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Archive for the ‘Media machine’ Category

A neocon -staged resignation at RT? Stage-managed journalism everywhere?

Posted by Charles II on December 10, 2014

As regular readers know, I encourage media viewers not to trust any outlet, and to be aware of the biases of each outlet. Russia Today (RT) is state-run TV. So is BBC. So is Al Jazeera. And, due to a certain history, so–to some degree– is the New York Times. None of them should be believed credulously. Instead, the reader/viewer has to sift through the biases and figure what topics each source lies about and which ones it tends to be truthful about.

Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek, Truthdig:

For her public act of protest against Russia Today’s coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory and supposedly advancing the agenda of Vladimir Putin in Washington, D.C., previously unknown news anchor Liz Wahl has suddenly become one of the most famous unemployed people in America. After her on-air resignation from the cable news channel, Wahl appeared on the three major American cable news outlets—CNN, Fox News, MSNBC—to denounce the heavy-handed editorial line she claims her bosses imposed on her and other staffers.

Behind the coverage of Wahl’s dramatic protest, a cadre of neoconservatives was celebrating a public relations coup.

At the center of the intrigue is a young neoconservative writer and activist who helped craft Wahl’s strategy and exploit her resignation to propel the agenda of a powerful pro-war lobby in Washington.

[James] Kirchick acknowledged having been in contact with Wahl since August, but cast himself as a passive bystander to the spectacle….
So who was Kirchick, and what sort of commitment did he maintain to “objectivity and the truth?”

In fact, Kirchick was a senior fellow at FPI, the neoconservative think tank that had hyped up Wahl’s resignation minutes before she quit. Launched by Weekly Standard founder William Kristol and two former foreign policy aides to Mitt Romney, Dan Senor and Robert Kagan (the husband of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland), FPI grew directly out of the Project for a New American Century that led the public pressure campaign for a unilateral U.S. invasion of Iraq after the Bin Laden-orchestrated 9/11 attacks.

Now, I stumbled across this in a very interesting piece by Margarita Simonyan of RT on how that network has been trashed by American media in the service of undermining its Ukraine reporting. In the wake of that effort everyone “knows” that RT is a propaganda outlet–as well I know from the trashing that I saw at the Daily Kos of anyone who dared link RT. There’s no question that Russia is an interested party in Ukraine–they regard it as an existential issue– and that their state-run media reflect that. But one need only mention Judith Miller to recall that our media also serve as stenographers to government. So RT’s reporting should be questioned. But look at what they have presented in defending their journalistic integrity (Simonyan):

* Evidence that one of their employees was bought off or pressured into resigning by well-known neoconservatives
* Evidence that CNN censored its own relentlessly hostile interview of an RT journalist to avoid confronting Christiane Amanpour’s conflict of interest (she’s married to Jamie Rubin of the State Dept.)
* A statement (confirmed in The Guardian) that they were threatened with closure by the British government because their reporting wasn’t truthful (as if this standard has ever been applied to a Murdoch property)
* A claim that even The Guardian has been running an unusual number of stories hostile to RT (See, for example, here)

This is unsettling to anyone who understands that we get at the truth by sifting through the lies that different self-interested parties tell. Even The Guardian, which should be the beacon for press freedom, can publish a piece of trash like Nick Cohen‘s purely ad hominem bashing of RT. Even Christiane Amanpour, who has done a lot of courageous frontline reporting, can be used as a tool by her network to try to discredit another network. Even the British press office, Ofcom, can make an Orwellian threat to silence a news outlet because it says that it lies by contradicting the British government.

If RT is silenced, it will give our own government much more freedom to lie.

Posted in abuse of power, Media machine, propaganda, Russia | 3 Comments »

Watch it

Posted by Charles II on October 21, 2014

Kill the Messenger is worth watching. Aside from the story itself, which is moving, it points to a broader feature of modern American life: we can no longer handle the truth. We have lost that sense of honor that demands that when we have made a mistake, we should acknowledge it and correct it. We imagine that we can become the image of ourselves that we create, independent of reality. And so we crash into reality, and are injured by that collision much more deeply than we ever would be by embracing the truth.

Gary Webb, we miss you.

Posted in abuse of power, CIA, colonial wars, media, Media machine, War On Some Drugs | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Justice dismayed

Posted by Charles II on June 24, 2014

Lisa O’Carroll and Patrick Wintour, The Guardian:

Rebekah Brooks, his [Andy Coulson’s] predecessor in the job [editor of the News of the World}, walked free from the Old Bailey after she was cleared of all four of the charges she faced in the eight-month trial.

[Brooks husband] Charlie [Brooks], [secretary Cheryl] Carter and News International’s head of security, Mark Hanna, were all cleared of one count each – conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The News of the World’s former managing editor Stuart Kuttner was also found not guilty on phone-hacking charges, but the jury have not reached unanimous verdicts on two further charges faced by Coulson and one charge faced by the News of the World’s former royal editor Clive Goodman.

Brooks’s acquittal will provide some relief for Rupert Murdoch, who once described the woman who rose to be chief executive of his London based News International operation his “top priority” when the phone hacking crisis first broke in the summer of 2011.

The only Murdoch employee found guilty was Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s former head of communications.

This follows a familiar pattern: criminality is rampant at a corporation, but the boss didn’t have the slightest knowledge; jail time for the small fry, not even a slap on the wrist for the people who–however cleverly and deniably– ordered the deeds. How different things would be, I think, if the law held the boss responsible for whatever was done by a corporation.

Posted in corruption, impunity, Media machine, Rupert Murdoch | Comments Off

Imagine if this were Al Sharpton or Rachel Maddow

Posted by Charles II on May 23, 2014

Fox-news-anchor-arrest

Story here.

We should be compassionate because Gregg Jarrett’s dealing with “serious personal issues” which led him to get intoxicated, create a disturbance, and sass a cop.

Imagine if this had been Al Sharpton or Rachel Maddow. Any clue what FOX Noise would be saying?

Posted in Fox Noise, Media machine | 4 Comments »

Our completely unbiased free press

Posted by Charles II on March 5, 2014

Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept:

The Washington Post’s Feb. 19 article about the recent spate of unrest in Venezuela took a breathlessly laudatory stance towards the opposition against President Nicolás Maduro.

The piece continues in a similarly effusive manner throughout; but what’s most interesting about it are the sources which the authors choose to cite as impartial experts. Not only do they appear hostile to the Venezuelan government and supportive of the opposition, they also appear to have serious, unstated conflicts of interest….

At one point, the article quotes Michael Shifter “president of Inter-American Dialogue, a think-tank in Washington”, …Going further, the piece also quotes Moisés Naím – omitting to mention that he too is a member of the Inter-American Dialogue ….

What the authors failed to explain is that the Inter-American Dialogue is a think-tank whose members happen to include several officials from Venezuela’s previous government – the same one deposed by Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution. Even more distressingly, the Dialogue counts among its funders organizations such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, the U.S. government through USAID, and the embassies of Canada, Mexico and Guatemala among others.

I especially liked the part where the author says that the WaPo reporter under discussion, Nick Miroff, said that he would not grant his permission to publish an e-mail exposing how ethically bankrupt his journalistic methods are, using sources with major conflicts of interest without exposing those conflicts of interest. Said Hussain:

Contacted by The Intercept, Miroff confirmed the email was his, but said we did not have his permission to publish it. We don’t need his permission.

Really. The real media are not the Beltway media, where they publish only what sources say they may.

Posted in Media machine, mediawhores | 2 Comments »

Oppose the Comcast-Time Warner cable merger

Posted by Charles II on February 13, 2014

Free Press is leading the effort here.

Gina Chon and Emily Steele of the FT have a lot more detail on the regulatory issues. Among other things, they note that the FCC is run by a former cable company lobbyist, Tom Wheeler.

Thanks, Mr. Hopey Change!

Posted in Media machine | 3 Comments »

An article I ought to read

Posted by Charles II on February 7, 2014

I linked this lengthy article by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine in a comment to PW. It has to do with the latest billionaire Oz who imagines that his benevolent neo-liberal ideas will solve the world’s problems, namely Pierre Omidyar. There’s a lot in it:

* How to turn microfinancing into payday lending, complete with suicides and ruined lives
* The latest corporate libertarian Great White Hope Hernando deSoto, aide to dictator Alberto Fujimori
* Hayek’s ILD as the first of the international right-political think tanks linked to Cato and Heritage

And Omidyar is financing Jeremy Scahill, Laura Poitras, and Glenn Greenwald to do FirstLook Media.

It’s an interesting article. I should read it.

Posted in corporatists, corruption, half-vast rightwing conspiracy, media, Media machine, neoliberals, unintended consequences | 2 Comments »

At last: a Murdoch paper tells the truth

Posted by Charles II on December 11, 2013

Tim Elliott, Sydney Morning Herald:

Eagle-eyed readers of last weekend’s newspaper may have spotted an unusual assemblage of letters in Harry the Dog’s regular word puzzle.
Advertisement

The puzzle, on page 79, had an “animals of Indonesia” theme, with readers asked to spot words such as “dolphin”, “civet”, and “cassowary”.

But on line three are the letters: LIVESIHCODRUM, or, written backwards…

Murdoch_is_Evil

Too bad his empire is not as mortal as he is.

Posted in evil, Media machine, Rupert Murdoch | 1 Comment »

US government shuts down key news source

Posted by Charles II on December 4, 2013

Elizabeth Murray, The Consortium:

This New Year’s Eve, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will quietly deliver a devastating blow to the American public’s access to accurate, unbiased information that is unparalleled in quality and comprehensiveness by shutting off access to the World News Connection.

WNC is a valuable trove of U.S. government-sponsored media translations and analyses that has informed the work of American scholars, journalists, writers and historians for the past six decades. It is one of the few offices in the U.S. intelligence community that regularly shares information with the people, rather than simply extracting metadata about them.

Exclusive: The U.S. intelligence community vacuums up vast amounts of data, but it has one agency, World News Connection, that gives back information to the public – except that the service is getting shut down at year’s end, notes ex-intelligence analyst Elizabeth Murray.

By Elizabeth Murray

This New Year’s Eve, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will quietly deliver a devastating blow to the American public’s access to accurate, unbiased information that is unparalleled in quality and comprehensiveness by shutting off access to the World News Connection.

WNC is a valuable trove of U.S. government-sponsored media translations and analyses that has informed the work of American scholars, journalists, writers and historians for the past six decades. It is one of the few offices in the U.S. intelligence community that regularly shares information with the people, rather than simply extracting metadata about them.

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.
Since 1941, the Open Source Center (OSC) – which was known by its earlier moniker, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) until 2005 – has produced timely, mainly unclassified products based on foreign media that provide valuable strategic insights to the U.S. intelligence community, including military and diplomatic developments. Previously administered by the CIA, it now comes under the purview of the ODNI.

The Open Source Center has long made a substantial amount of this material available to public subscribers, such as university libraries, think tanks and other institutions – as the “World News Connection” via the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), a government information clearinghouse.

There is no shortage of support or demand for the Open Source Center’s high-quality products, both inside and outside the intelligence community. In 1997, when post-Cold War budget cuts threatened to curtail or eliminate OSC products altogether, the Open Source Center was deluged with letters of support attesting to its invaluable role in the academic, research, and intelligence fields. The campaign, championed by Steve Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, succeeded in saving the OSC from draconian budget cuts.

Open source news/intel, like open source computer code, is far less susceptible to manipulation and corruption. Guess that’s why the Open Source Center has to be done away with.

Posted in Media machine | Comments Off

“Journalists” for hire: Groundswell as the right’s brain

Posted by Charles II on August 5, 2013

This came out ten days ago, but I missed it. Fortunately, so far the “journalists” are people recognized as being flagrant partisans. But having anyone in media collaborating with politicians to message is remarkable. The involvement of Judicial Watch, a tax-exempt group, in strategy sessions, should land them in hot water with the IRS. And having the wife of a Supreme Court Justice in the middle of it is disgraceful.

David Corn, MoJo:

Believing they are losing the messaging war with progressives, a group of prominent conservatives in Washington—including the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and journalists from Breitbart News and the Washington Examiner—has been meeting privately since early this year to concoct talking points, coordinate messaging, and hatch plans for “a 30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation,” according to documents obtained by Mother Jones.

Dubbed Groundswell, this coalition convenes weekly in the offices of Judicial Watch, the conservative legal watchdog group.

One of the influential conservatives guiding the group is Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a columnist for the Daily Caller and a tea party consultant and lobbyist. Other Groundswell members include John Bolton, the former UN ambassador; Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy; Ken Blackwell and Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council; Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch; Gayle Trotter, a fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum; Catherine Engelbrecht and Anita MonCrief of True the Vote; Allen West, the former GOP House member; Sue Myrick, also a former House GOPer; Diana Banister of the influential Shirley and Banister PR firm; and Max Pappas, a top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Several conservative journalists have enthusiastically participated in Groundswell’s deliberations. In March, Mark Tapscott, the executive editor of the conservative Washington Examiner…

At another Groundswell gathering, according to the minutes, the members decided to ask Breitbart‘s Stephen Bannon to arrange for his media organization “to get senators on the record regarding their support [or non-support]” of the filibuster that GOP Sens. Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz were threatening to mount against the gun control bill. This suggested that the Groundswellers thought they could task Breitbart News to pursue a story that would be strategically useful for the group.

Groundswell has forged a particularly close relationship with Breitbart.

Posted in activism, activist judges, Media machine, Republicans acting badly | 1 Comment »

 
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