In which RPN tries to find some Republicans to Agree With re: Revolution, Egypt

This is not an easy task, I assure you.  This is a group that, when not whining about the size of the debt, is either clamoring for war, tax cuts, or both simultaneously.  Finding prominent ones that say things one could construe as “sane” and “rational” is rare.  When it happens twice in a day, well…there’s a post for ya.*

I also really wanted to talk about Egypt and the Revolution there.  I mentioned it here, back on Jan 25.  This meta-news analysis story, talking about the ratings cable news war and the ideological struggle going on between Fox and CNN (i.e. between news coverage and batshit insane conspiracy theories) didn’t even start tracking coverage until a week later.  The only real coverage from the get go was on Al Jazeera, as mentioned here (with hilarious screen grabs of the schlock Fox was peddling that with a hottie that afternoon).   This is one event where I was most sad I had no cable, but later I learned that the market censorship in the U.S. already made that a non-starter…

Among the markets where [Al Jazeera English] was available was were Toledo and Sandusky, Ohio; Burlington, Vermont; Houston, Texas; and Washington, DC. Industry giant Comcast originally planned to carry Al Jazeera English in 2007, but reversed its decision shortly before the channel’s launch, citing “the already-saturated television market”*. The two major American satellite providers, DirecTV and Dish Network, had similar plans but also changed their minds, with speculation that the decision may have been influenced by allegations by the Bush administration of “anti-American bias” in the channel.**

* read as “Comcast threatened by News Corp and probably CNN” to drop them
** par for the course, 2001-2009

So I’ve been following a freakin’ Revolution online.  I’m watching my generation use my internets and their outrage to just say…..no more.

That’s what I’m seeing.  I’m being inspired as I see crowds shout perhaps my favorite political slogan of the 21st century, “IF THE GOVERNMENT TAKES DOWN YOUR INTERNET, TAKE DOWN YOUR GOVERNMENT.”   That’s one I whole-heartedly agree with.  Whole-souledly.  There are people marching and standing, and running and dying for their own freedom.

I heard when the ultimatums were set and passed, when the hounds were unleashed and the blood began to flow.    I watch and read…and then…I see…

…I see that half of my country seems to want the Revolution to fail.  They are more scared about something they know nothing about (the Muslim Brotherhood..oooohh, scary!), than something they do (freedom).  Or something they claim to know better than anyone else.

So instead of celebration and solidarity, instead of a nation standing as one with Freedom, I see some god-damned blithering idiot warning our President about supporting Operation Egyptian Freedom during the Superbowl (’cause that might lead to the Bad People!!FEAR THEM!!)!!   Again, trying to bring someone down, a revolution down, a people down, rather than everyone together under the banner of freedom.   That damn liberal media, at it again.

Speaking of that damn liberal media…I’m goin to awkwardly seque into the NYTimes trying to make a strange point with their bold-faced-lie of a headline, “CNN Rises to the Top in Egypt Coverage“, by Alessandra Stanley.  Unless perhaps they meant “quality”, not “viewers” (which is still a bold-faced-lie)….

In the first week of extensive live coverage of the uprising in Egypt, CNN got a ratings bump, knocking MSNBC into third place overall in the critical demographic of viewers 25-54–but Fox News quietly cleaned up, attracting more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined on a hard news story.According to Nielsen ratings data from Monday through Thursday of last week (Friday numbers will be released today), Fox News averaged 628,000 viewers 25-54 in primetime, compared to CNN’s 341,000 and MSNBC’s 254,000.

Fox News also led in terms of total viewers, with 2,452,000 in primetime, compared to CNN’s 959,000 and MSNBC’s 961,000.

[ed note: the first week of “extensive live coverage” was the second week of the revolution]

So what are the *most* viewers seeing instead of actual coverage of the Revolution on Al Jazeera?   *le sigh*

A word and a concept that until this week was relatively obscure and then FOX TV‘s Glenn Beck decided to explain the word and it’s meaning to his sizable audience.

And so Beck’s chalkboards were used to explain the meaning of Caliphate.  But as he always does, Mr. Beck challenged his audience to do their own homework and investigate all of the information he delivers on his nightly program.  Google recorded so many searches for “caliphate” and “caliphate definition” that both cracked the top five in Google trends.

[BTW, and for those that don’t know…the Christian equivalent myth about a “Caliphate” is Jesus coming back and setting up his 1,000 year reign.  Yes, that’s what Beck thinks in happening right now in Egypt, except for it’s teh Muslims.]

Oy, to the vey says this Spinoza convert.

 Yes, you read that right; the biggest idiot, on the biggest networked lie, is pushing a large portion of the most powerful country, to all being as insanely fucking paranoid, as Glenn Beck.

Instead of supporting Freedom and popular revolution rising directly from the streets against a corrupt and oppressive regime, Beck, O’Reilly and the whole Tard Brigade have half the country CHEERING FOR THE DICTATOR.

As such, I’m distressed once again.  It is in such moments of darkness that the strangest of things happen, and I find myself agreeing with Bill Kristol.

Now, people are more than entitled to their own opinions of how best to accomplish that democratic end. And it’s a sign of health that a political and intellectual movement does not respond to a complicated set of developments with one voice.

But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.

Nor is it a sign of health when other American conservatives are so fearful of a popular awakening that they side with the dictator against the democrats. Rather, it’s a sign of fearfulness unworthy of Americans, of short-sightedness uncharacteristic of conservatives, of excuse-making for thuggery unworthy of the American conservative tradition.

[link to full post, for which I feel kinda dirty]

Bolded for, ya know, emphasis.  ^–This x9001.

I can’t say it better myself, since no one would believe me making the same dang point.

Kristol ends with words of wisdom every soul should learn upon attaining sentience…[bolded, so you can tell it from his filler]

Let’s hope that as talk radio hosts find time for reflection, and commentators step back to take a deep breath, they will recall that one of the most hopeful aspects of the current conservative revival is its reclamation of the American constitutionalist tradition. That tradition is anchored even beyond the Constitution, of course, in the Declaration of Independence. And that document, let’s not forget, proclaims that, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.”

I will remind Bill, in closing and in reference to his final, partisan paragraphs, *we* won the Revolution and built *our* country.  That is how it has to work, that’s the best way for it to work.   Bill, that’s the only way it does work.  That’s the legend we have to tell ourselves to hold it all together, and it needs to be true.  Forcing revolution from the outside, well, we learned what pitfalls and IEDs lie that direction, yes?  Okay, then.

Now perhaps, is when we actually do need a man of George W. Bush’s enormous but limited talents, a man to sit on the sidelines and cheer.

LOUDLY.

For Freedom. 

* I like this guy too.  Supporting START was a no-brainer, hence the typical nature of the opposition.

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Are You A Better Journalist Than a Fifth Grader?

There has been a show on television recently that is called “Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?”

As someone who feels fairly confident in my own intellectual capacities when compared with a 10-year old, I haven’t felt the need to validate my own intellect by watching. From what I understand, it is a fairly popular program, although has recently fallen in the ratings with the rise of “Oh, My Balls!! : Weekend Edition.”

That being said, I have a new game you can play thanks to the new “Poll” button that WordPress so conveniently added to the interface.

This game, generally, is called “Are You A Better Journalist Than a Fifth Grader?”

Today’s edition, specifically, is called “Is Barbara West A Better Journalist Than Damon Weaver?”

We have decided to take both of their interviews with Joe “the Senator” Biden in as evidence for the contest.

——————–

Here’s Barbara West’s Reel.

Here’s Damon Weaver’s Reel..

——

Charles Krauthammer’s Lie (and read up on the “Bush Doctrine”)

[Charles Gibson] asked Palin, “Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?”

She responded, quite sensibly to a question that is ambiguous, “In what respect, Charlie?”

Sarah Palin ponders the Bush Doctrine

Sarah Palin ponders the Bush Doctrine

Sensing his “gotcha” moment [1], Gibson refused to tell her. After making her fish for the answer, Gibson grudgingly explained to the moose-hunting rube [2] that the Bush doctrine “is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense.”

Wrong.

I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term. In the cover essay of the June 4, 2001, issue of the Weekly Standard entitled, “The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism,” I suggested that the Bush administration policies of unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol, together with others, amounted to a radical change in foreign policy that should be called the Bush doctrine.

Then came 9/11 [3], and that notion was immediately superseded by the advent of the war on terror.

[1] It was the “moose in headlights look in her eyes.
[2] “I’m a victim” argument.
[3] [And, as you’ve said any number of times…everything changed…including what you called the “Bush Doctrine.” ]

Charles Krauthammer – Charlie Gibson’s Gaffe – washingtonpost.com.

So a bunch of right-wingers have been using this to defend Palin’s complete lack of knowledge regarding the fact that Bush and his neocon buddies (one of which is teaching her foreign policy) completely changed the foreign policy philosophy of the United States.

The lie is easily exposed quickly. Watch now, if you can ignore facts like this, you too, can be a hack.

KRAUTHAMMER: I was the first to use the term. In the cover essay of the June 4, 2001, issue of the Weekly Standard entitled, “The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism,

GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?

PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

GIBSON: The Bush — well, what do you — what do you interpret it to be?

PALIN: His world view.

GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.

So in his inredibly egotistical daydreams, Charles Krauthammer has forgotten 9/11.

You see, in between Krauthammer writing BS policy for PNAC and AEI in June 2001 and the U.S. invading Iraq in 2002, there was a rather large event.

Since Gibson specifically mentioned what he was talking about, and Krauthammer specifically omitted Gibson mentioning that, you can see who the liar is here.

Palin had no idea was any of them was, and offers a couple of complete non-answers. Some, like Krauthammer, have jumpted to Palin’s defense and said that the term is ambiguous. But given Gibson’s clarification, that Kruathammers somehow missed, and the fact that the official through colloquial understandings of the term all have nothing to do with how she answered (I think she thought it was the “War on Terror” which is even more ambiguous).

She didn’t know what it was. If you would like to, please read on.

Then, if McCain nominates you for Vice President (and it is possible) you can know better….he certainly did….

Continue reading

A Simple Guide to Biased Reporting (re: Lipstick bullshit and Bonney Kapp)

So we all know Fox is a joke, but it’s kinda funny when they themselves point it out..

But with so many news outlets – especially cable and Internet – influencing the news cycle, it seems as though personalities, gaffes, and yes, even made up controversies will continue to make their way to the forefront of political coverage.

[full story]

Yea…when you make ’em like that.

BTW, in addition to the boldfaced hypocrisy, this article by Bonney Kapp is total crap. 

Let me highlight the bias in the article.  All done with descriptive words and sneaky quotes.

Title: Obama Says “Enough” with “Phony” Controversy (sneaky use of quotes…is it a quote or a praphrase?  Who knows?)

Body : “Obama said apologetically…”

“Obama proclaimed his comment…”

“An exasperated Obama ticked off…”

“Obama has accused the McCain campaign…”

“Frustrated, Obama declared…”

And there you go.  That’s how you put bias in an article.  A textbook example really.  All that personal flavor.  On an article about nothing, featured on Google News as Fox’s finest.

UPDATE: I’ve made no secret of my love for the internet.  This is why.  Above you see a text version of the event.  Below, you see a video version of the event.

When comparing the two, it becomes blatantly obvious that trusting Bonney Kapp to bring you news about politics is retarded.   If I want bullshit, I’ll buy some cows.

David Shuster is a Fuckass, Part Number Two

[Joe] Scarborough [of MSNBC], who served in Congress as a Republican representative from Florida, seems to be particularly touchy being the only host who isn’t openly pro-Democratic.

Yesterday, after [David] Shuster [of MSNBC] referred to “your party, the Republican Party,” Scarborough went off, sparking a seven-minute exchange.

“I will let you know that ‘my party,’ my party loathes me much more than your party, the Democratic Party, loathes me,” Scarborough seethed. “What about your party? What’s your party, David Shuster? David, what’s your party?”

“I have no party. I’m a complete independent,” Shuster replied.

“Oh, I feel so comforted by the fact that you’re independent. I bet everyone at MSNBC has ‘independent’ on their voting cards,” said Scarborough.

BRAWLING ANCHORS ON MSNBC- New York Post.

Jeez, what a ‘tard. Personally I’m in favor of honesty. Take me for example…I think…and have thunk for a while…that Obama would make the best President. That’s my general opinion and I try to defend it. I am not, however, registered with any political party. I’ve voted for three independents and one Democrat (Perot, Perot (ha), Nader, and Kerry). Pretty simple to say that.

It doesn’t change the fact that I still want to share my view on things. It’s the hiding and the b.s. that’s the problem, particularly if pull the pundit bullshit that cause me to call David Shuster a fuckass in the first place.

[yes, I am trying to google bomb him, please help me]

The Net Reigns Supreme (For Better or Worse)

Alter: All Umbrage All the Time | Newsweek Voices – Jonathan Alter | Newsweek.com

After a decade of waiting for the first “Internet election,” its finally here, and were adrift from all the old-media moorings. “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one,” the great critic A. J. Liebling wrote more than half a century ago. Today, of course, were all press lords, or can be. But the “crowd-sourcing” of news cuts both ways. Like democracy itself, it can cleanse, correct and ennoble. Or it can coarsen, spread lies and degrade the national conversation.

Everything about the Web is double-edged. Its hard to believe, but YouTube wasnt even around in 2004. Now it or other streamed video is a godsend for anyone who wants to follow politics closely. But YouTube is also a pixilated guillotine for any public figures inclined to show a little humanity that is, fallibility or a penchant for inconvenient truth-telling when they step out of their house. Colin Powell told me recently that hes even had to put up with picture takers in the mens room.

Alter makes a number of good points in this mini-rant/whine about the interwebs and the reality of a democratized media.  As one actually educated in how the media works and how much works it takes to make much of it look effortless on the consumer end, he makes some good points.

Read more to see my take on it.

Continue reading

Jesse Jackson goes Deeper Into His Hole

Fox: Jackson used N-word in crude off-air remarks – Yahoo News

CHICAGO – The Rev. Jesse Jackson used the N-word during a break in a TV interview where he criticized presidential candidate Barack Obama, Fox News confirmed Wednesday.

The longtime civil rights leader already came under fire this month for crude off-air comments he made against Obama in what he thought was a private conversation during a taping of a “Fox & Friends” news show.

In additional comments from that same conversation, first reported by TVNewser, Jackson is reported to have said Obama was “talking down to black people,” and referred to blacks with the N-word when he said Obama was telling them “how to behave.”

Another reason to like Obama, Jesse Jackson hates him.  I really don’t understand the talking down to people thing. On the one hand, talking to some people “at their level” is an exercise of idiocy.  On the other hand, what the hell has Jackson done in the past 30 years that has been remarkable?

Isn’t this guy supposed to be a reverend? And if he is a ‘civil rights leader’ where are the marches against torture and domestic spying?  Where’s the real outrage instead of the limelight stealing kind?

Perhaps something good will come of this and Jackson will get moved off the list of the first person they call when someone drops an n-bomb…mainly because this time its Jackson doing so.

/note: This is also a bullshit “media” story and anyone who spends more than four minutes on it is wasting your time.

Iran, CNN, Fearmongering, and Nukes. Lots and Lots of Nukes

This was going to start off as a post about Iran’s recent test firing of some missiles.

It starts with the CNN story of the firing, was going to mention the US response to the 40-year anniversary of the ABM treaty (from a couple weeks ago) and was going to finish with a mention that Iran had photoshopped one of their released “proof” photos to add a missile.

My main point was going to be that it was simple dick-waving. I was going to mention during the ABM article dissection that Israel (which is/was mentioned in the original CNN article) didn’t sign it and has nukes and isn’t afraid to use them in defense. So, all in all, it was a stalemate and dick-waving. Not much to see here.

Then I reloaded the CNN article.

A subtext of a lot of my media coverage over the last, oh, 10 years or so, has been their penchant of blood and guts. They have a desire to forment war, at least a little bit. I’m not alleging anything more nefarious here than news sells eyeballs. So helping the news along isn’t beyond the pale, generally. There is an incentive.

It’s sometimes hard to find. Sometimes easy. This article is now going to include all of that stuff before, but since there are now two (2) different CNN articles, both with quite different tones, I’ll point that out as well.

See if you can spot the difference. These are screenshots. I’ll try and archive the originals as well. Right now this proof only exists in the memory of my computer and some others out there that have been sitting on this story for a couple weeks.

Here is the original article.

This was how the article originally appeared

This was how the article originally appeared

[full size]

Things to note here

Title:
Iran test fires missiles in riposte to U.S., Israel

Bullet Points:

  • Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards test fire nine long and medium range missiles
  • Officials say war games are in response to U.S. and Israeli threats
  • Drill conducted in the Persian Gulf and the strategic Strait of Hormouz

Paragraph 2 and 3:The Islamic Republic News Agency and Press TV reported that the naval forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Wednesday test-fired a Shahab-3 missile during war games in the Persian Gulf.

The exercises come a month after Israel conducted a military drill in the eastern Mediterranean involving dozens of warplanes, and the latest Iranian activities prompted concern from Israel and condemnation from the United States.

So in this version we have a pretty simple action/reaction narrative going (bolded). We do something, they do something, etc. etc.

Now on to the updated version. This one is much punchier.

How the article looked after the update.

How the article looked after the update.

[full size]

Things to note here

Title:
Iran Gen.: Our finger is always on the trigger

Bullet Points:

  • Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards test fire long and medium range missiles
  • NEW: Iranian general: “Our finger is always on the trigger”
  • NEW: U.S.: Iran is “as serious… a problem as any we face today
  • Missile tests were part of Iranians war games in the Persian Gulf

Paragraph 2 and 3:

“We want to tell the world that those who conduct their foreign policy by using the language of threat against Iran have to know that our finger is always on the trigger and we have hundreds and even thousands of missiles ready to be fired against predetermined targets,” Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of the Revolutionary Guard ground forces, said on state TV.

We will chase the enemies on the ground and in the sky and we are able react strongly to enemy’s threats in shortest possible time.”

So here we have a slightly different narrative (bolded).

Note how any mention of outside influence is relegated to a minor point of the story. This is how you war-monger in print.

————-

The articles then move a bit towards each other in content. With the updated one including the following.

There are worldwide worries that Israel, which is concerned by Iran’s plans, is pondering a unilateral strike.

Israel’s recent aerial military exercise was in part an effort to send a message that it has the capability to attack Iran’s nuclear program.

The distance involved in the exercise was roughly the same as would be involved in a possible strike on the Iranian nuclear fuel plant at Natanz, a U.S. military official said.

In 1981, Israel attacked a nuclear facility in Iraq. Israel also struck a site in Syria that some say was a nuclear reactor under construction.

One Israeli Cabinet member, Shaul Mofaz, recently said it “will attack” Iran if the nuclear program was not halted.

So that’s where we are there. This is a confrontation between Israel (not a signatory of the NPT (Nucular [sic] Non-Proliferation Treaty) and has nukes) and Iran (signatory of the NPT and has a large number conventional missiles).

So here’s how we marked the 40 year anniversary of a treaty meant to end the spread of such things…

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States, marking the 40th anniversary of the fraying nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), said on Tuesday it was concerned that countries like Iran had “violated” the pact.

Garold Larson, deputy U.S. ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, also urged the NPT’s near-global membership to deter violators from withdrawing from the treaty in the future.

Speaking to a U.N. seminar in Geneva celebrating the 40th anniversary of the NPT, which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, Larson said the past two decades had witnessed the proliferation and misuse of nuclear technology.

“The United States remains very concerned that parties like Iran have violated their commitments and thereby undermined the treaty,” he said.

Larson did not refer to U.S. intelligence findings that Syria covertly tried to build an atomic reactor with North Korean help at a site bombed by Israel last year. Syria denies the accusations.

Investigators from the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency said after a four-day visit to Syria last week that they had examined the site but that more checks were needed.

Unlike Syria, Israel has not signed the NPT. It is widely believed to have the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East.

So, we take a swipe at one group and look the other way from the other

And as we look over the horizon half-way around the world…we see this…

10320641h21253011

A photo of Iranian missiles being test-fired yesterday was “apparently digitally altered to show four missiles rising into the air instead of three,” according to Agence France-Presse.

The image, which the wire service says it obtained from a website controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, appeared in newspapers and blogs across the world, including USA TODAY and On Deadline.

The Lede blog says “the second missile from the right appears to be the sum of two other missiles in the image.”

[full post]

So the general idea here is that we are supposed to be deathly afraid, so afraid that we’ll allow for another “pre-emptive” attack, on Iran because of their fearsome arsenal.

Which has been photoshopped to look scarier.

Riiight.

I spent the vast majority of my life 15-minutes away from being vaporized by Crazy Ivan’s nukes launched from super-secret subs and tropical paradii.

Iranian editing skills don’t scare me. In the slightest.

From Tim Russert to Poppy Harlow

Tim Russert died last week of a heart attack.  He was 58.  You can read a great deal about him here.  There is more available here about the man, his work, and his life.

The “official” announcement.

I didn’t know Tim Russert.  Didn’t hang with him.  If you want to read those types of eulogies, please feel free.  The only thing I share in common (outside the big, white, male thing) is a passion for the news of the world.  Timmy did it much better than I have, but when you share a passion, you share an outlook, and an order to the world.  People who share a passion value things the same way, and Tim Russert is probably turning over in his just dug grave when he looks at the media he left for the rest of us.

Maybe it just the passing of one of the better ones that leaves the place so desolate.  As I look at across the media universe (and I do, far more often than is healthy), I see a void when I’m looking for someone relevant who tries to be impartial.  Someone who holds the feet to the fire, to quote Jon Stewart.  Jon Stewart…he’s probably the next best at it.

It’s that bad.

And not to pick on Poppy Harlow (daytime “24-news” is on par with daytime “TV”), but gimme a break.  Since when did news need a bass line and background music?  When did the commentators, speaking live, become more important than the speaker, speaking live?  When did the analysis become more important than the event?  When did the taste replace the essence?

In the year 2000, I think.    It’s been long enough now that we can look back and see the changes.  We can see when and how it happened.   You could also say 1996, and give Clinton some credit.  That’s when he axed the ownership rules.  They were rules, to be honest, weakened by Reagan in the 1980’s, when it was decided that even trying to be “fair” wasn’t needed any more.

That’s why Russert stood out, because even though he no longer had a legal need to be fair and attempt to appear to be impartial, he still thought it would be professional to do so.  And he pulled it off, for the most part.

But there is no doubt that he is one of the very youngest of a dying breed.  There are a few more out there, scattered on public television, cable, and maybe the web.  Aaaah, the web.  There’s a wildcard in news if there ever was one.  That’s why it was nice to have a Russert about to keep things grounded.

Now, with Mr. Russert himself becoming the ground, who is left to tell us where it is?

What say you, Poppy?

Helen Thomas on the Media and the War

People can handle the truth about war

That makes me wonder why the media have shied away from telling the story about Iraqi civilian casualties. News people and editors were more courageous during the Vietnam War. What are they afraid of now?

Who can forget the shocking picture of the little Vietnamese girl running down a road, aflame from a napalm attack?

And who can forget the picture of South Vietnamese Police Chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan putting a gun to the temple of a young member of the Viet Cong and executing him on a Saigon street?

I don’t remember any American outcry against the media for showing the horror of war when those photographs were published. Were we braver then? Or maybe more conscience stricken?

Of course, the Pentagon did not enjoy such images coming out of Saigon in that era. Most Americans found them appalling, as further evidence of our misbegotten venture in Vietnam. Americans rallied to the streets in protest and eventually persuaded President Lyndon Johnson to give up his dreams of re-election in 1968.

Some Americans believe the media were to blame for the U.S. defeat in Vietnam. Nonsense.

Johnson knew the war was unwinnable, especially after the 1968 Tet offensive and the request by Army Gen. William Westmoreland for 200,000 more troops, in addition to the 500,000 already in Vietnam.

The Pentagon made a command decision after the Vietnam War to get better control of the dissemination of information in future wars. That led then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to create an office of disinformation at the start of the Iraqi war. It was later disbanded after howls from the media.

More recently, we have seen the Pentagon’s propaganda efforts take the form of carefully coaching retired generals about how to spin the Iraq war when they appear on television as alleged military experts. The New York Times’ revelations about those pet generals have cast a pall over their reputations.

Too often in this war, the news media seem to have tried to shield the public from the suffering this war has brought to Americans and Iraqis.

It’s not the job of the media to protect the nation from the reality of war. Rather, it is up to the media to tell the people the truth. They can handle it.

Pretty nice rant from Grandma Thomas.  There has been a concerted effort, now well documented, for the Pentagon to control information that flows out of the warzone (embedding), and a concerted effort to spin that information when it gets here (GeneralGate).

In general (ha!), however, these are no more than delaying actions (perhaps that is their only purpose…) and the realities of war eventually filter in, as they did re: Abu Ghraib.   

War ain’t pretty.  It never has been.

The Media’s Campaign

West Wing: The Media’s Mini-Truths – International – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News

A journalist’s twin points of references should be the real and the important. But for months the focus of the election coverage was on trivia. Every insignificant detail got blown out of proportion, with every chipmunk becoming a Godzilla. According to a report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, over 60 percent of election coverage by the US media has been focused on campaign strategies, tactics or personalities — but not on actual political content.

 

Reporters focused the most attention on such pressing questions as whether Barack Obama was wearing an American flag lapel pin, whether John McCain had a mistress eight years ago or whether former first lady Hillary Clinton was incorrectly recalling her 1996 trip to Bosnia.

Clinton claimed to recall hearing sniper fire as her plane landed in Bosnia. In fact, as archive TV footage later showed, Clinton was actually greeted by a young girl who recited a poem on the tarmac. That may have been embarrassing for Hillary Clinton, but it is insignificant for voters.

Even the eccentric pastor from Obama’s church, Jeremiah Wright, is not worth the fuss. “God damn America,” he preached. So what? The priest at my Catholic church was a reactionary, while my class teacher was a communist. Perhaps the mad and the blind to the right and the left of our path through life are there simply to show us where the middle way is.

Solid criticism from the Continent on the U.S. Presidential Campaign.  Pretty striaghtforward criticism of the media focusing on the sizzle and not the steak.  When the majority of political coverage involved how the pundits feel about the candidates, rather than what those candidates themselves stand for, it’s not a good thing, particularly.

This is more symptomatic of how the U.S. public has been trained to consume media than anythning else, IMHO.  When the sizzle gets ratings and the steak makes people change the channel, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s the sizzle that gets the coverage.