The other day on Hardball on MSNBC, an interesting moment occurred.
Chris Matthews and guests Howard Fineman and Andrea Mitchell started out discussing Obama’s looming VP choice, the various “front runners” on the “short list” (a completely made up list by the media, since no one has a clue, but they make it sound like they do.) and then they switched to discussing McCain’s choices for VP, (which they are equally as clueless about) in particular Joe Leiberman. It went like this:
FINEMAN: Well, I don‘t know. First of all, I think a lot of conservative activists, including Rush Limbaugh, wouldn‘t take Joe Lieberman, either. They respect him. The same with Sean Hannity. But they…
MITCHELL: They wouldn‘t take him. They‘ve already said (INAUDIBLE)
FINEMAN: They said they wouldn‘t take him…
It’s an extraordinary admission that went entirely overlooked. Here are three major media players discussing how conservative media pundits have a powerful role in choosing who will be the Republican choice for VP. The equivalent simply does not exist on the Liberal side. Which Liberal media pundit has that much power? None. An important point to remember in these times.
One of the basic tenets of the modern conservative movement is a hatred for the “mainstream media”. The “conservative wisdom” is that it’s riddled with Liberals and that Liberals control it. Far from the truth obviously.
Yet, by their own logic, Limbaugh is the enemy, since he is a member of the mainstream media who literally has a role in controlling our lives and our government functions. Yet, they don’t seem to mind. It’s about ideology of course. It has nothing to do with the higher ideals of democracy and freedom of the press and everything to do with limiting the message to only those ideals they profess, limiting it to conservative ideas. It’s basic fascism and eliminationism.
And, seeing it referred to in such a blase manner on Hardball was shocking to say the least.
When I was a boy, I would read about how military and press people had control of the process of government in the Soviet Union, and it sent a cold, rippling shiver down my spine that I always remembered.
That feeling has returned.Read More
A friend sent me a video that bothered me a great deal. It’s something I’d seen before, earlier this year. In a nutshell, it uses sugary music and mixes clean and dirty images to pound home the message that the evil Palestinian’s have killed 123 Israeli children since 2000. And, there are videos from the Palestinian side that demonize the Israelis for killing 1050 children, (Human Rights Watch numbers) using forceful rap music to present a different hipper attack, but one that is as dishonest and one-sided.
It’s bothersome for a pretty elemental reason: there are always two sides to every issue. And, that’s part of the problem with grey propaganda of this nature: It’s meant to portray only one side of a very very complicated issue. Especially egregious considering that it’s horrific that children are dying while adults argue about who is right.
Rather than get in a tit for tat who has suffered more, bigger numbers means bigger pain or higher moral ground argument, it’s best to remember that the fatal flaw in propaganda of this type is that it foments hated by hiding behind saccharine sweet music (or hip pop rap) and the faces of children juxtaposed with graphic horrors of destruction, of torn and twisted bodies. It offends on the most basic of levels. It’s only aim is to keep the fires of hatred burning. Yet, people eat the message up with a spoon, because it appeals to our basic fears and biases.
Serious issues deserve serious thought. Not propaganda that reasserts hatred in the guise of sweetness and light, or by asserting that people kill to “be cool”. People kill because they are detached from reality. Eliminationist rhetoric and You Tube videos that propagate eliminationist thought are a symptom of the inability to move beyond fear and hatred. And, that’s a huge problem. Especially when it’s packaged in a way that makes viewers feel they are watching something of depth, when they are being manipulated.
Both Israelis and Palestinians need to stop jockeying for the who has been victimized more award and start facing the bitter realities of what is going on and fight for solutions. Because they exist.
Anything less is insulting to the memory of those who have died on both sides and ensures that more will die in the future. And, that’s tragic.
And, unnecessary.Read More
Because I know Joey Lib loves petitions so much, here’s two:
Via Mobius… Go put your name down as being in support of beginning impeachment of Bush. Yes, it’s a long shot, yes complicit democrats are on the record as stating that they do not support the prosecution of Bush or Administration members for possible criminal acts, but it’s important nonetheless.
Via Skippy… Oldy McOld gets a free pass from the “liberal press”?
remember, the center for media affairs at george mason university found that obama got far more negative press on the big three networks than mcsame (72% negative for obama to 57% negative for mclame).
In the least, you’ll have a nice thick file of your doings at Homeland Security.Read More
There is, of course, no excuse for hatred. It’s the elemental root of evil in our world. Some have long argued that hate has a role in focusing a fight, whether it be toe to toe or a war. But those who’ve fought and shed blood know all too well that hatred usually becomes a burden and usurps the true reason for the fight in the first place. (Assuming the reason isn’t hatred in the first place.) As said in the Dhammapada:
Victory gives rise to hate,
those defeated lie in pain,
happily rest the Peaceful
Hatred loves generalities. Saying something like “liberals are evil” or similar is a generality that thrives on hatred. And, it’s an amazingly popular sentiment amongst many conservatives. One they see no problem with apparently. The eliminationist movement is alive and well in their world.
Thus, a lot of conservative bloggers are making excuses for the nutjob who shot and killed two people and wounded seven in a liberal minded Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. It’s all the same approach, a variation on “the attacker was attacking a Christian church, not a gay or liberal establishment.” Sister Toldjah, who is too biased and obviously deceitful to post my comments to his post, goes for the “liberals kill people too” approach. Professor Glenn goes for the “he attacked Christians approach” and Instaputz hands him his head. (Instaputz has more here.) And, cause I like to save the worst for last: The ever incorrect Bob Owens, who’s site motto is: “Because liberalism is a persistent vegetative state” also goes the parsing route:
While many in the political blogosphere will no doubt focus on the fact that Adkisson said he hated liberals and gays, the fact of the matter is that the didn’t target a gay club or local progressive political groups, he specifically targeted a church. He did so after expressing beliefs to neighbors in the past that he had an abiding anger against Christianity, an anger that appears rooted in his childhood. The church appears to have been targeted because it embodied at least three things this pathetic human being hated, not just the one or two things I know certain critics will single out as they view the world through their own warped prisms. (emphasis added)
So, let’s see what the local police have to say through their “warped prism”:
And, we know from local news that the church in question was indeed a “liberal church” with a sign outside that says “gays welcome”:
Owen said Adkisson specifically targeted the church for its beliefs, rather than a particular member of the congregation.
“It appears that church had received some publicity regarding its liberal stance,” the chief said. The church has a “gays welcome” sign and regularly runs announcements in the News Sentinel about meetings of the Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays meetings at the church.
Owen said Adkisson’s stated hatred of the liberal movement was not necessarily connected to any hostility toward Christianity or religion per say, but rather the political advocacy of the church.
The church’s Web site states that it has worked for “desegregation, racial harmony, fair wages, women’s rights and gay rights” since the 1950s. Current ministries involve emergency aid for the needy, school tutoring and support for the homeless, as well as a cafe that provides a gathering place for gay and lesbian high-schoolers. (emphasis addded)
Note that sentence directly above in bold. Ah. So, Sister Toldjah and Gleen Reynolds and Bob Owens and are wrong. At least they’re consistent.
But wait, it gets worse. Apparently, the murderer was a fan of a number of right wing extremists such as Michael Savage, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity:
Adkisson targeted the church, Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, “because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.”
Adkisson told Still that “he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office.”
Adkisson told officers he left the house unlocked for them because “he expected to be killed during the assault.”
Inside the house, officers found “Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder” by radio talk show host Michael Savage, “Let Freedom Ring” by talk show host Sean Hannity, and “The O’Reilly Factor,” by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly.
The shotgun-wielding suspect in Sunday’s mass shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church was motivated by a hatred of “the liberal movement,” and he planned to shoot until police shot him, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV said this morning.
Adkisson, 58, of Powell wrote a four-page letter in which he stated his “hatred of the liberal movement,” Owen said. “Liberals in general, as well as gays.”
Dave Neiwert has the definitive post on this issue, he explains it all with much more intelligence and historical perspective than I:
Right-wingers love to “joke” about mowing down, rounding up, and otherwise “wiping out” all things liberal. It’s become a standard feature of conservative-movement rhetoric. And whenever anyone calls them on it, they have a standard response: “Aw, c’mon — it’s just a joke!”
In reality, of course, rhetoric like this has historically played a critical role in some of the ugliest episodes in American history, as well as thousands of little acts of xenophobic brutality: functionally speaking, it gives violent — and frequently unstable — actors permission to act on these impulses. People like this always believe they’re standing up for what “real Americans” think — and the jokes tell them that this is so.
This was a violent attack on liberals. It was inspired by years of wingnuts talking about how much they hate liberals and wish they could do something about them. This man did. But watch the people who have been telling these “jokes” run away from any culpability for it.
Nuff said.Read More
Amazing how something forty-years old is completely relevant today. An interesting recorded interview with John Lennon made into a short film. (c/o Jenny Eliscu)
Speaks for itself:
What we are seeing is a man with a conscience revolting against the tyranny he witnessed and took part in.Read More
Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, Matt Drudge has had “Scott the Snitch” on his propaganda site all day, an attempt to paint former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, who has a new book coming out that is not kind to his former employer, as a turncoat. It’s rather interesting for a couple of reasons.
The word “snitch” is a pejorative that means “informant”, and in it’s most popular usage is associated with criminals and mobsters who break with their masters and turn. So, in a sense, Drudge is implying that the White House is mob like. It’s an appellation that isn’t really used in any other context other than refering to informing on others where a crime has been committed to denigrate that person. The appropriate term here would be “whistle blower”. But that doesn’t serve Drudge nor his masters.
And, of course, the White House are following the party attack line, calling McClellan “disgruntled“, or “out of the loop” or insert ad hominem here. No doubt he’ll be “insane” by the end of the media cycle. Look for the Freepers and extremist wing nut blogs to fill that hole with bile.
Keep in mind, the only news here is that it’s a former loyalist saying that the Bush White House chose propaganda over policy. We’ve heard this accusation before. The propaganda over policy issue, and why is was implemented, was a topic on this blog nearly FOUR YEARS AGO, and the facts bare this out. It was an attempt to polarize the public with fear and solidify and maintain power in that manner.
Ultimately, history will tell the story of whether George W. Bush was simply over his head, or a willing puppet who stood by playing golf and spouting propaganda while Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld implemented disastrous policy. Personally, I think Dubya is an ideological tool of Cheney. Not smart enough to engage policy in any meaningful manner, he simply agrees with whatever Dick says and catapults the propaganda like a good doggy.
Not a bad job if you can get it. Alas, the real world is a bit more serious than this piss ant approach to to governing and policy. And, we will pay the price for the insipid, emotional playground politics of this White House.Read More
Remember those words above, spoken by George W. Bush, on May 1, 2003.
What does his paid lap dog PR person have to say about the “mission accomplished” debacle?
“President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific and said `mission accomplished’ for these sailors who are on this ship on their mission,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said Wednesday. “And we have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner. And I recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they do every single year.”
Ah, yes. The banner was not specific enough. Of course, the preznit still said: “in the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” So, I guess it’s safe to assume that the preznit’s PR dupe is either an idiot or a liar or both.
Well, let’s look at the specific facts and see how accomplished this mission has been. (Courtesy of Iraq Campaign)
The Cost of War Since ‘Mission Accomplished’— May 1, 2003 — April 24, 2008
US TROOPS KILLED IN IRAQ ————————- 139 ————- 4,051
(as of 4/21/08)
US TROOPS WOUNDED IN IRAQ ——————–524 ————- 29,780
(as of 4/15/08)
IRAQI CIVILIANS KILLED IN THE WAR ———– N/A ———— 150,000
(World Health Organization)
RAQI CIVILIANS FORCED FROM THEIR HOMES —N/A ——- 4.7 mil
US TROOPS DEPLOYED IN IRAQ —————– 150,000 —–155,000
(Brookings Institute, Iraq Index)
FOREIGN TROOPS IN
“COALITION OF THE WILLING” —————— 23,000 —– 9,852
(Brookings Institute, Iraq Index)
COST OF IRAQ WAR TO THE AVERAGE
AMERICAN FAMILY ——————————– N/A ——– $16,500
(Congressional Joint Economic Committee Report)
AMERICANS WHO APPROVE OF BUSH’S
HANDLING OF THE IRAQ WAR —————-72% ———— 33%
Yes, even a good fiction writer couldn’t make this stuff up.
The New York Times has come out with a really good article with supporting video that looks at how the Pentagon manipulates news and information to their advantage, and did so during the revolt of several generals. This is a continuation of a a pretty important issue that I’ve written about in the past:
“The BBC has a report on the “Information Operations Roadmap” which…
…calls for a far-reaching overhaul of the military’s ability to conduct information operations and electronic warfare. And, in some detail, it makes recommendations for how the US armed forces should think about this new, virtual warfare.
The concept of ‘information dominance’ is the key to understanding US and UK propaganda strategy and a central component of the US aim of ‘total spectrum dominance’. It redefines our notions of spin and propaganda and the role of the media in capitalist society. To say that it is about total propaganda control is to force the English language into contortions that the term propaganda simply cannot handle. Information dominance is not about the success of propaganda in the conventional sense with which we are all familiar. It is not about all those phrases ‘winning hearts and minds’, about truth being ‘the first casualty’ about ‘media manipulation’ about ‘opinion control’ or about ‘information war’. Or, to be more exact – it is about these things but none of them can quite stretch to accommodate the integrated conception of media and communication encapsulated in the phrase information dominance. […]
Traditional conceptions of propaganda involve crafting the message and distributing it via government media or independent news media. Current conceptions of information war go much further and incorporate the gathering, processing and deployment of information including via computers, intelligence and military information (command and control) systems. The key preoccupation for the military is ‘interoperability’ where information systems talk to and work with each other. Interoperability is a result of the computer revolution which has led to the ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’. Now propaganda and psychological operations are simply part of a larger information armoury.
Such is the state of affairs in a country run by the war business. Truth is the first casualty.Read More
The simple fact of the matter is: we are better than torture. We are, or at least we once were… The country that held the moral high ground during the Nuremburg trials would not condone torture of enemies. Torture was the tactic of savages, of the evil Japanese Empire, the Nazi’s, the Soviets, the Red Army, the Khymer Rouge…
Not the USA.
Robert Greenwald has a new video, which is directly below.
This shall not stand. Our failure of a president supports torture. We do not. Write to your local press or nearest media outlet and let them know.
Then, get thee over to Condi Must Go and sign the petition.
I’m with Sadly No! on this one:
Moses of the Assault Rifles has departed for the Great Firing Range in the Sky.
John Hinderaker on George W. BushPauline Kael on Charlton Heston:“With his perfect, lean-hipped, powerful body, Heston is a godlike hero; built for strength, he’s an archetype of what makes Americans win. He doesn’t play nice guy; he’s harsh and hostile, self-centered and hot-tempered. Yet we don’t hate him because he’s so magnetically strong; he represents American power — and he has the profile of an eagle.”
Apparently, in the land of the apes, the eagle-schnozzed man is king. Farewell, O Sultan of Saltpeter. You brought us 70’s disaster films and gun shows. For that, you will be kind of missed.
Not a huge Moore fan, but this was interesting…