What was rather remarkable was Todd’s reference to Andrew Breitbart as a “conservative propagandist,” which is interesting in that it not only aims to marginalize the Internet provocateur, but is a clear effort to diminish Breitbart’s influence moving forward.
According to reference.com, “propaganda” is defined as “information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.” Given what we now know about how the Shirley Sherrod scandal, this appears not only to be true, but pretty much what Breitbart has admitted himself (though his candor has been lauded by some unlikely media personalities.) But does Todd, who’s goal is to be an “objective reporter,” really want to get involved with the Cable News/Internet name calling?
Apparently so – and we will delight in covering his participation.
Isn't Todd actually doing his job? He called Breitbart exactly what he is. How is that not being an objective reporter? Oh, that's considered name-calling. Why did Colby Hall even bother writing this post? Man, my head hurts from the stupidity. Please criticize the MSM when they actually deserve it.
I wonder how Colby Hall would want Chuck to describe Breitbart? Take a shot.
I've always admired Howard Zinn, but it seems the radical historian wasn't all that popular with the FBI. Via Raw Story:
On Friday, the FBI released a 243-page file on Zinn, who died in January at age 87. The release describes the historian as "radical." The documents show the bureau taking an active interest in Zinn since the late 1940s, when he was a student at New York University. The interest continued through the 1950s, as Zinn worked on his PhD at Columbia University.
When the FBI again took an interest in Zinn in the 1960s, documents show the bureau evidently tried to have the historian fired from his job as professor at Boston University.In a document from the Boston FBI office (see PDF file here), an FBI "source," whose name was redacted from the publicly released documents, was quoted as being outraged over Zinn's comment at a protest that the US had become a "police state" and that prosecutions of Black Panther Party members were creating "political prisoners."
The bureau's Boston office then indicated it wanted to help the source in his or her campaign to unseat Zinn. "[The] Boston [office] proposes under captioned program with Bureau permission to furnish [name redacted] with public source data regarding Zinn's numerous anti-war activities ... in an effort to back [redacted] efforts for his removal."
The bureau's response to the request does not appear to have been included in the released documents.(Raw Story reporters will continue to mine through the documents for more details. If you want to help, you can view the FBI files here, here and here (PDF). Send us what you find to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The FBI notes that its investigations of Zinn -- three in total, over 25 years -- "ended in 1974, and no further investigation into Zinn or his activities was made by the FBI."Zinn had harsh words for the FBI during his academic career. In a paper published not long before his death, Zinn said the best thing the public could do to curb the FBI's powers was to "continue exposing them."
Of the FBI, he said, "They don’t like social movements. They work for the establishment and the corporations and the politicos to keep things as they are. And they want to frighten and chill the people who are trying to change things. So the best defense against them and resistance against them is simply to keep on fighting back, to keep on exposing them."
On Washington Journal Wednesday, Tom Coburn appeared to spend a few minutes smacking down the unemployed again.
COBURN: now that we're running $1.4 trillion deficits every year. it's high time we start paying for them. I understand. That's the problem with Washington. We're going to do it the way we've always done it. That's what's gotten us in severe financial difficulty and really mortgaged our future.
[Aside: No, Senator Coburn. Our future was mortgaged when we let the rich get big, big tax cuts with no pay-for. But continue on...]
HOST: If the Democrats continue to put forward legislation that doesn't cut programs to pay for unemployment benefits, and the unemployed do not get this -- these money in their pockets, some have said, Ezra Klein of the "Washington Post" said the unemployment numbers will continue to swell and that the problem really right now is not that these people refuse to look for work or settle for lesser-paying jobs, but just that for every one job, there's five people unemployed and that will continue to be the problem. And we're just going to leave them without incomes and job opportunities and money to end? That's making it harder for those economies to generate jobs? That's the -- --
COBURN: Well, all that is, is a strong-man argument. We're not saying don't do that. We're just saying it's important now, if you look at the scheme of things, that if we're going to do that now, we pay for it.
COBURN: I live with Congressman Heath Shuler. He told me yesterday he had a job fair in North Carolina. High unemployment. I was talking to Congressman Shuler, He worked hard to get every major company there. Filled the whole room. Had over 500 jobs available. Three people showed up. Three people showed up for 500 jobs in an area that had unemployment above 10%. His explanation is they are not going to do it until the benefits lessen.
So and that may not be an exact interpretation of what his words were.
But the fact is there was a negative aspect to continuing unemployment.
Gosh, only three people showed up? Only three people? Coburn goes on to claim that the jobless just aren't going to hunt for jobs when they're on the dole. Maybe the best part is how he segues from this sly bashing right into an argument for tax cuts for corporations and the rich to stimulate the economy, but I digress. Back to the job fair...
Far too often, Beltway journalism resembles nothing so much as a high-school lunchroom. That's why, when Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel turned in his resignation yesterday, the Post eagerly accepted. (Morons.)
Weigel is a really good journalist who, although he's a libertarian, doesn't let ideology get in the way of his work. (Sorry, Dave. You have to know you're unusual, right?)
The Post brought him on to cover the Tea Party movement, and he's done an excellent job. So why is he being shown the door? Did he regurgitate false information and start a war? Plagarize? Make racist or anti-Semitic comments? Heck, no. Those things get you your own cable show!
He did the worst thing of all: He made the conservatives cry.
Remember what I said about high school? Like, omigod!
"Okay, like, there's this email list? Called Journolist? And like, this one girl named Betsy Rothstein, who is like, slaving away in a basement and probably really a little J-E-L of Dave Weigel, pumped up her hit count by posting a bunch of emails where Dave trashed some famous conservatives, including that perv Rush Limbaugh. Which got her a link from that icky Matt Drudge, and got Dave a bunch of hate mail from the right-wing whatevers.
"Okay, so Dave's ticked off and tweets something about how Matt Drudge should handle his personal issues by being more responsible, like maybe by publicly setting himself on fire. I mean, a joke, right? Funny! But okay, Dave apologizes to Drudge and Drudge responds by sending the flying monkeys after him again!
"Tucker Carlson, that smarmy little frat boy who used to wear the bowties? Yeah, I know, right? Short! Anyway, he got mad because that guy Ezra wouldn't let him on JournoList and so he decided to publish Dave's emails on his site. You'd think a grown man would have something better to do. I mean, he reproduced and all, maybe he should be home nurturing his clones, or something.
"Okay, okay, okay. Anyway! So Dave turns in his letter of resignation, and that Poindexter over at the Atlantic, Jeff Goldberg - I think he's that guy who picks his nose and eats it, or was that the kid from The Simpsons? Anyway, he, like, totally disses him.
"How could we destroy our standards by hiring a guy stupid enough to write about people that way in a public forum?" one of my friends at the Post asked me when we spoke earlier today. "I'm not suggesting that many people on the paper don't lean left, but there's leaning left, and then there's behaving like an idiot."
I gave my friend the answer he already knew: The sad truth is that the Washington Post, in its general desperation for page views, now hires people who came up in journalism without much adult supervision, and without the proper amount of toilet-training. This little episode today is proof of this. But it is also proof that some people at the Post (where I worked, briefly, 20 years ago) still know the difference between acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior, and that maybe this episode will lead to the reimposition of some level of standards.
"And like, clearly what the Carlton Banks-wannabe means is, oh, Mr. Washington Post, sir, I would never disrespect my elders or color outside the lines. Why would you hire him instead of rehiring MEEEEE???
"Um, everyone knows Jeff's, like, a total tool? Who's more of a stenographer than a journalist, and like, a lot of Iraqi civilians are dead because of his total d-baggery. Like, dead babies and stuff.
"Which you might think would bother him, but apparently not.
"But omigod, they keep wondering why we don't want to read them! Duh!
"Oh hey, what are you wearing to the party tonight?"
If they had hired Blackwater, the firm would have had a particularly appropriate sounding name for the job: guarding tar-stained beaches.
In their latest eyebrow-raising PR move, multinational oil giant BP has enlisted private security contractors to keep onlookers away from oil cleanup sites. While the firm they hired apparently isn't Blackwater (the private security firm Blackwater changed their name to Xe Services after a spate of killings in Baghdad, and has now put itself up for sale), they certainly seem to have 'black water' in their sights.
Wired's "Danger Room" blog dubbed BP's decision to hire private mercenaries in the Gulf "one of the bestest public relations moves ever."
The blog notes that BP's move recalls bungled decisionmaking in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when the US Department of Homeland Security -- and some very wealthy homeowners -- turned to private security contractors to protect their property in the wake of the disaster.
[...] According to reports, the firm hired is named Talon Security.
In a video clip obtained by ThinkProgress over the weekend, a local news team from WDSU in New Orleans was told by a private security guard that they were not allowed to talk to cleanup workers on a public beach or come within 100 yards of cleanup operations.
"Who’s saying that?" reporter Scott Walker asked the guard. "Because no one can tell me that, unless you’re the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, you’re the Coast Guard, or you’re the military, can you tell me where to go on this public beach."
"I can tell you where to go because I’m employed to keep this beach safe," the guard replied, adding, "You are not allowed to interview any workers."
Fareed Zakaria gave the collective American media a much needed drubbing for their ridiculously trivial coverage of the catastrophic BP Gulf oil spill. Rather than looking for solutions or presenting a history of BP safety violations to show a long history of negligent behavior, or advocating for sensible regulations to protect the country, what did the media focus their energies on? Whether or not Obama appeared angry enough about the disaster.
This whole discussion is a terrible example of how the media can trivialize political discussion. The presidency is a serious job, the most serious job in the country. And here we are, asking the man to dress the part, to play-act the emotions. Give us satisfaction by just doing something, even if it’s all phony stuff, designed to give the impression of action.
Her review covers a number of topics that we wrote about and she sums it up:
Readability/quality: Concise, persuasive and methodically documented, Over the Cliff is a smooth and sobering read. It feels much shorter than it actually is—there's a lot of information packed in, both historical and current, and a tremendous job has been done in picking through the right-wing landscape for pertinent, on-the-money examples. Lord knows you could spend a couple thousand pages just on documenting the day-to-day rhetoric (in fact, Media Matters does just that). So thanks, guys, for paring it down and honing it.
Who should read it: Everybody. Seriously. This is a wake-up call for those in denial, a refresher course for the painfully aware. Good reference to have on hand in your permanent home library for quick examples of extremism in Obama's first year.
For David, who has written a number of books already this is old hat in a way, but for me it's another new experience. An experience that I'm proud to bear witness to. We'll be going over to answer some questions with Susan next week I believe.
UPDATE: And we're appearing on 'Ring of Fire' with Michael Papantonio Wednesday at 11:30 am PST.
Fox News has been running with the "Obama offered a job to Sestak not to run against Specter" scam endlessly on cable and while there was a serious press conference going on about the catastrophic BP oil spill, Major Garrett had to toe the Roger Ailes line and was the only reporter at the sixty-three-minute press conference to even mention it.
Q Two issues. Some in your government have said the federal government’s boot is on the neck of BP. Are you comfortable with that imagery, sir? Is your boot on the neck of BP? And can you understand, sir, why some in the Gulf who feel besieged by this oil spill consider that a meaningless, possibly ludicrous, metaphor?
Secondarily, can you tell the American public, sir, what your White House did or did not offer Congressman Sestak to not enter the Democratic senatorial primary? And how will you meet your levels of expressed transparency and ethics to convey that answer to satisfy what appear to be bipartisan calls for greater disclosure about that matter? Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: There will be an official response shortly on the Sestak issue, which I hope will answer your questions.
Garrett is a good little doggie making sure Ailes gets his bone. Why Obama would engage at all is ridiculous because now more reporters will want to be in on the con. His first question was just nasty and makes no sense in the larger discussion of the pil spill, but that was just the set up for his "con."
I'll keep saying this: A job offer is not a quid pro quo to get somebody out of a race. It is getting somebody out of a race. Accepting one job means you cannot run for another. It happens all the time -- the White House appointed John McHugh Army Secretary in part to get him out of New York's 23rd Congressional District. It offered Judd Gregg a cabinet slot in order to get him out of the Senate. This is completely routine, neither illegal no immoral nor especially unusual. Can't we wait to appoint a special prosecutor until there's at least some possibility of underlying illegal behavior?
Digby and Jamison Fosier have been writing a lot about this flim flam reporting and engaging in any fashion is like playing Three Card Monte against a bunch of pros.
...is a confidence game in which the victim, or mark, is tricked into betting a sum of money, on the assumption that they can find the money card among three face-down playing cards.
In its full form, Three-card Monte is an example of a classic short con in which a shill pretends to conspire with the mark to cheat the dealer, while in fact conspiring with the dealer to cheat the mark.
FOX News or some right wing propaganda outlet is the confidence man. The media are the shills and Democrats are the marks. It's very simple. The scam can't be beat so the White House should just walk away.
But here's the thing. None of that will do any good. There is no winning with these noise machine pseudo-scandals. They have an alternate media structure that is designed to stoke scandal fever and the way they keep the mainstream media on the hook is with "smell tests" and demands that the person address the claims, apologize or make amends, none of which will be deemed adequate and all of which necessitate another round of investigations, demands etc. With every impossible requirement that isn't met, the press will become more convinced that the person must be hiding something, is too hot to handle and will eventually agree that he has to step down or quit the race because "the scandal" is devouring him.
Later an article or a book will be written explaining that there was never anything to the charges, that the whole thing turned into a feeding frenzy but that the real problem is that the politician didn't get "out front" or establish a "war room" or otherwise magically change this dynamic and it will be deemed his fault for failing to be a stronger, better politician. Some pols survive this, notably Bill Clinton. But it takes a willingness to recognize that they are not going to leave you alone, give yourself up to it and greet each day with the knowledge that this is going to dominate until it either passes or kills you.
The right wing scandal machine creates political viruses that mutate and take on a life of their own. There's no antidote once you've caught it --- you either have a good immune system and a will to survive or you don't.
Update: read this piece by Foser from 2006 on the same theme.
Fosier does and outstanding job of listing all the Democratic politicians that have been smeared to the high heavens by the right wing bunko brigade which was aided by the MSM. The Villagers act like the shills and become part of the con, playing the straight man who make believe they are part of the card game to draw the sucker in to be taken for all he's got. It's a long piece, but well worth the read.
What the bunko brigade count on is that the rest of the unwitting and witting accomplices (media) that will join in the party because they feel left out of the "Three-Way" confidence game. It happens every time as history shows. President Obama should keep his money in his pocket and move along.
Today is the last day I'm going to run the fundraiser for a while. We're hoping to have a late surge to hit our mark, but it's gone very well. (Blue Gal makes very funny C&L vids too.)
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