Category Archives: MSM

The Wall Street Journal refuses to say Trump lies


Anyone with half a brain would have to admit that His Puerility is a compulsive liar, telling the public whatever he thought they wanted to hear to win the nomination and then the White House.

Hell, the man even lies about the length of his fingers, even though the proof of his falsehood is cast in bronze.

But the Wall Street Journal, the paper that represents the Pussygrabber’s class interests more than any other, refuses to use the L-word when reporting on his profigately prodigious prevaricating.

From teleSUR English:

The Wall Street Journal would not call a lie a lie if it was told by President-elect Donald Trump over concerns of “objectivity,” the paper’s editor-in-chief told Meet the Press on Sunday.

“I’d be careful about using the word, ‘lie,’” said Gerard Baker, editor-in-chief of the conservative paper. “‘Lie’ implies much more than just saying something that’s false. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead.”

Instead of calling the lie by what it is, he would print the facts next to Trump’s statement and let readers decide for themselves which is the truth.

“I think if you start ascribing a moral intent, as it were, to someone by saying that they’ve lied, I think you run the risk that you look like you are, like you’re not being objective,” he said.

He also orders his staff to respond similarly on social media, despite “questionable” or “challengeable” comments from Trump. But he added that there should be “a little less deference, a little less insider behavior” by the media on politicians.

The Journal‘s refusal to call a spade a spade should come as no surprise, given that it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch, the same loathsome reptile who gave us Fox News.

Obama’s revenge: Russian diplomats expelled


Angered over those alleged Russian hacking attacks on his party, President Barack Obama has ramped up the pressure on Moscow, today expelling a host of Russian diplomats.

Cold War 2.0 is escalating once again, though we suspect the new Oval Office occupant will do what he can to damp it down, perhaps the one silver lining in a very dark cloud.

Form teleSUR English:

The United States expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland in response to an alleged campaign of harassment against American diplomats in Moscow, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.

The move against the diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Washington and consulate in San Francisco is part of a series of actions announced on Thursday to punish Russia for a campaign of intimidation of American diplomats in Moscow and interference in the U.S. election.

The Obama administration was also announcing on Thursday a series of retaliatory measures against Russia for allegedly hacking into U.S. political institutions and individuals and leaking information to help President-elect Donald Trump and other Republican candidates, two U.S. officials said.

Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, has called for better relations with Russia. It was not clear if he will be able to immediately overturn the measures announced on Thursday.

The Russian diplomats would have 72 hours to leave the United States, the official said. Access to the two compounds, which are used by Russian officials for intelligence gathering, will be denied to all Russian officials as of noon on Friday, the senior U.S. official added.

And on a related note. . .

Lori Harfenistis a Manhattan-based punk artist who did a show cal The Resident for the weekly show for the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, a public access channel, then moved it over to RT America in 2003.

In this brief segment she points out a conflict for the news medium that’s been doing so much on the alleged Russian hacking of the American political system. You might even call it financial hacking.

It’s short and well worth watching:

WaPo refuses to add disclosure about $600M CIA contract

Program notes:

In 2013, Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million. Only 4 months later, he was awarded a $600 million contract with the CIA. So the CIA has a direct connection to the Washington Post, the paper of record in our nation’s capital, but they refuse to add a disclosure to stories they write about the CIA.

Quote of the day: Call him President Bubble Boy


From a long, fascinating story by Washington Post reporter David Farenthold on his long efforts to find out about Trump’s claims to have given millions to charities:

By the end of the election, I felt I’d done my job. My last big story about Trump started with an amazing anecdote, which came from a tip from a reader. In 1996, Trump had crashed a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a charity opening a nursery school for children with AIDS. Trump, who had never donated to the charity, stole a seat onstage that had been saved for a big contributor.

He sat there through the whole ceremony, singing along with the choir of children as cameras snapped, and then left without giving a dime.

“All of this is completely consistent with who Trump is,” Tony Schwartz, Trump’s co-author on his 1987 book “The Art of the Deal,” told me. “He’s a man who operates inside a tiny bubble that never extends beyond what he believes is his self-interest.”

“If your worldview is only you — if all you’re seeing is a mirror — then there’s nobody to give money to,” Schwartz said. “Except yourself.”

Mainstream media, Silicon Valley gave us Trump


Donald Trump took his ego, his sociopathy, his wealth, his brand, and his unparalleled skills at playing the American mass media and parlayed them into a new domicile, and hopefully one he can’t brand.

No other president-elect has revealed his major policy decisions, his appointments, and his outrageous opinions o Twitter, bypassing the press corps and forcing them to dance to his tune.

Consider, then, this essay, titled “10 ways the tech industry and the media helped create President Trump,” from Damian Radcliffe, Caroline S. Chambers Professor in Journalism at the University of Oregon, writing in The Conversation, an open source academic journal written for the general public:

Three weeks after Donald Trump won a historic victory to become the 45th president of the United States, the media postmortems continue.

In particular, the role played by the media and technology industries is coming under heavy scrutiny in the press, with Facebook’s role in the rise of fake newscurrently enjoying considerable coverage. This represents a shift from earlier in the campaign, when the volume of media airtime given to Trump was oftenheld culpable for “The Apprentice” star’s political ascendancy.

In truth, a Trump presidency is – in part – a reflection of the status and evolution of the media and tech industries in 2016. Here are 10 ways that they combined to help Trump capture the White House in a manner not previously possible. Without them, Trump might not have stood a chance.

Inside the tech industry’s role

1) Fake news looks a lot like real news. This is not a new issue, but it’s a hot topic, given the social media-led explosion of the genre. As BuzzFeed found, fake news can spread more quickly than real reporting.

President Obama has weighed in on the problem, as have investigative reporters. And The New York Times found that fake news can “go viral” very quickly, even if it’s started by an unassuming source with a small online following – who subsequently debunks their own false story.

2) Algorithms show us more of what we like, not what we need to know. Amazon, Netflix and Spotify demonstrate how powerful personalization and recommendation engines can be. But these tools also remove serendipity, reducing exposure to anything outside of our comfort zone.

Websites like AllSides, and the Wall Street Journal’s Red vs Blue feed experiment – which let users “See Liberal Facebook and Conservative Facebook, Side by Side” – show how narrow our reading can become, how different the “other side” looks, and how hard it can be to expose ourselves to differing viewpoints, even if we want to.

3) Tech doesn’t automatically discern fact from fiction. Facebook doesn’t have an editor, and Mark Zuckerberg frequently says that Facebook is not a media company. It’s true that Facebook content comes from users and partners, but Facebook is nonetheless a major media distributor.

More than half of Americans get news from social media; Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla. “The two-thirds of Facebook users who get news there,” Pew notes, “amount to 44 percent of the general population.” But its automatic algorithms can amplify falsehoods, as happened when a false story about Megyn Kelly trended on Facebook this summer.

4) The rise of robots. It’s not just publications and stories that can be fake. Twitter bots can look the same as real Twitter users, spreadingfalsehoods and rumors and amplifying messages (just as humans do). Repeat a lie often enough and – evidence suggests – it becomes accepted as fact. This is just as true online as it is on the campaign trail.

My mother always warned me not to believe everything I read in the papers. We need to instill the same message in our children (and adults) about social media.

5) Tech has helped pull money away from sources of real reporting. Google, Facebook, Craigslist and others have created new advertising markets, diverting traditional ad revenues from newspapers in the process.

Meanwhile, programmatic advertising, which uses computer algorithms to buy – and place – online ads, is changing the advertising dynamic yet again. This canmean companies unintentionally buy ads on sites – such as those from the alt-right – which don’t sit with their brand or values; and that they would not typically choose to support.

The media played its part, too

1) Fewer ad dollars means fewer journalistic boots on the ground. Data from the American Society of News Editors show that in 2015 the total workforce for U.S. daily newspapers was 32,900, down from a peak of 56,400 in 2001. That’s 23,500 jobs lost in 14 years.

Though some of these roles have migrated to online outlets that didn’t exist years ago, this sector is also starting to feel the cold. A reduced workforce has inevitably led to less original journalism, with fewer “on the beat” local reporters, shuttered titles and the rise of media deserts. Cable news, talk radio, social networks and conservative websites – channels that predominantly focus on commentary rather than original reporting – have, in many cases, stepped in to fill these gaps.

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Tawdry TrumpTale™ told in headlines and a tweet


Plus an editorial cartoon that just fits the bill. . .

We begin with this 14 January 2015 headline from Reuters:

Carlos Slim becomes top New York Times shareholder

  • Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has become the largest shareholder of New York Times Co  after exercising warrants to double his stake in the publisher to 16.8 percent.
  • Entities affiliated with Slim exercised the warrants he bought in 2009 when he loaned the company $250 million during the height of the financial crisis.
  • New York Times, controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family through Class B shares, paid back the loan in 2011.

Then came that infamous footage of the presidential candidate boasting of grabbing women by the, er, ah. . .you know. That provoked umbrage captured in a headline, dated 14 October of this year. from the London Daily Mail:

Trump calls billionaire Carlos Slim the unseen hand behind ‘baseless’ New York Times attacks as he says the Mexican mogul has turned reporters into his ‘corporate lobbyists’

  • Donald Trump accused Carlos Slim on Friday of using his position as a New York Times investor to smear him
  • Slim owns 17 per cent of the newspaper and is also a six-figure Clinton Foundation donor
  • The Republican nominee said in North Carolina that Slim had turned the Times’ reporters into corporate lobbyists to defend his interests
  • Spokesmen for Slim, the Times and Hillary Clinton all deny that there’s a conspiracy to derail Trump’s White House ambitions
  • At the mention of Slim’s Mexican nationality, some in the crowd chanted jokingly, ‘Lock him up!’

And another headline, dated 4 November from Agence France Presse:

Trump would wreck US economy: Carlos Slim

  • Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim warned that Donald Trump would destroy the US economy if he wins next week’s election.”
  • As we say in Mexico, being a drunk is different from being a bartender,” Slim told reporters on Friday at the Montevideo Circle, a meeting of business leaders and politicians.
  • Slim said a victory on Tuesday by the Republican candidate was “not very likely.”

And that cartoon, from the Salt Lake Tribune:

Pat Bagley: The Lying Press’

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To conclude, this tweet excreted today by the hands of Littlefingers himself:

blog-t-tweet

How the American press has normalized fascists


Given the media’s coverage of Donald Trump, it might be well to look at how the mainstream media have covered extremist elected leaders of the past.

One historian has done just that, and the result is sobering.

From Case West Reserve University’s John Broich, who has a longstanding interest in the relationship between race and imperialism, writing in the open source academic journal The Conversation:

How to report on a fascist?

How to cover the rise of a political leader who’s left a paper trail of anti-constitutionalism, racism and the encouragement of violence? Does the press take the position that its subject acts outside the norms of society? Or does it take the position that someone who wins a fair election is by definition “normal,” because his leadership reflects the will of the people?

These are the questions that confronted the U.S. press after the ascendance of fascist leaders in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

A leader for life

Benito Mussolini secured Italy’s premiership by marching on Rome with 30,000 blackshirts in 1922. By 1925 he had declared himself leader for life. While this hardly reflected American values, Mussolini was a darling of the American press, appearing in at least 150 articles from 1925-1932, most neutral, bemused or positive in tone.

The Saturday Evening Post even serialized Il Duce’s autobiography in 1928. Acknowledging that the new “Fascisti movement” was a bit “rough in its methods,” papers ranging from the New York Tribune to the Cleveland Plain Dealer to the Chicago Tribune credited it with saving Italy from the far left and revitalizing its economy. From their perspective, the post-WWI surge of anti-capitalism in Europe was a vastly worse threat than Fascism.

Ironically, while the media acknowledged that Fascism was a new “experiment,” papers like The New York Times commonly credited it with returning turbulent Italy to what it called “normalcy.”

Yet some journalists like Hemingway and journals like the New Yorker rejected the normalization of anti-democratic Mussolini. John Gunther of Harper’s, meanwhile, wrote a razor-sharp account of Mussolini’s masterful manipulation of a U.S. press that couldn’t resist him.

The ‘German Mussolini’

Mussolini’s success in Italy normalized Hitler’s success in the eyes of the American press who, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, routinely called him “the German Mussolini.” Given Mussolini’s positive press reception in that period, it was a good place from which to start. Hitler also had the advantage that his Nazi party enjoyed stunning leaps at the polls from the mid ‘20’s to early ‘30’s, going from a fringe party to winning a dominant share of parliamentary seats in free elections in 1932.

But the main way that the press defanged Hitler was by portraying him as something of a joke. He was a “nonsensical” screecher of “wild words” whose appearance, according to Newsweek, “suggests Charlie Chaplin.” His “countenance is a caricature.” He was as “voluble” as he was “insecure,” stated Cosmopolitan.

When Hitler’s party won influence in Parliament, and even after he was made chancellor of Germany in 1933 – about a year and a half before seizing dictatorial power – many American press outlets judged that he would either be outplayed by more traditional politicians or that he would have to become more moderate. Sure, he had a following, but his followers were “impressionable voters” duped by “radical doctrines and quack remedies,” claimed the Washington Post. Now that Hitler actually had to operate within a government the “sober” politicians would “submerge” this movement, according to The New York Times and Christian Science Monitor. A “keen sense of dramatic instinct” was not enough. When it came to time to govern, his lack of “gravity” and “profundity of thought” would be exposed.

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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.