telecom industries. She wrote this for InsideSources.com.
Give Us Not Our Daily Trump
By Steve Klinger
The media seem to be impaled on the horns of a dilemma: Cover Donald Trump and, if they do so with a shred of integrity and concern for the truth, their reportage will inevitably be negative. Trump and his minions then say it’s fake news and throw the resulting red meat right to the base, dividing the country ever more deeply. The media refuse to change, and so does Trump. We spiral downward into a rabbit hole whose surprises we dread to encounter. More frightening yet—we may be closer to the beginning than the end.
Here’s a thought: What if the media just stopped covering Trump on a daily basis? Why must they dutifully replay every infuriating word from every canned, rigged, reality-TV campaign rally and faux news conference and then bemoan his total narcissism, his complete lack of empathy, his wedge-driving failure of leadership, his dog whistles for racists, his winks and nods to neo-Nazis, his total and unrelenting lack of human decency?
In a world in which Trump has driven normal out the window, why must journalists play along and keep sliding down the slippery slope of trying to cover Trump like a normal president? For one thing, it isn’t working; in fact it feeds directly into his egomaniacal wet dreams. Just imagine how it would infuriate him if no one covered him in West Virginia and Montana and North Dakota or even on the White House helipad.
Oh, Fox would be there, of course, but there’s nothing much to be done about Fox anyway, at least until Sean Hannity faces his curiously absent me-too moment.
But in the meantime, stop enabling Trump and stonewall him instead. It will make his head explode like an overripe Sunkist navel. He might have to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue just for the attention. And the rest of us will get a respite from our nightly fix of masochism from MSNBC and CNN.
Talk instead about climate change, island nations slowly sinking, the U.S.-fueled drug trade, the fundamental forces driving mass migration, the truth about our unfair, propped-up economy, where American families really can afford the newest X-box if everyone works the three minimum-wage jobs they can now get; the extortionist pharmaceutical industry that keeps so many of us on the edge of bankruptcy while its alter-ego, agribusiness, fills our bodies with addictive sugars that send us to the drugmakers in a cycle of profiteering that rivals war and the armaments industry.
Talk about the new American slavery, a for-profit prison industry that siphons hope from minorities while providing a constant supply of all-but-free labor. Talk about education, where the profit-driven companies and evangelicals scheme tirelessly to bleed the public school system into penury so they can complain about the results of public education.
Talk about a civilized world devolving before our eyes, where our primitive brains are nurtured and fed with paranoia, our amygdalas pampered and cultivated with scapegoating and fearmongering, fanned with horrific prophecies of the globalist Jew-bankrolled caravan that’s coming to steal their stuff and vote for Beto O’Rourke—all of it the fiendish work of that money-dripping Satan, George Soros, and his Semitic soulmates, Janet Yellen and Lloyd Blankfein. Lock. Them. Up.
Talk about the Philippines and Hungary, an increasing portion of Europe, and now Brazil turning hard to the right, making a mockery of humanistic progress while the planet counts down like an oven timer, and we can watch the poorest among us cook first on the shelves just above our own slowly roasting middle-class butts.
Talk about journalists covering each other not covering Trump.
Talk about anything—Kanye West, Mama June, the Red Sox, the Kardashians, Michael Avenatti, Joe Biden, Roseanne Barr.
But at least, dear media mavens, grant us one small wish and give us not our daily Trump.
Steve Klinger is a veteran journalist, satirist, musician, and college English instructor based in southern New Mexico.
How Sears helped make women, immigrants and people of color feel more like Americans
October 31, 2018
Author: Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, Visiting Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University
Disclosure statement: Einav Rabinovitch-Fox does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Partners: Case Western Reserve University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
Sears did more than pioneer the mail-order catalog over a century ago. The iconic retailer helped make America a more inclusive place at a time when Jim Crow was rampant and women couldn’t even vote.
The news that Sears had filed for bankruptcy is a reminder of this history and the important role it played in changing the very fabric of American society.
Indeed, while it’s only the latest in a growing list of retail institutions that have gone under in recent years, Sears’s demise feels different to me – a U.S. historian who focuses on how consumer culture shapes gender and racial identities.
More than any of its other competitors, Sears – and its mail-order catalog – helped usher in the current culture of consumerism, which played an important role in making women, immigrants and people of color feel part of American life.
Changing the way we shop
The Oct. 15 announcement that Sears – founded in 1893 by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck – filed for bankruptcy did not come as a surprise. After all, the company, which began as a mail-order catalog and later developed into a department store chain, had been struggling for years.
For younger Americans – accustomed to shopping on the internet with a couple of clicks and getting virtually anything they like in a box at their doorstep within a day or two – the news of Sears closing might not seem like a big deal. The image of customers cramming downtown streets on their shopping sprees or the excitement of receiving the season’s catalog in the mail is foreign to them.
Yet, in the late 19th century, as department stores and trade catalogs like Sears began appearing on the American landscape, they changed not only how people consumed things but culture and society as well. At the same time, consumption was starting to become crucial to Americans’ understanding of their identity and status as citizens.
In particular, for marginalized groups such as women, African-Americans and immigrants, who were often barred from positions of power, consumer culture gave them a way to participate in American politics, to challenge gender, race and class inequalities, and to fight for social justice.
Opening doors to women
The establishment of the department store in the mid-19th century facilitated the easy consumption of ready-made goods. And because consumption was primarily associated with women, it played an important role in shifting gender norms.
More specifically, department stores disrupted the Victorian “separate spheres” ideology that kept women out of public life. The new stores allowed them to use their position as consumers to claim more freedoms outside of the home.
The first department stores catered to these middle-class women and were very much dependent on their dollars. They were built as “semi-private” spaces in which women could enjoy shopping, eating and socializing without transgressing sexual respectability norms – yet providing women with the opportunity to expand “the domestic sphere” into the city.
The clustering of these retail establishments gave rise to new shopping districts, which recreated urban centers as welcoming spaces for women. Instead of the dirty, dangerous and hostile places downtowns once were, department stores facilitated the construction of safe and clean sidewalks, well-lit areas and big window displays that attracted women into the stores.
In the process, these department stores also legitimized women’s presence in downtown streets, enabling them to claim more than just their right to shop. Women used their power as consumers in their fight for suffrage and political rights, using the shopping windows of department stores to advertise their cause and to draw public support.
Horseshoes, gramophones and dresses for all
But not all shoppers shared in these new “freedoms” equally.
Department stores mainly welcomed middle-class white shoppers. Barriers of race and class prevented working-class women or nonwhite women from participating fully in commercial life.
Yet, if the tangible space of the store proved to be exclusive, the mail-order catalog – a marketing method that Sears perfected and became most famous for – offered a more inclusive vision of American democracy.
Beginning in 1896, after Congress passed the Rural Free Delivery Act, Sears catalogs reached all across the country, offering everything from a dress and a drill to a horseshoe and a gramophone, all at prices many could afford. The colorful illustrated catalogs were especially attractive to rural consumers, who despite many of them not knowing how to read could still participate by looking at the pictures.
Taking advantage of the ready-made revolution, Sears catalogs offered women from different classes, races and regions the possibility to dress like the fashionable women in Paris or New York, turning consumption into an agent of modernity as well as of democracy.
For immigrant women, the “American Styles” sold at Sears enabled them to shed their “foreignness” and appear as an American with all the privileges of citizenship.
For blacks in the Jim Crow South, Sears catalogs were also a way to claim citizenship and challenge racism. As scholars have shown, buying from a mail-order catalog allowed African-Americans to assert their right to participate as equals in the market, turning the act of shopping via the mail into a political act of resistance.
In a period when many department stores did not welcome African-American consumers, or discriminated against them, mail-order catalogs like those offered by Sears proved to be the easiest way to avoid such obstacles. These catalogs functioned also as a fantasy literature, through which one could participate, if only by imagination, in the mainstream consumer culture as equal.
Will Americans still have a shared consumer identity?
The success of Sears catalogs in reaching across diverse populations created a common shopping experience and eventually a common identity around which all Americans could be united.
Through its catalog and consumer culture, Americans from all walks of life – rural and urban, men and women, white and black, poor and rich – could dress the same, eat the same and even live in similar mail-order houses. And it was through consumption, arguably, that they could think of themselves as Americans.
Today, as the internet offers us “one-of-a-kind” items and a personalized shopping experience unlike any other, Sears won’t be around to offer us this shared identity. In other words, the democratic power of consumption is changing alongside that of the retail landscape.
The end of Sears and other institutions that created a shared consumption leads me to wonder whether consumer culture will continue to define our society and our democracy. And if so, how.
Comment: Nancy Deihl, Master Teacher and Director of Costume Studies, New York University — Thanks for this interesting post! It’s important to acknowledge how institutions beyond government, religion, education, military can influence culture.
It Will Be the Best of Futures, and the Worst of Futures
By Llewellyn King
The votes that will be cast on Election Day might be the most important votes cast in a long while, but they’re unlikely to change our lives as dramatically as two great tsunamis that are hurtling toward us.
Change Agent Tsunami One is being driven by science. If you thought that the Digital Revolution had reached its apex with the smartphone, or perhaps Instagram, get back to thinking room.
The Internet of Things is on the march and nothing appears to be able or wants to stop it.
Soon you’ll have “smart cities.” In the beginning, these will be the result of evolutionary change. Things like 5G, the next generation of mobile technology, and Wi-Fi using “short towers” — in fact, a lot of small towers — will make Wi-Fi available to everyone in a city.
Then things speed up.
Already, the Digital Revolution is responsible for these lifestyle changers: barcodes, Uber and Lyft, urban bicycle systems and, yes, those scooters that are whizzing around many cities. Oh, throw in Airbnb.
In store is automated transportation with autonomous electric cars and trucks, automated package delivery by drone. Electric small aircraft and automated pilotless air taxis will take you from your home to the airport. Keeping all these moving objects from knocking into each other or into us will take further electronic wizardry.
All of this will come under the rubric of smart cities. The only impediment to this stunning new world of efficiency and convenience is a cyberattack that takes down the electric grid for days, weeks or longer. Every horror that can be conceived would be unleashed: no communications, no food, no gas, no money, no sewage and no water. We’d all be reduced to the state of primitive man without the skills of the Stone Age.
In its way, cyberattack is a greater threat than anything posed by the arsenals of China and Russia. We might perish without a bang, just a whimper. An ignoble but terrible exit.
Change Agent Tsunami Two is climate change. This has all the makings of a global catastrophe. Low-lying countries might not be able to mount the defenses needed just to deal with ocean rise. They’d have move to higher ground in other countries.
Especially vulnerable is the East Coast of the United States. While the Trump administration may be in formal denial, the agencies of government are preparing within their ability to go against the politicians. National labs have maps and charts of the devastation that would result from a sea rise of several feet. I saw the first of these maps myself at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California decades ago. I thought they were fanciful. Now I think they were prescient.
The Navy is particularly alarmed because, as Axios has reported, the sea rise along the East Coast is likely to be worse than in other parts of the world, due to tidal and other geographical factors. Particularly, the Navy is worried about bases in low-lying coastal cities such as Norfolk, Va., and is looking at scenarios as to where these could be relocated efficiently and in time.
Other climate change horrors include tropical bugs in northern climes, mutating viruses, more storms, droughts and tens of millions of people driven from their homes, i.e. refugees.
I have no doubt that we’ll lick the cyberwarfare threat. Technology can take on technology. Many good minds in government, industry and the universities are hard at work. Climate change is a many-orders-of-magnitude more implacable problem.
A very different future is ahead, one that isn’t on the ballot — not this Nov. 6, but it will be in future years. Great new political issues are in the making; issues that are outside of the party-speak of this election, but which will emerge soon. In 2020? Possibly.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Llewellyn King is executive producer and host of “White House Chronicle” on PBS. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.
Opinion: How Uber Exposed Decades of Flawed Taxi Regulations
By Samuel R. Staley
Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies provide one-third or more of vehicle-for-hire trips in many metropolitan areas, providing tens of thousands of travelers with transportation services that simply would not exist without them. What is less well known is how radically these companies have exposed billions of dollars in inefficiencies and harm to consumers created by decades of flawed taxi regulation.
In a new report for the Institute for Justice, “Regulatory Overdrive,” my co-authors and I studied the taxi regulations and markets of 44 major U.S. cities. Instead of protecting consumers, taxi regulations have long protected businesses from competition. According to our report, the three largest taxi firms controlled more than 60 percent of a city’s cabs on average. (By comparison, the four biggest fast-food companies have a 35 percent market share.)
Moreover, these heavily concentrated taxi markets tend to have less choice among taxi companies and fewer taxis on the streets. The report found that a 10 percent increase in the concentration of taxi ownership was associated with 7 percent fewer taxi companies and 15.6 percent fewer cabs. And fewer competitors reduces the incentive for cab companies and drivers to keep quality high or innovate, which harms consumers.
Many of today’s taxi regulations first took hold during the Great Depression, when driver income and company revenue were spiraling downward. Demand for taxis had cratered as household incomes fell and businesses cut back on expenses to stay afloat. Meanwhile, widespread unemployment prompted a dramatic increase in workers trying to make a living as taxi drivers. To stave off the chaos, taxi companies and drivers lobbied local governments to intervene.
In response, many cities capped the number of taxis that could operate and imposed licensing requirements to ensure “undesirable” elements — often immigrants and minorities — didn’t flood the market for drivers. And when those regulations made cities’ taxi markets less competitive to the detriment of consumers, cities adopted regulations to “protect” consumers. Their actual effects, however, were often counterproductive.
Until fairly recently, the vehicle-for-hire industry seemed to be dying, as ridership foundered. Researchers at Arizona State University found the use of for-hire vehicles was falling until 2001 when it leveled off before starting to increase slightly until 2009.
But thanks to the rise of new technology-based ride-hailing companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, the percentage of personal rides with for-hire vehicles more than doubled between 2009 and 2017. In any given month, about 10 percent of Americans use a ride-hailing app. It’s little exaggeration to say ride-hailing may have saved the vehicle-for-hire industry.
By offering a personalized transportation service that lets customers order rides from their mobile phones, easily pay with credit cards, get a guaranteed price, and rate drivers, these companies are clearly fulfilling an unmet demand for customer-friendly services.
Lyft already has a market capitalization in excess of $15 billion, while Uber could be valued at as much as $120 billion if it goes public next year — a valuation higher than those of General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler combined. Those valuations are all the more impressive given Uber and Lyft made their fortunes competing in an industry once thought moribund. From that perspective, the valuations could even be considered the indirect cost of decades of sclerotic taxi regulation.
Many local governments must now decide whether they will continue to allow their regulatory regimes to stifle conventional taxis. One compelling model for reform comes from Minneapolis. Until 2005, the city capped the number of taxi permits at 343. The permits, which were transferable, could easily fetch $25,000 on the secondary market. But Minneapolis began raising its cap, finally repealing it in 2011. Thanks to this liberalization, Minneapolis cab companies were in a better position to compete when ride-hailing entered the scene. Even after Uber, the number of taxis in Minneapolis remains 50 percent higher than in 2005, while the number of cab companies is nearly triple.
Rather than protecting company profits, cities would be far better off deregulating their local taxi markets, embracing the technology and consumer accountability hardwired into ride-hailing, and refocusing their energies on meeting customer needs.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Samuel R. Staley is the director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University and co-author of the report “Regulatory Overdrive.” He wrote this for InsideSources.com.
Opinion: Threats to Ensuring Domestic Tranquility
By Stephen F. Gambescia
I viewed an early screening of the movie “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.” One of the producers prefaced the movie by stating: “This is not a movie advocating one way or another about abortion in the U.S. By design, the movie was made with a general audience in mind — so twelve-year-olds can watch. There is no blood or dismembered fetuses or newborns.”
How could this be? After viewing this startling film, I believe she is right.
Everyone above the age of reason should see it — if you can find it in a theater, as a movement is afoot to neglect the film. Whether for or against abortion or indifferent to the socio-political struggle, the movie demonstrates how a society’s contentious issue can chill government agencies’ willingness to do their basic job — to protect our person.
The movie chronicles how a state public health department and a city’s police department broke the social contract, i.e. to protect our safety and health. State health department officials neglected to inspect the abortion clinic for years, even when serious problems were reported to them. Philadelphia police officials did not act on a woman’s suspicious death at the site. The district attorneys proceeded gingerly once the House of Horrors was searched.
The movie also reveals how the media chose its personal ideology over the principle of being a responsive and responsible press, by not covering the Gosnell trial and its aftermath.
What came to mind after seeing the movie was the query and quick response by Publius in Federalist Paper 15: “Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.” While much is made in the Federalist about “the consent of the governed,” at some point we must allow governments at all levels do their job.
Abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell is not alone in keeping government agencies at a distance, when clear and present wrongdoing and threats take place. Recently, police in Portland, Oregon, stood down as a group of “protesters” took it upon themselves to direct traffic. They profiled drivers and harassed those whom they believed were the cause for their socio-cultural ills and not in line with their policy preferences.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students lost patience with university administrators deciding on what to do about a controversial civil war statue on campus. Just before classes started this year, a group of “rallying” students became the makeshift wrecking crew to the fate of the statue. Campus security passively watched as students toppled the statue, and stomped, spat and sneered at “Silent Sam,” who stood for over 100 years.
During the recent two Supreme Court appointment hearings, protesters ramped up their understanding of petitioning the government by haunting Capitol Hill. The hearings had delay after delay and left the sergeants-at-arms wondering what should be the new norm for order.
Elected officials at the federal and state levels have become confused as to what branch of government for which they work, when they speak ill of workers in our Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. ICE agents investigate and enforce hundreds of federal statutes, all of which have some bearing on the health and safety of U.S. citizens and not the least of which are intercepting potential terrorist attacks. Emboldened protesters responded by “shutting down” ICE offices in several major cities, which are prime target areas for mass terrorist attacks.
Direct and growing implications by public and clandestine protest groups that our current administration is led by fascists is ironic, given these groups aim to get what they want by fear and suppression and often against actors who undertake a fundamental function of government. Such actions by these groups are a form of reverse fascism.
Admittedly bashing the bureaucrats as inefficient, sluggish, insensitive and unable to deviate from the rules and regs when reason should prevail in serving the citizens is common. However, chilling government agencies in their ability to serve the citizens in the most basic manner of protecting our health and safety jeopardizes our constitutional goal to “insure domestic tranquility.”
ABOUT THE WRITER
Stephen F. Gambescia is professor of health services administration at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.