Category: Media Blackouts
This article is spot on. If we had a progressive media, we’d hear real news, news like the 15 topics discussed in this article.
This article by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone is a year old, but it really lays out the national fraud that we call “the bailout.” Here’s an excerpt:
We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in – only temporarily, mind you – to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyperconcentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it. The result is one of those deals where one wrong decision early on blossoms into a lush nightmare of unintended consequences. We thought we were just letting a friend crash at the house for a few days; we ended up with a family of hillbillies who moved in forever, sleeping nine to a bed and building a meth lab on the front lawn.
Here’s one of Lee Camp’s Best: 15 things you don’t hear on the corporate media
Stunning new development regarding the Obama administration’s war on journalism, and this is not hyperbole. What follows is an excerpt from Glenn Greenwald’s analysis:
Under US law, it is not illegal to publish classified information. That fact, along with the First Amendment’s guarantee of press freedoms, is what has prevented the US government from ever prosecuting journalists for reporting on what the US government does in secret. This newfound theory of the Obama DOJ – that a journalist can be guilty of crimes for “soliciting” the disclosure of classified information – is a means for circumventing those safeguards and criminalizing the act of investigative journalism itself. These latest revelations show that this is not just a theory but one put into practice, as the Obama DOJ submitted court documents accusing a journalist of committing crimes by doing this.
That same “solicitation” theory, as the New York Times reported back in 2011, is the one the Obama DOJ has been using to justify its ongoing criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: that because Assange solicited or encouraged Manning to leak classified information, the US government can “charge [Assange] as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.”
[T]he point of the unprecedented Obama war on whistleblowers and press freedoms: to ensure that the only information the public can get is information that the Obama administration wants it to have. That’s why Obama’s one-side games with secrecy – we’ll prolifically leak when it glorifies the president and severely punish all other kinds – is designed to construct the classic propaganda model. And it’s good to see journalists finally speaking out in genuine outrage and concern about all of this.
Amber Lyons recently lost her job as a reporter for CNN. The problem is that she is a reporter who simply reports what she sees, and lets the chips fall where they may. This is much too inconvenient for CNN, which allows subjects of news reports buy favorable coverage. Let that sink in.
Here is an eleven minute video where Lyons reveals the extent of the problem, referring to the censorship of her reports regarding the regime in U.S.-ally Bahrain. Her message is even much broader, however, and applies to the willingness of the lapdog media to encourage needless war against Iran. This is really eye-opening information. This story also points to the incredible importance of preserving net neutrality, because you won’t hear about this mainstream media corruption on the mainstream media.
Good article by Public Citizen’s “Consumer Law & Policy Blog” regarding recent unjustified take-downs. This is going to be a more and more prominent issue.
It is one reason I have my own blog, because I don’t trust private for-profit companies like Facebook to give me (or anyone) free rein to express critically important political ideas.
With their bottomless reserve of lobbyists and money, broadcasters are betting they can muscle their way into Congress and reverse a victory that tens of thousands of us fought hard to win. And their bet has just paid off. A House Appropriations Subcommittee slipped a provision into the draft budget that strips the FCC of the ability to disclose political ad spending on TV stations. Moments ago that subcommittee voted to pass it!
We need your help right now to stop Congress from selling out our democracy:
In April, the FCC adopted new rules that require broadcasters to make their political advertising files available online. The decision was an enormous victory for anyone hoping to shed light on the shadowy groups and Super PACs that are inundating local airwaves with misleading political ads.1
Yet as with any hard-won reform in the age of big-money politics, this change is being attacked by unscrupulous members of Congress who answer to fat-cat media lobbyists.
The National Association of Broadcasters paid lobbyists nearly $14 million in 2011. And it’s spending millions more this year on campaign contributions to Congress. But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to over $3 billion in political ad revenues that television stations stand to rake in this election cycle.
It’s clear that the broadcast industry is pulling out all the stops to bury information about political ad spending on the public airwaves. What’s more appalling is that some elected officials are willing to help them do it.
Please sign this letter to your members of Congress to demand that they serve the public and not media lobbyists. In the post-Citizens United era, we can’t let broadcasters hide their political profits.
With the help of you and your friends we can kill this before it reaches the Senate.
Thanks for taking action,
Tim, Candace and the rest of the Free Press Action Fund team
P.S. Last month’s victory against commercial broadcasters was a milestone in the fight for accountable media. We defied every ounce of conventional wisdom in Washington by proving that activists, bloggers, consumer advocates and everyday people can join forces with Free Press to defeat a corporate agenda. Help us protect that victory. Contribute to the Free Press Action Fund now. Thank you!
1. Timothy Karr, “Reform in the Age of Corporate Lawyers,” Huffington Post, June 6, 2012.
Illinois Republicans voted down a bill that would have allowed people to record public police activities in Illinois. What are they afraid of?
Even without the legislation, however, the law’s days might be numbered. Two judges, one in Cook County and the other in Crawford County, have declared it unconstitutional in recent months.
It seems to me that, by a wide margin, most statements uttered by most people are inaccurate or downright untrue. Most of these problems result from sloppy fact-finding and sloppy reasoning; they are not the result of people intentionally misleading each other. This problem with inaccurate and false statements is even more common in the political arena, and they are also more dangerous because political lies and coverups damage our democracy. They cause us to waste time and resources on many small things and some huge things like needless wars. Falsehoods pour out of politicians mouths like water gushing out of fire hydrants. It has gotten so bad that many of us fear that our democracy is at risk. What else could one reasonably conclude when less than 10% of Americans approve of the work of Congress. But these untruths, the falsehoods, the lies and the coverups continue unabated. I’d like to discuss two of reasons for this sad situation (I’m sure there are other reasons too):
1. The confirmation bias. When political or financial motivation exists (and it almost always exists), human animals notice, say and believe the things they are motivated to notice, say and believe. The confirmation is invisible to us; we are aghast when others call us “biased” (See Jonathan Haidt’s discussion of the invisibility of the confirmation bias here). We only see bias and selective perception in other people. We constantly deny that our own perception of the “facts” is warped by our motivations, including our financial motivations. We are convinced that the lies we want to believe are truths and that our coverups are not coverups. Actually, we don’t see the coverups that benefit us as coverups. Rather, we see accusations that we are covering-up the facts as annoyances. We deny these requests for purposes of expediency and we declare inconvenient things to be “irrelevant.”
2. It is much easier to lie (or to palter) than to take the time to determine the truth. I don’t know how to quantify the extent of this problem, but I’ll take a wild guess: On average, it takes 500 times more work to expose a lie or coverup than to tell a lie and cause a coverup. It’s a lot like the physical world. It takes a lot longer to build a house than to destroy a house. Whatever the exact number, we ought to give this lopsided Ratio a name, because it is a phenomenally important factor to consider in our need to fight for policies to encourage open government. Perhaps it could be called the Lie-Truth-Cost-Ratio. This lopsided Ratio gives untruthful people (liars, obfuscators and those who are reckless with the truth) huge advantages, given that time and money are such precious resources. In the time it takes to write one accurate and detailed report regarding a serious policy issue, untruthful people can issue hundreds or thousands of untruthful statements on the same topic.
In the political realm, is the solution investigative journalism? Probably not, because investigative journalism is dying; to do it right costs lots of money. Further modern media outlets often resist free-wheeling investigative journalism because the corporate media is in the position to foot the bill for investigative journalism, yet the results of such journalism too often embarrass advertisers and business relationships connected to media enterprises (only six corporations own and control most of the media in America).
Citizens can also function as journalists too. Can we depend on private citizens to fill the void? Unlikely. Who is willing to give up significant time with their family or time to take a walk or time to watch a movie in order to do the painstaking research to expose liars, even when those lies cause massive waste of desperately needed public funds? Because we are human animals, we live in a distracting world where fatigue is a reality–we crave eating, exercising, sleeping and entertainment, and none of these enjoyable activities is long-term compatible with hunching over a computer keyboard or analyzing big piles of abstruse documents in order to expose corporate or political lies. Who do you know who is willing to do any of these things in his or her spare time? Do you even know anyone who has an adequate skill-set for doing this type of work? Who do you know who would be willing to spend even $100 of his or her money to obtain records, even where there is a good chance that those records would expose government or corporate wrong-doing? We are sometimes fortunate that public interest groups gather a critical mass of people, money and energy to investigate complex political issues, but their funding is often no match for the funds spent (and the number of untruths told) by corporate and government players, who are highly motivated to make issues complex in order to make them impenetrable. It is important to keep in mind that making a political or corporate system needlessly complex (2,000 page bills, anyone?) are a highly effective way of hiding the truth.
Further, there are so many lies out there that they cannot all be investigated. I’ll make another highly speculative guess: Only 5% of important political claims are investigated by any journalist or public interest group to any meaningful degree. That is largely due to the power of the Lie-Truth-Cost-Ratio.
Here’s a real-life example: the current controversy regarding proposed Keystone XL pipeline. I’ll set aside, for now, the environmental concerns that are often dismissed or underplayed by the corporate players and the alleged news media. Instead, I’ll look simply at the alleged quid pro quo regarding those who have been pushing for the project. The Koch brothers have indicated that they have no financial stake in the XL pipeline.
In the real world, these sorts of claims appear in newspaper headlines, and they are declared be the “news.” In a perfect world, these claims would be meaningfully investigated before being reported. But investigating each of these sorts of claims would require highly motivated people (including journalists at the U.K. Guardian) countless hours, because the truth regarding complex matters like this can only be determined by reviewing hundreds of convoluted documents. Robert Greenwald has produced the following 2-minute video announcing his own suspicions:
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