Category Archives: Media

PBS Hawaii erects new paywall

After getting enough of the post-debate commentary Monday evening, I turned to PBS on our Apple TV and went looking for an older episode of Antiques Roadshow to pass some time.

And discovered PBS has erected a paywall around content that was previously available, including Antiques Roadshow. Their posted explanation doesn’t identify exactly what is behind the paywall. For now, I guess you have to select something and see if it’s restricted.

But previously broadcast episodes of Antiques Roadshow, formerly available, are now safely guarded behind the new paywall, which they call the PBS Hawaii Passport.

Okay, it’s not unexpected that PBS would eventually experiment with the paywall routine, even while others, like Civil Beat, have recently moved in the opposite direction by making their content free and open.

But I wish PBS would just be honest about it. They need the money. Fair enough.

Instead, the new paywall is being described as a “benefit” to viewers.

Introducing a new benefit to PBS Hawai‘i supporters that provides extended on-demand access to quality PBS programming.

The problem with this statement is that these archives were previously available online and on platforms like the Apple TV. Now they are restricted to donors of $60 or more.

So I quickly went to the PBS Hawaii website, donated the necessary $60, and expected to receive the information needed to jump the paywall.

Not so fast. The website asked for my “activation code.” None has been received. As a backup, it asked for my email address used when I donated. I entered it. But then PBS returned another error: “That email address is not in our system.”

So for the time being, I’m unable to jump the paywall. Hopefully this just represents growing pains for their paywall system. I’ll just see what happens next

Setting up for this afternoon’s presidential debate

Whatever your tastes, you’ll almost certainly be able to tune in to this afternoon’s presidential debate through a medium of your choice. has a fine rundown of the many ways to watch the debate, whether on one of many participating broadcast channels, online streaming, or via social media (“How to Watch the First Presidential Debate“).

One online effort worth a special mention? PBS NewsHour and Microsoft have created an interactive site where you can check out presidential debates since 1960, filtered by specific topics or by year. Mon dieu, Mondale!

And, of course, over here on WIRED’s live blog we’ll have our entire fact-checking team working to judge the veracity of the candidates’ claims about WIRED issues like science, automation, and cybersecurity.

And Wired won’t be the only place for fact checking.

PolitiFact will have 18 fact-checkers working Monday’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The best way to follow along is by watching the live Twitter stream below, which will provide you fact-checks in near real-time starting at 9 p.m. E.T. by relying on our database of nearly 13,000 fact-checked claims.

Anyway, the debate is scheduled to run from 3-4:30 p.m. Hawaii time.

And The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS) will be going live right after the debate wraps up. That’s probably one worth watching, too.

Not a great end for my week

It hasn’t been a real good end of the week. I got a message last night that my sister has more health issues that need addressing, although this morning it looks like perhaps not as serious as I had thought. But still worrisome and involving things I’ll have to follow-up on.

Then my quest to deal with cataracts hit a snag. I had an exam and consultation with one of Straub’s surgeons yesterday, and came away less than satisfied. I was given the impression they do not offer the full range of options in their cataract surgeries, aiming instead for the plain vanilla solutions that are mostly covered by insurance and avoiding the more specialized or premium options. That’s fine, except I really wanted to get a sense of the range of options available, so that I can then choose the one that offers the best in my particular case. Straub didn’t deliver that. So I’ve made an appointment with one of the other doctors recommended by several people in comments here, but that means another six week delay. I’m unhappy about that, but have to be patient.

I’m short of cat photos this week, so Feline Friday will be a bit delayed today.

And to top it off, the Interior Department’s announcement of the final version of its proposed rule on Native Hawaiian governance means I’ll have to wade through the fine print of the final rule to see what’s there.

In the meantime, you might want to listen to all or part of the Town Square program which aired last night on Hawaii Public Radio (“Media Coverage During Elections“). We didn’t get many calls, but our discussion raised quite a few interesting issues.

This week on Town Square, looking at how the media and reporters in particular cover political campaigns. Does local and National media coverage generally enlighten or confuse voters? Do reporters focus on things that help us make informed choices or do they just look for scandal and controversy? We’ll take up these questions with award-winning investigative reporter and columnist Ian Lind, long time Hawaii journalist Denby Fawcett, and Honolulu Civil Beat reporter Nick Grube.

State calendar a useful tool for reporters and activists

I doubt many of you keep an eye on the state’s official calendar, which includes the public meetings of all manner of state boards and commissions.

It’s a simply way to monitor the pulse of state government through its many bits and pieces.

For example, here’s a link to the coming week’s meetings.

Browse through the lists of meetings. If you see one of potential interest, click on the “Details” link to get the time, place, and agenda of the meeting.

And from the main page, you can choose a different time frame (for example, the following week, or the whole month). You can also use the dropdown menu at the top to focus in on a particular agency, board, or commission, and see the list of their scheduled meetings.

This is, or should be, a basic tool not only for reporters but for concerned citizens.

Unfortunately, most of these meetings proceed “under the radar,” without any reporter present, and with no outside scrutiny. And, I would guess, the number that are part of any reporter’s beat has likely dropped dramatically over the past 15 years.

I can say from past experience that being the only “outsider” sitting in on a normally anonymous board or commission meeting can be a very interesting experience. I highly recommend it.

Unfortunately, I haven’t found a comparable calendar for Honolulu’s many boards and commissions. There’s a calendar for City Council meetings, and one that lists neighborhood board meetings, but if there’s an overall calendar, it is mighty elusive. And I still have to check the situation on the neighbor islands.

In any case, browse and share any nuggets of info on upcoming meetings you think would be of interest.

HBO movie goes “All the way”

Political junkies take note.

If you subscribe to HBO in any form, or can beg or borrow access from a friend, be sure to watch the HBO movie, “All the way.”

It’s a movie adaptation of Seattle playwright Robert Schenkkan’s stage play which follows Lyndon Baines Johnson through the intense period from the beginning of his presidency in November 1963 through the 1964 election, where “All the way with LBJ” was the Democratic candidate’s campaign theme.

Count me on the side of critics who called Bryan Cranston’s depiction of LBJ “mesmerizing.”

We stumbled on the movie by accident a few nights ago while looking for something to watch, and were unaware of all the press attention it received following its debut earlier this year.

If you lived through those years back in the 1960s, it’s powerful and disturbing. If you’re way too young for that, it’s a pretty close-to-real-life look behind the scenes of hardball politics.

“Politics is war by other means,” LBJ muses at one point. Then he quickly circles back. “Politics is war.” Period.

I’ve read several of the books about LBJ, including a couple of valumes of Robert Caro’s intimate portrait of the man and his career, and collections of the secret White House tapes compiled by historian Michael Beschloss. I thought “All the way” captured much of what’s there in the historical record, and made it very human.

Johnson was being hit by competing political forces on all sides, the growing civil rights movement, the overt racism of the formerly solid Democratic South, a conservative challenge by GOP candidate Barry Goldwater, a deteriorating political and situation in Southeast Asia. We watch as he alternatively cajoles, bluffs, arm twists, horse trades, and outright bullies those who stand in his way, resorting to temper tantrums where necessary.

And there were great performances by those playing the other characters, from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey and Georgia’s Richard Russell.

Good entertainment and engrossing history at the same time.