Category Archives: MSM

Headline of the day II: Meet the Press, DJT ed.

From the London Daily Mail:

‘I’m in a room full of liars’: Trump reams execs and anchors from ‘the dishonest media’ at ‘candid’ meeting at Trump Tower that turned into a ‘f****ng firing squad’

  • Executives from NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and Fox Business Network met with Donald Trump on Monday
  • One person who was present detailed what allegedly happened behind closed doors, despite the meeting being off the record
  • That person said it was ‘like a f***ing firing squad,’ and claimed that Trump told those in attendance they were ‘liars’ and ‘dishonest’
  • Trump also reportedly singled out CNN president Jeff Zucker, saying he ‘hates’ his network and that he should be ‘ashamed’ 
  • The meeting was organized by Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s former campaign manager and now a senior adviser to the President-elect 
  • She spoke with reporters after the meeting and said that it was ‘very cordial, very productive, very congenial’

America’s news media gave us President Trump

We wrote our first newspaper story on 9 November 1964, a story that won the banner headline of the Valley Courier, a small town daily in Alamosa, Colorado.

From that moment we were hooked, and we’ve spent the years since documenting the world we inhabit, covering everything from car crashes and school board meetings to corporate corruption and organized crime.

In those years we’ve seen both a radical downsizing of the American news media [see the links we’ve posted under Blood on the Newsroom Floor category], while the media themselves have been swallowed up by corporadoes, or, more significantly, investment banksters eager to loot by paring news staffs to the bone ad filling their “news” with sensationalism and outright propaganda of the sort that’s without precedent during our first decades in journalism.

In a world where advertising pays more the greater number of audience eyeballs and ears captured, owners experimented with different types of coverage.

Celebrity news migrated from the celebrity rags and entertainment columns to the page front page and the fluff covered by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous migrated into prime time news shows.

When television and stations and networks started using helicopters to provide traffic reports, we soon discovered the broadcast-as-it-happens car chase. A compelling visual event usually ending in dramatic crash, a shootout, or a takedown — each visually and aurally compelling.

Then came the infamous O.J. Simpson slow-speed car chase, combining both celebrity sensation and an as-it-happens crime story in an event that kept scores of millions of eyeballs glued to the boob tube [hence validating that denigrating slang into undeniable reality.

It was, quite simply, the prototypical exemplar of what would come to be called “reality television,” that perfect fusion of news, celebrity, and the sense of sensation that comes from uncertainty of the outcome.

And then came Donald Trump, a man with shady connections and gold-plated toilets, a blowhard and braggart, a philanderer and serial polygamist, a vulgarian and a plutocrat.

In other words, perfect television.

So they gave him a reality show, and he used it to sell the only real brand he’s got, himself — or the carefully constructed persona he found most effective in getting his way.

And so, whether on a lark of fulfilling some long-held fantasy, he decided one morning he was going to pull of the greatest reality show of all, a run for the White House.

And he brought to it all the media skills he’d mastered as a professional celebrity.

And best of all, he knew how to tweet.

Instead of taking the traditional political course of using the news media as a filter, he bypassed them by going straight to his audience/

And the already debased reportorial herd was forced to dance to the tune he called.

And that brings us to tonight’s video, a report from Al Jazeera English’s The Listening Post on the news media’s abject failure in conveying the ture nature of the despicable character of the man a rigged system [he was right about that, but it’s rigged in his favor] has installed in the most powerful post in the government of the most powerful nation on earth.

From Al Jazeera English:

Trumped: The abyss between reporters and the reported

Program notes:

Political journalism in the United States – its spectacular failure in election 2016 and how it got to be this way.

Headline of the day II: The man who gave us Trump

Ronald and Roger,, like two pussygrbbers in a pod.

From the London Daily Mail:

‘You’re my wh***. You’re my sex slave’: Fox News employee details ’20 YEARS of hell during which Roger Ailes made her perform sex acts on him, harassed her and used blackmail to silence her’

  • Laurie Luhn, 56, is opening up about the 20 years of sexual harassment she allegedly endured at the hands of Roger Ailes
  • The former Fox News employee claims it all began one night in a hotel when Ailes made her dance around in lingerie while filming her  
  • ‘You’re my wh***. You’re my sex slave. You’re going to do whatever I tell you to do at any time. Do you understand that?’ Ailes told Luhn, she claims
  • A few years after meeting Ailes while working on President George H.W. Bush’s campaign, Luhn took a job with him at Fox News 
  • She claims that once she secured a big promotion at the network he told her to go to the hotel in an outfit to perform oral sex on him 
  • Luhn also claims Ailes forced her to participate in a sex act with another woman while he took photos 
  • She received a $3.15million separation agreement after complaining to Fox News lawyers about Ailes’ harassment, and signed a non-disclosure 
  • Ailes has denied Luhn’s allegations

Mr. Fish: Lincoln Memorial Service

First, an explanatory note for folks in other countries and those in this one too young to remember.

From 1971 to 1979, one of the most popular shows on American television was All in the Family, starring the late Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker, whose bigoted blathering was often subtly [or not-so-subtly] exposed by his wife, daughter, and son-in-law.

Bunker typically made his promouncements whilst sitting in his livingroom easy chair, parked in front of the television.

He’s a clip of Archie in action, lamenting the thought that his neighborhood might be “invaded” by folks of a darker skin than his:

Given that Trump and his father built their fortunes on segregated apartments and he has surrounded himself with some of the country’s most notorious bigots, today’s offering from Clowncrack, that blog of anti-apartheid agita, appropriately replaces the Abraham Lincoln in his Washington memorial with the Archie Bunker:


Headline of the day II: More Trumplandia troubles

From the Guardian:

Trump’s name to be removed from New York buildings to appeal to renters

  • Owner of Upper West Side ‘Trump Place’ buildings, developed by the businessman, aims for ‘more neutral building identity’
  • Donald Trump’s name will be permanently removed from a series of New York City buildings on Wednesday, in an apparent repudiation of his divisive presidential campaign
  • The name “Trump” has been displayed prominently on 140, 160 and 180 Trump Place, in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, for more than a decade. Trump developed the apartment buildings in the 1990s
  • But Equity Residential, which owns the building, told the Guardian that the Trump signage would be removed – and the actual street names changed – because it would make the apartments more appealing to renters

Equity Residential is a company we know well, having written extensively about the firm and its boss, Sam Zell, during our years at the Berkeley Daily Planet. and the subject of numerous of our reports.

Zell, who styles himself the Gravedancer for his ruthless business style, is the embodiment of the predatory capitalist type, buying up troubled companies, conducting mass layoffs, and looting their assets.

Our interest in Zell was sparked by two things: His buyout of Berkeley’s largest bloc of privately owned apartments and his brief ownership of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and the other newspapers owned by the Tribune Co.

His purchase, bankrolled by looting the company’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan [a pension plan bankrolled by company stock shares]. ended in bankruptcy and massive layoffs of some of California’s best journalists.

Here’s a classic Zell clip, show during a meeting with the staff of the Tribune Co.’s Orlando Sentinel, when he was explaining his plans for the paper in 2008. Notably, when a reporter questions his plans to cut back public service journalism, Zell responds with a “Fuck you.”


Zell also bankrolled $100,000 of anti-Obama ads in the 2012 election, monies raised, in part, from the exorbitant rents paid by University of California students for his apartments near a campus which no longer builds affordable student housing.

Zell is a flamboyant character in many ways similar to Donald Trump. But that said, he was notably silent during this year’s presidential campaign, and his remarks about Trump during a Bloomberg interview last December — in which he reveals he turned down a Trump offer to become his partner — are interesting:

Billionaire Sam Zell: Donald Trump Asked Me to Be His Business Partner, and I Said No

Program notes:

Equity Group Investments Founder Sam Zell discusses his politics and outlook for the 2016 Presidential election.

Politics and the strange silence on financialization

Random musings on a Saturday night. . .

The financialization of active citizens, reconfigured as passive consumers, is the keystone of the game, creating a demand for all that stuff peddled by corporations a peddled as objects of desire both in advertising through placement in media content as symbols of wealth, power, and sexual desirability. Note to that those media, like the the corporations selling the stuff, are owned in large part by investment banksters and massive pension funds, public and private, while a new class of billionaires arises through the flood of cash generated by all that stuff — at least in advanced economies but to an alarming extent in second- and third-tier economies.

In addition to direct profits earned by manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers, even more wealth is generation by the financialization that makes it all possible. Without a scale of consumer credit unparalleled in modern history, banks generate vast sums through interest payments and fees charged for the borrowed cash that make us seeker out in order to accommodate all that stuff we’ve financed on credit cards.

And then there’s all the money needed to finance two car loans, because a second car is essential for many families with two income earners rather than the one that was the norm back when esnl was growing up in the 1950s.

And then there are those student loans you’ve got to get to land a job that gives you a crack at all that stuff, loans bigger than a lot of home mortgages and taking just as long to pay off.

Our blog flag features some very perceptive words from Aldous, Huxley, even truer today than when written more than sixty years ago:

Armaments, universal debt and planned obsolescence — those are the three pillars of Western prosperity.

The U.S., of course, by far the world’s largest arms merchant, and planned obsolescence is the prime directive of the “information economy,” where folks by phones every year chasing the latest gotta-have-it features and computer software that comes in an unceasing parade of enumerated editions, with creations made on an early version oftens unreadable by the latest programs. [For the first decade as a journalist, we wrote our stories on typewriters, many of them newsroom veterans older than we were. In those days, modst folks had one telephone, a heavy black two-piece contraption that never borke and you kept as long as you owned or rented your dwelling.

Similarly, back in those days credit cards were unheard of and when folks wanted to buy something like a television of some living room furniture and they couldn’t pay in full couldn’t pay, stores would put the item on lay away, holding the item until the customer was able to make a series of payments over time to cover the item cost. Or, if you had a good reputation in the community, you might get store credit and have use of them items whilst paying them off.

But when federal law changes allowed banks to operate across state lines, credit cards exploded on the scene and private debt soared.

Issues unspoken during the election

These are the most important issues confronting American society today, along with the recrudescence of racism stirred up by the President-elect.

Yet only Bernie Sanders raised the debt/financialization issue, generating the ire of Hillary Clinton and John Podesta, even though they were classic staples of New Deal-era Democrats.

Trump exploited the ire generated by the loss of class position and the hope of advancement that once inspired the American working class, but he focused that anger on the least powerful and most oppressed among us.

We had a race between a candidate who measures her wealth in the hundreds of millions and one who wealth is somewhere in the billions. Neither candidate worries about whether they can pay the rent, and the daughter of the Democrat is married to a Goldman Sachs star, whilst her opponent craps on a gold-plated toilet.

Welcome to Trump’s America, where things can only get worse.

While Hillary frittered, The Donald Twittered

And therein might lie the secret of his success.

Or so writes Shontavia Johnson, Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Drake University in The Conversation, an open source academic journal:

Donald Trump’s presidential election victory has been described as stunning, shocking and having elicited a “primal scream” from the media. The president-elect resonated enough with more than 59 million Americans that they pulled the lever for him in the voting booth and propelled him to a win.

Trump connected with his supporters both in person and on social media, particularly via Twitter. He was back tweeting mere hours after delivering his victory speech.

Trump’s affinity for Twitter is well-documented. One political operative characterized the candidate’s presence on the social networking site as “a continuous Trump rally that happens on Twitter at all hours.” His perceived dexterity led some to declare him the best on social media and winner of the social media war.

But how much influence did Twitter have during the 2016 presidential election? As a law professor who researches the internet’s impact on the tangible world, I believe the answer to this question could, in some ways, transform the way political candidates manage their campaigns for years to come.

Politics in the palm of your hand

With more than 300 million active users in the first three-quarters of 2016, Twitter allows people to interact with droves of friends and followers in 140 characters or less. While Americans tend to avoid discussions about politics offline, social media environments like Twitter make it nearly impossible to avoid political interactions on the internet. Though research shows that few Clinton or Trump supporters have close friends in the opposing camp, social media extends these connections significantly. With Twitter in particular, users are statistically more likely to follow people they do not know personally than with Facebook, where users often connect to those with whom they have some personal connection.

This is particularly powerful when you consider the impact social media has on political opinions. Long hours of exposure to political discourse can enhance participation in politics, and communication with others galvanizes political activity around common concerns. One in five people report changing their views on a political or social issue because of something they read on social media, and nearly the same amount say they changed their views about a specific candidate based on what they read there.

Trump’s uncensored tweets persuaded

Trump was remarkably effective at harnessing this type of social media power to influence opinions. His campaign successfully crowdsourced a message of anger and fear by leveraging the knowledge, contacts and skills of his followers to disseminate his tweets widely. For example, Trump would receive nearly double the number of Twitter mentions as Hillary Clinton each day, even though (or maybe because) his messages were much more negative. He also boasted about 40 percent more Twitter followers than his democratic rival.

Trump developed a rapport with his followers by maintaining his own Twitter account throughout much of his campaign. Clinton primarily used a media team – and it showed. Experts have pointed out that because Trump’s tweets largely sounded like they came directly from him – seeming off-the-cuff and unvetted by media pros – they were quite persuasive for his supporters.

This type of relationship development proved to be critical, as fans and followers joined Trump’s movement and developed into large voting blocs. Scott Adams, who created the “Dilbert” comic strip, spent much of the election season writing about Trump as a master of persuasion, particularly through his strong use of fear.

Continue reading