Category Archives: MSM

Native American drinking stereotype busted


Another myth debunked.

From the University of Arizona Newsroom:

In contrast to enduring stories about extraordinarily high rates of alcohol abuse among Native Americans, University of Arizona researchers have found that Native Americans’ binge and heavy drinking rates actually match those of whites. The groups differed regarding abstinence: Native Americans were more likely to abstain from alcohol use.

The UA study, published online Monday in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, was conducted by James K. Cunningham, lead author, a U.S. Fulbright scholar and social epidemiologist with the UA Department of Family and Community Medicine and the UA Native American Research and Training Center; Teshia A. Solomon (Choctaw), director of the Native American Research and Training Center; and Dr. Myra Muramoto, head of Family and Community Medicine.

The researchers analyzed data from a survey of more than 4,000 Native Americans and 170,000 whites between 2009 and 2013. The survey, called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, was administered by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The UA study also used another nationally representative survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System administered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to measure how often Native Americans and whites engaged in excessive drinking in the past month. Again, findings for the two groups were comparable.

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About 17 percent of both Native Americans and whites were found to be binge drinkers, and about 8 percent of both groups were heavy drinkers. Binge drinking was defined as five or more drinks on one to four days in the past month. Heavy drinking was five or more drinks on five or more days in the past month. Sixty percent of Native Americans reported no alcohol use in the past month, compared to 43 percent of whites.

“Of course, debunking a stereotype doesn’t mean that alcohol problems don’t exist,” Cunningham said. “All major U.S. racial and ethnic groups face problems due to alcohol abuse, and alcohol use within those groups can vary with geographic location, age and gender.

“But falsely stereotyping a group regarding alcohol can have its own unique consequences. For example, some employers might be reluctant to hire individuals from a group that has been stereotyped regarding alcohol. Patients from such a group, possibly wanting to avoid embarrassment, may be reluctant to discuss alcohol-related problems with their doctors.”

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Solomon noted that comparable rates of alcohol use do not necessarily result in comparable rates of alcohol-related health problems. “Native Americans as a group have less access to medical care, safe housing and quality food, which can amplify health problems connected to alcohol,” she said.

“Negative stereotyping of groups of people who have less access to health care creates even more health disparities,” Muramoto said. “Based on a false negative stereotype, some health care providers may inaccurately attribute a presenting health problem to alcohol use and fail to appropriately diagnose and treat the problem.”

The researchers feel that their study could impact beliefs about Native Americans’ alcohol use.

“It’s our hope that the media — movies, television, newspapers, radio, Internet — will represent Native American alcohol use more accurately,” Cunningham said. “It’s time to let the myths about elevated drinking fade away.”

A summary of the report, “Alcohol use among Native Americans compared to whites: Examining the veracity of the ‘Native American elevated alcohol consumption’ belief,” can be accessed here. [For the full article, another damn paywall, $35.95, to be exact — esnl]

Another sign of the death of mainstream journalism


What if they held a public hearing about a plan to slash the pensions of more than a quarter of a million American workers and but a single journalism showed up to cover the event?

Moreover, what if that heaving was held in the American city hardest hit by the collapse of American manufacturing, and the pension fund involved had been the subjects of countless books, magazine and newspaper articles, and films?

Well, that’s precisely what happened.

From Andre Damon of the World Socialist Web Site [emphasis added]:

The Obama administration is pushing ahead with its plans to slash pension benefits for up to one million participants in “underfunded” multiemployer pension funds as part of its drive to make defined-benefit pensions a thing of the past for all US workers.

The White House campaign, carried out in a conspiracy with the major trade unions and multinational corporations, takes place in the wake of the 2013–2014 bankruptcy of Detroit, which set a precedent for slashing the legally protected pension benefits of retirees.

Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration’s appointee to oversee the pension cuts, held a hearing on behalf of the Treasury Department in Detroit Monday to hear objections to the plan to slash the pension benefits of some 270,000 retired truck drivers, package handlers and other members of the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund.

The hearing, which took place at Wayne State University, drew an overflow crowd at a 500-seat lecture hall, with up to 1,000 people participating in total. With the exception of the World Socialist Web Site, the media ignored the event, with no US video crews present.

Such is live in 21st Century America, where Kim Kardashian’s ass rate more coverage than the loss of secure futures for a quarter-million workers.

The Guardian figures in yet more media bias


While usually perceived as politically on the Left, the British paper has some biases that are anything but.

At the center of one such set of biases is one of the most famous whistleblowers in modern history.

From teleSUR English:

The Guardian and Assange

Program notes:

The UK newspaper The Guardian ignores the fundamental issues behind the Assange case.

Quote of the day: Parsing a media strokefest


From Norman Solomon in an interview by Sharmini Peries for The Real News Network:

PERIES: Now, a few weeks ago the New York Times was really called on by the Bernie campaign in terms of how little coverage he was getting in the first place in the New York Times. Why, why is the New York Times not paying attention to these smaller candidates that have a greater popular movement, support, and so on? On the one hand that seems kind of obvious, given that it is a corporate media, and they act in the interest of the corporate elite. But it is not good newspaper-selling. So why are they doing that?

SOLOMON: Well, there’s certainly been a progression in terms of the coverage of Bernie Sanders. As you note, early last year, and later on even, as he announced and then began to gain momentum for his candidacy for president, he got very little coverage in the New York Times. The announcement was on the back page. He was sort of pooh-poohed, and by omission discounted. And it was only because of the grassroots momentum of the campaign that the New York Times has been compelled now to routinely put him on the front page here in February of 2016.

This is a pattern where it’s not until and unless grassroots candidates are able to raise a lot of money and show that they can, perhaps, get a whole lot of votes, that the news media, including the so-called quality legacy outlets like the New York Times, are willing to even take them seriously. But now we’re in a different phase, where after being almost ignored, discounted, pooh-poohed, put in terms of a fringe candidacy, the Bernie Sanders campaign is now being deluged with attacks and mischaracterizations by a wide range of media, where Hillary Clinton, even though she’d gotten some rough treatment from the New York Times in the past, because she is the corporate standard-bearer against the insurgent insurrections of the Sanders campaign, Hillary Clinton is getting a lot of very favorable coverage. Not only in the New York Times, but across a lot of news media. Of course, Fox is already gearing up to try to defeat her, they hope, in the fall.

But you’ve seen a lot of just [puffery] for Hillary Clinton. Not only on the cable news such as MSNBC, but also in the editorials you mentioned. A few days ago when the New York Times editorially endorsed Hillary Clinton for president with a flourish, there was so much smoke that I couldn’t recognize her. The New York Times editorial board was just depicting and describing a candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, who I absolutely could not recognize. She was this paragon of idealism, she was willing to challenge corporate and undemocratic interests. It was just this fantasy that, because the New York Times is eager not only to get her elected but to get Bernie Sanders defeated, she’s got a halo over her head and she’s some sort of great advocate for equality and the rights of people, no matter their economic station.

And here’s the full interview:

Corporate Media Endorses Clinton to Defend Their Own Interests

Program notes:

Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction.org, says the New York Times’ anti-Sanders Bias is rooted in its desire to maintain the status quo.

Chart of the day: Perceived Euro media bias


How Europeans perceive media bias in their own countries, via YouGovUK:

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Chart of the day: More signs of the death of print


Bad news for newspaper in a new survey [PDF] from the Pew Research Center, which reveals that print media are far down on the list of news sources folks of all ages turn to for information about the current presidential election circus. And as might be expected, the last of the flagging support for print comes from the Boomers, and the news is especially bleak for local newspapers.

Indeed, it’s arguable that print shouldn’t even be labelled as a mainstream medium:

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And now for something completely different. . .


For those of a certain age, the comedy routines of Bob and Ray — Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding — provided many a smile and the not-infrequent guffaw.

While they made occasional forays into television, their routines were born in an era when radio delivered not only music and news, but comedy, drama, and variety programs, featuring the leading stars of the age.

Their routines provided inspiration for two generations of comedians, and novelist Kurt Vonnegut wrote of the delight he took in their schtick.

The routines played on the medium itself, skewering newscasts with their intrepid report Wally Ballou, one of a whole cast of characters.

What prompts our nostalgia is a a story in today’s New York Times:

Bob Elliott, who as half of the comedy team Bob and Ray purveyed a distinctively low-key brand of humor on radio and television for more than 40 years, died on Tuesday at his home in Cundy’s Harbor, Me. He was 92.

His death was confirmed by his son Chris Elliott, the actor and comedian, who said his father had had throat cancer.

Mr. Elliott and his partner, Ray Goulding — Bob was the soft-spoken one, Ray the blustery, deep-voiced one — were unusual among two-person comedy teams. Rather than one of them always playing it straight and the other handling the jokes, they took turns being the straight man.

What better way to memorialize what is truly the end of an era than with s few of their brightest routines?

First up, from the early radio days, a sketch that focuses on a feature that was once ubiquitous on the airwaves:

Bob and Ray – The Question Man

The next sketch captures a trauma all too common in the days of live radio news interviews:

Bob & Ray – The slow talker

And another interview sketch:

Bob and Ray A Visit with Neil Clummer of The Hobby Hut with The Vegetable Collector

In 1951 the comedy duo moved their act to television, with a fifteen-minute broadcast [yes, broadcast television then often came in both shorter and longer programs than today]. Audrey Meadows, who would go on to television immortality as Alice Kramden in The Honeymooners, joined the duo for the show.

Bob & Ray. “Jack Headstrong” & “The Life and Loves of Linda Lovely”

Program notes:

The first episode of “Jack Headstrong, All American American” and the contuing story of Uncle Eugen’s kidnapping in “The Life And Loves of Linda Lovely”.

From the “Bob & Ray Show” which ran on NBC from 1951-1953, with Audrey Meadows, announcer Bob Denton and organist Paul Taubman.

And pair of short sketches:

Bob & Ray. “Hartford Harry”. Bud Sturdley “Impartial Survey”

The next sketch was performed just as politicians were beginning to discover the power of the medium:

Bob & Ray “Booking Agents to the Politicians”

And one final sketch from their show, again playuing against the medium itself:

Bob & Ray: “Television Referee”

And finally, their appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, performing two sketches that leave their host writhing in laughter:

Bob and Ray “Most Beautiful Face Winner”

Program notes:

Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding perform two of their classic interviews: “Most Beautiful Face Contest Winner” and “Four Leaf Clover Farmer.” Lots of great Bob and Ray available at the official site: www.bobandray.com

Radio as they knew it is dead, a transformed into a coldly calculated corporate entity, with local stations reduced to robot run money-making machines.

So hoist one for Bob and Ray, and may their shadows never grow less.