Tag Archives: media

The intellectual father of Neo-cons picks Obama

This pretty much says it all.

Francis Fukuyama endorses Obama in American Conservative magazine

Why? Oh I believe the really really freaking obvious reasons.

I’m voting for Barack Obama this November for a very simple reason. It is hard to imagine a more disastrous presidency than that of George W. Bush. It was bad enough that he launched an unnecessary war and undermined the standing of the United States throughout the world in his first term. But in the waning days of his administration, he is presiding over a collapse of the American financial system and broader economy that will have consequences for years to come. As a general rule, democracies don’t work well if voters do not hold political parties accountable for failure. While John McCain is trying desperately to pretend that he never had anything to do with the Republican Party, I think it would a travesty to reward the Republicans for failure on such a grand scale.

The American Conservative has been an admirable oasis of intellectual honesty in this campaign. The shameless whore/shills at National Review should be taking notes.

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Judith Miller Joins Fox News, Fox Says “She Has A Very Impressive Resume”M

Fox Says “She Has A Very Impressive Resume”

But they were reviewing it while wearing a pressure suit in a Class 4 Containment Level BioHazard Facility.

Maybe they could use that for Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck too
More on Fox News
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Ali Velshi corrects me!

Ali (or someone with detailed knowledge of Ali posing as him) has deemed my half-assed post worthy of comment and correction.

Hi there. I’m not sure who you are or how you developed such strong opinions of me, but you are entitled to them. I would, however, like to correct you on a few points. My first “permanent media gig” was with CTV’s Canada AM as a producer. I then moved to CFTO as a reporter, and then to CTV; s Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa as a producer/correspondent. It was only after a sabbatical running a small business that I returned to CityTV which, I assume, is the “downmarket financial channel” to which you refer.

I got my internship at CNN more than 15 years ago on a strictly competitive basis. I had no connections in media in the United States whatsoever, let alone at CNN.

You have every right not to like or respect me or my credentials, but I would ask that you at least be honest and not misrepresent me.

Thank you.

Ali Velshi

Fair enough, if you wanna get all factual and detail-y on me. Jeesus, if I thought anyone was reading, I would have been more careful.

Anyhow I will assume that Ali’s rendering of his resume is more accurate than my characterization. I worked in Media in Toronto in the mid 1990s including a fair amount of work with CFTO – which probably is and was the largest local TV operation in Canada- but I actually don’t recall Ali being on air at that time. I accidentally saw CFTO news last week and was appalled but not at all surprised to see that at least half of the talent is exactly the same as 15 years ago. So props to Ali for upward mobility.

I may have been vaguely aware of Ali on CITY-TV but the downmarket financial channel I was referring to was actually what was called ReportOnBusiness TV at the time. It was apparently shot with one camera in a studio the size of a small walk-in closet. It was just profoundly weird televsion, especially when guests were on. Partially due to the two-shot being exactly the same as the host shot, and partly from the effort to squeeze another person past the garment rack into the “studio”. This is entirely related to the inherent lameness of all things Canadian, rather than any inherent limitations of Mr. Velshi.

To give Mr. Velshi credit, his on-air skills have improved considerably since then. And even before he corrected me I had started to regret using the term “idiot”, as I don’t think he demonstrates stupidity. I stand behind “fat bastard” 100%, and note that Ali does not attempt to dispute that assertion.

And unlike many who posted on the subject, I don’t think that Ali’s lack of background in Economics makes him unable to report Financial news. I do think that the whole Financial News biz is filled with cheerleading charlatans who lack real insight, or pump up stock promoters or both. And Ali is not a wacked out hype artist like Jim Cramer, or a know nothing like most of the talking heads, or both like Maria Bartromomodoomdo.

I just have the history of seeing in real time Ali’s youthful campaigns against “the man” and finding a certain – I don’t know; irony?, hypocrisy?, personal growth? in his becoming a shill for “the man”. I do think that Ali is a little sensitive to criticism, as demonstrated in his exchange with David Zurawick on Reliable Sources last week

Which brings us to “who I am” – in relation to Ali. No one really. I don’t know Ali. But we have some bizarre connections. We attended the same university at roughly the same time. I think my last year was his second. I knew many people who went to his high school. I think we may have been involved in student government at the same time although I don’t recall if he had a formal position. We had a number of friends in common, who all thought highly of him. I thought his public politics were naiive and demagogic and not helpful to rational discourse. I have many friends in the faculty in which he studied, and my studies were in an area that seemed to hold an interest for Ali. I worked on the student newspaper and student radio. I later worked in media in Toronto in the mid 1990s including with at least one company that he did. I have friends who worked at some of these broadcasters at the same time he did. My next door neighbour for 6 years was a senior exec at a broadcaster that later employed Ali. etc. etc. etc.

So to say that I know Ali Velshi would be an overstatement. To my recollection I never had a conversation with him, although certainly it is possible. I knew him to see him at school. When I later saw him on TV I recognized him immediately. And he keeps popping up.

So I would say that I am not possessed of any great inside info on Ali, and he is correct in pointing out that i misrepresented him. And i don’t think his lack of background in economics disqualifies him.

Still a fat bastard though.

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American Dualism

Just as the Obama campaign begins to rebut the obvious bare faced lies repeatedly trotted out by the McCampaign (TM) the debate on the media role as the uncritical echo chamber of lies begins to get specific. The debate between Marc Arbinder and Yglesias takes shape:

Yglesias

Ambinder

and both sides make good points.

Ah ha! Caught you nodding your head, didn’t I?  The old “two sides to every story” banality of binary equality. The curse of American political journalism.

And a lot more.

Americans – more strongly and distinct  from most similar cultures – have a dualistic notion of how everything is organized that is so deeply ingrained as to be a perverse blinder to the truth. It is pervasive.

“There are two sides to every story”

Right and Left

Rural and Urban

North and South

Religious and Heathen

Rich and Poor

Good and Evil

Black and White

Democrat and Republican

“There are two sides to every story”

Equal Time.

Point-Counterpoint.

He said, she said.

On the other hand…

“There are two sides to every story”

Maybe not. Maybe there are 400 sides to a particular story. Maybe there is only one – objective reality. Maybe picking out a subset of “two sides” from the available data is arbitrary and unhelpful. But it always happens.

The American mindset is so fundamentally dualistic that it facilitates this lazy binary sorting. It affects -or rather infects – everything. And is has been getting worse for 50 years, as the political institutions reinforce the existing cultural tendencies. Look at impediments to the creation of political third parties (voter registration, the primary system). They all favour the entrenched established two party system to the point where most Americans interpret democracy – rule by the people – as a scheduled choice between Democrat and Republican.

So when journalists play this game, I understand the cultural forces behind it.  I understand it, but I don’t excuse it. I can forgive Entertainment Tonight using the “two sides” crutch to make it easier to report a pointless story about Jennifer Aniston. But we deserve better from real journalists. Its not that hard.

I cringe every time I use the term mainstream media. I cannot bring myself to use the contraction “MSM”, which seems tainted by the chip-on-the-shoulder blogosphere ideologue crowd. I think i first saw the term on Matt Drudge more than 10 years ago. Yeah.

But if the establishment professional class of journalists who heap such scorn on the work af “amateurs” cannot even remove the blinkers of cultural dualism to look behind the horse race inside baseball mixed metaphor of coverage, can they be surprised at the scorn returned in heaps by the public?

And regarding the inside baseball metaphor.  Political discourse is not a game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, an American League East Division rivalry in which mention of the Los Angeles Dodgers and SanFrancisco Giants and Washington Nationals and St Louis Cardinals and and and… could be dismissed as extraneous. Different league. Different Divisions. Not applicable.

What is so odd is how specific this is to America. You get a profound sense of this spending your entire life 20 miles away from the United States, sharing a common Geography, economy, language, culture, value system.  A common life, really.

But “Two sides to every story?” That is just weird.

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