More on the incestuous nature of mainstream media

Many years ago there was a movie out called “They Live” Aliens had taken over the Earth and to keep the humans under control they used different means like camouflage and subliminal propaganda to mask their presence. The hero of the movie is given some special sun glasses that allows him to see the aliens and all the propaganda that wasn’t seen by the naked eye. He joins the resistance and fights the aliens. I tend to see the current mainstream media – the news programs on NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox networks as similar to the aliens and I wish I could give everyone sun glasses so they could see it too.

I have written many times about the incestuous relationship between the talking heads on news shows like Meet the Press, This Week, State of the Union, Fox Sunday, and the like. Regular “Joe the Plumber” conservatives cry about a liberal bias in the news yet these shows have no liberal bias. These shows tend to lean right or center right as the same people are on every week. 

They are allowed to make any kind of statement they want – even if it is a lie – and the hosts or moderator don’t challenge them about it. Also, even though the programs claims to be discussion shows, little is discussed. The networks seem to think that all policy views are equal and have a pro and con side while at the same time stacking the deck in favor of the party currently out of power – the GOP.

Blogger driftglass had an excellent post about this:

because George W. Bush’s codpiece was an Invincible Christian Peace Shield that would keep us all safe from the scary brown foreigners forever.

We were right. About everything.

They were wrong — tragically, catastrophically, completely wrong. About everything.

And yet they still are on the Inside. Sleek and prosperous.

While we still fight for scraps on the Outside.

On “Meet the Press”

A rich guy and his wife talked about giving.

And Reverend Rick Warren said “I’ve spoken at Davos many times…”

And then I turned the channel.

On “This Week” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) used his one appearance on national teevee to cock-punch Senator Lindsey Graham (R-John McCain’s underwear drawer) during his 355th such appearance.

The Roundtable consisted of one liberal — Paul Krugman — and four members-in-good-standing of the Conservative/Beltway Insider Axis; Matthew Dowd, George Will, Cokie Roberts and Dan Senor, who, if you didn’t know (because they didn’t mention it) was, among other things, Deputy to Bush White House Spokesliar Scott McClellan

[Senor] currently draws a paycheck playing pundit for…wait for it…Fox News, and completed the Beltway Insider circle of life by marrying CNN on-air personality Campbell Brown in 2006.

Yesterday he was brought on camera to share his infinite wisdom on the subject of foreign policy, because who on Earth could possibly be more credible and qualified? Except maybe Dick Cheney’s daughter?

Sunday Morning Comin’ Down

That’s why I refuse to watch those news programs and yesterday when President Obama gave his Afghanistan speech I turned off the analysis programs that followed.

The best part of driftglasses post is the final bit that had some Fox talking heads complaining about the recently man and woman who crashed the state dinner:

Yes, that’s right: the degenerate sons of Mike Wallace and Irvin Kristol…
…sitting on the set of their fake news show…
…lavishly adorned with blonde Fox news bimbos…
…and collecting the paychecks for telling lies to stupid people…

Are pretending to be stunned that American culture has grown so sick that some fortune-seeking, second-generation, spoiled rich twat of a con artist…
…would use his contacts and blond arm-candy…
…to break the last, sacred seal — the rules of Beltway party-going…
…to get his own teevee show.

The horror.

The horror.

Yes indeed – the horror…

Beyond the basic who, what, where, when, and how of news journalism on your 6 and 11 PM newscast, you are being mislead and not getting the truth. Just stop watching those shows or listening to what passes as news analysis in this country.

Health care reform passes House but it’s bittersweet

The massive overhaul of our broken health care insurance system started late Saturday night when the US House of Representatives passed H R 3962 by a vote of 220 to 215. While this was a historic day, the victory was bittersweet as an unneeded amendment banning paying for abortion for anyone who buys insurance from the public option or the exchange was added at the last minute. Some believe that amendment will be removed when the House and Senate meet to combine their bills but one never knows.

The “Stupak of Michigan Amendment” showed up in the last few weeks of debate on the bill and, at least to me, was being seriously considered late Friday night when the frame work of debate was agreed on by the House leadership. The fear was the overall bill would fail unless Rep Stupak had his amendment voted on.

64 Democrats, including some women, like Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio 9th District), voted to restrict paying for abortion – effectively restricting a legal right women enjoy at this time.

What is ironic is the current bill includes allowing insurance to pay for “pray healing”.

So freaky religious people who believe praying can heal were more important than women’s rights.

And funny, in a WTF? way, 26 of those Democrats who voted to restrict paying for abortion voted NO on the final bill.

Here is the list of 26 Democrats who voted “Aye” on Stupak but “Nay” on the final bill:

Altmire, Barrow, Boccieri, Boren, Bright, Chandler, Childers, Davis (AL), Davis (TN), Gordon (TN), Griffith, Holden, Marshall, Matheson, McIntyre, Melancon, Peterson, Ross, Shuler, Skelton, Tanner, Taylor, Teague

64 Democrats on the Wrong Side of Stupak-Pitts 

There is still work to be done as the reform debate moves to the Senate. Hopefully a final bill can be introduced and voted on before the end of the year.

No Public Option No Campaign Funds Period

As we come down to the end of the debate on health care reform, I made a personal decision that I hope others will adopt who support a strong public option. It’s pretty simple – if there is no Public Option in the final bill then I will not donate or support any political campaign for anyone who voted to either water it down or keep it out. I made up a graphic that breaks this idea into a sound bite.

Defending government is easier today

The one thing about current political debate or any kind of debate is the need for “talking points”. These are buzzwords or short phrases that quickly make a point and say more than the number of words used. Usually the person or group who come up with the quickest talking points can frame the debate. It is kind of like a gun fight – the quickest draw wins. Some of my conservative friends have told me during the current health care reform debate that “Obamcare is socialized medicine” or “Medicare is clogged with waste and fraud”. I needed some place to go to rebut some of the classic “government is bad” arguments from the right and I think I found it.

Some years ago on an e-mail list I use to be on, a guy came on spouting Libertarian arguments hard and fast. Many times I didn’t have a quick way of refuting the classic arguments even though I knew he was wrong. Then I found the A Non-Libertarian FAQ which allowed me in some cases to cut and paste answers to his arguments like “Social Contract? I never signed no steenking social contract. ” etc….

With the right media bias currently, the political arguments today get framed by conservative talking heads with little to no counter arguments from people on the left side of the spectrum. Most times the host – like David Gregory of Meet the Press – just lets the conservative spew their talking points like it was a press conference rather than a political show.

I needed a place that had some good rebuttals I could use when I had my own debates with friends who like to parrot talk radio.

Government is Good is recent addition to my bookmarks as it offers a quick way to answer the arguments from the right about how bad government is. For example:

When the Republicans took over Congress in the mid-1990s, one of their first priorities was to “reform welfare” along these lines. In a landmark 1996 bill, welfare was declared to be no longer an entitlement, and strict time limits and work requirements were imposed on recipients – all designed to discourage people from staying on welfare and forcing them onto the job market. This legislation has come to be celebrated by conservatives as one of the most successful policies coming out of that period. They point out that between 1996 and 2003, the number of people on the welfare rolls dropped by over 60%.

This is pretty impressive. But unfortunately, the effect of this reduction of the welfare rolls on the poverty level was not what Republicans had predicted. If welfare was actually a major cause of persistent poverty, then we should have also seen a dramatic decrease in poverty as millions of people were forced off welfare and onto the job market. But this is precisely what did not happen. The poverty rate did not fall by 60% or 50%. Not even by 40% or 30%. Not by 20%, nor even by 10%. It fell by a measly 8% — from 13.7% to 12.5% from 1996 to 2003.

How can this be explained? It is simple. Conservatives were wrong about poverty being largely caused by government welfare programs. First, they ignored the fact that most poor people aren’t even on welfare – and that many of them work already. Second, as many scholars of poverty have pointed out, the major causes of poverty in this country are mostly in the economic system. Most people are poor for two reasons: (1) there is a chronic lack of jobs, and (2) many low-level jobs pay wages below the poverty level. 

Why Government Becomes the Scapegoat

So if you are looking for some backup in your own debates with people who claim government is bad for us then check out the website.

Don’t believe the Republican view on health care reform

Republicans are all a gasp about President Obama and the Democrats plan to reform health care in this country. They claim that the Democrats want to take over the industry and get between the person and their Doctor. Once again the truth is totally different than the Republican talking points.

Anyone of us “regular people” who don’t have our own tax payer supported health plan – like the members of Congress – know that there is someone who stands between us and the Doctor now. We call them the insurance company. It was set rules on what is or isn’t covered and specific rules to follow or you won’t have something covered.

Insurance companies don’t want you to use your plan and make it as hard as possible to do so. They make a profit off your premiums but not if they have to pay out money – so they nickle and dime you. The most recent health care product is called the “Consumer Directed Health Plan”. Basically the there are little rules on coverage but you are forced to pay a $1500 to $4000 deductible upfront before the plan pays anything. If you are a healthy person then you get a nice suprise should you ever need to use your CDH plan.

Then there are plans where they have something called “managed care” where they won’t pay for something unless you have tried something else that is less expensive.

Basically most private insurance companies are not your friends and never will be. They like their profit too much. They will be working with their friends in the Republican party to make Obama’s health care reform seem as scary as possible.

The fact is our health care system is broken and needs to be fixed so that more people are covered and a majority of Americans feel the same way.

85% of Americans support “fundamental changes” to or a “complete rebuild” of the health care system. 64% believe the government should guarantee insurance for all Americans and 72% think the government should offer a public option styled after Medicare to compete with private insurers.