“Behavior Placement”: Networks Officially Go To Work For Ministry Of Propaganda Spreading Obama Gospel Through Subliminal Messages

“Behavior Placement”: Networks Officially Go To Work For Ministry Of Propaganda Spreading Obama Gospel Through Subliminal Messages

April 18th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

cass-sunstein
Cass Sunstein, Communist Revolutionary Operative

“People do not want to be hit over the head with issues, but including aspects in the programming makes it resonate more successfully with viewers,” said Jeff Zucker, chief executive of NBC.

Times Online:

A TELEVISION star swigs her mineral water and throws the bottle into a recycling bin. In another scene, in the American version of The Office, the workers complain about metallic-tasting reusable water bottles and switch to filtered tap water instead.

They are among the television stars in shows from sitcoms to detective dramas who are lining up to bombard their fans with subliminal messages. “Behaviour placement” is aimed at persuading audiences to lead greener, healthier and happier lives.

The shows, including Law and Order and 30 Rock, a comedy starring Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey — the one throwing the water bottle — are first being broadcast in America but many will be aired in Britain in the next few weeks.

NBC, one of the big four American television networks, has even hired psychologists to drop environmentally friendly nods into the scripts.

The initiative reflects the “nudge effect” promoted by Richard Thaler, an economist, and Cass Sunstein, a lawyer who is advising President Obama on how to teach people to avoid bad decisions, from jumping red lights to eating junk food.

“People do not want to be hit over the head with issues, but including aspects in the programming makes it resonate more successfully with viewers,” said Jeff Zucker, chief executive of NBC.

Others disagree. The Week magazine, which covers American current affairs, describes such programmes as “cynical and manipulative”.

“The pressure to be eco-conscious is reaching a new high,” said Christopher Rosen, a writer. “NBC implies that people are too dumb to make healthy decisions on their own … television should stick with what works — product placement, where they awkwardly jam products into their programmes to make people want to buy them.”

Tim Kring, the creator of Heroes, the US science fiction series broadcast on BBC2, said he first became aware of behaviour placement when a lorry appeared in an episode picking up recyclable soft drinks bottles.

In America the scene prompted oil companies to pay for advertisements around the show in a bid to associate themselves with the green message.

When Media Become Obama PR Agents

When Media Become Obama PR Agents

By Richard Baehr

The media’s tongue bath for President Obama knows no bounds.

We all know that President Obama likes to play basketball. We also know his picks in the NCAA brackets and his percentile ranking among four million-plus entries after each round of the tournament on CBS’s website. Harry Smith of the CBS morning program interviewed the president on the court this week while he shot baskets with CBS broadcaster and former college star Clark Kellogg.
The video will be shown during the NCAA semifinals Saturday night and again Monday night during the championship game. So 30 to 40 million folks will get this puffery delivered to them. Of course, we have already had Obama in the booth for a Georgetown basketball game this year, on Monday Night Football, and at the major league baseball All Star Game.
Sad to say for Obama, he had a good first round, but he has now slipped to the 55th percentile with his NCAA picks. Since none of his final four teams are left, he may slip to the bottom half by tournament’s end. Some percentiles we will never know about the president: his SAT scores, his LSAT scores, his class rank at Columbia, his grades at Occidental (which somehow got him into Columbia as a transfer), or his class rank at Harvard Law School.
Could it be that he was outperformed in these areas by George Bush? 
It has been a wonderful tournament, so don’t let the political foreplay ruin it for you this weekend.
Do you recall ever hearing a story, no less multiple stories with updates, about President Bush’s picks in the NCAA college basketball tournament?  
President Bush was an unusually fit man for his age, by all measures in the top 1%. He jogged at a very rapid pace, and he worked out every day. He encouraged other White House staff to exercise and lose weight. Funny — we heard almost nothing about this.  
I don’t recall any journalists writing about their jogs with the president (they would have been left looking like President Carter on his infamous run when he collapsed in the Maryland hills). President Bush was also a big sports fan and a former owner of a major league baseball franchise. My guess is that he filled out a bracket each year but did not choose to make it a news story.
In December 2004, my wife and I were invited to and attended the White House Hannukah Party. Try as you might, you will not easily find anything in the mainstream media to reveal that President Bush was the first president to hold such an event. His guest list included both Democrats and Republicans.
Now we have the spectacle of the White House seder, glowingly detailed on the front page of the New York Times. We also learn from the president that the meaning of Passover is that each generation must fight suffering and oppression (and presumably redistribute the wealth of the country). And I guess that if Jerusalem came up in the president’s seder, as Professor Charles Lipson suggests, the line might have been: Next year in part of Jerusalem. 
It is possible that a few of the herd of Jews who claim to be supporters of Israel — and who were willing to ignore the president’s history with Reverend Wright, Ali Abunimah, Rashid Khalidi, Bill Ayers, and Samantha Power; and not only vote for the great leader, but empty their wallets for him; and testify to his pro-Israel bona fides — may be reconsidering. I emphasize “possible.”
Jewish liberalism is a long-term and terminal disease. Very few can think of switching horses — after all, liberal Jews grew up believing that liberals and Democrats care for the poor and are generous, and conservatives and Republicans are greedy. Hence, liberals and Democrats are better people. And of course, Franklin Roosevelt, the greatest hero prior to Obama, saved the Jews. Or a few of them, anyway.  
With the backlash against Obama’s recent outbursts and bile directed at Israel, it was time for the Times, the Torah of Jewish liberalism, to make clear that even if Obama does not love right-wing Israeli settlers, he still loves the Jews. Look — he has a seder!

Official White House photo by Pete Souza
The President is wearing a yarmulke. Blacks and Jews are sitting together, like in the glory days of the Civil Rights Movement. Let us kvell. 
Richard Baehr is chief political correspondent of American Thinker.

Open Letter to ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and Affiliates, also The Arizona Republic, U.S.A. Today

Open Letter to ABC, CBS, NBC,  PBS and Affiliates, also The Arizona Republic, U.S.A. Today and The East Valley Tribune,
 
    I thank God for computers and e-mail, without which, I would only see and hear ONE side of the news. I do use the word “News” loosely.
    I’m from the old school where a Journalist reported the facts, all the facts. That means when someone says something, you check the facts before reporting it. Obviously the new school allows you to editorialize and choose which facts you deem pertinent. We the public used to count on you for the news. Not anymore. You have tarnished the name “Journalist.”
    The media is having a love affair with Obama and you are not even trying to report the news. The bias is so obvious it makes me sick. You let news of Obama’s ties with questionable people go so you can hatchet McCain and Palen for the least things. Are you hypnotized are just stupid with bias? Is your love that blind?
    Do you really think Socialism is what America needs. Do you really think this man is RIGHT for a country that he and his wife privately hate? Perhaps I gave you too much credit for being thinking and educated people.
    If it were not for Conservative Radio, the Drudge Report and all the e-mails I receive, I would never hear anything unflattering about Obama and I would not have heard anything flattering about McCain. For instance, all the flack about McCain being born in the Panama Canal. That got a lot of play. The fact that a law suit has been filed about Obama being born in Kenya has never been mentioned on your shows or in your papers. It’s been fair game to hit McCain and Palen with any and everything, but don’t mention Obama’s middle name, his wife, his kids, his ears, his race [which by the way is not black]. The man has ties to terrorist, bigots and Islam, but there are no questions from you.
    Do you realize how you have beaten down President Bush? Never do you mention that for the last two years he has had NO cooperation from a Democratic Congress. He is blamed for everything that’s gone wrong. You never mention how the Democrats contributed to the financial problems. The old school would at least show Honor to the Office. The new school has spent too much time with “academia,” another word for “Liberal.”
       In Orissa, India, killings of Christians and 5,000 homes have been burned, but we have not been informed by you of this condition. Where did you go to school? Better yet, did you go to school? You don’t even try to hide your feelings. Your bias is so apparent that it makes your reports unbelievable. 
    I think you must take responsibility at this time for the division in our country . I am seventy-five years old and have never been as angry with the opposition as I am this time and it’s 90% your fault. If our country is divided, guess who’s to blame? You have continually fanned the fire with your bias reports. No wonder the newspapers are in trouble and the television news ratings are down.       
                                        Bettye H. Simmons

Election ’08 Backgrounder

  

Financial Crisis | Iraq | Defense | Background & Character | Judges & Courts | Energy

 

FINANCIAL CRISIS

Quick Facts:

  • Democrats created the mortgage crisis by forcing banks to give loans to people who couldn’t afford them.
  • In 2006, McCain sponsored a bill to fix the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Barney Frank and other Democrats successfully opposed it.
  • Obama was one of the highest recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac donations in Congress.

Related Editorials

 

IRAQ


Quick Facts:

  • When the U.S. was on the verge of losing in Iraq, McCain chose to stand and fight.  Obama chose retreat.
  • Even after the surge succeeded, Obama told ABC’s Terry Moran he would still oppose it if he had the chance to do it all over again.

Related Editorials

 

DEFENSE

Quick Facts:

  • Obama has promised to significantly cut defense spending, including saying “I will slow our development of future combat systems.”
  • John McCain has vowed: “We must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defenses and superior conventional forces that are capable of defending the United States and our allies.”

Related Editorials

Obama Video: Watch Now

 

 

BACKGROUND & CHARACTER

Quick Facts:

  • Obama voted “present” 135 times as a state senator, and according to David Ignatius of the Washington Post, “gained a reputation for skipping tough votes.”
  • McCain has taken stances unpopular with his own party and/or the public on controversial issues, including immigration, campaign finance reform, judicial nominations, the Iraq War and more.

Related Editorials

 

 

JUDGES & COURTS


Quick Facts:

  • In a 2001 interview, Obama said he regretted that the Supreme Court “didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.”
  • In the same interview, Obama criticized the Supreme Court because it “never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.”
  • Obama has focused on empathy, rather than legal reasoning and restraint, as his basis for appointing judges, saying, “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy…to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.”
  • McCain opposes judicial activism, saying, “my nominees will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power.”

Related Editorials

Obama 2001 Interview: Listen Now

 

ENERGY


Quick Facts:

  • McCain has proposed building 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 and is in favor of drilling in sectors of the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • Obama has refused to take a stand, saying only “we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix” and he will “look at” drilling offshore.

Related Editorials

»
McCain: The Energy Candidate

» McCain On Nukes: Yes We Can
» Breaking The Back Of High Oil

 

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Media’s Presidential Bias and Decline

Media’s Presidential Bias and Decline

Columnist Michael Malone Looks at Slanted Election Coverage and the Reasons Why

Column By MICHAEL S. MALONE

Oct. 24, 2008 —

 

The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game — with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I’ve found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I’ve begun — for the first time in my adult life — to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was “a writer,” because I couldn’t bring myself to admit to a stranger that I’m a journalist.

You need to understand how painful this is for me. I am one of those people who truly bleeds ink when I’m cut. I am a fourth-generation newspaperman. As family history tells it, my great-grandfather was a newspaper editor in Abilene, Kan., during the last of the cowboy days, then moved to Oregon to help start the Oregon Journal (now the Oregonian).

My hard-living — and when I knew her, scary — grandmother was one of the first women reporters for the Los Angeles Times. And my father, though profoundly dyslexic, followed a long career in intelligence to finish his life (thanks to word processors and spellcheckers) as a very successful freelance writer. I’ve spent 30 years in every part of journalism, from beat reporter to magazine editor. And my oldest son, following in the family business, so to speak, earned his first national byline before he earned his drivers license.

So, when I say I’m deeply ashamed right now to be called a “journalist,” you can imagine just how deep that cuts into my soul.

Now, of course, there’s always been bias in the media. Human beings are biased, so the work they do, including reporting, is inevitably colored. Hell, I can show you 10 different ways to color variations of the word “said” — muttered, shouted, announced, reluctantly replied, responded, etc. — to influence the way a reader will apprehend exactly the same quote. We all learn that in Reporting 101, or at least in the first few weeks working in a newsroom.

But what we are also supposed to learn during that same apprenticeship is to recognize the dangerous power of that technique, and many others, and develop built-in alarms against them.

But even more important, we are also supposed to be taught that even though there is no such thing as pure, Platonic objectivity in reporting, we are to spend our careers struggling to approach that ideal as closely as possible.

That means constantly challenging our own prejudices, systematically presenting opposing views and never, ever burying stories that contradict our own world views or challenge people or institutions we admire. If we can’t achieve Olympian detachment, than at least we can recognize human frailty — especially in ourselves.

Reporting Bias

For many years, spotting bias in reporting was a little parlor game of mine, watching TV news or reading a newspaper article and spotting how the reporter had inserted, often unconsciously, his or her own preconceptions. But I always wrote it off as bad judgment and lack of professionalism, rather than bad faith and conscious advocacy.

Sure, being a child of the ’60s I saw a lot of subjective “New” Journalism, and did a fair amount of it myself, but that kind of writing, like columns and editorials, was supposed to be segregated from “real” reporting, and, at least in mainstream media, usually was. The same was true for the emerging blogosphere, which by its very nature was opinionated and biased.

But my complacent faith in my peers first began to be shaken when some of the most admired journalists in the country were exposed as plagiarists, or worse, accused of making up stories from whole cloth.

I’d spent my entire professional career scrupulously pounding out endless dreary footnotes and double-checking sources to make sure that I never got accused of lying or stealing someone else’s work — not out of any native honesty, but out of fear: I’d always been told to fake or steal a story was a firing offense & indeed, it meant being blackballed out of the profession.

And yet, few of those worthies ever seemed to get fired for their crimes — and if they did they were soon rehired into even more prestigious jobs. It seemed as if there were two sets of rules: one for us workaday journalists toiling out in the sticks, and another for folks who’d managed, through talent or deceit, to make it to the national level.

Meanwhile, I watched with disbelief as the nation’s leading newspapers, many of whom I’d written for in the past, slowly let opinion pieces creep into the news section, and from there onto the front page. Personal opinions and comments that, had they appeared in my stories in 1979, would have gotten my butt kicked by the nearest copy editor, were now standard operating procedure at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and soon after in almost every small town paper in the U.S.

But what really shattered my faith — and I know the day and place where it happened — was the war in Lebanon three summers ago. The hotel I was staying at in Windhoek, Namibia, only carried CNN, a network I’d already learned to approach with skepticism. But this was CNN International, which is even worse.

I sat there, first with my jaw hanging down, then actually shouting at the TV, as one field reporter after another reported the carnage of the Israeli attacks on Beirut, with almost no corresponding coverage of the Hezbollah missiles raining down on northern Israel. The reporting was so utterly and shamelessly biased that I sat there for hours watching, assuming that eventually CNNi would get around to telling the rest of the story & but it never happened.

 

The Presidential Campaign

But nothing, nothing I’ve seen has matched the media bias on display in the current presidential campaign.

Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass — no, make that shameless support — they’ve gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don’t have a free and fair press.

I was one of the first people in the traditional media to call for the firing of Dan Rather — not because of his phony story, but because he refused to admit his mistake — but, bless him, even Gunga Dan thinks the media is one-sided in this election.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to her home state of Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the big leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play.

The few instances where I think the press has gone too far — such as the Times reporter talking to prospective first lady Cindy McCain’s daughter’s MySpace friends — can easily be solved with a few newsroom smackdowns and temporary repostings to the Omaha bureau.

No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side — or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del.

If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography.

That isn’t Sen. Obama’s fault: His job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media’s fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.

Why, for example to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven’t we seen an interview with Sen. Obama’s grad school drug dealer — when we know all about Mrs. McCain’s addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Sen. Biden’s endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

 

Joe the Plumber

The absolute nadir (though I hate to commit to that, as we still have two weeks before the election) came with Joe the Plumber.

Middle America, even when they didn’t agree with Joe, looked on in horror as the press took apart the private life of an average person who had the temerity to ask a tough question of a presidential candidate. So much for the standing up for the little man. So much for speaking truth to power. So much for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, and all of those other catchphrases we journalists used to believe we lived by.

I learned a long time ago that when people or institutions begin to behave in a matter that seems to be entirely against their own interests, it’s because we don’t understand what their motives really are. It would seem that by so exposing their biases and betting everything on one candidate over another, the traditional media is trying to commit suicide — especially when, given our currently volatile world and economy, the chances of a successful Obama presidency, indeed any presidency, is probably less than 50/50.

Furthermore, I also happen to believe that most reporters, whatever their political bias, are human torpedoes & and, had they been unleashed, would have raced in and roughed up the Obama campaign as much as they did McCain’s. That’s what reporters do. I was proud to have been one, and I’m still drawn to a good story, any good story, like a shark to blood in the water.

So why weren’t those legions of hungry reporters set loose on the Obama campaign? Who are the real villains in this story of mainstream media betrayal?

The editors. The men and women you don’t see; the people who not only decide what goes in the paper, but what doesn’t; the managers who give the reporters their assignments and lay out the editorial pages. They are the real culprits.

 

Bad Editors

Why? I think I know, because had my life taken a different path, I could have been one: Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you’ve spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power & only to discover that you’re presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesn’t have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you’ll lose your job before you cross that finish line, 10 years hence, of retirement and a pension.

In other words, you are facing career catastrophe — and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway — all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.

And then the opportunity presents itself — an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career.

With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived fairness doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

And besides, you tell yourself, it’s all for the good of the country &

This is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michael S. Malone is one of the nation’s best-known technology writers. He has covered Silicon Valley and high-tech for more than 25 years, beginning with the San Jose Mercury News as the nation’s first daily high-tech reporter. His articles and editorials have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, the Economist and Fortune, and for two years he was a columnist for The New York Times. He was editor of Forbes ASAP, the world’s largest-circulation business-tech magazine, at the height of the dot-com boom. Malone is the author or co-author of a dozen books, notably the best-selling “Virtual Corporation.” Malone has also hosted three public television interview series, and most recently co-produced the celebrated PBS miniseries on social entrepreneurs, “The New Heroes.” He has been the ABCNews.com “Silicon Insider” columnist since 2000.

 

Editing Their Way to Oblivion: Journalism Sacrificed For Power and Pensions

Editing Their Way to Oblivion: Journalism Sacrificed For Power and Pensions

October 24, 2008 – by edgelings

By Michael S. Malone

The traditional media is playing a very, very dangerous game.  With its readers, with the Constitution, and with its own fate.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling.  And over the last few months I’ve found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I’ve begun — for the first time in my adult life — to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living.  A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was “a writer”, because I couldn’t bring myself to admit to a stranger that I’m a journalist.

You need to understand how painful this is for me.  I am one of those people who truly bleeds ink when I’m cut.  I am a fourth generation newspaperman.  As family history tells it, my great-grandfather was a newspaper editor in Abilene, Kansas during the last of the cowboy days, then moved to Oregon to help start the Oregon Journal (now the Oregonian).  My hard-living – and when I knew her, scary – grandmother was one of the first women reporters for the Los Angeles Times.  And my father, though profoundly dyslexic, followed a long career in intelligence to finish his life (thanks to word processors and spellcheckers) as a very successful freelance writer.  I’ve spent thirty years in every part of journalism, from beat reporter to magazine editor.  And my oldest son, following in the family business, so to speak, earned his first national by-line before he earned his drivers license.

So, when I say I’m deeply ashamed right now to be called a “journalist”, you can imagine just how deep that cuts into my soul.

Now, of course, there’s always been bias in the media.  Human beings are biased, so the work they do, including reporting, is inevitably colored.  Hell, I can show you ten different ways to color variations of the word “said” – muttered, shouted, announced, reluctantly replied, responded, etc. – to influence the way a reader will apprehend exactly the same quote.  We all learn that in Reporting 101, or at least in the first few weeks working in a newsroom.  But what we are also supposed to learn during that same apprenticeship is to recognize the dangerous power of that technique, and many others, and develop built-in alarms against their unconscious.

But even more important, we are also supposed to be taught that even though there is no such thing as pure, Platonic objectivity in reporting, we are to spend our careers struggling to approach that ideal as closely as possible.  That means constantly challenging our own prejudices, systematically presenting opposing views, and never, ever burying stories that contradict our own world views or challenge people or institutions we admire.  If we can’t achieve Olympian detachment, than at least we can recognize human frailty – especially in ourselves.

For many years, spotting bias in reporting was a little parlor game of mine, watching TV news or reading a newspaper article and spotting how the reporter had inserted, often unconsciously, his or her own preconceptions.  But I always wrote it off as bad judgment, and lack of professionalism, rather than bad faith and conscious advocacy.  Sure, being a child of the ‘60s I saw a lot of subjective “New” Journalism, and did a fair amount of it myself, but that kind of writing, like columns and editorials, was supposed to be segregated from ‘real’ reporting, and at least in mainstream media, usually was.  The same was true for the emerging blogosphere, which by its very nature was opinionated and biased.

But my complacent faith in my peers first began to be shaken when some of the most admired journalists in the country were exposed as plagiarists, or worse, accused of making up stories from whole cloth.  I’d spent my entire professional career scrupulously pounding out endless dreary footnotes and double-checking sources to make sure that I never got accused of lying or stealing someone else’s work – not out any native honesty, but out of fear: I’d always been told to fake or steal a story was a firing offense . . .indeed, it meant being blackballed out of the profession.

And yet, few of those worthies ever seemed to get fired for their crimes – and if they did they were soon rehired into an even more prestigious jobs.  It seemed as if there were two sets of rules:  one for us workaday journalists toiling out in the sticks, and another for folks who’d managed, through talent or deceit, to make it to the national level.

Meanwhile, I watched with disbelief as the nation’s leading newspapers, many of whom I’d written for in the past, slowly let opinion pieces creep into the news section, and from there onto the front page.  Personal opinions and comments that, had they appeared in my stories in 1979, would have gotten my butt kicked by the nearest copy editor, were now standard operating procedure at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and soon after in almost every small town paper in the U.S.

But what really shattered my faith – and I know the day and place where it happened – was the War in Lebanon three summers ago.  The hotel I was staying at in Windhoek, Namibia only carried CNN, a network I’d already learned to approach with skepticism.  But this was CNN International, which is even worse.  I sat there, first with my jaw hanging down, then actually shouting at the TV, as one field reporter after another reported the carnage of the Israeli attacks on Beirut, with almost no corresponding coverage of the Hezbollah missiles raining down on northern Israel.   The reporting was so utterly and shamelessly biased that I sat there for hours watching, assuming that eventually CNNi would get around to telling the rest of the story . . .but it never happened.

But nothing, nothing I’ve seen has matched the media bias on display in the current Presidential campaign.  Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates.  But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass – no, make that shameless support – they’ve gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don’t have a free and fair press.  I was one of the first people in the traditional media to call for the firing of Dan Rather – not because of his phony story, but because he refused to admit his mistake – but, bless him, even Gunga Dan thinks the media is one-sided in this election.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Gov. Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to Alaska to rifle through her garbage.  This is the Big Leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play.  The few instances where I think the press has gone too far – such as the Times reporter talking to Cindy McCain’s daughter’s MySpace friends – can easily be solved with a few newsroom smackdowns and temporary repostings to the Omaha Bureau.

No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side – or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for Senators Obama and Biden.  If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as President of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography.  That isn’t Sen. Obama’s fault:  his job is to put his best face forward.  No, it is the traditional media’s fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.

Why, for example to quote McCain’s lawyer, haven’t we seen an interview with Sen. Obama’s grad school drug dealer – when we know all about Mrs. McCain’s addiction?  Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview?  All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize?  And why are Senator Biden’s endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

The absolute nadir (though I hate to commit to that, as we still have two weeks before the election) came with Joe the Plumber.  Middle America, even when they didn’t agree with Joe, looked on in horror as the press took apart the private life of an average person who had the temerity to ask a tough question of a Presidential candidate.  So much for the Standing Up for the Little Man, so much for Speaking Truth to Power, so much for Comforting the Afflicted and Afflicting the Comfortable, and all of those other catchphrases we journalists used to believe we lived by.

I learned a long time ago that when people or institutions begin to behave in a manner that seems to be entirely against their own interests, it’s because we don’t understand what their motives really are.  It would seem that by so exposing their biases and betting everything on one candidate over another, the traditional media is trying to commit suicide – especially when, given our currently volatile world and economy, the chances of a successful Obama presidency, indeed any presidency, is probably less than 50:50.

Furthermore, I also happen to believe that most reporters, whatever their political bias, are human torpedoes . . .and, had they been unleashed, would have raced in and roughed up the Obama campaign as much as they did McCain’s.  That’s what reporters do, I was proud to have been one, and I’m still drawn to a good story, any good story, like a shark to blood in the water.

So why weren’t those legions of hungry reporters set loose on the Obama campaign?  Who are the real villains in this story of mainstream media betrayal?

The editors.  The men and women you don’t see; the people who not only decide what goes in the paper, but what doesn’t; the managers who give the reporters their assignments and lay-out the editorial pages.  They are the real culprits.

Why?  I think I know, because had my life taken a different path, I could have been one:  Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you’ve spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power . . . only to discover that you’re presiding over a dying industry.  The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent.  Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared.  Your job doesn’t have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb.  The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you’ll lose your job before you cross that finish line, ten years hence, of retirement and a pension.

In other words, you are facing career catastrophe -and desperate times call for desperate measures.  Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play.  Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here.  After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway – all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.

And then the opportunity presents itself:  an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career.  With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived Fairness Doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe, be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

And besides, you tell yourself, it’s all for the good of the country . . .

When Watchdogs Snore: How ABC, CBS & NBC Ignored Fannie & Freddie

 

When Watchdogs Snore: How ABC, CBS &
NBC Ignored Fannie & Freddie

     The two mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae — seized by the government September 7 before they went completely bankrupt, at a potential cost to taxpayers of more than $25 billion — have been in obvious trouble for much of the past five years — with criminal investigations, accounting scandals, firings, resignations, huge losses and warnings from the Federal Reserve that their huge portfolio of mortgage securities posed a risk to the overall financial system.

     But prior to this year, the watchdogs at ABC, CBS and NBC found time for only 10 stories on the financial health and management of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A review of the three networks’ morning and evening news programs from January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2007 found nine anchor-read items or brief references to the companies troubles, plus one in-depth report by CBS’s Anthony Mason on the May 23, 2006 Evening News, after Fannie Mae was fined $400 million for accounting fraud.

     [This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     It’s not that the networks eschew business news. A 2005 report from the MRC’s Business and Media Institute found heavy coverage of the scandal surrounding Enron, but no interest in the growing scandal surrounding Fannie Mae: “A LexisNexis search of ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN on the term ‘Enron’ from the nine months around when the story first broke — Oct. 1, 2001, to July 1, 2002, produced 3,017 hits….A similar LexisNexis search was performed for the term ‘Fannie Mae’ for those same media, from June 1, 2004, to March 1, 2005, again during the time the story was breaking. This search discovered a paltry 37 matches.” See: www.businessandmedia.org

     But the networks should (presumably) be more interested in monitoring these mortgage behemoths, since they’re not normal private companies but rather Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) chartered by Congress to promote the specific cause of promoting home ownership. This special status, along with the presumption that taxpayers would bail out the firms if they got into trouble, amounts to an implicit federal subsidy that the Federal Reserve in 2003 calculated was worth between $119 and $164 billion a year.

     Writing in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Charles Calomiris and Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute explained how these two GSEs — plus members of Congress who refused to hold them accountable — are “largely to blame for our current mess.” An excerpt:

Many monumental errors and misjudgments contributed to the acute financial turmoil in which we now find ourselves. Nevertheless, the vast accumulation of toxic mortgage debt that poisoned the global financial system was driven by the aggressive buying of subprime and Alt-A mortgages, and mortgage-backed securities, by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The poor choices of these two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) — and their sponsors in Washington — are largely to blame for our current mess.

How did we get here? Let’s review: In order to curry congressional support after their accounting scandals in 2003 and 2004, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac committed to increased financing of “affordable housing.” They became the largest buyers of subprime and Alt-A mortgages between 2004 and 2007, with total GSE exposure eventually exceeding $1 trillion. In doing so, they stimulated the growth of the subpar mortgage market and substantially magnified the costs of its collapse….

In 2005, the Senate Banking Committee, then under Republican control, adopted a strong reform bill, introduced by Republican Sens. Elizabeth Dole, John Sununu and Chuck Hagel, and supported by then chairman Richard Shelby. The bill prohibited the GSEs from holding portfolios, and gave their regulator prudential authority (such as setting capital requirements) roughly equivalent to a bank regulator. In light of the current financial crisis, this bill was probably the most important piece of financial regulation before Congress in 2005 and 2006. All the Republicans on the Committee supported the bill, and all the Democrats voted against it. Mr. McCain endorsed the legislation in a speech on the Senate floor. Mr. Obama, like all other Democrats, remained silent.

Now the Democrats are blaming the financial crisis on “deregulation.” This is a canard. There has indeed been deregulation in our economy — in long-distance telephone rates, airline fares, securities brokerage and trucking, to name just a few — and this has produced much innovation and lower consumer prices….

If the Democrats had let the 2005 legislation come to a vote, the huge growth in the subprime and Alt-A loan portfolios of Fannie and Freddie could not have occurred, and the scale of the financial meltdown would have been substantially less. The same politicians who today decry the lack of intervention to stop excess risk taking in 2005-2006 were the ones who blocked the only legislative effort that could have stopped it.

    

Voters Give Media An “F” For Election 2008

Stop the Presses!

Stop the Presses!
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | May 18, 2007

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Joseph Farah, founder and editor of WorldNetDaily.com, the largest independent news site on the Internet. He’s also the founder of WND Books, Whistleblower magazine and the G2 Bulletin online intelligence newsletter. He previously served as editor in chief of major-market daily newspapers including the Sacramento Union. He’s a syndicated columnist and his work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times, TV Guide and the Jerusalem Post. Farah has written or collaborated on more than a dozen books, including Rush Limbaugh’s 1994 No. 1 best seller “See, I Told You So.” His  previous book, “Taking America Back,” was first published in 2003 and again in paperback in 2005. 

He is the author of the new book, Stop the Presses!: The Inside Story of the New Media Revolution.

Preview Image 

FP: Joseph Farah, welcome back to Frontpage Interview. 

Farah: Thank you.   

FP: What inspired you to write this book? 

Farah: About 30 years of news media experience! It occurred to me in the last few years that I am uniquely positioned as a veteran newsman from traditional media who transitioned into the new world of media as a successful entrepreneur. There are others, of course, who have done this, but none — I don’t believe — with the breadth of experience that I brought to the New Media.  

For one thing, I was an eyewitness to the takeover of
America‘s newsrooms by radical activist special-interest pressure groups. That’s a story that has never been told before “Stop The Presses!” It is an important story.
 

Also, surviving in this new media environment for 10 years is an achievement few others can boast. Some amazing and exciting stories occurred along the way and only a book would provide the kind of forum needed to share those.  

Lastly, I wanted to make a point emphatically about the way journalists have lost their moral bearings, their sense of mission and their professional compass. Two of my favorite chapters in the book deal with the history of the free press and the long-forgotten purpose of the free press. American journalists desperately need to have a dialogue about this.  

FP: What do you think are some factors that account for journalists having lost their “moral bearings, their sense of mission and their professional compass”? 

Farah: 1.There is a lack of intelligent debate about these subjects within the industry. I’ve been trying to stimulate one for 25 years and I’m still awaiting my first invitation to speak to an industry group. 2. As much as the news media champions “diversity,” they don’t champion the one kind of pluralism that is actually meaningful — the philosophical kind, the ideological kind, the kind the permits those holding different worldviews clash and collaborate creatively. 3. For whatever reasons, the multinational corporations that control most of the news media tolerate and even feed the politically correct mind control laboratories that are today’s newsrooms. 4. Journalists are products of their education system. And that education system — from kindergarten through post-grad work — provides an exclusively morally relativistic worldview.    5. There’s been an active rejection of traditional American journalism because it is uniquely and historically positioned to serve as a watchdog on government — a mission uncomfortable for socialists and humanists. 

FP: Could you kindly tell us a bit about what made you a radical and then some of the key events and developments that turned you on the road toward leaving the Political Faith?  Farah: I was reared at a tumultuous time in American history — the 1960s. I was part of what David Horowitz termed “The Destructive Generation.” Sparked by my own opposition to the Vietnam War, my views grew more and more extreme, fed by the paranoia and lies of Jane Fonda, John Kerry, Tom Hayden and their ilk. Seeing the aftermath of that war — the Killing Fields of Cambodia and the re-education camps of
Vietnam — awakened me to the evil to which I had been a small part. The abject rejection of that reality by the Fondas and the Haydens and the Kerrys demonstrated for me that these people had no conscience, had no sense of morality and were incapable of decency. From there, a spiritual conversion in my college years led slowly and surely to the development of a new worldview — a Christian worldview. As I point out in my new book, that worldview is not conservative. In fact, I think it’s quite radical — more in line with our American revolutionary heritage than with, say, George W. Bush.
 

FP: What makes the news media so biased?  

Farah: I should know, because I was attracted to the news media for the same reasons as most of my colleagues. I was inspired by Watergate — the idea of two lowly reporters for the Washington Post overthrowing a president of the
United States had great appeal to my generation. You might remember that journalism school enrolments hit an all-time high in 1973 and 1974, as a result of the scandal, the book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and especially the movie version of “All the President’s Men” starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.

 

As you know, I am a “second thoughter.” I was not a “liberal” in those days. I was a radical. I wanted to change the world — and especially the
United States. That’s what that generation of reporters had in common. They didn’t join the press because they wanted to seek the truth. They joined the press because it seemed like a good way to subvert the establishment. It turned out they were right. And most of those who took those jobs back then are in positions of real power today. They ARE the establishment today. Most of them did not have second thoughts. They are still promoting the same old hackneyed socialist and humanist ideas they started with. 
 

FP: What is the press doing wrong? 

 

Farah: The main thing the press is doing wrong is ignoring or forgetting what is the central role of a free press in free society. That is to serve as a watchdog on government and other powerful institutions. That’s out main job — and of course it has little appeal to people who see government as the first solution for every problem both real and imagined.  

The free press was born in 
America, just as real freedom was in many ways. And it was birthed by founders who understood a free and vigorous press was needed as just one more device to check government power. That’s why they enshrined in the First Amendment special protections for the press that had really never been known previously in the history of the world.
 How can the press do its job right if the press doesn’t understand what its job is? Thirty years ago, if you went into the average newsroom and asked the veteran city editor about the central role of a free press in a free society, I think you’d have a pretty fair shot at getting the right answer. Today, no one in any major newsroom would provide this one correct answer. I doubt any one is teaching in journalism school. I bet it hasn’t been taught in a university since I stopped teaching journalism at UCLA in the 1980s. Today, if you asked journalists about the central role of a free press in a free society, you’d get all kinds of answers — seeking diversity, promoting tolerance, encouraging multiculturalism, breaking down gender barriers, saving the planet from greedy developers, protecting consumers from rapacious corporations, etc. Nobody is suspicious of government. Government is their friend. Government promotes their agenda. In effect, the establishment corporate press has become the lapdog of government — paving the way for more intrusion into what remains of our private lives. 

FP: What is the impact of the new media? Farah: The impact of the new media is, to me, the most exciting thing that has happened since Gutenberg. The only possible antidote to the toxic effluence of what I call “the downstream media” was competition. But, prior to the advent of the Internet, competition was actually drying up. There were fewer voices, not more. Talk radio broadened what was previously a national non-debate. But the new media was really birthed in 1995 by Matt Drudge. The synergy that developed between a handful of Internet information sources — like WND and Frontpagemag.com — and talk radio expanded the reach, the impact and the resources of both media exponentially. You miss the picture if you judge the new media on “reach” alone. WND’s reach is impressive with 8 million unique visitors. But that doesn’t even begin to describe the viral impact of WND because of the way it is used by talk-show hosts as show prep and the way TV producers consult with it daily like they do with only a handful of national newspapers. Now there’s the blogosphere and no one will ever get away with anything again. No mistake will go unnoticed by someone in the blogosphere. No inaccuracy can go uncorrected. No fraud will go unnoticed by one of the millions of self-deputized watchdogs. 

FP: What is your view of how the mainstream media has operated on
Iraq? The new media?
 

Farah: I think there is much good reporting going on in
Iraq. For instance, I constantly hear “conservatives” bashing the New York Times coverage of the war. In fact, some of the very best reporting done on this war — and still being done — is by John Burns of the New York Times. I don’t like what the editorial page of the New York Times has to say about the fight against Islamo-fascism, but we shouldn’t blame the most experienced and talented reporter in
Iraq for the sins of Pinch Sulzberger. On the other hand, I think there is jubilation in the newsrooms of the major TV networks whenever it appears the
U.S. is losing its grip in
Iraq. More than anything else, it’s the cacophony of the know-nothing pundits on war in
Iraq that has served to confuse the American people and provided cover for the treasonous initiatives of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. 
 

FP: What is the future of the new media? 

Farah: It is increasingly a future of video — not just text. In the future, you will be watching me deliver this cogent interview rather than reading the words on a computer screen.  

So get ready, Jamie. Lights, camera, action. 

FP: Am I going to be on camera with you too?

 

Joseph Farah, thank you for joining us today. 

Farah: It was my great pleasure and keep up the great, groundbreaking work at Frontpagemag.com.

Click Here to support Frontpagemag.com.

More evidence of media bias

More evidence of media bias

Ray Robison
Bernard Goldberg, renowned author and commentator on media bias (based on his 20+ years as a journalist) once wrote:

“Bias in the media isn’t just about what they cover; it’s also about what they don’t cover. Sherlock Holmes once solved a particularly thorny crime using as his key piece of evidence the dog that didn’t bark. It’s the same with the news media. What they don’t make noise about also tells us a lot about their preconceived notions and their biases.”

Well surely Bernie must be feeling vindicated this day. For if there is ever a perfect example of the silence of the media dogs it is in the story of Tina Richards. I recently wrote here about the mother of a Marine and her efforts to meet with Democrats to urge them to end the war.
Her tactics were not unlike Cindy Sheehan but instead aimed at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi whereas Sheehan focused her PR effort on President Bush. I wrote that first article as much to bench mark media reporting as to provide the content. I wanted all to note that Pelosi has her own Sheehan and let’s see were the media goes with it by way of comparison.
The result of my little experiment surprised even me, with my calloused eye towards the state of American journalism. Here is what is going on.
It appears Tina Richards has been released from the big-house after being arrested for her sit-in at the Speaker’s office and is continuing her activism. If you follow the desperately scant media reports on her you can find Richards’ own website.
There she posts her thoughts in writing and video. Currently, Richards is organizing a political action called “Swarm on Congress”. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out that this is basically an assault on the mechanisms of government to call attention to her cause. You might think a planned congressional sit-in by an aggrieved military mother might qualify as news as it did in Sheehan’s case.
How wrong you are!
I used Google News to check for references to Richards swarm (do it yourself “swarm on congress”).  As of the night of May 8th, 2007 there are two, just two media reports -neither of them from big-media – about what Tina Richards has organized for the week following Mother’s Day. Cindy Sheehan by comparison went down to the middle of Texas and parked herself in a patch of scrub grass next to a huge ranch and it was world news (even the name “Camp Casey” has entered our common lexicon thanks to media reinforcement). Richards and her supporters will park themselves in the halls and offices of the center of our democracy and the media response is, well….cough….cough.
The difference between Sheehan and Richards? One went after a Republican which pleases the liberal media bias, the other after a Democrat which must be covered up, lest the Democrats look bad. How much more obvious can it be that the American media is now hardly more than the propaganda wing of the Democratic Party?

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