Tag: mainstream media

US Government Manipulating the Press

acquistare viagra online generico 50 mg a Venezia We all know that the government manipulates the news with its propaganda that became obvious with the exposure of source url New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s complicity in spreading the lies that led to the illegal invasion of Iraq. Since then the government has been caught requesting the press withhold stories, or like today, leaking a scoop to another media outlet, a new low.

click Spy Agency Stole Scoop From Media Outlet And Handed It To The AP

By Ryan Grim, follow The Huffington Post

The Associated Press dropped a significant scoop on Tuesday afternoon, reporting that in the last several years the U.S. government’s terrorism watch list has doubled.

A few minutes after the AP story consisting of three paragraphs was posted at 12:32 p.m., The Intercept published a much more comprehensive article. [..]

The government, it turned out, had “spoiled the scoop,” an informally forbidden practice in the world of journalism. To spoil a scoop, the subject of a story, when asked for comment, tips off a different, typically friendlier outlet in the hopes of diminishing the attention the first outlet would have received. Tuesday’s AP story was much friendlier to the government’s position, explaining the surge of individuals added to the watch list as an ongoing response to a foiled terror plot.

The practice of spoiling a scoop is frowned upon because it destroys trust between the journalist and the subject. In the future, the journalist is much less willing to share the contents of his or her reporting with that subject, which means the subject is given less time, or no time at all, to respond with concerns about the reporting.

According to Mr. Grim, http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=generic-accutane The Intercept editor, John Cook, called the National Counterterrorism Center, the subject of the story by The Intercept article by Ryan Devereaux and Jeremy Scahill. Mr. Cook informed the official he spoke with that in the future the agency would only be given a 30 minute time frame to respond to questions about articles before they are published.

I don’t know if Associated Press reporter, Eileen Sullivan, was aware of The Intercept article, or if she was given access to the classified documents (pdf) on which the articles are based. I suspect she was spoon fed the information for the government friendly piece she wrote since she has no links to the documents. The link to the classified file was tweeted by Glenn Greenwald this afternoon.

Now the government is telling CNN that they believe there is a new “leaker”. Nice try, “folks,” but this isn’t about who leaked what but exposing just how much the government us intruding into the lives of its citizens and totally disregarding guaranteed constitutional rights and the law.

Don’t forget to read the article, Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers by Jeremy and Ryan at cialis generico si trova in farmacia The Intercept, it is quite an eye opener.

US and British MSM Gets an “F”

see url Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

At a computer conference in Hamburg, Germany, journalist and lawyer Glenn Greenwald delivered the keynote address that chastised the US and British mainstream media for their failures to challenge erroneous remarks routinely made by government officials around the globe

Thousands of attendees at the thirtieth annual Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg packed into a room to watch the 46-year-old lawyer-turned-columnist present a keynote address delivered less than seven months after he started working with former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Revelations contained in leaked documents supplied by Snowden to Greenwald and other journalists have sparked international outrage and efforts to reform the far-reaching surveillance operations waged by the NSA and intelligence officials in allied nations. But speaking remotely from Brazil this week, Greenwald argued that the media establishment at large is guilty of failing significantly with respect to accomplishing its most crucial role: keeping governments in check.

When Greenwald and his colleagues began working with Snowden, he said they realized that they’d have to act in a way that wasn’t on par with how the mainstream media has acted up until now.

We’re not dead, we’re just resting

I’ve often said the left is essentially dead–or moribund (I love the word). Certainly the old left looks dead very much like Polly Parrot in the Dead Parrot sketch.

But there’s something simmering below the surface that those of us who are veterans of the old left can take heart in–massive numbers of people are unhappy and disillusioned. They lack any framework for their disillusion other than things like buying guns but I think we have a chance to step into an opening.

There are two issues only a new revivified left can work with: 1) massive criminality of all the major actors in the political economy; and 2) the lying mainstream media. That’s the only issues we need. We don’t need to talk about the debt or the deficit or “entitlements” or imperialism or any of that. Yes those are issues that are important, more or less, but not as important as the fact our society is run, at the top, by criminals. And it is not that this is hard to determine. The evidence is overwhelming and we don’t even have to go to the assassinations of the sixties or 9/11 or anything like that. No just the simple facts as they are The government and the media allowed massive fraud to occur in both Democratic and Republican administrations.

In 2006 one third of all lending were “liar’s loans” meaning that these loans were deliberately created out of falsified income statements and property appraisals. Washington Mutual, Andrew Cuomo (when he was AG of NY) found out, had created a blacklist of honest appraisers that were never to be used. Regulators, the FBI and many others consistently warned that there would be a financial crisis because of massive fraud going on. I knew it, though I’m hardly that well-connected I just happened to know a Wall Street guy who tole me in 2005 that the whole thing was going to blow in the next few years because Wall Street was creating fraudulent instruments.

In the S & L crisis there were 1000 FBI agents investigating criminals at the top and there were over 1000 convictions even though many particularly high profile suspects got away due to political influence. But in the more recent crisis that was 70 times greater only 120 agents were assigned to mortgage fraud!!!! On the surface this looks like massive criminality and I can assure you that a clear case with loads of evidence beyond anything that I’m indicating here can prove that the basis of our current political economy is naked criminality in almost every sphere, to be sure, but particularly prevalent in the financial industry. I’m also confident that there is no possible counter-argument.

The fact this is so obvious has to automatically indict the mainstream media from Fox News to PBS for covering up and refusing to cover the truth about the financial crisis which, as I said, is stunningly obvious. It will then quickly be seen how corrupt the media is. Not the reporters who do what they can but who have editors that continually and systematically discourage them to pursue stories that might make powerful people look bad (other than celebs, but they are toys of powerful people so they don’t count). When people understand that, for the most part, they are being fed a pile of turds everyday that they then have to pretend to eat–man, no wonder people are stressed and the U.S. leads the world in mental illness.

All we have to do is hammer away at those two issues ONLY and then the unassailable wall around the imperial court will break. We don’t have to talk about income inequality just criminality–not about class-struggle just criminality–not about the environment just criminality. We don’t have to argue with Tea Baggers about anything–just say that crime is a bad thing dontcha think? No argument. Sure a few will say, but it was Acorn that caused the crash, gov’t bureaucrats who wanted to put people in homes–you say sure AND those banks made a lot of money falsifying information, corrupting appraisers, originators. There’s no absence of proof and no possible counter-argument to the central fact that our problem is not Republicans or Democrats or private enterprise of the government our problem is criminal gangs have taken over–over and out.

An Interview with Adlai Stevenson III, Part Two: The Role of the Media

Midway through our interview, Senator Stevenson spoke about the ways in which the mainstream media shortchanges the American people.  While criticizing sound bite culture, as so many have before, his harshest words were for a mass media who, in his opinion, oversimplifies broader issues without taking the time to provide the full context to its audience.  In his opinion, this is tantamount to complete irresponsibility.  Then, perhaps qualifying his remarks somewhat, Stevenson conceded something very interesting.

Ventura on Mainstream

Let’s Be Very Clear About The Criminal Reality We Are Facing

While it is important to point out the inconsistencies and lies that are the hallmark of most of our public institutions we also need to start with some firm foundations to future essays and comments. I feel one of the first things we need to face is that the situation we face today is no longer a political struggle between conservatives and liberals or even reactionaries and progressives. As has been brought out by several people here at DD the struggle is between criminal entities (most large corporations, big banks, traditional organized crime, the military (yes I believe much though not all of the military has become a criminal enterprise), the covert ops part of the intel agencies, the MSM (the worst of the lot), the federal government and many state and local governments. No, it is not a matter of “incompetence” that has brought us to this situation but of what I consider criminal behavior.

There are two aspects of criminal behavior. The first, obviously, is the breaking of laws on the books–well, in this country with more laws (I’m sure) than any entity that has ever existed, it is pretty easy for anyone to break the law but still even if you look at major statutes the fact is that major corporations and the elites escape the law while the poor do not. The Federal government now no longer even pretends to follow the law, for example, the Geneva Conventions and protocols are routinely ignored despite the fact that they are the law. Of course, laws against fraud were ignored during and after the financial crisis. Disappearance of trillions from DOD elicited no action and no response from the media, criminal fraud by contractors in Iraq almost completely ignored by any agencies and, generally, underreported in the MSM. The list can go on and on and this blog has at one time or another reported on nearly all of them. These aren’t arguments over policy but clear criminality that, in a healthy society, would have been prosecuted. This criminality and corruption has rapidly increased in recent years.

The second aspect of criminal behavior I would like to describe as follows:

The deliberate attempt by private interests to undermine public welfare, public spaces, public health and the future of the species for financial gain.

This aspect of criminality is far worse than simply breaking particular laws. It is about the deliberate destruction of society and government itself. I suggest to you that this has been the conscious and deliberate intention of most (not all) of the ruling elite for the past few decades but particularly since the stolen election of 2000. I believe their intention was then and is now the looting of the entire world and the destruction of American society and any other society for the purpose of instituting a New World Order based on a global imperial system on the macro-level and various modes of neofeudal social arrangements at the local level with most of the population either expendable or in a state of serfdom. This system is not in place yet and can be stopped but this is the agenda of most of the power players.

As has been made abundantly clear on this blog, the Obama administration is only cosmetically different than the previous administration. The differences are largely cultural rather than political. We can mostly agree here that we are no longer fooled by the Kabuki of Obama and his allies in Congress. Obama simply is beside the point.  

This Post Was Originally Written on Daily Kos (And What’s Wrong with That?)

It is at least interesting to see the latest mainstream media insult circulate liberally across the country,  one designed to reduce bloggers to little more than reactive agitprop sensationalists.  This week it’s “(insert example of ridiculously overblown commentary here) could have been found on Daily Kos”.  I might take more offense, except when I know the major players frequently fall far short of their own lofty journalistic standards.  We’ve consistently recognized, called out, and sometimes outright mocked op-ed columnists, television commentators, pundits, and members of the fourth estate.  We shouldn’t expect a mea culpa any time soon.  But when we can produce all sorts of facts to prove our point, we can certainly make a strong case on our own behalf.  And we can certainly keep sharing our own voices for the benefit of all, unimpeded by what anyone might say.  

Congressional Problems are DC Problems, Too

Last night I attended a Happy Hour/meet up pitched by an outreach advocacy group called Women, Action, and the Media. The organization’s stated object is to combat the still-shockingly vast degree of gender inequality that exists in the field and in so doing move towards complete parity. Moreover, the gathering was designed in particular to network, as the group itself notes, media makers, activists, academics, and fundraisers. I agree very strongly with the sentiment, so I decided to attend in order to see what other people had to say.  My hope was that I might have some interesting, enlightening conversations.  Suffice it to say that I was not disappointed.  Yet, I nonetheless began to get a greater picture of the challenges facing not just women’s rights but also those of all those who are a part of the media to some degree or another.  Many of these pitfalls standing in our way have nothing to do at all with sexism and or even the Old Boy’s club of the mainstream media.

Welcome to Washington, DC, a world of think tanks, non-profits, and journalistic enterprises.  One could also call it paradise for the Type A personality, the person who enjoys regimenting his or her life with military precision.  It is heaven for those who enjoy having each and every hour in the day filled with something and who learns to divide his or her attention between the task at hand and glancing down at a Blackberry. In this town, it often seems like everyone meets someone for a drink after work, but only for an hour or so, since there’s always something else terribly important to do after that. Many of the movers and shakers present were very much indebted to that sort of lifestyle, the basis of which I have frequently been critical because it seems designed to produce inevitable burn out, if not a heart attack.  But I digress.

To qualify, my skepticism is not directed towards those whose energetically articulated vision was to change the world, which was true with just about everyone I encountered. We need more people who love what they do and are enthusiastic about it. Instead, my reservations focus squarely upon organizational structure.  These sorts of outfits build whole galaxies of worthy initiatives, training seminars, and important-sounding programs that manage to exist in complete isolation, totally unknown, to the other 5,000 similar organizations covering much the same ground. True networking does not involve finding ways to achieve a higher paying job or padding one’s nest. Rather, it takes into account the idea that by combining forces and getting on the same page with those covering the same relative territory, gender justice can proceed forward and efforts to encourage it might become a reality.

These days I am not easily impressed when someone rattles off for me the particulars of whatever they’re working on right now.  I know they’re not trying to impress me, of course, and I know they really do believe that their initiative to say, encourage media participation for women in third-world countries is going to make a huge impact.  On a very limited basis, it will do good, but unless paired with other forces, the plan will be a mere drop in the bucket.  Unless serious efforts are made to reach out and build bridges of communication, whatever gets set forth and put into action is just another dot in a sea of similarity.  DC, after all, reflects the nature of Congress, whose own esoteria and minutia often end up submerging worthy bills and legislation under the deluge of statutes, procedural measures, and utterly useless proposals.

Sometimes I think the biblical story of the Tower of Babel is meant to illustrate the point. These organizations, like the Tower itself, grow taller and taller and taller, but they don’t grow outward that much, and in so doing don’t easily reach out to others. Instead, they are in love with their own language, just as much as those in the story used their own lingua fresca to serve as a common basis for organization. The Tower of Babel was not built for the worship and praise of a higher purpose but was instead dedicated to the glory of humanity, to “make a name” for the builders.  I don’t believe that that DC organizations put forth their agendas with malicious intent, but they nonetheless mirror the way things have always been in Washington, a course of action which has proved to be not especially effective in the long run, a viewpoint currently shared by a majority of Americans.  One can work purely to climb the ladder or work to advance humanity’s understanding.

I took liberty with one other issue.  Some in attendance last night were well-connected employees for Mainstream Media outlets.  They talked excitedly about the ways that newspapers had adopted New Media tactics and as such were hiring lots of bloggers to keep pace with changing times.  Again, do pardon my skepticism.  I myself have never seen any of these jobs posted anywhere and the few somewhat like it that are advertised are quickly snapped up by those who have impressive credentials.  As it is with so much, these sorts of positions are the domain of the well-connected and often the well-heeled, further casting doubt on a system supposedly predicated on the idea of meritocracy.  One mustn’t forget that blogs sprung up in opposition to attitudes such as these and for a very good reason.

The system itself is flawed in lots of ways, from the Old Boy Network, to hiring practices which insist a person have exacting credentials to even be considered, to tactics which feign to introduce citizen journalists into the picture while more or less keeping the status quo intact.  The intersectionality which we seek within our own movements must be that of both action and intellect, else our own hard work and idealism produce frustratingly minimal results.

But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falls.

Good Morning America

EEwww, they cancelled the prom because you can’t be openly gay.

Oh, really.

I should add a disclaimer.  It is my intention to pick on the zombinality, the you Vill think this Vey aspect of the American Propaganda Delivery System and not the plight of the LGBT community.

Mainstream Female Columnists Fail Men and Women Equally

Many bloggers, including me, have expressed frequent consternation at the lack of substantive female voices in the mainstream media.  On that note, there are times when I wonder what both Kathleen Parker and Maureen Dowd are both smoking and inhaling.  Tweedledum and Tweedledee routinely write columns crafted with such a flagrant disregard for coherence or original analysis that I wonder how they even ended up with a job.  Both of these writers are supposed to be the apex of serious journalism and with it the mouthpiece of womanhood and womens’ concerns.  It seems as though both conservative and liberal women are getting the short end of the stick, though I’m hardly surprised at the revelation.  And it isn’t just women who are suffering from such inadequacy.      

Martin Austermuhle, writing today at dcist, points out the sloppy logic of Parker’s latest column in The Washington Post.


Parker asserts that shoveling is something men just need to do, like it’s hard-wired into our genetic code. “What do men want?” she asks. “Shovels. Men want shovels, the bigger the better,” she responds.

“Women can’t be blamed for wanting to be independent and self-sufficient, but smart ones have done so without diminishing the males whose shoulders they might prefer on imperfect days. Add to the cultural shifts our recent economic woes, which have left more men than women without jobs, and men are all the more riveted by opportunities to be useful,” she observes.

According to her profound analysis on the matter, the minute we simple-minded men see a flake of snow, we go running to the nearest shovel. “Man is never happier than when he is called to action, in other words. That is to say, when he is needed,” she posits. Of course, she does add that women will shovel, but she only admits as much to avoid “sexist stereotyping.” Yeah. That’s like prefacing a homophobic joke by saying, “But some of my best friends are gay!”

I frequently use personal examples in my posts and diary entries, but I am always careful to try to use facts and other sources to bolster my claims.  There is great power in the personal, but Parker proves that the personal can be used very wrongly to stand in for objective truth.  Ignoring societal conditioning in favor of innate biological programming is a tactic frequently employed by the Right, particularly as a means of keeping gender distinctions frozen in time.  Even so, there are a few undeniable elements of our behavior that must be chalked up to the undeniable fact that some of us have two X chromosomes and some of us only have one.  Yet, relying too heavily on that fact fails to take into account that we are distinct from other animals in that we have highly advanced brains and reasoning abilities.  Since the beginning of time, humankind has been imposing its own version of reality beyond purely biological imperative and survival instinct.        

The feud between Parker and Dowd is well-documented and I don’t need to add much more to it.  Unsurprisingly, both columnists manage to miss the point altogether when they cobble together a collection of stale arguments and pseudoscience to make their case.  They end up on opposite ends of a great existential divide, managing to be equally wrong in the process.  Contrary to what Dowd says, men are necessary, but it should be added that they are necessary in ways beyond shoveling driveways or providing emergency manual labor.  Contrary to what Parker says, it’s not biologically determined that men are born snow shovelers and ditch diggers.  

Later in the column, Parker at least makes an effort to try to state that she isn’t homophobic or dismissive of the fact that gay men are equally capable of being “masculine”, but the conclusion she draws is bizarre, at best.  If it wasn’t so strangely rendered, I might take more offense to what it implies.


As for Craig, he’s been happy the past 25 years with Jack, who, though he pleads a bad back, cooks a mean stroganoff, from which I have benefited twice since the snows began.

Doubtless, such displays of manliness — which in my view include feeding the hungry — are, like the weather, passing divertissements. And these jottings are but a wee contribution to the annals of gender study. But if one should ever stop pondering the malaise of modern woman long enough to consider what men might want, the answer is obvious to any except, perhaps, the U.S. Congress.

Give a man a job, and he’ll clear a path to your door.  

Her convoluted conclusion seems to be that women have focused too selfishly on their own empowerment that they’ve failed to understand or appreciate the contributions of men.  With it comes an underlying assumption that men feel confused these days because their time-honored roles in society have been somehow denigrated or tarnished since women started demanding equal rights, equal pay, and basic equality.  If only things were this simple.  If only women had anything remotely close to the same degree of parity with men.  If only, for example, there was some set standard of what all men wanted or what all women wanted, for that matter.

One can’t just make a blanket statement based on absolutes.  Men are not some monolithic entity any more than women are.  Surveying the women and men with whom we work, live, and interact will reveal that gender distinctions are not distributed exactly the same for everyone.  In that spirit, it is equally wrong-headed to reduce men to violent brutes or women to flighty fashionistas.  A major problem everyone faces is that we are forced to conform to gender roles that are designed for one-size-fits-all settings when we are all different sizes, shapes, and proportions.  If gender were a set of clothes, we’d be tugging on it constantly, hoping that with enough effort it eventually would cover us properly.  And so long as we impose simplistic identity upon complex humanity, it never will quite work.        

The major problem at play here is that Feminist groups and women’s rights groups tend to often to couch their analysis in overly-academic terms.  I can vouch for this personally.  This means that pop-feminist analysis like Parker and Dowd ends up shaping the perception of most people, as though these sorts of stilted descriptions are some objective picture of the way things really are.  But these two aren’t even the worst offenders.  At least these columnists usually mean well and usually at least aim high.  Meanwhile, aside from “serious” analysis, a perversion of Feminism leads women to believe that there is something empowering in being publicly sexual or in adopting the same pose of their chauvinistic brethren.  Objectification by any other name, this is an attitude reflected ever more frequently in popular culture.  But instead of focusing on whether or not it’s a good thing that now Tween aged girls are dressing provocatively rather than like the children that they are, or whether we’re including people of color into our depictions of feminine identity, or whether transgender citizens are treated with the respect they deserve, instead we get into the eternal back and forth about whether the cause of women’s rights has done more harm than good and whether men are suffering as a result.          

This degree of navel-gazing does no one any good.  Periodically, it might be helpful if we engaged in a respectable dialogue about how far the rights of women have come, where the movement is headed, and what we all might take from it.  However, if this territory is mined constantly without anything especially novel or even interesting to report from it, then we forget that there’s much more to Feminism and gender equality than the tit-for-tat that never ends.  Gender is a construct of the human mind and it is so pervasive that its impact effects us in ways that are both exceptionally glaring and maddeningly minute.  The complexities of civilization and the human mind have given rise to a huge amount of interrelated information to be combed through, but if we fail to survey it in totality, then it does us no good.  The mysteries of men and women will remain so forever.  We might not solve them all, but we’d be a damn sight closer to a greater understanding than we are now, instead of focusing so narrowly on one particularly yawn-inducing issue.

The Danger of American Mythology

With the news that unemployment remains stagnant at 10% and that employers have cut more jobs than expected is a fresh blow to the American psyche.  Based on what I have informally observed, the latest stats are a more-or-less accurate portrayal of what I see on the ground.  I might even be compelled to believe that today’s grim news is in fact a bit sugarcoated, particularly among those under the age of thirty-five.  Friends of mine have undergone the ultimate of indignity and shame of moving back home, temporarily, they always conclude.  Returning to the womb does not exactly do wonders for one’s self-esteem, particularly when independence in the form of separate living arrangement are one of the metrics we consider essential to attaining that sometimes elusive construct denoted as “adulthood”.  

Jobs, jobs, jobs continues to be the story line that trumps all others, an issue unlikely to subside for a long while.  Aside from the political repercussions that have been debated extensively for months and will continue to be debated as we get closer to November, I admit I’m more interested in trends often sparsely covered by the major outlets.  We’ve seen the demise of certain industries and businesses that had been hanging on by a thread even in good times.  We’ve noted the strain upon government agencies and the many socialized component pieces that variously make up a bulk of our infrastructure–those which depend heavily on tax revenue.  What we have not really come to grips with as a people is how we best ought to respond to a period of reduced harvest over a protracted period of time.  I have read many pieces that detail that which is wrong, but few which propose a resolute, firm course of action for the future.  These may be unprecedented times, but it would be nice to see someone’s grand unifying theory.  

Alongside the latest doom-and-gloom headlines, the media tries its best to put a micro human interest aspect in play, but these sorts of character sketches at times resemble caricature sketches more than anything else.  While I appreciate a desire to show the personal impact of any massive crisis like the one in which we are still mired, it has always seemed a bit cloying to highlight the The Typical Hispanic Immigrant Family™, The Typical Single Parent African-American Family™, The Typical Asian-American Family™, and The Typical White Working Class Family™.  To be sure, the mainstream boys and girls tend to leave in-depth analysis to print magazines and NPR, but in a crisis this pervasive, one can’t help but wish they’d incorporate some degree of truly thoughtful analysis.  Instead we get two tiresome talking heads from opposite sides, each granted four minutes airtime each to devote to often-meaningless improvisational variations on a theme.    

The noted historian C. Vann Woodward wrote,

In an illuminating book called People of Plenty, David Potter persuasively advances the thesis that the most distinguishing traits of national character have been fundamentally shaped by the abundance of the American living standard.  He marshals evidence of the effect that plenty has had upon such decisive phases of life as the nursing and training of babies, opportunities for education and jobs, ages of marriage and childbearing.  He shows how abundance has determined characteristic national attitudes between parents and children, husband and wife, superior and subordinate, between one class and another, and how it has molded our mass culture and consumer oriented society.  American national character would indeed appear inconceivable without this unique experience of abundance.

A closely related corollary of the unique American experience of abundance is the equally unique American experience of success.  During the Second World War, Professor Arthur M. Schlesinger made an interesting attempt to define the national character, which he brought to a close with the conclusion that the American character “is bottomed upon the profound conviction that nothing in the world is beyond its power to accomplish.”  In this he gave expression to one of the great American legends, the legend of success and invincibility.

Woodward continues,

If the history of the United States is lacking in some of the elements of variety and contrast demanded of any good story, it is in part because of the very monotonous repetition of success.  Almost every major collective effort, even those thwarted temporarily, succeeded in the end.  American history is a success story.  They have, until very recently, solved every major problem they have confronted–or had it solved for them by a smiling fortune.

While on the stump, Barack Obama skillfully appealed to this particular strain of American mythology as a means of direct emotional appeal.  I do not believe that it was a tactic employed disingenuously, but at any rate it sought to advance the idea that our unique character was so high-minded and noble that, despite the struggle getting there, eventually we embrace social progress.  With this assertion came a very American, very unflinching belief in our perceived superiority and our own perceived invincibility.  But, following this line of logic, if we as a country can elect an African-American and seriously consider electing a woman as President, it would then stand to reason that the solution to revive a sick economy would be easily within our capabilities.  One would believe that with abundance would come a corresponding abundance of proposals, each novel and credible in its own way.  However, it should also be noted that casting a ballot and breaking a sweat are two entirely different matters, a notion not lost on Woodward.  One would hope that when this country elects a female President that we don’t inundate ourselves with self-congratulatory talk that the glass ceiling has finally been shattered forever.  It has proven to be quite resilient to even the largest of cracks.        

When the formerly Grand Old Party states its own interpretation of American success, it clothes its own mythology in terms of resolute military triumphs, battles won, enemies vanquished in heroic terms by complete unknowns and by generals who never lost a fight.  America is a magical place where everything is possible, but only to those who embrace a struggle between God and Satan, Good and Evil, dark and light, impurity and purity.  When the system fails, it writes apology after apology for the failures and corruption of capitalism, pointing to the inevitability of its eventual rebirth.  It is as sure of its own infallibility and superiority just as surely as Marx was in thunderously concluding that the bourgeoisie would someday prove to be its own grave-diggers.  If either were any help now, I’m sure we might be seriously considering them.

What we need, then, is to truly act as though we really are what our mythology triumphantly proclaims.  Setting aside irony and cynicism for a moment, we have the power within our grasp to put into place a new American mythology, one that is comprised of more than just jingoistic platitudes or narcissistic back-patting.  But what it will entail is effort and a willful desire to scrape off the rust, even when doing so is uncomfortable and puts us out of our comfort zones.  Now more than ever, we ought to be the country the rest of the world thinks we are.  Now more than ever we ought to live the notion that we really meant it when it was written that all are created equal, that we were a welcome respite and land of promise to our tired, our poor, our huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and that our exceptionalism is not a club quick to bludgeon or a license for arrogance, but instead the source of healing and solution of a sort that is profoundly lacking today.  

Old Media’s Awkward Embrace

The awkward embrace by which the established media figures are halfheartedly wrapping their arms around their heir apparent reminds me of the uncomfortable John McCain/George W. Bush man hug used so effectively by Barack Obama’s campaign.  That any mainstream outlet would seek to collar the internet and with it the multitude of online-based means of information exchange, forcing them to march to its own tune in the process surprises me not really all that much.   Power plays like these are why the blogsophere has often been contemptuous of the big names.   A drowning person reaching desperately for a way to stay afloat would have to be awfully sadistic if he or she, out of pure spite, sought to drag down the very means by which he or she might survive.   But then again, no one ever confused the media as being strictly and patently rational.   A crisis mentality permeates the thought process of many in these trying times and catastrophe is rarely graced by sensible or conscionable decision making.      

The Washington Post, also known as the walking dead, pulled a fast one on just about everybody quite recently.   Its Next Great Pundit Contest™ started out with a stated desire to lift some obscure member of the Proletariat blogging class into a temporary, but nonetheless visible role as a Beltway heavy hitter, but was shiftily transformed from beginning to end to showcase an “average” member of society who happened to have a substantial publication history and at least one book in print.   The winner was highly competent but also the safest choice the company could have ever made.  And not only that,

…in this contest, as in much of new media, miglior sito per acquistare viagra generico spedizione veloce a Parma though over 50% of bloggers are women, the opinion sections at some of America’s most respected online publications continue to be dominated by men. Between August and October of this year, only 20% of the Huffington Post’s front page opinion columns were written by women, a proportion that dwarfs the corresponding number at Salon, which was a mere 12%.* The primary consumers of new media are young people, a Twitter-crazed generation raised in the post-feminist era, many of us too young to remember Katie Couric as anything other than a serious prime time anchor. So why, when it comes to pundits, does new media look so much like old media?

My response, in part, is this.   Any industry in turmoil is going to aim for the lowest common denominator, because it is averse to take a risk.   In better days, struggling companies might have taken the opportunity to invest into something off the beaten path that conventional wisdom might question or that didn’t have a history of a guaranteed rate of return.   Those days, lamentably, no longer exist.   One sees this in the newspaper business and one sees this also in the music industry.   One of the more gaping flaws with capitalism is that there is always a temptation to view everything, no matter of its quality, in terms of a commodity or in terms of turning a guaranteed profit; I also know that social progress will always be impeded by the pursuit of the bottom line.

Any historically marginalized group, provided they speak with enough of a unified voice and demand their right to be heard is often thrown a cheap concession in the form of a specific platform upon which to be heard as a way to get activists and reformers to stop applying pressure and in effect, to shut up.   Traditionally the addition of a token member promoted to a high level from within has been an easy way to satisfy protesters, and so also has been the creation of a specific publication to best serve the interests of those who have historically been denied a voice.   As a noted intellectual put it, what has been set in motion up to this point could well be described as The Triumph of Tokenism.   This could never be confused as true equality, but it is often embraced as “at least a start.”

In 1966, the scholar whom I reference above, historian C. Vann Woodward, wrote a provocative essay entitled “What Happened to the Civil Rights Movement?”   The opening two paragraphs have an eerie resonance to the present day.   Woodward was specifically writing about the struggle for African-American rights, but they fit this context neatly.

As if adopting the techniques of the cinema director, history has obligingly thrown in a few flashbacks or replays of hauntingly familiar lines, encounters, whole episodes from the past.  It would seem at times, in fact, that contemporary history has been plagiarizing an old scenario and helping with the script.

With all due resistance to superficial parallels, we have been unable to to avoid comparisons between past history and lived experience.   http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=where-how-to-get-accutane-from-online-canadian-pharmacy For we have witnessed in our own time a rising tide of indignation against an ancient wrong, the slow crumbling of stubborn resistance, the sudden rush and elation of victory, and then the onset of reaction and fading of high hopes.

So it would seem then that demands for equality must be measured against the course of events as established by some sort of equilibrium we can sense but have a difficult time observing viscerally.   But neither, of course, does this mean that revolutions of all sorts are unnecessary or need not even be attempted.   Even if the ultimate end is that of discouragement and disillusion, this does not mean we ought not to start the process over again.   Perhaps we should assume that the life cycle of movements and issue activism is beholden to ebbs and flows by its very intrinsic nature and thus we ought to prepare ourselves for the nascent battle charge in the same breath as we acknowledge our retreats and the re-entrenchments of our opponents.

Woodward continues,    

Historians have their arm chair consolations, of course, their after-dinner ironies with brandy.  We knew all along, or so we inform the young and ill-tutored, that all revolutionary upheavals have their life cycle:  rise, climax, decline, reaction…We knew all too well–and the knowledge always embarrassed encounters with true believers–that high fevers of idealism and soaring moods of self-sacrifice cannot be sustained indefinitely, that they lag and burn themselves out, that disenchantment and self-doubt inevitably set in.  And one could expect from past experience that extremists from both ends would take over and make common cause against the rational means.

This passage has parallels to our day that go well beyond gender inequality.   I think what is most crucial is the understanding that revolution as strictly defined doesn’t necessarily mean armed revolt and establishment of a brand new way of conducting one’s affairs.   Sometimes the most subtle revolutions are the most influential and the revolutionary power of the internet is one of these.   The internet reveals both the best and the worst of humanity and I choose to observe the best while taking care not to be dragged down by the latter.

I prefaced this piece by quoting the Huffington Post article written by Chloe Angyal, who concedes that even though the deck may be stacked against female contributors to media, a certain amount of persistence is necessary to overcome it.


…[W]e — young people, and especially young women — can do better. New media, despite its distinctly old-fashioned start, still represents an enormous opportunity to shape for ourselves the kind of public discourse we want to have. It is from our ranks that America’s next great pundits should come, and it is our responsibility to support them when they do. Furthermore, new media represents our chance to genuinely participate in changing the face of our nation’s public discourse. The men to women ratio of submissions to the Washington Post contest was eighty-twenty, a distinctly old media proportion. Young women can and must do better than eighty-twenty. It’s time for us to change the conversation. It’s time for us to sit down, log on and be the change we so desperately need to see in the world.

Reform of any kind is a two-way street upon which seeking a scapegoat isn’t nearly as effective or necessary as positive action.   Far too often our cynicism gives way to a self-fulfilling prophecy of ultimate defeat.   Ultimately we will have hard times, but we will also have times of inspiration and great success as well.  One of my favorite sayings is that life never promises us that it will be fair, but it does promise us that it will often be good.  Finding that which is uplifting and satisfying is our role and ultimately our decision.   Businesses rarely make decisions based on faith or on intangibles.   In the cold, hard world of numbers, graphs, charts, and raw data, nothing is left to chance and nothing exists without some undeniable proof to back it up.  Yet, some of the most innovative reforms and products required leaps of faith to set into place, even when the safety net below might not have been several reassuring glances downward.   Irrationality in any form is foolish, but rationality and trusting in the unknown and even the unknowable are not mutually exclusive concepts.   If none of us were willing to risk potential loss and relied exclusively on the status quo, slavery would still be legal in at least half the country, women would not be welcomed into the workplace, LGBTs would be treated with scorn and contempt by most Americans, and we would dwell in a world exclusively of the white males, by the white males, and for the white males.    

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