Category Archives: Media

troncitis

This is why we can’t have nice things, everybody:

Tribune Publishing, the parent company that owns several storied and proud newspapers in the US including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, announced on Thursday that it would be changing its name to “tronc Inc.”

That’s with one lowercase t and one uppercase I.

In a press release, the company said that tronc Inc would be “a content curation and monetization company focused on creating and distributing premium, verified content across all channels”.

The name, according to the release, is a shortening of Tribune Online Content.

“tronc pools the company’s leading media brands and leverages innovative technology to deliver personalized and interactive experiences to its 60m monthly users,” the release continued, using the lower-case t despite the word coming at the beginning of the sentence.

Ooooh “content curation and monetization”! Just what consumers have been clamoring for! Call me old-fashioned but I don’t want “personalized and interactive experiences.” I just want the fucking news. Is that so hard?

Twitter, of course, went apeshit.

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Filed under media, Media

When You Have Something To Hide

Sniveling little twerp James O’Keefe got busted trying to take down one of the conservative movement’s favorite liberal enemies, billionaire George Soros. This time, the ineptitude is truly a marvelous thing to behold, with O’Keefe accidentally laying out his entire scheme on the voicemail of his intended target.

Yet another hit for the fail parade known as Project Veritas, O’Keefe’s “non-profit” by which his dirty tricks are financed. I’ve long wondered why some enterprising journalist — a real one — hadn’t been able to find out who is funding O’Keefe and his band of merry pranksters. Maybe no one is interested; after his early hits on ACORN and NPR, he had less success with intended targets Sen. Mary Landrieu, CNN journalist Abbie Boudreau and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Even his earlier hits have flamed out, after O’Keefe and an accomplice were forced to pay $150,000 to a former ACORN employee who sued.

At one point it was reported that Foster Friess and PayPal’s Peter Thiel gave money early on. Whether they still waste their money on this clown, I have no clue. Especially when the organization’s actual purpose seems to be Making James O’Keefe Feel Important. So, where does the money come from?

And now I have my answer:

O’Keefe portrays himself as a rigorous journalist who is dedicated to furthering “a more ethical and transparent society.” He refuses, however, to be transparent about who is funding him. According to tax records obtained by PRWatch.org, an investigative watchdog group run by the Center for Media and Democracy, in recent years hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to Project Veritas have come through a fund in Alexandria, Virginia, called Donors Trust, which specializes in hiding the money trails of conservative philanthropists. In its promotional materials, Donors Trust says that it will “keep your charitable giving private, especially gifts funding sensitive or controversial issues.” The records obtained by PRWatch.org also show that one donor, a conservative political activist in Wisconsin, contributed fifty thousand dollars just before Project Veritas undertook a sting of one of his political enemies—a state senator.

This is so precious. Only “conservative philanthropists” would need a fund that actually specializes in hiding their donation. You know, guys, if you have to hide what you’re doing … maybe you shouldn’t be doing it. That’s what mama always told me, anyway.

Also: as it appears Project Veritas is little more than a dirty tricks operation which will take out your political rival for a fee, I can’t help but wonder why they are given tax-exempt status in the first place. Isn’t tax exempt status reserved for organizations providing a “social good”?

Jane Mayer, who wrote this New Yorker piece, asked a similar question. There are many right-wing organizations professing to provide a “social good” which are, in fact, doing dirty tricks for fun and profit. America Rising Squared is one; rather than provide a social good, it appears to exist purely to intimidate private citizens who engage in social or political activism. No wonder the people financing this form of intimidation want their names kept secret.

The question is, how long can this go on? Sooner or later someone is going to get sued (again). A law will get passed, a loophole will get closed.

Until then, watch your backs. No, no… I’m not talking about the people who James O’Keefe is targeting. The way this inept band of Konservative Keystone Kops keeps tripping over their own shoelaces, they’ll take themselves out. I’m talking about you moneybags on the right who keep financing these ratfucking operations. You’re going after private citizens now, not just politicians. We’ll find out who you are and plaster your names all over Twitter. Bwaahaaa.

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Filed under conservatives, George Soros, James O'Keefe, Media, media manipulation

I’m Not Charlie, or, Why Does Everyone Have To Be So Mean?

I don’t believe in censorship. Nor am I calling for censorship. But I don’t understand why we, collectively, don’t ask people to show a little self-censorship when it comes to being offensive, intolerant and bigoted.

Lord knows we expect it of blowhards like Rush Limbaugh when they go on one their racist or sexist tirades.

Lord knows we expect it of all the homophobic preachers and NOM activists who have unleashed a torrent of anti-gay bigotry as marriage equality has spread from state to state.

Lord knows we expect it of ubiquitous purveyors of hate speech like Ann Coulter.

Lord knows we expected it of Bill Hobbs when he published that “Mohammed Blows” cartoon on his blog back in 2006.

But for some reason now that idle threats have turned into a despicable, vile, violent act of murder, suddenly it’s okay? Suddenly we have an obligation to spread the same offensive, anti-Muslim images because, freedom? Seriously?

You want to defend free speech? Then take up the cause of the Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt.

You want to fight terrorism? Then condemn the bombing of the Colorado Springs office of the NAACP two days ago (something which the mainstream media has given little attention to, in light of their “if it bleeds, it leads” SOP.) Get to work fighting the poverty, inequality and injustice (yes, even in France) that breeds these diseases. Republishing cartoons that show Mohammed being sodomized is the lazy way out. Reprinting offensive materials to show you won’t be bullied doesn’t prove you’re free, it shows you haven’t evolved beyond the maturity of a kindergartener.

I don’t get it. I don’t get why we don’t expect better of ourselves and others. If lowering yourself to a level where offending people is your best show of support for victims of violence, if that’s the best way you can stand up for freedom, you’re doing it wrong.

The world needs to grow up and fast, because we’re not going to get many more chances to get it right.

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Filed under Current Events, free speech, media, Media, terrorism

Congratulations, Unidentified CA Man! You Are Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour!

Hey kids, while you’re taking Pops’ car keys away, maybe take the firearms away, too:

In what can only be described as a freak accident, a 77-year-old Running Springs woman was shot in the back early Sunday morning when her 81-year-old husband’s handgun discharged as he was retrieving a flashlight from his nightstand drawer.

“In what can only be described as a freak accident”? Are you fucking serious with that shit? How about, “In what can only be described as a completely predictable incident that was just a matter of time…”

Dumbasses. Add #MediaFAIL to that hashtag, too.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Media

Clinton Derangement Syndrome

It just never stops:

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Eagerly await the next round of hand-wringing from other NewsCorp outlets about the lack of civility in today’s discourse.

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Filed under Media, NewsCorp

Elections 4 $ale

I’m trying not to be too upset about SCOTUS’ ruling lifting the cap on individual campaign contributions. I mean, think about it: if money alone could decide an election, we’d have President Gingrich and Vice President Adelson today.

Trust me, I’m not thinking this is a good thing by any means. But let’s be real, the rich are not our betters, nor are they necessarily any smarter than anyone else. I just trotted over to OpenSecrets.org and got a look at Lee and Kelly Beaman’s latest campaign contributions. Here I found they both donated generously to Liz Cheney’s aborted senate campaign — not exactly a smart investment, since any idiot knew she wasn’t going to go the distance — as well as the notorious Palin grift vehicle known as SarahPAC. Now that we know they can just keep on giving, maybe these folks will all be bankrupt before too long. Fools and their money, after all.

The place this is really going to hurt, I think, is on things like ballot initiatives and local elections. Because even though this ruling only applied to federal elections, I have to wonder if states aren’t going to do away with their own restrictions now. Seems like a few have already tried.

But you know, here’s the thing: Congress could pass a law. They could say that corporations aren’t people and money isn’t speech and all of that other stuff. They could pass a law saying all federal elections have to be publicly financed. They won’t, but they could, if we elect the right people. So elections do matter.

Also, you know who the big beneficiary of this is, right? The corporate media. All of those campaign contributions run straight into their coffers, most of them at least. That explains a helluva lot, don’t it?

Gotta think the Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves right now, though. If money is speech, the poor are voiceless. Is that your vision of America? Shameful.

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Filed under campaign finance, Media, Supreme Court

Hey Amazon: Next Year Buy A Damn Ad

[UPDATE]:

Ha ha ha, via Balloon Juice:

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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

Cats Explain The News

I admit to being woefully ignorant of most things Pakistani, but I thought this “Pakistani Reactions To Breaking News Explained Through Cats” bit hilarious.

All breaking news should be explained through cats. Seriously.

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Filed under cat blogging, Media

PR Stunts

So let me get this straight: Teanuts like Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann push for the government shut-down which results in shuttered national parks and monuments. Then they orchestrate a PR stunt at the World War II Memorial with a bunch of veterans where they get to look like big damn heroes? And the media gobbles it up like candy?

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Bachmann said. “It was big buses and a narrow strip of sidewalk, and there were all these veterans standing here behind police tape and they’re prevented from going in to see the memorial.”

Really? What the hell did you think would happen when you shut down the government, lady?

Gohmert Tweeted photos of himself with the veterans. This was grandstanding of the highest order, an obvious PR ploy and attempt to deflect any responsibility for the mess they themselves created:

Gohmert and other Republican members of Congress also went to the memorial and criticized the government for preventing visitors from coming to the memorial.

“We’ve got park service employees out here,” Gohmert said before the gates were opened. “Why wouldn’t you have them here to allow the veterans in, instead of stand and keep them from coming in?”

Umm, because it’s closed? Because you closed it? Do you break into convenience stores when they’re closed, too?

Again: the national media ate this BS up like candy. No one, not WTVF (my local CBS affiliate) or CNN or even the Associated Press bothered to point out that the very “heroes” breaking down the barricades were the people who voted for the shutdown in the first place.

And that’s it in a nutshell, folks. That’s all this whole government shutdown thing is: one big giant PR stunt. One chance to capture donations and B-Roll and optics for the 2014 election. I mean I’m sure it’s all a big coinky-dinky that news cameras were on site as Gohmert and Bachmann busted through those barricades, right?

Wake up and smell the bullshit.

I’m not surprised that the media plays along with this nonsense. They’re the ones reaping the financial rewards when campaign season rolls around and the TV ads start running. This is collusion of the highest order.

Shame on all of you.

More from Wonkette ….

[UPDATE]:

And more from Gawker. Apparently the vets were flown in on a chartered jet and Reince Priebus has vowed to keep the WWII memorial open.

If you don’t think this whole thing wasn’t manufactured for its PR value, I have a bridge to sell you. Wonder how many fundraising emails this little stunt has spawned?

And yes, maybe Bachmann, Gohmert and Steve Palazzo should have worked harder to keep from closing the thing in the first place.

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Filed under Congress, Media, media manipulation

Ersatz Politics

Ted Cruz’s marathon bloviating session is no filibuster — he’s going to have to sit down and shut up when the Senate convenes this afternoon, because he doesn’t have the power to stop the cloture vote. But this little charade provides us with a useful peek behind the curtain of our modern political establishment.

You have a powerless faction pretending to take a bold stand on an issue that’s already been decided — after first negotiating the terms of this piece of theater with the opposition ahead of time. Meanwhile the facts-be-damned news media winks and nods and plays along, and partisans on both sides of the aisle prepare to exploit this for donations.

This isn’t politics, this isn’t even the peoples’ business, it’s theater. Or, as Charles Pierce put it, just part of the never-ending campaign that has taken over our modern American political discourse:

As has been pointed out, this is something of a mock filibuster, but that’s because it isn’t an attempt to do serious legislative business. It’s an extended campaign commercial, B-Roll for the local stations in Ottumwa and Council Bluffs.

Eggg-zackly. Really, that’s all this is — that’s all anything coming out of Washington is these days. It’s all one giant PR campaign as both sides scramble to “define the issue” (any issue, it doesn’t matter) and prepare the flood of fundraising e-mails and direct mail requests. Washington has become one vast telemarketing and direct mail operation. Ted Cruz is merely the clip art for this week’s campaign. Next week it will be someone else.

This isn’t me being cynical, this is reality. This is how Washington works today and make no mistake: is feature not bug. This politics of dysfunctional is working exactly as intended for those on the inside. It’s the raison d’etre for that whole “politico-industrial complex” I wrote about a year ago. Nothing has really changed except now the star players are members of Congress themselves.

With all of this going on it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that what Ted Cruz’s theater is all about is denying people access to affordable private, for-profit health insurance. Because no one really hears that amid all of the other Kabuki. And that’s the biggest shame of all.

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Filed under Congress, filibuster, healthcare, Media, media manipulation