The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Media Malpractice

Hello Widdershins!

Another week, more shenanigans from Sinenchin. AZ Senator who caucuses with Democrats went to fundraise in Europe while steadfastly insisting the filibuster is saving democracy and Manchin finally drew one red line on what he is willing to support: transitioning from coal to sustainable energy. We all thought Manchin objected to the cost of Biden’s BBB bill, but that ain’t it. It’s the pretty cheap part of the bill that transitions his state from coal. Manchin can’t have that. Coal must flow!!!! Even though it is a tiny part of the state’s industry (Arby’s employs more people than the coal industry). But Manchin looooooves coal. So.

Also Bernie Sanders released a blistering statement criticizing how the media is obsessed with the price tag of the bill, while the public has no idea what’s in the bill. Bernie is right (someone check hell, it must be freezing.) The press only talks about the $3.5 trillion price tag and the negotiations. They barely mention what’s actually in the bill. Naturally this sent the press (people like Magga Haberman!) into a tail spin of “This isn’t our fault, it’s your fault! It’s never our fault!” social media posts. Fact check: It is the media’s fault. 3.5 trillion % the media’s fault. The same media still insists their coverage of 2016 election was perfect. But I keep going back to Harvard’s Shorenstein Media Center’s study that ABC, NBC & CBS Nightly News shows – the most watched news programs in the country – spent 100 mins of 2016 discussing Hillary’s email. 30 mins discussing all political issues combined. And 0 of those minutes were on climate change. And yet, the media continues to insist their coverage is above criticism. Trump was right about one thing, if for the wrong reasons: media is the enemy of the people.

Happy Weekend Widdershins!

This past week, after screaming at Biden for not holding a press conference since becoming President (even though he speaks to the press every day and held a town hall), Biden finally held a press conference. And it was a disaster. For the press. They asked multiple questions if he intends to run for President in 2024. They asked if Kamala Harris would be on the ticket with him again. (It’s 2 months into his Presidency, btw…) But they did not ask a single question about Covid. Nothing about gun violence. Nothing about anti-Asian violence. Washington Post media critic Margaret Sullivan (who used to be NY Times’ public editor, a position NYT eliminated) wrote before the press conference that it was going to be a big test for the White House press corps. After the press conference Sullivan tweeted: “Welp.” And that, I think, summarizes our press these days.

What’s on your minds this weekend?? This is an open thread!

For our musical entertainment this is Madonna and Massive Attack’s cover of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You.”

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year…Meh!

When all they have to write about is a Democratic government running smoothly and doing good things.

For almost six years they have had an endless gusher of outrage and horror to drive clicks and views. Der Drumpfenfuhrer was great for the bottom line. If he happened to only do ten terrible things in one day, the media could always dive into his tweets for fresh doses of red meat. Racism! Sexism! Fascism! Incitement to insurrection! Disturbing dictator love letters! They were all there, always there, 24-7, an endlessly regenerating perpetual motion machine of content to feed the perpetual news cycle.

But alas, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are only saving the country from coronavirus by increasing the amount of vaccines by 70% in one month. They are merely nominating the most diverse Cabinet of all time. They are simply holding informative and truthful press briefings every day, repairing the damage Drumpf did to our international relationships, re-entering the Paris Climate Accords, taking action to re-house migrant kids who have been separated from their families, reversing the transgender ban in the Army, creating space for us to mourn our 500,000 dead from COVID-19, and oh yes, live-streaming a dual press conference with Justin Trudeau. Sacre bleu! So, so…how you say…BOH-RING!

There is so little of value to report out of the Biden administration that CNN and all of the other major cable news networks are making sure to include the “other perspective” (aka alternate facts) from the reality they would have preferred: Donald didn’t do anything wrong on January 6!! In alternate fact, maybe he still won! Oh, wouldn’t that have been wonderful for them? Then they could get away with sympathetically reporting on all the Drumpf voters still voting for him despite all the racism, misogyny and fascism – without any pushback from anyone. Those were the days baby! So they keep booking people like Matt Schlapp, a festulent pustule on The Former Guy’s butt, in prime time. Every Sunday they make sure they have “balance.” Gotta somehow get that crazy Nazi itch scratched!

Now some of the media punditry is not playing ball and yearning for the glory days when the Mango Moron was gleefully destroying our democracy every second of every day. Some refuse to pretend they have amnesia and don’t remember that the majority of elected Republicans supported Trump throughout every second of his Reign of Error, including after he incited an insurrection at the Capitol. Some won’t play along with the endless yammering at, and criticizing of Democrats for not being “bipartisan” with people who TRIED TO KILL THEM!

Witness the beauty of Rachel Maddow taking the Thugs to task and calling out their general bad faith. She doesn’t seem to wish Drumpf was back, at all. Huh.

I don’t know what it will take for the media to quit Drumpf, but I will say this: Joe Biden is more popular than Donald ever was. And his policies, such as the American Rescue Plan, are more popular still, And I hope the Powers that Be eventually realize that those pundits and outlets that cater to the majority of Americans who like Biden and hate Donnie, will be proven to be on the right side of history.

Open thread, folks!


Apologies for the long absence, Widdershins. I went to NJ to spend time with my besties from college, and to celebrate the graduation of my “niece” (my best friend’s daughter) who is a budding opera singer going to conservatory (NEC) next year. She gave a lovely recital and then my best friend and her hubby gave her a party that was reminiscent of a wedding or a bat mitzvah. 🙂 I have known this wonderful young woman since I held her in my arms at her christening. I am rooting for her to be the next great operatic soprano of the 21st Century…that is, if we survive the next year or so.

I titled this post “Go Around Them.” The “Them” in this case is the Fourth Estate, which in the Age of Trump has become nothing but his puppet and mouthpiece. It is utterly terrifying how most TeeVee and print media has abdicated its duties without a whimper. Truly, if there is one thing I agree with der Drumpfenfuhrer on, it’s that the press mostly publishes “fake news.” Of course, the fake news is coming from his Twitter feed, his lying staff, his lying Congressional cronies, and his spectacularly CrayZee interview with George Stephanopolous.

The press has been unable to rise to the challenge of a President who lies multiple times a day. Instead of calling him out and saying he must resign due to his obstruction and coordination with Russia, both of which Mueller established without any question, TeeVee and print media haplessly report on every dead cat he throws on the table.

There is one thing that is absolutely certain about throwing a dead cat on the dining room table – and I don’t mean that people will be outraged, alarmed, disgusted. That is true, but irrelevant. The key point is that everyone will shout, ‘Jeez, mate, there’s a dead cat on the table!’ In other words, they will be talking about the dead cat – the thing you want them to talk about – and they will not be talking about the issue that has been causing you so much grief.

This is how he controls the narrative, and after four f*cking years, it’s still working for the most part. Every day, in every way, it’s All About Donald. I don’t think there’s much hope of change, since the media wants him to win. So many clicks, so many viewers and readers! The temptation is too great.

Except, there’s Twitter.

Now, Twitter has a lot of problems. It seems clear that whatever they use to block people who are harmful to the discourse (liars, hatemongerers and bots) is, shall we say, rather selective. Somehow, strong black voices appear to be the ones silenced the most often, rather than the Nazis who threaten to kill them. However, the reason I think there’s hope for 2020 is the Democratic candidates who use Twitter to reach out to us directly. After what was done to Hillary in 2016, our new contenders (especially the women) know that there’s no way the media will report on them honestly or give them airtime when those dead cats are stinking up the room. So, they publish their policies on Twitter, and waddyaknow? People care about them and are getting excited. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris do this regularly, and are steadily moving up in the polls.

So I suggest that, with the exception of the Democratic debates (I will be watching, and maybe we’ll do debate threads too!), and people like Maddow and O’Donnell, we go around traditional media and (CAREFULLY!) follow our candidates and trusted reporters on Twitter. I have a feeling we will be a lot calmer as we go into the long marathon that is the 2020 election. Because what we’ll be seeing in the traditional media for the next year and four months is going to be, sadly, fake news.

This is an open thread.

 

Well hello there, Widdershins. Apologies for the long absence, and thanks to DYB and Fredster for keeping our posts going!

Am I the only one who heard about the New York Times’ report about the FBI investigation into Drumpf being a #RussianAsset last Friday and, far from being shocked or excited, could only ask, “And?”

As I have posted and commented repeatedly, there is no innocent explanation for what has happened in full view of the American people. None, zero, nada mucho. No other candidate has ever had contact with a hostile foreign government during an election; it has previously been unthinkable because all of our other candidates for President have been loyal to America. I mean, duh! That’s the lowest possible threshold to meet when running for a country’s Presidency! The Mango Moron, by contrast, is up to about 100 known contacts, folks. One. Hun. Dred. And it’s only now that the Times report came out (most likely based on leaks by Democrats, as House testimony from 2017 was quoted) that the media is starting to come around to a common sense point of view.

What took them so long?

Let’s do a bit of a thought exercise, shall we? Imagine the 2016 election is reset, and the feces-throwing baboon doesn’t run. Instead of the Dicktater, we have a typically odious Republican nominee (like Ted Cruz) and Hillary Clinton is running against him. At the same time it’s becoming known that Russia is interfering in the election on her behalf, the FBI suddenly discovers that Our Girl had just ONE contact with ONE Russian during the 2016 campaign.

It would have been extremely suspicious, of course. Republicans and Democrats alike would have had meltdowns, and the media would have (rightfully) tried and convicted her of corruption and treason prior to the election. (We all know they spent every day hammering her for a faux national security scandal, so what would they have done with a real one?!) If this imagined contact were known before the nomination were decided, there is not a chance in hell she would have become the nominee. If she had become the nominee before the imagined contact were discovered, she would assuredly have lost the election, and the Democrats would be a disgraced Party for decades to come. “Democrats in disarray,” a constant Beltway narrative no matter what the circumstances actually are, would be playing on every channel. The follow-up questions would have been obvious. How could they have allowed this to happen? Who else in the Party knew, and when did they know it? How far into the Democratic Party has Russia reached?

Now let’s come back to reality. Up till now, despite mounds of publicly available evidence that Russians, Trump and the GOP are all hand in glove, der Drumpfenfuhrer has been given the benefit of the doubt to a degree that I, as a human being with a functioning brain, simply cannot understand. Trump admitted to obstruction of justice to Lester Holt on national TeeVee, I have always believed; and according to the story, the FBI thought so too.

Agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.

Where has the media been? Why are they still inching up to the real questions that need to be asked…what did the GOP know about Trump’s being a #RussianAsset, and when did they know it?

Maybe because they already know the answer?

As the indispensable journalist Sarah Kendzior wrote in December of 2017, the GOP is not going to get electoral power from their support of the Siberian Candidate. Yet Lindsey Graham has become one of his strongest supporters. Why?

Given that some of Graham’s worst fears about Trump’s Kremlin ties and mental state have been legitimized, what accounts for the senator’s changed attitude toward the president? There are a variety of possible rationales available for conjecture, many of which apply to the GOP at large. Opportunism may play a role, as Graham complies with Trump in order to pursue right-wing extremist economic policies and war. Blackmail may also be an issue, given that Graham has admitted his email was hacked, as was the RNC’s, by Russia. Trump has derided and threatened members of Congress and private citizens, and it’s not a stretch to imagine him unleashing his fire– publicly or privately–on Graham.

Opportunism. Blackmail. Intimidation. Those are three good reasons. But what about corruption? The New Republic had the right take on this in May of 2017. Yes, they knew and they let it happen. They did. not. care.

The basic nature of the [Russian] pro-Trump subversion effort was known to GOP leaders before the parties’ conventions last year: The above conversation took place on June 15 [2016]. Several weeks after the GOP officially nominated Trump in mid-July, in a secure setting with Obama administration officials and other members who receive classified briefings, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to politicize any effort on the part of the government to reveal that Russian intelligence was intervening in the election to help Trump. “According to several officials,” the Post reported, “McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.”

Despite Ryan’s clear awareness of the truth, we can infer that he sided with McConnell, tacitly or otherwise, because the Obama administration backed down in the face of McConnell’s threat. An official government assessment that Russia was helping Trump in the election didn’t reach the public until after the election, as Trump was transitioning to the presidency.

So where has the rest of the media been? Even after the massive trouncing at the mid-terms, the media has failed to pronounce the doom and disgrace of the GOP as a Party. “GOP in disarray” is not a narrative I hear or see. Steve Bannon, somehow, continues to escape all blame and scrutiny; the latest major stories on him are from a year ago. How is he not as guilty as Manafort? And although this has not been noted anywhere other than Twitter, there is evidence that Mueller is looking into the media as part of his investigation. For example: Faux News has not tweeted since 11/8/18. Seriously. Isn’t this big news?

As the inevitable downfall of Drumpf draws near, I hope the impending Mueller report includes some insight into why the media has been so reluctant to call out Drumpf for his treason, and the GOP for their knowledge of treason.

We deserve and need the truth about what has happened to the right-wing half of our two-party system. And one of the pieces of the puzzle is, what did the media know, when did they know it, and why are they still so unwilling to admit the truth?

This is an open thread.

 

 


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