Category Archives: MSM

Trump to continue as producer of ‘Apprentice’

Not only will President Pussygrabber be presiding over the nation.

He’s also continue as the top producer of the television shows that brought into the living rooms of millions of Americans every week.

Oh, but he’ll not longer be hosting.

That job goes to another guy who left show biz for politics.

From the McClatchy Washington Bureau:

In keeping with his unorthodox style, Donald Trump will be the first U.S. president in a lot of ways.

He’ll be the first commander-in-chief to be a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. He’ll be the first president with his own line of vodka. And, according to media reports on Thursday, he’ll be the first president to executive produce a reality TV show while in office.

Variety broke the news that Trump, who rose to fame thanks in part to his stints on the reality TV shows “The Apprentice” and “The Celebrity Apprentice,” will continue to serve as executive producer of “The New Celebrity Apprentice” when it comes back on NBC this January after a two-year hiatus.

The new iteration of the show, which will be hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is just the latest in a series of business ventures Trump is involved in that has raised questions about potential conflicts of interest when he takes office.

As executive producer, Trump will almost certainly not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the show, but his name will appear second in the credits, per Variety, after Mark Burnett, who helped create “The Apprentice.” And as executive producer, he will receive an undisclosed fee, which Variety reports is likely to be at least $10,000 per episode, with the show scheduled for an initial eight episodes after the new year.

Words fail us.

Why comedians are our best Trump news source

American journalism has long been afflicted with the notion of objectivity, and objectivity of a peculiar nature.

We can’t even begin to number the times editors had told us “be sure to get the other wide.”

The notion of “the other side” is inherently flawed, the concept that truth is like a sheet of paper: First you see one side, then turn it over and you see the other side.

Fix news managed to invert the usual standards by offering “the other side of the story,” giving us the first overt American mainstream propaganda outlet of our own lifetime.

But truth isn’t bipolar. It’s multidimensional, and however thoroughly you dig, there’s always more to the story.

Even more significantly, sometimes the story is so absurdly obviously that that any pretense of objectivity lends it a dignity it doesn’t possess.

As in the case of our President-elect.

We offer two examples of the only way news make sense in the Trumpian era.

First up, a segment from Late Night with Seth Meyers:

Donald Trump’s False Claims and Foreign Policy Moves: A Closer Look

Program note:

Seth takes a closer look at Presidential-elect Trump’s willingness to make false claims and his shoot-from-the-hip foreign policy approach.

And then this from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee:

The Big Lie

Program note:

When you’re president, you can tell whatever lies you want. They just let you do it.

As Walter Cronkite, America’s most trusted television newsman of esnl’s early journalism years, used to say:

Welcome to the trolling Trumpian tweeterocracy

His latest indication of the shape of things to come:


Trump team leader wants an end to net neutrality

Expect to pay more for all those streaming videos, and much more.

From The Register:

Supporters of net neutrality are preparing to defend FCC regulations passed two years ago in the face of what is increasingly looking like a determined effort by the Trump Administration to undermine them.

Earlier this week, Trump named a third person to his FCC transition team and, as with the previous two, she is a vocal opponent to net neutrality rules.

“Net neutrality sounds good, but it means different things to different people, making it easy for special interests to manipulate it for narrow political ends,” argued Roslyn Layton in January of 2015, in a post published soon after the Open Internet Order was approved in a partisan 3-2 vote by the FCC.

She continued: “Using their own definitions, companies such as Netflix hijack the language of net neutrality to lobby for regulatory favors.”

In many respects, her opposition to net neutrality is what defines Layton – as well as the other two transition heads, Jeff Eisenach and Mark Jamison – more than any other attribute or position.

Trump’s not Adolf Hitler, says Noam Chomsky

While Adolj Hitler was a sincere, dedicated ideologue, Donald Trump is a thing-skinned megalomaniac, firing off tweets at 3 a.m. when anyone angers him, says Noam Chomsky in this extended interview with Al Jazeera.

And in some ways he’s worse: “The most predictable aspect of Trump is unpredictability. I think it’s dangerous, very dangerous.”

And in many ways, he says, it’s the Republican Party itself that’s the greatest threat to humanity’s future.

Topics covered include the failure of the news media to cover real issues, climate change, Barack Obama’s assassination program, NATO and threats to peace in Eastern Europe, and more

From Al Jazeera English’s UpFront:

Noam Chomsky on the new Trump era

Quote of the day: A call for news media reform

Following up on today’s post about the confusion between fake and real news, this from Victor Pickard , associate professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, writing in Jacobin:

Media are primarily designed to satisfy advertisers’ and media owners’ profit imperatives. Trump’s screen-to-screen exposure during the campaign season didn’t just reflect audience desires; rather, it served as bait for their attention.

Audience eyeballs are the coveted product that media deliver to advertisers. And to keep our attention, media must entertain us. Trump performs this role wonderfully. He keeps ratings high and ad sales strong. He is pure gold for commercial media’s bottom line, no matter how vacuous their coverage.

For the past hundred-plus years, the United States has tried to sustain its experiment in commercialized journalism by treating news as both a commodity and a public service. Although a perfect division never existed, the news industry (often out of fear of public backlash and government intervention) has long sought to prevent commercial imperatives from completely overwhelming democratic principles.

Today, as Donald Trump’s ascendance shows, any vestige of that always-porous divide is quickly disappearing. While television news media are the most blatant example, various forms of digital journalism that expose readers to invasive and deceptive advertising are also part of the problem. As revenues for hard news continue to plummet, the increasing emphasis on ersatz journalism and clickbait is deeply troubling.

What we need is a structural overhaul of our media system, one that uncouples journalism from commercial imperatives. Alternative models, both from the American past and from other countries, show us that different systems are indeed viable. But they require conscious policy interventions that establish structural safeguards and incentives for responsible and informative media.

Most students can’t tell fake news from the real deal

In this case, the fake news is called “sponsored content,” corporate propaganda appearing on news and social media websites and written or produced to mimic the forms used by real journalism.

From C|Net:

Students have trouble telling the difference between news stories and native ads (aka sponsored content), for example, and figuring out where the information came from in the first place, researchers found. More than 80 percent of students thought an ad labeled “sponsored content” was a news story.

“Overall, young people’s ability to reason about the information on the Internet can be summed up in one word: bleak,” researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Education wrote.

The study tested “civic online reasoning” to see how students evaluate information on the internet. Researchers also wanted to determine how to teach them to separate credible sources from those that shouldn’t be trusted. They tested students — from middle school, high school and college in 12 US states, gathering 7,804 responses between January 2015 and June 2016.

“Many people assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally perceptive about what they find there,” said Sam Wineburg, the report’s lead author. “Our work shows the opposite to be true.” Wineburg is a professor and a founder of the Stanford History Education Group, which has put together curriculum for social studies classes to help students learn to evaluate primary sources.

The study tackled news literacy and examined students’ ability to evaluate Facebook and Twitter feeds, photographs, reader comments on news sites and blog posts.