Whenever one flips on the TV and looks at the headlines, we see crap. We see the media obsessing over nonsense while ignoring the stories that legitimate news outlets in other parts of the world would consider “real news”.
A good example of the problem with America’s corporate media is with the latest obsession over “Obama FAIL!!!” They scream about a poll proclaiming, “55% believe Obama will LOSE!!!“, but they don’t ask any questions as to why those results came out when the actual head to head polls against leading Republicans tell a completely different story. When the Republicans can’t even carry a quintessential swing state like Florida or pummel Obama nationally during what’s supposed to be his “WORST. MONTH. EVER!!!”, why isn’t anyone asking why so many Americans believe Obama is certain to lose next year when all relevant data point otherwise?
I think we know the reason why. This is the narrative the media want. They know nothing drives up ratings and campaign ad buys like a knock-down, drag-out, neck-n-neck horse race. And they know President Obama is no longer the “sexy” “new guy”, so they continue to search desperately for someone, ANYONE!, in the Republican Party who they can crown as “THE Next HOT Political Commodity!” as Republican primary voters still can’t figure out which flavor of “TEA” they dislike the least.
Yet while the media keep asking stupid questions and providing even more asinine answers about Campaign 2012, they continue to ignore the real story of the year that they’re too afraid to publicize. This is what most of the media won’t talk about:
These were Ronald Reagan’s own words in 1985:
We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. […] Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver or less?
See how effortlessly they fit into what Barack Obama is saying in 2011:
Now, when I point this out, some of the Republicans in Congress say, ‘oh you’re engaging in class warfare.’ Let me tell you something. Years ago, one great American had a different view. I’m going to get the quote, just so you know I’m not making this up. A great American said that he thought it was ‘crazy’ that certain tax loopholes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary.
Alright. You know who this guy was? It wasn’t a Democrat. It wasn’t some crazy socialist. It was Ronald Reagan. It was Ronald Reagan. Last time I checked, Republicans all thought Reagan made some sense. So next time you hear one of those Republicans in Congress accusing you of class warfare, you just tell them I’m with Ronald Reagan. I agree with Ronald Reagan that it’s crazy that a bus driver pays a higher tax rate than some millionaire because of a loophole in the tax code. And by the way, I don’t mind being called a warrior for the working class. You guys need someone working for you.
When today’s Republican Party is even attacking long time conservative icon Ronald Reagan as “SOE-SHUL-IST!!!”, why won’t the media notice? And when more and more “ordinary people” “occupy Wall Street” and ask more questions about America’s entire political system and why it has to be corrupted with so much corporate money, why won’t the media notice? Well, I can definitely answer that last question. It’s easier, cheaper, and less threatening to corporate media owners to just “pin the blame on Obama” and craft the 2012 narrative around “Obama FAIL!!!” than dig deeper in Washington and notice the bigger problem with American politics today.
In case you missed this now viral video featuring one blogger challenging an international media empire, watch:
Right there, we have a quick summary of what’s wrong with our politics, the media’s coverage of it, today. It’s easy to just look at the angst and frustration now commonplace throughout America and make snapshot judgments on President Obama’s reelection campaign. It takes much harder work to dig deeper and tackle the more serious questions of why Congress has taken no action this year to curb unemployment and address the deepening poverty crisis, and why the Republican Party has fallen off the deep end in celebrating extremely regressive and ineffective economic policy. And of course, that kind of work by reporters may not be appreciated by their corporate overlords. So instead, we continued to be subjected to more mindless “Obama FAIL!!!” drivel as media pundits keep searching for the perfect Republican candidate of their dreams and more “ordinary people” just get more frustrated.
(If you like this, I always have more delicious “class warfare” at Nevada Progressive!)
- Mr. Warren Reagan, class warrior (maureenholland.wordpress.com)
- Hang Together or Hang Alone (Guest Voice) (themoderatevoice.com)
I’ve been a journalist since junior high, got the degree, did the internships, worked on a newspaper, write and edit for various publications now. In more than 25 years in the industry I have never seen such a general dumbing down of political coverage in the “news media” in the United States as in the last few years.
Everything is focused on gamesmanship, conflict, and shallow controversy — who’s “winning” or “losing,” who’s dissing who, who comes up with the tastiest sound bites. What can be squeezed within less than 5 minutes of time in a half-hour news program that is largely commercials.
Real research is minimal, the results often “borrowed” from bloggers or non-mainstream journalism. Too many of today’s mainstream journalists, particularly on TV, want their stories handed to them in easy packaging they can re-heat and rush to serve up in the shortest time possible.
Welcome Weirdwriter to PPOV and even not being a member of your craft/trade, I cannot disagree one bit with you. The constant use of polls, “The Race” and how a policy effects “the race’ without even discussing what the policy is bugs me to no end. Have any of the ‘pudnuts’ even read the jobs act beyond the title, did they even bother to read the fact sheet before they started speculating on “What will this do to “the big game”?
A segment showing viewers tweets and emails? News or just lazy?
Again, welcome to The Planet.
Much grass, compadre! Like that word “pudnuts.”
Welcome Weirdwriter! This reminds me of John Stewart’s closing speech at the Rally for Sanity. He basically said the media could be considered as a huge magnifying glass that could be used to make the issues clearer, or it could be used to set ants on fire. I think we have been setting ants on fire for far too long.
Thank ‘ee, kindly, KT. I agree, and Stewart is spot-on.
It used to be said that journalism’s job was to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. What passes for journalism these days seems to be more about affecting a pose.
That’s because “the comfortable,” own the media. That really has to change. The sooner the better.
Welcome to The Planet, Weirdwriter!
Once papers and stations which owned themselves were bought up by corporations, the corporate model was of course imposed which is the antithesis of journalistic integrity.
Slash expenses, use cheaper and cheaper material with cheaper and cheaper labor to produce something that on the surface resembles the high quality product that used to be produced.
News divisions at networks were never expected to be profit centers, now, they sure as hell better or heads will roll. Papers were gobbled up by conglomerates and with ad sales falling off in a digital world, the money for investigative journalism and foreign offices and correspondents dried up.
Now, the corporate MSM news is the equivalent of corporate hamburgers, lots of empty calories, full of fat and little meat and if you consume too much of it, makes you nauseous.
Gracias, AdLib, and true, all that.
Fancy meeting you here, my friend!
Merry meet, my friend!
Your question has vanished from your comment…? Maybe you deleted it. (but it showed up in the email generated). Anyway, in case you didn’t figure it out:
And to add your avatar:
To select an image for yourself, go to http://en.gravatar.com/site/signup and register the same email address you used here when you signed up. After responding to a confirmation email from Gravatar, you can select an image from your computer or the internet to assign to your email address and that image will appear here with your user name (and on any other Gravatar-friendly sites you visit).
Hi weirdwriter! Welcome to the Planet!
I would that I had your education and experience as a journalist…maybe in the next life??
Agreed that the MSM has become a joke in the US. There are few true journalists and they are given short shrift by their corporate masters.
One thing that really irks me is that a subject is taken up, but it is only give a 2-minute segment for discussion! Of course, there will be a panel of two or three people to very quickly give their opinions…and then, “we have to leave it at that”! It is especially annoying when they have a Senator or Congressman on and give him about two sentences to make his point. Of course, they have to break for another ridiculous commercial! It makes me nuts!
Okay, enough of my rant! Like I said, welcome! I know that you will find some really well-informed and articulate people here. I look forward to your writing a piece for us!
Gracias, Emerald, for the kind and articulate thoughts.
Hi weirdwriter – WElcome to the Planet and thank you for the insights as a professional. I had a dear friend, Pulitzer winner, who retired from a major daily to teach journalism who said exactly the same. That scared me – you’d think he would defend the craft, but he did not.
I realized that we had crossed major lines when the inverted pyramid and opening who-what-where-when-why gave way in NEWS stories to pure speculation: “Insiders are asking, will Obama step on his tongue today?” When front page, above the fold stories begin as opinion pieces, we are in deep trouble.
I think you’re right about the need for reporting “winners” and “losers” – every poll is itself a competition to see who SAYS it first. Who is asking careful questions? Who is doing deep background on policy, what it means, and how the politics lines up? It’s all “Obama caves” without a single shred of assessment. Even the “color” analysis is ridiculous and without merit. After all those rousing speeches Obama has given on the Jobs Bill, several rather deadly dull commentators noted for the umteenth time that “Obama approached the issue of joblessness merely academically without passion.”
I have decided that there are flash cards for TV commentators, and no one rewrites them. They are simply trotted out and never altered. After all, in the 24/7 game of ratings, who has TIME to pay thoughtful attention to current events? To write NEW things?
I have no sense of where to go for news other than a few blogs, especially PPOV, and those I read are heavily vetted for substance because those of us who do policy work WANT substance. Smartass, snarky comments don’t give us insight. So the list of places to go where one can actually learn a thing or two is very small. I’ve pretty much given up on the “progressive” media whose writers seem not allowed to write thoughtfully any more than my local daily that between 2002 and 2008 went from a seriously good paper to a rag. Presto – almost overnight. Two new managing editors and wham – garbage.
Without a hard-hitting media available somewhere, we are seriously doomed because anyone can say anything and be taken seriously. I deeply value sources that can provide evidence – one reason I like the otherwise obnoxious Randi Rhodes – and even footnotes for further reading. Of course the Right does it too – citing Cato Insitute, Pat Robertson’s scholarly tomes (that IS a joke), or the AEI and Heritage Institute. But mainline press people don’t even bother with sources. Everything today is a “confidential source” when it’s only about whether the zucchini turned out well in the First Lady’s garden. C’mon – there was only one Deep Throat, and he’s dead.
Reporters – if someone refuses to speak on record AND gives you NO information of substance, it’s probably because they don’t know anything and are just yanking your chain. Stop reporting rumors. Triangulate! Double source! Do it the old fashioned way – INVESTIGATE. Let Woodward and Bernstein be your guides!
But first please – make sure it’s even worthwhile? I dont’ care about the zucchini. I really don’t.
So indeed welcome Weirdwriter – I hope you can help us with our media analysis. You will be most welcome under any circumstances, but that will be especially fine.
Deeply appreciative of the welcome. And your eloquence.
The best political reporting I see on TV today is from Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, because she has a whole hour to devote to whatever she wants, she is a major political wonk, and she actually does the homework. And she presents her findings very, very well.
PBS is OK, the News Hour is far more in-depth than most news outlets. Although it’s also often so determinedly neutral that I’ve never understood why it’s become a conservative target. Ditto for National Public Radio.
Fairly recently, I’ve discovered that some of the best political reporting in print can be found in Rolling Stone magazine. No kidding. A recent deep-background piece on Michelle Bachmann broke ground that no one else touched, and did it well. Ditto for a lengthy piece on President Obama. Check out the online archives at its web site.
So, good journalism is still out there — it’s just taking different routes away from the major networks and newspapers.
Well said. After 25 years in the business I finally called it a day. The profession that once made me proud has become little more than a cult of personality.
News coverage as a reality tv show…..
Reality TV makes pretends that what is scripted, packaged, rehearsed, shot and reshot, and then reviewed after each episode to improve the product for the next episode……is, well, REAL. It is not.
On the X Factor two weeks ago, Paula ran from the judges table backstage to “sickup” because of the tryouts flashed the judges and the audience. NO, I DO NOT WATCH IT, BUT I READ THE STORY AND LOOKED AT THE CLIP. It illustrates something very important. Paula’s exist and “illness” was reshot no fewer than five times. What, the producers did not think the overcoat and naked legs of the “contestant” were giveaway? And they edited and broadcast the scene. SHOCK TV is often
planned to provoke.
So, TV news, which must make money, uses the same techniques. Look at Current TV or Link TV for comparison. Both look for citizen contributions for support and are attracting both audience and donors. The difference is worth the donation.
One last point….I am stunned at how often programs that are supposed liberal/progressive in orientation perpetuate the falsehoods that underpin the issues you bring up.
The most important one is the myth of Imperial Presidency. Obama is not Caesar Augustus…without the House primarily and the Senate secondarily NOTHING gets done. The overwhelming focus on the Office and Person of the President with little focus on Congressional accountability misleads everyone. The second most important piece of mythology lies in the failure to understand cause and effect in the history of an event. Thus….it IS true that this Recession is Obama’s…..and Bush’s….and, yes, even a bit Clintons. It IS true that Wall Street Deregulation is Bush’s, but it is also Clinton’s, Bush Sr. and Reagan’s.
Why don’t they tackle the myths. Because the myths make the telling of the reality tale easier- less complex, time compacted, dramatic. And the truth is always harder to put into sound bites, and, less face it, more boring.
If the goal is viewers and clickers, truth will always suffer.
It loks like trying to create a horse race a full year before the actual horse is going to be run.
I pay no attention at all – I rarely on the TV – to the media.
So, all this means nothing to me.
What matters is the real electoral campaign and the real election in Nov 2012.
I agree. These polls attempt to sway voters without any content on policy. Right now they are simply popularity contests aimed at building or reducing confidence among the voters.
The poll means that Americans think Obama is an underdog because of the economy which is true. But it does not mean people are not going to vote for him in those numbers so that’s the misleading implication the media is making.
You are absolutely right about the horse race that the media is pushing. The problem is the MSM will not tell the truth about the GOP which is they are a fringe and dangerous party now.
IDK if there is a double dip recession which may be more likely than not I don’t see Obama gaining a second term either. America is still stuck on stupid. Since Romney is going to win the GOP nomination, yes this country is stupid enough to put a Wall Street guy who was a major part of our economic decline in charge to try to fix it.
GREAT post, atdnest!
What I want to know is what is any anti-Obama person’s vision of America in 2016? Or later? If we go the way we’re headed, we will resemble the nation we were in the 1890s. Income inequality is not yet that bad, but it is headed in that direction. What is the quality of life when a tiny fraction are filthy rich, about 7 percent are middle class, and the rest are poor? We have only to look at the historic photos from those days to see how dire that is – filthy, disease-ridden, crime-infested neighborhoods were the MAJORITY. The middle class were mostly farmers and small town people, and that is what is dwindling away. What family farms? What farm towns?
The Econ. 101 equation still matters – to keep the rich very rich, you have to pay the working people. Henry Ford got that. By outsourcing those types of jobs and creating the ‘hour glass’ demographics (more like those wine flasks with a huge bottom and thin neck) with a large body of poor and a small number of well to do, you UNDERMINED the capacity of the economy to produce wealth. Workers are buyers. Period. Without jobs and decent wages we assure defaults and outright depressions become the norm as they were in the post-Civil War era. this creates huge instability and a very fragile economic base.
When wealth is concentrated, a few buy high-end goods employing a handful of craftspeople. If you pay a CEO 600 times what the workers make, he or she does NOT buy 600 washers, dryers, stoves, cars – so there is no benefit to the consumption side. US corporations that have deals with the Chinese for production of what is consumed in the US, it WILL FAIL because there are no consumers.
The most stable and enduringly profitable form of economy is one where income from sales is shared with those who made the income so they can be strong purchasers of diverse goods. It also diminishes the need for social capital expenditures in welfare and supports. If those are removed – the GOP goal – that social capital goes directly into the criminal control system. You don’t actually save much money – you simply redirect it into prisons, police, and security.
Back in 1973 the book “Global Reach” predicted exactly what we have today. Their most foresighted chapter was “The Latinamericanization of the United States” that said given the path they could see even then, that is where we were headed. But unlike the periods of poverty and desperation of our own 1890s, there would be no means OUT – we will be stuck in a pattern of poverty vs. enormous wealth and the “American Dream” will be completely gone.
I keep wondering though – what do the Boehners, Cantors, Christies, Romneys SEE in their mind’s eye when they think about this world? It’s a vision that chills my blood. I cannot help wondering why it seems unimportant to them.
thank you for this piece. What you have discussed here is precisely why I do not watch any more MSM. I get my news on the internet or on alternate stations like BBC and Al Jazeera English. Once in a great while I will watch Al Sharpton or others on MSNBC but very seldom. I don’t need my opinions shaped by their drivel. I read and judge for myself. I have a friend in NV who could use your website. I am going to recommend it to her.
If you get a chance, watch Orwell Rolls in His Grave, it will validate everything you think about the media.
Thank you Sue for posting this video. I just finished watching the entire thing. Wow! Much of it didn’t really surprise me, but what impressed me was the great detail the producers went to in order to prove their points.
I think along with OWS, our list of grievances should absolutely include the monopoly of media ownership and control. These are the people, along with our corrupt legislators, that allow those on Wall Street to get away with fraud, theft, insider trading and much worse. A free and diverse press is the cornerstone of democracy. Without it, we have Mr. Orwell’s vision of a dystopic future. Hell we already live in a dystopian world. I’ve heard it said that a utopia is impossible. That is most likely true. But a dystopia is very much possible and may now exist without doubt.
Mr. Carlin put it in more accessible language;
I know that is one of my favorite documentaries from Democracy Now. And my husband and I are great fans of George Carlin. Another one to watch is Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome America- A Final Night with George W Bush. I had just watched Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay(where they smoked weed with Bush) and this was the nest show, hilarious.
As my Grandmother said about George Carlin “He certainly uses rough language.” “But he isn’t wrong.”
Welcome Carolina919! I think I would like your grandmother.
Love that clip, atd. Have you noticed the weekly “Bad news for Obama” headlines over at HP? They appear every single week, like clockwork.
Here’s an amusing pro-Obama poster that just showed up over at Dan Carlin’s forum:
Oh that is great! Man gave us health care, too = and it freaking HAS a public option in the High Risk Pool.
So yeah – who’s the Great White Hope in the GOP and what is he gonna do for us, hmmm?
Lower taxes of course! You didn’t really want to fix those potholes anyway…
Nahhh – just another Socialist frill for the weak willed. You want potholes filled? Get out there and FILL them, you crybaby.
Zeal for repeal seems to be waning for the ACA. Maybe because Repugs have to center their mindset according to Romney or maybe because the world has not ended like they expected, IDK.
The bottom line for the republicans is to see Obama fail. They have a huge chunk of the media to help them achieve this. They don’t care about middle class and poor Americans. They simply just don’t care. They are all about regaining and retaining power.
Yellow journalism is rampant in America today, as you point out so accurately. There are huge profits to be made by 24/7 news outlets. They have turned politics into a virtual gladiator sport. Their corporate owners have an agenda, to be sure. That agenda is reflected in Congress every week.
My hope is that the Occupy Wall Street movement really catches on across the entire nation. It is also really good to see Obama out there, bringing home the message to average Americans. He has common sense and true patriotism on his side. The republicans do not. In their mad quest for power, they have blinded themselves as to how shameless they really are and how blatant they are about it. They don’t even try to hide their radical agenda any longer. I believe this will be their downfall. I believe the American people are smarter than the republicans believe us to be.
“Yellow journalism is rampant in America today, as you point out so accurately. There are huge profits to be made by 24/7 news outlets. They have turned politics into a virtual gladiator sport. Their corporate owners have an agenda, to be sure. That agenda is reflected in Congress every week.”
That’s so true, KilgoreTrout. “If it bleeds, it leads.” The media take that rule to new extremes every day.They don’t even want to try to make the effort to cover the real news. It would just be too costly and too threatening to our present day “robber barons”.
I hope it does to, KT. I am so glad this Occupy Wall Street is happening. The rightwing extremists managed to steal the microphone and the spotlight with their crazy antics and wailing. They managed to make extremism become “mainstream.” I have my own opinions about how they managed to do it — having to do with American racism. Their mantra, “I want my country back” has enormous subtext. But they are so wrong. They can’t stop progress. One day, I truly believe, we will live together in a multi-cultural society and our primitive fears of those who are different from ourselves will evolve away. It may not happen quickly, but if you compare today’s society with even 30 or especially 60 years ago, we’ve evolved considerably. Despite all the thrashing of the (white male) former masters of the universe as they lose their iron grip on absolute power, it will happen. It’s inevitable.
Hi atdnext! Absolutely spot on!
In spite of what the MSM says, I believe President Obama is going to pull this one out! There is a lot of time between now and Election Day 2012 and PBO is just now hitting his stride, taking it to the repubs over the Jobs Act. This message is resonating with the majority of American people who can see the obstruction in Congress.
Our government is broken…and it’s NOT Obama’s fault that it is!
Thanks for posting! You made my morning a little brighter! 🙂
Thanks, Emerald! Again, it’s easier for the media to misinterpret poll numbers and screech about “Obama FAIL!!!” than to actually get out and report the real news. I just felt the need to call them out on their BS (yet again).
Hey, your take on this is on point. Thank you. Obama 2012 in my book.