Archive for the ‘Media’ Category
Pam Martens and Russ Martens report in Wall Street on Parade:
On July 25, during the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, Senator Elizabeth Warren made the following comments during her speech:
Here’s the thing: America isn’t going broke. The stock market is breaking records. Corporate profits are at all-time highs.
We noted at the time that Senator Warren is one of the smartest members of Congress; a former Harvard law professor who taught commercial contracts and bankruptcy law; a member of the Senate Banking Committee and its Economic Policy Subcommittee.
If Senator Warren was not aware that quarterly earnings on a year-over-year basis as measured by the largest companies in America – the Standard and Poor’s 500 – were on track to log in their fifth consecutive quarterly decline in earnings, how could the average American possibly know this?
Equally important, if the stock market was setting new highs based on a prevailing misconception among investors that corporate earnings were still climbing, shouldn’t responsible media be setting the record straight? Or is it the job of corporate media to keep investors ignorant of the economic realities in the U.S. because it might hurt their own publicly traded stock prices?
We decided to see if Senator Warren could have possibly been misled by the so-called “paper of record,” the New York Times. The Times has a nifty search tool that allows one to set a customized time period for searches. We set our time period to search between January 2, 2015 through August 25, 2016. We searched under profit recession. Next we tried corporate earnings. Then we tried S&P earnings. And, finally, we searched under Standard and Poor’s earnings.
We could find no article at the New York Times, much less a headline, that gave any clue to its readers that S&P 500 earnings have been in decline for the past five quarters.
We did find a very misleading headline that appeared in the New York Times’ print edition on the second page of the Business Section on July 21, 2016. The headline reads: . . .
Jane Mayer has an extremely interesting column in the New Yorker:
This election year, the big question was supposed to be whether Hillary Clinton would shatter the glass ceiling. Instead, it has become the year in which one of the country’s most towering glass houses has shattered. Few people may remember it now, but Fox News, which Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation launched in 1996, became a ratings leader largely because of its gleefully censorious coverage of Bill Clinton’s sex scandals. Now the network is mired in its own scandal. Last month, Roger Ailes resigned as Fox News’s chairman and C.E.O. in the face of multiple allegations of sexual harassment, including a lawsuit filed against him by the former anchor Gretchen Carlson. (Ailes has denied Carlson’s allegations.) The unfolding embarrassment at the network poses a host of questions—not the least of which is how the network’s executives justified their Javert-like pursuit of Clinton’s extramarital affairs, given their boss’s own repeated sexual misconduct. If you go back and look carefully at the chronology, some of Ailes’s most egregious alleged harassment of women was taking place at the same time that Fox News was suggesting that Clinton deserved to be impeached. Sexual harassment is a serious issue, and it merits serious coverage, but it’s hard to believe that the suits at Fox were motivated by genuine concern, given their own corporate culture.
Gabriel Sherman, in his 2014 book “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” describes how brilliantly and relentlessly Ailes exploited Clinton’s scandalous affair with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky in order to build Fox News’s brand. Sherman writes, “Whatever else it was, the scandal was a media bonanza, and no medium benefited from it more than cable news—and no cable channel more than Fox News.” Within hours of the Lewinsky story breaking, in January, 1998, Ailes inaugurated a new nightly show devoted to the melodrama, and assigned five producers and correspondents to cover it. No detail was too sordid for Fox to cover. With Ailes, a former Republican political operative, at the helm, Fox covered the affair as a criminal act, and rode the story straight up the cable-ratings charts. “Monica was a news channel’s dream come true,” John Moody, Fox’s executive editor, once admitted.
Fox News has devoted considerably less attention to its own sex scandal. When the network announced Ailes’s departure, his alleged improprieties were not mentioned. Carlson’s attorneys told the Guardian that at least twenty women have accused Ailes of sexually harassing them throughout his career. Carlson and the anchor Megyn Kelly, who has also reportedly alleged that she was harassed by Ailes, are the best known among these women, but the story of Laurie Luhn, the former head of booking for Fox News, is especially damning.
Luhn’s account, if true, suggests that, at precisely the same time Ailes was leading Fox’s breathless coverage of the Clinton-impeachment proceedings, Ailes, who was married, was paying Luhn—who was single, broke, and decades younger—to service him sexually. In a recent blockbuster interview with Sherman, in New York, Luhn said that she met Ailes in 1988. Soon afterward, Ailes began paying her a monthly retainer, for sex and for private research on his competitors. When he helped launch Fox, in 1996, Luhn said, Ailes offered her a staff job in “guest relations.” Over time, her job descriptions at Fox changed, but Ailes, whom Luhn described as a “predator,” did not. She told Sherman that her twenty-year involvement with Ailes had been “psychological torture.” As she grew increasingly unhappy, she said, Ailes grew more controlling, insisting that she tell no one of their sexual relations. Luhn told Sherman that Ailes kept an incriminating videotape of her in a safe-deposit vault, as a form of insurance. By 2011, however, Luhn said, she had informed Fox’s general counsel that Ailes had sexually harassed her for decades. All of this might sound hard to believe, and Luhn has acknowledged a history of psychological difficulties. But Ailes and his lawyers declined an invitation from Sherman to rebut Luhn’s story. Moreover, in 2011, Fox agreed to pay Luhn an astounding $3.15-million severance agreement, which included nondisclosure clauses. It looks a lot like hush money, paid for with corporate funds and handled by multiple Fox executives. Yet, if silencing Luhn was the aim, it hasn’t worked. Luhn was reportedly among the first women to contact investigators hired by Fox, in the wake of Carlson’s lawsuit, to straighten out the twisted truth about sexual harassment at the company.
Fox viewers were, of course, left in the dark about Ailes’s personal life as the network relentlessly exposed Clinton’s private life. The campaign was nearly successful. On December 19, 1998, the Republican-ruled House of Representatives voted to impeach Clinton on two articles, for perjury and obstruction of justice, contending that he had lied under oath about his extramarital affair with Lewinsky. The Senate eventually acquitted Clinton, after a highly partisan trial.
Here, too, hindsight has revealed more hypocrisy. The drive to impeach Clinton was led by three successive House Republican leaders. As ThinkProgress noted last year, each of these self-styled moral authorities was subsequently tarnished in his own extramarital sex scandal. Newt Gingrich, the first Speaker to whip his members into an impeachment frenzy, has since acknowledged that during the same period he was engaged in an extramarital affair with a congressional aide, who was then in her twenties. Gingrich subsequently got divorced and married the aide, Callista Bisek, who became his third wife. (His second wife has also said that he began an affair with her while still married to his first, who, at the time, was recovering from cancer. Gingrich has never specifically admitted to that affair.) All the while, he was publicly castigating Democrats as the party of moral degeneration. For example, while the Democratic Party was nominating Clinton, in 1992, Gingrich introduced George H. W. Bush at a campaign stop by declaring that Woody Allen’s “non-family” was one that “fits the Democratic platform perfectly,” because Allen was “having non-incest with a non-daughter to whom he was a non-father.”
Gingrich resigned from the House Speakership in November, 1998, at which point the Republican House members unanimously voted to pass the gavel to Bob Livingston, a congressman from Louisiana. Less than two months later, . . .
Michael Rosenblum writes in the Huffington Post:
Donald Trump is going to be elected president.
The American people voted for him a long time ago.
They voted for him when The History Channel went from showing documentaries about the Second World War to Pawn Stars and Swamp People.
They voted for him when The Discovery Channel went from showing Lost Treasures of the Yangtze Valley to Naked and Afraid.
They voted for him when The Learning Channel moved from something you could learn from to My 600 Pound Life.
They voted for him when CBS went from airing Harvest of Shame to airing Big Brother.
These networks didn’t make these programming changes by accident. They were responding to what the American people actually wanted. And what they wanted was Naked and Afraid and Duck Dynasty.
The polls may show that Donald Trump is losing to Hillary Clinton, but don’t you believe those polls. When the AC Nielsen Company selects a new Nielsen family, they disregard the new family’s results for the first three months. The reason: when they feel they are being monitored, people lie about what they are watching. In the first three months, knowing they are being watched, they will tune into PBS. But over time they get tired of pretending. Then it is back to The Kardashians.
The same goes for people who are being asked by pollsters for whom they are voting. They will not say Donald Trump. It is too embarrassing. But the truth is, they like Trump. He is just like their favorite shows on TV.
Trump’s replacement of Paul Manafort with Breitbart’s Steve Bannon shows that Trump understands how Americans actually think. They think TV. They think ratings. They think entertainment.
We are a TV based culture. We have been for some time now. The average American spends 5 hours a day, every day, watching TV. After sleep, it is our number one activity.
More shockingly, we spend 8.5 hours a day staring at screens – phones, tablets, computers. And more and more of the content on those devices is also video and TV.
If you spend 5 to 8 hours a day, every day, for years and years doing the same thing it has an impact on you. For the past 40 years we have devoted 5 to 8 hours a day staring at a screen – every day. And we haven’t been watching Judy Woodruff. We have been watching Reality TV shows. That is what we love. That is what we resonate to. The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
The French may love food, the Italians may love opera. What we love is TV. We are TV culture. It defines who we are.
In the 1950s, early television was allowed, with many restrictions, to be an observational guest at political conventions. . .
When Kevin Drum is good, he’s really very good. Read this one.
Damn straight. I’d like to see Condi Rice’s emails, since you can get them just by asking.
James Fallows’s column of the same title is well worth reading—and includes links worth following.