Archive for the ‘MSM’ Tag

Media and The Horse Race

I’ve railed (mostly privately) about the pathetic media – both print, voice and video – and their nearly total focus on the ‘horse race’ aspects of the Presidential campaign.   Why don’t they examine ‘real issues’?   Why don’t they hold the candidates and their surrogates to at least a minimal standard of honesty?

With the exceptions of (1) Fox News, which is a pure political appendage of the Republican Party, and (2) MSNBC, which is a pathetic sort of “Anti-Fox”, the other major outlets all focus mainly on “how will this impact the polls” and other such nonsense (How did this look to the ‘WalMart Moms’?; What is the ‘Twitterverse’ (really) saying?).

I used to think that this was simply part of the media’s fear of losing access.   Outside of the campaigns, I still think this is true.   The media knows or believes that if they are too “hard” (whatever that means.. could it be that legendary idea of ‘hard news’?) on the reps or candidates of whichever party, they risk losing the cooperation of these people – interviews, background, etc.   To these folks, access is everything, and the parties know this and use it to tame the media.

But I realized that isn’t all of it, especially as regards the behavior of the media during presidential campaigns…   I realized that politics has become just like Sports or the Weather…   The media outlets are desperate to be the first to predict the outcome correctly.   Have we ever seen such a ridiculous and escalating focus on polling and surveys?   And what the heck is a “Poll of Polls” and who thinks that actually means anything??   I’ve been well trained in data collection and analysis, and I can tell you it’s nonsense.

It’s a sad state of affairs.   We have no one helping us to dig through the bullshit to find the facts buried under it.  And O Yes, Virginia, even though the ridiculous “Fact Checker” industry has become a joke, there Really Are Such Things As Facts.

They just don’t sell well.

“Birther” shmurther

Does anyone really think that this will shut up the crazies?   Please.   There is a large sub-species/population that simply cannot stand having that n****r in the White House as President.   They will find some other ‘obvious flaws’ that inauthenticate even this document.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/27/white-house-releases-obama-birth-certificate/?hpt=C1

Why have these folks not been satisfied by a legal process that worked fine for at least one Senator (Inouye) and one actor (Keanu Reeves)…?   If the answer isn’t obvious by now, then you must have your head up your ass.

Further:   the first person to try to compare this to the criticisms of George W. Bush (e.g., the facts of his privileged “Play Army” avoidance of real service in Vietnam, and the Supreme Court’s decision to tell a State Government (FL – remember) that it had to stop its own election process, including recounts and verifications)   should be slapped in the face with the largest fish locally available.

With so much of  the rest of the world struggling to establish real democracy – based on what we once were – we give the world a circus.

Media Ignorance – a Spiritual Problem?

The media (in this case, specifically CNN) show its ignorance in this article about research that showed the spiritual aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous’s 12 steps (and AA’s success).

They could have done easier research:  read the history of the people who founded AA.    Bill W, AA’s founder, was catalyzed by discussions with a friend that had been treated by Carl Jung.   Jung had unsuccessfully tried to help this person quit drinking.   His suggestion was to seek a ‘spiritual conversion’, since that had been effective in some cases Jung knew of.

The 12 Steps are by design a path to spiritual growth.   That is why AA has been so effective (and I speak from personal experience in my family) – it focuses on the healing of the person’s soul, on all of the aspects that helped drive, condone, and are impacted (injured) by the alcoholic’s disease.

It’s history – interesting that the writer of this story (or the researchers) seem not to have been aware – or willing to look.

Poor, Poor Juan Williams

The media circus – and its own reporting on its reactions to itself (Media Masturbation??) – continues. Juan Williams was fired from NPR, ostensibly for dipshit comments he made in a circle-jerk ‘discussion’ of Muslims.

Juan Williams is a weak commentator. Him getting fired from NPR is about as shocking as Alan Colmes getting canned from Hannity’s Gas-bag gig.   Now Brit Hume, et al, get to keep Juan as their token liberal for ‘balance’ (I’m laughing so hard it hurts right now)

Next in line (I predict) – Mark Shields from PBS/NPR. Same reasons:  he’s weak & incoherent. Watching him give ‘counterpoint’ to someone as bright as David Brooks is too sad to even be comical.

Not Your Father’s GOP – continued

First, let me get the other side of this out of the way: the Democratic Party is incompetent, at both campaigning and governing.

But…

The Republican Party (the self-proclaimed Right) has an outstandingly organized message machine – nationwide in scope, covering every media that influences votes, money, and all of the ‘voices’ of Power.   They work with discipline to hone the most effective words (especially by working with Frank Luntz) to associate ‘bad’ with all of their opposition.   While this may be what opposing parties/organizations have always tried to do, no organization has had this much machinery, operating so effectively, ever before.  They have, though, become the Liberals they hated in the 60s and 70s: claiming not only that their opposition is wrong – their opposition does not even know how to think!

Think about what they’ve accomplished…  The GOP can successfully badger the press into the following:

  • Pooh-pooh-ing any talk of –
    • Right-wing media ‘machinery’
    • Concerns about right-wing government policies leading to government-control concerns
    • Tax-cutting as a cause of deficits
  • Yet, paradoxically, condoning & promulgating talk of –
    • Left-wing government ‘takeovers’ of industries & other parts of our daily life
    • Left-wing conspiracies, even to the point of such conspiracies ‘planting’ right-wing actions and fomentation of dissent
    • The oxymoronic proposition that (a) Democrats are incompetent, yet (b) Democrats control the media, have taken control of major businesses – and Are Trying to Control YOU!!!

The media has been so successfully cowed by the GOP’s accusations of “Liberal Bias” that they are afraid to call out bullshit when they encounter it – from whatever source.   They have become barely better than gossip-mongers, focusing mostly on repeating what other people have said – without any attempt to uncover the Bullshit Percentage.

To me, the GOP is more like Mister Softee (and my deep apologies to Mister Softee for the analogy).  They are salespeople, primarily, but they sell fluff: air-filled facsimiles of real wholesomeness.  Sure, it looks like ice cream, but it’s full of air – cheap.   But EVERYONE loves ice cream!!    That’s how the GOP is – they pick the easy, childish ‘sell’ – who doesn’t want “Lower taxes”, a “Stronger America”, and who would argue with the “Sanctity of Life”…? 

But they are empty, full of air.   They are very well-organized, but what they are after is power.   And they are after power so they can line their own pockets, making sure they ‘get theirs’.  

Any time public figures try to tell us they are Just Like Us, or are Looking Out for Us, warning bells should sound in our heads.   I may not know a lot – but I know when I smell crap.

And the GOP is selling crap.

Palin the Quitter

It’s so sad to see the press so afraid of offending any public figure.   I need to see the media ask Sarah Palin one simple question as she dangles the possibility of a Presidential run in front of them:

“Mrs Palin – if you run for President, why should any voter not fear you’d quit if things get too rough, as you did to the people of Alaska?”

GOP – “Gutted” Old Partry…?

I really hope we’re not seeing the death of the GOP. The ‘purification’ movement that started back in the 1990s (see Christie Whitman’s book “It’s My Party, Too”) seems only to have metasticized… Dick Armey, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and other bozos apparently don’t care that they’ve put their monstrous egos ahead of their Party’s – and the country’s – welfare…

Meanwhile the lazy media reports on it all as if it was observing the day’s weather (“All clouds are different, but they are all the same….”). The concept of actually helping the voters do a ‘reality check’ on any of this crap is too much effort for them, I guess. Thank God we have Colbert, The Daily Show, and The Onion….  Plus the ability to actually read, observe, hear, and Think.

Standard of Care

A concern of mine for a few years has been the lack of any discussion or even attention to the legal concept of Standard of Care in the coverage of corporate, personal, or government ‘mishaps’.  It’s all part, I think, of a large-scale failure of our institutions to accept responsibility… and since our institutions are somewhat reflective of Us, our own tendency – as a societal organization – to avoid responsibility. We always seem to be stretching to remove any taint or even feeling of fault/responsibility for Things Going Wrong.

What do I mean?

Passive language in ‘apologies': Words like “Things went wrong”; “Mistakes were made” – as if human events occur independent of our actions.

Over-emphasis of the perceived need to “understand the STRESS these folks are under” – and ignoring of their Standard of Care: the level of competence and care-fullness certain roles, especially professions, are reasonably expected to carry.

Pandering of our so-called journalists to find out ‘both sides’ of The Story – God forbid a writer take a stand and call someone(s) out for failing to perform up to the appropriate Standard of Care.

Just a thought… or two.

File under “Try Actual Research”

As further evidence of the laziness of our so-called “News Media”, look no further than the pathetic reporting (both For and Against) on Texas’s proposed changes to their Social Studies curriculum.

I’ve read

Mainstrem Media – passive & useless, maybe even harmful

The mainstream – here I mean Television-based – media has been useless for years, merely ‘reporting’ (repeating) what people say rather than doing the work required to figure out whether what people are saying is accurate.   ‘Debate’ has become two supposedly opposing viewpoints yelling at each other, or mindlessly repeating prescribed talking points.   Every time I try to watch, I am disgusted.

Most sources are simply incoherent, weak, and unhelpful.   Fox News at least has the strength of having a distinct narrative – that of advocating for the GOP, or at least against the Democratic Party.

I remember being angered (every time I replayed it ) by Brian Williams’ arrogant comment to his friend Jon Stewart that “You and Stevie play your little reindeer games, but we have to be the serious journalists.”   What pious, asinine, self-righteous nonsense.   Brian and his MSM cohorts add NOTHING to our understanding and our discourse.    They love to act like they are (still? as Cronkite/Murrow) the ‘trusted source’  and True Fonts of Serious Journalism.  

Demonstrably false.   

Jon and ‘Stevie’ and their writers work harder to understand what is happening – its context and its meaning – than ANY of the MSM outlets and talking heads.  What they do – brilliantly – is to directly expose the wordplay and fabrication that ‘The News” and political sources dump on us every day.   We may be living in a Golden Age of Satire…   I know I am regularly amazed at the depth and precision of their ‘bits’ every week (verifying all of its accuracy is another thing).

Meanwhile, the rest of the Media  is content to ‘report’ – mostly meaning repeating what people have said – always making sure to present ‘both sides’.    As if every important event or issue only had two viewpoints or even opinions!   The concept of presenting a complex narrative or even a sufficient (for basic comprehension) presentation of verifiable facts seems to be more trouble than they want to take (or make).   They have become a consumer of ready-made news, a tool for those able to exploit their laziness.

The best ‘old media’ source is still Public – NPR and PBS (especially NPR).   At least there you can reliably expect to hear more than 1-2 minutes of sound bites on the issues of the day or week.   Gosh, you might even hear a… discussion (!!!).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.