Category Archives: media

More Follow-Up Questions, Please

This is why I watch Aljazeera America:

Ah, those pesky “follow-up questions.” Don’t see them too often from the likes of Chuck Todd or David Gregory.

The fact of the matter is, when you ask the follow-up questions it becomes apparent that Republicans are not only legislating shit they don’t understand, they’re legislating shit they never bothered to think about. “Why would a woman want to get an abortion?” “Well gee now, I’ve never thought about that …”

Maybe you should, asshole. This should be asked of every anti-choice politician. If they can’t answer it they need to get to the end of the line.

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Filed under abortion, feminism, media, Republican Party, women's rights

Did GA’s Liberal Gun Laws Enable A Hate Crime?

Starting to look that way:

Araim, who was Muslim, and her three female companions were wearing hijab, the traditional Islamic head covering that symbolizes modesty for women in public, her nephew, Omar Araim, said Monday.

Whether Lampien saw Araim and the other women before the shooting was not clear. Neither the Helen police nor the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which took over the case Sunday, responded to requests for information Monday. The Helen police deleted information about the shooting posted Sunday on the department’s Facebook page.

Information is still sketchy at this point. But it explains why Lampien was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Usually these things are written off as “tragic accidents.”

It would be nice to get a little national attention to this case. The scrutiny afforded by the glare of a national spotlight would help make sure the investigation is thorough and nothing is being swept under the rug.

Of course, our national news media is unable to walk and chew gum at the same time, and right now they’re focused solely on Ferguson, Mo.

And yes, it’s really hard for the gun loons to defend these liberal “guns everywhere” laws, when someone can potentially use them to perpetrate a hate crime. More guns = more shootings. Plain and simple.

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Filed under gun control, media

The Battle Of The Editorial Page

The Kansas City Star‘s editorial page editor learned the hard way that the Heritage Foundation is not a real think tank but rather a conservative talking point factory populated by charlatans and cranks. She won’t be publishing any more editorials from Heritage nitwit Stephen Moore, but I hope she takes a closer look at everything else coming out of that shady outfit, too.

The link has the deets, but in a nutshell, Moore submitted a piece rebutting a Paul Krugman piece about the sorry state of the Kansas economy ever since Gov. Numnutz decided slashing taxes would create an economic boom. It didn’t — it never does — but Moore begged to differ, offering a piece full of recycled supply-side ideas and cooked with some incorrect statistics.

As an aside, I really don’t get people like Stephen Moore. He’s writing a piece where he has to fudge his data to make his point work (and he didn’t even do that correctly), yet he’s still going to the mat on a discredited economic theory? Again: he can’t make the theory work without fudging the numbers and he’s still spouting it? Who does that? Not a real economist, but a fraud. How does someone like that look themselves in the mirror every day? What a pathetic loser.

Anyway, as the CJR pointed out, the blame rests on the newspaper, not the propagandist:

Of course, the responsibility here is not Moore’s alone. As Silverman says, “each of these outlets bear responsibility for the op-eds they publish. There are so few stats in this piece that it would seem reasonable to expect someone on the op-ed page to check them before accepting the column. That would have prevented this issue.”

Pepper acknowledges this responsibility. “We did not factcheck his BLS figures that we found out later were incorrect, and that was a failure on our part,” she says.

Indeed. This whole scenario reminds me of our own Gannett fishwrap, The Tennessean, which repeatedly ran op-eds from the corporate sockpuppets at Rick Berman’s House of Propaganda. For some reason newspaper editors seem to be the last to get the memo that conservatives are using the media to advance their political agenda. As with Stephen Moore, they either know it and don’t care, or they’ve drunk so much “two sides to every story” Kool-ade that they’ve forgotten their first job is accuracy.

Anyway, score a point for the Kansas City Star, at least. One fewer paper publishing one right-winger’s bullshit. At this rate our media will be cleaned up around the time the very last newspaper folds.

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Filed under media

The Market Has Spoken

I do not for the life of me understand why cable news outfits (cough*cough*MSNBC*cough*cough) continue to bring Ken Pollack on to discuss Iraq. Do they not understand what fools this makes them?

Pollack, of course, famously wrote the 2002 book, The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq:

Examining all sides of the debate and bringing a keen eye to the military and geopolitical forces at work, Pollack ultimately comes to this controversial conclusion: through our own mistakes, the perfidy of others, and Saddam’s cunning, the United States is left with few good policy options regarding Iraq. Increasingly, the option that makes the most sense is for the United States to launch a full-scale invasion, eradicate Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, and rebuild Iraq as a prosperous and stable society—for the good of the United States, the Iraqi people, and the entire region.

Hmm, yes, that went well, didn’t it. BTW, you can buy the book on Amazon now for a whopping 0.01:

pollack2

The market has spoken.

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Filed under Iraq War, media, MSNBC

Can CNN Be Saved?

Oh, CNN. Whatever happened to our cable news pioneer? Now the once groundbreaking news channel has been relegated to trolling for page views with unbelievably offensive stories like this one:

CNN

Can the Klan rebrand? Seriously? This is a question you needed to ask marketing experts? Why? This takes CNN’s “both sides of the story” ruse to new heights.

I grabbed a screen shot because I felt sure the story would get pulled. From the link:

Ancona, who lives in Missouri, insists there’s a new Klan for modern times — a Klan that’s “about educating people to our ideas and getting people to see our point of view to … help change things.”

He said he and those like him can spread that message without violence — a sort of rebranding of the Klan.

The idea may sound absurd, but is it conceivable?

No, say top marketing experts, brand gurus and historians — and for many reasons.

The Klan could change its name, get a smooth-talking spokesperson, replace the robes with suits and take off those ridiculous hats, but underneath, people would recognize its message is the same.

Just, stop right there. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that CNN’s reporters actually asked marketing experts whether a reviled hate group can rebrand — you know, way to legitimize the group’s existence in the first place, guys!

Why not just ask, is there a way to make anti-Semitism more palatable? Is there an upside to White power? Should we bring back town square lynchings? I mean, for crissakes. That’s what you idiots are really asking. There are not two sides to racism and bigotry!

Here’s a thought. Has CNN, recently mocked on SNL for its ridiculous missing airplane coverage, outlived its usefulness? Is there any point to its existence? Is it time to pull the plug?

Guys: this should be obvious, but you don’t rebrand a hate group. It’s sorta by definition un-rebrandable. Kinda surprised you asked the question in the first place.

[UPDATE]:

Story was not pulled, but by Monday morning the headline had been tweaked:

CNN3

The content of the story is the same, i.e., the question asked of marketing experts was not, can this Klan leader rebrand, but can the Klan itself rebrand.

Again: No.

SASQ.

{dusts off hands, removes CNN from channel list … }

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Filed under CNN, media

Today In Unfortunate Headline Placement, Gun Loon Division

It’s almost as if someone was trying to make a point or something:

UtahNewspaper

The story of the Utah toddler can be found here. He was shot by his 3-year-old sister, who found the rifle lying around in the house:

Cache County sheriff’s Lt. Mike Peterson said the gun has been used earlier in the day by the children’s father, who set it down after returning home. The firearm was unloaded but did have live rounds in the magazine, he said.

So, enjoy your Second Amendment rights, people. Kinda pathetic when they’re more important than your own kids. I read stories like these on a daily basis and I promise you, every single one of these parents thinks they are being safe. Every single one.

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Filed under gun control, media

Your Modern American Sweatshop

Oh how I love these people who post ads on Craigslist (click to enlarge):

CraigslitEBook

Wow, the chance to write a 10,000-word eBook for a whopping $50 bucks! Who could turn down such a lucrative opportunity, especially since if they like your work, there’s the opportunity for more such wonderful assignments!

/sarcasm

I mean, cripes: when I ranted about this four years ago the going rate was $5 bucks for a 500-word blog post. My how things have totally not changed. You do the math.

Used to be sweatshops were places in China where they made cheap T-shirts sold at the Gap and Old Navy. Now, it appears sweatshops have entered the white collar job market.

Just, fuck you all very much. Write the damn book yourselves.

[UPDATE]:

Ha! This guy has the right idea!

musicians

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Filed under media

Follow The Links, People

[UPDATE]:

Thanks to my friends at Wonkette, it appears this whole smear started in the most predictable of places: the lying liar Frank Luntz:

LuntzTweet

Well, nobody could’ve anticipated ….

———————————————————–

This almost seems too petty to be believed, except it’s such a classic example of how the right-wing smear machine works that I just had to share it.

Our travel through the conservative cesspool begins at The New York Times, where we have this innocuous little story about the White House executive pastry chef leaving his position in June. Here’s the tantalizing lede:

WASHINGTON — The first lady, Michelle Obama, is soon to lose her executive pastry chef, Bill Yosses. And she is partly to blame.

Ooh, yummy! What did that wretched woman do now? Ah, it’s all fun and games, as the story goes on to say that FLOTUS has inspired Chef Yosses’ newfound interest in healthy food. Oh, okay! They were joshing us. Indeed, Yosses was originally famous for his rich desserts, but he changed his ways at the direction of Mrs. Obama and has a new culinary calling. Not only has he changed his own diet, he’s found a new passion for creating healthier yet still delicious dessert treats:

She has piqued his interest in the relationship between food and health, he said in a recent telephone interview, so the man who made the Hawaiian chocolate-malted ganache for the White House state dinner for France is now headed to New York with an aim to teach children and adults about eating better. In the meantime, he has given up his usual breakfast doughnuts for a smoothie made with apple, kale, spinach and ginger — from time to time.

Oh! So the Times was just using a time-honored literary device to pull readers into the story. Nicely done. The chef further tells the Times,

The result — oatmeal bars, baked apples and pear-quince cobblers, among many others — will have a lasting impact on his eating habits, as will Mrs. Obama.

“She has done it with humor and good will, without preaching, just the way you would hope the ‘Mom in chief’ would do,” Mr. Yosses said. He called her “definitely an inspiring boss, a combination of spontaneity and seriousness.”

Hugs and kisses all around! The openly gay chef will get to finally live with his husband of three years — they’ve been separated for their entire 11-year-relationship — and Chef Yosses has found a new career direction. So, a nice little (dare I say it?) fluff piece, yes? Nothing to see here, move along.

Unless you’re The Daily Caller, of course! Over at Tucker Carlson’s Little Conservative Lie Machine, a nothing little story about the White House pastry chef is given a complete 180 and turned into a major smear of FLOTUS.

Here’s the screen shot:

daily_caller_smear

Nice way to take quotes out of context there, guys! See how they mashed up the Times piece to put an entirely new spin on what Chef Yosses actually said:

White House executive pastry chef Bill Yosses is resigning after First Lady Michelle Obama fundamentally changed his job duties to focus on healthier food.

Yosses is leaving the White House in June to work on a new project focusing on “food literacy” and The New York Times says Michelle is “partly to blame.” The openly gay chef was hired by Laura Bush in 2007 to make his trademark cookie plates and sugar sculptures. Mrs. Obama took over in 2009 and ordered Yosses to make healthier plates in smaller portions.

Yosses began replacing butter with fruit puree and sugar with honey and agave. But Yosses was never fully committed to the new policy.

“I don’t want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs,” Yosses said, noting that his departure from the White House is a “bittersweet decision.”

Oh, I see what you did there! That nice twisting of facts and quotes to give them an entirely new context is what we in the business call “fundamentally true but essentially bullshit.” Just enough plausible deniability to prevent a lawsuit in these United States — but don’t try that shit in Britain, Patrick Howley! You’d get your ass sued.

Oh, and give them extra points for actually linking to the original New York Times story. That takes balls. It appears the business model of The Daily Failure is to assume nobody follows links. Considering how lazy the right wing readership is, I’d say that’s a pretty good gamble.

But our little story isn’t finished, kids. Nope: along come the usual rabble of right-wing idiots like Tennessee’s own Marsha Blackburn to post the “smear” version of the Chef Yosses story on Facebook, with a snarkly little anti-Obama quip to feed her brain-dead followers:

blackburn page

This takes talent, it really does. This is how the conservative bubble operates. None of this would work if just one person followed the links from a Daily Caller story and actually compared the two versions. But they don’t. Clearly Marsha Blackburn didn’t — she didn’t need to. Because what matters to them is not what’s actually true, but what they want to be true. And they want to believe that even the White House pastry chef hates Michelle Obama. The entire right-wing spin machine is created to make a fringe minority believe they are a persecuted majority. It’s how the outrage stays alive.

This is not something Democrats need to aspire to in any way, shape or form, but it is something we need to be aware of the next time someone tries to launch another Swift Boat attack on a war hero or tries to sell death panels and FEMA camps to the masses.

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Filed under conservatives, FLOTUS, food, media, Rep. Marsha Blackburn

We All Saw This One Coming

Jamie Coots, the snake-handling Pentecostal preacher I wrote about last October, was bitten by a snake yesterday and has died.

What a charlatan and a scam artist. He abused, starved and dehydrated his reptiles to make them more docile, then pretended it was GOD doing a miracle. And along comes NatGeo to sell ads off the spectacle? Sick.

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Filed under animal cruelty, media, religion, religious fundamentalism

Stupid Media Tricks

[UPDATE]:

Yup, I nailed it.

———————————–

I’m pretty sure I know how this one is gonna go:

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A Middle Tennessee congresswoman is set to appear on Meet the Press this Sunday, where she will go head-to-head with a public television icon.

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-7th District, will take on Bill Nye “the Science Guy” over climate change.

Puh-leeze. Is Meet The Press so hard up for ratings? Here’s what’s going to happen: Blackburn will do what all of the Republican women do when they’re on shows like this, which is start talking and not come up for air, refusing to let anyone get a word in edgewise, endlessly repeating their Frank Luntz-approved talking points, until we’re all brain-dead. Any time Bill Nye starts to speak she will interrupt him and serve another breath-defying and time-consuming heaping of world salad. The host, in this case David Gregory, will sit there with a stupid grin on his face and not do a thing that closely approximates “moderating a panel,” though he’ll occasionally interject some useless nonsense to show how smart and important he is (such as mentioning hockey sticks or some such). If and when Bill Nye finally is able to get one word in, Gregory will interrupt him with, “Sorry, Bill, that’s all the time we have, we’re going to have to leave it there.”

I hate this shit. American news bobbleheads like David Gregory are little more than chair warmers these days. There won’t be any hard-hitting questions and unlike on the BBC, there certainly won’t be any attempt to let everyone get out a complete thought and prevent the continuous interruptus which the GOP deploys. These gimmicks end with me yelling “shut the fuck up” at the TV and getting crabby and stabby.

And after all that we get to see Mitt Romney, too? No, thanks.

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Filed under climate change, media, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee