Archive for Media
“What’s the right mixture of quality and class-based shame poor people should aim for in their meal planning?” the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart asked last night, slamming Fox News’ seeming obsession with SNAP recipients’ grocery shopping habits. Because the “Fox Hounds” have heard — and feel comfortable spreading — “these stories” about poor people and food stamps. Or as Stewart put it, “Fox News: We read the chain mails your grandma gets in her inbox out loud like they were true.”
Because don’t look at how you’re getting screwed by Wall Street, no. Look! Over there! A poor person buying food — to eat — with taxpayer assistance! Or as Lyndon Johnson said,
If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.
The Fox News business model, ladies and gentlemen.
What need does it fill for these sophomoric billionaires to dress in drag? At New York Magazine, Kevin Roose shares his adventures in 1% Land at the annual gathering of the Kappa Beta Phi, “a secret fraternity, founded at the beginning of the Great Depression, that functioned as a sort of one-percenter’s Friars Club.”
“Good evening, Exalted High Council, former Grand Swipes, Grand Swipes-in-waiting, fellow Wall Street Kappas, Kappas from the Spring Street and Montgomery Street chapters, and worthless neophytes!”
Chris Hayes had the author as a guest last night:
Roose had several observations about this august bunch:
The second thing I realized was that Kappa Beta Phi was, in large part, a fear-based organization. Here were executives who had strong ideas about politics, society, and the work of their colleagues, but who would never have the courage to voice those opinions in a public setting. Their cowardice had reduced them to sniping at their perceived enemies in the form of satirical songs and sketches, among only those people who had been handpicked to share their view of the world. And the idea of a reporter making those views public had caused them to throw a mass temper tantrum.
ALEC’s corporate members consult with legislators across the country, working in secret, fearing to push their radical agenda in public like ordinary citizens.
Compassion for America’s poor and the long-term unemployed is audibly absent among many of the well-to-do, their on-air groupies, and politicians who once upon a news cycle tried to rebrand themselves as compassionate conservatives. A caller to a progressive radio show this week asked when heartlessness became fashionable in America.
Perhaps summary ex-communication is better than summary execution. Yet either can happen with such speed. One day you are the darling revolutionary and the next you’ve defied the revolution. Or put another way, your own revolution revolts against you. Such was the fate of “Second Amendment fundamentalist” Dick Metcalf. And Robespierre. Metcalf’s crime was writing a column in Guns & Ammo magazine that opened with this:
The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Note carefully: Those last four words say, “shall not be infringed.” They do not say, “shall not be regulated.” “Well regulated” is, in fact, the initial criterion of the amendment itself.
The column goes on to make even more sense. For gun
enthusiasts nuts this wasn’t just an innocent fart in church. This was a career ender. After a huge reader and advertiser backlash, Metcalf was kicked to the curb and his editor fell on his sword (or ate his gun for a modern metaphor) by retiring a few weeks earlier than planned.
By posting this, some readers will assume that I’m in favor of repealing the Second Amendment and determined to take their guns away. Until more people join the debate I’m afraid these are the only voices being heard. For all the gun lobby’s abhorrence of regulations, they regulate themselves rather well.
From American Bridge 21st Century PAC, a two ironic words about Florida Governor Rick Scott. Can a Pat McCrory ad be far behind? Psst, hey American Bridge …
The cattle barons are nervous and getting reckless.
The United States has come to resemble those iconic westerns with a Wild West economy in which cattle barons rule, politicians and lawmen are on their payrolls, and struggling settlers are either compliant or prey.
But after the 2008 crash and bailout on Wall Street, one after another Occupy, the Consumer Protection Bureau, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Moral Mondays and now Pope Francis have put the cattle barons on notice that their grip on power is weakening.
Richard (RJ) Eskow was on Fox Business with Neil Cavuto recently. Since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is positioning himself to run for president as a moderate Republican and since Fox Republicans can’t have that, Cavuto invited Eskow on to bash Christie for him.
Christie criticized the president’s health care bill, Cavuto began, yet he is accepting the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in his state. Cavuto asked the former insurance company executive, Doesn’t that make him look hypocritical? How Eskow responded was priceless.
Well, I guess the answer would be, I may think that my car insurance premiums are too high, but if I have an accident, I’m going to file a claim and take their money.
This caught Cavuto gaping. He interrupted Eskow and said, “You know, that’s a very good point. That’s putting me down brilliantly.” But Eskow raises a broader point.
You may be among the millions of paycheck workers who have paid into Medicaid your entire life without ever claiming benefits because you never qualified. Until Obamacare. Unlike New Jersey, because Republican governors don’t like the guy occupying the White House, most of their states have rejected the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, making the insurance on their exchanges more expensive for you, and leaving millions of people the law was designed to insure without access to health care. Because your Republican governor is just fine with you paying into Medicaid, so long as you never file a claim and get any of your own money back to pay your doctor bills. Your Republican governor believes this is for your own good.
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.