Category Archives: media

Relatable, Now With Electrolytes

Today’s front page of The New York Times has a story on Jeb Bush trying to lose weight, which is fine, I get that the political punditry wants to “humanize” presidential candidates and present a picture of them as “real people.” But this particular a piece of bullshit pissed me off:

The rigid abstemiousness runs the risk of putting him at a dietary distance from an American electorate that still binges on carbohydrates and, after eight years of a tea-sipping president, craves a relatable eater in chief.

What. The. Fuck.

America “craves a relatable eater in chief” who “binges on carbohydrates” like they do? No. I’m going to stop you right there, buckaroo. I don’t know from under which rock reporter Mike Barbaro pulled this piece of conventional wisdom, but let me say: nothing shows how out of touch you are from the rest of America than stupid statements like this. Americans don’t drink tea? Low-carb diets aren’t popular in the U.S.? Have you been to a fucking grocery store lately, buddy? A real one, not one of those little New York City corner delis, I’m talking the goddamn Kroger or Safeway. Do you ever step outside Manhattan for more than two hours?

Can we please stop portraying the American electorate and American politicians in such childish ways?

I am sick of this bullshit that crops up every four years, when the punditry suddenly decides it has its pulse on “real America” and it knows what we “crave” in a presidential candidate, which is to be exactly like their (completely false) image of us. We want to have a beer with them! But not any beer, certainly not one of those gay beers from Yurp, it has to be a manly-man beer! A Budweiser!

Do you people even hear yourselves? Do you hear how insulting that is to us, we Real Americans in the “flyover states,” not to mention how insulting it is to the candidates? Fucking-a.

Memo to the New York Times, writer Michael Barbaro, and the rest of you idiots in the political media: you have no fucking clue what America craves, so stop with the idiotic “real America” framing. You’re making fools of yourselves.

We do not have the luxury of playing that stupid media game this time around. We simply do not have the luxury of pretending to give a crap that the presidential candidate put Dijon mustard on his hot dog instead of a Real Murcan Mustard like French’s (irony alert). We do not have the luxury of debating whether Hillary Clinton should have gone to Taco Bell instead of Chipotle. And I am not going to pretend that because I live in Nashville, Tennessee my diet consists solely of deep fried fat balls and a side of sweet tea. It does not.

I am not going to pretend that I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because he’s on a Paleo Diet instead of binging on microwavable Mac’N’Cheezybits like Real Murcans. I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because he’s a conservative hawk who has embraced the architects of his brother’s Iraq War fiasco. I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because while he claims to favor small government, in actuality he inserted himself into the Schiavo family’s darkest hour. I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because he would return us to the same pro-corporate, pro-wealthy policies that sank the economy when his brother was in the White House.

What he eats for dinner isn’t even on my damn radar, you fools. Stop treating the electorate like idiots.

7 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, media, rants

Things That Happen Every Four Years

A book slamming the likely Democratic presidential nominee? Right as campaign season heats up? Gee, where have we heard this one before? Unfit For Command, anyone? Obama’s America? Or an entire book club’s worth of anti-Hillary books from 2007, before Obama came along and ruined the RW PR campaign?

Look, this happens every four years. I don’t get why the news media is acting like this book is a big deal. Every time there’s a presidential election, the right-wing media machine gears up and unleashes books, movies, etc. attacking the likely Democratic nominee. This is not news. Does the MSM think we’re stupid? Or are they the stupid ones?

In August 2013 I wrote a post called “Hating Hillary For Fun & Profit.” From that post:

I’m so old, I remember back before the 2008 race when they were desperate for Hillary to be the nominee. Right-wing publishers like Regnery, HarperCollins and Thomas Nelson had a library’s worth of anti-Hillary books ready to ship out, with enticing names like Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton, or American Evita: Hillary Clinton’s Path to Power. They had an entire anti-Hillary communications plan all set up and ready to go, and then that Mooslim usurper terrorist pal Nobummer had to ruin their little party. Whah.

See, here’s how it works: the books (ghost-written, ‘natch) are really just an excuse to get “authors” on the TV talk show circuit to spout conservative talking points and perform a legitimized form of character assassination. Meanwhile, the books themselves are used as premiums for donations, subscriptions to NewsMax and the like. It’s all part of the Vast Right Wing Media Industrial Complex. One could say with a certain degree of accuracy that hating Hillary Clinton is a major conservative profit center.

I mean, cue the fucking calliope here, everybody. This isn’t real. None of it is real. Why are people pretending it is? Why does the MSM play along with this charade?

12 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, media, Republican Party

The Revolution Won’t Be Photographed

History is written (or recorded) by the victors, or so the saying goes. Today I saw an art installation from Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar which really illustrates that idea.

For some background, here’s what the BBC wrote about Jaar’s installation in 2014:

Jaar chose not to show us any pictures but instead blinded us with a blaze of projected light. Rather than a despairing nihilist gesture, Lament of the Images was integral to a strongly held argument that images mattered.

Jaar’s installation was a response to the increasing political control, erasure and suppression of images. Our encounter with Jaar’s field of light was preceded by three glowing panels of back-lit texts presented in a darkened room, all musing on different forms of blindness and erasure: beginning with Nelson Mandela being dazzled by the light on his release from prison and how prisoners were blinded by the glare of the sun on the limestone as they broke rocks in a quarry on the centre of Robben Island.

Texts two and three considered the loss and control of images in relationship to two significant events: the burial of 17 million photographic images from Bettmann and United Press International, purchased by Microsoft chairman, Bill Gates, in a limestone mine, and how before launching airstrikes against Afghanistan, the United States Defense Department had bought all rights to satellite imagery of Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, creating an “effective white-out of the operation”.

And here is the final panel, the one related to the “white out” of our bombing of Afghanistan:

IMG_1745 3

It’s powerful stuff. Presented in an art context, it was more than powerful: it was enraging. As a reasonably engaged American, I wanted to know why I hadn’t heard about either the Bill Gates or Afghanistan incidents of image suppression. Especially Afghanistan. I remember much uproar about the Bush Administration censoring photographs of coffins arriving home from Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t remember anything about this.

Pictures are powerful, a picture is worth a thousand words, as the old saying goes. No wonder the Bush Administration wanted to make sure nobody saw the devastation our bombs wrought on Afghanistan.

Today if you Google this story, you find this, from the New York Times:

The Pentagon contract, concluded on Oct. 7, also means that news media and other organizations outside government will not be able to obtain independently their own high-resolution satellite images of the Afghanistan region.

In addition, the contract effectively allows the Pentagon to keep the images it bought out of the public eye forever. None can be released without Defense Department approval.

The old disputes between the military and news media centered on access for the media pool. The new dispute is about access to images collected in the nonsovereign territory of space.

The Pentagon has also taken a more subtle approach to the fight. Under the law, the Bush administration could have blocked news media’s access to the satellite on national security grounds by invoking a never-used provision, “shutter control.” Such a move would have quite likely set off legal challenges and heated protests. Instead, the Pentagon achieved its desired result through its contract.

For some reason, this story basically disappeared. And that’s exactly how the Bush Administration wanted it. By using economic power instead of legal power, they made sure there was little if any knowledge or protest about their actions.

The power of the pocketbook — be it the U.S. government’s or Bill Gates’ — is not new. That these are the people who can control our history by controlling what information the world sees is scary, indeed.

I recommend that someone in the news media petition the Obama Administration to release these images, much as President Obama allowed the photographing of coffins arriving home from war. We need to see what we have wrought. We bought this war, we need to see the damage we caused.

And let me add a final word of caution: we can petition the government to release these images. We can use FOIA requests, the news media can make an argument about the First Amendment. We have no such recourse with the Bill Gates images. None.

Next invasion, wait for Son of Dick Cheney to get Bill Gates to buy (and bury) satellite images on the government’s behalf.

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Filed under Afghanistan War, media, media manipulation

Emily Miller’s Pro-Gun Memoir Can Now Be Found In The Fiction Aisle

[UPDATE]: Welcome Crooks & Liars!

It seems Emily’s books is getting some creative book reviews over at Amazon. Hilarious.

———————————————————

Oh, dear:

A document from the D.C. police department shows that Emily Miller, the chief investigative reporter for WTTG-TV (Fox 5), didn’t fall victim to a home invasion on New Year’s Day 2010 as she has told various interviewers in recent years, including some gun-rights lobbying groups. Instead, Miller spotted someone leaving the property as she returned from walking a dog.

Emily Miller has made quite a career out of pimping her tragedy, shilling for the NRA and writing the hilariously named “memoir” Emily Gets Her Gun: …But Obama Wants to Take Yours. And now it’s looking like her tragic story of being accosted by 15 — fifteen! — drug addicts in a “terrifying” home invasion was all made up.

Here’s what she said:

As noted in this blog last week, Miller would subsequently tell far more scary versions of this encounter to gun groups and others. In an “NRA All Access” interview, for instance, Miller stated that “a man — the police believed to be a drug addict — got into the house and started robbing it. So when I came back into the house, he was in there robbing.” The sleek NRA presentation furnishes a reenactment of the scene, complete with night lighting, even though the event occurred just after 3 p.m., according to the supplemental D.C. police report.

On several occasions, Miller has stated that she was a “victim of a home invasion,” including at a Feb. 10 speech in Annapolis to assist gun-rights groups in lobbying against gun-control restrictions. A common understanding of “home invasion” is a terror-laden crime in which intruders burst into a residence and (in most cases) do bodily harm to the occupants.

[…]

There’s more. In recounting the episode, Miller has claimed that she confronted a veritable crime syndicate.

After the man left, I was still suspicious so I went inside, grabbed my Blackberry and clicked on the icon for the camera. I walked down the street, and as I turned the corner, I saw about 15 scruffy young men standing around two pickup trucks. We were at the end of a woody, dead-end road.

I nervously held up my Blackberry to take a quick photo of them and the license plates. Suddenly, the blood-shot-eyed guy darted out, blocking the shot. “What are you doing?” he asked. I looked around at all the men staring at me and was suddenly scared.

Super scary! Also, super not true! Here’s what the police report said happened:

“[Miller] stated that she left out to walk the dog at 1515hrs and when she returned at 1525hrs she observed [the suspect] exiting from behind the fence which leads to the side of the house. [Miller] asked [suspect] ‘What are you doing here’ and [suspect] stated ‘I am delivering firewood,’” according to a supplemental D.C. police report.

[…]

[Miller] stated that she went into the house and felt that something was not right, so she exited the house to take a photo of [suspect’s] vehicle. [Suspect] approached [Miller] and gave her a business card that stated [a tree service] and [suspect] left the scene. [Miller] stated that [suspect] was operating a silver pick up truck with landscaping on the side of it.

[Miller] stated that she was contacted by her credit card company at 1945hrs about some fraudulent charges on her credit card. [Miller] stated that she checked her purse and noticed that her Visa credit card and $50.00 in US Currency was missing. [Miller] stated that while she was out walking the dog she had left her purse on the counter in the kitchen of the offense location.

Oh. Well that’s certainly different, isn’t it? Not quite the “terrifying encounter” that she claimed.

Emily Miller has become one of the right’s media darlings, speaking out against gun control and telling her apparently fictitious sob story to right-wing media outlets like the Washington Times, all in the interest of spreading the lie that people need guns for self-defense because of scary drug addicted home invasion people! And yet, like a Bill O’Reilly war story, it’s all falling apart under closer scrutiny.

Even worse, when police tried to contact her three times about finding a suspect in the credit card theft, she couldn’t be bothered to return their calls. It appears they had to drop the case.

I’m trying to figure out why Miller would have done this and my guess — other then exploiting her made-up tragedy to become a “gun rights advocate” — was that she needed to show cause in order to obtain a D.C. gun carry permit.

Now that it appears this cause has evaporated, I wonder if her gun permit will be revoked, too? Lies and the lying liars … they just shouldn’t be armed.

11 Comments

Filed under gun control, media

White Privilege, In One Tweet

[UPDATE]:

Add the Associated Press to the list of media outlets who just don’t get it:

APfail

Sweethearts. Who “pilfered checks.” Why don’t you just give them a reality TV show while you’re at it?

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From NBC News’ Twitter feed:

NBC News FAIL

Sweethearts? Let’s see:

An 18-year-old Kentucky man and his 13-year-old girlfriend who have been missing for 12 days are believed to have taken off on a crime spree across the South, authorities said Thursday, during which they’re suspected of having stolen at least two vehicles — one of which had guns in it.

“It is imperative that these two be located and apprehended as their behavior is becoming increasingly brazen and dangerous,” the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The sheriff’s office identified the pair as Dalton Hayes, 18, and his girlfriend, Cheyenne Phillips, 13, whom Cheyenne’s father reported missing on Jan. 3. They’re accused of stealing a neighbor’s red Toyota pickup truck, which was spotted on security video nine days later outside a Walmart store in Manning, South Carolina. The couple themselves were captured on video entering the store.

They apparently ditched the truck Thursday in Henry County, Georgia, south of Atlanta, and are believed to have stolen a silver Toyota Tundra — which Grayson County Sheriff Norman Chaffins said had .45- and .38-caliber handguns in the back seat.

Chaffins said that both are suspects in at least the two auto thefts and that Hayes is also wanted on charges of custodial interference — that is, luring Cheyenne, a minor, away from her legal guardians.

So basically we have auto theft, kidnapping, possibly statutory rape, all wrapped up in a nice shiny “sweethearts/Bonnie & Clyde” package. How do you suppose this message would be packaged if the couple were black, not white?

16 Comments

Filed under media, racism

What It Takes To Be A Fox News Expert

[UPDATE]: Welcome, Crooks & Liars!

By now you’ve no doubt heard of the Fox News terrorism “expert” who made ludicrous claims about the Muslim population of Britain, in particular that

[…] in London “Muslim religious police” beat “anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire”.

and that Birmingham is

a “Muslim-only city” where non-Muslims “don’t go” […]

This of course prompted the hilarious #FoxNewsFacts hashtag on Twitter, which has mocked Fox News and Steve Emerson for days. This is all very cute but Emerson is a far more nefarious figure than merely the buffoon who trusted a bad source. And media coverage of a Twitter hashtag has completely overlooked the bigger story here, which is that Fox News has been promoting a professional hatemonger and, it appears, scam artist.

Four years ago during the Murfreesboro mosque controversy our local fishwrap profiled Emerson, who profits from spreading fear and hate of Muslims (warning, link has one of those obnoxious auto-start video ads which I despise, so you may want to turn the sound off):

Steven Emerson has 3,390,000 reasons to fear Muslims.

That’s how many dollars Emerson’s for-profit company — Washington-based SAE Productions — collected in 2008 for researching alleged ties between American Muslims and overseas terrorism. The payment came from the Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation, a nonprofit charity Emerson also founded, which solicits money by telling donors they’re in imminent danger from Muslims.

Holy grift, Batman! Emerson founded a tax-exempt organization to solicit donations from the gullible, which are then funneled to his for-profit corporation? How is this not fraud?

Emerson is a leading member of a multimillion-dollar industry of self-proclaimed experts who spread hate toward Muslims in books and movies, on websites and through speaking appearances.

Leaders of the so-called “anti-jihad” movement portray themselves as patriots, defending America against radical Islam. And they’ve found an eager audience in ultra-conservative Christians and mosque opponents in Middle Tennessee. One national consultant testified in an ongoing lawsuit aimed at stopping a new Murfreesboro mosque.

But beyond the rhetoric, Emerson’s organization’s tax-exempt status is facing questions at the same time he’s accusing Muslim groups of tax improprieties.

“Basically, you have a nonprofit acting as a front organization, and all that money going to a for-profit,” said Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, a nonprofit watchdog group. “It’s wrong. This is off the charts.”

So, profiting from spreading fear and lies… sounds about right! And the wingnut welfare gravy train rolls on.

You can read a few of Emerson’s other greatest hits here. My favorite?

In 1998, Emerson helped push a story that claimed that a “senior Pakistani weapons scientist who has defected” was saying that “Pakistan was planning nuclear first strike on India” (Observer, 6/28/98). The supposed scientist turned out to be “a former low-level accountant at a company that makes bathroom fixtures” (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/3/98) and a fraud (USA Today, 7/7/98)–but not before Emerson’s behind-the-scenes promotion of the bogus tale helped push rivals Pakistan and India closer to nuclear war (Extra!, 1-2/99).

This is what passes for an “expert” on Fox News. Why other journalists aren’t seriously offended that this kind of hackery is going on in their midst is beyond me. They’re letting Fox News discredit an entire profession.

4 Comments

Filed under FOX NEWS, media, right-wing hate

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.

16 Comments

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