Tag Archives: media

MSNBC sad

I have tried my best not to look at the television today.  Last night was just so infuriating.  The celebratory champagne-uncorking of MSNBC pundits over their chosen candidate, Joe Biden, finally, finally winning a primary, was just revolting.  Above you can see the facial expressions that characterized the coverage when Bernie won.

I was, however, pleased to see that Chris Matthews was not included in the  coverage last night.  I thought that perhaps (oh how naïve I am) that Matthews had been left out because of his outrageous attacks on Bernie Sanders.  But, evidently, even though similar attacks were enough to get the pundit Jason Johnson fired, they were not enough to get the serial offender Chris Matthews fired.  This is a true tragedy for all of us.

Matthews managed to escape being called to task over 1) likening Bernie’s win in Nevada to the Nazis invading France, 2) saying that Bernie would happily preside over Matthews being shot in Times Square, and 3) that Bernie would be the last person to stop and help if you were stranded on the side of the road.  But, he has been removed from the air temporarily because he has been accused of inappropriate behavior with yet another woman.

According to the Hill, GQ columnist Laura Bassett accused Matthews of sexual harassment.  In an opinion piece published Friday, Bassett claimed that Matthews told a network makeup artist to “keep putting makeup on her” and asked “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?”

Bassett evidently wrote about the behavior, which occurred four years ago, previously but wasn’t confident enough to mention Matthews’ name.  She said, however, that a number of women knew immediately who she was talking about.

Bassett wrote:

“In 2016, right before I had to go on his show and talk about sexual-assault allegations against Donald Trump, Matthews looked over at me in the makeup chair next to him and said, ‘Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet,'” Bassett wrote. “When I laughed nervously and said nothing, he followed up to the makeup artist. ‘Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.”

“Another time, he stood between me and the mirror and complimented the red dress I was wearing for the segment. ‘You going out tonight?’ he asked. I said I didn’t know, and he said — again to the makeup artist — ‘Make sure you wipe this off her face after the show. We don’t make her up so some guy at a bar can look at her like this,'” Bassett also wrote.

Any woman who has even casually watched Matthews’ show recognizes this behavior.  I try to avoid Matthews, but I can remember him conducting a weird voyeuristic and coercive direction of the camera on a woman one night.  He kept telling the cameraman to come in closer and closer on the woman’s face.  This started while the woman was talking.  He finally made it into some joke, like they all do, but it was creepy, just creepy, disrespectful and juvenile.

According to Antony Leonardi and Mike Brest in the Examiner (2/2920), Matthews:

  • has been known to “rate female guests on a numerical scale based on appearance;
  • has been reprimanded for comments directed to a subordinate that led to a separation-related payment;
  • was caught on camera joking about a “Bill cosby pill” which was a reference to a date rape drug.

Matthews also referred to Sarah Palin and Salley Yates as “attractive.”

At this point in time, I don’t particularly care what’s gotten him off the air.  I’m just grateful, but his behavior especially towards Sanders is just part of a larger network wide attempt to destroy one of the candidates for the Democratic nomination.

Also participating in this campaign have been Chuck Todd, Brian Williams, Nicolle Wallace, Joy Reid (who has been carrying this on since at least 2016) and now Rachael Maddow who participated in the general laughter of the panel when Brian Williams mocked the Sanders campaign last night.  All of these people are complicit.  Chris Hayes and Maddow have for the most part stayed out of the overt attacks indulged in by the likes of Joy Reid, but Maddow, as I said joined in the contempt for Sanders expressed by the panel last night and Chris Hayes has spent time repeating every negative trope about Sanders saying that this is what “people are saying.”  People may be saying a lot of things but that doesn’t mean you have to repeat them on your television program.

But, I have no doubt that Chris Matthews will be at it again tomorrow night.  He will perhaps apologize AGAIN, for his behavior, but I doubt they will fire him.

MSNBC has shown its true colors since Bernie Sanders demonstrated he was a viable candidate.  The anchors mentioned above plus innumerable guests have slandered, mocked, distorted, ridiculed and generally propagandized in an effort to destroy Sanders’ campaign.

I am 69 years old and I have never, ever seen an entire news network participate in such an overt effort to distort the political process.  If we survive as a democratic country, something I rather doubt at this point, this course of coverage engaged in by MSNBC will be studied and written about as a deplorable exercise in media interference in an election.

Truth May Matter, but Justice Evidently Does Not: The Stone Sentencing

roger 2

I don’t know how many more days like this I can handle.

 

Roger Stone, convicted for witness tampering, lying to Congress and obstructing an official proceeding was today sentenced to 40 months in prison.  The media immediately turned the judge, who rejected an initial Justice Department recommendation that Stone get between 7 and 9 years, into a hero.

 

Ari Melber on MSNBC (who evidently considers himself the Consoler in Chief) once again had guests on to tell the American people that the judicial branch is holding steady, the last bastion of integrity and justice.  The institutions, so he claims, are holding.

 

Well, I’ve got news for Ari F…ing Melber, the institutions are not holding.  The executive branch is a criminal enterprise masquerading as a government (Sarah Kenzior), the Congress is toothless and being led by the nose by a collection of thugs who are either being bought off or extorted or who are just so craven for power they will do anything.  This same group of thugs is appointing new federal judges at breakneck speed.  Their nominees are so inept and ignorant they would never ever get near a courtroom as a judge unless there were a thoroughly corrupt administration shoveling them into lifetime positions.  The media is controlled by corporate interests and mediocre star reporters who laugh and joke their way through crisis after crisis after crisis.  The institutions are crumbling before our eyes.

 

Neither the corporate press nor the members of Congress are brave enough to see what’s happening and convey the seriousness of the situation.  The institutions are holding, they say.  Nothing to see here.  It will all be alright.

 

It reminds me of something that happened to me in Scotland years ago.  I went along with a friend to a house where the father of the family had thrown himself out a window.  Fortunately, he fell into the lovely Scottish garden below.  I was charged with sitting with the young son.  At some point I said: It’ll be alright.  The kid’s head snapped around and he stared at me with incredulity and contempt.  “Alright,” he said.  “Alright? My father just jumped out of a window.”  I nodded.  “You have a point.”  I said.

 

Sentencing for white collar (political and corporate) criminals is already an obscene joke in this country.   Take a look at Jesse Eisinger’s recent (and totally ignored) book “The Chickenshit Club.”  Eisinger details what happens these days to prosecutors who try to aggressively prosecute white collar criminals.  It’s an endeavor which is against their career interests.    Most white collar (corporate and political) criminals are not prosecuted.  The Justice Department almost always does deals with their attorneys before they come to trial.  A trial is considered time-consuming, expensive and unnecessary.  Smart prosecutors are expert negotiators and deal makers. As Eisinger points out, not only have prosecutors learned that they put their careers on the line if they fail to negotiate a deal, the institution itself has lost the expertise to prosecute cases and take them to trial.

 

Line prosecutors in the Stone case, though, did go to trial.  These prosecutors risked their careers but they proved their case and then recommended a sentence that was squarely in the middle of (already lenient) sentencing guidelines.  Their reward?  William Barr intervened, overruled them and after they resigned in protest sent his cronies into court to claim that DOJ had reconsidered the sentence recommendation and decided a lesser sentence was appropriate.

 

Then, when most of us who are sane and love the law and the concept of justice noticed, when something like 2000 former DOJ officials wrote a letter of protest, Barr sent his minions back into court to say that it had all been a misunderstanding.

 

Nobody who has a brain can mistake this series of events for anything but what it was – an attempt by Barr and Trump to see if they could simply throw caution to the wind and direct the sentencing of one of Trump’s buddies.  They tried, they got some push back, and they backed off to some extent.  But, make no mistake about it.  They will try again, and they will probably succeed.  This is (like the pardons) a softening of the ground.

 

Because of this, what was needed from the courts was a strong statement that high-level government officials cannot just dictate prosecution and sentencing.  What we got was the same “chickenshit” response from Jackson we saw previously from Mueller (who defined his investigation so narrowly it could not really be effective).  Jackson compromised, caved, backed down.

 

Earlier in the day, Seth Abramson tweeted that Trump used professionalism against people.  He predicted that Jackson would give Stone a lenient sentence in the name of being “reasonable,” or “fair” or “unbiased” or “professional.”  In doing so, she failed to send a message that the justice system is going to fight.

 

This morning, when I first heard the reporting that she was talking tough in court, I knew we were in big trouble.  In highly publicized cases like this, when judges talk tough, they sentence light.

 

“What did you expect.”  My partner said to me as I was pacing around the house indignant at the lenient sentence and the reaction of the corporate media.

 

“I know, I know” I responded “but it’s like knowing somebody’s going to die and having it actually happen.”

 

“You thought you might be wrong?”

 

“I was hoping, hoping I might be wrong.”

 

But, I was not wrong.  Of course, I was not wrong.

 

Tuesday night, Ari Melber had Melissa Murray on his show and she told a story about lecturing students.  She was talking about Nixon vs. Fitzgerald. She told her students that in immunizing the president from civil suits the courts did not make him a king.  He was still subject to other checks – the impeachment process, the free press, the effect on his legacy.  Her students, 112 men and women learning to be lawyers, laughed at her.  Well they should have.  I would have laughed at her.

 

Murray, as much as I love her, is another of those people (like Joyce Vance, Chuck Rosenberg and others) who’s identity is bound up with believing a fairy tale.  That fairy tale is that there are people with integrity who will stand up to injustice, corruption and the destruction of democracy.  The fairy tale is that these people will step up and save us. They will not.  We live in a society largely made up of conformists, of cowards, of people who are too timid and too comfortable to rock the boat.  Their careers and their inflated salaries are more important to them than their county, democracy or justice.

 

Jackson said in her decision today that the truth matters.  Maybe, but justice evidently does not.

Pease Listen to Bernie and Stop Listening to MSNBC

morning joe in pajamas

MORNING THOUGHTS

 

MSNBC is no longer a news channel.  It is a channel where the corporate Democratic strategists talk to each other and try to convince the rest of us that what they want to be true is true.

 

Morning Joe was devoted today to everything about every candidate in New Hampshire except the front runner, Bernie Sanders.

 

Early in the program, MSNBC posted a chart showing Sanders as the front runner and his steady line as the front runner in New Hampshire.  So, was the conversation about Sanders?  Of course not.  It was about Buttigieg and Klobuchar.  According to the panel, the campaigns of Klobuchar and Buttigieg were taking off.  They are the “candidates on the move.”

 

John Heileman had to try to make Sanders’ steady lead sound like it was a negative.  He said that Sanders was in the lead, but he was just “sitting there.”

 

Scarborough (who helped Trump get elected) talked about Biden being in the “second tier” in the polls.  If, he added, you BELIEVE IN THE POLLS.  Morning Joe and the panel have been touting polls for months showing Biden leading, but all of a sudden, when he’s in fourth or fifth place, Joe has to add “if you believe in the polls.”

 

(Note: I would just like to add that Scarborough and the dreadful Mika were at Mara-la-go AFTER the 2016 election.  Their break with Trump came after he outed their adulterous affair.)

 

O.K.  then, we have the panel trying desperately to rehabilitate Biden, just like always.  They tried to make excuses for Biden’s lack of ability to raise money at the grassroots.  Well, one said, he is old school.  He “can’t raise money online.”  Adrienne Elrod (one of the Clinton mean girls who is still incapable of expressing anything but contempt and resentment at Bernie Sanders because he dared DARED to run against Clinton) had to add that Biden didn’t really “plan to run well” in Iowa, i.e., he didn’t really try.  (This is the best excuse she could come up with?)

 

Elrod then adds that Biden also doesn’t expect to run well in New Hampshire, already trying to dampen expectations before the primary.  Talking about the Biden campaign, she says “they want to move on.”  Want to move on?  Where the hell to they expect to move on to?  Where do they expect to win?  This is the man that @MSNBC pundits have been telling us was the front runner for months.

 

Then, MSNBC shows us a Biden campaign ad (when was the last time they showed us a Bernie campaign ad?) and say that the problem is that Biden isn’t being allowed to be Biden.  In the ad, Biden contrasts what are supposed to be his best contributions to history, with the most trivial things Buttigieg has ever done.  The panel argues that this ad and these little episodes with Biden, where he acts like an entitled ass, are to be blamed on his campaign not letting him be himself.  The Dreadful Mika has to add that Biden would never respond with contempt and derision if he was in a room with a former Mayor (like Buttigieg) who was touting his accomplishments.  Jesus. We are supposed to believe that the ad made by his campaign, approved by him is “not Biden.” Those little episodes (pointing fingers at the chest of voters, telling one she’s a liar, acting like a pathetic old man pretending to be a hard ass) are not Biden.  That’s ignorant.  Those episodes are Biden.  That’s what he is, a resentful, entitled, defensive old man who thinks he’s owed being president.  (Remind you of anybody?)

 

Then, Morning Joe announced their guests for the morning, James Carville, David Plouffe, Klobuchar and Bennett.  A progressive is in the lead in New Hampshire.  Any Progressives?  Hell no, a show full of people who despise Bernie Sanders and everything he stands for.

 

Then, we must hear about Bloomberg and how he is “driving Trump crazy.”  What evidence is there for this?  Who’s ass do they pull this stuff out of?  Everybody on the panel agrees.  Oh, they slobber, Bloomberg is “tougher” than Trump, “richer” than Trump.  Bloomberg’s money will be the “great equalizer” in the race.  When was a rich man running against another rich man ever considered a “great equalizer?”  Joe Scarborough obviously enjoys bragging about how much more money Bloomberg has than Trump.

 

(Note:  This is where we are folks.  The obvious delight with which Scarborough describes Bloomberg’s wealth just tells you everything about him.)

 

Elrod says that Bloomberg is “still the most electable” candidate for many Americans.  Again, who’s ass did she drag that out of?  What evidence is there for that?  She would rather choke than say such a thing about Bernie even though there is much more evidence that the same statement about Bernie.

 

The panel ended with a discussion of the “fear” that the populace has about the current crop of candidates.  What they are communicating is that they have a deathly “fear” of Bernie Sanders.  All of them know that Sanders and his people would never let them get near the White House if he was elected.  That’s what they are scared of.

 

I can’t watch MSNBC anymore.  The only reason for watching is to document the almost complete slide into corporate Democratic promotion as the Party and the party elite face the terror of people, real people, exercising their rights and fighting for their rights.

 

Turn over to CSPAN and you can watch Bernie giving a speech in New Hampshire. The reason the corporate media doesn’t ever show you Bernie unless they have to is that they are terrified people will see what a real candidate is like, a candidate who believes in what he is saying, a real person, fighting, perhaps giving his life, to fight for regular people, for the changes that will give regular people an opportunity to take some benefit from a society they contribute so much to.  Please listen to Bernie Sanders.  Please stop listening to MSNBC and CNN.

Julian Assange: Not the Corporate Media

If you would like to consider a non-corporate media perspective on Julian Assange, this podcast is a good entry.  It is an interview with British journalist, Tariq Ali.  There is a link Ali’s book below.

Podcast: Sheer Report by Robert Sheet

https://www.kcrw.com/culture/shows/scheer-intelligence/the-plot-to-discredit-and-destroy-julian-assange

 

Impeachment Battle Stations: Jonathan Turley is a Sell Out

turley

I am at impeachment battle stations this morning, surrounded by cats.  One of them is already snoring.  I miss my little Burmese who died recently.  He had watched 21 years of CSPAN and news shows and was a kitty genius.  He appreciated and would have schooled the other cats on the historical significance of this event.

Jonathan Turley will read a statement this morning which is longer than the statements of any of the other lawyers appearing.  He will finish with a hilarious (I’m not serious) narrative about how even his dog is angry, but we don’t need to rush into impeachment.  Isn’t that just so cute?

Turley used to be a principled analyst and commentator.  Then he was hired by the Republicans to destroy the ACA.  Jonathan Turley fought AGAINST providing health insurance for low income people.  This is the kind of scum he became after the Republicans bought him off.

Turley will say that there is no “statutory crime” here.  But, the Constitution doesn’t require a statutory crime to impeach.  That’s just how shameless Turley has become in terms of advancing nonsense as legal reasoning.

Brian Williams (why does he still have a job) is telling us that it is understandable that nobody will read the House Intelligence Committee Report because it’s 300 pages.  Is he talking about himself?  I read 300 pages regularly and know other people who do.  The mediocrity that fills the corporate news is just so tiresome.

Afternoon Notes: Epstein, the House Intelligence Committee Report, MSNBC,Ukraine

ukraine scandal

 

House Intelligence Committee Report

The House Intelligence Committee has released their preliminary impeachment report.

Included are phone records that document phone calls between Giuliani and OMB, made from the White House.  This makes it impossible to maintain the fiction that Giuliani was conducting a “rogue operation.”

Epstein

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz told The Miami Herald on Wednesday that he does not believe investigating the outcome of pedophile multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s case is a wise move, saying it would set a “dangerous” precedent of second-guessing prosecutorial decisions.” The Intellectualist.

If you don’t know just how outrageous this plea deal was, you need to do some reading.  The plea deal immunized not only Epstein, but anyone associated with him, unnamed.

Ukraine Scandal

Seth Abramson pointed out on Twitter that the Trump/Ukraine story is far worse than the Democrats are presenting.  They are conducting a concerted attempt to dumb down the impeachment inquiry to the most elementary story hoping that then, people will understand it.

Abramson writes: “It’s much worse than we’ve been told.”

Trump, Pompeo, Giuliani, Nunes, Solomon, Parnas, Lutsenko and Fruman, Abramson notes began their plotting much earlier than is being considered.  (Note: Schiff referred to this in his statement today after the report was released).

The plotting began at a time when the participants didn’t know if Mueller would take down Trump.  It started when Trump learned he was being investigated over Russia.

Trump, Abramson argues, believed that Mueller would take him down.  The push towards Ukraine was a defense to allegations he knew were being made against the Kremlin, which he believed were going to be connected to him via Manafort.

This was not a plot against Biden.  Biden was just the icing on the cake.

“This was a plot to exculpate Trump, Putin and the man who connected them: Manafort.  It was a plot to end sanctions and pave the way for Trump deals in Russia.”

The key events started before anyone knew that Biden was going to run for president.

Duncan Hunter and Sentencing

Duncan Hunter is going to be allowed to plead guilty to corruption charges he vehemently denied for years.  Hunter claimed the charges against him were politically motivated and a (sign) “witch hunt.”  He refused to admit his wrongdoing, publicly claimed that he was being persecuted and still holds his position in the congress, but he is being allowed to plead guilty to one charge.  Even though he has been charged with multiple crimes, and potentially faces five years in prison, the reporting is that he will most probably get a little over a year.

There is no functioning criminal justice system for white collar, corporate and state criminals in this country.  That’s why Trump and Manafort and others like them were running around free to engage in political campaigns.  This must stop or we will have no democracy left.

The Corporate Media

At this extremely serious time, Nicolle Wallace has Donnie Deutsch on her show as a member of the panel.  Deutsch is a “marketing expert.”  This, folks, is where we are as a country, and where the corporate media is.

Authoritarianism: Ain’t it Grand?

 

“A …report by the Justice Department’s inspector general is expected to sharply criticize lower-level F.B.I. officials as well as bureau leaders involved in the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation, but to absolve the top ranks of abusing their powers out of bias against President Trump…”

 

As Nick Confessori (NYT) pointed out this morning, the very investigation of FBI “spying” or wrongdoing in the investigation of the Trump campaign, is a victory for Trump.

 

Donald Trump made a wild accusation at a campaign rally, based on nothing, and the Justice Department devoted time and resources investigating it.  So, even though they now say that there was nothing untoward in the investigation we have devoted serious attention to a wild accusation.

 

This is exactly what the corporate press does every day.  A substantial part of “Meet The Press” on Sunday was handed over to John Kennedy to propagate Russian propaganda, arguing that the “earth is flat” and that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election in the same way as did the Russians (who have been indicted).   Everyone knows that’s fiction, propaganda, so why does Chuck Todd book this liar and give him a platform?

 

The world is moving toward authoritarianism, and corporate media darlings like Nicolle Wallace laugh and joke and just have a wonderful time talking about the minutiae of Trump’s intentions and mind.

 

This is the way a country moves into authoritarianism without realizing it.  If there was something serious going on, wouldn’t the news anchors be talking about it as if it were a serious matter?  That’s what most people think, whether consciously or unconsciously.  When they see Nicolle Wallace having a high old time and Chris Hayes turning the news into a comedy show, they are relieved that they don’t have to take what is a move to a one-party authoritarian state seriously.

 

The corporate media repeatedly presents “both sides” and allows the right to vomit up endless streams of propaganda, treating it as if it were a reasonable narrative.

 

Just as the corporate media presents “both sides” the rational and the bat- shit crazy, Mueller and now the Justice Department Inspector General create a world of legal “bothsidesism.”

 

“The early accounts of the (Inspector General’s) report suggest that it is likely to stoke the debate over the investigation without definitively resolving it (Sound like Mueller?), by offering both sides different conclusions they can point to as vindication for their rival worldviews.”

 

We can’t let them get away with this.

 

Quotes from NYT article: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/22/us/politics/russia-investigation-inspector-general-report.html