Tuesday, May 15, 2007

FOX Makes Up the News!

We've always known that the Fox network "slanted" the news. But that's not all. They make it up! Keith Olbermann exposes the truth about Fox news falsehoods.


I would like to know what's in it for Rupert Murdoch to preside over a news organization that is manufacturing - full cloth - phony news stories. What is Murdoch's specific connection to the Bush crime syndicate? There is a bigger story here than a single memo. The story is how the American media devolved from giants like Murrow, Cronkite and Severeid to the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity.


It is no surprise to learn that Murdoch adored Ronald Reagan. Reagan presided over the "de-regulation" of the media at about the time Murdoch took over Fox. There was a time when broadcast outlets operated from a legal premise that had been established by the Federal Communications Act of 1934 that the "public" owns the airwaves. Later, in 1949, the Fairness Doctrine limited the power of media corporations' control over communications systems. Media were required to serve "the public interest, convenience, or necessity." Congress mandated the new FCC - created in the act - set aside certain frequencies for educational use. It was this provision that made it possible for many to get real broadcast experience and a college education as well.

As Ronald Reagan reversed regulations and systematically demolished media restraints, media regulation all but stopped in the early 1980s. Later, In 1987, the first Bush administration went after the Fairness Doctrine. In the case of Meredith Corp. v. FCC, the courts ruled that the FCC need not enforce the so-called "fairness doctrine". It was a green light to demagogues like Rush Limbaugh.

By 1996, The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was touted as a means of opening up competition in the communications market. The opposite turned out to have been the effect. What followed was a wave of mergers that decreased competition. The media is now dominated by a handful of souless conglomerates like Fox. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is another case of political "bait and switch". It is, in fact, an intolerable situation.

In 1934, our government had said that the "airwaves" belonged not to the big corporations or to the government but to the people themselves. We want it back!

Earlier, Olbermann exposed a Fox tactic: the deliberately biased "poll", otherwise called "push polling".


Fox has poisoned the political climate with venom and bullshit. The most obvious example is Bill O'Reilly who regularly pukes up outright lies and calls them "fair and balanced". Judge for yourself.

The people want their media back from the likes of Clear Channel and Fox. It's bad enough that Fox is lying but they are making billions doing it. Worse still - they are doing it because Ronald Reagan and his partners in crime literally stole the airwaves from the people of the United States. Fox is lying on your airwaves.








33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Everything you write is accurate. But PEOPLE consume the "news" with their choices. Apparently, many prefer to consumer "info-tainment" and "propaganda" such as Murdoch's News Corporation puts out. If viewers simply asked for "evidence," or "doubted" claims without credibility, they'd hunt for sources that provided. In the day of American Idol and Anna Nicole Smith, you think people want "news?" Ain't no profit in it. Besides, the Great Dames of the Washington Post and New York Times have not been particularly exemplary with their own propaganda supporting the same Iraq Invasion as Murdoch's Fox.

Regulate the news, and the regulators will determine the news. Sell the news, and whatever sells gets made. It's the CONSUMER (stupid), in Clinton's immortal phrase. We are what we consume!

Len Hart said...

Regulate the news, and the regulators will determine the news.

Who do you think determines the news today?

The "people"???

Read the article again. The LAST time the "people" had a voice was before the monopolist ass kisser Ronald Reagan gutted the Communications Act of 1934. I spent a lifetime in Broadcasting. I speak from experience.

Your argument sounds plausible but does not reflecct what, in fact, happened.

OF COURSE - most of the media supported the war. That's because most of the media is owned by four or five big corporations all of whom suppport Bush.

I repeat: before the GOP under Reagan gutted the Communications Act of 1934 and other regulatory safeguards, the people actually had a voice on the airwaves that they, in fact, own.

Christopher I said...

I don’t think there ever were too many people who thought FOX didn’t have a right-wing bias. In the case of Bill O’ Reilly, only the most obtuse would think he was impartial. But, to be fair, do you REALLY think that, for instance, Keith Olbermann is impartial?

But were the large news organizations, and I’m including newspapers, ever unbiased? Long ago, Noam Chomsky and others pointed out that they were biased, but appeared not to be because news and opinions that the owners didn’t like, were marginalized through being buried in the middle pages or only cursorily mentioned.

The marginalization of inconvenient news and facts is the most effective and devastating form of censorship because the public are unaware they are being manipulated. So why not just allow FOX news to say whatever it wants, because most of us can see FOX for what it is.

While I’m a great admirer of PBS and particularly the Lehrer Newshour, I’ve always been aware that the range of opinions it allows to be aired is quite circumscribed. The likes of Noam Chomsky and others of his ilk are conspicuous by their absence on PBS news presentations. This may not be unconnected with PBS’s public funding having been cut drastically over the years, so it is more dependent now on funding from private corporations.

PBS does, of course, have Bill Moyers. But he is only on an hour a week, and so is marginalised because he’s a mere oasis in a desert of corporate-approved blandness. But he can be trotted out to show that PBS is unbiased.

I would so like it if the new Al-Jazeera English language TV network would be allowed on US public airwaves. It would be a refreshing antidote to CNN, FOX, MSNBC and all the rest. It would allow Americans to see themselves as others see them (I say “them”, because I’m not American), and to see news they are never allowed to see on American networks.

Will this ever happen? Not as long as AIPAC continues to pull the strings in official Washington.

The silver lining in all this is that the internet has opened up for all of us a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of facts, news, and opinions which the mainstream media don’t want us to know about.

Len Hart said...

This is not about "fair and balanced". It's not about "bias", whatever that is. It's about whether or not the people were harmed by Ronald Reagan's improvident theft of the air waves. The "air waves" had been owned by the people. My position is that before "de-regulation" the people of the US were better informed, more literate, exposed to more voices from more media owners, more diversity than is the case today.

That we are debating the wrong issue on this comments section is indicative of the success FOX has had in framing the issue in terms of mere "fair and balance". It's all about framing.

No one believes for example that great writers like H.L. Mencken or Walter Lippmann, were unbiased. Both, however, might be drowned out in the morass of mediocrity that passes for journalism throughout the corporate media today. Worse - both writers might be shut out of the media as are Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal today.

Who would pretend that Ed Murrow was "unbiased" when he challenged Joseph McCarthy?

"Unbiased" is over rated in the increeasingly mediocre media-scape.

I would rather read a brilliant writer with whom I have differences than a hack who serves up mediocre versions of my own opinions. Truth be told, Gore Vidal will probably admit that he was challenged by William F. Buckely.

At last, there are no two figures of equal stature today. In Reagan's wake, therefore, we have "equal time" or, as Fox would call it, "Fair and Balanced".

What we don't have is debate!

In the meantime: Wires and Lights in a Box

Christopher I said...

Regarding your comment “……….before de-regulation the people of the US were better informed, more literate, exposed to more voices from more media owners, more diversity than is the case today……..”

By saying this, you imply that Americans today are today less informed, less literate, and less exposed to diversity of opinions than their parents and grandparents.

If so, it can’t be because of what Americans see and hear on the main broadcast media, because, with the advent of the internet, anyone can now access anything they want. Thus there is no excuse for anyone today to be ill-informed about anything. If you have a computer hooked up to the internet you have your very own library.

As for today’s Americans being less literate, this might be because people don’t read as much as those of yesteryear. If anyone wants to become literate, they should simply read more books. And there are today more books to read than ever before.

While we may indeed be exposed to less diversity of opinion on the mainstream media because of corporate amalgamations, I suggest the threat this poses to American society is considerably less now than in the days of yore because we are not nearly as dependent on the mainstream media for our news now, as we were then.

Len Hart said...

By saying this, you imply that Americans today are today less informed, less literate, and less exposed to diversity of opinions than their parents and grandparents.

Another srawman. My thesis is and remains, the people were better served by broadcast media before the Communications Act of 1934 and others were effectively gutted by Ronald Reagan et al. My comment addressed the quality of the available content in various media. I might have been more precise: ...those served by the "mass media" in the US were better informed, more literate, exposed to more voices from more media owners, more diversity than is the case today. In either case, the phrase speaks to the quality of the programming.

That programming was delivered to folk via air waves owned by the people. Today - the media conglomerates consider themselves owners of the air waves. Why is it so hard for people today to grasp that simple point?

Among the hundreds of cable channels today, there is - alas - very little diversity. 100 channels of the SOS. And I rarely see a program today on either cable or broadcast of the quality of CBS's Omnibus or Leonard Bernstein's Young Peoples' Concerts. As recently as the 60's there may have been fewer but better journalists and reporters working in the broadcast media.

If you have a computer hooked up to the internet you have your very own library.

My comments had not addressed the issue of the internet. My thesis is, the people were better served by media before Ronald Reagan et al made it possible for a handful of huge conglomerates to buy up all the broadcast channels. I have high hopes for the internet despite billions of junk sites.

As for today’s Americans being less literate, this might be because people don’t read as much as those of yesteryear. If anyone wants to become literate, they should simply read more books.

And what shall you read? When was the last time you heard a review on broadcast television of the latest book by E.L. Doctorow? Who do you know who's even heard of E.L. Doctorow? I recall a day when broadcast Playhouse 90 would perform live plays of the caliber of Requiem for a Heavy Weight, The Miracle Worker, The Comedian, and The Helen Morgan Story and Judgment at Nuremberg. That speaks to another issue. Growing up, I had no books. But there was a public library and I used it. And, if I didn't have my own library now, I would do so again. But because there are books does not mean that the public has not been harmed by the gutting of the Communications Act of 1934.

While we may indeed be exposed to less diversity of opinion on the mainstream media because of corporate amalgamations, I suggest the threat this poses to American society is considerably less now than in the days of yore because we are not nearly as dependent on the mainstream media for our news now, as we were then.

That's the point: we have in fact hundreds of cable channels, more broadcast channels, and yet we are exposed to LESS diversity of opinion because Ronald Reagan lead the assault on the Communications Act of 1934.

In the meantime, read: "Wire and Lights in a Box".

Alas, this is an issue that even liberals just will not grasp. When America's final epitaph is written I hope it does not say: "They marched willingly into hell".

Manifesto Joe said...

pvynoI don't watch much Fox News because it's bad for my blood pressure. But I'll describe what I saw the last time a bore with it for a few hours. It was during the 2004 election season, and Barbra Streisand was in the news for having written some kind of strident letter. With the network switching back and forth between seemingly straight news and then "commentary" without transition or labeling, I eventually saw big display headlines saying, "BABS' BABBLE," and "HAS YENTL GONE MENTAL?" Then the immediate pile-ons by the Young Christian Nazis' Talking Heads Club. I got the impression that this is what a far right-wing version of Soviet state TV would be like.

Manifesto Joe said...

By the way, this deal about leaving these letters on here before you can post a comment really sucks. That's why you see the jumble at the beginning of my previous comment. Sometimes computers are more trouble that they are worth.

Jon Gregory said...

I saw somebody with a t-shirt that said: Faux News -- We Distort, You Decide.

Jon Gregory said...

Correction: I think it was, "We Distort, You Comply."

Len Hart said...

Indeed, FOX reminds me of a state owned Big Brother machine. Fox has an "orthodoxy" and the memos prove beyond any reasonable doubt that they intend to shove this crap down our throats. People can say what they will about the network system during the fifties but the fact of the matter is it beat the hell out of this pure unadulterated SHIT from Fox. If Bill O'Reilly and that ilk are typical of what media brainwashing can and will achieve, I want NO part of it.

In a way, it is a form of "state media". The dwindling number of corporations who have effectively gobbled up the media in a period of less than tweny years represent the propaganda arm of Bush's fascist state. They are Joseph Goebbels but in a board room.

Sorry about the "letter verification". I had not wanted to implement it. But the regulars here at the time OK'd it. It does cut out a lot of meaningless and irrelevant spam and porn peddlers.

Marc McDonald said...

re:
>>>Regulate the news, and the
>>>regulators will determine the
>>>news.

Actually, the news is already regulated, in a sense. Make no mistake, the corporate MSM in this country is guilty of self-censorship. (If you don't believe me, check out Project Censored for a roundup of suppressed news stories).
It's every bit as frightening as government censorship (if not more so). In nations like China and Iran where there is state control of media, people there know to take what they hear in the media with a grain of salt.
Whereas here in the U.S., the unsuspecting public is unaware of the self-censorship that the MSM practices.

Marc McDonald
BeggarsCanBeChoosers.com

Len Hart said...

Good point, Marc. While not perfect, I still prefer the "old" system to regulation by an entrenched and monopolistic MSM. MSM now "owns" the air waves which had, in fact, been owned by the people. Before Ronald Reagan, many small media outlet owners (TV and Radio) often complained about government requirements, specifically the FCC. But I konw of no instance in which the FCC told me what to say as the FOX network has told its many minions.

Why, I wonder, is the FOX bureaucracy considered less odious by right wingers than the relatively benign bureaucracy of the FCC prior to Reagan's "revolution"?

Christopher I said...

I read carefully Edward R Murrow’s eloquent and thought-provoking speech, to which you referred. He was deeply concerned about the declining quality of TV programming and news. And this was in 1958, when TV was in its very early infancy.

This suggests to me that artistic and intellectual standards will inevitably decline whenever programming is dependent on advertising revenues, despite Murrow saying that if even only two or three corporations were to devote just a small portion of their advertising revenues to quality programming “………..the procedure would grow by contagion; the economic burden would be bearable, and there might ensue a most exciting adventure--exposure to ideas and the bringing of reality into the homes of the nation…….”. Programming to reflect “……..an effort to illuminate rather than to agitate………..”.

But the fact that what Murrow wanted, never came to pass, bespeaks that the world of commerce and profit margins doesn’t work in the way he wanted, and probably never will.

And Murrow made this speech LONG BEFORE Ronald Reagan gutted the 1934 Communications Act.

Murrow spoke almost fifty years ago, in a very different America, a much more homogenous and less populous America, where white men wearing hats ruled the roost, an America that tolerated racial segregation and other injustices not tolerated today, despite Americans then receiving their news and opinions via TV programming and news of a quality superior to that of today.

So perhaps the greater variety of opinions to which Americans were exposed to on commercial TV were within quite circumscribed parameters, and subtly reinforced the status quo, like, for instance, racial segregation?

And if Edward R Murrow had lived today, where the term “airwaves” should also include “cyberspace”, would he have expressed the same alarm as he did in 1958, given that PBS now provides most of the sort of quality programming formerly offered by the big commercial networks, and that cyberspace, in which just about anyone can now have their say, may be overtaking the old-fashioned “airwaves” in importance, thus lessening the dumbing-down influence of the giant commercial networks?

Rurikid-Vierotchka said...

Manifesto Joe said: By the way, this deal about leaving these letters on here before you can post a comment really sucks.

Not having these letters "on here" would be worse, as the comments section would be flooded by automated spam. I don't find it difficult at all to copy the word verification letters, nor do I find it bothersome.

Len Hart said...

This suggests to me that artistic and intellectual standards will inevitably decline whenever programming is dependent on advertising revenues...

Of course! But gutting the Communications Act of 1934 only exacerbates the situation when that trend is coupled with media consolidation. I never liked having to kiss up to sponsors but everyone needs to eat. Not content to rob the people of their air waves, the oligarchs have, under Bush, attacked public broadcasting relentlessly. Ronald Reagan had already stolen the commerical media for his robber baron buddies.

But the fact that what Murrow wanted, never came to pass, bespeaks that the world of commerce and profit margins doesn’t work in the way he wanted, and probably never will.

What Murrow warned about - the crass commercialization of the broadcast media - has indeed come to pass and precisely for the reasons Murrow stated. That's what I've been complaining about. Murrow was right. The future he described is NOW. If Murrow can be faulted at all it's only because the "future" turned out to be even worse that he imagined.

Murrow warned and no one listened. They are still not listening and FOX is what we get to show for our complacence.

And Murrow made this speech LONG BEFORE Ronald Reagan gutted the 1934 Communications Act.

Of course he did! Read Murrow again. He was a prophet and saw it all coming. Reagan just proved the point. Bush will finish off all hopes of media access. Already, cable companies, never covered by the principles embodied in the Communications Act of 1934, are dropping "public access" channels. Everywhere they are under attack.

Murrow spoke almost fifty years ago, in a very different America, a much more homogenous and less populous America,

Have you bothered to ask yourself why it is a different America? One of the reasons that is so is Ronald Reagan and his attack on the principles of the Communications Act of 1934. Also his tax cut which benefited only the very, very rich but that is another article that I have already written a thousand times.

I cited Murrow's speech because he was prescient. It's too bad Murrow was not listened to.

Murrow's vision is summed up in his own words:

"This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box."

- Edward R. Murrow


perhaps the greater variety of opinions to which Americans were exposed to on commercial TV were within quite circumscribed parameters, and subtly reinforced the status quo, like, for instance, racial segregation?

I challenge that thesis. The media that you now accuse of aiding and abetting segretation was, in fact, reviled by racists for being "liberal". If you have a case in that respect, you simply must back it up with facts. At last, please make the case that the top five to seven conglomerates that now dominate the broadcast media have done anything to improve racial relations that has not been mandated by affirmative action laws!

And if Edward R Murrow had lived today, where the term “airwaves” should also include “cyberspace”,

"Air wave" is not figurative or poetic language. It refers specifically to the modulation of electromagnetic radiation within a certain spectrum. It does not refer to "cyber-space", a less scientific term used to denote the exchange of digital information within a network of computers using specific enabling protocols. It's hard enough to talk about the impact of radio/TV without dragging the internet into it.

My thesis remains: laws of 1927 and 1934 established principles that were attacked by monied interests. The immediate effect was that many who had access prior to Ronald Reagan's misrule no longer had access. Millions were shut out. The interests of crass commercialization warned about by Murrow gained unprecedented and disproportionate access to the point of shutting everyone else out. The result is a moribund, monopoly dominated, biased media. Limbaugh, O'Reilly and similar ilk are the result of what has turned out to be a legislated devolution of standards. All of this to the detriment of the nation. What Murrow warned about has indeed come to pass. TV has become mere wires and lights in a box.

Manifesto Joe said...

I'm sure I'll adjust to the letter verification soon. And I understand its purpose. I don't enjoy getting porno spam and such on my e-mail, and I certainly don't want it on my site. Don't mind me -- like some other bloggers, I'm a habitual complainer.

Frank Costa said...

Like on most blogs, a lot of smart, articulate folks write with passion about their subject of the day.

Today we find len hart right on the money with an observation that we lost the air waves under Reagan. And christopher making sense that others have bias' as well as Fox.

For me, what is missing is any reference to the fact that these are small points of the larger agenda of the New World Order.

The following came from

http://www.apfn.org/THEWINDS/1996/08/nearly_complete.html

one of the thousands of sites on the NWO:

David Rockefeller, founder of the Trilateral Commission, in an address to that organization in June of 1991:

"We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years."

If we bring the Bush Administration to court for their participation in 9/11 then all of this will hit the fan...the lying media, the NWO, corrupt government, insane war, oil shortage manipulation, chemtrails, GWEN towers...all of the stuff that main stream media avoids.

The recent release of E. Howard Hunt's tape confession to his participation in the murder of JFK validated the work of all the berated "conspiracy theorists." I don't think we have 40 years to prove the NWO's agenda is real...

Manifesto Joe said...

By the way, a couple of extra thoughts about Fox News: Nobody should really have been surprised about the approach to "news" they have taken. Roger Ailes, who I think is still president of Fox News, first made a name for himself as a prominent Republican Party operative.

Also, I recall reading about the creation of Hannity and Colmes that Sean Hannity was signed on first, and then it took a while for them to find a "sidekick" for him; sort of the "liberal to be named later." They seemed to come up with a pretty ineffectual one. Alan Colmes' role on the show seems to be that of a verbal punching bag. In the eyes of the kind of viewers who frequent Fox, he makes Hannity look good. I've noticed that when Sean is matched with a "live" one, he doesn't fare as well.

Anonymous said...

FuzzFlash sez...

Wonderful post Cowboy, and great discussion, mes amis.

Frank Costa, you're onto a major point here. You State:
"For me, what is missing is any reference to the fact that these are small points of the larger agenda of the New World Order."

I don't know enough about this NWO caper, but the MSM's primary function IS about CONTROL.


Think it's time to hear what Uncle Frank had to say on his masterpiece, "Overnite Sensation"


Frank Zappa - I'm The Slime. Lyrics

[backing vocals Tina Turner & The Ikettes]

I am gross and perverted
I'm obsessed 'n deranged
I have existed for years
But very little has changed
I'm the tool of the Government
And industry too
For I am destined to rule
And regulate you

I may be vile and pernicious
But you can't look away
I make you think I'm delicious
With the stuff that I say
I'm the best you can get
Have you guessed me yet?
I'm the slime oozin' out
From your TV set

You will obey me while I lead you
And eat the garbage that I feed you
Until the day that we don't need you
Don't go for help . . . no one will heed you
Your mind is totally controlled
It has been stuffed into my mold
And you will do as you are told
Until the rights to you are sold

That's right, folks . . .
Don't touch that dial


manifesto joe, hello. Reflex Yenting (RY) can be a terrible thing, sufferers often graduating to become full-blown kvetch artists. Behavioralists identity RY as a primary cause of relationship breakdowns.

"Don't mind me -- like some other bloggers, I'm a habitual complainer."

Come over here, joe, that's right. You seem like a regular kind of guy to me. Now look at me ,joe. Pease, I can help you.

Have you ever considered what it might be like telling someone who cares?

Len Hart said...

Indeed, NWO is behind it all. Think of Ronald Reagan as the first "GWB". Noam Chomsky sums up Reagan and Bush in a single phrase "hired actors". So whenever I slam Bush or Reagan, I am likewise slamming the NWO that props them up.

We'll never know the full extent of this cabal of crooks, fascists and perverts and murderers. I will hereafter refer to Cheney as Darth.

With respect to the media, you guys are correct. Taking over the media was a primary objective. "De-regulation" was a Reagan code word to these incipient monopolists.

Broadcasters whom I knew personally thought Reagan a god for dismantling the Communications Act under the pretext of "de-regulation". The small radio station owners might have done OK, many sold their outlets to big conglomerates for millions. The real winners, however, are Fox, Viacom, et al. The real losers are the public. Radio used to be exciting; then it became a pre-recorded tape, and, lastly a digital file sequenced by a computer. The Wolfman Jack is dead.

Ted Turner points out that the internet is now being gobbled up by the same big monolithic companies. My Beef With Big Media

Turner also talked about how upstarts were -at one time -able to get a start in broadcasting:

So when the FCC received a glut of applications for new television stations after World War II, the agency set aside dozens of channels on the new UHF spectrum so independents could get a foothold in television. That helped me get my start 35 years ago.

Somthing similar had happened earlier with FM radio. I would never have gotten into the business if a small FM outlet, getting its own start in the same way, had not decided to take a chance on a high school sophomore who loved music and was not afraid to talk about it behind a microphone.

Manifesto Joe said...

Hello, Fuzzflash:

I really, truly didn't want to do anything like this over one lousy, half-serious gripe that I basically apologized for.

But, Dear Fuzzflash, I must. Before you psychoanalyze me, "pease, pease" learn how to spell. And if you really spent time enough thinking about this to become snotty about it, that in itself is quite sad.

damien said...

I'm sure you'll get to it, Len, but there's a great article out by Patrick Foy (via AntiWar). Aside from demolishing the case for invading Iraq and the mechanisms by which Bush, Cheney, Tenet, Blair all actively lied from the start, he provides some interesting anecdotes on the neocons, some of whom I discussed the other day:

"In a series of papers and a book, Wurmser argued that toppling Saddam was likely to lead directly to civil war and the breakup of Iraq, but he supported the policy anyway: ‘The residual unity of [Iraq] is an illusion projected by the extreme repression of the state.’ After Saddam, Iraq will ‘be ripped apart by the politics of warlords, tribes, clans, sects, and key families,’ he wrote. ‘Underneath facades of unity enforced by state repression, [Iraq’s] ‘politics is defined primarily by tribalism, sectarianism, and gang/clan-like competition.’ Yet Wurmser explicitly urged the United States and Israel to ‘expedite’ such a collapse. ‘The issue here is whether the West and Israel can construct a strategy for limiting and expediting the chaotic collapse that will ensue in order to move on to the task of creating a better circumstance.’

.....Get the picture? The “chaotic collapse” we see today in Iraq was anticipated, “expedited” and even welcomed."


Cheney's guys KNEW that chaos would follow the invasion. It wasn't incompetence or oversight. They obviously were expecting some kind of effective partitioning of Iraq where the oil companies would really run everything.

On the media issue, Larissa Alexandrovna has an excellent account of the recent charging of two UK officials under the Official Secrets Act for revealing the contents of a Blair-Bush meeting in April 2004. There Bush canvassed the idea of bombing an al-Jazeera office in Qatar, a US ally. An al-Jazeera office in Baghdad had previously been bombed by US aircraft in April 2003 in what was described at the time as an 'accident'. 16 people died, mostly journalists and their staff. It was almost certainly a carefully planned US operation. It's remarkable, isn't it, that these guys are being charged merely for making public that Bush openly planned to murder innocent, defenseless civilians in a country friendly to the US.

There's more examples of this absurd moral vacuum (it reminds me repeatedly of spousal or child abuse in some families that gets hushed over and denied...it's psychological crap).

In The Australian today our Middle East 'expert' (who's a dill) has challenged Saudi religious donations within Australia as supporting terrorism. In this case the amounts of money are relatively small and they're mostly spent on a few evangelical muftis, none of whom appear to be supporting terrorist acts as such. Small potatoes. His blog accepted all the usual anti-raghead stuff. But I had no chance of getting published that an Iranian terrorist organization, the MEK, is protected, financed and assisted within Iraq by the US, and that the Iraqis have been insisting they leave. No chance of having those facts acknowledged particularly when they come with verifying weblinks to those very enablers of terrorism, CNN and Harper's magazine!

The world of truthiness, media approved themes and selective reporting just goes on and on. Murder, planned murder and terrorism only get reported if THEY do it.

Len Hart said...

For the regulars who post here...and for the new comers who might have been referred here from some major sites and blogs.

PLEASE find the You Tube video that exposes FOX. Email it to as many folk as you can.

The PEOPLE may not be able to take by the airwaves from usurpers and liars like Fox, but we can get the word out one person at a time.

Fox and Bill O'Reilly especially have harmed the United States and have launched a broadside on the Bill of Rights and the secular founding of this nation.

BOYCOTT FOX AND THEIR ADVERTISERS.

Millions of enraged Americans can shut these bigoted fuckers down.

FIGHT BACK.

Buy Harry Belafonte and Barbra Steisand records. If FOX demonizes it, support it.

Anonymous said...

Fuzzflash sez...

Damien and Len, am in accord with your last comments with the minor reservation, len, that Citizen Rupert is possessed of a Fascist mentality, rather than being an out and out "Nazi".

"But, Dear Fuzzflash, I must. Before you psychoanalyze me, "pease, pease" learn how to spell."

O.K. manifesto joe, I promise to learn how to spell if you'd pease tell me why "Pan's Labrynth", as you list on your blogsite, is one of your favorite movies. Did a review of PL on the Existentialist Corral recently under the sobriquet, Enemy Combatant.

"psychoanalyze"? Nah. More like burly badinage. Feature me as a hip-shootin' site jester with a touch of Tourette's, unable to come to terms with a failed career in International Diplomacy. 'Tis an honour, sir, to be the butt of your repartee.

"And if you really spent time enough thinking about this to become snotty about it, that in itself is quite sad."

Sad but true, joe. It's totally pathetic. Gonna have to get it worked on.

Len Hart said...

Fuzzflash,

Damien and Len, am in accord with your last comments with the minor reservation, len, that Citizen Rupert is possessed of a Fascist mentality, rather than being an out and out "Nazi".

I will bow to your expertise in this area, Fuzz. However, if I get rounded up and sent to a concentration camp, what difference will it make to me whether its done by a Nazi or a Fascist? I can't stand either one - but I should have been more precise.

Always great to get your perspective, Fuzz.

Anonymous said...

Len, you claim "strawman," but you are adding the straw. You concede every decent reporter and outlet has a bias, but apparently the bias must comport with yours, or it should be regulated to do so.

Let me remind all of us that the Ochs-Sulzberger, Graham, and McClatchy cabal of media owners, all who hail from "left of center." Until Fox, only the WSJ's editorial pages had a "libertarian/conservative" flair.

You repeatedly cite Reagan as the malfeasant, but the ACT required Democratic conset. Most of us would consider this "bipartisan." Congress could have enforced itself to the contrary, but chose not! No bias here?

Anyone who watches Fox knows it's crock. If they don't, they are unlikely to watch any source for news. They would not likely recognize "news" as news, they just want to rile their BP and indignations, fed by red-meat flamers.

What you really seem to want to say is that the "discourse" in information lacks civility. If so, I fully agree. I remember David Susskind, Edward Murrow, WFB, Dick Cavett, Frank Reynolds, etc. etc. All engaged in civil discourse, however diverse their bias. But SHOCK-JOCK gets ratings! Michael Savage gets more and more outrageous -- in the San Francisco market. Imus v. Sharpton! It SELLS. As long as people want Photoplay rather than Photo Journalism, People rag will outsell Time and Newsweek. And one simply cannot legislate civility, much less "tastes." Any effort to do so will be rightly viewed as "government censorship," whether you or I think it benign or malign, "fair or balanced," or "smart."

As long as freedom of choice avails, we'll have to accept the choice of some with very bad tastes and incivility. The alternative is worse. The ONLY acceptable government regulation is anti-monopolistic. Any other regulation is "control."

Len Hart said...

Len, you claim "strawman," but you are adding the straw. You concede every decent reporter and outlet has a bias, but apparently the bias must comport with yours, or it should be regulated to do so.

I have a position, I state it and support it. Fox, by contrast, hides its real agenda and supports "it" with disingenuous and often blatantly false argument that has passed focus group muster. I suggest you study the difference between argument and propaganda. Not even Fox believes their shit but they don't care. That is the difference. Bertolt Brecht summed it up well:

A man who does not know the truth is just an idiot but a man who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a crook!

Fox (as a perfect example) is a crook!

You repeatedly cite Reagan as the malfeasant, but the ACT required Democratic conset.

Of course it did! And I am still mad at the Democrats for letting the Reagan get away with it. Just recently I posted on this blog that the GOP and the Democrats were merely two wings of a single party. Again - you raise the strawman and you accuse me falsely. Moreover, Reagan is not the ONLY malfeasant. Almost every GOPPER is in the same boat. It's a party gone wrong and crooked. My position vis a vis the Democratic party is more nearly that of Will Rogers who said: "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."

Nevertheless, Reagan (and by that I mean the entire Reagan "machine") bears the responsibility for the harm it has done. That's the existentialist way. And, of course, it is the nature of evil that the devil tries to spread the blame around by compromising opponents.

What you really seem to want to say is that the "discourse" in information lacks civility. If so, I fully agree.

Worse - it's disingenuous. All the civility in the world will not ameliorate the harm that has been done by Fox specifically. If Bill O'Reilly were civil, he would still be wrong and O'Reilly. He would still fit Brecht's definition of a crook. Putting a smily face on Fox won't help and it's too late for Bill who will only get worse.

I remember David Susskind, Edward Murrow, WFB, Dick Cavett, Frank Reynolds, etc. etc. All engaged in civil discourse, however diverse their bias.

I rather like diverse "biases". But "diverse" biases are NOT what Fox has in mind. If you read George Orwell's 1984, you might get the idea.

One of the things I liked about media pre-Reagan and pre-Fox, is the diversity of opinion. It was great. One of the harms done by the very concept of "fair and balanced" is that there are only two sides to any argument. That's nonsense. Today the world is divided into left v right to its peril.

But SHOCK-JOCK gets ratings!

...in a culture that has been addicted, perhaps by design, to ever increasing doses of schlock, attractive lies, and disingenuous propaganda.

BTW - I worked with some of the legendary media folk who pioneered if not invented the concept of "shock jock". It's old hat to me.

It SELLS.

So what? William James notwithstanding the fact that something "sells" does not in itself validate it.

Let's follow the argument that you SEEM to making to its logical conclusion: numbed by blather, dumbed down by scholock, we will all march stupidly into hell.

As long as freedom of choice avails, we'll have to accept the choice of some with very bad tastes and incivility.

But freedom of choice does not prevail. A handful of huge conglomerates have, rather, polarized the world. The world itself has become a huge false dichotomy. George W. Bush epitomizes it: "You are either with us or against us." -- George W. Bush, November 6, 2001. Fox could not have said it better. But - forced to choose - I'm agin' 'em both!

Anonymous said...

We mutually agree that Fox is a sham "news source," of dissimulation and misinformation. It should be obvious to anyone who asks for "evidence" to its claims. It's the brainchild of the largest media mogul in the world, on whose Empire the sun never sets. It has lowered the "lowest common denominator," not only in the area we call "journalism," but in "entertainment." Fox broadcast and cable companies, its film studios, its periodicals, its MySpace and other internet holdings are all pretty "low" when it comes to standards of thinking individuals. If we had "thinking individuals" in the mainstream, Murdoch would be exiled to the margins of low-life, not operate in the mainstream.

The question of "cause-and-effect," is whether Murdoch has caused the devolution of thought, or whether our public education system has produced an uneducated, unthinking public which curries these thoughtless media? It may be the proverbial "chicken-and-egg" comes first dilemma, but I suspect not.

You probably favor the first hypothesis (Murdoch), I favor the latter hypothesis (education). The stats favor my hypothesis.

If our youth (and today's adults) are taught "self-esteem," but not critical thinking, science, literature, history, civics, ethics, economics, etc., how will they know better, if they don't know much at all?

You blame the media, I blame our educational system. If we educated people with the tools of reasoning, history, arts, science, etc., I suspect this educated public would find Fox/Murdoch just a tad un-stimulating if not outright disagreeable and obnoxious. But look at the Nielsen demographics. Therein may indeed the source of the "problem."

Self-esteem soars in our schools, but for "what" remains an enigma. We "produce" the LEAST-educated people for the MOST-money than any other modern country, save Switzerland (edged only by a few extra bucks). Yet, 80% of the American public believes the Bible is God's word, 65% disavow the facts of Darwin, 76% can't name the three branches of federal government, 90% of incoming freshmen to the top Ivy League Colleges believe, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is in the American Constitution. Marx would roll over in his grave.

And you expect "regulating" the news broadcasts will improve the quality of news?

I believe your trying the cure the symptom. Perhaps we should look to the cause instead. Only an educated public knows "caveat emptor." The uneducated buys indiscriminately. The problem, dear Hamlet, is not in the stars, but in ourselves.

Len Hart said...

You blame the media, I blame our educational system.

Gay, you are getting tiresome. You falsely imply that because I am now discussing "media" that I don't have a position with regard to education! First rule of debate: don't change the subject! Rest assured - I have strong positions on education, having written, conducted interviews, and narrated several award winning documentaries on the subject. That was, of course, when documentaries were still done in the commercial media, when media was more diverse, more literate, and, in many other ways, more concerned with education than the post-Reagan world of monolithic, non-diverse, conformist, moribund media of bullshit, eye candy, and crap!

Never fear, I will one day do several articles on the topic education and the right wing will rue the day.

And you expect "regulating" the news broadcasts will improve the quality of news?

Why did you put the word regulating in quotes while seeming to attribute that position to me?? I did a word search. Just as the founders never used the word "God" in the Constitution, I never used the word "regulate" in any of its forms in this exchange. The only time the word regulate came up in this exchange, it was used by you. To wit:

The Gay Species: Len, you claim "strawman," but you are adding the straw. You concede every decent reporter and outlet has a bias, but apparently the bias must comport with yours, or it should be regulated to do so.

At last, do not attribute positions to me that I have not taken. My position is clearly stated and it is not about regulation as you have used that term and, further, as you have falsely attributed it to me.

The stats favor my hypothesis.

Cite them!

Anonymous said...

Unless I completely misunderstand your advocacy, you advocate the federal government's regulation of America's "news." (Perhaps you want more regulation, but let's just keep to "news.") Despite the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, despite claiming an "existentialist" orientation, you want our government to control OUR choices. Not because you deny all media is biased, because it empirically is, but because it is not biased in the form or manner with which you agree. Because people "abuse" their freedom of choice and "consume" Fox "News" Channel, which, according to your dictates and wisdom, is "bad" for them. Fox "News" lies, and therefore, the answer to its lies is for the government to determine the truth for us. At least, the public will get an "approved" version of the "news," not unlike Pravda. If this is not your view, it sure appears to be your view.

On one hand you want "diverse" views and perspectives, but on the other hand you want the paternal government to set the standards of that diversity. You advocate the re-establishment of the Communications Act of the 1930s. Perhaps, with even more stringent controls on what is "reported," how it is reported, and in the form it is reported. Why? Because people are consuming falsehoods by the media cabals? And government will ensure the truth by its cabal? If the "will of the majority" has any sense, the news will be more pure and orthodox, less subject to propaganda, and therefore one can rely on the government's controls to give us what is good for us?

Maybe my paternalistic hyperbole is a stretch of your claims, but, alas, the bottom line is you want more government control of our "news," and less choice for Americans to make poor choices, such as consuming Fox "News." Some regulator in Washington with the appropriate benignty, bais, and goodwill will determine what we are to "know." Not the citizen. No. He's too ignorant. He buys this propaganda crap from the News Corporation, and thinks it's true. The "knower" knows this, and so he will arbitrate what the ignorant types get to view as "news." Like all social-planning schemes, the rationalist knows what is "best," and uses the government to ensure a type of news he approves is the news we all should consume.

The problems may involve our failed education establishment that failed to deliver on education, particularly the critical-thinking skills, but that's a different matter. It's not directly related, you claim. But government control will solve the "news" problem, and while it solves the "news" problem, it will tackle the "education" problem it also created, separately.

Conversely, I see the problem as interdependent. In fact, I claim the source of the problem is our failed education system, delivered by the monopoly of the government (with a few private exceptions). Where you see more governmental regulation as the answer to government-generated problems, I see market forces (not monopolies) affording different choices. I support governmental regulations in certain areas of the market, but only those that are universifiable and not prey to "special interests," like the NEA that has eviscerated education. After all, the NEA has succeeded in getting government to achieve its objectives, and our government's answer to the first "failures" is No-Child-left-Behind, more regulation by the government. That surely solves the problem?

But while government regulation apparently answers your problems, it seems to me more creative of problems than you seem willing to admit. Moreover, I'm not all that convinced the "will of the majority" is the way to legislate special interests to deliver better results in our news organizations. While I agree with Madison's "collective wisdom," I am also frighten by mobocracy. It re-elected GWB, for heaven's sake. But none of this is "related" to our news sources? Right? Rather, some rational social-planner will rescue us from the Murdoch Empire, as governmental monopoly and/or control is to be preferred over competitive alternatives (however narrowed by our government). We'll just FORCE people into what's right for them.

A government's monopoly is preferred over a cabal of media moguls, unless it's the Times, Post, and McClatchy news cabals (the "approved" ones). Maybe you are not making all these special pleadings, but you are advocating more government control of our news. My alternative, perhaps a bit simplistic, is to prohibit ALL monopolies. Give people a CHOICE. (Almost sounds existentialist.) And if they consume crap, that comes with freedom. The alternative has yet to work. The alternative is someone else's CONTROL.

But Sartre himself never saw his contradiction to Marxism and Existentialism. We cannot expect anyone else will either. All that "being-in" and "being-for," without choice is truly "nothingness." Freedom depends on making choices, even bad choices, but Marxism does not allow choices at all, and thus no Marxist collective has experienced freedom. Rather it DICTATES the news from Pravda, Fidel, China's Cabal, which is "better" how? All monopolies are corrupt, including governmental ones. Or do you really believe Bush's governmental monopoly can be rescued by more state planners? If they're "enlightened," perhaps, but you know Probability Theory. It ain't likely at all.

Sorry, for being so tiresome. It's those who push government as the answer -- in the FACE of BUSH as a failure of government, that is really tired. More government? Like Bush's? More monopolies? Like Bush's? Without a "market," there are no choices, only monopolies. Read you Schumpeter!

Len Hart said...

Unless I completely misunderstand your advocacy, you advocate the federal government's regulation of America's "news."

Now you have it! You have completely misunderstood me. And, apparently, the nature of "regulation" as well. And I NEVER advocated the government management of news. ABSURD! Neither did Murrow.

Start by reading the Communications Act of 1934. There is NOTHING in there about the government REGULATING the content of news.

What's tiresome, gay, is this constant, fuckin' debating of strawmen!!

Honestly, gay, you sound like one of those old, rabid, old time, West Texas radical conservatives, the kind who took out a full page ad in a mjor Dallas daily calling JFK a "traitor" on the eve of the President's final visit there.

If you had read my posts you would have noticed my assertion that during a period of time prior to Reagan's gutting the Communications Act of 1934, whilst I labored in the broadcasting "vinyard" (to use Murrow's phrase), I was never told what to say or report or how to say or how to report it. I hardly call that "government regulation of the news". And, in fact, it is not and never was.

As an example, after I had passed my electronics exams and obtained my license, I NEVER heard from the government. Reporters and anchors who never touched the broadcasting equipment were not even required to be licensed. In my case, I started out at a small station and had many responsibilities including some basic maintenance and meter reading. If the "plate current" in the transmitter bounced off the scale, I had to know how to prevent a transmitter melt down. Later, in the major markets, no one ever asked to see my FCC license. I was sorely dissapointed.

Now, what you have fallaciously labeled "regulation", I call "freedom of speech". This "regulation" of the media about which you rail amounted to little more than allocating frequencies. After all, two stations in a same coverage area could hardly use the same frequency.

Individual station owners may have had certain "editorial policies" as do newspapers today. As owners, that is probably their right. But the point is: those policies were INCREDIBLY DIVERSE from one station to another. We had more and diverse ownership under the Communications Act of 1934.

Broadcasting was NOT a government sanctioned oligopoly as it is today. Now, if that is "regulation", LET'S HAVE MORE OF IT.

Under what you have erroneously assumed was MORE regulation, more broadcast outlets represented more diverse ownership presenting more and more diverse opinions on more and more diverse topics!

Now, IF that is "regulation" as you have hell-bent on calling it, let's have more of it! I will take that over an oppressive, big brother FOX-Viacom OLIGOPOLY any day.

I will not take your bait and buy into your code word and strawman -"regulation". It's not even the issue.

And don't try to force me into defending an "abstraction" that does not even apply in this case. I defend my position and the people's ownership of the airwaves. Your attempt to characterize, indeed, TAR that with a blanket label "regulation" smacks of a GOP focus group.

I don't buy it.

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