Posts Tagged ‘media

15
Dec
15

The Department of Fear is winning

Let’s not fool ourselves. Fear is winning.

The Los Angeles Unified School District received a threat against its schools. Today it proceeded to shut them all down out of an “abundance of caution”, that term with which we’ve become so familiar. Seven hundred thousand students have been locked out of their schools based on a threat which New York City public schools also received, but which the NYPD determined to be a hoax. Hundreds of thousands of students disrupted from their routine has a ripple effect, forcing parents to stay home, affecting the economy.

I’m old enough to remember when Osama bin Laden said that his strategy was to bankrupt America by making it do stupid things. Although he sleeps with the fishes, his successors seem to be sticking to that strategy.

It doesn’t help that fear isn’t being stoked solely by jihadists. Our politicians on the Right are quite content to go along with stoking that fear, seeing it as a sure road to victory in 2016. So what if the country becomes a shell of what it was? So what if hate crimes spike as a terrified populace searches for scapegoats? None of that matters. All that matters is that they terrify the electorate into voting for a party which thrives on nothing but fear, as it has no other program on which to run.

Continue reading ‘The Department of Fear is winning’

02
Sep
15

Entertained to Death

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I will not hide it: I’m something of a pop culture maven. Not, perhaps, through active participation. But being at all aware in this culture it does tend to seep into you, if only through osmosis. And as a librarian, I make a concerted effort to keep abreast of things high and low, so that I can converse with and serve my patrons.

I’m certainly not one of those scolds who thinks pop culture has no place in the world. Most of us have grown up enmeshed in it, and have, for the most part, come out no worse for wear. I enjoy my sports, and I enjoy my movie spectacles.

However, we have entered a period of convergence, where the juggernaut which is popular culture collides with and circles around a concerted 50 year effort to make the electorate uninformed, apathetic, and downright hostile to its prime duty, which is to pay attention, educate itself, and govern itself.

Continue reading ‘Entertained to Death’

25
Feb
15

A Tweet Or Two

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Continue reading ‘A Tweet Or Two’

19
Dec
14

The President’s Day

@PeteSouza: President Obama opens a Christmas gift from personal aide Ferial Govashiri today in the Oval Office

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President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media during his last news conference of the year in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House

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‘End of the year task. Signing bills.’ (Pete Souza)

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The First Family (The President, First Lady, Malia, Sasha, Marian Robinson – oh, and Bo and Sunny) leave for Hawaii

16
Oct
14

On Ebola and the Media Panic Industry

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few weeks—and if you have, you may want to skip this and stay there where it’s safe—you may have noticed the media has a shiny new toy.

The Ebola outbreak which has reached our shores—infecting less than ten people—has our failed media experiment in a veritable apoplexy. CNN, looking for something to replace it’s 24/7 coverage of MH370 and recapture those golden days of summer, has joined MSNBC and Fox in providing a constant stream of information on the breakout. And by “constant stream of information”, I mean dialing the panic button up to 12 and reporting as if half of the country has been infected with the virus. Rather than a contained outbreak, this Ebola infestation is a new Black Death, scything through the population with grim glee.

Now, I know that it’s hard filling in the time between commercials. A news producer’s job is never easy. But there seems to be something disreputable about media organizations latching on to a very minor outbreak and building it up to be an existential threat to humanity. And, of course, the coverage was nowhere near as manic when the Ebola pandemic was restricted to west African nations. Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are facing real catastrophic consequences to their economies and social fabric; but, they’re far away, and in Africa, so not worthy of foaming at the mouth coverage.

Continue reading ‘On Ebola and the Media Panic Industry’

03
Oct
14

A Few Thoughts On Being Wrong And The Media

It may surprise you to know, but I have been wrong in the past. Dashingly wrong. Stupefyingly wrong. So wrong that the mistake could have threatened my future. So wrong that an immediate and heartfelt apology was all that would suffice.

I’m sure this has happened to most people. Humans are able to be counted on to, if nothing else, screw up spectacularly, in the most entertaining fashion.

An apology may or may not solve the issue. You may or may not be able to salvage your reputation, your relationships, your life. If you work hard enough, and are blessed with forgiveness, you may be able to do that.

But that’s for the real world, the place we proles inhabit. There’s another world much more rarified, where we’re not allowed, and where being “right” doesn’t count for as much as one would think it should.

It’s a peculiarity of the American ruling class that people who have been wrong time and again about, well, everything are still taken seriously. They’re still invited on “news” shows to give opinions. Various sectors seek their counsel. Rather than fading into penury, they reap the welfare circuit available only to those who muck up magnificently, but have the right connections.

Continue reading ‘A Few Thoughts On Being Wrong And The Media’

31
Aug
14

‘The Punditry vs. the Presidency’

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Michael Cohen: The Punditry vs. the Presidency

How the constant chorus of ‘do something’ Obama foreign policy critics gets it wrong

There is a fun foreign policy game making all the rounds in Washington D.C. this summer: Pin the tail on Barack Obama.

Its appeal is not hard to understand; it’s so easy to play.

Step 1: Pick a foreign crisis that touches even slightly on U.S. national security interests. This shouldn’t be hard, because the United States defines practically everything in the world as being an American interest.

Step 2: Make clear that this is no garden-variety problem but rather “the defining crisis of [OBAMA’S] presidency”……

….. Step 6: Publish your condemnation in a major newspaper or news outlet. Wait for a phone call from a booker with a Sunday morning talk show.

There are no points for understanding how international relations work, how U.S. power is actually utilized or how other countries interpret their own interests. There’s no space on the board for tracking the real-life impact of your recommendations.

Foreign policy stewardship would be easy if it were as simple as playing this game. If, as President Obama joked recently, America “control(led) everything around the world,” there wouldn’t be much to decide at all.

More here

25
Aug
14

Stay Classy, New York Times

But racism is dead. Right, SCOTUS?

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Continue reading ‘Stay Classy, New York Times’

25
Aug
14

Your Media

@DavidDTSS: Here’s the 3rd graf from the NYT article on Mike Brown. and the 3rd graf from the RS article on the Boston bomber.

20
Aug
14

We Are The Media

[tweet https://twitter.com/Lib_Librarian/statuses/499744254734778368 align = ‘center’]

I haven’t written much about Ferguson since my last post, mostly because I can’t believe that in 2014 we’re reliving the 1960s.

But, this is something I haven’t done in the string of nights of unrest. I haven’t once turned on our vaunted mainstream media. No CNN, no MSNBC, heavens no Fox News. I’ve relied solely on Twitter to get information.

“But LL,” someone will say, “Twitter? People writing from their parents’ basements?”

Here’s a bit of what Twitter has produced.

[tweet https://twitter.com/elonjames/status/501886693994397697 align = ‘center’]

[tweet https://twitter.com/michaelterry337/status/501880608155385856 align = ‘center’]

Continue reading ‘We Are The Media’

19
Aug
14

Spare Me Your Praise of Jake Tapper

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So, Jake Tapper got a bunch of praise for his reporting from Ferguson last night.

Twitter was waxing lyrical about him.

Why? Mainly because he described what he was witnessing.

It struck me that when we start commending any member of today’s MSM for simply reporting what their eyes are seeing, it’s a hell of a sign of how little we expect from them.

In fairness, he editorialized too, which was the main reason for the praise:

“Nobody is threatening anything. Nobody is doing anything. None of the stores here that I can see are being looted. There is no violence.”

“These are armed police. With machine – not machine guns- semiautomatic rifles, with batons, with shields, many of them dressed for combat. Now why they’re doing this, I don’t know. Because there is no threat going on here. None that merits this.”

“There is nothing going on on this street right now that merits this scene out of Bagram. Nothing. So if people wonder why the people of Ferguson, Missouri are so upset, this is part of the reason. What is this? This doesn’t make any sense.”

Good.

Very good.

Yes, we’ve been hearing and reading reporting similar to – and often way more powerful than this – mainly of the citizen kind, since the day Michael Brown was murdered, but better late than never from someone in the MSM.

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Are you sensing a but?

It’s a big one, too.

CNN’s coverage from Ferguson all last night was intermingled with repeated references to Tapper’s Woodward and Bernstein-esque scoop: that a NEW version of events, that differed from that of the witnesses, had emerged!1!1!

(ie Darren Wilson’s version of events – Well, blow me down! – although they chose not to highlight that inconvenient snippet of info)

CNN kept reminding us, all through the night, of this ‘bombshell’:

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It wasn’t a scoop, of course. Tapper had simply picked up on a call by a ‘Josie’ to Dana Loesch’s show (that ‘Josie’ chose to call Loesch says it all, really) when she said she was a friend of Wilson and had his version of events.

So, that’s all it was – repeat: a friend of the cop who shot an unarmed Michael Brown six times, twice in the head, was passing on what he himself said had happened.

 But this is how Tapper hyped it on Twitter:

No mention of the caller being a friend of Wilson who was simply passing on his version of events.

Continue reading ‘Spare Me Your Praise of Jake Tapper’

09
Aug
14

In Which the White House Press Corps Makes Me Guzzle Antifreeze

Before leaving on a well-deserved vacation, President Obama made a statement on the situation in northern Iraq and took a few questions.

Near the end, one of the esteemed members of the White House press corps asked—and I’m paraphrasing—”Do you regret not leaving troops in Iraq.”

I beat my head against my desk and blacked out for a few minutes upon hearing this query, but have now recovered enough to pen this essay.

This shouldn’t have to be repeated ad nauseam, but it seems that it must be so.

Continue reading ‘In Which the White House Press Corps Makes Me Guzzle Antifreeze’

17
Jul
14

Yes, America. This Is The Media

To those who say President Obama and his communications team aren’t doing their jobs, I present this to you and kindly request that you proceed to STFU.

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Continue reading ‘Yes, America. This Is The Media’

25
Jun
14

Syria? Disarmed. Russia? Backing down. Obama? Still black.

Over the past two days, the Obama Administration has scored two major foreign policy triumphs. (Yes, despite what the darker corners of the neocon bazaar may say, for the most part the Obama record on foreign policy has been quite fruitful.)

First, all of Syria’s declared chemical weapons have been destroyed. This was after the usual critics were calling Pres. Obama weak, feckless, and abandoning the Syrian people by not bombing them. (You have to bomb them to free them, of course. Lesson no. 1 in the Bush/Cheney Manual To Win Hearts and Minds.)

Secondly, Vladimir Putin ordered his version of the Senate to rescind the authorization it gave him to intervene militarily in Ukraine. (That’s the wonderful thing about being a strong man: you can tell your legislature to give you authority to invade a neighboring country, and then turn about and tell it to take it away.) Meanwhile, the West is warning Russia that harsher sanctions are still on the table should this be but yet another of Putin’s many feints. And again, this was after the usual critics called Pres. Obama weak, feckless, and abandoning the Ukrainian people by not skirting with starting World War III. (You have to destroy the world to make it free.)

Of course, if George Bush the Second had accomplished any of his objectives without impoverishing the Republic and stirring animosity abroad, every second high school in the country would be named after him. (The ham-fistedness was a feature, not a bug, however.) Pres. Obama achieved two signal achievements: getting the Assad regime to declare and allow its chemical weapons to be destroyed, and herding the European cats to stand against Putin by squeezing his economy. All without firing a shot or spending treasure. This, by any measure, should win accolades.

Continue reading ‘Syria? Disarmed. Russia? Backing down. Obama? Still black.’

05
Jun
14

44: Winning Every Day

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President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron participate in a news conference at the G7 summit in Brussels, Belgium

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The GOP and media keep trying to drag him down with lies, but he brushes off their slurs, holds his head high, keeps working to make life better for all, and keeps staying on top

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23
May
14

False equivalency and its discontents

Today, President Obama slammed the media’s go to catch-phrase: “Both sides are to blame”.

As Greg Sargent quotes Pres. Obama:

“You’ll hear if you watch the nightly news or you read the newspapers that, well, there’s gridlock, Congress is broken, approval ratings for Congress are terrible.  And there’s a tendency to say, a plague on both your houses.  But the truth of the matter is that the problem in Congress is very specific.  We have a group of folks in the Republican Party who have taken over who are so ideologically rigid, who are so committed to an economic theory that says if folks at the top do very well then everybody else is somehow going to do well; who deny the science of climate change; who don’t think making investments in early childhood education makes sense; who have repeatedly blocked raising a minimum wage so if you work full-time in this country you’re not living in poverty; who scoff at the notion that we might have a problem with women not getting paid for doing the same work that men are doing.

“They, so far, at least, have refused to budge on bipartisan legislation to fix our immigration system, despite the fact that every economist who’s looked at it says it’s going to improve our economy, cut our deficits, help spawn entrepreneurship, and alleviate great pain from millions of families all across the country.

“So the problem…is not that the Democrats are overly ideological — because the truth of the matter is, is that the Democrats in Congress have consistently been willing to compromise and reach out to the other side.  There are no radical proposals coming out from the left.  When we talk about climate change, we talk about how do we incentivize through the market greater investment in clean energy.  When we talk about immigration reform there’s no wild-eyed romanticism.  We say we’re going to be tough on the borders, but let’s also make sure that the system works to allow families to stay together…

“When we talk about taxes we don’t say we’re going to have rates in the 70 percent or 90 percent when it comes to income like existed here 50, 60 years ago.  We say let’s just make sure that those of us who have been incredibly blessed by this country are giving back to kids so that they’re getting a good start in life, so that they get early childhood education…Health care — we didn’t suddenly impose some wild, crazy system.  All we said was let’s make sure everybody has insurance. And this made the other side go nuts — the simple idea that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, nobody should go bankrupt because somebody in their family gets sick, working within a private system.

“So when you hear a false equivalence that somehow, well, Congress is just broken, it’s not true.  What’s broken right now is a Republican Party that repeatedly says no to proven, time-tested strategies to grow the economy, create more jobs, ensure fairness, open up opportunity to all people.”

Let that sink in. The President has dared speak to the elephant in the room. Congress is broken only to the extent that today’s Republican Party is a cesspool of dysfunction, xenophobia, racism, and know-nothingness.

The greatest trick which the conservative movement has been able to pull off is to convince the public of the “liberal media”. This is not to say that there are no liberals in the US media; obviously there are, just as there are conservatives and centrists. But to say that there is a “liberal media bias” extant in 2014 is laughable. The questions from the front row at the daily White House press briefings are a litany of GOP talking points, from Benghazi to the VA to the doomed ACA. Meanwhile, the GOP, which controls one half of the legislature outright and stymies any progress in the other half, is allowed to proceed along uninterrupted, monkey-wrenching to its heart’s content.

Continue reading ‘False equivalency and its discontents’

03
Apr
14

“Miracle” Achieved: 7.1 Million And Counting

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Joanne Kenen and Kyle Cheney: White House: 7 Million Signed Up For Obamacare

More than 7 million people signed up for health insurance through Affordable Care Act exchanges through Monday night’s deadline, White House press secretary Jay Carney announced. A total of 7,041,000 people signed up, Carney said, and that number doesn’t include enrollment surges that took place in the 14 states running their own insurance marketplaces. Carney said the administration expects that the final numbers will also show sharply higher enrollment by young adults, but he said no demographic breakdowns are available yet and was unable to say how many of the enrollees were previously uninsured. The law’s impact on the uninsured, he said, was intended to be measured over three years.

He called estimates that 40 percent of all enrollees must be young and healthy a “red herring” and that enough young people had already enrolled to keep Obamacare exchanges stable. Carney also ripped Republicans for what he said was a laser-focus on undermining the law — an effort he said “has come to naught and it will come to naught.” “Folks out there who want to take those benefits away from the American people … have spent and will spend millions of dollars making their argument, often using false examples and false facts,” he said. “We are feeling good. It’s been amazing to see the consumer interest and the work that’s been done on the ground. … Yes, I am smiling!” said Anne Filipic, president of Enroll America.

More here

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“Miracle” achieved, AP.

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Dylan Scott: Obamacare Sign-Ups: 7,041,000

How many people have signed up for private coverage under Obamacare? 7,041,000, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced Tuesday afternoon. That number is likely to rise: It does not include the Monday sign-ups in the 14 states operating their own marketplaces. In addition, the enrollment deadline was relaxed for people having trouble completing the process, so some people could still sign up in the next two weeks.

More here

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Image: Supreme Court Upholds Obama's Affordable Care Act

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Tara Culp-Ressler: BREAKING: More Than 7 Million People Have Now Enrolled In Obamacare

On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced that Obamacare enrollment has officially topped seven million — exceeding the expectations for the health law after persistent website glitches made the enrollment process more difficult for some Americans. The 7,041,000 figure reported by the administration does not include the people who enrolled in state-based exchanges on Monday, and also doesn’t include anyone who’s still waiting in the queue for their application to be processed.

There was widespread recent speculation that Obamacare enrollment would successfully hit the seven million mark. On Monday night, administration officials told the Associated Press that Obamacare was “on track” to sign up seven million people. During his daily briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Carney confirmed that health law sign-ups have now surpassed that threshold, as Americans rushed to get their applications in before the end of the first open enrollment period.

More here

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TPM: Obama Tells GOP: Time To Get Over Obamacare

Touting the news that Obamacare had reached 7 million sign-ups, an almost unthinkable achievement so soon after the law’s disastrous October launch, President Barack Obama sent a direct message Tuesday to Republicans and their efforts to stymie the law: Get over it. “The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” Obama said Tuesday in the White House Rose Garden. “In the end, history is not kind to those who deny Americans basic economic security. Nobody remembers well those who stand in the way of America’s progress or our people. That’s what the Affordable Care Act represents.”

The president’s remarks followed an unprecedented flurry of good news this week for the law and its supporters. Enrollment beat the Congressional Budget Office’s original projection, which had been revised down after HealthCare.gov website flopped in the fall. The Los Angeles Times estimated that 9.5 million previously uninsured people had been covered. A Washington Post-ABC News poll found that support for Obamacare broke even for the first time.” This law is doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s working. It’s helping people from coast to coast. All of which makes the lengths to which critics have gone to scare people, or undermine the law, or repeal the law… so hard to understand,” Obama said. “I don’t get it. Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance? Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance?”

More here

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Continue reading ‘“Miracle” Achieved: 7.1 Million And Counting’

12
Mar
14

Why “Between Two Ferns” Is No Laughing Matter

Cross-posted at The People’s View

As Spandan so ably pointed out in his piece, the Beltway media is apoplectic that President Barack Obama dared to be interviewed by a greasy, fat, long-haired comedian in an effort to promote the Affordable Care Act. This Tweet fairly summarizes majority opinion in the White House press room:

[tweet https://twitter.com/notjessewalker/statuses/443560918715469824 align = ‘center’]

I’m sure Maureen Dowd will have a piece up this weekend on how Obama disparages the dignity of the office of President by engaging with a low-brow actor from the “Hangover” series. Jay Carney was bombarded by questions on the day the interview hit the Internet, with reporters Very Concerned ™ that President Obama debased himself by not conducting an interview with one of the main network anchors, which should be the appropriate route for any President who wishes to speak with the public.

Continue reading ‘Why “Between Two Ferns” Is No Laughing Matter’




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