Category Archives: media

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.

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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

I’m Mad As Hell

Truly nothing shows how completely useless our news media has become than the endless discussion of the “Obama-Castro handshake.” This is Volume Two of the “Obama Bowed To Saudis” fauxtrage, another fabricated reaction to a completely meaningless incident. The Daily Show has already superbly skewered those pretending to be upset about this so I don’t need to go into all the times Republicans shook hands with horrible people. Suffice it to say, it’s just more manufactured outrage expressing the belief of the 27% that President Obama does not belong in the White House. How typical.

If the national news media hasn’t yet figured out that there’s nothing this president can do that won’t result in endless hand-wringing from the right wing over how the blackety-black Muslim usurper has destroyed American prestige and sullied the very institution of the American Presidency with his blackety blackness, then I really have no use for any of you.

I mean, Jesus. Did it completely escape your notice that Handshake-Gate came right on the heels of Selfie-Gate? Both completely overshadowed President Obama’s inspirational and defiant eulogy, which was both tribute and call to action to finish the work of Mandela, King and Gandhi. The utter irony of all of this is just tragic. The president’s message: continue fighting for justice and equality around the world. The message the American news media delivered: America’s first African American president is just not fit for office, he’s out of his element. Look how he behaves on the world stage. What an embarrassment.

Hey New York Times, CNN, network news: do y’all not have the self-awareness to see what you’re doing?

All I can say is, shame on you. Shame. On. YOU.

I eagerly await the day when some cable news reader takes one look at the Teleprompter and says, “You know what, guys? Fuck this shit. I’m not reading that. That’s just stupid.” I wonder if anyone on TV will follow the lead of the AFP photographer who took the so-called “selfie” picture. He said:

“Why do people care about a selfie?” he said. “This is a sad reflection of our society.” He’d gone to photograph the memorial with a team of ten photographers. They moved some 500 images on the wire. “Good images, nice, strong images,” he said. “Images of South Africans dancing, smiling, chanting, which is the way they express mourning for a man they consider to be their father.” It was a long ceremony; he took many photographs of world leaders giving speeches and South Africans grieving. And suddenly he saw the Danish prime minister lift her phone to take a photo of her face alongside seatmates Obama and Cameron. Schmidt dutifully clicked away. “They’re in front of you, this happens, you take the picture,” he said. “But I saw so many good images from that memorial. And the picture that’s getting played is the president in a selfie. That’s kind of a bummer.”

Yes, well, lesson learned. Now you know: when it comes to President Obama, the rules are different. Snapping a photo of the world’s most powerful man engaging in a candid moment with two other world leaders, acting like any other human being, is simply not done. Not when it’s Obama. If it were George W. Bush, that would be a different matter entirely. Because some people in America still just can’t get over the fact that there’s a black man in the White House and anything he does offends them. His very existence offends them.

And what’s worse is that the American news media eat this stuff up with a spoon every damn time. They simply can’t let right-wing uproar pass as the meaningless grumbling we know it is. These are sore losers who have been on the wrong side of every important issue since forever — yes, even the wrong side of the Apartheid issue. Why anyone pays attention to them, I do not know. Yet every time they call for the fainting couches it makes the national headlines.

This is how journalism dies in America. You’d think news people would be offended that their profession has been turned into the equivalent of a junior high school lunchroom. I guess you’d be wrong.

Please, someone, find your balls. Tell the people in charge to knock it off.

17 Comments

Filed under media, President Obama, racism

Hey Amazon: Next Year Buy A Damn Ad

[UPDATE]:

Ha ha ha, via Balloon Juice:

BafhCYvCYAE_3E3

————————————————-

If last night’s “scoop” that Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos had a top secret plan to deliver packages by drone was supposed to restore 60 Minutes’ tarnished reputation, this blogger ain’t buying it.

What a load of utter bullshit. The idea defies common sense, logic, and economic reality, not mention civilian airspace. The whole thing had the stench of a “balloon boy” hoax to me. But that didn’t stop every single freaking news outlet from picking up the story and running with it. Even the dang BBC World Service had a long piece about it on the radio this morning.

All you need to know about Amazon’s mythic drone delivery program is that this BS piece ran on the eve of that other media-manufactured hoax, the so-called “Cyber Monday.” I’ve always wanted to know who invented “Cyber Monday,” I mean, it’s not like we all don’t have home computers and can shop online whenever we damn well please. What makes Monday so special? Absolutely nothing. Some marketing person invented this meaningless consumer BS. Forgive me but I refuse to play along.

But you know who will play along? 60 Minutes and every other media outlet which decided to give Jeff Bezos and Amazon loads of free publicity. Which, near as I can tell, is just about everybody.

Business Insider did the math:

How much was that free advertising worth?

“60 Minutes” gave more than 15 minutes to its Amazon story. A 30-second spot during the 7 p.m. show usually costs just over $100,000.

If you figure Amazon got 30 30-second commercials’ worth of time, you can estimate that it got about $3 million worth of “earned” media.

But $3 million is probably a very low estimate. That’s just the cost Amazon would have had to pay to reach “60 Minutes’” 13 million viewers. Thanks to all the coverage Amazon Prime Air has gotten in other outlets, many more millions of people are talking about the company today.

Yes, do remind me how blogs killed journalism. I’m all ears.

Apparently “drones” are the new “outragous campaign ad” PR stunt. You know how during campaign season some candidate posts a really heinous ad on YouTube which gets everyone riled up and the news media covers it as news, so the campaign doesn’t have to buy airtime? This is that:

After the “60 Minutes” show last night, a Hacker News reader compiled a list of previously announced delivery drone programs, many of which were also PR stunts:

Textbook drone delivery
Cake drone delivery
Pizza drone delivery
Parcel delivery drones
Beer delivery drones
Taco delivery drones
Sushi delivery drones
General delivery drones

Stupid news media falls for this stuff every damn time. Pwned by marketing people, meanwhile we’re supposed to believe everything else you people tell us? Pfft. Offa my lawn (and taxpayer-funded airwaves). If I wanted to watch free advertising I’d switch to a damn infomercial channel.

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Filed under advertising, media, Media, media manipulation

Anne Boleyn’s Head

Peggy Noonan is a very weird lady. Noonan wrote a column scolding liberals and liberal Catholics for having the temerity to hold an opinion that differs from Peggy Noonan’s on the next Pope. For your enjoyment, an excerpt:

I once read an account of Anne Boleyn’s death. In the moments after she was beheaded her head was held aloft by her executioner, to show the crowd. Her nervous system was shocked, her neurons misfired, her head didn’t know it was severed from her neck. Her eyes blinked, her mouth moved crazily. Those critics who go on TV now to tear down what they don’t even understand: they are removed and unknowing. They are Anne Boleyn’s head.

Well, that’s an interesting characterization. I guess comparing us to Hitler no longer had the desired shock value.

Now that it appears Anne Boleyn’s zombie head has prevailed, maybe Nooners will shut her own yap.

Also, be warned: I have claimed Anne Boleyn’s Head as the name of my all-female punk rock band.

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Filed under conservatives, media, religion

Herein Lies The Problem

I’m sorry you accidentally murdered your son but maybe if we started prosecuting gun negligence the same way we prosecute drunk driving negligence shit like this wouldn’t keep happening:

Father Won’t Be Charged In Shooting That Left Young Son Dead

MERCER, Pa. (January 16, 2013)–A Pennsylvania father won’t face charges for the accidental shooting death of his 7-year-old son outside of a gun store, prosecutors say.

The Herald of Sharon reported Wednesday that Mercer County District Attorney Robert Kochems announced he won’t charge Joseph Loughrey, 44, in the Dec. 8 shooting death of his son, Craig.

Police said the boy was buckling himself into his safety seat in his father’s truck when a handgun accidentally discharged as his father got in the front seat.

Kochems says Loughrey had removed the magazine from the pistol, but didn’t realize there was still a round in the chamber when he tried to sell the gun at Twig’s Reloading Den in East Lackawannock Township.

When the sale didn’t go through, Loughrey brought the gun back to the truck, where it accidentally fired.

God I’m so sick of this shit. Just like magic, the gun went off! All by it’s own self! Seriously? No, the gun did not “accidentally fire.” It did not “accidentally discharge,” all by itself. Joseph Loughrey fired the gun, accidentally. Huge fucking difference. Love this reporter’s twisting of the facts here, don’t you?

There are no gun accidents. There’s negligent behavior resulting in inevitable tragedy. Unless the gun up and fired itself — in which case, sorry! You can’t sue the manufacturer thanks to Republicans! But that’s not what happened here.

If you get drunk and get in the driver’s seat of a car and kill your child in an accident, you go to jail. Pregnant women who have miscarriages are being sent to jail. But a gun loon can kill his son because he “didn’t realize there was still a round in the chamber” and he’s suffered enough.

The reason this makes me nuts is because these negligent gun discharges are behind the vast majority of shootings in this country. We get all upset over mass shooting incidents like Aurora and Newtown but those are comparatively rare. Instead we have idiots like this woman, who shot herself while fumbling around in her purse.

Stop pretending these people aren’t dangerous. They are. Prosecute. Prosecute. Prosecute.

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Filed under gun control, media