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by spocko

Why Does Fox News Side With Abusers Like Ray Rice?

2:35 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Today’s Ray Rice story is still developing, but one thing it illustrates is the role outsiders can play in demanding justice and then expecting change from an institution that failed to act–or failed to act with sufficient seriousness about a problem.

Digby and Perlstein wrote today about what happened when we failed to hold individuals accountable for malfeasance. When institutions protect individuals, by explaining away their actions, it prevents change from happening.

The other thing it is illustrating is how great it is to have a group of people like Fox News or the RW media on your side, even if only temporarily.

Last week I wrote this piece, CEO Abuses Puppy. Why RW Media Supports Abusers Instead of Victims. I wondered how the RW media would act when they were told to be on the abusers’ side.

Well today we saw just a peek of what that might look like on Fox and Friends. Now they aren’t totally on the side of Rice, but they are able to get in some victim blaming and pass on some protective advice to their abusing buddies.

 

‘We should also point out, after that video — and now you know what happened in there — she still married him,’ host Steve Doocy explained. ‘They are currently married.’

‘Rihanna went back to Chris Brown right after [he assaulted her],’ co-host Brian Kilmeade noted. ‘A lot of people thought that was a terrible message.’

‘I think the message is take the stairs,’ he added, as co-host Anna Kooiman giggled.

‘The message is, when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera,’ Doocy concluded.

Kilmeade says to avoid the situation whereas Doocy, the real brains of the outfit, says to avoid the cameras. The person who might be the most righteously upset, Anna Kooiman, first defends football in general (avoiding addressing NFL’s policies) and then giggles at a lame joke.

The message isn’t “don’t do something nasty,” but “don’t get caught doing nasty things on video.”

I’ve read that Rice has now been fired and supposedly some changes will happen at the NFL. Enough people were outraged, and let them know it, that their weak measures were deemed not enough. The firing is important, but it is the promised changes that we hope will have a lasting impact, we need to keep an eye on.

Will there be any changes at Fox and Friends for their victim blaming? Nope, of course not. Because their institution is doing exactly what it was designed to do, protect the abusers in their club, instead of the victims.

Fox and Friends aired before Rice had been drummed out of their club, so they didn’t have to defend him full throatily. If they had, they might have started talking about how, “He’s the real victim here,” because of concussion damage from football. But they got the word from on high, the real client is the NFL.

They will be defending the NFL in the future, and whatever actions they were forced to take to get the rabble to simmer down.

Fox knows that the real clients are the members of the club who pay their bills. The $9 billion dollars a year in revenue, non-profit club calling themselves the NFL.

UPDATE from Raven’s Press conference.

I just watched the Raven’s Press conference. I don’t want to bag on the reporters, they are probably used to asking the coach really hard questions of athletes and getting answers like, “We came to play.” but when talking to the coach, they could have pressed harder, this is some hard news.

One asked, “Why didn’t you have access to the tape before today.

I have no answer to that. (Educational video link for  the purpose of media criticism)

And that was it. Okay then.

No follow up, “Well can we talk to someone who DOES have the answer?”

So to follow up on my theme, from the CEO kicks dog post, the control of this video is a HUGE deal,  ’who saw the video when’ and who has access to it is a huge power play. That the reporters just let it slide might be expected if they are being deferential to the coach, but will we see any follow up? I’m guess that will be coming with the “wrongful termination” suit.

ADDED:

Keith Olbermann

by spocko

Nixon Wouldn’t Have Authorized Torture, Suggests John Dean

12:10 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

I asked John Dean a few questions about his new book, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It, during the FDL Book Salon.

1) After listening to hundreds of hours of all conversations did President “Sock it to me” Nixon tell any good jokes? Were they dirty? Racist or sexist? His answer was, “Bottom line: Richard Nixon had almost no sense of humor whatsoever.” My suspicion, confirmed!

2) What did he think Cheney and Rumsfeld learned from the Watergate Scandal? His reply:

Rumsfeld and Cheney volunteered to help Nixon when he was sinking, but Nixon did not trust Rumsfeld (he didn’t know Cheney). Needless to say, it is pure speculation as to what Rummy and Dick ‘learned’ from Watergate. I gave my views on the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld presidency in ‘Worse Than Watergate,’ explaining how they imposed secrecy way beyond Nixon. This was how they got away with blatant violations of law that make Watergate look like little league. I am not sure that Richard Nixon in one of his darkest moods would have authorized torture! 

That last sentence surprised me. So I asked for more insight.

What would Nixon’s reasons have been for not torturing people? Was he close enough to WWII and the Nuremberg trials to remember war crimes? Was it about American ideals? Religious ideals? Did he not have a John Yoo writing legal memos for him?

John Dean August 30th, 2014 at 4:58 pm
In response to spocko @ 114 (show text)

Nixon served in the South Pacific during WWII, and was familiar with the horrors of Japanese torture, so I cannot believe he would have lowered the USA to tolerate such horrific behavior. With foreign policy, Nixon seemed to understand what today we call “blow-back” and that by our engaging in torture he would expose Americans soldiers (if not all Americans) to torture, just as we are seeing with Americans being captured by ISIL. Bush/Cheney have subjected any and every American kidnapped or captured to torture by the likes of ISIL. It is a decision that is going to haunt us and the world for untold decades.

Had the Book Salon not ended, my next question to Dean would have been, “How did we go from Nixon’s views torture and why he understood it was wrong, to Cheney being proud of ‘enhanced interrogation‘ techniques? Also, why won’t Obama’s admission, ‘We tortured some folks’ lead to prosecution?” Maybe another interviewer will ask Dean this or Digby’s friend Rick Perlstein can take a crack at answering the question.

The answer to this question could probably fill several books, luckily I just happened to read a great one that helps explain part of it. Rebecca Gordon has a new book out called Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post – 9/11 United States. Gordon walks the reader through the problem, how we think and talk about torture and how institutionalized state torture is carried out by the United States.

I tend to get very worked up when talking about torture, so much so that it gets in the way of my conversation at parties. “Look out, Spocko wants to talk about torture accountability and the Taguba report again, hide!” Fortunately for me, Mrs. Spocko knows I have this interest, and she bought me Gordon’s book for my birthday. She also knows that understanding isn’t enough for me, I want to do something about the problem.

Fortunately, unlike a number of books that are great at describing the problem, this book has some suggestions on what to do about it in the short, medium and long term. She also emphasizes the personal importance of individuals doing something about torture. In my case I started pushing back at the torture supporters on right wing radio.

If we look at why Nixon, one of our nastier Presidents, didn’t authorize overt torture, but other Presidents did, we might see how it was made acceptable and then develop and reestablish the ethical, intellectual, legal and practical reasons to stop it.

I have often thought that the entire content of this book could be expressed in five words: Torture is wrong. Stop it. –Rebecca Gordon, Mainstreaming Torture

But can we really stop it? Isn’t the water out of the water-boarding bucket forever?

See no Torture, Say no Torture

This weekend was the 10th anniversary of the release of the Abu Ghraib photos. The New York Times thinks we should release the other photos. Remember when they first came out? The RW media went on the air to defend the torture. Rush Limbaugh, “… I’m talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off?”

Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

CEO Abuses Puppy. Why RW Media Supports Abusers Instead of Victims

3:56 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

I spotted this terrible story today CEO Caught on Video Kicking Puppy.  The video is disturbing and seems clear cut. You really feel for the poor dog. But let’s not jump to conclusions until all the facts are in and we hear from all sides.
Puppy

The Vancouver Globe first story describes “surveillance video shot in an elevator of the Private Residences at Hotel Georgia in downtown Vancouver shows an unidentified man kicking a dog several times.”

As more details were revealed, we learned the kicker was Des Hague, the CEO of Centerplate, a  multibillion-dollar sports-catering company that provides concessions for major arenas like the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara and Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

In the company’s first response Hague apologized.

“I take full responsibility for my actions, this incident is completely and utterly out of character and I am ashamed and deeply embarrassed,” he said in a statement. “Under the circumstances of the evening in question, a minor frustration with a friend’s pet caused me to lose control of my emotional response. Unfortunately, I acted inappropriately, and I am deeply sorry for that and am very grateful that no harm was caused to the animal. I have reached out to the SPCA and have personally apologized to the dog’s owner. At this time, I would like to extend my apology to my family, company and clients, as I understand that this has also reflected negatively on them.”

Then, when the San Diego paper looked into it further they found that Hague lied in his statement. The B.C. SPCA determined the dog, Sade, was his, not a family friend’s pet. (I suppose that makes personally apologizing to himself easier.)

Eventually, after multiple stories and worldwide outrage, the board acted.  Des Hague to donate $100,000 and serve 1,000 hours of community service (According to Fortune Centerplate is a privately held $6 billion business with 30,000 employees and more than 350 clients and is challenging industry leader Aramark.) 

People in Vancouver, San Diego and other cities have called for their venues to drop their relationship with Centerplate.  Several articles mentioned people planning to not purchase food and drink at the venues.  Other stories mentioned how canceling the Centerplate contract would end up hurting the local employees and the revenues the cities get from the concessions.

In a statement the San Diego Chargers said,  ”It’s unfortunate that his actions have tainted the local Centerplate employees who devotedly serve our fans.”

For me that statement is key. His actions tainted the Centerplate brand. People want him to pay, not some minimum wage worker pouring beers that cost more than their hourly wage.

So a few days later, it looks like the situation is getting addressed, changes are being made.  Further consequences, including possible jail time, for Hague are still to come.

This story is a good example of the power of video, the established mainstream media being amplified by social media and a demonstration of the economic consequences of bad behavior by a key member of a corporation. Also, not to be missed is our love and support of pets.   I want activists to learn from this story and see how this can apply to other situations.

How the RW Drives a Narrative Flip or “What about the poor CEO? He’s the real victim here.” 

I see too many cases of rich and powerful who change the narrative, become the victims and turn the story around.  Who helps them? Why do they do it? How do they do it?  And finally, can we thwart them in their support of morally repugnant behaviors?  

One of the more powerful narrative players to have on your side is the right wing media.  You need the right credentials and viewpoints, but if they back you, you can steal millions from people, point guns at federal officials and even shoot and kill someone and get lauded for it.    Paul Rosenburg points out in Salon, that media supporting the powerful in not new but the levels they do it at are now extreme.  To get support from RW media, you need to fall under one of these categories,

  1. If Obama is for it we are against it.
  2. This action will piss off the liberals
  3. Our base will like this (aka red meat)
  4. This story will hurt Democrats and/or Hillary Clinton at election time
  5. This action supports a conservative ideal like small government
  6. You are a prominent  conservative politician 

What if Hague fell into one of these categories? What would that look like? Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Ebola outbreak is “moving faster than our efforts to control it.” WHO Director-General

3:43 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Today,  Dr Margaret Chan, director-general for WHO delivered an overview to the Presidents of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in Conakry, Guinea.

Here is a link to the complete transcript.   

First, this outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it. If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries. As I said before, this meeting must mark a turning point in the outbreak response.

In addition, the outbreak is affecting a large number of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers, one of the most essential resources for containing an outbreak. To date, more than 60 health care workers have lost their lives in helping others. Some international staff are infected. These tragic infections and deaths significantly erode response capacity.

Second, the situation in West Africa is of international concern and must receive urgent priority for decisive action at national and international levels. Experiences in Africa over nearly four decades tell us clearly that, when well managed, an Ebola outbreak can be stopped.

This is not an airborne virus. Transmission requires close contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, also after death. Apart from this specific situation, the general public is not at high risk of infection by the Ebola virus. 

At the same time, it would be extremely unwise for national authorities and the international community to allow an Ebola virus to circulate widely and over a long period of time in human populations. 

Constant mutation and adaptation are the survival mechanisms of viruses and other microbes. We must not give this virus opportunities to deliver more surprises.

Third, this is not just a medical or public health problem. It is a social problem. Deep-seated beliefs and cultural practices are a significant cause of further spread and a significant barrier to rapid and effective containment. This social dimension must also be addressed as an integral part of the overall response.

Fourth, in some areas, chains of transmission have moved underground. They are invisible. They are not being reported. Because of the high fatality rate, many people in affected areas associate isolation wards with a sure death sentence, and prefer to care for loved ones in homes or seek assistance from traditional healers.

Emphasis mine.

Ebola in GuineaOn Thursday I wrote about the need to understand the spread of disease in context beyond a medical frame. There are political, economic, media and sociological systems to understand. Hubris, compassion, ego, greed, fear and lack of knowledge all play a huge part of the process.

I used examples of food-borne pathogens like salmonella and e.coli to show that given the right incentives, and lack of controls, sickness and death become acceptable and efforts to limit them are blocked. It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

Late Thursday from USA Today I read this:

A medical transport plane departed the United States on Thursday afternoon, headed to Liberia to pick up an American Ebola patient.

Two American medical missionaries working with Ebola patients in Liberia have been diagnosed with the virus. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who worked at a medical center operated by the North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse, were listed in stable but grave condition, according to a statement from the organization.

I’m curious about the reasons this happened. Were medical decisions overruled by power players? Were powerful political players overruled by medical doctors confident in their abilities to contain and control?

I find Dr. Chan’s third point especially important. What are the “deep-seated beliefs and cultural practices” in the US that enable and encourage illness and disease to spread?

  • We have the best health care system in the world
  • We are smarter than backwards Africans
  • We don’t have to play by the rules of other countries
  • Private health care is better than public health care
  • Cutting funding to “big government medical programs” will have no consequences that the private sector can’t fix
  • If push comes to shove the military can handle it, even if it is not their expertise

Now I’m pretty good at predictions, at least where the media is concerned. As this unfolds you will see how the US media accept America’s “deep-seated beliefs and cultural practices” in the response to this crisis.  They will both play up the fear for the “news value” and play down fears with quotes from medical experts on the medical realities of Ebola. But they will not be bringing in anyone to talk about the other problems that must be addressed for future pandemics. Problems specific to countries with unfettered capitalistic market worshiping economies. As the good director-general said, “…this is not just a medical or public health problem. It is a social problem.”

I don’t anticipate that the two patients at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta will spread the contagion. But while the media might question the decision to bring the patients here, they will not question the underlying assumptions of US authorities.  We don’t listen when someone outside the US says it is, “extremely unwise for national authorities and the international community to allow an Ebola virus to circulate widely.” 

Will we learn from this? Probably. The people who need to learn are ‘free market’ conservatives, who only learn when something is happening to them personally. Then they have an excuse to change their minds. Do not underestimate the power of giving them a good excuse to do the right thing.

I’m not a fan of “I told you so.” if it doesn’t lead to changes. In this case, when there are problems I hope we learn the right lessons. Let’s be prepared to point them out and make suggestions that disabuse these deep seated beliefs.   Otherwise it will be just another disaster capitalism event and an opportunity for private industry to suck up taxpayer money.

Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

BREAKING: UPDATE Malaysia Airlines Plane Reported Shot Down on Ukraine-Russia border

8:43 am in Uncategorized by spocko

 

A Malaysian Airlines craft in flight

Spocko anticipates the media spin as another Malaysian Airlines flight crashes.

In the minutes, hours and days to come you will be reading a lot about this story. This is a tragedy with the loss of multiple lives that will effect thousand of people’s families and friends. There will be a lot of speculation, incomplete information and conflicting reports. My friend Dave Johnson often reminds me that people who closely follow the news with a critical eye notice how it is shaped, spun and redirected.

We will be told not to speculate without enough information, while all the experts and both ‘fair and balanced’ broadcasters and journalists WILL speculate. Even people we respect will offer opinions based on certain biases. This is a chance to watch for them. Maybe even to point them out.

Here is the Google News headlines and links as off 9:29 PST:

Malaysia Airlines Loses Contact With Passenger Plane Over Ukraine ABC News

More:

Realtime Coverage

  • Ukraine Accuses Russia of Shooting Down Fighter Jet Wall Street Journal
  • Malaysia Airlines Passenger Jet Crashes in Ukraine, Reports Say NBCNews.com 
  • Ukraine accuses Russia of downing plane; Moscow attacks new sanctions Los Angeles Times
  • Ukraine says Malaysian airliner shot down, 295 dead -agency Cyprus Mail
  • Ukraine’s president say his nation did not shoot at any airborne targets; Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • MALAYSIAN PASSENGER CARRYING 295 SHOT DOWN IN UKRAINE Daily Sabah 
  • Malaysian airliner crashes in east Ukraine DigitalJournal.com 
  • Malaysia Airlines Loses Contact With Plane Over Ukraine KUOW
  • Malaysia Airlines Passenger Jet Crashes in Ukraine, Reports Say NBCNews.com 

Here are a few questions that will come up in maybe 24 or 48 hours. I don’t want to minimize the tragic loss of life, but that will not stop Fox News from working hard to pin this on liberals, Obama, Hillary Clinton or John Kerry.

  1. How does this help John McCain? In his comments about Foreign policy? (UPDATE. John McCain just appeared on CNN at 10:30 PM)
  2. What did Obama know about this? Did his failure to act in the Ukraine crisis help this happen?
  3. Isn’t this just a distraction from Benghazi? (Three to five days for this one, I’m starting the clock.)
  4. Has John Kerry responded? Hillary? Why are they always so slow to respond when it involves Obama’s failures in foreign policy?

Seriously:

If you were Roger Allies what spin would you suggest your anchors use on this news piece to attack liberals, the White House and Hillary Clinton?

If you compare headlines then substance and analysis as the story develops you will see how Fox New, Limbaugh and the RW media move the needle away from the issues there and move them to the issues here. They will be asking, How does this effect the November election of Obama? That is how it is done by the grandmaster of deception to further his agenda.

Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

FTC Busts Company for Using Dr. Oz To Sell Products — Is Halliburton Next?

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Last month the Federal Trade Commission sued Pure Green Coffee for using footage from “The Dr. Oz Show” to sell a weight lost supplement on their websites. 

The sites featured footage from The Dr. Oz Show, supposed consumer endorsements, and purported clinical proof that dieters could lose weight rapidly without changing their diet or exercise regimens. The defendants also ran paid banner and text ads that appeared on search engines and contained phony weight loss claims.

The defendants set up websites to look like legitimate news sites or blogs.  

The fake news sites featured mastheads of fictitious news organizations such as Women’s Health Journal and Healthy Living Reviewed, as well as logos they appropriated from actual news organizations, like CNN and MSNBC.

This week Dr. Oz went before the Senate subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance to examine protecting consumers from false and deceptive advertising of weight-loss products. Dr. Oz admitted there is no medical evidence verifying the efficacy of many supplements he promotes, including green coffee beans. 

‘Not only did these defendants trick consumers with their phony weight loss claims, they also compounded the deception by advertising on pretend news sites, making it impossible for people to know whether they were seeing news or an ad,’ said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Now let’s do some parallel construction here folks (I learned this from watching a lot of TV).

In 2003 retired generals went on TV using bogus claims plus false and deceptive information to sell a war. Many worked for military contractors, which would make money in a war selling weapons and other goods and services. Their relationships with their contractors were not made public at the time.

The generals’ information, as well as other deceptive information from the White House went onto the “fake news” sites like Fox News. Actual news organizations, like the New York Times, CNN and MSNBC also used this information. Years later participants admitted there was no evidence verifying weapons of mass destruction.

The actual story of how the war was sold to us is worse.  In his Pulitzer Prize winning story, Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand David Barston describes how it was done, who did it and how the media cooperated. 

False info spread:

In turn, members of this group have echoed administration talking points, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated. Some analysts acknowledge they suppressed doubts because they feared jeopardizing their access.

Unlike Dr. Oz, who didn’t profit from the companies using his image, for many of the military analysts financial gain and conflicts of interests were clear.

The group was heavily represented by men involved in the business of helping companies win military contracts. Several held senior positions with contractors that gave them direct responsibility for winning new Pentagon business.

Now everyone is pointing to Paul Wolfowitz or Bill Kristol getting another bite at the war apple. I wonder if the media is going to look at all these military analysts they had on at the time. Will some of them be back? Will they look at their business interests this time? Will they mention the business interests they had at the time of the war?

The Bush/Cheney/Rumsfield White House people understood just how powerful military analysts were to the sale. Torie Clarke, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs and a former public relations executive, oversaw the Pentagon’s dealings with the analysts. She believed in our current spin-saturated news culture opinion is swayed most by voices perceived as authoritative and utterly independent.

That is why the retired generals didn’t talk about their business relationships and the networks either didn’t ask or blamed the analysts:

Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Speak Ill of the Pre-Dead: Prepare Your Obits Now!

8:37 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Dick Cheney against a flag backdrop

Not dead. Yet.

In the post, “Cheney is Confronted About Imprisoned Torture Whistleblower John Kiriakou,“ jamesjoyce made a comment.

Upon R. Cheney’s death my flag will not be lowered to half mast. May he rot in hell.

I was going to make a snarky comment about him never dying. But he will. And, for the first 24 hours of his death the right wing will chastise anyone who uses the opportunity to vilify him. This tactic is primarily directed to empathetic humans. The right will scour tweets, comments, news programs, Facebook posts and video clips to find anyone who shows happiness at someone else’s death, no matter how vile that person has been in life. “The libs can barely contain themselves, they are jumping for joy, it’s disgusting!”

There will also be a lot of self censorship on the left. Official commentators will want to rise above it all and hope that by being civil, the other side will display the same civility upon the death of an icon of the left. Still others will admonish people, “Don’t sink to their level.” A number of people see dancing on anyone’s grave as tasteless, no matter how vile the person was.

So, here’s an idea: Let’s speak ill of the pre-dead now. Before they die.

Pretend you are a time traveler and this is a loophole. You can share your thoughts, emotions and potential actions before the event you know will happen. In the process you can now worry about external criticism and or self censorship.

Here is how it would work.

  1. Write the obit you would want to see, “He had a black heart and he lead the country into a dark place where our values and our constitution were destroyed in these ways…”
  2. Describe the sadness or joy that you might be experiencing. “When he dies I will be very sad. That means that he will no long have the possibility of being prosecuted for war crimes.” Or “I will be happy when he dies because Satan needs more demons.”
  3. Finally, we could talk about the actions you will take, like James Joyce did, upon his death. “As a response to this man’s actions, I will donate money and time to “The Military Profiteering Crimes Investigation Fund, two organizations that support journalists doing research on torture documents, and purchase a sticker of Calvin peeing on the head of Dick Cheney for my pick up truck”

During the first 24 hours following his death you link back to your thoughts about the dead person. Technically you can say, “Hey, I’m not saying anything bad about him NOW. I wrote this months ago.”

The MSM always prepare their obits in advance, they know what they are going to say and will use careful neutral language like, “A polarizing figure,” “controversial” and  ”arguably the most powerful Vice President in modern history” but your future obits don’t have to be that way. You can detail actions that you think need to be included that might get left out of neutral speak. It might also get you to fund that profiteering crimes fund now so that qui tam laws can be applied by the time he crumps. Then the official obit can include the multi-million dollar judgement against Halliburton that impacted it’s stock and profits in the weeks before he died. That would be a nice send off, especially when the judgement nets you 15%.

The recreation of the legacy of powerful figures in America is a full time job for some people. Did you know that there is a group of people who want to have monuments or buildings named after Reagan in all 50 states? That doesn’t even count St. Reagan’s deification on Fox News nightly.

Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Rove Knows What The Media Likes: ABC Radio’s Case Study

4:41 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

I know what boys like
I know what guys want
I know what boys like
I’ve got what boys like
The Waitresses, from “Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful?”

A week before Dr. Karl Rove’s comment about Hillary Clinton’s medical status some friends and I were discussing how the left doesn’t aggressively pursue certain media strategies. I responded with a rant about all the roadblocks that are in place or thrown up by organizations and individuals to block certain ideas. They might be happy to benefit from the results but don’t want to hire, pay for or provide legal and technical support for people who can pull it off. Then they see what Rove did and bemoan their inability to do the same.

I’ve told my clients in the past, “You want to make headlines? Burn down your building.” They laugh, but file that nugget away. If I was an arsonist, and they wanted to collect insurance money and help the stock tank, that might have been some excellent and profitable advice.

If you want to, you can create all sorts of stories that are media friendly and move an idea or story forward. But your side, company or cause has to have the right personality to do it. I’ve pretty much given up on suggesting how to create certain types of stories to some groups. They don’t want the risk. Great, I get that, but later when they are talking about how the right is great with messaging and the media I want to say, “No they aren’t. They just know what the media likes and gives it to them. You could too. But it takes brains, courage and support.”

If you aren’t going to make your own news, can you beat back their news? Yes! Follow my friends at Media Matters. But trying to get the media to be better is not as effective as using their needs for your own purposes. But it might weaken the next story the right wing pushes. They might look up a second source or reframe a story.

Here is today’s case study. This morning I heard ABC Radio News at 10:00 on the right wing station KSFO in SF. It was about Karl Rove’s comment about Hillary Clinton. I tried to find the audio on line, but it was not up yet in SF. However, the same story was up on the ABC Radio website. The story had a very different tone than the one I heard on KSFO. Later, I got the audio from the KSFO broadcast. I was right. Although it was the same story, the intros were very different. One was tailored to the right wing station, the other for a more mainstream audience. I put them together in a video so you can hear the differences. Then, if you are so inclined you can tweet at ABCradio and ask, “Hey what’s the deal?”

Will calling their attention to this have any impact for the next time the right wing feeds them the kind of juicy stories they like? Maybe. Remember, they have a reporter dedicated to Hillary. Or maybe they will just wonder why we haven’t figured out what they like.

by spocko

What to Tweet When You See a “Both Sides Do It” Story UPDATED

6:17 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

When I’m sick and tired of certain media conventions, I write a post about it. If you are like my friend Jimmy Dore you write a funny comedy bit about it. Stewart, Colbert and Oliver all mock the media, but is it making the media change? Is there something we can do besides point and laugh?

Today’s sick and tired media phrase is “Both sides do it.” This phrase is designed as a preemptive answer to the right wing’s screaming about a story and to help show that ”the liberal media doesn’t have a liberal bias.” The idea has become internalized by the MSM. My friend Eric Boehlert at Media Matters has written about this sliver in the heart of the MSM for years. Atrios makes a pithy comment about it every few months.

Why “Both Sides Do It” Short Circuits Brains

The magic phrase is destructive because it breaks down math and evidence in the heads of journalists. It converts a complex equation into 50-50!  For example, this magic phrase can take a $5 BILLION dollar multi-decade program and make it equal to a $5 Million five year program with the simple incantation, “Both sides do it.” Shazam!  The readers can now indulge in a “pox on both their houses” thought and move onto The Amazing Spider-man 2: Chock Full O’ Villains

  • $5,000,000,000 DOESN’T Equal $5,000,000 in real world math.
  • However, in “Both Sides Do It” math 5,000,000,000 = 5,000,000 because 50% = 50%

How do we, the non-very serious people, who don’t get invited to “nerd prom” force a break up of this destructive short hand?

What to Do: Read, Laugh then Point and Tweet.

I want to suggest to people that when you see these “both sides do it” pieces directly tweet to the reporters asking for metrics, ratios and names. This doesn’t have to be mean or rude, just persistent. That’s it.

They might engage you and have a 140 character “discussion,” but the point is to start fixing in their mind that the BSDI shorthand comes with a price.

Let me give you an example to practice on.

Today over a Gawker, Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) wrote this piece. “Conservative Money Front Is Behind Princeton’s “White Privilege“ About Tal Fortgang

“—the privileged white Princeton freshman who wrote so passionately about how he’s not a privileged white guy—no one, not even the New York Times, noted that his post was made possible by a conservative group that bankrolls and grooms college kids for right-wing leadership.”

It was a nice piece. He did research and asked questions other journalists didn’t. Like, “Who helped get Tal Fortgang’s message out there?” He pointed out that the piece was in the “Princeton Tory, an independent campus publication that’s just one of about 80 bankrolled by the Collegiate Network and its parent group, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.”

As part of his piece he said, ”to be fair” which is usually used after someone has listed a litany of offences from one side.

To be fair, the campus wars aren’t all one-sided: This is a game that liberals have learned to play recently, too. The Center for American Progress, through its Campus Progress and Generation Progress programs, similarly funds left-leaning independent campus publications and grooms fellow travelers for punditing and politics.

Since he felt obligated to check the “Both Sides Do It” box, I felt obligated to write this in the comments

Interesting piece, but could you please include a ratio of the money of one group to the other? As you know quantity, quality and type of support vary greatly between both sides.

Please provide data proving how this is ”similarly funded.” on the left.

He won’t easily be able to for two reasons: Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Let’s Stop Letting Bundy Supporters Off the Hook

2:34 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Today Joan Walsh and David Atkins have talked about how politicians and others are distancing themselves from Bundy.

Roger Ailes owns Cliven Bundy now: How dumb opportunism became a right-wing nightmare. – Salon, Walsh

Republicans lie down with racist welfare rancher Bundy, wake up with racist fleas – Hullabaloo, Atkins

Chompers by drainhookHere is something I’d like everyone to notice, and I want you to think about different ways to handle this in the future.

When someone that the Right or the Left has embraced is caught doing or saying something bad the MSM go to the supporters and ask, “So, is he still your guy?” Depending on the offense, and the skill of the people being asked the question, the MSM often let them off the hook. For example, “Here is the statement from their office, saying they deplore racism.” Story over.

Now, if the person who made or said the offensive thing is on the Left, the MSM will give their supporters an opportunity to distance themselves. However, the RW media keep using that offense as a club… forever.  They don’t care if the supporters distanced themselves, the offense wasn’t even that offensive, or was a lie like how they framed Shirley Sherrod.

The few left wing media outlets that actually exists, also often accept the statements and let them off the hook. We use reason and logic and treat them fairly, although we might question the seriousness of the statement. Eventually we say, “They denounced the statement, no need to keep bringing it up.”

Fine. Good for us! But the activist in me wonders:

  • Is a simple denouncement statement good enough?
  • How else can we use their earlier uncritical embracing of the person to drag them down?
  • Do they secretly still get credit from their base if they “dog whistle” the denouncement?
  • Can we go to the people who still are embracing Bundy in his racism and ask them about the denouncements? Example:

Nevada Sen. Heller’s office has immediately condemned the ‘appalling and racist statements’ and have distanced themselves from Bundy, how do you feel about Heller now? Was it a cowardly thing to do, to throw Bundy under the bus?

It appears the racist views in Bundy are integrated into his world view. It’s not something easily carved out. But the statements condemning him make it appear the comments and the person live in separate worlds. (This is actually a feature of the RW authoritarian mindset, the ability to never “merge the files” as Bob Altemeyers says in The Authoritarians.

If we don’t want to hold their feet to the fire, because we are rational and compassionate, who can we get to do it for us?  I suggest we set up the right to do it for us.

Read the rest of this entry →