Category Archive 'The Mainstream Media'
23 May 2013
Dan Greenfield relishes the ironies of the Obama Administration’s conflicts with the very same establishment Media which propelled it into power.
The quarrel between Obama and the Media is largely a lovers’ quarrel, but the love is only there on one side. The media made Obama what he is. But what he is, among many other things, is a control freak spawned by a political ideology that distrusts everyone and consolidates power at all cost.
The media loved Obama, but it discovered early on that he did not love it back. Instead of basking in the adoration of the Candy Crowleys and the Anderson Coopers and the massive corporate machines behind them, the love child of every liberal fantasy shut them out, rigidly controlled their access and ruthlessly punished unauthorized conversations with the press.
The media had made Obama into a tin god, but were constantly suspected of heresy. Instead of being rewarded for their loyalty, they were kept at arm’s length.
Obama Inc. knew that their biggest asset was the narrative. A close study of Obama’s qualifications or accomplishments would have given no conceivable reason for voting for him. The only thing he brought to the table was race and even in this he was less qualified than most of the black men who had run for president.
The narrative was the dearest treasure of Obama Inc. It was the one thing that its cronies protected. The economy could tank, wars could be lost and an asteroid could smack into the Pacific Ocean and none of it mattered nearly as much as the golden narrative. They didn’t trust anyone with it including the media.
The media these days doesn’t have much. Its numbers are bad in every medium from the tube to the inky pages of newsprint to the crackling AM radio waves. It isn’t very profitable. Often it’s a dead weight. But it wields a great deal of institutional power. The New York Times and CNN may both be dogs when it comes to the balance sheets, but owning either one gives you an impressive amount of heft in the national dialogue; though not as much as working for one of them does.
Power is all that the media has. Its power is projected in a fairly narrow circle. Fewer people are reading, watching and listening to it, so its circle becomes more incestuous. Everyone has learned to act like a member of the D.C. press corps, interpreting events through the lens of old West Wing episodes. The resulting noise reaches fewer people, but helps form the shaky consensus on which the institutional power of the media stands.
In its dying hour, the media used that power to ensure the double coronation of a corrupt Chicago politician with a facility for mimicking speech patterns. And that politician rewarded it by trying to bypass it and set up his own media.
Obama’s vision of the proper place of the media isn’t just at his feet, but under his control. Instead of dealing with the media, he has tried to cut it out of the loop by putting a larger emphasis on social media and developing narratives through think-tanks and media influencing groups. It was a power struggle that the media was initially baffled by. It had held out an ice cream cone to the little boy, only to have the little boy kick it in the shin, grab the ice cream cone and run away.
For years the media had groused about a lack of transparency, the unprecedented prosecution of whistleblowers and the hostile relationship between Obama Inc’s minions and many reporters. The grousing was usually understated. It could be mentioned offhand, but not too loudly. When Bob Woodward made the mistake of speaking his mind, he was swiftly punished for it by the avatars of the post-media media, while the old media sat silently and watched the show.
But then Obama pushed its limits by invading the sanctum of the Associated Press. It was one thing when the administration was targeting whistleblowers, but quite another when the media’s power became part of the collateral damage.
The week of scandals was the media reminding Obama that his smooth ride had been provided by them and that the ride could get very bumpy if his media ponies decide to take the back road to Benghazigate or drop by the IRS headquarters. It’s a bluff, of course. The day may come when the media takes Obama out back and disposes of him so that the new messiah, perhaps in a pantsuit, can ascend the old Camelot throne, but that day isn’t here yet.
Scandal week was a game of chicken between Obama and the media to see who would blink first. Would Obama decide to respect the institutional power of the media or would be consider pushing forward until the media blinked. A brief history of Obama Inc. suggests that he will keep pushing on. Obama backs down from Muslim terrorists and Russian government thugs, but not from Americans.
Like most cowards, Obama only attacks those he knows won’t fight back. And the only people who won’t fight back are either helpless or bound by their politics not to resist the liberal messiah.
Obama knows that the media does not dare harm a hair on the head of the liberal agenda. And he made certain to appoint a Vice President whom no one in their right mind would want to see take over. Until 2016, it’s Hussein or the highway. The media has shown that it can hamstring him even when the coverage is only mild. It is quite capable of turning up the temperature to boiling, though not without a civil war with Media Matters, Think Progress and a chunk of the liberal new media.
The media is a prisoner of its own ideology. It can’t hit Obama too hard… yet. Not until they’re making the case that Hillary will do a better job of governing than this inexperienced tyro did. Having abandoned any professional integrity years ago, it would be too late for most of the media to reclaim it now. Even in the name of its own institutional power.
Read the whole thing.
11 May 2013
Maynard Keynes saying: “Hello, Sailor!” to Duncan Grant
Michael Cook described the hair-pulling, fingernails-clawing, Hell-hath-no-fury media reaction to a comment on Keynes’ economics by Niall Ferguson.
Conservative economic historian and media star Niall Ferguson touched a raw nerve this week with the gay lobby. He was addressing a gabfest of millionaire investors in California when he made an unscripted remark. It ran something like this:
“Ferguson asked the audience how many children Keynes had. He explained that Keynes had none because he was a homosexual and was married to a ballerina, with whom he likely talked of ‘poetry’ rather than procreated.”
This is about 40 words.
The response was as immediate and impassioned as North Korea’s threats to turn its southern neighbour into “a sea of flames”.
The media artillery barrage moved in stages from simple outrage at the implication that gays were indifferent to future generations, to repudiations of Ferguson’s immediate and forthright apology, to sneers at his economic competence (the tail end of his “awesome arc of insanity”, according to Paul Krugman in the New York Times).
It culminated in the full Monty, a 7,800 word review by a professor at University of Missouri-Kansas City of Ferguson’s degeneracy, his dishonesty, his economic incompetence, his political conservatism, his documented homophobia dating back to 1995, and so much, much more.
The firepower lobbed onto Ferguson would have made Kim Jong-un proud.
But what exactly was the problem with what Ferguson said? Parsing his words – as reported by a very indignant reporter – he implied four things:
1. Keynes’s ideas were flawed. This is widely accepted by many economists today, certainly by those of a neoclassical bent. In fact, he was probably invited to the speak at the conference to dump on the Keynesian-inspired stimulus of which the Obama Administration is so proud.
2. Keynes was gay and not interested in children. There’s no disputing that Keynes was a homosexual, or at least a bi-sexual. He married at 42 and had no surviving children from his marriage to the Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova. Whether or not his heart melted at the thought of the pitter-patter of little feet is largely surmise.
3. Our care for the future comes through utility derived from our descendants. This is a standard economic assumption. Economists assume that everyone is selfish and only cares about his private consumption. In models of economies over time they assume that we care about the welfare of our children, our children’s children, and so on. Is this reasonable? Evolutionary biologists will tell you that it is. And it is reasonable from a Darwinian point of view to ask whether a homosexual economist would have as much interest in the welfare of future generations as an economist with a large family.
As British journalist Brendan O’Neill pointed out, there is one sense in which Keynes cared deeply about future generations. He was a fervent eugenicist and served as the director of the Eugenics Society in Britain from 1937 to 1944. None of the Ferguson’s critics mentioned this.
4. Keynes’s ideas were influenced by his sexual orientation. This point also cannot be known definitively, but it is hardly homophobic. Why wouldn’t our sexual orientation (whatever it is) influence how we think about the world? We all see and interpret the world around us through a theoretical lens.
In fact, politics at the moment is dominated by the notion of sexual orientation. Positions on big issues like the nature of marriage, on the limits of discrimination, on the role of government in enforcing human rights, on free speech are bound to be influenced by sexual orientation. Why should economic theories be exempt from the subtle influence of sexual orientation and sexual behaviour?
No, the vehemence of the reaction to Ferguson’s remarks has little to do with what he said. The real problem is the hyper-sensitivity of the gay community to the least slight.
The enormity of the reaction by the Hominterm’s representatives and allies in the media to Niall Ferguson’s basically conventional observation on the limited perspective associated with the culture of sexual perversity reveals just how much the truth stings.
The homosexual subculture has always had a recognizable air of sadness, of bitterness and melancholy associated with the knowing choice of futility, of perversity, of rejection of normal life and ordinary morality. Homosexuals have always partied furiously, plunging determinedly into the pursuit of sensual pleasure, precisely because they understand how limited a period of time they actually have.
Now, with political victory, with official patronage, protection, and formal certification that vice is even more privileged than virtue, within their grasp, a comment like Ferguson’s rudely breaks the spell of fantasy and self-delusion and spoils all the fun they have been having.
Hat tip to Maggie Gallagher.
03 Mar 2013
Ted Cruz got himself described as “the new McCarthy” by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker for asking Chuck Hagel about accepting speaker fees from North Korea. Mayer then dug deeper, and disclosed that, two and half years ago at a 4th of July speech, Cruz reminisced about his days at Harvard Law School (1992-1995), observing that Barack Obama would make a perfect president of Harvard’s Law School, which in Cruz’s time had “fewer Republicans than communists.”
Bill O’Reilly and Mitt Romney both also spent time at the little institution on the Charles, and both of them have also recently had critical things to say about Harvard’s characteristic politics and influence.
Well, you can only take so much, and the editors of the Harvard Crimson struck back this week, openly urging conservatives dissenters not even to apply for admission.
If you think Harvard is a revolutionary communist hotbed, don’t apply. If you think Harvard is full of “pinheaded” professors, don’t enroll. And if you think Harvard pollutes the minds of its students, don’t walk out of here with a degree—and certainly don’t get two.
As Daniel Webster might have said: “It’s a bright-red, anti-American school, stuffed to the rafters with bolshies peddling pin-headed, crack-brained ideas, but some love it.”
10 Jan 2013
Glenn Reynolds yesterday actually included a rare image capture in his posted link as a deliberate tribute to Matt Drudge’s eloquent talent for juxtaposition.
Leftie Establishment journalists, naturellement, reacted like irate monkeys on exhibit at the zoo, flinging epithets, ridicule, and abuse in Drudge’s direction.
24 Dec 2012
Vermont Connecticut Royster (1914-1996)
The Wall Street Journal has an excellent tradition, going back to 1949, of publishing the following editorial in the issue nearest preceding Christmas:
In Hoc Anno Domini
December 24, 2012
When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.
Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.
But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression—for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?
There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?
Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s….
And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
This editorial was written in 1949 by the late Vermont C. Royster and has been published annually since.
18 Dec 2012
Barack Obama performs masterfully for the purposes of the national media.
The Other McCain speaks for the rest of us in the too-frequently-nauseated portion of the Nation after days of emotionalism, bloviating nonsense, and crass exploitation of the Newtown murders by the lamebrain media.
Special coverage of Our Nation’s Tragedy will continue, right after these advertisements for laxatives and car insurance.”
Networks pay millions of dollars a year for the services of news anchors who can pretend that what they’re doing is anything other than a carnival sideshow to sell the advertiser’s product. News for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Read — these lucrative televised spectacles inspire less cynical scoffing than they deserve. Nothing like a national tragedy to boost ratings, after all, and you know full well that the correspondent now peering grimly into the camera will be chuckling merrily with his colleagues as soon as the Breaking News Update is over. And why shouldn’t he chuckle? He’s getting paid handsomely to report this tragedy, and charges his travel expenses on the company AmEx card.
People who say they hate “the media” usually mean they hate TV news, a hatred shared by those of us whose medium is the written word. ...
TV sucks, it is by its very nature an anti-intellectual enterprise, anathemic to rational discourse.
My problem is that watching this stuff — or at least having the TV in the room tuned to cable news while I’m typing, so that the chatter goes on, even though I seldom actually watch it — is more or less a professional obligation. Every blogger is a media critic of sorts, although in the hyperpartisanship of the Obama Age, liberal bloggers only criticize Fox News, whereas we conservatives are expected to aim at Liberal Bias.
News flash: Fox News sucks, too.
Even without liberal bias, TV news sucks. For a couple hours today, I suffered through Fox News Channel’s lachrymose coverage of Our Nation’s Tragedy, until the goopy emotionalism became too much and I switched the channel over to MSNBC — I Watch, So You Don’t Have To™ — because I’ve met Bill Hemmer, I like Bill Hemmer, and I didn’t enjoy my embarrassment at Bill Hemmer’s participation in this Plastic Grief Festival.
Change the channel and hate those MSNBC guys. It just feels better to hate them than to wriggle with psychic discomfort watching Fox.
TV is very much about emotion, and the show-biz aspect requires that the performers attempt to exemplify the appropriate mood, conveying by their expressions and posture and tone of voice how we’re supposed to feel about what is being reported. When they’re reporting mass murder, the anchors and correspondents and commentators are required to convey compassion as if they’ve got a monopoly on caring.
This display of empathy is annoying to any reasonably intelligent viewer, who understands that he is watching a performance, and that the people putting on this show are doing so because they are paid for it.
Chuck Todd and Chris Jansing don’t care more about shooting victims than you do. They’re just getting paid to act like they care more than you do. This is show business, after all.
Today is Tuesday, and the great minds that offer several times an hour solutions to all our country’s problems have yet to inform those of us in the viewing audience why Adam Lanza wanted to take out his personal aggressions on first-grade school children.
The media pretends to offer rational commentary, but what it really delivers is uncritical popular culture at the lowest common denominator level. News readers command high salaries, and obviously think that they deservedly occupy prominent positions of grave responsibility, but they get their jobs on the basis of having an agreeable voice, a symmetrical face, or a becoming chin. They are typically embarrassingly ill-informed and their customary perspective on behavior and emotional display is objectionable and vulgar in the extreme.
16 Dec 2012
As liberal politicians and the mainstream media try to use the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut to prove the need for more gun laws, World Net Daily notes that Connecticut already had gun control laws.
The state of Connecticut already has certain gun-control laws in place, at least three of which the shooter broke, as he could have only obtained the weapons through illegal means.
According to news reports, Adam Lanza, 20, shot his mother Nancy Lanza dead at their family home before driving to the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where he gunned down more than two dozen people, 20 of them children, and then killed himself.
The Associated Press reports Lanza brought three guns into the school: a Glock pistol, a Sig Sauer pistol and Bushmaster rifle, which the New York Post further reports was a semi-automatic “assault rifle” chambered for a .223 caliber round, matching casings found at the crime scene.
Lanza, therefore, if you count theft, murder and breaking and entering – since CBS New York now reports it likely Lanza broke into the school through a window to circumvent a locked-door and intercom security system – would have violated a half-dozen laws in his crime, including the following gun-control statutes:
First, Connecticut law requires a person be over 21 to possess a handgun. Lanza was 20.
Second, Connecticut requires a permit to carry a pistol on one’s person, a permit Lanza did not have.
Third, it is unlawful in Connecticut to possess a firearm on public or private elementary or secondary school property, a statute Lanza clearly ignored.
Fourth, with details on the Bushmaster rifle still sketchy, it’s possible Lanza may have violated a Connecticut law banning possession of “assault weapons.”
Of course, these laws were violated because Lanza did not own any of the firearms in question, but rather stole them, and he clearly had no regard for the law in committing his crime.
The Associated Press reports the weapons were registered to Lanza’s first victim, his own mother, according to a law enforcement official not authorized to discuss information with reporters and spoke on condition of anonymity.
12 Dec 2012
Suw Charman-Anderson, in Forbes, notes a watershed moment in the world of books and readers. For the first time, a book self-published by its author has broken through traditional barriers and gained the attention of important establishment book reviews.
[T]his week, the New York Times, one of the most important source of book reviews, published a long and enthusiastic review of a self-published book, Alan Sepinwall’s The Revolution Was Televised. Based on his TV criticism blog, What’s Alan Watching, Sepinwall’s book:
analyzes a dozen “great millennial dramas” that have forged a new golden age in TV: bold, innovative shows that have pushed the boundaries of storytelling, mixed high and low culture, and demonstrated that the small screen could be an ideal medium for writers and directors eager to create complex, challenging narratives with “moral shades of gray.”
But the New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani wasn’t the only mainstream book critic to write about Sepinwall’s book. USA Today carried an interview with Sepinwell at the end of November, Time published a review of its own, The Huffington Post carried a review, so did the New Yorker.
Sepinwall got the kind of coverage that most traditionally published authors can only dream of. To some extent, this might just be reviewers reviewing another reviewer, a little bit of moral support from your friends, except Sepinwall’s friends have very big megaphones. But at the same time, it illustrates that the idea of a division between ‘traditionally published’ and ‘self-published’ is becoming a ridiculous construct with no meaning whatsoever. ...
The reasons that self-published books don’t get reviewed boil down, I think, to the lack of infrastructure. A traditional publishing company can get to know different reviewers and send them the books that they think will go down best with that person. And the reviewer works on the assumption that what he or she is sent by the publisher has to be at least half-decent and thus worth opening. This whole process works because it’s mediated and because of the assumption that a third party stamp of approval for a book guarantees minimum levels of quality. ...
[R]eviewers depend on publishers acting as winnowers, sorting out the wheat from the chaff, and at least attempting to make sure that they are sent books they are actually interested in. It’s this weeding out process that’s missing in self-publishing.
This is bound to be only the first instance of what will before very long become normal.
Technology has made self publication and book distribution easy, inexpensive, and available to anyone.
Even successful and well-established popular authors like Barry Eisler as far back as 2011 have found the economics and creative control offered by self publishing to be irresistible. (Eisler was interviewed here about his at-the-time astonishing decision to dump his relatively prestigious print publisher and move off into the new frontier of electronic self publication.)
02 Nov 2012
Yesterday, CBS News was the first of the Lamestream Media to break the deliberate establishment press boycott on pre-election coverage on the Benghazi debacle, actually publishing a leak from inside-government sources disadvantageous to the Obama Administration.
CBS News has learned that during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Obama Administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG).
“The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies,” a high-ranking government official told CBS News. “They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.”
Today, Jake Tapper
News commented venomously on the Administration’s stonewalling and endeavored to depict ABC
as a vigorously investigating news organization.
In the place of a detailed description from the Obama administration about what happened more than six weeks ago comes the drip-drip-drip of stories about the failures of the Obama administration to provide those Americans on the ground in Libya with all the security assets they needed.
Hurricane Sandy’s arrival on the East Coast was a godsend for the establishment media and Barack Obama, filling up the front page columns and dominating TV news coverage for several crucial days just a week before the election. But the hurricane is now over, there are still four days to go, and the Benghazi story continues, bit by bit, to leak out.
17 Oct 2012
Candy Crowley alone selected the questions for the debate. Candy Crowley interrupted Romney repeatedly, and awarded Barack Obama an extra 4 minutes of speaking time. And, finally, Candy Crowley came running to Barack Obama’s assistance at the very moment when the challenger had him nailed dead to rights.
I thought that Romney did well enough anyway. My prediction was that Republicans would say Romney won, and democrats would say Obama won, but Romney had some good moments and that was all he needed.
Stilton Jarlsberg, however, simply shrugged all that off, and defended Crowley:
Candy Crowley didn’t do a terrible job as moderator – although she tilted the questions and answers in Barry’s favor a bit too obviously, gave him 10% more time for responses, and frequently cut off Romney as he was making substantive points. But because she kept Carrie Fisher (dressed as “Slave Leia”) chained to her side throughout the debate, we’re willing to forgive her.
16 Oct 2012
In countless areas of life, we are urged to bow to the better-informed consensus of the highly-educated community of fashion elite. After all, unlike you bitterly-clinging rubes and bumpkins out there, these people attended elite schools. They know better. Take Andrea Mitchell, for instance, she graduated from U of P. And as Glenn Reynolds gleefully notes, she recently identified herself as being one of The ‘Elite, Smart People.’
09 Oct 2012
What is best in life? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!—Conan the Barbarian
Yesterday, we got to listen to the delightfully loud lamentations of Andrew Sullivan, who continues to refer himself as a conservative while operating professionally as one of the left’s most prolific and mendacious spinmeisters.
Poor Andrew is currently panicking.
The Pew poll is devastating, just devastating. Before the debate, Obama had a 51 – 43 lead; now, Romney has a 49 – 45 lead. That’s a simply unprecedented reversal for a candidate in October. Before Obama had leads on every policy issue and personal characteristic; now Romney leads in almost all of them. Obama’s performance gave Romney a 12 point swing! I repeat: a 12 point swing.
Romney’s favorables are above Obama’s now. Yes, you read that right. Romney’s favorables are higher than Obama’s right now. That gender gap that was Obama’s firewall? Over in one night:
Currently, women are evenly divided (47% Obama, 47% Romney). Last month, Obama led Romney by 18 points (56% to 38%) among women likely voters.
Seriously: has that kind of swing ever happened this late in a campaign? Has any candidate lost 18 points among women voters in one night ever? And we are told that when Obama left the stage that night, he was feeling good. That’s terrifying. On every single issue, Obama has instantly plummeted into near-oblivion. He still has some personal advantages over Romney – even though they are all much diminished. Obama still has an edge on Medicare, scores much higher on relating to ordinary people, is ahead on foreign policy, and on being moderate, consistent and honest (only 14 percent of swing voters believe Romney is honest). But on the core issues of the economy and the deficit, Romney is now kicking the president’s ass.
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