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Archive for the ‘Media machine’ Category

A deserving journalist is flogged.

Posted by Charles II on August 29, 2015

That is, a journalist who should have been flogged, was. Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post’s next iteration of an afactual fact checker, awarded Bernie Sanders Four Pinocchios for this:

“A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932. He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including 6 million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important.”

— Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), interview in the Christian Science Monitor, June 11, 2015

[Added: Historian Mark Roseman, interviewed by Deutsche Welle agrees with Sanders, saying that the Nazis were by far the largest single party.]

Kessler recites the facts that he says proves Sanders is a four Pinocchio liar:

In 1930, the Nazi party won a surprising increase in the number of seats in the Reichstag (Parliament), going from 12 to 107 seats (out of 608), making it the second-largest party.

Hitler…placed a distant second when the elections were held March 13, 1932. Hindenburg received 49.6 percent, just short of a majority to avoid a run-off, compared to 30.1 percent for Hitler.

When the run-off election (with three candidates) took place April 10, Hindenburg received 53 percent and Hitler 36.8 percent.

The new chancellor, Franz von Papen, called for a new Reichstag election in an effort to bolster his position, but the July 31 elections resulted in the Nazis winning 230 seats and 37 percent of the popular vote.

The government fell and yet more elections were held for the Reichstag on Nov. 6. This time, the Nazis lost 34 seats, ending up with 196.

But Hindenburg’s next choice for chancellor also could not form a government. Finally, on Jan. 30, 1933, Hindenburg appointed Hitler as chancellor in an effort to break the deadlock.

Hitler then dissolved the Reichstag and called for new elections, set for March 5.

But on Feb. 27, the Reichstag building was burned, with the deep involvement of the Nazis — who then pinned the blame on their main rival, the Communists. Hitler asked Hindenburg for a decree that suspended many civil liberties and gave his government vast powers to crush his opposition. Thousands of people were arrested. Yet even so, with all the propaganda tools of the state at their disposal, the Nazis were still unable to win a majority of the vote March 5, receiving 44 percent.

Dylan Matthews of VOX reams Kessler, pointing out that Germany is a parliamentary democracy. You don’t need a majority, just enough seats to form a government:

Kessler’s argument basically boils down to the fact that when Adolf Hitler personally ran for Reichspresident in 1932, he lost to the incumbent Paul von Hindenburg. But this is obviously not what Sanders was referring to. He was referencing the fact that the Nazi Party, with Hitler as its leader, became the plurality party in the Reichstag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, in July 1932. And though the party lost seats that November, it retained its status as the largest party.

Kessler awarded four Pinocchios to Sanders. That’s the same as calling him a liar.

Lost in all of this was Sanders’ point: Elections matter. Hitler gained power largely through legal means, not by a military coup.

Just as that lover of democracy, Jeff Bezos, got control of the Washington Post through legal means, and is using it to promote an illegal war with Iran and attacks on progressives.

At any rate, Kessler’s readers called him on this. I did not see a single comment supporting him. I hope that people will write to the reader’s representative ( and reinforce the message that when a newspaper’s fact-checker has little regard for the truth, it reflects ill upon the institution.
Added: Glenn Kessler does have a little bit of support… from the Hitler was a socialist and so is Bernie Sanders crowd:

6:25 AM MST
history and facts have never been strong subjects for the left.

FYI, Sanders and Hitler were both socialist…so at least they got that in common.

6:14 AM MST
Angry Populists in 1932, angry populists in 2015.
1932: They say “A conspiracy of rich Jewish bankers is the cause of all our problems!”
2015: They say “A conspiracy of rich bankers (many of whom are Jewish) is the cause of all our problems!”

The more things change, the more they stay the same…

Posted in Media machine | Leave a Comment »

FTNYT, those FFs

Posted by Charles II on July 25, 2015

Kurt Eichenwald, Newsweek:

What the hell is happening at The New York Times?

In March, the newspaper published a highly touted article about Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email account that, as I wrote in an earlier column, was wrong in its major points. The Times’s public editor defended that piece, linking to a lengthy series of regulations that, in fact, proved the allegations contained in the article were false. While there has since been a lot of partisan hullaballoo about “email-bogus-gate”—something to be expected when the story involves a political party’s presidential front-runner—the reality remained that, when it came to this story, there was no there there.

Then, on Thursday night, the Times dropped a bombshell: Two government inspectors general had made a criminal referral to the Justice Department about Clinton and her handling of the emails. The story was largely impenetrable, because at no point did it offer even a suggestion of what might constitute a crime. By Friday morning, the Times did what is known in the media trade as a “skin back”—the article now said the criminal referral wasn’t about Clinton but about the department’s handling of emails. Still, it conveyed no indication of what possible crime might be involved.

In our hyper-partisan world, many people will not care about the truth here. That the Times story is false in almost every particular—down to the level of who wrote what memo—will only lead to accusations that people trying to set the record straight are pro-Hillary. I am not pro-Hillary. I am, however, pro-journalism. And this display of incompetence or malice cannot stand without correction.

And to other reporters: Democracy is not a game. It is not a means of getting our names on the front page or setting the world abuzz about our latest scoop. It is about providing information so that an electorate can make decisions based on reality. It is about being fair and being accurate. This despicable Times story was neither.

I’m not pro-Hillary either. But I wish the NYT would expose her role in Honduras, or her corporate coziness, or any of the many ways in which she has put the comfort of the wealthy above the needs of ordinary people. Framing her for something that never happened is something from the McCarthy Era.

Posted in GOP/Media Complex, Hillary Clinton, liars, Media machine, mediawhores, pseudoscancals | 1 Comment »

Here, they die silently, invisible

Posted by Charles II on June 23, 2015

Frances Ryan, The Guardian:

If the government would care for an insight into what its “safety net” has become, it could do worse than looking at the case of Nick Gaskin.

Gaskin, who has primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), cannot walk, feed himself or talk but, last month, received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) informing him he should attend an interview about “the possibility” of getting a job.

People who have such severe disabilities they are unable to work are – by definition of being put in the support group of employment and support allowance (ESA) – not required to attend mandatory meetings. As Gaskin can only communicate through blinking, it was his wife, Tracy, who called the jobcentre in Loughborough to explain this. The DWP now says it will apologise over the “misunderstanding”. But not before Tracy was told that if her husband did not attend the interview his benefits would be stopped. [Had the crisis occurred earlier, in the midst of Tracy’s cancer therapy, it’s likely Nick Gaskin would have lost his benefits, endangering both him and Tracy.]

Currently, Iain Duncan Smith is embroiled in a row over burying figures that show how many people have died within six weeks of their benefits being stopped…. It gives an insight into Duncan Smith’s thinking that when confronted on the issue in the House of Commons, it was the campaign to disclose the statistics – rather than the deaths themselves – that he called “disgraceful”.

I have written about some of the people who fell past the edge. Malcolm Burge, the retired gardener who had his housing benefit cut by 50% and drove to Cheddar Gorge in Somerset and set his car on fire. David Clapson, the diabetic jobseeker who had his benefits sanctioned and was found with no food in his stomach and CVs next to his body.

Here, helpless people shoved off of the SSI or Food Stamp/SNAP rolls die silently, invisible to our media. At least in the U.K., one newspaper mentions them.

Sure, there are cheaters on the rolls here. Partly that’s because the benefits that they provide are nopt enough to actually live on, so people supplement them with money made from hustling or by claiming more than they are entitled to. But, sure, there are some real out-and-out fraudsters. So… how many helpless people are we willing to kill in order to punish the undeserving?

The answer is that we don’t know and, with our current media, never will.

Posted in abuse of power, Media machine, poverty | Comments Off on Here, they die silently, invisible

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 on Justice dismayed

Imagine if this were Al Sharpton or Rachel Maddow

Posted by Charles II on May 23, 2014


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 »

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