In Month After Charlottesville, Papers Spent As Much Time Condemning Anti-Nazis As Nazis

WaPo-Antifa-Photo

By Adam Johnson for FAIR – Since the Charlottesville attack a month ago, a review of commentary in the six top broadsheet newspapers—the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, LA Times, San Jose Mercury News and Washington Post—found virtually equal amounts of condemnation of fascists and anti-fascist protesters. Between August 12 and September 12, these papers ran 28 op-eds or editorials condemning the anti-fascist movement known as antifa, or calling on politicians to do so, and 27 condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists, or calling on politicians—namely Donald Trump—to do so. For the purposes of this survey, commentary that drew a comparison between antifa and neo-Nazis, but devoted the bulk of its argument to condemning antifa, was categorized as anti-antifa. There were no op-eds or editorials framed as condemnations of “both sides” that spent as much or more time condemning or criticizing neo-Nazis. The “both sides” frame—which was employed by Donald Trump in the wake of the attack, and endorsed by white supremacist David Duke—was almost always used a vehicle to highlight and denounce antifa, with a “to be sure” line about neo-Nazis thrown in for good measure. A breakdown of the op-eds and editorials can be found here.

More Misleading Russia-Gate Propaganda

The Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin: Did the Russians hack U.S. election databases? (Yahoo News photo illustration, photos: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters, Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters, AP, AP)

By Robert Parry for Consortium News – On Tuesday, for instance, the Times published a front-page article designed to advance the Russia-gate narrative, stating: “A business associate of President Trump promised in 2015 to engineer a real estate deal with the aid of the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, that he said would help Mr. Trump win the presidency.” Wow, that sounds pretty devastating! The Times is finally tying together the loose and scattered threads of the Russia-influencing-the-U.S.-election story. Here you have a supposed business deal in which Putin was to help Trump both make money and get elected. That is surely how a casual reader or a Russia-gate true believer would read it – and was meant to read it. But the lede is misleading. The reality, as you would find out if you read further into the story, is that the boast from Felix Sater that somehow the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow would demonstrate Trump’s international business prowess and thus help his election was meaningless. What the incident really shows is that the Trump organization had little or no pull in Russia as Putin’s government apparently didn’t lift a finger to salvage this stillborn building project.

Inflating The Russian Threat

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with U.S. President Donald Trump at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

By Jonathan Marshall for Consortium News – Readers of the New York Times have more to sweat about than hot summer weather in the Big Apple. The paper’s chief military correspondent, Michael Gordon — co-author of the infamous 2002 story about Saddam Hussein’s “quest for A-bomb parts” — has all but warned that war in Europe could break out at any minute with the mighty Russian army. Gordon and Schmitt added that this latest and greatest example of “Mr. Putin’s saber-rattling,” represents “the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union that so much offensive power has been concentrated in a single command.”“Russia is preparing to send as many as 100,000 troops to the eastern edge of NATO territory at the end of the summer,” he reported last month with Eric Schmitt. Sounding like speechwriters for Sen. John McCain, they called the long-planned military exercises with Belarus — known as “Zapad” (Russian for “west”) — “one of the biggest steps yet in the military buildup undertaken by President Vladimir V. Putin and an exercise in intimidation that recalls the most ominous days of the Cold War.”

Net Neutrality Reduced To Mogul Vs. Mogul In Corporate Media’s Shallow Coverage

Comcast-owned MSNBC (7/14/17) explaining that net neutrality means “government just hasn’t caught up with technology yet.”

By John O’Day for FAIR – A common refrain in popular news media is that net neutrality is just too boring and esoteric for ordinary people to be interested in. “Oh my god that is the most boring thing I’ve ever seen,” John Oliver (HBO, 6/1/14) once exclaimed after showing his audience a short clip from a government hearing on the subject. “That is even boring by C-SPAN standards.” Net neutrality is the principle that internet data should be transmitted without discrimination. Absent net neutrality rules, internet service providers (ISPs) are free to act as gatekeepers, controlling which data users have access to and at what speed. Oliver proved himself wrong. His 2014 segment, which explained net neutrality and successfully implored the public to support the FCC’s proposed reclassification of ISPs as “common carriers” under the Telecommunications Act, so that they could be regulated as public utilities, has been viewed over 13 million times on YouTube. 3.7 million people sent comments to the FCC that year.

Federal Bank Regulator Drops A Bombshell As Corporate Media Snoozes

'Conventional monetary policy has failed,' writes Brown. An economy in service of the people, not industry and the banks, is what's needed now. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens for Wall Street On Parade – Last Monday, Thomas Hoenig, the Vice Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), sent a stunning letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. The letter contained information that should have become front page news at every business wire service and the leading business newspapers. But with the exception of Reuters, major corporate media like the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, the Business section of the New York Times and Washington Post ignored the bombshell story, according to our search at Google News. What the fearless Hoenig told the Senate Banking Committee was effectively this: the biggest Wall Street banks have been lying to the American people that overly stringent capital rules by their regulators are constraining their ability to lend to consumers and businesses. What’s really behind their inability to make more loans is the documented fact that the 10 largest banks in the country “will distribute, in aggregate, 99 percent of their net income on an annualized basis,” by paying out dividends to shareholders and buying back excessive amounts of their own stock.

Talking About A Revolution

watchingfrogsboil/Flickr

By Jim Naureckas for Other Words – Saving people and the planet means upending virtually every kind of business — starting with the media. It’s long been clear that if we want to avoid catastrophic climate disruption on a scale that threatens human civilization, we need to leave vast amounts of fossil fuels in the ground. Environmental writer Bill McKibben pointed out the math in a crucial 2012 article for Rolling Stone: To avoid disaster, 80 percent of the carbon already discovered by private and state-owned energy companies has to be left alone — to be treated as useless rock. The problem is, the energy companies are some of the richest, most powerful entities on Earth. Corporations are designed to act like organisms with a single goal: maximizing profits. And the fossil fuel industry’s future profits — roughly 80 percent of them — depend on extracting that carbon and burning it, climate and civilization be damned. They’ve been using and will continue to use their vast influence to thwart any effort to avert that disaster. Does humanity have the collective power to tell the current owners of carbon deposits that they don’t have the right to take them out of the ground and sell them as fuel? That the companies simply don’t own those assets anymore?

Do Corporate Media Need To Lie To Promote Trade Deals?

fair.org

By Dean Baker for FAIR – I understand people can have reasonable differences of opinion on trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but why is it that the proponents have to insist, with zero evidence, that not doing the deal was an economic disaster? Yes, I know the political argument, which seemed to arise late in the game, that US standing in the world has collapsed because we didn’t follow through on the TPP. But let’s just stick with the economics. Politico (8/7/17) ran a lengthy piece saying that the US pullout from the TPP undermined the hopes for a revival of rural America. It cited as evidence a report from the United States International Trade Commission that projected the deal would have increased agricultural output by 0.5 percent when fully phased in, 15 years from now. Seriously, folks, a 0.5 percent increase in output is going to save rural America? That’s three months of normal growth; who are you trying to fool? The New York Times (8/8/17) joined the act with a news article that started out by pointing to the costs from the Trump administration’s ambiguities on trade policy.

Amazon CEO Does Damage Becoming World's Richest Person

From Working at Amazon SUCKS?! - Tech Tuesday, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_TC4nEBYuI

By Adam Johnson for FAIR. The three most prominent US newspapers haven’t run a critical investigative piece on Jeff Bezos’ company Amazon in almost two years, a FAIR survey finds. The last major investigative piece on Amazon in the three most prestigious newspapers appeared almost two years ago (New York Times, 8/15/15). The last major investigative piece on Amazon in the three most prestigious newspapers appeared almost two years ago (New York Times, 8/15/15). A review of 190 articles from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Bezos-owned Washington Post over the past year paints a picture of almost uniformly uncritical–ofttimes boosterish–coverage. None of the articles were investigative exposes, 6 percent leaned negative, 54 percent were straight reporting or neutral in tone, and 40 percent were positive, mostly with a fawning or even press release–like tone.

The Washington Post Is Selling Snake Oil

Max Borge / Flickr

By Adam Gaffney for Jacobin Magazine – Our friends at the Washington Post are waging a brave campaign against Medicare for All. Over the weekend, the Washington Post editorial board took a bold stance: they argued that universal health care with single-payer financing is simply beyond reach. That the Post felt the need to issue the editorial at this particular moment is a testament to single payer’s rising fortunes. From coast to coast, activists are on the march: against the widely loathed, upward-wealth-redistributing, health-care-stripping abomination known as Trumpcare, for sure — but also for real universal health care. Yet the Post’s frail arguments should be confronted, because they repeat a number of common talking points that rest on flawed assumptions and that could do real harm. The Post editorial board begins by briefly conceding that single payer does have “some strong advantages.” It notes that single payer would be less of a hassle for many people (a good point), that it would get employers out of the messy role of providing health-care benefits (reasonable), and finally that it would facilitate cost-effectiveness research by government investigators (fine I suppose, although this is unlikely to galvanize the average person).

Why Don’t U.S. Mainstream Media Report Vladimir Putin’s Take On Ukraine Crisis?

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By Robert Parry for Consortium News – A prime example of how today’s mainstream media paradigm works in the U.S. is the case of Ukraine, where Americans have been shielded from evidence that the 2014 ouster of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych was a U.S.-supported coup d’etat spearheaded by violent neo-Nazi extremists. As The New York Times has instructed us, there was no coup in Ukraine; there was no U.S. interference; and there weren’t even that many neo-Nazis. And, the ensuing civil conflict wasn’t a resistance among Yanukovych’s supporters to his illegal ouster; no, it was “Russian aggression” or a “Russian invasion.” If you deviate from this groupthink – if you point out how U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland talked about the U.S. spending $5 billion on Ukraine; if you mention her pre-coup intercepted phone call with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt discussing who the new leaders would be and how “to glue” or how “to “midwife this thing”; if you note how Nuland and Sen. John McCain urged on the violent anti-Yanukovych protesters; if you recognize that snipers firing from far-right-controlled buildings killed both police and protesters to provoke the climactic ouster of Yanukovych…

Folsom Prisoners Declare Hunger Strike, Mainstream Media Silent

From liberationnews.org

By Staff of PSL – Folsom State Prison, also known as Old Folsom, is the second oldest state prison in California, behind San Quentin, and is highly recognized as one of the first maximum security prisons. Folsom State Prison is also known for the executions of over 90 inmates over the course of 20 years in addition to being where former Black Panther, Eldridge Cleaver, was held for a short period. The decades of oppression behind bars has never failed to produce resistance by those most affected. This most recent hunger strike was declared in response to the harsh conditions that prisoners in Administrative Segregation Units are facing. Prisoners are given food without plates or bowls and they’re not given any cups to drink water from thus being forced to eat from plastic bags and drink from old milk cartons. Mail is withheld from prisoners for months without any explanation. The prison refuses to provide them with basic rehabilitation programs or even cleaning supplies for their cells. Prisoners have reached out to multiple people and have received no response or help for the conditions that they are forced to live with on a day to day basis.

How Media Consolidation Threatens Democracy: 857 Channels (And Nothing On)

Vice President Al Gore speaks as President Bill Clinton looks on during an informal discussion with parents and children in Alexandria, Virginia on Feb. 9, 1996. Clinton had signed the Telecommunications Act the previous day. (Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

By John Light for Moyers & Company – Earlier this week, we wrote about a pending deal between Sinclair Broadcasting and Tribune Media. Sinclair hopes to buy Tribune, a move that will allow the company to broadcast news to 70 percent of Americans. But the deal has raised eyebrows. The company is notoriously close with Trump, and also favored George W. Bush when he was president. The company’s DC office produces conservative commentary and news segments that paint Republicans in a favorable light, and distributes them to local stations around the country. Some worry that Sinclair hopes to create a competitor to Fox News, operating out of local television stations across America. If the deal does go through — anti-trust regulators and the FCC will have to approve it — it will only have been possible because earlier this year, Trump’s FCC chair Ajit Pai relaxed rules preventing media consolidation. Like much the FCC deals with — net neutrality, internet privacy — media consolidation is a dull-sounding topic that is nonetheless very important. It has a direct hand in the quality of American journalism, and it dictates how accountable that journalism is to its audience.

The FCC & Trump Escalate Media Mergers

SBG-Sinclair-Broadcast-Group

By Michael Corcoran for FAIR – This morning Sinclair Broadcast Group, the conservative media behemoth that owns more local news stations than any other company in the country, just got even bigger. It announced it was buying Tribune Mediafor $3.9 billion, creating what Bloomberg (5/8/17) calls a “TV goliath.” The purchase, which gives Sinclair a staggering reach of nearly 69 percent of the US population (Free Press, 5/8/17), would’ve been in violation of ownership restrictions just weeks ago. But last month, the Trump-appointed FCC chair, Ajit Pai, reinstated the “UHF discount,” an outdated loophole that allowed media conglomerates to exceed the nation’s 39 percent cap on ownership (New York Post, 4/20/17). Sinclair made a $420 million deal to buy Bonten Media Group(Baltimore Sun, 4/21/17) the very next day. This sequence of events “sure looks like a quid pro quo,” as Craig Aaron of the media advocacy group Free Press has noted (5/8/17). Months ago, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner told business executives, according to Politico (12/16/16), that “Trump’s campaign struck a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group during the campaign to try and secure better coverage.”

“Mainstream Media” Forced To Admit NSA Still Spying

From activistpost.com

By Derrick Broze for Activist Post – In 2015 the U.S. Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, a bill which was touted as a victory against the intrusive eyes and ears of the National Security Agency. The bill came about after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released classified documents regarding the agency’s massive spying programs. Democrats and Republicans came together to pass the Orwellianly named “USA Freedom Act. The bill was supposed to put an end to the monitoring of Americans’ phone calls. The politicians and compliant deadstream media applauded themselves for saving the day (while simultaneously condemning the man who exposed the spying) and everyone felt safer. The NSA promised to only inspect phone records of those suspected of terrorism, but they never stopped collecting emails. Also, the agency has a variety of other methods for accessing phone records of Americans. The reality is that the NSA never stopped spying. A new report released on Tuesday by the office of Director of National Intelligence confirms this reality. The report details how the NSA collected over 151 million phone records of Americans, even after the USA Freedom Act became law.

NY Times Creates North Korea Panic Over Unprovable Claim

Flickr/ John Pavelka. 
Star of the DPRK 
Panorama Hall of the Operation for the Liberation of Taejon;
Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum
Pyongyang, DPRK (North Korea)

By Adam Johnson for FAIR – From the beginning, the Times frames any potential bombing by Trump as the product of a “stark calculus” coldly and objectively arrived at by a “growing body of expert[s].” The idea that elements within the US intelligence community may actually desire a war—or at least limited airstrikes—and thus may have an interest in presenting conflict as inevitable, is never addressed, much less accounted for. The most spectacular claim—that North Korea is, at present, “capable of producing a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks”—is backed up entirely by an anonymous blob of “expert studies and classified intelligence reports.” To add another red flag, Sanger and Broad qualify it in the very next sentence as a figure that is “impossible to verify.” Which is another way of saying it’s an unverified claim. When asked on Twitter if he could say who, specifically, in the US government is providing this figure, Broad did not immediately respond.