realthog: (Default)

There's a lot going around at the moment about the incompetence, stupidity, vacuity, puerility and bias of the US mainstream "news" media -- and those are just the favourable comments -- but I would like to add an extra beef. Tonight, for the second evening in a row, CNN.com's political blog PoliticalTicker... (geddit?) is focusing on Rush Limbaugh's supposedly clever attempts to manipulate the Democrats' presidential primary (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/05/07/limbaugh-comes-out-for-obama/).

Let's be straight about this. Rush Limbaugh is (in my opinion) a hypocritical, racist, hatemongering, misogynistic, right-wing-extremist bigot and habitual liar whose on-air "cleverness" might seem a little less clever were it not for the fact that all calls critical of his views or contradictory of his "facts" are scrupulously filtered out by studio producers whose ethics are in some strange way reminiscent of those coloured porous discs you see lying at the bottom of the urinals in pub lavatories.

In the ordinary course, no one would pay the slightest attention to the views of such a moron -- except, perhaps, to move a little farther away from his drunken bawling in that selfsame pub where the studio producers haunt the urinals. The only reason that Limbaugh's views gain any significance whatsoever outside the closed circle of his equally bigoted coterie is because they're given oxygen by supposed news organizations . . . like CNN.

So why the hell is CNN giving Limbaugh that oxygen? It is betraying its own stated purpose if it debases itself to the point where it's a promotional tool for the most disgusting elements of our society. Who next? The Ku Klux Klan?

 
realthog: (sunset)

. . . except the venue isn't Zimbabwe, it's here. Glenn Greenwald of Salon has some pointers as to one reason why election results can sometimes seem so dissociated from the merits of the candidates. Here's the opening of his piece at
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/04/05/media/index.html:

The U.S. establishment media in a nutshell

The U.S. government suspended the Fourth Amendment and expressly authorized torture. The attorney general lied about how the 9/11 attack happened. Barack Obama can't bowl well. Which revelations did the media cover?


Glenn Greenwald


Apr. 05, 2008

In the past two weeks, the following events transpired. A Department of Justice memo, authored by John Yoo, was released which authorized torture and presidential lawbreaking. It was revealed that the Bush administration declared the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights to be inapplicable to "domestic military operations" within the U.S. The U.S. Attorney General appears to have fabricated a key event leading to the 9/11 attacks and made patently false statements about surveillance laws and related lawsuits. Barack Obama went bowling in Pennsylvania and had a low score.
Here are the number of times, according to NEXIS, that various topics have been mentioned in the media over the past thirty days:

"Yoo and torture" - 102
"Mukasey and 9/11" -- 73
"Yoo and Fourth Amendment" -- 16

"Obama and bowling" -- 1,043
"Obama and Wright" -- More than 3,000 (too many to be counted)
"Obama and patriotism" - 1,607
"Clinton and Lewinsky" -- 1,079

These are the supposed news media that are being talked about -- the shapers of opinion, the educators of the voting public, the Fourth Estate -- not, as you might assume from the Nexis results above, the rags at the supermarket checkout which tell you the latest about Brad, Angelina and Jen. Or Katie and Tom. Or Nicole and Joel (which is really baffling Pam and myself because we haven't the first clue who Nicole and Joel are, and neither have the cashiers we've asked).

Not so long ago, [personal profile] hutch0 (at http://hutch0.livejournal.com/67874.html) rightly took issue with the numbskull US tv pundidiot Tucker Carlson, who made the absurd claim that the standards of journalism at the Scottish national newspaper The Scotsman were somehow shabbier than those of himself and his like.

(They must have been laughing themselves senseless at The Scotsman as they watched the clip. It's not the best of the UK newspapers, but it is somewhere in the upper echelon. A few years ago I'd have said the top UK newspapers weren't as good as US equivalents like the New York Times and the Washington Post. In the wake of Judith Miller and the decline -- plummet -- in standards at the Post, it's now hard to make that case. So today, despite the fact that its breadth of coverage can in no wise match the NYT's, The Scotsman is arguably the better journalistic venue. And that's said by someone who prefers Scotland's other main newspaper, the Herald.)

Tucker Carlson almost immediately lost his job, of course, due either to the man's complete incompetence or to the fabled Curse of Hutch0. But, with hindsight, it seems unfair that the Fates singled him out.

1043 mentions of Obama's (lack of) bowling skills.

118 (all told) mentions of Yoo's memo responsible for turning the US into a Torture State.

73 mentions of Mukasey's lie about 9/11.

Brad, Angelina and Jen, anyone?


 
realthog: (morgan brighteyes)

. . . or, indeed, all of the current crop of tough-talkin' political and media chickenhawks put together, the ones who imagine they're showing guts by insisting other people should be slaughtered. The Beeb has this report tonight of someone who possesses actual courage:

A Royal Marine who threw himself onto an exploding grenade to save the lives of his patrol has been put forward for the UK's highest military honour.

Lance Corporal Matt Croucher, 24, a reservist from Birmingham, survived because his rucksack and body armour took the force of the blast. . . . 

L/Cpl Croucher, a member of 40 Commando, had been searching a compound south of Sangin which was suspected as being used for making bombs to attack British and Afghan troops.

When a Taleban booby-trap grenade was tripped, L/Cpl Croucher jumped on to the device to absorb the force of the explosion with his backpack as his comrades dived for cover.

The blast blew his rucksack more than 30ft away but he remarkably suffered only severe shock and a bloodied nose in the incident. . . .

That's heroism. It's a lot more heroic than bullying the powerless, shouting down college students, or using Rupert Murdoch's countless millions and the Faux News organization to persecute those who disagree with you. And it's a lot more heroic than prancing around in a combat jacket under a sign that says "Mission Accomplished".

The full story's at
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/england/west_midlands/7321647.stm. I cannot really express how much I admire the courage of Matt Croucher.

wrubbish

Mar. 29th, 2008 09:18 am
realthog: (Default)


There aren't that many political columnists better than Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, so it's a treat to find his article joining David Sirota (http://realthog.livejournal.com/34071.html) and Ishmael Reed (http://al-zorra.livejournal.com/291233.html) in flaying the nincompoopocracy for their infantile hysteria over the Wright "controversy":

The word "squeeb" is a crude mix of squid and dweeb, and by inventing it I mean no disrespect to the squid, which in most respects is an excellent and admirable animal. In the ocean there's almost nothing you'd rather be than a squid, one of nature's most perfect predators -- fast, resilient, ruthless, more intelligent by leaps and bounds than your average fish, and able to squeeze into impossibly tiny cracks. In the ocean, there is no hiding from a squid, I tell you.

But on land, a squid is about as useless as it gets. It's a spineless, squishy little hunk of seafood that wouldn't stand a chance in a cage match with a baby squirrel. It has no heart, and its first instinct when trouble comes is to hide in a cloud of its own excretions. This is why a squiddy word like squeeb seems to me to be a good way to describe the American voter during a presidential election season.

That's especially true now, during a "controversy" like this latest flap over Barack Obama pastor Jeremiah Wright. This Wright business is a perfect example of the American electorate at its squeeby worst -- panicky, gutless, acting more on reflex than thought, incapable of retaining information for more than a few minutes at a time. It's also a great example of how the presidential election process has become more about enforcing the attitudes of a cultural orthodoxy than a system for choosing leaders.

Through scandal after idiotic scandal, the election process has become a painfully prolonged, deeply irritating exercise in policing conventional wisdom, through a variety of means keeping the public in a state of heightened, dumb animal panic, and ultimately turning the election itself into a Darwinian contest -- survival of the Squeebiest.

There's more -- a joyously large amount more -- at
http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/80577/.

realthog: (Jim's bear pic)

The always excellent commentator David Sirota has a justifiably impassioned piece of polemic on this subject at http://www.creators.com/opinion/david-sirota/is-wright-right-about-racism.html; I'm recommending it to all and sundry, so why should LJers be exempt? Here's an extract:

Wright has long delivered fiery (and occasionally outrageous) sermons, to little fanfare. Now, though, a gang of thugs is inflicting a guilt-by-association blow to Obama by excoriating his spiritual adviser for three specific declarations.

Sean Hannity, Fox News' own George Wallace, turned a fire hose on Wright for his church's focus. "It is all about the black community," Hannity thundered, claiming that means Wright supports "a black-separatist agenda."

Pat Buchanan billy-clubbed Wright for saying, "God damn America." The MSNBC commentator, who avoided the draft, implied that Wright, a former Marine, lacks sufficient loyalty to country. Out of context, Wright's exclamation was admittedly offensive. But remember: It punctuated a speech about segregation. Buchanan, nonetheless, unleashed, deriding "black hustlers" and insisting descendants of those "brought from Africa in slave ships" owe whites a thank you. "Where is the gratitude?" he asked.

Fox's Charles Krauthammer berated Wright for saying the 9/11 attacks were "chickens coming home to roost." Krauthammer labeled the pronouncement "vitriolic divisiveness" despite our government acknowledging the concept of "blowback" — or retaliation — Wright was referencing. The CIA knows that when it supports foreign dictatorships, there can be blowback from radicals. While blowback is often immoral and undeserved, its existence is undisputed. Yet, Krauthammer alleged that Wright takes "satisfaction in the deaths of 3,000 innocents." . . .

. . . John McCain solicited the endorsement of John Hagee — the pastor who called the Catholic Church "a great whore." Similarly, according to Mother Jones magazine, Hillary Clinton belongs to the "Fellowship" — a secretive group "dedicated to 'spiritual war' on behalf of Christ." She is also friendly with Billy Graham, the reverend caught on tape spewing anti-Semitism. But while Wright's supposed "extremism" blankets the news, McCain and Clinton's relationships with real extremists receive scant attention.

Why is it "controversial" for one pastor to address the black community, racism and blowback, but OK for another pastor to slander an entire religion? Why is it news that one candidate knows a sometimes-impolitic clergyman, but not news that his opponent associates with an anti-Semite? Does the double standard prove the dominant culture despises a black man confronting taboos, but accepts whites spewing hate? Does the very reaction to Wright show he's right about racism?

Later: And go see http://al-zorra.livejournal.com/291233.html.

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