Right-wing media plays Hillary haters for suckers

This podcast from On The Media is the perfect encapsulation of the ideological and journalistic fraud that is, in my opinion, the over-arching and all-consuming characteristic of all right-wing media.

What’s worse is how some on the left are, intentionally or not, treating them as if they have credibility out of a shared hatred of Hillary.

Khizr Khan

 

Stop with the Stopped Clock Defense

We all know that Fox is the unabashed mouthpiece of the Republican Party. If you want to accuse MSNBC and/or CNN or HuffPo or NPR or all of MSM of being the same for the Democratic (not Democrat, Democratic) Party , go ahead. You’re wrong, but go ahead anyway. That’s your prerogative and your right. I’ll defend to the last your right to do so.

What I’ll keep doing is what I’ve always done; perpetually shake my head and laugh at the total lunacy that is every utterance of every word from right-wing media.

Seriously. If you’re still taking right-wing media at their word as “news”, I honestly feel pity for how badly informed you are on all of the issues.

As for the Hillary haters out there – and I’m looking at you Busters more than anyone else – who recently seem to be attributing some credibility to right-wing sources because they bash Hillary for you, please stop with the “stopped clock” defense of them.

There are plenty of legitimate journalists talking about her faults. You only continue to lose credibility for your case when you cite sources like Fox and Breitbart. Oh. And, p.s., it’s not an ad hominem attack or logical fallacy to draw attention to the bias of right-wing media. Please stop with that nonsense, too.

The Trump News Channel

Trump now has is own new personal “Faux News” outlet, Breitbart, a so-called news organization who has recently been accused by some of its staff of taking Trump’s money in exchange for “favorable campaign coverage.”

It gets better.

CEO of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump campaign Stephen Bannon is pictured during a meeting with Trump's Hispanic Advisory Council at Trump Tower in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., August 20, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTX2MBFM
CEO of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump campaign Stephen Bannon is pictured during a meeting with Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council at Trump Tower in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., August 20, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri – RTX2MBFM

In case you’ve missed it, Trump’s latest pick for campaign manager, Steve Bannon, was until last month the executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, the parent company of Breitbart. Bannon is also co-founder of the Government Accountability Institute, a conservative nonprofit that seems to have been formed solely for the purposes of promoting the book and movie, Clinton Cash.

Before all you Hillary haters applaud that, understand that Bannon also once lauded the virtues of intellectual giants like Palin, Bachmann, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee. He is, as Atlantic writer, Conor Friedersdorf, puts it, “the antithesis of <an> intelligent reformer.”

Is that who you want to tie yourselves up with? Is that the source you want to use from which to make your case?

Playing Busters for Suckers

Don’t get me wrong. I agree with much of the criticisms levied against mainstream media, including their abdication of their responsibility for being the Fourth Estate. They seemingly have embraced fully a business model that kowtows even more to advertisers and, of particular concern, to people of power who dole out access in return for less criticism.

It’s totally reasonable to speculate and to accuse the MSM of allowing the profit motive and access to power to override their responsibility and duty to inform us. To think otherwise would be naivety in the extreme.

But, to give any – and I mean ANY – credibility to outlets like Fox and Breitbart simply because you’re still pissed off that she’s the candidate instead of Sanders, well, congratulations.

You’ve played precisely into their hands.

 

 

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Will 2015 be the year that right and left unite?

Robert Reich had this to say about a New York Times article, “Auto Industry Galvanized After Record Recall Year

Reich on NYT and GM

His closing question got me thinking about the corruption of money in our news and in our politics.

I often feel like what I’m hearing from the trickle-down and Invisible Hand believers is, “We need to protect money and companies first; otherwise, Money will take its ball and go home, leaving the rest of us without jobs.”

It’s all about fear for them. They want – no, they need – us to be afraid of them and each other, and corporate media is complicit in this fear-mongering.

The article and Reich’s comments had me asking myself, “Whether you’re a drug maker, a driller, a food company, a chemical company, or a car maker, don’t you have a responsibility to society to operate safely and within the law? Isn’t that also just smart business? Think about it. When companies make mistakes, it often (but not always) costs them something. Sometimes that something is money. Sometimes it’s time in the form of community service and even incarceration – although those seem to be more and more rare all the time – but time is money in our society, so doesn’t it makes sense to do the right thing even when no one is watching?”

Maybe I’m naive about capitalism. Maybe I’m just too optimistic about my fellow Americans, too, but how come Americans aren’t more united in our demands that corporations operate with one eye on the bottom line and the other eye on what’s best for society?

It makes common and business sense, doesn’t it? If big mistakes can cost so much in lives and treasure, why aren’t we as stakeholders in society and in the economy more unified in our outrage over the corrupting influence that money has on our business leaders, our media, and in our government?

Could it be that we’re not all operating with the same facts? It must be; otherwise, how is it possible that some of us think that the right thing to do is to make life even easier for corporations and the rich and powerful who run them instead of insisting that they “do no harm” while they make money?

In other words, why can’t capitalism have a conscience?

Two reasons, I think.

The first is that the tiny few who control all of our society’s wealth and power are, in fact, sociopaths fitting Merriam-Webster’s definition, “someone who behaves in a dangerous or violent way towards other people and does not feel guilty about such behavior.” They don’t seem all that interested in or concerned about what their behavior means to the rest of us. They seem only to care about their own wealth and power despite the fact that, as Fortune Magazine points out, “While inequality is a natural result of competitive, capitalist economies, there’s plenty of evidence that shows that extreme levels of inequality is bad for business.”

Income and wealth inequality haven’t been like they are now since the Great Depression.

wealth inequality
“Wealth inequality, it turns out, has followed a spectacular U-shape evolution over the past 100 years. From the Great Depression in the 1930s through the late 1970s there was a substantial democratization of wealth. The trend then inverted, with the share of total household wealth owned by the top 0.1 percent increasing to 22 percent in 2012 from 7 percent in the late 1970s. The top 0.1 percent includes 160,000 families with total net assets of more than $20 million in 2012.” – Economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucmanin a post at London School of Economics, http://bit.ly/1tSNeyK

 

The second reason we don’t seem to be united in our outrage rests, I think, with the fact that far too many of us are duped by the media into agreeing with and even admiring the very richest and most powerful people among us even while they pass laws and make regulations that help the rich at our expense.

It cannot be denied that money in politics drives policies and legislation. Laws and regulations and the consequences for violating them, however, are different for us than they are for Big Money. If you ask me, the whole notion of what we call “government” these days seems to be a system designed by the rich and powerful to empower the already rich and powerful; “…the wealthiest 160,000 families <who> own as much wealth as the poorest 145 million families.”

Too many people want to claim that both parties are equally to blame for our problems. Others are too eager to profess that our one-sided economic recovery – it’s a recovery on Wall Street and for the wealthy – is slow in coming for everyone else because of the policies of so-called tax-and-spend liberals and Democrats.

Neither sentiment could be further from the truth.

alecRepublicans at least since Reagan and on through to George W. Bush have made their political careers lying to us with their blaming of government for all of our woes. What they’ve never bothered to tell us is the truth: they are beholden to the likes of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – the secretive, “…nonprofit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives that drafts and shares model state-level legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States,” – has been writing state and federal laws and regulations for the GOP for decades.

lessigWhen I talk about Big Money, I’m referring to the 0.000042% – yes, that’s four zeros to the right of the decimal, or 42 one-millionths of Americans and just 132 people – whom Larry Lessig tells us are responsible for 60% of all SuperPAC money.

I’m also referring to the people who sit on boards and who run at the highest levels the biggest corporations, the largest insurance companies, and the Wall Streeters who capitalize and profit, as the crash of ’08 taught us, from both the ups AND the downs that they themselves create.

All of that money coming from so few has corrupted our media and our government. What was once bad has become worse thanks to the Citizens United and McCutcheon SCOTUS decisions. These rulings were affirmed, mind you, only by the GOP-appointed judges, and it was those decisions that created an even more rigged electoral, legislative, and judicial system. These are now systems that essentially allow the perpetrators of inequality and lies to dictate through their proxies in government and in the courts what is and what isn’t legal; what is and what isn’t a just punishment; what is, if any, just compensation and to whom it is paid for their mistakes – willful or accidental – that cause economic, psychological, and even physical harm and death.

If you’re a car maker that knowingly produces cars with a defect that kills people, are even the billions of dollars you must pay justice if no one goes to jail for it?

If you’re the CEO of a chemical company that pollutes the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginians, what does justice look like to you for those people?

dimonIf you’re Jamie Dimon, Brian Moynihan, or any other banker who knows they are too big to jail and too big to fail, why wouldn’t you operate with impunity and without regard for how your decisions impact the rest of society unless, of course, the answer is, “Because you’re not an effing sociopath, that’s why.”

And, what about our news media’s role in all of this?

Amidst everything happening in state capitols, boardrooms, and in DC, the corporate media continues to feed America a steady diet of things like the annual War on Christmas, the Ebola panic, the invasion of immigrant children, and missing jets. Anything akin to the first three, in my opinion, is a sad commentary on our intellect as a society, while the latter is simply a sad story which some apparently are attributing to…..wait for it….the metric system.

What other conclusion are we to come to except that corporate/mainstream news is a charade? It’s just one more way for the media conglomerates to make money by selling our ever-diminishing attention to their advertisers.

Corporate news media does not serve to educate or inform us. It does not reveal what we must know in order to consider what we must do as citizens to change and reform what needs changing and reforming the most – the corrupting influence of Big and Dark Money in all levels of our government.

This isn’t meant as an insult – I’m a regular Times reader myself – but if you don’t think that money is what drives corporate news media then you’re not paying close enough attention.  Corporate news media is how some of us are manipulated into believing that somehow corporate taxes are too high. It’s how some of us still think that government regulates businesses too harshly. Corporate news media is how some Americans still cling to the fairy tale that what’s good for the rich will eventually trickle down and be good for everyone.

These lies are just what those in power count on us to believe. It’s what makes you and I precisely the audience Big Money wants – a divided populace who is willfully ignorant, woefully misinformed, eager to vote against their own self-interests, and who refuses to unify against them.

If and when we do, we’ll actually have a democracy. Until then, look around. This is what we have because it’s precisely what we deserve.

If you’re ready to help change things for the better, check out these organizations.

http://www.citizen.org/
http://www.citizen.org/
http://www.wolf-pac.com/
http://www.wolf-pac.com/

e5390c3c-ab96-43d5-a311-8de36507f5c4

https://movetoamend.org/
https://movetoamend.org/
https://represent.us/
https://represent.us/
At SiX, we provide trusted, expert resources to inform and enhance that work. Together, we’re building the legislative wing of the progressive movement. https://stateinnovation.org/about/
At SiX, we provide trusted, expert resources to inform and enhance that work. Together, we’re building the legislative wing of the progressive movement. https://stateinnovation.org/about/

 

 

Our Bread and Circuses

Thomas Couture-The Romans of the Decadence
Thomas Couture-The Romans of the Decadence

If it seems as if more and more of us know less and less about the really important issues of our times, there is an explanation.

The following from an article in today’s Ad Age titled,  Flight 370 and Ukraine Give Big Win to Fox News, Big Lift to CNN, are instructive.

“The significant jump in viewership once again supports the idea that CNN sees its highest tune-in during major news events. Network President Jeff Zucker has been working to improve viewership in between big news with high-profile documentaries and series like Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown,” but news like the missing flight continue to be its bread and butter.”

Let that sink in.

“…news like the missing flight continue to be its bread and butter.”

While mysterious, sad, and tragic, the disappearance of a single airplane competes head-to-head on all the cable news outlets (to varying degrees) with geo-political events going on in the Ukraine that are already changing the borders of nations and pitting super powers against one another.

Let me be clear. The families and friends of the passengers on Flight 370 have only my sincerest and most heartfelt sympathies.

Still I must ask this question.

Is it any wonder that in this so-called Information Age in which we live we collectively seem to know so little – and often seem to care even less – about what’s happening in our government, to our environment, and to us as a society when…
….every passing storm now gets a name from the Weather Channel,
….Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC interrupts an interview with a former Congresswoman to bring us breaking news about Justin Bieber and,
….1.9 million Americans last week would even consider watching the charade and circus that is Fox News?

Is it too late? I don’t think so, but NASA has yet another warning for us (pesky scientists and all their facts).

Nafeez Ahmed wrote in the Guardian on Friday about a study done by NASA on, “…the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.”

The study is based on the research of applied mathematician, Safa Motesharrei.

Ask yourself if this has an unsettling tone to it.

By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over “the last five thousand years.”

Corporate news media cares about one thing and one thing only, and that’s revenue.

Even when subscription revenues are considered, the vast majority of their revenue comes from advertisers and, as we all know, advertisers only spend money if they believe they can get our attention.

Now, if you think that doesn’t influence what subjects are covered by the corporate media, as well as how they are covered and presented to us, then let me share with you the Latin I learned today.

Panem et circensus.

#Fox Tells Only One Side on CA #Microstamping Law

This article, Gun flight: Smith & Wesson, Ruger quit California over stamping requirement, by Perry Chiaramonte is a classic example of the complete bias and total lack of journalistic integrity that is the hallmark and the brand of Fox News.

FILE: Undated: A model 1911 pistol is held in the hands of an assembler at the Smith & Wesson factory in Springfield, Mass. Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/01/24/smith-wesson-to-stop-selling-some-pistols-in-california-due-to-gun-law/
FILE: Undated: A model 1911 pistol is held in the hands of an assembler at the Smith & Wesson factory in Springfield, Mass. Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/01/24/smith-wesson-to-stop-selling-some-pistols-in-california-due-to-gun-law/

How can anyone consider this article to be journalism?

It seems like a reasonable question to ask if one reads the article with an eye toward word selection, tone, and the people are and who are not quoted in this article.

Here’s the opening sentence…

A new gun law proponents say helps law enforcement has driven Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger out of California, and affirmed the suspicions of firearms rights advocates that the measure is really about making handguns obsolete.

Let’s examine just that opening sentence more closely.

Proponents of a gun law (which we learn later passed in California in 2007 and that is only now being implemented) only “say” the new law helps law enforcement. Too bad Mr. Chiaramonte doesn’t tell us who any of them are, what they actually said, and what law enforcement officials said in response.

Meanwhile, gun makers are being “driven…out” of the California market because of this new law. What they are actually doing is making a conscious business decision. Personally, I think they’re bluffing. And if they’re not and they do stop selling handguns in California the downside is…….what exactly?

Still in the opening sentence and while all of that is going on, the “suspicions” of the “firearm rights advocates” are now “affirmed” that the law is meant to make handguns “obsolete.”

Firearms rights advocates? Sounds noble. Who are they? I wonder if Mr. Chiaramonte is referring to the gun manufacturers and their proxies whom he did choose to quote later in his piece?

“Affirmed suspicions” has a ring of certainty and dread, doesn’t it? Compare that to the unidentified proponents who are only “saying” that the law might help law enforcement – a position attacked and discredited by the only people Mr. Chiaramonte chose to quote; the aforementioned “firearms rights advocates.”

And, “affirmed suspicions” ties in neatly to the strawman that every gun-related bit of legislation is an immediate threat to the Second Amendment. As we all know, the Founders intended for every citizen to carry a handgun, and we cannot stand for any legislation which these “firearms rights advocates” tells us will make handguns “obsolete.”

All of that is in just the first sentence.  It’s hard not to see now how word choice and tone matter, isn’t it?

There’s more.

So outside of the gun makers themselves who don’t want to have to conform to this law and who claim (threaten?!?) to be “forced” out of California, with whom does Mr. Chiaramonte choose to quote? To whom will he turn to for a fair and balanced perspective on this law?

He turns to an attorney for the NRA, Chuck Michel, and an adjunct professor who is also an associate analyst with the Cato Institute, David Kopel.

Well, they certainly represent one side of this issue. Where are the other sides? There are none represented.

Mr. Chiaramonte also employs those dubious and suspicious, “Critics say….” and “Many believe…” statements that have become so common these days. Why doesn’t he tell us their names, what they actually said, and when and where they said it?

Most damning and conspicuous, though, is Mr. Chiaramonte’s complete lack of information about who the supporters are and what they have to say. There are no legislators, gun law proponents, or law enforcement officials named or quoted in the article.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Perry Chiaramonte spent a lot of his career at the New York Post before joining Fox. This may not come as a surprise to anyone who understands the similarities these two organizations share when it comes to their definitions and treatment of the news. For those who need a quick understanding of the caliber of journalism practiced by the New York Post, I suggest you click here to see some of their more infamous headlines and covers.

I’m willing to bet that Mr. Chiaramonte knows that his article is not news. I’m willing to bet that in his heart of hearts he knows it to be a quintessential example of yellow journalism. He must, for it matches perfectly and precisely with how the Free Dictionary defines that term: “Journalism that exploits, distorts, or exaggerates the news to create sensations and attract readers.”

In his defense, Mr. Chiaramonte must also know and agree that that is what Fox does. It is all that Fox News does. It exploits. It distorts. It exaggerates in order to create sensations and attract readers and viewers. It is how it makes its money.

Mr. Chiaramonte, however, cannot be exonerated for presenting one side and only one side – the opposition – in his article. He is being anything but fair and balanced in this report, and I cannot believe that he isn’t doing that intentionally.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Fox News seems to be getting progressively more lazy and more lackadaisical than was even imaginable. Even worse, it seems perfectly clear that they believe their audience won’t notice.

That said, it’s actually more likely that Fox is simply pandering to an audience who consciously selects them and embraces them precisely for their incredibly biased and yellow journalism; the same type of journalism so obviously on display in Mr. Chiaramonte’s article.

As for this California law itself, I learned very little about it from this article. I shall have to go to other more reliable sources. I do like the sounds of it. It seems like a step in a very positive direction.

For more on my thoughts about gun laws, I invite you to read Taking Responsibility for Your Guns and Why Not Registration and Licensing of Guns?