FOX News and That Obama Administration "Obsession"
Sentence fragment problems with Kansas City Star editors aside, I herewith weigh in, first making it clear that I am not a cheerleader of President Obama or his Administration. Anyone who has read my articles about him knows very well that I take exception to his personnel choices and policies far more often than I praise them.
That having been pointedly noted, anyone with even a modicum of perception knows very well that FOX News broadcasts a consistent, persistent stream of vitriol against Mr. Obama, his staff, his policies, and his presidency. With the exception of media outlets that offer content by journalists like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, the august publications of the mainstream media pretend that FOX News is one of their own and above repudiation, much less outright condemnation. In so doing, those news sources diminish their own credibility by accepting within their ranks hate speech, hysteria, lies, half-truths, and acts that border in some circumstances on sedition and treason. If that sounds like hyperbole, let me point to the call Bill O'Reilly made for al Qa'ida to level an attack on San Francisco. Bill O'Reilly is still on the air; he is wealthy, accepted as a journalist, and still a free man.
Let me repeat that (and in a complete sentence, no less): Bill O'Reilly, a man who called for an attack by al Qa'ida on an American city, is still a free man. You can listen to him on FOX. What you cannot do is find an editorial in The New York Times, the Washington Post, or just about any other high-end, reputable news source where Mr. O'Reilly is permanently, thoroughly, and unequivocally condemned. (You can, however, read my article, "An Open Letter to Bill O'Reilly," where I do just that.)
Neither can you find anything other than cutesy smirks from the mainstream news media about the current rising star on FOX News, Glenn Beck, whose on-air behavior borders on the psychotic. Where is the black-out on his maniacal charges, claims, accusations, and antics?
Let me tell you about a couple of incidents in which I, myself, have addressed this problem with FOX News being treated as acceptable television in civil society.
Several months ago, I went into a Radio Shack to purchase some audio wiring. One of the display televisions was on, and it was blaring FOX News. What I heard was one negative "news" story after another about Barack Obama. It was appalling. After about five minutes, I walked up to the manager and told him that his choice of television stations was deeply offensive. I was loud but civil as I told him I was going to leave and not return to his store until he and his employees understood how to behave in public; I then explained that FOX News isn't really the problem: it's people like him who think their debased personal problems should be considered acceptable in polite company.
I subsequently shared that with corporate headquarters of Radio Shack.
A similar incident occurred at a Dairy Queen last month, where the customers were being harangued by a loud television tuned to FOX News. I went up to the manager and told him that children were in that dining area, and they should not be exposed to the vitriol that was pumping out of that television. I shamed him as I lectured him about respect young people should have for a good President who is trying his best to do good for a nation.
I told him that I would not return until I had assurance from the corporation that owns Dairy Queen that retraining would be brought to bear on the managers of outlets that believe vitriol from FOX News is appropriate for a retail establishment that appeals to families with children.
I will continue this approach to dealing with FOX News. The cowardly mainstream news media pretend the Obama Administration is inappropriately targeting some kind of legitimate journalism, so it is up to me and to you to set the record straight: If it's hate speech, free speech ends where I walk in the door.
They want my money? then they had better act like responsible adults of a civil society.
That goes for those august publications of the mainstream media. If they can't throw the charlatans out of their club, the information products they hawk from the doorways in front of their party hall aren't worth my money.
Misleading CNN.com Headline Denigrates Secretary of State
Clicking on the link for the article, this is the story presented:
The title of the article clarifies that it is North Korea making fun of Secretary of State Clinton. Below is the comment I posted to the CNN.com article, expressing my continuing disappointment with the "news" service's journalistic misbehavior, about which I have previously written.
This gives the impression that the story is about widespread derision of the U.S. Secretary of State in foreign countries; but as it turns out, the title of the article, itself, at the link is this: "North Korea: Clinton 'funny lady, by no means intelligent'." The rogue, internationally isolated regime in Pyongyang making fun of a high U.S. official does not, in any way, shape, or form, merit that front-page title.
Really, CNN? Are you that hard-up to stir more Right-wing animosity? Denigrating Hillary Clinton using a misleading headline is the realm of FOX News, and on my Websites I have been documenting your descent into that awful place into which journalism in general has debased itself. You just published a headline representing as a general foreign sentiment the propaganda of the North Korean government.
I have made screen captures of the front page and the article, itself. My readership will once again be infuriated by your outrageous departures from professionalism.
For your part, I trust that your misleading headline pleased your narrowing readership. Maybe it distracted them from the persistent annoyance of those silly, flashing, jerking, twitching ads you slap at the top of your "serious" Website's front page.
Yes, you're serious journalists, alright. Perhaps a merger with FOX News is in the offing. That would be a match made in Heaven.
Or someplace else, more likely.
At the time of the publication of this article at Dark Wraith Publishing online properties, CNN.com had not posted my comment, which is consistent with previous comments I have submitted that were never posted.
CNN.com describes itself as "the Web site of the Most Trusted Name in News." Readers must decide for themselves the extent to which that motto is yet further evidence of CNN's inability to deliver factual news.
Self-Immolation, British Style
From the Press Gazette article: "From January 2010, the licence charges will also apply to PR practitioners and 'other organisations forwarding links to newspaper websites as part of their commercial activity'." Even more disturbing, the new NLA policy seems to include back charging, as well, although comprehensively tracking down old hyperlinks and collecting fees on them, especially from non-UK sources, would undoubtedly prove daunting.
On the home page of the NLA Website comes its mission statement: "Operating on behalf of the UK's national and regional newspapers the NLA licenses organisations to take legal copies of newspaper articles"
[Publisher's note: If the NLA charges me for that quote, its billing department will get a brief response of disproportionately hurtful magnitude, and the copy editor for the Website will get a brief lecture on proper comma usage.]
Hyperlinks to content from newspapers in the United Kingdom will now be prohibited at online properties of Dark Wraith Publishing. When making reference to articles from British newspapers, writers at DWP group news sites like Big Brass Blog and The UnCapitalist Journal are being asked to henceforth cite the name of the Website from which news content is derived, provide the exact title of the article from which the content is drawn or a quoted passage is reproduced, and the name of the author and the date of publication for the content used if available.
The new NLA business model for member publishers has not been embraced elsewhere, particularly in the United States, but even a small degree of success in extracting a revenue stream from hyperlinks could trigger a similar effort here in an attempt to stop the spiral of information content toward the status of a public good commodity for which no positive price can be charged (because the cost of one more user is virtually zero), but for which substantial fixed costs must be incurred.
Should American newspapers start charging for hyperlinking to their articles, and they are trying to figure out a way around antitrust laws to do just that, Dark Wraith Publishing will issue a call for the cash-starved newspapers trying to pull the stunt to burn in unrelenting agony forever and ever in the fires of Hell's hottest roaster oven.
Statement on Volunteering to Waterboard Sean Hannity
To the purpose of making this idea a real television event, I hereby volunteer to spearhead the waterboarding exercise on Sean Hannity.
No, I'm dead serious. I want to make sure that proper procedure is followed. It seems that the mainstream media sages have all settled on how waterboarding is done, and that method I've heard described and seen being simulated is most decidedly not the only way this particular "enhanced interrogation method" can be carried out. I would be terribly disappointed if the brave Torture Boyz we pay to do the real deal do not know all about the creativity and variation that are essential parts of the horror.
Context is hugely important, too: a prisoner who has been mistreated prior to the waterboarding, who knows his life will get no better after the waterboarding, and who is convinced that more waterboarding and other forms of violence against him are a certainty is a man who will surely become bent of mind as well as of body. As days stretch to weeks, weeks stretch to months, and months stretch to years, the concept of "will" becomes meaningless. Survival becomes an autonomous process separated from conscious thought, which itself, at best, reduces to encoded scripts, rituals, and other devices of mental defense in the all-consuming hopelessness of the situation. Training helps; so does fanatical dedication to cause. Essential features of up-bringing, blood, and beliefs play in, too.
People recover from such life-changing experiences: some reconstitute their highest cognitive, emotional, and empathic skills phenomenally well; others, not so well. At worst, only the shell of a human of high-order thinking, feeling, and other-connecting abilities endures.
Mr. Hannity can get waterboarded, and I want to help; but he and all the others who think they might be okay for the experience would remain, in the incidence of this form of torture, clueless.
They just would. When the show is over, they get to go home. They know they're not captives, and they know their handlers are not out to kill them.
Fortunately for them, they thrive in the protective enclosure of false light. Unfortunately for the civilized among the populous, the Right-wing cowards who listen to the false bravado of fellow Right-wing cowards will be emboldened to carry on under the delusion that they are in their sniveling individual lives and the putrefaction of their collective pack something other than unrepentant, clueless cowards who will run from any fight that is not staged and flee from any battle that is not a mere simplistic simulation of real life, death, and the bravery that compels warriors to risk the former in the blood currency of the latter.
To Sean Hannity: Contact me, son. I know a waterboarding method that will rock your world. Let me do that one to you.
Yes, you're going to be stripped naked, and then mocked and otherwise humiliated; but that's not the worst of it, junior: you don't get a blindfold. That's what makes this waterboarding technique so cool. You, yourself, get to watch the action. Some people have said they actually see themselves while it's happening.
Ten seconds in; then I pull you, ask you a question you will most definitely not want to answer on national TV, and if you don't tell me what I want to hear, you get 10 more seconds.
I promise, that first 10 seconds will be the longest of your miserable life. The second 10 seconds will make the first 10 seem like a walk in the park. We'll let the viewing audience do a call-in vote on when we stop if you haven't already cracked on one of the first two pulls. Most definitely, you're not the one who decides the parameters of this game. You have to be powerless, just like the detainees to whom we do these things. Maybe even if you tell me what I want, I'll tell you you're a liar and keep at it. That's how it works with state-sponsored violence.
When we're done, I'll share with you something really important. Even though you might be shaking, even though you might be blubbering like a baby, even though you might be soiling yourself, I'll tell you the big news, and I'll say it like this, right in your ear, just the way the drill sergeants used to tell it to all the boot camp trainees to tear them down so they'd die on command like so many pack animals:
"You, Sean Hannity, ain't nuthin' but a pussy."
But, then again, Sean, you and your fellow Right-wing authoritarians already knew that, didn't you?
I'll be seeing you down by the watering hole, boy.
CNN Plunges Further to the Right
Yes, this is Mary Matalin, late of the propaganda bureau of Dick Cheney's shadow government. Ms. Matalin is a genuine, 100 percent showpiece, inextricably and apparently quite proudly associated not only with the worst presidential administration in modern U.S. history, but also with the core of a criminal enterprise that engaged in lies to start war, torture, a rogue assassination squad, and political intrigue that included control of the entire Executive Branch by crazies of the Religious Right who think the world must soon come to an end in Rapture and neo-conservatives who took their orders from Tel Aviv and think the world would come to an end if the AIPAC doesn't own every politician and pundit inside the Beltway.
Is Matalin joining CNN bad news? Certainly not. CNN is losing its mainstream viewers, so it's going after the FOX News crowd, which means the two operations will now competitively beat each other into the ground as they desperately fight for the same, narrow, niche market. That is the power of free market competition at its very best: the dregs of an industry backing into the same corner of an identifiable, understandable, targetable, malleable demographic/psychographic cohort group; and there, they destroy each other... and themselves.
And by the way, for readers who don't believe me about how ludicrous CNN has become, watch the video below about the appalling arrest of a reporter and his cameraman by an out-of-control policeman. As shocking as the video of the incident is, CNN newscaster Rick Sanchez leads in with embarrassing, buffoon-like pomposity masquerading as some attempt at objectivity welling up from some deep reserve of extraordinary wisdom about such matters. Once the clip of the incident, itself, is finished, Sanchez picks right back up with his over-the-top, "I'm-a-serious-newsguy-type-of-person" schtick.
Yes, that was Rick Sanchez, who qualifies as a newscaster at CNN and who would, in an alternate life, serve as a role model for comedic parodies of news at The Onion. Throw that kind of wince-inducing reporter in with Right-wing windbags that include the likes of Bill "Gamble-'n-Tie-Me-Up" Bennett and Mary "Georgie Was a Great Prez" Matalin, and you've got all the makings of a news station that's going to give FOX News a real run for its money.
Let the good times roll, fellow citizens: the Forces of the EndTime are coalescing into a spinning sphere of Stupid at neutron star density.
The Dark Wraith will be available for on-air reviews of the show when the whole Stupid Thing hits critical mass and collapses into the vortex of a black hole that finally causes everyone to exclaim in unison, "YO, man. This really SUCKS!"
Yes, but He Still Does a Mean Cakewalk
That's right: "Obama: Mo Money, Mo Problems" is what that title says.
While not flogging what is perhaps at first glance the subtly jaw-dropping nature of this headline, it should be pointed out that Mr. Obama is what might be called in more polite circles a "non-White" fellow, so it is obvious that we should want to use words and allusions consistent with folks like that.
"Mo" is far better than "more": we all know that's how those Black people talk, what with that fiendish "r" with which they have so much trouble. Geez, being a White person, I still think of a "ho" as a pretty useful gardening tool.
"Problems": well, that one's pretty easy. "Problems" is code for "blues," and Blues music is their music; and besides, isn't "problems" what they got all the time, what with being down-and-out, and all? (That's not to say White folks can't get the "blues," too; but Caucasians wrote country music before selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors were invented.)
And that whole "money" thingsame old story: those people just don't know what to do with money even when they have it. In fact, we used to have a phrase for that kind of wealth. At least some old-timers around these parts surely remember the term "****** rich"; but decent people don't talk like that anymore; instead, they write for reputable magazines, where they use much more acceptable, even cutesy code language to prime that same, auld-timey pump of racist attitudes through The Nation and, as a consequence, the nation.
The Dark Wraith, being rather on the conservative side, is glad to see old-fashioned values still have a place in the new American century.
Time Magazine Conflates Destroyed Torture Tapes, 'Conspiracy Theorists'
Referring to the tapes the CIA destroyed of men being tortured by American interrogators, the title of the Time magazine story on the matter is thus: "The Destroyed Tapes: A Boon for Conspiracy Theorists."
Isn't that just special?! The principal crime is torture; the subsequent crime is destruction of the incontrovertible evidence; and the continuing crime is obstruction of justice in not revealing the existence of the tapes, and then not disclosing their destruction. With all of that as backdrop, Time magazine's editorsnoses high in the air of preening respectabilityframe the whole, monstrously ugly story as the essential nourishment for all those loony 'conspiracy theorists' out there.
In their faux appearance of objectivity, these same mainstream news media outletsand not just Timemake little or no effort in their own voices to roundly debunk the utterly ridiculous claim by CIA Director Michael Hayden that the video tapes had to be destroyed lest they be leaked and imperil the lives of the torturers who were filmed executing their craft. Instead, the media uniformly leave that task to quotes by outraged Democrats, thereby framing the matter as a politicized controversy rather than as a pattern of criminal acts that, taken as a whole, constitute a conspiracy in the legal sense of that term, a term Time has ensured carries in the matter the lack of seriousness with which "conspiracy theorists" should be taken.
The august editorial ranks of the mainstream media notwithstanding, however, civil and criminal proceedings are likely to result on the separate acts as well as on the acts as part of an overall scheme: the withholding of the tapes from relevant investigatory bodies, including the 9/11 Commission and committees of the House and Senate, the destruction of the tapes in 2005, and the withholding until now of the fact that the heretofore unknown tapes were destroyed may be simply too much for the dismissive wing of the reputable media, still doing what it can to curry favor with the Bush White House, to help sweep under the rug. In the event that serious legal consequences befall those involved, Time magazine and other reputable media outlets may find it necessary to find terminology other than "conspiracy theory" to denigrate those alleging a pattern, scheme, and overall plan to mislead and lie to the American people and investigators. Perhaps Time might want to consider something along the lines of "America-hating terrorist supporters." At the very least, such a description will ensure that the important people at the magazine will retain their access to the White House officials who are, at least in the eyes of Time magazine, more credible than damning evidence and glaring truths.
The Dark Wraith, for the record, does not subscribe to news magazines published and written by shills.
News Framing at CNN.com
Note carefully the manner in which the headline is presented:
The reader who clicks on the headline finds that the associated article recaps the highlights of what is on an official Webpage of Oral Roberts University, wherein Mrs. Roberts is given space to express her dismay about the allegations being leveled against her.
That front-page CNN.com headline might, however, give a somewhat different impression, possibly even that the allegations have actually made her physically ill. Once a reader clicks on the headline and goes to the article, the word "sicken" is in quotes because it is how she, herself, on the official Oral Roberts University Website, is characterizing how she feels about being accused of improprieties.
Now, let us pull back to exactly one week before, on October 8, 2007, when Blackwater USA was still headline news at CNN.com and many other media outlets. The Iraqi government had just ordered Blackwater out of the country. An official investigation by the Iraqi government concluded that 17 Iraqi civilians killed when Blackwater employees opened fire in a town square were murdered by the mercenaries. Gruesome photos and moment-by-moment accounts of the massacre had been delivered by news media outlets for more than a week, with at least one account by the Washington Post providing multiple, eyewitness accounts and on-the-scene interviews with those who saw and survived the relentless onslaught of firepower by the private American security firm's personnel. So, on October 8, recounting the conclusions of the Iraqi government report, which held Blackwater criminally and civilly responsible for the deaths and injuries of Iraqi citizens from the September 16 shower of gunfire in a Baghdad square, CNN.com had the headline, again highlighted here for emphasis, in the screen capture graphic below:
Note, again carefully, but this time also comparatively, the manner in which the headline is presented:
Note the single quotes around the word victim. Such quotes have the effect of removing a word or term from the realm of the factual and placing it squarely in the wide-open field of the claimed, the alleged, the scrutinizable, the questionable. That's the intended effect of so-called "scare quotes": they diminish the representation made by the words within them; and that's exactly what those single quotation marks did with respect to the use of the word victim to describe a person killed or injured in the September 16 Blackwater shooting incident at a square in Baghdad.
According to CNN.com, then, allegations sicken Mrs. Roberts, but someone killed or wounded by Blackwater mercenaries on September 16 is a 'victim' of the attack. A civil lawsuit backed by extensive photographic and textual, documentary evidence can sicken a wealthy, religious, American defendant in a sexually charged lawsuit; but when extracted from a foreign government's official report that included dozens of appallingly gruesome photographs and testimony from many eyewitnesses, the term 'victim' must have quotes around it.
CNN.com has used and avoided using scare quotes before, and it will undoubtedly do so in the future as a way of subtly shaping the perception its readers have of information it reports. Although journalism students are taught about this and other means of "framing" early in their training, many people, even those well-educated, are not consciously aware of it in actual use, even when it is deployed repeatedly, over an extended period of time, by a single news source deliberately attempting to shape perceptions and opinions. While it might have been hoped that, by now, framing would be relegated to local media, CNN.com is demonstrating that what is considered at best disingenuous news presentation and at worst dishonest journalism is alive and quite well in the ranks of 'professional' 'news media' outlets.
The Dark Wraith encourages readers to keep a close eye on CNN.com for more 'journalistic' hijinks.
Screen Capture Fun (at the Expense of CNN.com)
The next graphic, below, is a screen capture, taken just moments later, at 5:41:43 p.m. EDT on September 24, 2007, from here at The Dark Wraith Forums, showing the area where stock index quotes can be viewed.
Note that the closing values for the Dow, S&P 500, and NASDAQ Composite are in exact agreement, as they should be, even though Google and The Dark Wraith Forums aggregate from different feeds for quotes.
Now, below is the screen capture, taken at 5:40:14 EDT on September 24, 2007, from the main page of CNN.com.
Notice the rather remarkable discrepancy between the closing value of the DJIA as reported by both Google Finance and The Dark Wraith Forums and that reported by CNN.com: Google Finance and The Dark Wraith Forums were reporting that the Dow had closed at 13759.06, down 61.13, while at the very same time, CNN.com seems to have been reporting that the Dow had closed at 13820.19, up 53.49!
Fortunately, CNN.comat some point in the later afternoon or early eveningcorrected its erroneous report on the closing value of the DJIA, as can be seen from the graphic below, captured at 10:39:13 p.m. EDT on September 24, 2007.
All is good, yes? Minor mistake. No harm, no foul. Surely, genuine investors aren't going to be looking to the front page stock index reports at CNN.com to make investment decisions. Those numbers are just informational décor, like they are here at The Dark Wraith Forums.
Ah, but there's something telling in the two screen captures from CNN.com. Look carefully at the respective quote frames from 5:41:43 p.m. and 10:39:13 p.m. See if you can tell what's a little interesting... and perhaps a little telling about CNN.com. Here's your hint: it's not what's different; it's what's not different.
Of course, it's all much ado about nothing. No one should be taking stock quotesmuch less newsfrom CNN.com all that seriously, anyway.
The Dark Wraaith is just having some fun on a quiet Monday evening.
Ripping CNN.com a New One in 500 Characters
Protesting the unfairness of Mr. Moore's detailed criticism, the CNN.com defensiveness has this declaration in the preamble to its supposedly point-by-point ramble: "We have zero vested interest in shading the numbers to tell a certain story," a claim rather amazing on its face, given the corporation's complete dependence on advertising dollars from other corporations that know how to use the power of that money to shape news, and given CNN's long-standing dependence upon the Bush Administration's discriminating willingness to grant or deny access to the halls of administrative power in Washington.
But the kicker comes in the sixth paragraph, where we learn, "CNN has always prided itself on balanced reporting of claims made by special-interest groups."
At the bottom of the article, CNN.com offered a feedback link, which takes the reader to a screen where, along with survey-type features, a person can write a comment, restricted to no more than 500 characters; that is apparently, in the judgment of CNN.com, sufficient latitude for anyone to have a well-formed, substantive say.
I used my 500 characters to the end of getting a few broad points across, and I herewith share with the public that which I just finished roaring at CNN.com:
While I am not a fan of Michael Moore when he holds Cuba up as a positive socio-political model for anything, I am just amazed by the disingenuousness in your claim that, "CNN has always prided itself on balanced reporting of claims made by special-interest groups."
The very use of the term 'special interest groups' serves no purpose other than to degrade and demean those who have strongly opposed the Bush Administration in its systematic prevarications that led to the American-Iraqi War, a war for which CNN served as nothing other than a propaganda outlet for the neo-conservatives, as Michael Moore pointed out in blistering terms to Wolf Blitzer last week.
And by the way, were those 'special interest groups' that pointed out how CNN.com was publishing photos handily provided by the Department of Defense of North Korean 'nuclear facilities' that were the same photographs DoD had also claimed were Iranian nuclear facilities?
Perhaps I am a 'special interest group'; but you are just shills.
The Dark Wraith has thus spoken not Truth to Power, but instead, Hell-Fire and Damnation to Propagandists.