owner of the Los Angeles Times and myriad other properties. The media conglomerate had sales topping $ 1.4 billion
last year and is one of the most profitable
companies in the nation. In fact, profits
are so high, insiders say, the firm is looking for ways to spend money—on the
theory that if you don't spend it, Uncle
Sam will get it anyway.
The firm has a reputation for improving the papers it buys. Since it took over
the Dallas paper, the editorial budget has
doubled and the "news hole" has increased by 30 percent. So the Houston
outpost is a logical step and follows close
on the heels of the paper's creation of a
one-person Mexico City bureau.
In this day and age, what replaces
the town hall, the forum?"
asked Adele Santos. "Clearly,
Santos and James Blue have created a
fascinating and innovative TV project
where the viewer is an active participant
in the making of a documentary film.
The Invisible City (see story p. 16) is a
series of five programs produced and
directed by Santos and Blue, with video
and film production by Lynn Corcoran
and Tom Sims.
Four of the five segments have already
appeared on Channel 8; the final one will
air October 1. Material from all five segments will then be edited to create a one-
hour documentary film, to be completed
by the first of next year.
"What is unique about the project,"
said Blue, " is the audience participation."
It sounds too good to be true. Public
access to TV. The public's airwaves being
used by the public. But do minorities, the
poor, the under-educated, the transient,
the people affected most by this series,
"Amazingly, they did in this case," asserted Santos. "The whole of Carverdale
was watching the first segment. Then
they get hooked into the process. I think
we're hitting a broad spectrum."
Mindful of the advent of cable TV to
Houston, I asked Blue whether the public
access channels, which cable is obliged to
provide, could be used for similar projects.
"They could," he replied, "but nobody would watch. It's got to happen on
the channels where people watch."
It may be a long time before viewer-
participation documentaries preempt
Monday Night Football. But when minorities and the poor tune in to Channel 8,
that bastion of the white middle class,
something is happening in the Invisible
It's bad enough that the Susan
B. Anthony dollar—because of
its two-bit size—has not been
accepted by the public. But even worse,
for feminists, has been the opprobium
heaped on Anthony herself by certain
individuals, most notably in letters to
So it was heartening to see the following letter from Diann Peterson of Minneapolis, which appeared last month in the
Well, well, well, we now have a "blue-
nosed, bad-tempered, monomania-suffering old maid on a fake silver dollar, " as
Ernest B. Furgurson kindly pointed out
/Tribune, July 9). Too bad he didn't
point out that on the $20 bill we have a
man who stole Cherokee Indian lands and
then forced them on a death march. Or
how about the drunken general whose administration was fraught with corruption,
w h o res ides on the $50 b ill ?
How could Furgurson forget the two
blessed forefathers who framed our Constitution with its implicit ideals of freedom and dignity for all, but who enslaved
black men, women and children, and who
are on our $1 and $2 bills? Then look
again at Susan B. Anthony, who, while
never achieving the worship accorded the
aforementioned hypocrites, stayed true
to her ideals of freedom and equality for
large Crumbaker, Houston Post
gossip columnist, sometimes
>hides little bombshells among
the froth and glitter of the Zum-Zum
For example, last July (under Super
People) she chided the New York Times
for saying, in a review of Confession and
Avoidance, that author Leon Jaworski
wrote the bestseller to "take shots at his
Not so, said Crumbaker. "What the
Times reviewer doesn't know is that ,
only hours before the book was to roll
off the presses, Leon deleted some really
strong material which might have been
harmful to Richard Nixon and two highly
placed Republicans." Apparently this was
done over the publishers' strong objections.
The deleted remarks were about
"someone who is a (presidential) candidate," claimed Crumbaker, which should
narrow down the field somewhat.
Why didn't the media pick up on the
story? "I don't know," said Crumbaker.
"It would make a fascinating little tale."
When Crumbaker was in England recently, she reported that her dinner partner one night was a British intelligence
officer, who offered the intriguing suggestion that the Ayatollah Khomeini is an
imposter. "He said the real Khomeini had
three fingers missing from his left hand,"
recalled Crumbaker. "He told me that
everybody in British intelligence knows
Again, no news organizations picked
up the story. Which didn't seem to worry
the exuberant Crumbaker. "Wasn't that
fun?" she said of the Khomeini story.
"God, I loved that!"
So did I.
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