Category Archive 'Mainstream Media'
10 Sep 2016

Mainstream Media

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tweet194

09 Apr 2016

Journalists? No, Just Professional Democrat Tools

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ObamaBodyguards

Victor Sharpe and Robert Vincent marvel at how accustomed we have all become to the staggering level of mainstream media bias in favor of democrats.

t seems that most Americans operate on the assumption that the media is making a good-faith, if imperfect, effort at objectively informing its audience. That so few are genuinely aware of the outrageous manipulation of public opinion now taking place is the single greatest threat to the republic, to the extent that we can even say that our republic still exists. A glaring example of this would be the treatment of Nixon 42 years ago over Watergate compared with the treatment of Obama today over any one of several far worse scandals.

It was recently reported in the WSJ that Obama used the NSA to spy on Congress during the deliberations related to the Iran nuclear deal. It was reported on at one time, but this story has now disappeared completely from media coverage. Consider the implications.

In the former case, Nixon apparently directed or sat by and knowingly let his immediate subordinates direct a third-rate burglary of the campaign headquarters of an election opponent. In the latter case, Obama authorized one of the most sophisticated intelligence-gathering organizations in the world to spy on American legislators, en masse, in pursuit of the most important – and egregiously flawed – international agreement impacting American national security and world stability – namely, with the chief sponsor of international terrorism: the Islamic Republic of Iran.

This is a thousand times worse than Watergate! Where is the media? Where are today’s equivalents of Woodward and Bernstein? The media doesn’t focus on this outrage at all, so to the overwhelming majority of the public, it is as though this never even happened. And this is only one of several comparable scandals we could name. …

[I]n 2012, during an unintentional “open mic” moment, we overheard Obama making assurances to Russian president Medvedev that once he was able to get past the election, he would have “more flexibility.”

Here we have a sitting U.S. president apparently ready to make some huge concession to America’s most important major power rival on the world stage, a concession so drastic that it apparently couldn’t even be revealed until after the election. And the media did not hound him over this.

Could one imagine a President Nixon, or a President Reagan, making such a statement during arms control negotiations with the USSR and the media simply giving it a pass?. …

How about the qualifications of Bernie Sanders, who did not so much as earn a regular paycheck until he was 40, who ran for Congress while collecting unemployment, who supported himself for a time writing about masturbation and rape fantasies for leftist publications, who has served in Congress for 25 years without having written even one piece of legislation that ever passed?

Read the whole thing.

03 Apr 2016

Donald Trump: Symptom of the Failure of Democracy

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trump-napoleon

Martin Gurri analyses brilliantly the peculiar character of the Trump candidacy phenomenon.

In American politics, Trump is a peacock among dull buzzards. That should be apparent to anyone with eyes to see. The one discernible theme of his life has been the will to stand out: to attract all eyes in the room by being the loudest, most colorful, most aggressively intrusive person there. He has clearly succeeded. The data above speaks to a world-class talent for self-promotion. The media noticed, and just kept the cameras aimed at the extravagant performance – allowing Trump to represent himself to the public, a rare commodity for a politician. And the public, in its mood of negation, its hostility to the established order, also noticed. Trump lacked a political past. He was glamorous and a winner – he looked different and acted different.

He also sounded different from other politicians. The most significant factor separating Trump from the pack, I believe, is rhetorical. Trump is a master of the nihilist style of the web. His competitors speak in political jargon and soaring generalities. He speaks in rant. He attacks, insults, condemns, doubles down on misstatements, never takes a step back, never apologizes. Everyone he dislikes is a liar, “a bimbo,” “bought and paid for.” Without batting an eyelash, he will compare an opponent to a child molester. Such rhetorical aggression is shocking in mainstream American politics but an everyday occurrence on the political web, where death threats and rape threats against a writer are a measure of the potency of the message.

The “angry voter” Trump supposedly has connected with is really an avatar of the mutinous public: and this is its language. It too speaks in rant, inchoate expression of a desire to remake the world by smashing at it, common parlance of the political war-bands that populate Tumblr, Gawker, reddit, and so many other online platforms. By embracing Trump in significant numbers, the public has signaled that it is willing to impose the untrammeled relations of social media on the US electoral process.

I’m amazed by the rapidity with which this moment has arrived: that we have come to it, however, will surprise no one who has been paying attention. …

Put differently, the Trump candidacy is a test of democracy in America in 2016. The public is agitated and willing to vote for this strange and formless man. It is not directly engaged. The structures of democracy, on the flip side, appear to be near collapse. What should have been a brutal collision against unyielding institutions has turned into a strut over a landscape darkened by colossal ruins. The news business is dying and desperate. The primary elections are a crazy quilt of contradictory rules. The Republican Party, by all appearances, is more of a historical memory than a living organization.

Donald Trump, anti-establishment wrecker, has been fortunate in his moment. In 1960, 1980, even 2000, there would have been an establishment to oppose him. In 2015, the putative establishment champion was Jeb Bush. He had been away from elected office for nine years, “a longer downtime than any president elected since 1852 (and any candidate since 1924).” The Republican worthies who endorsed and promoted him had been out of office for an average of 11 years. If this once was the party’s establishment, it’s now a claque of political corpses. The Bush candidacy, in brief, was a dance of the dead, and the Republican Party, at the national level at least, stands revealed as a ruinous graveyard over which nearly anyone, fitting any description, can lay claim.

The Revolt of the Public has been accused, with uncertain justice, of advancing a bleak vision of our political reality. In that spirit, I want to conclude with a dismal observation. At present, the leading candidates for the presidency are Trump and Hillary Clinton. One is a reckless smasher of institutions. The other is a fossilized specimen of the remote and protected elites. Both are creatures of the society of distrust, divisive to an extreme degree.

So my observation is this: regardless of who wins, the 2016 presidential election is shaping up to be just another episode in the grinding social conflict and disintegration of industrial forms that have defined our age. Nothing much, I fear, will be decided.

Read the whole thing.

08 Jan 2016

Not All Media Narratives Are Equal

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Tweet111

15 Nov 2015

“I’ll Take ‘What You Won’t See on the MSM for $1000’, Alex”

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ParisCarnage

Via Clarice “Final Jeopardy” Feldman.

08 Nov 2015

Scandal!

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BenCarsonVHS

14 Aug 2015

“Black and Unarmed”

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MikeBrown1Year

John Hinderaker commemorates the anniversary of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown with a skeptical response to the WaPo’s agitprop story “Black and Unarmed“.

[T]he constant emphasis on police shootings of *unarmed* men that we see in the press is, for the most part, crazy. If you are a perp, or a suspect, or an inoffensive person walking down the street, you may be unarmed, but the police officer is not. Nor, in most cases, will he have any immediate way to know whether you are armed or not. If you attack him, what do you expect him to do? Challenge you to an arm-wrestling match? He is entitled to use deadly force to defend himself. Attacking a police officer rarely ends well. Likewise with fleeing a police officer who is ordering you to stop.

If there is a problem here, it does not demand a thorough revamping of American police practices. Rather, it suggests that those who have influence with a small demographic group–6% of the population, according to the Post–impress upon them that they should not attack police officers under any circumstances, and if told to stop, they should stop. If they put their hands up, they are not going to get shot.

One last note: the Post casually adds that 18 law officers have been shot and killed by a suspect in the line of duty so far this year. No mention of the race of the officers or of the persons who shot them. Race is only relevant in certain highly selective circumstances, when it can be of political benefit to the party favored by newspaper reporters and editors.

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Larry Elder points out just how racially-slanted the outrage is.

[A]ccording to the Centers for Disease Control, police shootings of blacks are down almost 75 percent over the last 45 years, while police shooting of whites remained level. And never mind that the media engages in selective concern.

Selective concern?

In just the last two weeks, two cops, who happened to be white, were killed by two suspects, who happened to be black. And an unarmed white teen was killed by a cop. …

In South Carolina, an unarmed teenager was shot and killed by a cop. Zachary Hammond, 19, was out on a first date when he was fatally shot by a Seneca police officer during a drug bust. His date, who was eating an ice cream cone at the time of the shooting, was later arrested and charged with possession of 10 grams of marijuana. The shooting is under investigation. But the police claim Hammond was driving his car toward the police officer who was attempting to make the stop, an act that resulted in the officer firing two shots, striking Hammond in the shoulder and torso.

The Hammond family wonders why so little national attention has been focused on their son’s death. “It’s sad, but I think the reason is, unfortunately, the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen,” said Eric Bland, the family’s attorney.

29 Jul 2015

British Papers Hunt US Dentist, And You Can Kiss Zimbabwe’s Big Game Goodbye

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Cecil
“Cecil” the lion.

A series of tear-jerker articles in British newspapers concerning the taking of a lion at the beginning of this month on the outskirts of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park has unleashed an astonishing tizzy of violent emotionalism and anti-hunting bigotry on the part of the international media’s ill-informed and urban-based mass audience.

Dr. Walter Palmer, a Bloomington, Minnesota dentist who is also a long-time and spectacularly accomplished big game hunter, has been pilloried for effectuating the demise of a mature, 13-year-old male lion, referred to by the Press as “Cecil.” (Wikipedia notes that, typically, “Lions live for 10–14 years in the wild.”) Lions, of course, do not have names.

All the heart-string-tugging malarkey about poor “Cecil” was apparently started by the head of one of those Timothy Treadwell-style, self-appointed, one-man “Save the Charismatic Wildlife By Giving Me Money!” Conservation Charities. Johnny Rodrigues, a Madeira-born former Rhodesian farmer and operator of a failed trucking company, founder and Chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, seems to be the original source of Cecil’s biography and all the complaints.

The story, as told to the BBC, went:

A hunter paid a $55,000 (£35,000) bribe to wildlife guides to kill an “iconic” lion in Zimbabwe, a conservationist has told the BBC.

Allegations that a Spaniard was behind the killing were being investigated, Johnny Rodrigues said.

The lion, named Cecil, was shot with a crossbow and rifle, before being beheaded and skinned, he added.

The 13-year-old lion was a major tourist attraction at Zimbabwe’s famous Hwange National Park.

Zimbabwe, like many African countries, is battling to curb illegal hunting and poaching which threatens to make some of its wildlife extinct.

Mr Rodrigues, the head of Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said the use of a bow and arrow heralded a new trend aimed at avoiding arrest.

“It’s more silent. If you want to do anything illegal, that’s the way to do it,” he told BBC’s Newsday programme.
‘Lion baited’

However, the lion, which had a distinctive black mane, did not die immediately and was followed for more than 40 hours before it was shot with rifle, Mr Rodrigues said.

The animal had a GPS collar for a research project by UK-based Oxford University, allowing authorities to track its movements.

Mr Rodrigues said Cecil’s killing was tragic.

“He never bothered anybody. He was one of the most beautiful animals to look at.”

The lion had been “baited” out of the park, a tactic which hunters used to portray their action as legal, Mr Rodrigues said.

Two guides had been arrested and if it was confirmed that the hunter was a Spaniard, “we will expose him for what he is”, he added.

The six cubs of Cecil will now be killed, as a new male lion in the pride will not allow them to live in order to encourage the lionesses to mate with him.

“That’s how it works… it’s in the wild; it’s nature taking its course,” Mr Rodrigues said.

Cecil2
If somebody had fallen out of that Land Rover, it looks to me like “Cecil” would have bothered him.

Mr. Rodrigues was clearly in error on a variety of details.

The hunter was not Spanish, and was actually the American Dr. Palmer. The lion was undoubtedly shot with a longbow, not a crossbow. Dr. Palmer obviously did not bribe anybody. He would have been paying, as is typically required for non-citizens hunting in African countries, per diem for the safari guiding services of a professional hunting company, which would have run something on the order of $1800-2200 a day. (Example: CMS Safaris) He would additionally have paid a $10,000-15,000 trophy fee to the government of Zimbabwe for the privilege of taking a lion.

It is by no means impossible that Mr. Rodrigues is correct as to the total amount of hunting and trophy fees contributed by Dr. Palmer to the Zimbabwean economy and in support of wildlife conservation in that country. Trophy big game hunting is expensive and represents the principal source of revenue in African countries used to protect wildlife and to prevent poaching.

If one looks at the situation correctly, Dr. Palmer was harvesting an aged, trophy lion in exchange for a massive infusion of cash. The ability of African countries to collect those kinds of trophy fees and the ability of sport hunting to provide African employment and to bring that kind of money into the local economy constitutes the best possible kind of motivation for African governments to take a serious interest in the protection, preservation, and survival of big game species. When one lion can bring Zimbabwe $55,000 in cold hard cash, you can bet that lions will not be permitted to be exterminated in Zimbabwe.

The British press stories, based on Mr. Rodrigues’ accusations, claim that the lion was lured outside the park intentionally by baiting, but the later accounts all make clear that “Cecil” wandered out of the park and was shot when found going after bait which had been placed legally to attract leopard. Nobody baits lions, but leopards (absent any other practical method) are typically shot over bait.

Further accusations express outrage that Dr. Palmer shot a collared lion, but “Cecil” was a handsome specimen with a large and very full mane. Looking at two photographs of him, I certainly cannot see a collar. It is obviously unfair to blame the hunter for not seeing a collar buried deep in a lion’s mane.

And, apparently, the harvesting of a collared lion inadvertently by a sport hunter is not unusual. (Telegraph)

The Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University has tracked the Hwange lions since 1999 to measure the impact of sport hunting beyond the park on the lion population within the park, using radar and direct observation.

According to figures published by National Geographic, 34 of their 62 tagged lions died during the study period – 24 were shot by sport hunters.

The Press piled on inflammatory details obviously intended to stir readers’ emotions. The newspaper accounts all note that the lion was initially wounded, and then subsequently followed up and killed by gunshot. And then! the poor lion’s remains were outraged and violated. He was skinned and decapitated, the newsprint screams. Urban readers are clearly intended to regard Dr. Palmer and his professional hunter as barbarians on a par with ISIS, running around decapitating lions. Of course, a trophy game animal is commonly skinned and its skull taken and preserved, so that they can be mounted by a taxidermist.

Zimbabwe, of course, is an incompetent and corrupt left-wing kleptocracy run by primitive natives, so all this international brouhaha is provoking exactly the kind of pompous official response one might expect. Dr. Palmer’s lion trophy has been confiscated, and the professional hunting firm is being charged with taking the lion illegally. Zimbabwean authorities now contend that the lion was taken on a farm whose owner had not been allocated any permit allowing a lion to be harvested. If that story is correct, of course, the violation would not be the fault of the American dentist. The visiting hunter pays that $1800-2200 per diem to the professional hunting company precisely so that his White Hunters will guide him to locations where the trophies he is after can be legally hunted and see to it that all of the necessary licenses and permits are in order.

Poor Dr. Palmer, as the result, of all of this has become the object of literally thousands and thousands of pieces of hate postings, many of them explicitly yearning for him to die a painful death, and he has been forced to close his office and go into hiding.

How well do you suppose the safari industry in Zimbabwe will be making out next year? What do you suppose Zimbabwean game license fees funding that country’s conservation revenues are going to be like? As we sit here, you can count on it, letters cancelling next year’s safaris are being written. And it follows inevitably that game protection funding will be down to zip, and poaching and illegal lion taking in the general vicinity of Hwange National Park will be flourishing on an unprecedented scale for many years to come, all thanks to Mr. Rodrigues and all the animal lovers writing news reports for British newspapers.

WalterPalmer
Dr. Palmer with trophy leopard.

28 Jul 2015

Heroic Effort

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08 Jun 2015

The Atlantic Wonders: Where Did Faintly British Broadcasting Accents Go?

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EdwardRMurrow
Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) was a classic user of “Announcer Speak”

James Fallows, in the Atlantic, identifies a broadcasting convention, the use of a slightly Anglicized version of grammatically correct Standard Mid-Western English as the formal voice of news reader, announcer, or celebrity on the radio, which he contends has recently disappeared.

The narrator of [this] film [“Wings Over the Golden Gate” (1930s)](spoke in a way instantly recognizable to anyone who has seen footage of FDR-era newsreels, or for that matter listened to recordings of FDR himself. It was a style of phony-British “Announcer Speak” that dominated formal American discourse from the 1920s to maybe the 1950s—and now has entirely disappeared.

I mention this because today I was listening to a rebroadcast of a great 2012 Fresh Air interview with the musician and writer Michael Feinstein, which included a rare, brief interview that George Gershwin had done on Rudy Vallee’s hyper-popular radio show in 1933. The amazing thing was that even George Gershwin sounded this way!

The revolutionary genius of modern American music, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, the child of Brooklyn who moved to Hollywood, the epitome of whatever seemed jazzy about America of the Depression years—even he had that Voice of Time diction.

Here is what I asked four years ago, and would still like to know: Who was the last American to speak this way? And when and why did this accent disappear? We often think of language change as evolving over long historic periods. But this is something that has happened with comparative speed. By the time I became conscious of TV, radio, or movie voices in the late 1950s, the formal Announcer version of American English still existed. Now, no one would use it except as a joke.

When? How? Why?

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I think the slightly more stressed consonants (British style) did tend to disappear, along with the last remnants of the British Empire, sometime in the course of the 1950s, but news broadcasters like Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley still, in my opinion, delivered the news in much the same carefully-articulated and artificially-elevated tones as 1930s announcers.

Perhaps, we can attribute a slightly more recent preference for a less formal and pretentious, a more natural kind of broadcasting diction to Culture Wars conflicts, and the wide American recognition that Voice-of-God news readers (like Cronkite) frequently served up atrociously biased reporting and outright misinformation (Cf. Cronkite’s misreporting on the supposed Viet Cong “victory” in the 1968 Tet Offensive) and that (despite those elevated accents) broadcasting talking heads had commonly in reality roughly the same I.Q. as your average box turtle.

The astonishingly dim but equally pretentious anchorman rapidly became an American comedy staple. After all that, it should not be surprising that the preferred broadcasting style has become more natural and less affected.

22 May 2015

Greenfield on Letterman’s Retirement

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Dan Greenfield says Good Riddance to Letterman.

Progressive comedy is above all else lazy and Letterman was the laziest man in comedy. He had more staffers than Eisenhower all to deploy the thousandth [iteration] of the same joke. He used his power to fill the time slots after him with hosts who couldn’t possibly compete with him to avoid being Conaned.

He was not a liberal by conviction, but out of laziness. When challenged by guests like Bill O’Reilly, he quickly folded. His politics were not thought out, they were unthinking. For all his pretense of eccentricity, he was a conformist who understood that if he played the game, he would get paid. His comic personality, the folksy skepticism and detached disdain served up in measured doses to viewers, was calculated to cover up this essential attribute that defined his enormously lucrative career.

Letterman is a professional sycophant who limos off into the sunset to the strains of the sycophantic braying of a dying industry. As audiences dwindle, the media has become its own audience, mourning the passing of its glorious past by taking hits of nostalgia from its heady days of power and privilege.

The mournful tributes piling up in his wake aren’t about him. Network television is dying. Letterman was one of its last national figures. If you think mainstream media outlets are carrying on over his exit, wait until network television dies its inevitable demographic death.

Then the media will really have something to cry about.

26 Feb 2015

The Unknown President

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ObamaWorship

Monica Crowley explains exactly why Mayor Giuliani’s expression of doubt about Obama’s love of America hit such a mainstream media nerve.

The issue raised by Mr. Giuliani’s comment is not whether or to what extent Mr. Obama loves his country. It is also not about Mr. Obama’s patriotism or lack thereof.

The real point is as true as it is frightening: Six years into Mr. Obama’s presidency, the man is still a stranger.

That’s what Mr. Giuliani was really getting at when he said, “I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America . He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

With one pointed barb, Mr. Giuliani reminded us that even well into the middle of Mr. Obama’s second term, we still know so little about him.

Starting with his first major speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the mainstream media fell head over heels for him. When he announced a run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2007, that same media became John Cusack’s character in “Say Anything,” hoisting a boombox of love toward his window. And once he became president, they all but declared that they wanted to have his baby.

As a result of their stalkerish obsession, the media never vetted Mr. Obama. While they have made sport of rummaging through Republican candidates’ garbage, college records and past romantic relationships, they refused to do even rudimentary investigative work into Mr. Obama’s background, education, family, friends and professional associates. Digging into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s college years is called “vetting.” Digging into Mr. Obama’s college years is called “racism.”

They still refuse to do it. His college and law school records remain sealed, his “career” as a community organizer remains murky, his family background and early childhood in Indonesia remain murkier, and details about his ideological education from Communists such as Frank Marshall Davis and radicals such as Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers, Rashid Khalidi and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright remain largely unexplored.

It’s no wonder that questions about Mr. Obama’s very essence are still being kicked around. No one — Mr. Obama first and foremost — has ever answered them.

After all, he set out to become what he called a “symbol of possibility.” Such “symbols” didn’t engage in such pedestrian activities as full disclosure.

15 Feb 2015

Mencken On the American Press

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H.L.-Mencken-amused

–HL Mencken, Prejudice: Second Series, 1920 “The Cultural Background, The Need for an Aristocracy” also available in A Mencken Chrestomathy, edited by Terry Teachout.

What chiefly distinguishes the daily press of the United States from the press of all other countries pretending to culture is not its lack of truthfulness or even its lack of dignity and honor, but its incurable fear of ideas, its constant effort to evade the discussion of fundamentals by translating all issues into a few elemental fears, its incessant reduction of all reflection to mere emotion. It is, in the true sense, never well-informed. It is seldom intelligent, save in the arts of the mob-master. It is never courageously honest. Held harshly to a rigid correctness of opinion by the plutocracy that controls it with less and less attempt at disguise, and menaced on all sides by censorships that it dare not flout, it sinks rapidly into formalism and feebleness. Its yellow section is perhaps its most respectable section for there the only vestige of the old free journalist survives. In the more conservative papers one finds only a timid and petulant animosity to all questioning of the existing order, however urbane and sincere – a pervasive and ill-concealed dread that the mob now heated up against the orthodox hobgoblins may suddenly begin to unearth hobgoblins of its own, and so run amok.”

18 Jan 2015

The Krauts Have a Word For Them

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Lugenpresse2
Translation: “Lying Press: Shut Your Mouths!”

So notorious is left-wing media bias in Germany, particularly with respect to reporting cases of crime by Muslim immigrants that there have been mass demonstrations, twenty-five thousand people in Dresden for example, against the Lügenpresse, what Rush Limbaugh refers to as “the Drive-By Media.”

The left has responded by trying to link the uncomplimentary term to earlier examples of its use against Allied newspapers during WWI and by the Nazis against their Communist rivals’ newspapers. The ultimate counter-attack has taken the form of a Sprachkritischen Aktion [Speech Critical Action] “jury,” consisting of four academics and two journalists, convening to declare Lügenpresse the Unwort des Jahres [the non-word of the year].

Previous un-word “award” winners have included the terms sozialtourismus (“social tourism”), referring to immigrants who come to Germany to indulge in socialist state benefits, and Döner-Morde (Gyro murder), which uses the name of a popular Turkish take-out dish to dismissively refer to murders of Turkish immigrants.

Atlantic story

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