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Archive for the ‘Media machine’ Category

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 »

The Upside Down World

Posted by Charles II on July 21, 2013

An open letter by a number of LatAm experts:

The supposed “irony” of whistle-blower Edward Snowden seeking asylum in countries such as Ecuador and Venezuela has become a media meme.

The media has never noted the “irony” of the many thousands of people who have taken refuge in the United States, which is currently torturing people in a secret prison at Guantanamo, and regularly kills civilians in drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries. Nor has the press noted the “irony” of refugees who have fled here from terror that was actively funded and sponsored by the U.S. government, e.g. from Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile, and other countries.

But in fact the “irony” that U.S. journalists mention is fantastically exaggerated.  It is based on the notion that the governments of Venezuela under Chávez (and now Maduro) and Ecuador under Correa have clamped down on freedom of the press. Most consumers of the U.S. media unfortunately don’t know better, since they have not been to these countries and have not been able to see that the majority of media are overwhelmingly anti-government…

Yes, the Venezuelan government’s communications authorities let the RCTV channel’s broadcast license expire in 2007. This was not a “shut down”… Even José Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch – a fierce critic of Venezuela – has said that “lack of renewal of the contract [broadcast license], per se, is not a free speech issue.”…

A July 10th piece from the Washington Post’s editorial board – which has never hid its deep hatred of Venezuela, Ecuador and other left governments in Latin America – describes another supposed grave instance of the Venezuelan government clamping down on press freedoms. The editorial, which was given greater publicity through Boing Boing and others, describes the case of journalist Nelson Bocaranda, who is credited with breaking the news of Chávez’s cancer in June 2011. The Post champions Bocaranda as a “courage[ous]” “teller of truth” and dismisses the Venezuelan government’s “charges” against him as “patently absurd.” In fact, Bocaranda has not been charged with anything; the Venezuelan government wants to know whether Bocaranda helped incite violence following the April 14 presidential elections, after which extreme sectors of the opposition attacked Cuban-run health clinics and homes and residences of governing party leaders, and in which some nine people were killed – mostly chavistas.

In Ecuador, President Rafael Correa has been widely condemned in the U.S. media – in much reporting as well as commentary – for suing a prominent journalist, Emilio Palacio, for defamation. The defamatory content was, in fact, serious. It relates to a 2010 incident in which Correa was first assaulted and then later held captive by rebelling police in what many observers deemed an attempt at a coup d’etat. Military forces ultimately rescued Correa. But in a February 2011 column referring to the episode, Palacio alleged that Correa had committed “crimes against humanity,” and that he had ordered the military forces to fire on the hospital where he was being held at the time. So Correa sued Palacio for defamation and won.

Many commentators have cited Reporters Without Borders and other media watchdog groups’ criticisms of Ecuador’s proposed new “Organic Law of Communication.”

Organizations such as RSF [Reporters Without Borders] and Freedom House are supposed to be impartial arbiters of press freedom around the world and are rarely subject to scrutiny. Yet both have taken funding from the U.S. government and/or U.S.-government supported organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy (which was set up to conduct activities “much of [which]” the “CIA used to fund covertly,” as the Washington Post reported at the time, and which also provided funding and training to organizations involved in the afore-mentioned 2002 Venezuelan coup) and other “democracy promotion” groups. The NED has spent millions of dollars in Venezuela and Ecuador in recent years to support groups opposed to the governments there…

What an upside down world, when poor countries like Ecuador and Venezuela actually have more real press freedom than a rich country like the US. In Venezuela, the press may be afraid of the government, a little bit, at least. In the US, the press delivers the government’s point of view, or at least the viewpoint of cranky billionaires who are trying to take charge of the government.

And we call ourselves free.

By the way, the latest rankings by Reporters Without Borders have us at #32. That’s the Reporters Sans Frontiers that accepts payments from the US government.

Posted in Latin America, media, Media machine | 2 Comments »

The real New York Times

Posted by Charles II on June 23, 2013

John Hess, quoted by Jim Naureckas of FAIR:

The Newspaper of Record recorded a century of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind, generally as a faithful voice of the Eastern establishment. It supported all its wars, hot and cold. It supported witchhunts during and after World War I and temporized with the one after World War II; it fudged the menace of Hitlerism and played down the Holocaust…. At the cutting edge of major events, it could be found against women’s suffrage, against unionism (always), against minimum wages and national health insurance…. Like the rest of the business establishment, it preferred corrupt politicians to liberal reformers.

The occasion is that the New York Times is again using an obituary, in this case of a heroic journalist, Michael Hastings, to defame the dead. Just as they have done to defame Gary Webb, John Hess himself, and so many others.

Really, it’s hard to come up with words to describe just how bad the people who run things are.

Posted in Media machine, The smear industry | 5 Comments »

American journalism to be saved from Rupert Murdoch by…Charles and David Koch?

Posted by Charles II on April 1, 2013

No, not April Fool’s. Connor Simpson, The Atlantic Wire (via FAIR):

This could get very ugly, very fast. The Koch brothers are reportedly [by the LA Weekly] considering a bid for the Tribune Company newspapers — focusing on the crown jewels of the L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune, or at least what jewels of power are left in the flailing newspaper industry — but they may face stiff competition in the form of a debt-free, full pocketed media power player named Rupert Murdoch.

If the notoriously free-spending political heavyweights and brothers in industry choose to go for the whole company — and, importantly, if their offer is taken seriously and ends up bailing out the papers — their purchase would also include 20 television stations along with the eight papers.

Simpson thinks the report is unlikely. What seems beyond doubt is that the LA Times and the Chicago Trib–and six other papers and 20 television stations–are going from being owned by reactionaries to being owned by delusionaries.

Posted in koch brothers, Media machine, Rupert Murdoch | 3 Comments »

Everyone was doing it, but the boss didn’t know about it: Murdochgate continues

Posted by Charles II on March 14, 2013

Josh Halliday, Lisa O’Carroll, Sandra Laville, and Mark Sweney, The Guardian:

The Sunday People editor, James Scott, has become the first serving newspaper editor arrested over alleged phone hacking, relating to his time at the Sunday Mirror a decade ago.

Scott was one of four former Sunday Mirror senior journalists arrested in dawn raids on Thursday on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages. Tina Weaver, the ex-Sunday Mirror editor who is seven months pregnant, was also arrested on Thursday morning.

The other two were Nick Buckley, the deputy Sunday People editor, and Mark Thomas, the former People editor, who also both formerly worked for the Sunday Mirror.

Posted in media, Media machine, Rupert Murdoch, wiretapping | 1 Comment »

 
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