Archive for Media

Dec
23

Rupert and Roger and K T and Petraeus

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Somehow I missed this. Three weeks ago the Washington Post buried a piece by Bob Woodward in the Style section on Rupert Murdoch’s effort to buy the American presidency. Carl Bernstein wrote about it this week in the Guardian. Bob Woodward and the Post have a spring 2011 tape of Fox contributor KT McFarland (on behalf of Roger Ailes) offering Gen. David Petraeus the full support of Ailes, Rupert Murdoch and Fox News staff if he’ll run for president:

So now we have it: what appears to be hard, irrefutable evidence of Rupert Murdoch’s ultimate and most audacious attempt – thwarted, thankfully, by circumstance – to hijack America’s democratic institutions on a scale equal to his success in kidnapping and corrupting the essential democratic institutions of Great Britain through money, influence and wholesale abuse of the privileges of a free press.

In the American instance, Murdoch’s goal seems to have been nothing less than using his media empire – notably Fox News – to stealthily recruit, bankroll and support the presidential candidacy of General David Petraeus in the 2012 election.

McFarland laid out the terms of the deal in high-quality audio:

“The big boss is bankrolling it. Roger’s going to run it. And the rest of us are going to be your in-house” – thereby confirming what Fox New critics have consistently maintained about the network’s faux-news agenda and its built-in ideological bias.

Carl Bernstein:

“And here let us posit the following: were an emissary of the president of NBC News, or of the editor of the New York Times or the Washington Post ever caught on tape promising what Ailes and Murdoch had apparently suggested and offered here, the hue and cry, especially from Fox News and Republican/Tea Party America, from the Congress to the US Chamber of Commerce to the Heritage Foundation, would be deafening and not be subdued until there was a congressional investigation, and the resignations were in hand of the editor and publisher of the network or newspaper.”

Categories : Corruption, Media
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Dec
12

Random Wednesday Variousness

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It’s 12.12.12. Do with that what you will. In the past 24 hours there have been approximately 153,400 deaths world-wide ( with approximately 356,201 births, do with that what you will), one of those deaths belonged to Ravi Shankar, again, do with that what you will. Also, several people were shot and killed at a mall in Portland, by a man wearing a white mask and brandishing a semi-automatic rifle. He killed himself. Also, North Korea shot something off, and had a parade. They are fond of parades.

 

Here’s some random stuff to read/discuss/ignore (after the break):

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Dec
11

Random Tuesday Variousness

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‘Tis the season and all that crap. Hopefully you’ve been partaking in the great consumerist holiday that is Christmas by buying stuff for the sake of buying stuff, or perhaps you feel guilty about not spending enough time with that (not so?) loved one so you’ve attempted to make up for it by purchasing a waffle iron. I don’t know what you people do in your spare time, so I won’t venture any more guesses. To the point!

Here’s some random stuff to read/discuss/ignore (after the break):

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Dec
04

Gun Control Or Self Control?

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I’m not sure how to research this but I suspect gun control got fewer mentions in the recent presidential campaign than that other total non-issue of climate change. I was astonished when there was no mention of guns at the first debate held only miles from and weeks after one of the worst mass shootings in US history.

So when Bob Costas weighed in on last weekend’s gun violence, a murder-suicide committed by Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher, I listened. In today’s America it actually takes courage to point out a simple fact. Domestic violence committed by gun owners is more likely to escalate to a fatality than domestic violence by those not owning firearms.

Essentially, this is why I don’t own a gun. I’ve often considered purchasing a firearm just to, you know, have one. I can afford one. I’ve had fun the few times I’ve shot beer cans behind the barn. But to summarize my decision: I think owning a gun would increase the danger level for me rather than decrease it.

My situation might be different from so many. And it might change in time. But Costas’ message resonates with me because that is how I think about it. By their very nature, gun owners live with risks that don’t exist for non gun owners. Is pointing this out the same thing as advocating gun control? Methinks not. It’s advocating self control.

This self control seems in short supply. Case in point: there was a surge in gun sales after the Aurora shooting. Did the danger equation really go up for that many people due to the tragedy? Will more of these new gun owners be victims of their own gun violence rather than a mass shooting? But these knee-jerk gun buys are just another of turn in the gun culture that we’re not allowed to decry.

The vitriolic reaction to Costas’ comments tells you all you need to know about today’s gun enthusiasts. To them, saying anything that points out the potential dangers of gun ownership is the same thing as redacting the 2nd amendment. This sort of asymmetrical dialogue is a hallmark of bullies. We will never reduce gun violence in this country if the very people who advocate gun rights can only shout other people down when they advocate gun responsibility.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes #justsaying is #justsaying. And for the mainstream media to pick up and run with the gun bullies’ talking point makes it clear they understand their own economic model very well. If it bleeds, it leads.

Categories : Events, Gun Control, Media, News
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Oct
28

The Moffitt/Muller Connection

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The image below is an email that Michael Muller sent from the gmail account of Rep. Tim Moffitt.  The contents of the message have been obscured.

 Sometimes a picture is worth more than a thousand words…

As you may remember, on September 19th Rep. Tim Moffitt Twitter account sent out the following message : “They should lock up all the gays on their own island. Except for the lesbians. Y’all can have them!” The tweet was deleted shortly thereafter, followed by the standard apology and claim of a “hacking.”  (If you need a refresher, here’s Jake Frankel’s Mountain Xpress summary of the events). Two days later Rep. Moffitt filed this police report claiming “Un known person has hacked into the compl Twitter account.” Meanwhile Mr. Muller has used his own Twitter account to viciously attack Rep. Moffitt’s opponent Jane Whilden (here’s just one such instance) and not just Jane Whilden, Muller has spewed his misogynistic and homophobic bile at Susan Fisher as well (link).

The obvious question here, now that it has been established that Mr. Muller is working directly for Tim Moffitt, is how much of this is at Moffitt’s direction? Why go as far to file a phony police report? (I’m no internet lawyer, but that probably ain’t exactly legal). Lots of questions here: What do the campaigns of Nathan Ramsey and Mike Fryar (for whom Muller is also ostensibly working) think about this sort of behavior? I’m sure I’m leaving a few out, but feel free to add your own. I look forward to getting some straight answers for once, and I hope you do too.

Sep
03

DNC2012: Open Thread #2

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Before today’s press briefing.

Tomorrow the Democratic National Convention will officially begin, but there’s already lots of action. It’s the first time I’ve been to a national political party convention, and there are a few things that leap out to the uninitiated.

1) There’s free booze aplenty. Free food too. And big bags of free swag. I imagine there’s even more for the delegates than for the media. I’ve found it difficult to spend money since arriving, and I’m now the proud owner of a DNC2012 pedometer!

2) There’s a lot going on. Parties and caucuses and councils and briefings and concerts and concourses. Some people look choked by their many lanyards. It’s easy to get swept up. I had to tear myself away from the action, so I could collect my thoughts long enough to write. See my Twitter feed to get a sense of the action. Things are just now ramping up, too, so the frenzy is on a northward curve. By Thursday night, the delegates and media will be wild on fried okra, coffee, liquor, sleep deprivation, and ceaseless activity.

3) The national media is here searching for unique angles. They will, of course, report the campaign’s story of the President’s term in office, and you’d think that would be plenty. When they grow tired of that, they describe predetermined narratives. Andrea Mitchell today was pushing the Elon poll showing Obama behind in NC, despite the fact that a more reputable outfit, Public Policy Polling, has the race tied.

4) It’s a networkers’ paradise and any wallflowers are wilting fast.

5) There are magic moments. Earlier today, when I was noshing at the Congressional Black Caucus/Myrtle Beach scene, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) leaned into my booth and asked for a packet of Equal. It was just normal human stuff, and it was poignant.

6) The PPL is a co-working space for new media folks. At this very moment I’m surrounded by bloggers and alternative media writers, videographers, and organizers. There are places to plug in devices, great wifi, free coffee, and savvy people. It’s great.

7) I have no idea what might happen next.

Aug
31

Friday Open Thread: Empty Chair

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Anyone who saw it will know what I’m talking about. That was one of the most awkward speeches I’ve ever seen at a National Convention, personifying a grumpiness, confusion, and factual ambivalence that exemplifies the approach being taken by the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee. The entire Convention theme was predicated on a strawman argument, and last night was virtually policy-free. Romney and surrogates spun his polling weaknesses hard in an effort to move the numbers. Likeability, Bain, minorities, women, and Medicare were repackaged and trotted out as though none of the substantive issues raised by skeptics had any merit. The whole scene was a focus-grouped exercise in creating a narrative. If that narrative had any relation to the factual reality you and I occupy, it was wholly accidental.

I saw a great tweet from Sam Spencer: “You know whose empty chair will be at #dnc2012? Osama bin Laden’s.”

Next, of course, it’ll be time for the Democrats to build a narrative of their own. While I don’t expect them to make the Convention a policy wonk’s wet dream, I do expect that they’ll actually say what they would do differently from a Romney administration. I expect they will say that returning to Bush style supply-side/trickle-down economics is just continuing to set us up for more income inequality and more debt. I expect they’ll say that the Affordable Care Act is insuring millions of people who weren’t insured before. I expect they’ll note that nuclear nonproliferation is a good thing. I expect there to be a lot of policies noted and sold as part of the narrative. There may also be a healthy chunk of factual information about the economic crisis President Obama inherited and the attitude of Congressional Republicans who had no intention of allowing the President to succeed. The GOP has said that this demonstrates a lack of leadership and willingness to accept responsibility. It’s a basic Karl Rove tactic that boils down to accusing the other guys of your own bad behavior.

The narrative is likely to focus on how Mr. Romney is a flip-flopping corporate raider and how President Obama needs four more years to fulfill the hopes of his supporters. It’ll focus on the many successes of the administration while casting the GOP as a fringe party made up of radicals and funded by the 0.1%. It will ignore that Wall Street got away with the 2008 collapse.

Anyway, here’s an open thread. It can be whatever you want it to be. Use the facts, or just spin up a fictitious golem. Bring a fleshy argument or an empty chair.

Off the YouTube machine via Upworthy:

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“From May 2010, an exchange between Michael D Higgins (who was elected President of Ireland last year) and Tea Party-loving radio guy Michael Graham on Irish radio.”

Karoli dug into the origins of this event in an Irish pub:

[Radio talker] Graham was going down the usual neocon astroturf Tea Party road, and President Higgins served him a hefty helping of humility with applause included. This clip starts in the middle of the interview, where Graham has evidently labeled some people — I’m not sure who — as antiSemitic, which causes Higgins’ Irish temper to boil over and explode on the air. Graham had no idea what hit him.

The funniest part is that Higgins does to Graham what Graham was hoping to do to Higgins. The crowd was stirred, all right, but not in Graham’s direction. As he moves from health care to tea party racism to foreign policy and back again, all Graham can do is sputter.

You’re welcome.

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Aug
20

My Apologies…

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Due to a series of misunderstandings I mistakenly– though, considering a variety of circumstances, understandably– labeled a comment by VOTM as a sockpuppet account of failed council candidate Mark Cates. Apparently VOTM is the nephew of Mr. Cates, and they have used the same IP address at several times in the past. My apologies for the mislabeling of said comment. And my apologies for any undue stress or discord this error may have brought into the Cates clan.

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Who is that sensible guy?

Chris Hayes’ research team did some digging and came up with Rep. Paul Ryan, under a Republican administration, arguing forcefully in support of just the kind of economic policies he now utterly rejects under a Democratic one. Now the Republicans’ vice-presidential candidate, Ryan argued in 2002 that a third Bush stimulus package was needed to help the unemployed and to kick-start the economy. And deficits be damned.

Ryan has denounced the 2009 Recovery Act signed by President Obama as “a wasteful spending spree” and “failed neo-Keynesian experiment,” and – as The Huffington Post pointed out this morning — dismissed as “sugar-high economics” the idea that government spending, through measures like payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits, can help shore up a faltering economy.

But in 2002, when then-President Bush was seeking a roughly $120 billion package of tax cuts, tax incentives for business and unemployment benefits to jump-start the economy, Ryan offered a vigorous defense of the plan. “What we’re trying to accomplish today with the passage of this third stimulus package is to create jobs and help the unemployed,” Ryan said in video that aired today on Up w/ Chris Hayes. The remarks came during a House debate on the measure on Feb. 14, 2002.

As they say, IOKIYAR.

“It’s more than just giving someone an unemployment check,” Ryan said of the Bush stimulus bill. “It’s also helping those people with their health insurance while they’ve lost their jobs and more important than just that unemployment check, it’s to do what we can to give people a paycheck.”

Ryan called such measures “time-tested, proven, bipartisan solutions to get businesses to stop laying off people, to hire people back, and to help those people who have lost their jobs,” and urged congressional Democrats to break ranks and join Republicans in supporting the president’s plan.

Who is that guy?

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