Tag: corporate media

One of the most right-wing newspapers in the entire country couldn’t find a single Betsy DeVos supporter in the education community

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post was originally written on Medium by the administrator of this blog and has been republished in full.


Above the fold on the front page of today’s issue of The News-Gazette, a Champaign, Illinois-based newspaper that covers the east-central part of Illinois and has a very right-wing reputation, was this story about how many in the public education community are opposed to the nomination of Betsy DeVos to the office of U.S. Secretary of Education.

In The News-Gazette’s attempt to find a DeVos supporter, they couldn’t find a single one in the educational community in East Central Illinois.

The strongest opposition to DeVos came obviously from teachers’ union leaders, although many in management (i.e., public school administrators) strongly opposed DeVos as well. Sheila Greenwood, the superintendent of schools in the Bement, Illinois public school system (covering southern portions of Piatt County, Illinois), said this about DeVos:

Bement Superintendent Sheila Greenwood was so appalled by how DeVos answered senators’ questions last month that she contacted her legislators, “begging them to put a stop to this insanity.”

“She couldn’t answer basic questions about schools, funding or assessment. She is uber-wealthy and has no experiences with public education because she lives like the 1 percent and knows nothing,” Greenwood said. “I think Trump will have his puppet and others will run the department.

Jeremy Darnell, the superintendent of the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley public school system in Illinois (map of district here), said this about DeVos:

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Superintendent Jeremy Darnell was unimpressed with her hearing, as well, saying it was “very evident” she lacks understanding of current education issues.

[…]

“Votes should be cast on merit, preparation and the ability to effectively fill an essential role in our national government, not party line politics,” Darnell said. “All appointments should be considered for their ability to effectively advise our elected leadership. No leader can be a master at all so the essential need to surround yourself with experts in their field is more important today than ever.

The Bement and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school districts are located in some of the most Republican areas in all of Illinois, and voters in both school districts voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

The closest person that The News-Gazette could find to a DeVos supporter was Mr. Seth Miller, the superintendent of the public school system that I attended, the Westville Community Unit School District in Illinois. I’m paraphrasing, but Mr. Miller’s thoughts about DeVos were basically of the “give DeVos a chance if she’s confirmed” mentality without offering any explicit support of DeVos:

“We have the best educational system in the world. A leader who is committed to children, who need access to public education, would receive my support,” Miller said. “… Spirited debate with informed constituents helps make us a strong country — big enough and brave enough for diverse opinions. It is my hope that whoever is confirmed as the next secretary of education will help perpetuate this democratic ideal in our public school system.”

Having seen video clips of the Betsy DeVos confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, it is clear to me that, if confirmed, DeVos would be a downright horrible Education Secretary.

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51% of Democrats foolishly trust the pro-Trump corporate media

Despite the corporate media trying to rig the presidential election for Republican nominee Donald Trump by giving Trump a huge amount of free air time, a narrow majority of Democrats trust the corporate media, per a recent Gallup poll:

To put that another way, 51% of Democrats are nearly as moronic as Trump is.

San Jose Mercury News can’t say the name Simone Manuel

Make no mistake about it, Simone Manuel became the first black American woman to win an individual gold medal in the sport of swimming when she won the women’s 100 meter (109.3613 yard) freestyle swimming event at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There were actually two gold medalists in the event, as Manuel tied Canadian Penny Oleksiak for the gold medal position. In Olympic swimming, a tie occurs when two or more swimmers post the same time, measured to hundredths of a second. When a tie occurs in Olympic swimming for a medal position, all tied competitors receive a medal of the same color (gold for a tie for first, silver for a tie for second, and bronze for a tie for third).

However, The Mercury News, a newspaper covering the San Jose, California area, used this headline to document Manuel’s historic victory:

Not only is that headline factually incorrect, it’s racist and sexist. First off, Manuel and Michael Phelps never shared an Olympic podium, as men and women compete in swimming events. In fact, the only Olympic sport (summer or winter) in which there are not separate competitions for men and women is equestrian (although a few Olympic sports, such as tennis (summer) and curling (winter, starting in 2018) have events featuring mixed-gender teams competing against each other, and modern pentathlon, of which equestrian is one of the five component sports, has separate men’s and women’s competitions). Secondly, The Mercury News was unwilling to use the name of a black woman who won the event in its headline, but had no problem using the name of a white man who wasn’t eligible to compete in the event in its headline.

The corporate media isn’t willing to say any part of her name, but I am more than willing to say the full name of my favorite Olympic champion of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad so far: Simone Ashley Manuel.

Morning Joe hosts caught on hot mic fawning over Donald Trump

During a commercial break of an edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe in which Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared on the program, hosts Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, and Mika Brzezinski were caught on a hot microphone fawning over Trump:

In one exchange, Brzezinski calls Trump’s decision to call two men onstage to a rally last week after they confronted a protester a “wow moment.”

“You had me almost as a legendary figure, I like that,” Trump responds.

[…]

At one point, Brzezinski seems to ask Scarborough if they should ask Trump questions about deportation. Scarborough only replies that “we really do have to go to some questions.”

Trump then jokes to Brezinski, “Nothing too hard, Mika.”

If you want proof that the far-right corporate media in this country has bent over backwards to appease Donald Trump, there’s the proof. I find it absolutely disgusting that the media would do whatever it takes to appease someone who compares immigrants to rapists and is running a presidential campaign on full-blown bigotry.

The REAL reason why The Washington Post is smearing Bernie: it’s about those Viagra ads

The Bernie Sanders presidential campaign has begun to push back aggressively against an editorial by The Washington Post that viciously attacked him for running for president and advocating for common-sense ideas to make America great again. For example, Sanders retweeted this tweet from David Sirota of the International Business Times pointing out WaPo’s hypocrisy:

However, that isn’t the real reason why WaPo is attacking Bernie. In this paragraph, one line really stood out as being something about Bernie’s proposed Medicare for All plan that would have a specific negative impact on the corporate media:

Mr. Sanders’s story continues with fantastical claims about how he would make the European social model work in the United States. He admits that he would have to raise taxes on the middle class in order to pay for his universal, Medicare-for-all health-care plan, and he promises massive savings on health-care costs that would translate into generous benefits for ordinary people, putting them well ahead, on net. But he does not adequately explain where those massive savings would come from. Getting rid of corporate advertising and overhead would only yield so much. Savings would also have to come from slashing payments to doctors and hospitals and denying benefits that people want.

(emphasis mine)

The fact that WaPo is complaining about Bernie’s plan (possibly) eliminating direct-to-consumer advertising (keep in mind that I’ve never heard a major-party presidential candidate in this year’s election actually advocate for eliminating direct-to-consumer advertising) of prescription drugs is a dead giveaway as to why WaPo is smearing Bernie.

Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and medical devices is allowed in only two countries (the United States and New Zealand), and it’s a major contributor to why health care costs in America are ridiculously high. Late last year, the American Medical Association (AMA), a group representing American physicians, called for a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising. Obviously, such a ban would likely result in less advertising revenue for corporate media outlets, since big pharmaceutical companies pay big bucks to corporate media outlets for advertising.

While I’m not sure how much money WaPo makes off of pharmaceutical advertising, WaPo is going to bat for the corporate media in a desperate attempt to preserve the corporate media’s stream of money from the makers of erectile dysfunction pills like Viagra and Cialis.

Bundy Family and militia takes over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, CNN isn’t reporting about it online

Ammon Bundy, the son of far-right anti-government crackpot Cliven Bundy, two of Ammon’s brothers, and far-right militiamen have taken over the administration building of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon.

As of 9:30 P.M. PST/11:30 P.M. CST, CNN.com, CNN’s website, has reported absolutely nothing about the right-wing militia taking over the Malheur NWR headquarters. There’s nothing on the front page about the takeover, and there’s nothing on the U.S. page about the takeover. In fact, the Wikipedia page on Malheur NWR was edited at 1:57 A.M. GMT/5:57 P.M. PST/7:57 CST to include a one-sentence reference to the Bundy/militia takeover.

This story is clearly of national importance, because right-wing terrorists and members of the Bundy family of right-wing extremists have responded to the legitimate conviction of two Oregon ranchers who set fire to federal land set aside for the protection of wildlife, not for ranching, by an armed takeover of the Malheur NWR headquarters.

Furthermore, some corporate media outlets are trying to claim that the Bundy/militia occupiers are non-violent protesters, when, in fact, Ammon Bundy has openly called for militia members to join the occupation and bring weapons with them. This is clearly not a non-violent protest, although I’ve heard no reports of shots fired or any other acts of violence at this time.

CNN has become an absolute joke of a news organization, and most other corporate media outlets are not much better.

It’s not just a Bernie Sanders media blackout. It’s a Democratic Party media blackout.

If you’re a Bernie Sanders supporter, you certainly know by now that Bernie, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, has received far less coverage from the traditional news media in this country than Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, despite Trump having fewer supporters than Bernie:

(Real Clear Politics’s) average showed Sanders with 32.2% support among voters, and Trump with just slightly more at 33%. But Gallup’s party affiliation numbers showed 44% of those surveyed identify with Democrats, compared to 42% of Republicans, giving a bit more weight to the Sanders supporters.

[…]

Media Matters for America reported that Trump in 2015 had received 234 minutes of coverage among NBC, CBS and ABC evening news broadcasts, while Sanders got only 10 minutes of coverage from the Big Three. ABC gave Sanders the least amount of time, with only 20 seconds of stories broadcast about the Sanders campaign on World News Tonight. Those figures don’t include reports about events such as debates in which all candidates participate.

However, it’s not just Bernie who is largely being ignored by the media. Hillary Clinton, a Democratic presidential candidate who, per recent opinion polling, has more supporters than any other major-party presidential candidate, has also received considerably less media attention than Trump. In fact, as legendary political columnist and author John Nichols noted, most of the media coverage that Hillary has received has been about her responses to Trump’s offensive rhetoric:

Even when Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is covered, the coverage is increasingly focused on her responses to the billionaire’s obnoxious and irresponsible statements. When the Democratic front-runner calls out the Republican front-runner’s crude scheming to bar Muslims from the United States, that’s a story, to be sure. But it should also be a story when Clinton proposes a National Infrastructure Bank and a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s transportation system — as she did Friday in St. Louis.

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley have all proposed interesting ideas to make America a better place to live, yet the corporate media is promoting Donald Trump’s overt racism and offensive remarks. This is roughly 3% the fault of failed Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and roughly 97% the fault of a corporate media that is more interested in ratings than objective political coverage. Many Americans, including me, are sick and fucking tired of the corporate media promoting Donald Trump’s overt hatred, racism, sexism, Islamophobia, bigotry, scaremongering, vindictiveness, and absurd ideas. If Donald Trump were to win, it would be because he’s the corporate media’s preferred presidential candidate.

This isn’t just a Bernie Sanders media blackout. This is a Democratic Party media blackout.

My thoughts about the first Democratic presidential debate

Having watched last night’s Democratic presidential debate, I’ll begin by saying that I believe that Bernie Sanders won the debate, with Martin O’Malley having the second-best performance, followed by Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee.

My thoughts about Bernie Sanders’s performance

The Good – He upstaged Hillary Clinton on an issue directly affecting HRC (the private email server “scandal” that has been concocted by the GOP). He also defended himself very well, especially on gun safety and on the Veterans’ Affairs health system scandal.

The Bad – He mentioned his campaign website twice during the debate.

My thoughts about Martin O’Malley’s performance

The Good – He came across as the strongest candidate on gun safety, invoking the story of a family who lost one of their own in the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre.

The Bad – He tried to defend his zero-tolerance policing policy from his tenure as Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, which was one of several factors that have led to distrust between the police and the public in Baltimore.

My thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s performance

The Good – She came across as very professional during the debate without coming across as scripted or boring. She also cracked a joke at a very inappropriate remark from lead moderator Anderson Cooper about her bathroom usage.

The Bad – She twice invoked the fact that she’s a woman during the debate. She also gave weak answers on a number of issues, most notably marijuana legalization and financial regulation.

My thoughts about Jim Webb’s performance

The Good – He used his wife’s story on immigration very well.

The Bad – He used the NRA’s talking points on guns.

My thoughts about Lincoln Chafee’s performance

The Good – Nothing about his debate performance was especially good.

The Bad – He blamed his father’s death on his vote for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in the late 1990’s. Furthermore, he made an odd remark comparing himself to a block of granite at one point in the debate.

The big winners (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

The Democratic Party – All in all, the debate was a great showing that Democrats can have an intelligent, civil discussion about actual political issues between candidates representing various factions of the party.

Civic engagement – CNN’s telecast of the debate received the most viewers of any Democratic presidential primary/caucus debate in television history.

The internet – For the first time since the 1960 presidential general election debates, there appears to be a major disconnect between two media platforms on debate performance. In 1960, it was between radio (whose listeners viewed Richard Nixon as the debate winner) and television (whose viewers viewed John F. Kennedy as the debate winner). This time, it’s between television (which has been trying to spin a Hillary Clinton debate victory) and the internet (most people on social media view Bernie Sanders as the debate victor). I’d expect the newer platform (in this case, the internet) to come out on top.

The big losers (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

Anderson Cooper – Cooper, CNN’s lead moderator for the debate, tried to use his position to smear Bernie Sanders on a number of GOP talking points against him and failed, and he also made a very inappropriate remark about Hillary Clinton’s bathroom usage after one of the commercial breaks.

The mainstream media – See my remarks about the internet being a big winner above.

Mike Huckabee – Huckabee, one of many Republican presidential candidates, took to Twitter during the debate and made downright racist remarks about Korean people while attacking Bernie Sanders.

Joe Biden – With Hillary Clinton giving a strong enough debate performance to calm down those in the establishment who were fretting about Hillary, and Bernie Sanders solidifying the progressive base of the party, there’s not really a path to victory for Biden if he were to enter the race for the Democratic nomination.

Debate fairness – CNN shut out Lawrence Lessig from participating in the debate despite the fact that Lessig is a Democratic candidate for president.

Joe Biden’s “Susan Happ” problem

With Vice President Joe Biden likely to run for the Democratic presidential nomination, I do want to bring up an historical parallel between Biden’s likely presidential bid and Jefferson County, Wisconsin District Attorney Susan Happ’s failed bid for Attorney General of Wisconsin last year.

The parallel between Biden and Happ is this: Both Biden and Happ are/were, prior to running for higher office (or, in Happ’s case, after winning a statewide Democratic primary in Wisconsin), viewed favorably by voters not because of their actual track records or positions on the issues, but because they liked the candidates personally. In Biden’s case, he’s seen by many voters across the country as an approachable guy with an interesting personality. In Happ’s case, she was seen by many voters in Wisconsin as someone who rode a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in a television ad.

Happ’s campaign to become Wisconsin’s top prosecutor fell apart not long after Happ won a contested Democratic primary with a narrow majority of the vote. Republicans and the far-right corporate media in Wisconsin viciously attacked Happ’s record as a county-level prosecutor, making her look like a corrupt prosecutor who gave out light sentences to Democrats and political cronies, when, in reality, it was a major distortion of Happ’s record. The sustained attack on Happ damaged her campaign and allowed Republican racist Brad Schimel to be elected Attorney General of Wisconsin.

Biden has a legitimately awful record, especially as a U.S. Senator from Delaware, including, among other things:

  • Helping put right-wing extremist Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court despite serious sexual harassment allegations against Thomas
  • Voting to repeal the Glass-Steagall regulations on banks and other financial institutions, which led to the Great Recession
  • Voting for the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), which prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages prior to being ruled unconstitutional by a conservative U.S. Supreme Court
  • Publicly claiming that “abortion is always wrong”
  • Helping enact legislation, signed into law by George W. Bush, that made it harder for Americans to file for bankruptcy
  • Helping enact legislation that expanded the prison-industrial complex in the United States
  • Voting for George W. Bush’s unjustified Iraq War

It wouldn’t take much for one of the Democratic presidential candidates already in the race to brand Biden as an awful politician, if Biden were to run.

I believe that there is an important lesson that is to be learned from the failure of Susan Happ’s campaign for Wisconsin Attorney General last year. When one runs for public office, his or her track record can, either fairly or unfairly, be used against him or her by any political opponent. While Joe Biden’s decision on whether or not to run for president is entirely Joe Biden’s decision to make, I would caution him that his record as a U.S. Senator would likely come back to haunt him politically.

Right-wing Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Christian Schneider claims that Russ Feingold is worse than a child molester

Christian Schneider, a right-wing columnist for the right-wing Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, compared Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), who is running for his former U.S. Senate seat, to child molester and Ashley Madison member Josh Duggar in this column:

Of course, Feingold’s (Badger Pledge) isn’t meant to be taken seriously. Typically, all of a campaign’s money is spent a month before election day — all of a candidate’s ad buys are complete and campaign literature has been printed. (Further, with YouTube and social media, traditional television ad buys are becoming less and less relevant.) What if a third-party group runs an ad with two weeks to go, while the actual campaigns are broke? Who is coming after them — the Russ Feingold Collection Agency?

Instead, Feingold is simply following the old campaign trick of a candidate trying to show strength in an area that represents his greatest weakness. In the past few months, reports have shown that Feingold has been living a double life that would make Josh Duggar cringe; despite decades of railing against money in politics, Feingold himself commanded a political action committee that has raked in millions from special interest groups.

(emphasis by Monona Grove (WI) school board member and Cognitive Dissidence blogger Jeff Simpson)

While money in politics is a serious problem, and politicians in both major parties are guilty as sin of being part of the problem and/or being hypocritical about it, comparing Russ Feingold to a child molester like Josh Duggar is absolutely absurd. What Schneider did was basically claim that using a political front group as a benchwarmer for political operatives is somehow worse than child molestation. While big-money politics is a very serious problem in this country, child molestation is absolutely repulsive.

Schneider’s bizarre comparison between Feingold and Duggar reminds me a lot of disgraced former Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) spokesman Graeme Zielinski comparing Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s legal defense in the first John Doe investigation to the legal defense of serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer.

It’s bad enough that Russ Feingold has had to deal with borderline anti-Semitic remarks by DPW Chairwoman Martha Laning (trust me, Laning wouldn’t have complained about Feingold’s last name if his name were a more common last name like Smith or White), who has been trying to sabotage Feingold’s campaign. It’s even worse that the right-wing corporate media in Wisconsin is making unbelievably offensive remarks comparing Feingold to a child molester.

I urge people to contact Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial page editor David Haynes at dhaynes@journalsentinel.com and call for the Journal-Sentinel to fire Christian Schneider over his offensive remarks about Russ Feingold.