Archive for Media
Pope Francis last week issued Evangelii Gaudium, or Joy of the Gospel, an “apostolic exhortation.” Less than an encyclical on church doctrine, Evangelii Gaudium nonetheless stamps papal authority across Francis’ recent speeches. The National Catholic Reporter likened it to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
For conservative pundits it’s more of a nightmare:
Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. 
Commenters looking for moral wiggle room at Free Republic debated the accuracy of the translation — not of the whole document, just the passage above. A National Review critic argued that nobody said markets were sufficient to bring down poverty. Still, people working sweat shop jobs in developing nations are less impoverished. Those who lost jobs in this hemisphere? Well, those are the breaks.
It’s been Web 2.0 for a while now but it didn’t take social media to invent the Internet’s oldest frenemy: the troll. What makes a troll a troll? I’ll attempt to provide a commonly used definition of internet troll. But behavior of this type varies so much from context to context that it is important to remember what a wise soul once said about what makes pornography.
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.
Here is a troll “definition” or description I like. There are others.
Named for the wicked troll creatures of children’s tales, trolling is purposely sowing hatred, bigotry, racism, misogyny, or just simple bickering between others. Trolls themselves are emotionally-immature users who thrive in any environment where they are allowed to make public comments, like blog sites, news sites, discussion forums, and game chat.
That last part is key: any environment where they are allowed to make public comments. Like maybe a nationally broadcast radio show? Obviously Rush Limbaugh comes to mind when thinking about radio trolls. We can’t forget the infamous attacks on Sandra Fluke. Fortunately, Rush has had a huge drop in advertising revenue since then. But with his complete record it’s a wonder anyone would associate their brand with this troll.
But just think. The Supreme Court of the United States is going to hear a case about contraception coverage in Obamacare. This was at the heart of Sandra Fluke’s testimony for which she was treated so poorly by Rush. Hope the Supremes don’t go a-trollin’. If they do, we’ll know it when we see it.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Dylan Scott of Talking Points Memo take on the misleading media reporting and deceptive insurer letters directed at Obamacare. It’s a version of the nominal vs. effective corporate tax rate debate. You hear more about the “high” U.S. nominal rate and little about what companies actually pay (some pay nothing). The stories about the costs of Obamacare coverage are similar. The stories are all about sticker shock and cancelled policies, with virtually no coverage of what people actually pay.
Damn. I mean, damn.
Throughout the interview, Brand repeatedly dodged Paxman’s efforts to trivialize his message — at one point Paxman literally called Brand a “very trivial man” — until finally, even the entrenched newsman appeared to relent against the rushing tide of Brand’s valid arguments.
What’s that saying about never going full on something or other?
(Video courtesy of dixiegirlz.)
“RACE DOESN’T MATTER!” Ask some Obama haters. Some raise their voices at the suggestion that race is still an issue in this country. (I’ve seen this in person.) Others saw it in March at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
This week, General Foods proved otherwise after it launched its commercial, “Just Checking,” and posted it to YouTube.
Gawker wrote late on Thursday:
A nice Cheerios advertisement whose only discernible difference from other Cheerios commercials is that it depicts an interracial family was forced to disable its YouTube comments section today after it became inundated with virulent racism.
General Mills responded:
The ad will “absolutely not” be withdrawn, Meredith Tutterow, associate marketing director for Cheerios and Multigrain Cheerios at General Mills in Golden Valley, Minn., said Friday.
“There are many kinds of families,” Ms. Tutterow said, “and Cheerios just wants to celebrate them all.”
The Cheerios Facebook page is full of smiles. By Friday morning, “thumbs up” comments were outpacing the negatives by over five to one. So hey, maybe those conservatives at CPAC were right that race doesn’t matter. At least for growing number of Americans who have no problem with mixed-race families and mixed-race presidents.
(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)
This is my second experience with misleading headlines today. The first was the headline on my letter on the opinion page. Then this.
Politico: Poll: 54 percent against Obamacare
Fifty-four percent of Americans oppose President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement, according to a CNN poll released Monday, while 43 percent support the law.
But that headline is misleading, which the reader finds out a few paragraphs later. From the CNN poll:
According to the poll, 43% of the public says it supports the health care law, a figure that’s mostly unchanged in CNN polling since the measure was passed in 2010 by a Congress then controlled by Democrats and signed into law by President Barack Obama. Fifty-four percent of those questioned say they oppose the law, also relatively unchanged since 2010.
But wait! There’s more. A minor detail someone finally decided to ask [emphasis added]:
The survey indicates that 35% oppose the health care law because it’s too liberal, with 16% saying they oppose the measure because it isn’t liberal enough.
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Go figure. The federal budget deficit is not “the economic equivalent of a giant meteor hurtling toward America, about to hit any day,” says the Los Angeles Times.
“… the fight over deficits and spending has become a surrogate for battles over basic political and ideological disagreements over the role of government and, behind the scenes, over how the economic pie should be divided.”
Wow. It took how long to figure that out?