Communications

15 things everyone would know if there were a liberal media

Your False-Equivalence Guide to the Days Ahead James Fallows Sep 27 2013  –A kind of politics we have not seen for more than 150 years…As a matter of journalism, any story that presents the disagreements as a “standoff,” a “showdown,” a “failure of leadership,” a sign of “partisan gridlock,” or any of the other usual terms for political disagreement, represents a failure of journalism and an inability to see or describe what is going on…This isn’t “gridlock.” It is a ferocious struggle within one party, between its traditionalists and its radical factions, with results that unfortunately can harm all the rest of us — and, should there be a debt default, could harm the rest of the world too.

Our Dumb Democracy: Why the Untied States of Stupid Still Reins Supreem by John Atcheson, January 22, 2013 by Common Dreams – …Want to know how our political discourse got so mind-numbingly stupid? Well, we can start with this little fact:  The press is so enamored with “balance” that they’ll treat even the most ignorant, shallow, fatuous movement – a [Tea Party] movement composed of the selfish, the self-obsessed, the angry, the bigoted, and the blissfully ignorant – as if it were a serious movement.…At one time this kind of foolishness would have been laughed off the national stage. Now it dominates one of our major political parties, thanks to the media’s embrace of balance and false equivalence and the Democrats’ silent complicity…today’s political discourse is so thoroughly littered with “conventional wisdom” without an iota of wisdom...our media has replaced truth, accuracy and reality with balance, false equivalency, and stenography and Democrats have been silent co-conspirators. Why?  Because the press is a wholly owned subsidiary of corporations, and too many Democrats feed at the corporate trough. And that’s not funny, but it is stupid.

A Great Debate By GARY GUTTING, New York Times blogs, Feb­ru­ary 19, 2013…our polit­i­cal “debates” sel­dom deserve the name…Is there any way to make gen­uine debates — sus­tained back-and-forth exchanges, meet­ing high intel­lec­tual stan­dards but still widely acces­si­ble — part of our polit­i­cal cul­ture?..Such debates will not end our polit­i­cal dis­agree­ments, but they will set much higher stan­dards of dis­cus­sion, requir­ing fuller expla­na­tions of posi­tions and even mod­i­fi­ca­tions to make them more defen­si­ble. It’s unlikely that either side would ever sim­ply give up its view, but, polit­i­cally, they would have to react to a strong pub­lic con­sen­sus if they had not made a respectable case…The only major obsta­cle to imple­ment­ing this pro­posal would be get­ting the par­ties to par­tic­i­pate. Here, I sug­gest, shame would be a prime moti­va­tor…Of course, many peo­ple will not have the time, inter­est, or the abil­ity to fol­low debates of this sort. But those who do — includ­ing the lead­ing com­men­ta­tors and opinion-makers — will be among the most con­cerned and artic­u­late, and their views will have a sig­nif­i­cant effect on the terms and tone of the gen­eral discussion. Facts and rea­son­ing will never set­tle polit­i­cal issues. All of us have fun­da­men­tal com­mit­ments that are imper­vi­ous to argu­ment. If an argu­ment seems to refute them, we take this as a refu­ta­tion of the argu­ment. And, of course, many of us are too igno­rant, self-interested or prej­u­diced on cer­tain issues to be moved by ratio­nal con­sid­er­a­tions. But ratio­nal­ity almost always has some role in our deci­sions, and more ratio­nal­ity in our polit­i­cal dis­cus­sion will at a min­i­mum help many to bet­ter under­stand what is at stake in our dis­putes and why their oppo­nents think as they do. So why not give rea­son a chance?…

How the Mainstream Press Bungled the Single Biggest Story of the 2012 Campaign

What Watchdog? How the Financial Press Has Failed the American Public

Are Conservatives Rethinking Fox News’ Endless Outrage Model?

Republicans Lied To by ‘Conservative Entertainment Complex’

How Conservative Radio Creates an Echo Chamber of Hate

The real media bias is for the horse race by John Rash

Why the Mainstream Media Are Clueless About the Religious Right by Adele M. Stan, AlterNet, August 18, 2011

The Virus of GOP Ignorance: Why Don’t Media Protect Us From the Lies Spewed in the Republican Primary? By Eric Alterman, The Nation, November 23, 2011 – It is a symbol of our current political predicament that anytime anyone tells the truth about anything in the contest for the Republican nomination, a new scandal erupts…The respectful response of the media to the batshit-crazy statements one hears from the second-tier Republican candidates…is doing definite damage to this country…Gingrich…Cain and Bachmann…Pretending that these people might be president, and hence deserve to be treated as if what they say is true, is not merely unjustified—given that the nominee is almost certain to be Romney—but akin to playing accessory to a kind of ongoing intellectually criminal activity.In their new book, The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age, Randall Stephens and Karl Giberson explain the nature of intellectual insularity of so many in this world, in which “the teachings of dubiously credentialed leaders are favored over the word of secular experts in the arts and sciences.”…
The authors describe “what amounts to a ‘parallel culture,’” where people like alleged “historian” David Barton… abd psychologist James Dobson…proffer phony-baloney history lessons that distort almost everything professional historians know to be true about America’s founders. Reporters representing reliable media outlets are supposed to defend the discourse from the virus of this ignorance. But for a variety of reasons they no longer do so. Part of the explanation can be found in the foolish willingness of so many reporters to treat Fox News, Drudge and various talk-radio hosts as respectable voices in the debate without regard to their motives or qualifications. A second, no less significant problem is the tendency of even the most sophisticated political reporters to treat the entire process as a contest between rival teams and ignore the substance of their arguments and policies, as if politics were simply a spectator sport

The End of Newspapers and the Decline of Democracy, By Eric Alterman, Center for American Progress, Think Again – March 22, 2012

How You Will Change the World with Social Networking by Deanna Zandt, AlterNet.org, July 24, 2010

 

Truth and Lies

“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell

The Death of Honesty by William Damon (Senior Fellow and member of the Virtues of a Free Society Task Force), Hoover.org, January 12, 2012 -A basic intent to be truthful, along with an assumption that people can be generally taken at their word, is required for all sustained civilized dealings…No civilization can tolerate a fixed expectation of dishonest communications without falling apart from a breakdown in mutual trust.… Our serious problem today is not simply that many people routinely tell lies…The problem now is that we seem to be reaching a dysfunctional tipping point in which an essential commitment to truthfulness no longer seems to be assumed in our society. If this is indeed the case, the danger is that the bonds of trust important in any society, and essential for a free and democratic one, will dissolve so that the kinds of discourse required to self-govern will become impossible. …As the Founders of our republic warned, the failure to cultivate virtue in citizens can be a lethal threat to any democracy.

What Would Machiavelli Do? The Big Lie Lives On by Thom Hartmann CommonDreams.org, August 26, 2004

Will Republican Voters Believe Anything? The Right’s Hyperbolic, Dysfunctional World 

United States of Paranoia: How the FBI Spied and Lied So Conspiracy Theorists Would Sound Crazy By Jesse Walker, August 20, 2013

The Politics of Lying and the Culture of Deceit in Obama’s America: The Rule of Damaged Politics  by Henry A. Giroux - Sep­tem­ber 21, 2009 — In the cur­rent Amer­i­can polit­i­cal land­scape, truth is not merely mis­rep­re­sented or fal­si­fied; it is overtly mocked… it becomes dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish between an opin­ion and an argument …At a time when edu­ca­tion is reduced to train­ing work­ers and is stripped of any civic ideals and crit­i­cal prac­tices, it becomes unfash­ion­able for the pub­lic to think crit­i­cally. Rather than intel­li­gence unit­ing us, a col­lec­tive igno­rance of pol­i­tics, cul­ture, the arts, his­tory and impor­tant social issues…What is the social cost of such flight from real­ity, if not the death of demo­c­ra­tic pol­i­tics, crit­i­cal thought and civic agency? …The pol­i­tics of lying and the cul­ture of deceit are wrapped in the logic of absolute cer­tainty…Democ­racy is frag­ile, and its fate is                                                                   always uncer­tain…We now find our­selves liv­ing in a soci­ety in which right-wing extrem­ists not only wage a war against the truth, but also seek to ren­der human beings less than fully human by tak­ing away their desire for jus­tice, spir­i­tual mean­ing, free­dom and individuality…/the-politics-of-lying-and-the-culture-of-deceit-in-obamasamerica-the-rule-of-damaged-politics/

US Running on Myths, Lies, Deceptions and Distractions by John Atcheson, Com­mon Dreams, Feb­ru­ary 20, 2012…the country is running on lies, myths, deceptions and distractions… a few of the most destructive lies and myths.1.Corporations and the uber rich are the job creators2.Government can’t create jobs…
3.The deficit is our main problem, therefore we need an austerity budget…
4.Republicans actually care about deficits: Let’s put a stake in the heart of this one right now. Reagan and the two Bushes created more than 66% of the country’s debt — an amount equal to more than twice as much as all other President’s combined (including Obama). Did you hear any complaints while this record breaking debt was being wracked up? Not a word. Clinton, it’s worth remembering, had a surplus.
5.Republicans favor small government: In fact, the size of government exploded under Reagan and Bush II, and we didn’t hear a peep out of Republicans. In the last thirty years, only Clinton reduced the size of government significantly, and he did so while declaring “the era of big government” to be over. What they really favor is weak government, which brings us to …
6.Regulations stifle the economy; deregulation unleashes economic growth…
7.Climate Change is “just a theory” and we can’t afford to address it: Leaving aside the fact that in the pantheon of science, “theories” are reserved for issues that are about as certain as the scientific method allows, the scientific consensus on global warming is as strong as it gets.…Thanks to Republican denial, Democratic complicity and press malfeasance, we’re literally sleepwalking into the worst catastrophe the human race has ever faced.
8.Republicans want to protect your freedom. Except when they want to tell you who you can sleep with, who you can marry, whether or not you can use birth control; when and whether you can choose to die; or when they want to tap your phone or detain you without due process, of course. So why is it that these myths and lies – so easily disproven – persist. Indeed, why have they become conventional wisdom for many Americans, and why do they shape the national debate? Here’s where the Democrats, distractions and the press’s malfeasance comes in. Republicans throw up a lot of flack to keep people from focusing on the fact that they’re basically getting screwed by the 1%.…it only works because Democrats are too wimpy – or too complicit – to confront this bait-and-switch bullshit… It doesn’t help that Democrats are feeding at the same corporate trough… But the real culprit is the press – they’ve simply abrogated their responsibility to give people accurate, truthful information… We are now stuck with a media that puts “balance” or “objectivity” before truth.… At the end of the day, trying to run a country according to the rules of fantasy island isn’t a recipe for success. But it does serve the interests of the 1%.

The Fascinating Story of How Shameless Right-Wing Lies Came to Rule Our Politics By Rick Perlstein, Mother Jones, May 26, 2011 — It takes two things to make a political lie work: a powerful person or institution willing to utter it, and another set of powerful institutions to amplify it. The former has always been with us…So why does it seem as if we’re living in a time of overwhelmingly brazen deception? What’s changed?…a network of media enablers helps it to make a sound — until enough people believe the untruth to make the lie an operative part of our political discourse.…right-wing ideologues “lie without consequence,” as a desperate Vincent Foster put it in his suicide note nearly two decades ago. But they only succeed because they are amplified by “balanced” outlets that frame each smear as just another he-said-she-said “controversy.”…What’s new is the way the liars and their enablers now work hand in glove. That I call a mendocracy, and it is the regime that governs us now.

What Would Machiavelli Do? The Big Lie Lives On by Thom Hartmann, CommonDreams.org, August 26, 2004 …The Big Lie is alive and well today in the United States of America, and what’s most troubling about it is the basic premise that underlies its use. In order for somebody to undertake a Big Lie, they must first believe Niccolo Machiavelli’s premise (in “The Prince,” 1532) that the end justifies the means…
Believing that the end justifies the means is the ultimate slippery slope. It will ultimately kill any noble goal, because even if the goal is achieved, it will have been corrupted along the way by the means used to accomplish it…

Fiscal cliff fictions: Let’s all agree to pretend the GOP isn’t full of it

Revenge of the Reality-Based Community

Obama: A pragmatic moderate faces the ‘socialist’ smear by Norman J. Ornstein, Washington Post, April 14, 2010

Who Are You Going To Believe: Karl Rove Or Your Lying Eyes? by Paul Blumenthal, HuffingtonPost.com, May 7, 2012

Ideological Hypocrites By E.J. Dionne,Washington Post, February 20, 2012

The Post-Truth Campaign By Paul Krugman, New York Times, December 22, 2011

Shameless GOP Lies: Is There Any Limit to What Republicans Will Say — And What People Will Believe? By Ernest Partridge, The Crisis Papers, posted on Alternet.org, April 20, 2011 — Is there any limit to the outrageousness of the GOP lies? Is there any limit to the capacity of a large number of our fellow citizens to accept these lies?…a long string of Republican lies thrown at the public by right-wing politicians and pundits and largely unchallenged by a compliant corporate media. Among them:…John Kerry’s allegedly heroic war record was fraudulent. Barack Obama was born in Kenya and is a secret Muslim. Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and was involved in the attacks of September 11, 2001…Global warming is a gigantic hoax, perpetrated by thousands of deceitful scientists. Obama has raised taxes…These are not “matters of opinion,” they are flatly and demonstrably false. Clear and decisive refutation of all these claims are available to anyone who cares to examine the evidence. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously remarked, while we are entitled to our own opinions, we are not entitled to our own facts…finally, there is the “dogma” — a priori “first principles” too sacred to be doubted or subjected to rational analysis and confirmation: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” (Ronald Reagan). Market fundamentalism: “A free market [co-ordinates] the activity of millions of people, each seeking his own interest, in such a way as to make everyone better off.” (Milton Friedman) Privatization: “Whenever we find an approach to the extension of private property rights [in the natural environment,] we find superior results.” (Robert J. Smith). “There is no such thing as society.” (Margaret Thatcher) “There is no such entity as ‘the public.’” (Ayn Rand) These last two dogmas bear significant implications. For if there is no such thing as “society,” it follows that there are no social problems or “social injustice. Poverty is the fault of individuals who are sinful and lazy. And if there is no “public,” then there is no “public interest,” and thus no need for government to promote same. A large portion of the American public believes these lies, accepts these contradictions, and embraces these dogmas, not because of supporting evidence (there is none) or cogent arguments (there are none), but out of sheer unquestioned repetition in the corporate media. …as long as …millions accept uncritically the lies, myths and dogmas fed to them by the mega-corporations that own our government, there appears to be little hope of a return to economic justice and democratic government that we once enjoyed in the United States of America. But all is not lost. As the folk tale of the boy who cried “Wolf!” reminds us, liars tend through time to lose their credibility. We should strive to accelerate this process as it applies to the corporate media by exposing the lies and boycotting the sponsors of those who tell the lies…The restoration of sanity in our public discourse is essential to the restoration of our democracy.

Truth is a moral value – ProgressiveValues e-letter, October 10, 2011

Truth – editorial by Phyllis Stenerson, Uptown Neighborhood News, Minneapolis, August 2012/