Saturday, June 18, 2011

Checkbook Journalism: How The Media Became PART Of The Anthony Weiner Story

As I said re: the media's role in playing the Weiner story out of all proportionality: Take a look in the mirror before piously deflecting your responsibility for Anthony Weiner's resignation. Chris Cuomo defends his employer ABC's practice of paying "licensing fees" of between $10,000 to $15,000 for tittilating photos of one of former Rep. Weiner's private online correspondents because, he says piously, it's the "state of play." Really?

Thanks for the heads-up, Chris. But we're way ahead of you. We already know your industry is rotten to the core, unethical, fundamentally corrupt and dishonorable. Licensing fees?!? Is THAT what you call IT? The mutually beneficial term of "art" for pole dancing checkbook "journalists" is MEDIA WHORES, and it's been around for quite a while. Here's the Urban Dictionary definition:
Media whores is a term used in the early 60's during campaigns and refered to publishers and editors of newspapers that would not cover a candidate without an ad buy. The buy was refered to as a "little kiss". The more money a candidate had the more of a story they would get from the "media whores". If a campaign made an ad buy and counted on a good story but were then disappointed they would "kiss off" the buy with a cancelation.
When the MEDIA becomes part of the story with 'pay to play' arrangements with principals and sources, the MEDIA assumes responsibility for the story's final outcome. No wonder an MSNBC news reader told Karen Finney to be "nice" to Andrew Breitbart.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Countdown To COUNTDOWN . . . 3, 2, 1!

He's BAAAAAACCCCK! Keith Olbermann, the progressive fighter, returns to the cable airwaves to wage all-out war against Rightwingville, resuming where he left off. And he's freed of his corporate chains, on Al Gore's CURRENT TV Monday, June 20. This time, Keith will be his own boss. It'll be interesting to see how MSNBC reacts to the return of its prodigal creative voice, now in competition. Keith didn't hold back in this interesting profile on the New York Times Magazine. Here's a noteworthy excerpt:
In MSNBC’s recent decision to hire the former Republican Party chairman Michael Steele as a pundit, he sees evidence that the former outpost of liberalism is tacking toward the mushy middle. “There is a lot of desperation over there now, and it’s completely justified,” he said.
Like I said; but no one listens to me. At least Keith reserves his contempt for the right targets. Never his audience. Nice to see you back, Keith!

Pat Buchanan Punks Cenk Uygur And Bill Press

You know that Pat Buchanan chuckle whenever someone catches him being a racist and/or nativist? In his old age Pat hasn't changed his extremist views much, except he's cast aside that maniacal glint in the eye, the fervor of the right wing zealot that so terrified Rachel when Pat delivered his "take-back-our-streets" (as in "I want my country back") speech at the 1992 GOP convention. Now older and grayer, Pat has developed the art of the good-natured Irish chuckle whenever anyone catches him with his hand in the wingnut cookie jar. That's so he can continue earning his salary as MSNBC's not-so-token-anymore right wing whacko.

Rule of Thumb For Liberals And Progressives: If Pat Buchanan AGREES with you, or vice versa, it's best to pause and CAREFULLY EXAMINE your assumptions based on what Pat is saying. (I'm being generous to Buchanan with the presumption that not everything he says is CRAZY. But most everything he says regarding Democratic-Republican, left-right politics is self-serving, biased, and partisan.)

And so it was when Cenk called on Pat and lib radio talker Bill Press to opine on whether or not the Democrats should have closed ranks behind Anthony Weiner. Cenk and Press think that they should — a view not shared by Weiner's Democratic Party leadership, professional pols like Nancy Pelosi with lifetimes more experience in WINNING ELECTIONS than they will ever have. It seems Cenk and Bill were SO MESMERIZED by Pat's sanguine anti-Democratic mutterings — "I.agree.with.Pat.I.agree.with.Pat." they chimed in like a couple of cuckoo clocks — about ZEALOUS Party loyalty that they didn't even pause to LISTEN and UNDERSTAND what Pat was saying.

After repeatedly slamming the Democrats for "throwing Anthony Weiner under the bus," Pat PROUDLY recalled (paraphrasing) when HE STOOD BY HIS MAN:

"Richard Nixon. I stood behind Nixon, defended him, we closed ranks around him, never asked him to resign" ... etc. etc. While there's absolutely NO COMPARISON between the most GINORMOUS political scandal in American history, WATERGATE — in which multiple laws were broken and the Constitution shredded — and the Anthony Weiner episode; in the ambit of party or partisan dynamics, here are a few things to keep in mind:
  • Pat Buchanan was AN UNELECTED AIDE to Richard Nixon, I believe he was White House "Communications Director." He was part of that tight INNER CIRCLE of Haldeman, Erlichman, Dean, Colson, Magruder, Attorney General John Mitchell known as "the Germans" (euphemism for NAZIS) — most of whom WERE INDICTED AND SERVED JAIL TIME. So 42 years later, Pat is still wallowing in and glorifying A CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT in which he was LUCKY not to have served jail time. Perhaps the tape machine wasn't running on the occasions he met with Nixon.
Maybe Pat's a little crazy, twisted, insane ... ya think?
  • The political pundits of those days said Nixon could probably survive the scandal absent a "smoking gun." Everyone else around him, as is customary for Republican zealots, was falling on their swords. Almost everyone: Not Dean, who spilled the beans about a "cancer" in the White House, and Magruder, who revealed the existence of a taping device, hoping to cop a plea for cooperation. Then it was the COVERUP that finally got Nixon. He tried MANAGING the scandal by releasing edited transcripts of the tapes. Naturally, the media drumbeat became intense and politicians joined in the demand for full disclosure. It was speculated that had Nixon staged a DEFIANT bonfire on the White House lawn and destroyed the tapes, he could have saved his presidency. Maybe Pat said or suggested that?
  • Finally, once the courts ordered Nixon to release the tapes, the game was up. Most of Nixon's support in Congress vanished as Republicans ran for the hills. And when a respected senior leader in the Republican Party, Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee, Ranking Judiciary Committee member, uttered the famous words, "what did the President know, and when did he know it?" — the writing was on the wall and Richard Nixon became the only president in American history to resign his office or face impeachment.
  • Baker kept his senate seat, but a lot of Republicans were not so lucky as Democrats made HUGE gains in the 1974 mid-term elections and took the presidency in 1976. But Pat and a few other zealots went down with the sinking ship — like G. Gordon Liddy who once unflinchingly held a burning candle under his palm to demonstrate his macho, and did his jail time to return as Bill's unapologetic wingnut radio colleague — having never broken faith with Richard Nixon.
So tell us, Cenk: Is Pat Buchanan EMBLEMATIC of the kind of blind party loyalty and 'circle-the-wagons' around ONE party member who is in serious trouble, that given all political considerations ... WINS ELECTIONS? Really? OF COUUUUUURRRSE!

Apropos of Watergate, here's something weird: I was doing some research on Nixon/Watergate for this post and had just read THIS:
The audio tapes caused further controversy on December 7, when an 18½ minute portion of one tape was found to have been erased. Nixon's personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, said she had accidentally erased the tape by pushing the wrong foot pedal on her tape player while answering the phone. However, as photos all over the press showed, it was unlikely for Woods to answer the phone and keep her foot on the pedal. Later forensic analysis determined that the tape had been erased in several segments — at least five, and perhaps as many as nine.
When THIS pops up on my TV machine:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quotable: Chris Matthews Paints Liberals With Broad Brush

"Here's your typical liberal with all the lifestyle qualities of the typical liberal."

~ Chris Matthews, yuck-yucking about what Roger Ailes might say were he to hire Weiner, making light of a personal family tragedy, and projecting his own moralistic feelings about liberals. Remember when Chris snarled, "it must be those 'netroots' people."?

Most Digusting Aspect of Weiner Episode: The Hubris Of The Media

Even MSNBC, the presumed "liberal" network, with its wall-to-wall Anthony Weiner coverage told us what it's all about when Nancy Pelosi came out for her regularly scheduled pre-Anthony Weiner press conference. Watch:

Oops. BUSTED. The media's role in all of this has been both reprehensible and disingenuous. The "nets" exist in a huge, TRANSPARENT self-serving bubble. Take a look in the mirror before casting your puny slings and arrows at "liberals" (Chris) and the Democratic Party (Cenk) as you piously deflect responsibility for Anthony Weiner's resignation.

Bill Maher BREAKS DOWN Seven GOP Dwarfs

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rachel's Best Thing In The World Today (UNCENSORED) ... FUCK, YEAH!

Narrated by the incomparable Samuel L. Jackson; it's a BRILLIANT Fucking BREAKTHROUGH in children's literature written for adults:

Newt Gingrich Campaigning Hard On A ROCK Somewhere In The Greek Isles ...

This (alleged) photo of Newt Gingrich looking like a beached whale or maybe a Greek tycoon catching some rays on a rock during his Greek Isles cruise surfaced today on TMZ. Newt denies it's him. He may have a point, given the absence of bling:

Hey, give the guy a break. Newt's only cashed in a few campaign donation chits early to recharge his batteries for the tough, losing but potentially very profitable (to Newt's money-making scams) ... er,  "presidential campaign." The campaign staff abandoned ship en masse, but chances are they'll resurface behind the imminent Rick Perry campaign once it becomes official enabling the Texas governor to hit the ground running. Meanwhile Newt continues his pretense of running for president without the high overhead of a pricey staff, hawking his books at every so-called campaign stop.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fifty Second GOP Field Post-Debate Analysis

Romney. Revenge of the empty suit. Looked alive. Had that half-slit sarcastic 'I-can-take-these-fools' grin going on. Must win New Hampshire. Loses and he's finished. Tepid favorite. 5-2.

Michele Bachmann. She might've been in a Hardball trance but now she's in an Ed Rollins trance. Rollins is an old GOP Svengali who is busily remaking the wild-eyed wingnut into normal and compelling. Twenty-six kids?! The peeps love such reality TV fast food and will eat up the Rollins makeover. Sharp! 4-1.

Tim Pawlenty. Nearly cooked. Weak snarky insincere deer-caught-in-headlights smile. Put a fork in him. DONE. (What was Lawrence thinking? ) Punted on the 'Obomneycare' charge. Not even John Edwards was this foolish when running for Veep and boinking a groupie on the side. 15-1.

Ron Paul. Looks tired and off his game with ill-fitting suit. Still has cult following including tie-less Dylan Ratigan. Live-off-the-land insurgent campaign getting old. 25-1.

Newt Gingrich. Speaker MoonBling. A running joke. But has "back class" as veteran campaigner. Seen better days. Private enterprise moon bases? Maybe he plans to relocate with campaign manager Callista. We hope. Connections deserted en masse. 40-1.

THE FIELD. PLACEHOLDER ENTRY for 1-Great Southern Hope Rick Perry. Longshot 1A-John Huntsman. Perry strongest part-of-entry. 6-1.

Just the OPTICS. No CONTENT to speak of other than same old trickle-down insanity that is a warmed-over caricature of VOODOO ECONOMICS.

Rush Blames LIBERAL WOMEN For Anthony Weiner Sexting

Of course, Rush is just trash-talking here, and it's pretty funny actually, but let's assume for the sake of argument (and a little fun) that he's making a serious point! First, here's our buddy Cenk's take on it, which is quite amusing, too.

Now here's my take. Assuming for a moment Rush is making logical sense, what does that make conservative (I prefer wingnut) women? Rush explains Weiner's behavior as the result of his being raised in the "ORB" (sounds sinister) of liberal women. So how, then, does Rush explain David Vitter's behavior? Here's a married, ultra-conservative, SOUTHERN Republican senator who was driven by a COMPULSION to pay hookers to slap A DIAPER on him and perform all sorts of lewd sexual acts. In a word, David Vitter seemed driven by a desire to be INFANTILIZED.

Is that what wingnut women do to their men? Do they INFANTILIZE them, so much so that the Vitters of this world seek release with hookers who can relieve them of traditional male-female relationships in which the female partner SMOTHERS the male with MOTHERING ON STEROIDS, since she's in such a subservient role in the conservative/wingnut household she overcompensates by going totally MATERNAL: "Honey" this, "sweetie" that, "baby" the other, "eat your vegetables" now ...? Hmm.

That sounds a lot worse to me, Rush. See, women like it when men show evidence of sensitivity, of "getting in touch with their feminine side." Only men who have identity issues would feel threatened by something like this, right? It does make sense. And what's wrong with Alan Alda?

Finally, Rush, while beauty is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, generally accepted gender-neutral standards of beauty dictate your wife cannot hold a candle to Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the HOT-meter. Just sayin' ...

Now I'm hungry for a burger 'n fries.

Rachel Calls On Bob Herbert To Talk Her Down On Weiner Hypocrisy

Last night Rachel revived a great segment from her early shows in which she would challenge high-powered guests to try "talking her down" from an issue in the news that had her "FLUMMOXED"!! Of course, they never could (at least I can't recall a time Rachel, still the Zodiac Ram, it seems, was talked down from her principled stubborness) ... But it was fun to see them try, which was the whole point of it. Such was the familiar pattern last night, and although she didn't introduce the segment as she had before — to "talk me down" — it was what it was ... and it was GREAT to see Bob Herbert back, too. So thank you for that, Rachel.

Rachel, I love your passion on the Democrats' "double standard," but disagree with your spirited premise that the Weiner episode, which has dominated the headlines going on weeks now, will be a wash regarding the REALLY IMPORTANT ISSUES — Medicare, Social Security, and the Economy — should Weiner not resign come election day. To claim Weiner's resignation will not restore Democrats' message "discipline" on these important issues is to make a risky assumption. Democrats were actually hitting their stride with Republicans on their heels when this sordid story broke.

Rep. Israel of Illinois, who is responsible for electing Democrats to the House and retaking it on the strength of Social Security and Medicare, was veritably giddy about the Party's prospects on your show. I recall you were pretty upbeat, too. When was the last time since this story broke that anyone has mentioned NY-26 and that wonderfully charismatic Democrat elected there against all odds — what's her name again? I forget ... And what about the HEAT Republicans were feeling from their constituents on MEDICARE, just as the voters were beginning to take another look at the Democrats?

ALL GONE. BECAUSE OF ONE JACKASS NAMED ANTHONY WEINER. Remember how you joked with Michael Moore that Democrats ALWAYS find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Well, isn't this one such occasion? And while you might be perfectly willing to go down in flames on the principle of rejecting the "double standard" of Democrats and "hypocrisy" of Republicans, WHO ARE LOVING THE UNEXPECTED TIME-OUT TO REGROUP, millions of people in this country for whom Social Security and Medicare are matters of life-and-death and not simply principle can't afford to be blasé about ONE man's sexting travails.

Maybe this will help put the issues in focus: On the left is the "BLISTERING REPORT" by the Senate Ethics Committee "INTO THE MATTER OF JOHN ENSIGN." On the right is one in the latest series of Weiner digital photos, seen here IN THE HOUSE GYM clutching his "nether regions," courtesy of TMZ.

I know, I know ... You still don't get it. But we still love you, Rachel.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rick Perry, Texas Confederate, Poised To Enter Race

More crowding on the white separatist religious right wing of the Republican Party. This guy is so extreme he makes Sarah Palin look like a conservative. Well, a "profoundly stupid" conservative who writes at an eighth-grade level. Recently, a wingnut chick (they crack me up) over at the DC frat house claimed Chris Matthews had "lost his mind" for stating the obvious about Palin. And If she thinks Gov. Howard Dean is "crazy" for giving a bad impression of the Rebel Yell, wait till Perry enters the race.

Here's a preview from Rachel:

Meanwhile Debbie Cleans Up Floor With Reince At Idiot Punditocracy Cathedral, aka Meet The Press ...

But IP High Priest David Gregory said the "takeaway" from his show was Democratic Party Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's reluctance to call for Anthony Weiner's resignation.

Strange. Because MY "takeaway" was how Debbie cleaned out GOP Chairman Reince Preibus's (pron: Grinds Pre-Bust) clock. My second takeaway was Reince's collection of snarky faces with every shot Debbie scored. The dude's face was a nonstop tick machine with each successive takedown as she slammed him to the canvas on Republicans' sex scandal hypocrisy — even the timid High Priest Gregory piped in on this one — when they didn't call on Vitter to resign when he COMMITTED A CRIME by soliciting and paying prostitutes, and allowed John Ensign to hang on until the Ethics Committee was poised to expel him from the Senate. Priebus's face was having a mini-epileptic fit as he struggled to retain his stupid grin. Reminds me of the guy at the frat party who's always laughing and making faces at every off-color sexist joke.

(Programming Note: Like, for example, the one slimeball Dana Milbank told Chris Matthews re: Weiner: "I love it when you talk dirty to me" ... Keith's return CANNOT COME SOON ENOUGH! Mark your calendars, folks — May 20 on CURRENT TV. Why, exactly, do you "respect" Milbank, Chris?)

Back to Idiot Punditocracy World, as worshipers flocked to the Church of Beltway Media Tools, aka Meet The Press. High Priest David Gregory conducted services with his usual lapdog obeisance to the political RIGHT and concurrent Beltway Media narratives. Despite Chris Matthews's increasingly strident attempts to build Gregory up with his "cable TV" audience (more on this presently), floating the absurd claim Gregory asks "straight" questions, Gregory constantly violates the boundaries of an acceptable journalistic interview by allowing interviewees to spout their propaganda talking points unchallenged.

The TOOL-ish role of the IP's High Priest was once again in evidence hosting certifiable wingnut Rick Santorum. Occasionally he would ask a timid question — "what about abortion, I know you feel oh so strongly about this"? Santorum said he wants to criminalize abortion providers, which is bad enough, but a LIE; he is far more extreme. He will not even entertain exceptions when the life of the mother is at risk, which he says is "phony," much less in cases of rape and incest. Oh sorry, Santorum didn't say it on MTP to IP High Priest Gregory. Here's what an outside-the-Beltway reality-based Meet The Press interview would play to illustrate Santorum's extremism:

Where was Gregory? Nowhere. The cocky High Priest of the Idiot Punditocracy was MISSING IN ACTION. More like deserting to the DARK SIDE. David Gregory ASKS NO FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS. He may toss in a timid, vanilla-coated softball, à lá Larry King (who NEVER represented himself as a political journalist), and then drop it. He NEVER corrected Santorum on his outrageous claims about Medicare, about the so-called "Obamacare" "board" that Republicans claim is intended to ration care. Nothing could be further from the truth. The board isn't tasked with reducing quality of care, but with reducing costs through best practices, going after waste, fraud, and abuse, and doing sensible things like negotiating in bulk to reduce drug costs. NONE OF THIS WAS BROACHED BY GREGORY. What he said instead, was: "We'll get to Medicare later." BUT HE NEVER DID.

Then he asked, wringing his little IP hands, "Oh, how come you want to give corporations more tax breaks, when they're sitting on a TRILLION IN CASH?" Then he FAILED to follow up when Santorum recited the usual LIES that corporations are overtaxed and over-regulated. There's such an easy rebuttal to this it's an insult to the audience that Gregory wouldn't take it: "The most PROFITABLE corporations on the planet, the OIL COMPANIES, paid no taxes to speak of, BP spoiled the Gulf Coast economy by dumping MILLIONS OF GALLONS OF OIL into the ocean AS A RESULT OF LAX REGULATIONS, and the taxpayers are still subsidizing them. IS THAT FAIR?"

To kick off the interview, Gregory played a clip of Santorum's presidential announcement. Gregory picked such a non-controversial VANILLA clip that his producers must have scoured the extremist's speech to pluck the most boilerplate clip available: "Americans are not looking for someone that they can believe in. They're looking for a president who believes in them." Totally unmemorable and forgettable, instead of this, which was THE headline of Santorum's announcement:

But, unmercifully, that's not all. In the "roundtable" part of the show, IP High Priest Gregory hosted the usual collection of political miscreants: A hack from the FASCIST editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, whose sole contribution was the tired canard — more false equivalency shit — that Democrats "do IT" (refuse to resign) as much as Republicans. That's patently false. And Richard Wolffe, well known to MSNBC audiences, was so pathetically eager to curry favor with the High Priest, he made this idiotic remark about Weiner:
MR. WOLFFE: Strong voice, but no allies. And outside the caucus, though, progressives love him. He was an effective advocate for their causes, not least on cable TV.

RIGHT. "Cable TV" ... that rather distasteful entity, as distinct from the clique-ish, omniscient Idiot Punditocracy and Beltway Media led by High Priest Gregory and his less hierarchical colleague, Dean Matthews. Wolffe was making a pitch to join the ultra-elitist club that it is to be a regular on Meet The Press. Newt was a member until, regretfully, he became a liability and Gregory had to cut him loose. Chris and Lawrence thought that was great journalism. They're still floating the falsehood that Gregory, except quite tangentially, "exposed" Gingrich. The "radical right wing engineering" line forever emblazoned as the 2012 bumper sticker for the GOP's plan to KILL Medicare was a GIFT FROM HEAVEN. It came as much of a surprise to Gregory as it did to progressives.

Richard was so eager to throw "cable TV" under the bus, he had convenient amnesia regarding the fact cable TV PAYS HIS SALARY.  What's a one-word description for the MTP studio. Here's mine: SMUG. Is it any wonder I don't watch it and recommend others do the same? We've got better things to do Sunday mornings. I only watched it this time because Debbie was on.

But the worst part about it is the show actually molds public opinion among those Americans who do not follow politics as closely as they should. I've said it before and I'll repeat it here: David Gregory is A DISGRACE to his "profession" whatever that is; he's no journalist. He's more like a hybrid publicist-propagandist, enabling the right wing to sell their product. David Gregory should be hosting an infomercial, not a political show. Oh ... but he does!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Beautiful Gabby Giffords Pics

Have you seen the first pictures of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords as she recovers from her shooting? Her good friend Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she looks "beautiful." Indeed. She looks GREAT!