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Current Topic: Media

Interesting Times: Test Marketing - War in Iran
Topic: Media 10:39 am EDT, Sep  3, 2007

They [the source’s institution] have “instructions” (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this—they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is “plenty.”

Here's something to keep an eye open for.

[ Ughhh. -k]

Interesting Times: Test Marketing - War in Iran

Why Bush Will Be A Winner -
Topic: Media 4:29 pm EDT, Jul 16, 2007

I'm sorely tempted to do a line by line demolition, and probably will elsewhere...

If it's that bad, there's a good chance the fine folks over at Sadly, No! will do so as well... At least, I hope so.

Why Bush Will Be A Winner -

Full text of Blair's speech on politics and media | Uk News | News | Telegraph
Topic: Media 1:32 pm EDT, Jun 14, 2007

Some key quotes :

Things harden within minutes. I mean you can't let speculation stay out there for longer than an instant. I am going to say something that few people in public life will say, but most know is absolutely true: a vast aspect of our jobs today - outside of the really major decisions, as big as anything else - is coping with the media, its sheer scale, weight and constant hyperactivity. At points, it literally overwhelms.


If you are a backbench MP today, you learn to give a press release first and a good Parliamentary speech second.

This is true in america too, and not just because of the need to play the media, but also due to politics. If you blindside your opponents with something in the media, they have a harder time responding.

The result is a media that increasingly and to a dangerous degree is driven by "impact". Impact is what matters. It is all that can distinguish, can rise above the clamour, can get noticed. Impact gives competitive edge. Of course the accuracy of a story counts. But it is secondary to impact. It is this necessary devotion to impact that is unravelling standards, driving them down, making the diversity of the media not the strength it should be but an impulsion towards sensation above all else

Let's bold that out : "Accuracy ... is secondary to impact." We've been commenting on this for years. I've laid some of the blame on the free market nature of the media, but only insofar as it is only capable of responding to that which the consumer wants most, and consumers (american and british consumers at least) want drama and shock and viciousness. Until people demand, with their wallets, accuracy, fairmindedness and rational debate from the media, we won't get it. What depresses me is that I'm not confident that people actually do want that, meaning the market won't respond, and things will continue to get worse. The Right has spent a lot of money carrying out a war against calm, reasoned debate, shrewdly using framing and meta-attacks to make anything less than certitude come off as weakness, to make changing one's mind an indicator of political opportunism and to make everything, EVERYTHING a matter of moral absolutism. The Left has done their part by permitting themselves to be trapped by these tactics, but also by taking stances on media and a technology that make them look hypocritical, even to their ostensible supporters. I see no solutions on the horizon, easy or otherwise.

What creates cynicism is not mistakes; it is allegations of misconduct.

In this I partially disagree with Blair. Mistakes are one thing, misconduct is another. What *really* creates cynicism is when mistakes are covered up, or treated as if they aren't mistakes. Both US parties are guilty of this, though I hardly think I need to point out that this administration in particular can't even... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]

Full text of Blair's speech on politics and media | Uk News | News | Telegraph

RE: Book Excerpt: The Assault on Reason by Al Gore
Topic: Media 4:43 pm EDT, May 18, 2007

Decius wrote:
I don't feel it. Our politics has become deeply partisan. Few people are willing to maintain a healthy disengagement from identification with one of the ruling parties. They use the network to seek out information that confirms their prejudices, true or not. There are minor ways in which this helps. I can access legislation being considered, and I can speak out. But there are major ways in which it doesn't help. People do not know how to think critically. They don't really seek truth. They seek social validation. The truth is rarely the most comfortable option. It has a tendency to challenge you.

I have mixed fellings on this matter.

On the one hand, I see parallels in this discussion to the long (and unnoticed, alas ;) commentary I made about music in this age. I think the foundation exists, but the tools don't yet. We're in the relative stone age... blogs are a lot like newspapers writ small and the much vaunted transformative power of the internet in politics has been, to date, in fundraising and the dissemination of information to the base. The tools to do more than that are in progress, but I think they'll get there in much the same way that I'm hopeful that the tools to find and enjoy a lot more different artists will eventually come into being.

At present, there is certainly a strong echo chamber effect, in which people look to have their opinions validated and get that satisfaction, but at the same time, these blogs couldn't exist without a healthy stream of oppositional writing either. That is, a lot, i dare say most, of the content of the lefty poliblogs are rebuttals or excoriations of righty poliblogs or politicians. That means, at least, that the writers have probably read an opposing view point. At least some of the readers will take the time to do the same, perhaps at first in order to get fodder for their own disapproval, but eventually one is forced, i think, with the fact that reading a viewpoint *only* to find stuff to thrash is a waste of your time... it's more useful to actually critically evaluate it.

Too, i think it's necessary to view this all in the context of the present offline climate, to the extent it's separable. I mentioned in another post earlier that there has been a concerted effort on the part of an influential and determined conservative base to actively undermine the value of subtlety, nuance and reasoned discourse. Starting with the derision of "massachussetts liberal elites" through to the false everyman populism of W and his ilk, and most crucially the framing of every issue as one of good versus evil. When you begin to frame everything in absolutist terms, there's no room for negotiation or subtlety, only opposition. When one position is thought to be absoultely right, then there is no other alternative but that any other position is absolutely wrong. I don't know that the internet can, itself, have much of a positive or ne... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]

RE: Book Excerpt: The Assault on Reason by Al Gore

Just when you thought the posturing about Cho couldn't get any more stupid..
Topic: Media 6:44 pm EDT, Apr 20, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you a new low in journalism...

Quoted below is the unedited above-the-jump text from a FoxNews story about the VT Tech shootings entitled: "Did the Devil Make Him Do it?"

When unexplained violence takes center stage, we tend to turn to modern psychology to explain it.

But there is an alternative explanation, one that has been played out in film, stage and writings since the beginning of history.

Was Cho Seung-Hui schizophrenic … psychotic … manic-depressive? Or were the shooting deaths of 32 people, including Cho himself, at Virginia Tech University part of the ongoing struggle between God and Satan … good against evil … lightness and darkness?

Could Cho have been possessed by the Devil? Could that explain the massacre at Virginia Tech?

Dr. Richard Roberts, president of Oral Roberts University, shouts an unequivocal “Yes!”

“Based on what I’ve seen in the news," Roberts said in an interview, "there’s no doubt that this act was Satanic in origin."


Just when you thought the posturing about Cho couldn't get any more stupid..

Crooks and Liars � Open Thread
Topic: Media 4:52 pm EDT, Apr 16, 2007

The entire quote is: "I think that nobody wants to play chicken with our troops on the ground." Why would FOX leave out the first four words? Or why not at least include "nobody"? There's plenty of room. I'd love to say that this was a mere oversight, no malicious intent. Their track record, however, doesn't assuage my suspicion.

I don't normally link to a full object at Crooks & Liars, I do read them pretty much every day, but I don't grab the whole damn thing. This one is another story. Take a look at the graphic and try to tell me FOX News, and I only use that term because that's what they've registered themselves as, isn't more useless than crap.

Sorry, "more useless than crap," isn't adequate. Actively destructive to the country. Cancerous to the public discourse. Thrown feces in the national well to cause cholera in public at large. And someone wonders why the Democrats have said go screw to a debate hosted by them.

[ Yeah, that's pretty outrageous. Fucking cancer indeed. -k]

Crooks and Liars � Open Thread

YouTube - Snoop Dogg Says: ''F*ck Bill O'Reilly!''
Topic: Media 3:20 pm EDT, Apr  4, 2007

High comedy, in multiple ways.

[ Tell us what you really think, Snoop... -k]

YouTube - Snoop Dogg Says: ''F*ck Bill O'Reilly!''

Countdown with Keith Olbermann
Topic: Media 2:50 pm EDT, Jun  2, 2006

OLBERMANN: Wrong answer. When you are that wrong, when you are defending Nazi war criminals and pinning their crimes on Americans and you get caught doing so twice, you‘re supposed to say I‘m sorry, I was wrong, and then you‘re supposed to shut up for a long time. Instead, FOX washed its transcript of O‘Reilly‘s remarks Tuesday. Its Web site claims O‘Reilly said in Normandy, when, as you heard, in fact, he said in Malmedy.

The rewriting of past reporting worthy of George Orwell has now carried over into such online transcription services as Burell‘s and Factiva. Whatever did or did not happen later in supposed or actual retribution, the victims at Malmedy were Americans, gunned down while surrendering by Nazis in 1944 and again Tuesday night and Wednesday night by a false patriot who would rather be loud than right.

Wow. That's fabulous. I'm getting to really like Olbermann, and I wish I got MSNBC so i could watch his show.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann

Political Dissent folk singer on Jay Leno (with lyrics)
Topic: Media 11:49 am EDT, Apr 16, 2006

Looks like Leno had a folk-singer type on his show the other night, singing a rather biting tune called "When the President Talks To God".
This link contains video of the performance.

Finally, some more people have found their testicles!

[ Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst) is actually quite well known in indie circles. He's got 5 or 6 albums -- of the two leno showed, I think "I'm wide awake, it's morning" is by far the better, though AllMusic has them both with 2/5 stars. Anyway, he's certainly not afraid to take a stand.

I think his best work is found on a rock record under the name Desaparecidos called "Read Music/Speak Spanish". It's an intense and scathing indictment of urban and suburban homogenization and consumer culture (among other things).

It's great music, but "Shiny Happy People" it is not... when my old friend Jamie used to write a music newsletter in atlanta, "Catch him before he jumps." was the pithy reference used when Bright Eyes came to town. -k]

Political Dissent folk singer on Jay Leno (with lyrics)

CNN Is All Tuckered Out
Topic: Media 9:37 am EST, Jan  6, 2005

CNN has ended its relationship with Tucker Carlson and will shortly cancel its long-running daily political discussion program, "Crossfire," CNN president Jonathan Klein said last night.

Klein specifically cited the criticism that the comedian Jon Stewart leveled at "Crossfire" when he was a guest on the program during the presidential campaign. Mr. Stewart said that ranting partisan political shows on cable were "hurting America."

Mr. Klein said last night, "I agree wholeheartedly with Jon Stewart's overall premise."

[ Well, it's a day late and a dollar short, but I guess it's a start. -k]

CNN Is All Tuckered Out

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