Tag Archives: Fox News

Complaining about the poor having appliances misses real problems of being poor

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Image of a Shanty in 1930'sAbout ten years ago I was trying to explain to someone on an e-mail list I was a member of that I was poor. My apartment was junky, my car barely ran, I couldn’t afford a cell phone or high speed Internet. He laughed. He said I wasn’t poor because I had a computer with Internet access, a car, and air conditioning. Even though I had a temporary job that paid barely above minimum wage and I was one pay check away from being homeless my friend said since I had stuff I wasn’t poor. This is not the first and probably not the last time people judge another’s worth by the stuff they have instead of the actual issues with having little to no income like education and health care.
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The Real Story of Thanksgiving and Socialism

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A friend of mine posted a story of the “A Lost Thanksgiving Lesson” told by FOX “news” talking head John Stossel. He claims that because the colony tried to operate as a commune there was a famine and so to save the colony the Pilgrims ditched socialism. Like most Libertarian fantasies, Stossel’s story is 99.9999999% made up.

Every year around this time, schoolchildren are taught about that wonderful day when Pilgrims and Native Americans shared the fruits of the harvest. But the first Thanksgiving in 1623 almost didn’t happen.

Long before the failure of modern socialism, the earliest European settlers gave us a dramatic demonstration of the fatal flaws of collectivism. Unfortunately, few Americans today know it.

The Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony organized their farm economy along communal lines. The goal was to share the work and produce equally.

That’s why they nearly all starved.

When people can get the same return with less effort, most people make less effort. Plymouth settlers faked illness rather than working the common property. Some even stole, despite their Puritan convictions. Total production was too meager to support the population, and famine resulted. This went on for two years.

A Lost Thanksgiving Lesson

The real history tells a different tale:

Historians say that the settlers in Plymouth, and their supporters in England, did indeed agree to hold their property in common — William Bradford, the governor, referred to it in his writings as the “common course.” But the plan was in the interest of realizing a profit sooner, and was only intended for the short term; historians say the Pilgrims were more like shareholders in an early corporation than subjects of socialism.

“It was directed ultimately to private profit,” said Richard Pickering, a historian of early America and the deputy director of Plimoth Plantation, a museum devoted to keeping the Pilgrims’ story alive.

The arrangement did not produce famine. If it had, Bradford would not have declared the three days of sport and feasting in 1621 that became known as the first Thanksgiving. “The celebration would never have happened if the harvest was going to be less than enough to get them by,” Mr. Pickering said. “They would have saved it and rationed it to get by.”

The Pilgrims Were … Socialists?

The first Thanksgiving or harvest feast was held in 1621 not 1623. The Native Americans were invited because they helped support the colony with food and teaching them how to grow their crops in New England during their first year when half the colonists died.

So socialism did save the colony and the Libertarians/Tea Party/Conservatives are full of stuffing – and not the good kind.

In political discourse, cable maybe minuscule but broadcast news not helping

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Cable news punditry may reach a small hardcore section of voters but their broadcast news brethren seem to follow their lead which doesn’t contribute to accurate information for the average voter.

Cable news is like fantasy football leagues for the political wonks. The audience for the pundits on cable never rises above 3 million total viewers. But viewership is never close to the average number of voters in the US (in 2008 there were 133 million total votes cast). The broadcast news channels have more viewers (ABC, NBC, CBS) with an average of 14 million a day. Even radio has more of an audience than cable TV news channels.

Of all those shows, only O’Reilly gets significantly above two million total viewers. By contrast, NBC’s nightly news program doubles O’Reilly’s ratings in both total viewers and in the coveted 25-54 bracket. Even CBS, the lowest rated of the three, easily outdraws cable, and both broadcast and cable news face the same aging demographics: the median Fox News viewer is 65, two to three years older than the median broadcast news viewer, and CNN and MSNBC aren’t far behind.

But outpacing all of TV news is radio, and that’s where Koppel and other media observers should be focusing their attention. At first glance, radio may look like a conservative-dominated field. Rush Limbaugh’s weekly audience of 15 million dwarfs any television news program, and even Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck’s radio audiences are several times their TV audiences.

In fact, though, NPR provides a counterweight both to conservative talk radio, and to the charge that both sides have equally partisan media. Twenty-seven million people listen to NPR each week, and its morning and evening news programs get fourteen and thirteen million weekly listeners respectively, just behind Limbaugh.

The Tiny Cable News Universe

But the conclusion of the article quoted above – that the audience is small – is beside the point. It seems the drivers of broadcast news follow cable’s lead in deciding what is news and the coverage of the issues and often either give misleading information or don’t squash outright lies quickly enough.

* Polling data during and after last week’s midterm elections suggested that many Americans genuinely believe President Obama has raised their taxes — even though the reality is that our president actually lowered them for most of us. This means that people trust pundits like Rush Limbaugh, a major force behind spreading that lie, over the numbers on their own tax returns.
* Another recent phenomenon? Half of new Congressmen don’t believe in the reality of global warming. It’s not that they don’t just disagree on the source or the severity of the problem. They flat out don’t think the world is getting warmer–despite the evidence outside their windows.
* The new Congress will probably try to restore millions of dollars of funding for scientifically inaccurate, largely disastrous abstinence-only curriculum in schools, many of which have been shown to spread lies like “condoms don’t work” and “abortion causes cancer.”
* News outlets picked up a wildly inflated and completely outlandish claim from an Indian blog that Obama’s trip abroad cost $200 million a day–and listeners have swallowed it. (In this case, the White House flat-out denied it.)
The scary thing is, these kinds of rumors have a way of taking root in the popular consciousness. Just as the election season began heating up earlier this year, Newsweek published a list of “Dumb Things Americans Believe.” While some of them are garden-variety lunacy, a surprising number are lies that were fed to Americans by our leaders on the far-Right. This demonstrates that media-fed lies can easily become ingrained in the collective memory if they’re not countered quickly and surely.

16 of the Dumbest Things Americans Believe — And the Right-Wing Lies Behind Them

Another example is the media blow job NBC gave to former President Bush who is trying to sell a book. Matt Lauer, looking for his Frost-Nixon moment, never pushed Bush hard enough to actually answer questions about his presidential screw ups like Katrina and the Iraq war. I mean when the biggest nugget from the interview was Bush being hurt by the statement of a rapper just made me sad for journalism.

Broadcast media does a disservice to the citizens of this country by letting cable news pundits lead them by the nose and giving up their needed advocacy for the truth. Just ask a follow up question – please!

FOX “News” is all about Argumentum ad populum

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I have to remind my friends who are avid watchers of the FOX “News” channel that just because they have the highest ratings of the big 3 opinion cable channels doesn’t mean what they present is true. FOX peddles in what is called Argumentum ad populum. Facts and the truth isn’t subject to popular choice. FOX could have 300 million viewers a night and their race baiting still would not be factual.

The fact is the total audience that watches FOX, CNN, and MSNBC only number about 1 to 3% of the entire TV watching population. For example last Thursday FOX “News” was available to 98 million homes but only had about 2.4 million actually watching.

On Friday night, August 6th, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow had an excellent segment on FOX and how they use Argumentum ad populum and race bait in their stories:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Of course there will be people who will say “But, Doug MSNBC is partisan on the liberal side why should we believe them?”

The answer is that MSNBC doesn’t create controversy or make up stores like FOX. MSNBC uses facts and the truth to tell their stories even if it looks bad for liberals. You NEVER see FOX reporting news that looks bad for conservatives.

The only black eye for MSNBC is the misogyny of Chris Matthews and allowing blatant bigot Pat Buchanan to offer his warped view of the world on the air. That is much different than the factless coordination of conservative talking points served up on the FOX “News” channel every hour of every day.

Sick of the right wing racism – really!

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The right wing propaganda machine spit out another manufactured outrage about an incident involving the New Black Panther voter-intimidation case from 2008. Not only is it a continuation of the GOP “southern strategy” but it’s also based on false information and omissions. Shocking, right???

The “southern strategy” is basically race baiting to win elections – scare white people about blacks and other minorities.

What the conservative biased media fails to tell you is that there was action taken in the New Black Panthers case and the Bush Department of Justice failed to act on a similar case in 2006.

But Perez noted DOJ’s decision to proceed with default judgment against the man with a weapon [in the New Black Panthers case]

Perez: “[T]hey made the judgment on the merits that we should proceed with the default judgment against the gentleman who was — who had the stick.” Adams’ attack is completely undermined by comments Perez made that were edited out by Kelly. Perez specifically discussed the DOJ’s decision in the Black Panther case to “proceed with the default judgment against the gentleman who was — who had the stick and that the evidence didn’t sustain the case against the national party or the head of the national party for the reasons that we have discussed.”

Perez: “[T]he Department declined to bring any action for alleged voter intimidation” in 2006. In the very testimony Kelly cited, Perez highlighted a case that completely undermines the notion that the DOJ’s decisions in the Black Panthers case were unprecedented or racially motivated. Perez testified that in 2006, the Justice Department “declined to bring any action for alleged voter intimidation” “when three well-known anti-immigrant advocates affiliated with the Minutemen, one of whom was carrying a gun, allegedly intimidated Latino voters at a polling place by approaching several persons, filming them, and advocating and printing voting materials in Spanish.” [U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 5/14/10]

Fox’s Kelly deceptively cites DOJ testimony to further Adams’ attacks

Biased media like FOX News regularly trumps up any incident involving minorities but ignores any incident where the perpetrator is white. Here are racists they don’t show you on FOX.

Fox News runs incendiary video of New Black Panther’s racist rant. Here are some other racists they don’t show you.

Anyone who tries to gloss over or ignore the blatant racism on the right needs some serious mental help.