Now A Brief Promotional Message….


Shortly after learning my scheduled NPR spot to talk about Lance Armstrong and Oprah had been cancelled because, I was told, everything has already been said, I was invited to fence with Bill O’Reilly tonight on “The O’Reilly Factor” (Fox News).

The topic? Not Lance, but Beyonce, and the ethics of high-profile lip-syncing. Thankes to you all, I’m more than ready. But will I really be speaking, or will I be lip-syncing?

37 thoughts on “Now A Brief Promotional Message….

  1. This ought to be interesting. Good luck with your interview with Papa O’Reilly. I would have preferred you paired up with Stephen Colbert, however.

  2. O’Reilly seems to have a way of steering discussion into topics other than the primary. I’ll be watching closely to see how much Beyonce’s lip-syncing is covered, compared to, say, Lance, or Congress or certain members therein, or the President. Congratulations – huge audience for ethics! I hope he’ll invite you repeatedly, at least for as long as his show is on top of the ratings. But I agree, it would be much more fun to be Colbert’s guest.

  3. Well, that was short and stressful. O’Reilly is cheerful and asked the right questions, but who knows what it looked like, (I won’t be watching—I hate myself on camera.) You sit alone in a chair, facing a camera with bright lights focused on you, and Bill is talking to you through an earpiece. Can he see me? Presumably. Last time I did this (with Norah O’Donnell) there was a monitor so I could talk “to” Norah, but O’Reilly was just a voice.

    He did say that Beyonce finally copped today to lip-syncing.,.

    • She was singing over her track, as a professional in this field it was normal and done all the time, the Super Bowl, Macy’s Parade and more. She sang and if you listen you can hear her voice over the recording. Also if she was not really singing there would be no reason to remove the monitor from her ear. Nothing makes me more mad then people who have no clue about the business commenting on it as an expert. She did nothing wrong!

      • If we heard the recorded track, and not her, she was not giving a live performance.Whether she was technically singing or moving her lips makes no difference. If you don’t recognize the difference between what Kelly Clarkson did (letting us hear how she was singing in that moment in time, warts and all) and what Beyonce did,and the reason doesn’t matter, then it is you who don’t comprehend. She lied. She deceived (so did the band.) She cheated. And “it’s done all the time” is no excuse at all.

  4. I dont always watch Bill O’Reilly, but when I do its because I know at least one person in the interviewer-interviewee relationship is respectable (hint: its probably not Bill O’Reilly). Ill catch it at 11.

  5. Already getting hate mail and assorted “your a idiot” messages. Sorry, they get spammed. We work hard to get an intelligent audience here—if the message is nothing more than dumb invective and ridicule from a mouth-breather, its not staying up long. Make a coherent point, or you are wasting your time.

  6. Bravo! I agree that getting the small stuff right matters. And integrity counts. Absolutely would have been fine for me if they owned up to it being a recording. The deception is the problem.

  7. I wish I could watch it, but I don’t have cable, and I can’t find the segment on O’Reilly’s website (although I did see Dennis Miller call you Daddy Warbucks – a reference to your pate, not your bank account, alas).

    If O’Reilly said that Beyonce had copped to lip-syncing, he was either lying or mistaken. She still hasn’t said a word.

    So did she or didn’t she? I still have no idea. This sound engineer makes a pretty good case that she was singing live along with a pre-recorded track, but the sound most listeners heard was her live voice. (Evidence includes her mic’s volume being adjusted by the sound engineer mid-song, and the mic catching the sound of her scarf flapping in the wind at one point – things that we wouldn’t hear on a prerecorded track, presumably).

    On the other hand, what do I know? I don’t know for sure. Do you?

    • This is the pattern we see over and over, especially when powerful people are involved. Someone leaks misconduct, he is pressured to recant, or spin, everyone clams up, the muddying of the water begins, with more and more complicated explanations of what really happened, walk-backs, and double-talk, and eventually, often after the heat is off, it’s shown that the original source was right to begin with. Even Armstrong’s tale went this route. Clinton-Lewisnky: “Linda Tripp is a liar, I didn’t have sex, I didn’t really have sex, so what if he had sex?, he didn’t lie, it’s OK to lie, it wasn’t technically a lie, everybody lies, who cares if he did lie? Meanwhile, I’ll get “innocent until proven guilty” attacks, because the whole idea is to stall and muddy and deceive until it blows over. The Benghazi cover-up has been like this too.

      She faked it. It was pretty obvious that if the band faked it, and nobody was denying that, she probably did too. And the lack of her direct statement, ever, that she really sang, or from any of the people, like Biden and Shumer, standing right by her, that she really sung, was damning from the start.

      • You’re a lawyer – do you believe that if someone accused of a crime (or in this case, of a non-crime) chooses not to speak to the press, that proves that they’re guilty? Because I’m not a lawyer, and that sounds ridiculous to me.

        Meanwhile, I’ll get “innocent until proven guilty” attacks, because the whole idea is to stall and muddy and deceive until it blows over.

        No, you’ll get “innocent until proven guilty” rebuttals because the principal of being honest about what we don’t know, and of giving others the benefit of the doubt, is genuinely important.

        It’s pretty clear that what happened is that there was a recording of her singing the song, and she also sang it live. (Unlike the band.) What’s not known is if the sound we heard on TV was the live performance, or the recording performance. The difference between you and me is that I admit I don’t know, whereas you pretend you do.

        • First question: No, of course not. But this has nothing to do with crime. It has to do with withholding the truth when you are the one in possession of it. Just as I feel the Notre Dame player was wrong not to immediately reveal that his “dead girl friend” was a hoax, rather than keeping the story going.

          Second, we seldom know anything 100%, and this is used by con artists, pols, fakes and others to keep accountability at bay while insisting on a false “fairness.” I have every right to call foul when I detect the foul. I’m not locking anyone up. The difference between you and me is that the standard you require is calculated, not by you but by those who exploit it, to obscure the truth and allow wrongdoers to escape timely accountability. Assessing all the factors and evidence, in my experience and with my analytical abilities as well as what I know about the business, the players and precedent (last inauguration’s fake music), I can confidently conclude that Beyonce lip-synced…and the fact that she has never denied it—and why wouldn’t she, if she didn’t?—is part of the calculation.

          • You’ve admitted downthread that Beyonce sang live; the question is just was her mic live, or not. So the “damning” fact that Biden hasn’t said anything is meaningless. All you’re left with is 1) statements that were either withdrawn or anonymous, and 2) that Beyonce has chosen not to jump into the press’ feeding frenzy.

            That you think this is enough proof to justify calling someone a cheater on national TV is ridiculous. A more ethical stand would have been to admit that you don’t know what happened.

            In life, people lie all the time. One particularly common kind of lie is to say nasty things about the famous and accomplished, especially for people hiding behind anonymity. There’s something in some small and petty people that hates seeing anyone really accomplished do extraordinary things, and which loves tearing them down with dubious gossip treated as fact.

            I don’t know why you don’t think it’s impossible people could ever lie like that about Beyonce. It seems perfectly plausible to me that people spread nasty gossip and lies, on occasion.

            I don’t know why Beyonce hasn’t spoken out. Maybe, as you believe, she knows that she was singing into a dead mic and doesn’t want to come clean. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if that were the case.

            But maybe, she reasons that to comment on the situation would just “feed the fire.” If so, that’s a reasonable position. If Beyonce released a statement through her lawyer tomorrow saying that what we heard on TV was her live singing voice, would you take her word for it, and say that settled the matter? No, of course not. You’d say she was lying. And even if you wouldn’t, thousands of others would. And the issue would drag out even further in the media, rather than going away. I can understand why a sane person would choose to avoid that.

            • 1. Back off, Barry. I was invited on the show to discuss the ethics of lip-syncing at the inaugural. Specifically that, and only. Not only was that the topic, which I would have discussed in essentially the same terms had there been no controversy (see Obama’s LAST faked musical interlude), it was the only topic. Nobody asked me to opine whether she did or not. My opinion on that is worth no more than anyone else’s opinion.
              2. I didn’t know how O’Reilly would introduce the segment until I was in a chair, facing the camera, with 30 seconds to go before I was on. I was surpisred that it was “Did she or didn’t she?” I was relieved that he didn’t ask me that.
              3. He told me right before we went on that it had been confirmed that she was lip-syncing. So that was the assumption I based my remarks on. I followed the story right up to going on, in case there was some decisive revelation either way. I was as responsible as I could be.
              4. I did not “accuse” Beyonce of anything, other than deception and cheating as my assessment, not of the “evidence.” but of the conclusion, which O’Reilly said wasconfirmed, that she lip-synced. I don’t care how she did it, or if “half the song” was a recording. That doesn’t affect the ethical verdict one bit, which was what I was asked on to discuss.
              5. The host’s question was, paraphrasing, so is THIS (meaning assumed lip-syncing) a felony, a misdemeanor, or nothing? It was not my job to argue with the host about the fact of the lip-syncing. That was settled, the premise of my appearance, and my ethical analysis was valid, and one I would stick with whether it is ultimately shown that Beyonce was singing live, while her band was faking.
              6. I think it is highly unlikely that the Marine Band would lie about Beyonce, though one of the versions is that they were furious with her for missing a rehearsal, making the lip-sync necessary.
              7. How many times, when this kind of controversy erupts, does the silence of the one person at the center of it ultimately mean anything but the worst? I can’t think of a single example, though there must be some. I’ve seen the opposite, where the individual loudly proclaims innocence, and turns out to be lying. We have a recent example with the idiot Notre Dame player, who was oddly incommunicado after his fake girlfriend story broke. Sure enough, he finally told Katie Couric that he kept talking about her as real after he knew she was Memorex. And the best example of all is Whitney Houston, who let “her people” lie about her SuperBowl lipsync until the day she died. I never heard her ever deny or confirm it personally. And I fell for it, too, because it was such an incredible rendition to do live-–in fact, that reminds me to fix that on my post about her—that I wanted it to be live. Is that experience one of the reasons I feel so passionately about this issue?

              8. Damn right.

              • “He told me right before we went on that it had been confirmed that she was lip-syncing. So that was the assumption I based my remarks on.”

                Fair enough. Sorry if I got over-the-top.

                6. The marine band was told that they were going to be using a recording, even though they doubtless would have preferred to play live. It would have been easy for someone in that situation to have made a good-faith assumption that Beyonce would be using a recording, too, whether or not they had actually been told that.

                Again, it won’t surprise me if Beyonce turns out to have been singing into a dead mic. But I don’t think it’s evil or wrong to prefer to give someone the benefit of the doubt when the only evidence against them is 1) a withdrawn accusation, and 2) an anonymous accusation.

                • “I don’t think its ridiculous at all. It’s part, though not all, of teaching manners and an ethical world view.”
                  I’ll get to rest of your comment later, but this is still just beyond stupid. Treating half the population appropriately is not a stepping stone to treating the entire population appropriately. Instead, it creates an unnecessary difference in half the population. How is looking at HALF the population a stepping stone to looking at the entire population? Would you agree that it’s appropriate to teach that black kids shouldn’t be hit before teaching that kids in general shouldn’t be hit? Would you consider the first piece a stepping stone to the latter idea?

                  No because there is no difference at all between black kids and white kids, and we should be teaching color-blindness. Gender-blindness is ofetn, not always, stupid. And yes, with kids, who are essentially immoral sociopaths, teaching them to be kind and deferential to girls is a good starting place. You’re just wrong. Of course half a job is easier than a whole job, and stepping stone to completing the whole thing.

                  Passing through some pedantic quibbling, I reach..

                  “Yes, that’s right up there with the anti-gun argument Morgan made to Shapiro, that no US government is this enlightened age would ever turn totalitarian over the populace. Of course it could happen.There are good science fiction books and stories about such scenarios. Why not be prudent, just in case? Again, just because it puts militant feminists teeth on edge isn’t a good reason to be reckless when our survival is the price of a miscalculation.”…It was pure fear mongering. Do you know what’s different between Morgan’s argument and mine? You could debunk Morgan. You didn’t even try to debunk me. Morgan wasn’t wrong because he saw a possibility as impossible, he was wrong because the situation was very likely.

                  I don’t have to debunk you, and Morgan doesn’t have to be very wrong to be wrong. There are scenarios, all unlikely , where the traditional value of women over men would be reasserted. There is literally no downside of acting accordingly now, and many tangential benefits, like a more gentile society and less harassment.

                  Because the obvious answer is “why, why, why not,” other than to make feminists happy in principle. Children I assume you agree with. Women because they are biologically engineered to continue the race, the creed, the nation, the group, the tribe, the species–and its true, men are no longer essential—in fact, their arguably obsolete. You want to be choosing lots on the Titanic? Going alphabetically? Not only a waste of time, but also a stupid. There’s a good reason to put the ladies first, and men, because they are physically better suited for survival situations, are the right ones to put in peril while the women are sent to safety first. 1) If you think there is a difference, you need to support it. Your first sentence is not a valid argument.

                  So you say. I have no idea why you say. The gender differences seem pretty obvious to me.

                  “2) Women are not biologically engineered to do anything.”
                  Is this a word game? Women have babies, men don’t. Oh, I get it, noBODY engineered them. Right. Gotta watch out for that Supreme Being third rail…

                  3) Fixing your term, women are no more evolved to continue the race than men are. Suggesting otherwise is an affront to biology. (You know how you bang people ignorant of law for making statements about law? Well…)

                  Collect and freeze a ton of sperm, and kill all the men. Works fine..can work for centuries. What are you talking about?

                  4) If it’s a biological imperative, why save menopausal women generally?
                  In a catastrophe? No, we wouldn’t. Normally, we treat them with the same deference as we treat elders—or is that ageism?

                  5) You suggest that because there aren’t simple, fair rules, we should keep a random rule, but this misses the point completely. Why do we expect to save 50% of the people and not everyone? Why is this rule better than “first come, first serve,” or just “Be ethical”? Yes, this allows for cheating that will cause resources to not be used properly, but it requires unethical conduct to get there. The “women first” mantra has likely improper resource alignment built in.

                  Surely I don’t have to explain the ethical and practical problems of “first come, first served.” Did you read about that Detroit riot? We save 50% first, and then as much of the rest as possible.

                  6) You make the completely sexist and false remark that womenfolk can’t survive while the big strong men can. There is a continuum with considerable overlap when it comes to survival in emergency situations. You might as well say that if a local sports team had to cut some of it’s players, it should cut all the women (or white guys) first, as men (or black guys) are physically better suited for sports.

                  I didn’t say “womenfolk can’t survive while the big strong men can”. I said men as a group are physically better suited for survival situations, What’s sexist about that? Who seriously denies that? Yes, if the man is Denis Kucinich and the woman is Serena Williams.

                  More later, if I can get back to it. It’s hard fencing with you and Barry at the same time. I better sic Tex on you…

                  • Probably you’ve already noticed, but just in case you didn’t, I should point out that you accidentally posted on the wrong thread. Also, I won’t be fencing more tonight; I’m going to actually work on getting my work written! :-p

  8. It seems like someone could figure out fairly easily whether or not Beyonce was lip-syncing.

    Is it really that difficult to determine by reading her body language, whether she was (1) actually flexing her diaphragm (no wisecracks, please!); (2) actually passing air through her throat and mouth, consistent with that flexing; (3) modulating that passage of air in her vocal chords, and (4) breath-controlling for her lyrical phrasing, to produce precisely and indisputably the vocal performance that everyone heard – as would be necessary for an authentic live performance? Can singers fake singing by “air singing” without making a sound – doing the “whole act” except for producing nearly zero decibels and no tones? I’ve done a fair amount of singing, had some good coaching, but I don’t believe I could pull that off, ever. But maybe a pro like Beyonce can do it, as easily and excellently (“deceptively”) as genuinely carrying a tune.

    I am asking above in all honesty (and ignorance) out of curiosity – not meaning to ask rhetorical questions. I have never, for example, gone back and studied Milli Vanilli videos.

    I can’t believe there isn’t some noted, trustworthy spotter, who knows enough about vocal performance, who is also sharp enough to say with near 100 percent confidence that Beyonce either (1) lip-synced to a pre-recorded track, or (2) sang live over a sound track, or (3) “air sang.”

    (Not that I don’t trust you, Jack, but you are not “noted” for this specific skill to suit me.)

    • Asking above, with the presumption that there would be noticeably less overall bodily exertion by someone who is merely lip-syncing (no matter how diligently she might strive to fake a live performance), compared to an actual live performance, and compared to what I mean by “air singing.”

      • Two experts that I’ve seen – the sound engineer that I linked in my earlier comment (January 24, 2013 at 12:21 am), who I thought was more persuasive, and this musician who has done both live singing and lip-syncing professionally – claim that the videos show that she was really singing.

        • Thanks, Ampersand (Barry). I’m going to give Beyonce what I am going to call the “Professionals’ Pass” on this.

          While Jack has a point about the inaugural event’s music-rigging (if I can call it that) inviting suspicion of, say, elitists behaving elitely because they feel entitled to a King’s Pass without exception, I cannot fault the music-makers for the set-up, whatever the whole truth of the event was. I am comfortable with giving the benefit of doubt, and with assuming the key actors’ motives were foremost to DELIVER (flawless music, that is) – and, to not disappoint or detract from the dignity and grace of the ceremony – and not to deceive.

          I want to liken what Beyonce, and the band, and all the audio engineers did, to the craft of a virtuoso illusionist, who is so diligent about pulling off a particular illusion, he has a back-up method for accomplishing the illusion, just in case the primary method he means to use is not going to work. Maybe that’s a bad analogy, since illusion performances require “deception,” while live musical performances perhaps are somehow less respectable if the music-makers employ some kind of deception, or “secret skill,” to make the music seem more awesome than it would seem if such was not employed. But I would not, for example, begrudge a person with the skill of using a false sixth finger on one hand to use that “cheat” finger to advantage, while playing the organ rendition of Bach’s Fugue in D Minor better than anyone else in the world:

          (From what I can see, a sixth finger, and/or third leg, would come in handy around 5:45, at least.)

          In any case, I can live with what Beyonce and the inaugural music team did; no matter how it was produced, the music was excellent, and fitting for the occasion. I am not going to associate any deception Beyonce employed to sing the National Anthem with any deception that the Obama administration or other political powers may employ in other actions.

    • It’s a little tougher than that, because the singers are, in fact, singing—they are just singing into a dead mic. The point is, with the other track playing, you or I could be up there singing out hearts out, and we’d give the exact same “performance” as Beyonce!

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