An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Fox News’

Obamacare Lives, and CNN and Fox News FAIL

Yeah, there are a lot of things to talk about, and we thought we would break it down one by one.  The first part is that the Health Care Reform Act, aka. Obamacare, passed.  In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court upheld the law.  One of the big names who was not expected to vote for the side of this bill was the swing vote they needed.  Justice John Roberts, a man who all the conservatives were sure was going to be against this, since he is a very conservative man, voted in favor of the Health Care Reform Act.  He chose to look at the law for what it is, and be impartial.  As one can imagine, the conservatives are up in arms about that.

Now, there are some issues that I personally have with the Health Care Reform Act. For one thing, the insurance mandate part is totally useless without a public option.  In fact, I do think that it does harm.  But, for what I have to look at, I will say, the liberal community should feel some pride.  I think we should have universal health care, but this is at least a step in the right direction, which is more than Obama has been able to do for the bulk of his presidency.  Of course, if he had actually fought for it, we might have the public option, but that is neither here nor there.

However, when the news broke about the ruling, there was a bit of a mix-up of information, and the source is a couple that you might not expect.  Fox News and CNN, when this ruling news broke, reported it wrong.  They reported that a 5-4 vote was in favor of it not passing.  That they ruled against it.  That’s a HUGE gaff for a news company to make.

Source Fed, a news organization who is both fun and informative about some oddball issues and some very hard news, had a very good point to make about this.  While this most certainly makes Fox News and CNN look stupid and like bad journalists, the problem of this does come from our culture of immediacy.  Granted, one can be quick and be thorough, which NBC poked fun at in a response from their PR person.  But when people want the information right then, at that moment, and not have to wait, there is a good point to be made that mistakes are going to be made.

The field of journalism is trying to find a place to exist in this new world, but perhaps the public does have some accountability to be had in regards to massive mistakes like this being made.

This is a huge issue, and a lot of people are celebrating, as they should be.  But this isn’t over.  This Reform Act is not good enough.  There needs to be more battle with this culture for universal health care.  Since I have no faith in the corrupt and bureaucratic politicians who could give a damn about the public, we have to push for this as a community.  Liberals must end their timidity and stand tall, demanding universal health care, something that will save America money, along with families money.

But given how absolutely dumb this country’s culture is, that might be dreaming a little bit beyond my ken.

Muppet Fox News Pwnage!

This was too good not to post. Enjoy –

Peace out,

Lefty

Is there a war on Christmas?

It seems like every year, the pundits get rolling about how there is this huge war on Christmas.  Rick Perry’s latest (and hopefully last) campaign ad showed this quite well, where he talks about how we are letting “gay people serve in the military,” but apparently, little Tommy and Billy can’t celebrate Christmas.  So the question is, where did this come from?

Cracked.com made a very funny article about this pointing out that it must have happened at some store, at some point in time, when a bunch of people came together and said – “say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.”  From there, the race was on against the “War on Christmas.”  It has been a convenient talking point of comedians like Stephen Colbert to make fun of.  Fox News is a brilliant testiment to how far good marketing can go, especially when the base that you are marketing to has the intellectual capacity of a toadstool.

In a link above, the Fox News site has an entire page dedicated to how there is a war on Christmas.  Here are some titles from some of the links on that site –

School Play Turns Political in ‘Occupy North Pole

Apparently, kids are turning Christmas into politics.  Wow, that’s interesting.

 Postal Service Tells Workers to Stop Dressing as Santa

They offer not proof that that claim, by the way.  They just have a brief tidbit, a tiny blurb of talk, and that’s it.

U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Pays Homage to Obama—But Not Jesus

Don’t you miss the days when the First Amendment actually meant something?  A person cannot get elected into public office in this country unless they believe in these people’s God.  Over 80% of Republicans and over 50% of Democrats say that religion is very important to them.  These numbers are telling a story – that there is no way that religion doesn’t have a very firm grasp in this country.  It’s also worth mentioning that this claim is barely anything more than a blurb too.  It is just talking.

The fact is that there is no war on Christmas.  Fox News can talk all the want about how fire fighters aren’t allowed to dress up like Santa and give gifts to the kids, but they don’t stop and check to see that they are getting the wrong facts.  It is a cycle that never stops, ever.

Meanwhile, those of us in the real world say Merry Christmas to each other, and nobody attacks us for it.  One can leave Target and hear them say Merry Christmas, and nobody gets upset.  And there has never been an instance in my lifetime where a kid go suspended for wearing a Santa hat to school.  This is just another lovely form of made-up problems that Fox News is so famous for having on their network.

There are people who make this a problem, but these people are trying to be trouble, and everybody who is aware knows it.

Merry Christmas, everybody, and have a lovely holiday season.

Peace out,

Lefty

The Truth about 24-Hour News Networks

This should be short but sweet. Here is a video telling the ultimate truth about what 24-hour networks are like.

Learn something?

Peace out,

Lefty

Amanda Knox and the Failure of the Media

It is getting a little bit too annoying, really.  When we are in a societal calamity.  The EU is in real economic trouble.  America’s economy is heading in the wrong direction again.  The Middle East is still in chaos.  There are problems that are everywhere.  The vote on Pebble Mine is just around the corner.  The Alaskan economy isn’t all that great right now either.  All of this is going on, and what does the media see fit to either have as “Breaking News” or as the “Top Story” is the story of Amanda Knox coming back to America.

The story goes that there is a girl named Amanda Knox.  She was an exchange student in Italy.  Her roommate, Meredith Kercher, was found with her throat slit.  Knox and her boyfriend at the time, were charged and found guilty for the crime.  That was four years ago.  The rest is history, until recently.  The verdict of her appeal acquitted her, and now she has returned home.  And what has the news seen fit to do – talk about it to death!  I am starting to agree with Jon Stewart about what 24-hour news networks are designed to do

24 hour news networks are built for one thing, and that’s 9/11, and the type of gigantic news event that the type of apparatus that exists in this building and exists at the other 24-hour are perfectly suited to cover.  In the absence of that, they’re not just gonna say, ‘there’s not that much that’s urgent or important or conflicted happening today, so we are going to gin up, we are going to bring forth more conflict and more sensationalism because we want you to continue watching us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even when the news doesn’t necessarily warrant that type of behavior.'”

Really, this whole event how shined a spotlight, to me anyway, of something that really does need to be examined in the world of professional journalism – where the priorities are.  Stewart is absolutely right.  These networks won’t just admit that they don’t have anything that is worthwhile to talk about.  Thankfully, NPR, PBS, BBC, and the alternative media sources are doing the smart thing and giving this issue the attention that it deserves.  But really, when one examines this issue critically, it has to be pointed out that what does this matter?

What possibly contributions does this event give society.  What’s more, why does everybody care so much?  There is a greater societal problem that is displayed here – that the people of this country are starting to look less like an informed populace and more like Mike Judge’s creation, Idiocrisy.  When one examines what gets in the news anymore, and where the people tend to focus their attention, it is easy to see why the socially aware are starting to lose hope in the human race and their ability to make any productive change anymore.  This is not a key issue in this debate.  In fact, Amanda Knox is nothing more than a symptom, or even less than that, but a skin mark, on the problem that is the massive ball of corpses that is America and the priorities that this country has.  She is just a sign of what is to come in the media that has grown up around the corporations of this country.

Fox News may be the great white whale of journalism, but MSNBC and CNN are not innocent of what plagues Fox News – bad journalism that is intentionally made to seem much more important than it actually is.  Does anybody remember the Casey Anthony trial?  Or maybe you remember the example that Stewart gave in his article above, about how there was the press conference after Anthony Weiner was found out for having shown his weiner to a girl.  How when Pelosi said that she wasn’t going to talk about Weiner, but rather about jobs and the economy, everybody left.  These are just a few of the many examples of how these news networks are all completely ignoring the important issues.

There is another issue that seems to have been completely ignored by the media – Rick Perry and his massive political project/blunder – the Trans-Texas Corridor.  Put simply, it was a giant complex that was intended to route all major traffic to heavy population centers of Texas.  Costly, disruptive to private property, and just a giant waste, not to mention a very big bit of ugly business.  While it looks like Perry is losing some of the clout that he had, this issue has not been raised at all in any significant way.

See, this is the problem with the news – they seem to have a hard time reporting the news.  They seem to have it all mixed up that when you are charged with reporting the news to people, which means things that are of consequence happening in the local, state, national, or worldwide level.  Something like this Corridor would be a huge thing to talk about, especially with a candidate who bashes the federal government, but then goes around and does things like this.  Call it what you like, Perry, but government by any other name is still government.  That goes for the Ron Paul fans too.

But there is hope on the horizon.  The alternative media seems to be gaining traction.  More and more people are seeking out places where they can get the news and not have it be a corporate machine.  It used to be that just the eggheads were watching shows like FRONTLINE and listening to NPR.  It used to be that the corporate machine believed that nobody cared what those on the internet had to say.  But that isn’t true, not anymore.  Now, with YouTube, journalists having blogs, and several other blogs and vlogs being watched, the world of social commentary and journalism is growing.  This is a good thing.

In a world where the economy is heading in the wrong direction again, we need to have some voices who are above the sensationalist maw and are able to take the bag of snakes and lay them out straight.

Peace out,

Lefty

Glenn Beck Comes Back to Bash Oslo Tragedy Victims

One would think that after his fall from Fox News, nobody would be hearing this man coming back onto the airways and doing more of what he does best – demagoging for his old white audience.  Really, the fact that his audience has to go to be bed 7:00 pm doesn’t alarm anybody?  Although, it was Keith Olbermann who has coined the greatest moniker for Glenn Beck – Lonesome Rhodes Beck.  If only there was a clip from the movie where Olbermann got this nickname from.  Alas, the only thing that one could find was Olbermann explaining his position in a vlog he had before his return to television.  Here is what Walter Matthau’s character said to Lonesome Rhodes in the film –

Suppose I tell you exactly what’s going to happen to you?  You’ll be back on television, only it won’t be quite the same anymore.  After a cooling off period someone will say ‘why don’t we try him again, in an inexpensive format.  People’s memories aren’t too long.’  And in a way he’d be right.  Some people will forget, some won’t.  You’ll have a show.  Maybe not the best hour, the top ten, maybe not even in the top fifty.  You’ll have a show, it just won’t be quite the same as it was before.  Then a couple of new fellas will come along, and a lot of your fans will be flocking around them.  Then someone will ask, ‘whatever happened to, what’s his name?  The one who was so big, the number one fella a couple years ago.  He was famous!  How could we forget a name like that?”

It is almost prophetic, but low and behold, apparently Glenn Beck actually did get his 24-hour network.  It’s only on the radio, so nobody cares, but hey, it exists.  So it was kind of prophetic.  And after his descent into the relative obscurity, you would think he would go away, but lo’ and behold, Glenn Beck is back doing what he does best – making a tragedy all about him.

The tragedy that is being referenced here is the terrorist attacks in Oslo, Norway.  In this attack, a man named Anders Breivik used a car-bomb, killing seven people, and then subsequently did an attack on a youth camp for the local Labor Party, killing 85 people.  He was arrested and looks to face a very long time in prison, and rightfully so.  He deserves to be put in a place where he will never see the light of day again.

But when this issue came to Glenn Beck’s attention, his response was a little bit different than one might expect.  A person would naturally expect somebody to be remorseful, sad, or even at least a little bit phased by the events that took place and all the lives that were lost by a maniac who believes that he was doing the right thing.  Instead, his response was heartless, horrid, and not worthy of even the slightest bit of respect.

I don’t think we made a comment on it because we didn’t know other than there was a bombing that happened.  And as the thing started to unfold, and there was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler youth, or whatever.  I mean, who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics?”

That’s right, Glenn Beck has actually made a point to call out the kids who were killed in this attack and make a reference to them being the “Hitler youth.”  This is sick in a way that is not deserving of any respect, or even for people to talk about it respectfully.  This is sick.  And what’s more, the fact that when people rightfully jumped on the bandwagon of this man, he decided to talk about who the real victim of this tragedy in norway was – him.

They’ve been taking something that I’ve said completely out of context, and they’re trying again to destroy me.  Give it your best shot, gang!  You tried to get me out of the mainstream media.  Be careful what you wish for, because now I’ve got a 24-hour a day, seven days a week network!  Oh wait, in a year from now you’ll pray for me to be part of the mainstream media.  You’ll pray…”

People won’t be praying for you to be part of the mainstream media, Lonesome Rhodes, they will be praying for you to shut and leave the rest of us alone.  Glenn Beck’s 24-hour network is nothing but an internet pay-per-view network.  How many people will want to hork out their cash for this man to spew his vitrial for very long?  Economic situations are pretty bad.  If the Tea Party Republicans decide, as they said they would do in an article in the Anchorage Daily News, to prolong this battle past the August 2nd deadline in order to make the House Republicans more compliant with their demands (there are signs they won’t take that route, or that at least a few are deciding not to), nobody will care about Beck’s network.

And nobody already does.  It has been on for over a month, and nobody cares.  Nobody cares at all about this man.  Like Lonesome Rhodes, someday people will ask what happened to him, but nobody will know, and nobody will care.  But back to the matter at hand, comparing the victims of a tragedy to the Hitler youth is absolutely unacceptable.  It is unconscienable.  There is absolutely no reason or excuse.  He can claim to be taken out of context all that he wants.  The fact is that Glenn Beck has said something, finally, that all the anger that people have is justified.  Of course, the right-wing blogosphere came out in support of Beck, talking about how he was right to compare kids to the Hitler youth, that a political camp is a bad thing.

But wait, does anybody remember that 9/12 campaign that Beck had run?  He had a camp for kids in that package where he talked about his political views.  The only thing worse than being a bleeding hypocrit is trying to get on the cross for something that you know you are guilty of too.

Peace out,

Eli

Oslo Tragedy Shows Different Side of Terrorism

There was an attack in Oslo, Norway, yesterday.  It was a tragedy, and the death toll right now is over 90 people.  Seven were killed in the car bombing, and 85 people were killed in the subsequent shooting at a camp for the local labor party that was 25 miles away from the car bombing.  Now, the moment that this happened, the media instantly started to wonder who it was, and the problem here is that they all wondered the same thing – was it a Muslim terrorist?  Well, it wasn’t an Islamic terrorist group, it was a lone man with some pretty hardcore beliefs.

The perpetrator of this heinous crime was a man by the named of Anders Behring Breivik.  He is 32 years old, and not a Muslim at all.  He is a Christian fundamentalist white nationalist.  When the media first reported this attack, some of the more level-headed mindset thought that this didn’t fit the MO of an Islamic terrorist group.  It targeted a government building, which doesn’t fit the pattern.  Usually, Islamic terrorists do their crimes in an area where they can maximize the casualties, kill as many people as possible.  Of course, several Muslim groups did come out after this event and take credit, but that is what they do.  They want the world to fear them as much as possible.

But the fact is that the media all jumped on the same bandwagon – that this had to be a Muslim group, that this had to be Al Qaeda or something like that.  On Facebook there were posts where people said that even if it wasn’t any of them, it was still them because they had inspired this kind of thing.  Well, that is an interesting perspective, because the fact is that white nationalist terrorism isn’t a new thing in this world at all.

One parallel that was made about this was comparing this event to the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh.  That’s a very good comparison.  It shares a lot of the same themes.  White nationalist, Christian fundamentalist, attacking a government building in order to deal a blow to a system they are radically against.  It is very similar in all of the ways that it can be.  But really, it is just the fact that people jumped on a bandwagon so quickly that says something pretty unpleasant about society that we have today.

The fact is that terrorism comes in all shapes an sizes.  From the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords to the Oklahoma City Bombing, people need to be aware that domestic terrorism is real, and it is often something that people don’t take seriously, but really should.  Because a common bit of vernacular that comes up is that “it is only Muslim terrorists who blow people up.”  No, wrong!  The fact is that domestic terrorism is infinitely more dangerous because it can’t be defended against.  Nobody could have predicted that this lone guy was going to do this.  Nobody could have foreseen him just deciding to kill people, including a bunch of kids, who didn’t agree with him.

There was a quote by somebody or other,

One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 people who have only interests.”

And what’s more, Rupert Murdoch’s groups, Fox News, and The Sun newspaper, didn’t report on the fact he was a Christian at all.  Not one report mentions that the god this guy worships is the same one that Fox News claims that all of America is based on.  I wonder how many conservative groups posted after the Oklahoma City Bombing that Timothy McVeigh was a Christian.  The fact is that people will all go crazy and will paint a button to put on a group of people, but they close their minds to that other group, to the other, more dangerous half of America.

This brings it to the part about Fox News.  Back when Glenn Beck was on their network, whenever one of their viewers would decide to follow his insane rhetoric and go out and do something, he would scream, and cry for non-violence.  Well, this is what happens.  When you write books and go on the news and tell people that killing other people who don’t agree with you is a perfectly acceptable way to handle things, stuff like this happens.

And where are those who believe that it is all Muslims now?  They aren’t anywhere.  They aren’t talking.  Or there are those who make posts on Facebook or other blogs about how it is Al Qaeda who inspired this kind of action.  And there are those who claim this was one guy.  Yeah, not true.  Take a look at Northern Ireland right now, where this kind of violence is flaring up right now.

And what’s more, the media doesn’t think critically.  Fox News and all of the conservative groups instantly jump on the bandwagon of an Islamic terrorist group, not even bothering to think that it might be somebody else.  It was ironic to listen to Keith Olbermann talk last night and have to make it very clear that it wasn’t an Islamic terrorist.  He shouldn’t have to be that clear, because the media shouldn’t be painting pictures already.

This is where Jon Stewart was right about the modern 24-hour news networks.  They are becoming sensationalist and lazy, not doing the very hardcore and very diligent reporting that groups like NPR, PBS, and BBC are famous for.  The thing that makes it worse is that people aren’t demanding something better from the news they watch.  They aren’t demanding a better coverage and being more level-headed.  They jumped on a bandwagon because it was easy, and rode that (Fox News is still riding it) until it became apparent that their preconceived notion was wrong.

The public has to start demanding something better of their news.  Fox viewers will never demand anything better.  They don’t have the integrity to demand something better.  But for all the rest of you who watch CNN and MSNBC, you have to start demanding something better.  Because reporting like this, is a shame upon the entire field of journalism

Peace out,

Eli

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