Bad Bloomberg

Ben Richardson, one of the editors of Bloomberg News, resigned from his position on Monday which, according to The New York Times, makes him the third staff member of Bloomberg News to leave the company in four months. The reason for Richardson’s departure was due to the company’s (in Richardson’s words) mishandling of a story involving the supposed ties between China’s wealthiest families and the nation’s top leaders. According to Richardson, the company threatened legal action against any employee who tried to speak out on the story. Bloomberg has been trying to sell its highly lucrative financial terminals, which are seen on Wall Street frequently, to the Chinese market for quite some time. Anonymous employees believe that the story would’ve kept Bloomberg from doing business in the large but controlling country. Although this appears to be a business decision, one has to question the journalistic ethics of Bloomberg News.

            Journalists are meant to pursue the truth and deliver it to the public, so why would a news organization want to keep such an eye-opening story from the public? Unfortunately, Bloomberg chose economics over ethics regarding the story. Bloomberg believes they can sell their terminals to the very wealthy higher-ups in China, thereby expanding their name and product to one of the most powerful markets on the planet. China’s government is also very controlling of its people, censoring negative news and blocking access to certain sites on the Internet. Journalists are constantly trying to report stories of civil unrest and political travesties, but it is often hard for stories to break within the nation. The possibility of a story describing government corruption in China draws major attention, but the public may never know the truth with Bloomberg keeping it under wraps. Bloomberg killing the story also puts Bloomberg in a negative light as a news organization. This act is the exact opposite of what journalism is supposed to be and, for me, takes away all the credibility of Bloomberg News. Why should I trust a news organization that denies me an interesting story because it’s not best for business?

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It’s A Lemon

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When it comes to movies that have cars as a main element, there is a specific rule that needs to be followed: Have fun with it! There is a reason that “Smokey & The Bandit” and the 6 “Fast & Furious” movies are so beloved, and it’s not because of thespian acting or provocative dialogue. All viewers have to do is check their brains with their coats at the door, sit back, and expect the laws of physics and gravity to be broken with ease. Even a movie like “Bullitt,” with a dead-serious Steve McQueen on a hunt for justice, is famous for a car chase that dropped the jaws of young male baby boomers. Car movies are supposed to be fun, stupid, and aware of how fun and stupid they can be. Unfortunately, fun and stupid is not the first 2 adjectives that come to mind when one thinks of Jesse from TV’s “Breaking Bad.”

            The man behind Jesse, Aaron Paul, plays mechanic/street racer/smolder-faced Tobey Marshall. Tobey’s garage is behind on mortgage payments on his family’s garage, so he takes a job ramping up a Ford Mustang from a former friend, Dino (Dominic Cooper). Dino sells the car to a businessman and his snappy British daughter, Julia (Imogen Poots) and offers to settle Tobey’s money problems in a race with him and Dino’s brother-in-law, Pete (Harrison Gilbertson). Dino runs Pete off the road at nearly 200 mph and kills him, but Dino pegs the death on Tobey, who gets thrown in jail. When he is released after some time, Tobey reassembles his old crew (including rapper Kid Cudi as his airborne traffic monitor) to find Dino and get revenge. He plans to drive to California in the Mustang he restored and enter an illegal race Dino has entered to win cars. Julia accompanies him, making sure the car stays intact, as he speeds cross-country to avenge the death of his friend.

            Now the term “speeds” is not entirely accurate when describing this movie. At 130 minutes, this movie drags, skids, sputters, and any other slow car pun that comes to mind. The plot is a typical “I WILL AVENGE YOU” action movie, though with decidedly less action than normal. For a movie based off of a racing videogame that involved crashing and cop car chases, only 1/3rd of the movie has car chases. Further more, the chases are not the least bit exciting or fun. The cars used are certainly nice to look at, but there are no real exciting collisions or races in this movie. There are shots of crashes, but only from the view of the pedestrian cars that get sideswiped (because when one sees a car movie, he’d rather watch a Toyota Tundra get totaled more than a Bugatti speed off, right?). Former stunt coordinator turned director Scott Waugh (“Act of Valor”) wants the audience to take “Need for Speed” way too seriously and takes all the fun out of the movie.

            The acting is also a huge disappointment. There’s no doubt Aaron Paul is a good actor, but playing such a dark role on “Breaking Bad” has left a big impression on him. Paul has no charm or charisma and instead just keeps a grim stare throughout the entire film. Ms. Poots is a beautiful woman, but an annoying presence on screen. Her only purpose is to be the worrisome, semi-witty, British eye candy for male viewers to swoon over. The auto-crew of Tobey is meant to be the comic relief, but never show anything beyond general blandness, except for Kid Cudi, who is basically in this movie because the budget couldn’t afford Jamie Foxx. Dominic Cooper is terribly misused as the bland, boring villain who’s got nothing on Cooper’s epic portrayal of Uday Hussein in “The Devil’s Double,” which is way more fun and crazy than this boring piece of car porn. Not even the presence of a super hammy Michael Keaton as the host of the ending race can save the film.

            It’s unsure if this can be called another poor movie based off of a videogame or just a cheap “Fast & Furious” rip-off, but it is most definitely a bad movie. “Need for Speed” is supposed to be fast, fun, dumb, and painless: Instead, it’s slow, boring, numbing and painful. There was a lot of potential with such a hot young cast and some hot cars merged together, but audiences want destructive races instead of empty spaces of dialogue and grimaces. So with that said….can we get a “Burnout” movie please?

 Final Verdict: 1 out of 4 stars

2 Companies and a News Story

About a month ago, Comcast announced that it was purchasing Time Warner Cable for $45 billion. According to CNN Money, the merger means that one in three Americans will have their cable and Internet provided by this new media giant. So why is this such a huge story? Well, from a business standpoint, this is the sign of a two major companies looking to spread themselves out across the market against companies like DirecTV and AT&T, along with new streaming services like Netflix.

            In class this week, we talked about companies and what they need to do to be functional. Of course, profits are very important to a company’s success. So what’s the potential for Comcast and Time Warner? Time Warner Cable has close to 11 million subscribers, while Comcast has near 30 million subscribers. Combining the subscribers will certainly open prospects for a serge in profits. Time Warner and Comcast are the two largest cable and Internet providers in America, so seeing how the customers of these two companies share services will be interesting.

            CNN Money reports that Comcast had positive customer reviews recently for its software, however Time Warner had very poor customer reviews last Spring. Time Warner had complaints against it for keeping CBS and Showtime out of many homes. Customer satisfaction needs to be made a vital part of a company, so Comcast needs to share their secrets to success with Time Warner in order to create as much satisfaction as possible. Keeping connected with the community a company is selling to is extremely vital.

            The merger of Comcast and Time Warner is a huge story because it is the two largest cable companies in the country coming together. Now this kind of merger has backfired before (the AOL/Time Warner merger in 2000), so there has to be more control in this new outing. Comcast needs to give new ideas to Time Warner in order to expand. This cannot be just a business move to share customers and earn more profits. The world will be looking to see how these two companies change their business plan.