Saturday, January 28, 2006

Couric, Lauer, Russert: All perpetuate GOP Lies

It is difficult to explain how, other than via a conspiracy, these media bobbleheads can act so clearly in concert to obfuscate what is at essence a very simple story.

Republican activist and admitted felon Abramoff operated a pay-to-play scheme that bilked his clients out of millions that he directed to GOP senators.

Donations from these tribes to Democrats dropped after they became Abramoff clients. And yet we are supposed to believe that Abramoff directed his clients to give more to Democrats?

Not only does it not add up, not a shred of proof has been given. And yet we hear this nonsense daily from the 'liberal' press.

8 Thoughts:

Blogger Demotiki said...

There are watersheds and then there are watersheds. The way the Abramoff story has been played by the press exposes once again the dark reality that the corporations have decided against democracy and in favor of corporate cleptocracy. Main stream media talking heads are only doing the bidding of their corporate masters. Can we possibly expect NBC to talk back to the massive defense contractor GE that owns it? Only a koolAid drinking fool could possibly believe that the media is anything other than the tool of the corporate elite, who work to bring about a corporate oligarchy where their interests are represented above those of the citizens of this great nation. They sadly underestimate the country because they don't understand America. They think that they can pull the wool over the eyes of a once pround nation. They overestimate their own power and influence, as all dictators do. They don't realized that the price of gas means more to the Average American then 9/11 ever will. More Americans have guns than watch Fox News.

Saturday, January 28, 2006 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

As a news junkie I have been longing for a network that at least reports the "truth." Sadly, with the exception of Keith Oberman, there isn't a single show on the cable new networks that makes a habbit of telling the truth. Look as hard as you like, they are all on the take.

Which begs the question. Why wouldn't someone start a "truth-telling" news network? The answer is just as simple, because nobody would advertize on it. Look at Air America, they have advertizers. Yes, but can a cable news network survive on ads from matress companies, diet pills and get rich quick schemes? The major advertizers wouldn't be on board, without them, it doesn't matter how large the audience is.

The real solution is subscription-based news. If HBO started having a real news program that told the truth, they would make a fortune. Who among us wouldn't fork over a ten spot a month for a reliable cable news program? I know I would.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger pawlr said...

An interesting idea. Actually Ted Koppel, who has retired from the networks now, was in negoatiations with HBO for a monthly show that would do investigative feature reports, but Discovery nabbed him.

I think a new nightly broadcast that fulfilled your ambitions would revolutionize the industry. However, HBO is unfortunately no longer as able to innovate as it once was. It has its own corporate puppetmaster, Time Warner, that has its fingers in a lot of various entertainment pies and is under continual threat of regulation of media product by the prudes in the government, so they unfortunately have to play footsie with the FCC, but you're right, this isn't as onerous as having GE as your parent company.

Bill Maher, a weekly show, is the closest HBO has at the moment. A nightly broadcast would be awesome though.

Can you imagine the apoplexy the right would be spun into by such a development? Within three months there would be an obscenity-in-cable bill on the floor of the house, I guarantee you.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 4:27:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

They would try to stop it, but in the process they would merely prove the point that MSM is completely pro-corporate because it is corporate.

What is needed to start the ball rolling? What would open the debate about the future of the news? I think that if the New York Times, LA Times the Economist and a number of print media outlets actually ran stories about media water-carrying it would go a long way. We all know that the way the Abramoff story is being spun is clearly no accident. The print media would be doing themselves and the country a favor by pointing out that one simply can't trust what one sees on the television. Print media could increase readership by making people doubt the validity of television. They might also get people talking about how to fix things.

As you said in your post, we know that there is a conspiracy to report this story and others in a way that deminishes Republican blame for corruption that they are 100% responsible for. Not only do these tactics place blame where it shouldn't be placed, but they further undermine the confidence our people have in the political system. In effect television news is telling people that politicians are always corrupt, and that we just have to accept that fact. What they should be doing is saying, "these people are corrupt and you can vote them out."

We read KOS and therefore know that MSM television is corporate controlled and supports the Republicans. However, many average Americans have no official source for this basic truth. Until the papers take up our cause I am afraid all of the rantings in the Bloggosphere wont amount to a hill of beans.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 4:42:00 PM  
Blogger Bspot said...

Paul Krugman's latest column on the Times' Op-Ed page (I think it was Monday or Tuesday) is all about this false balancing act played, badly, by U.S. journalists.

Since you may not be able to view it unless you subscribe to TimesSelect (the new NYT online subscription that's required to see a lot of their columns), I'll copy the actual article into the next comment.

But first let me mention that Bill Moyers gave a truly fantastic, inspiring speech on the subject at the big annual conference of news media last year, transcript of which should be findable online ... I'll look for it and post it here if I can. Although it's damning of the current state of American journalism, it's inspiring to hear Moyers speaking out about it in front of the rest of the media (that conference is a big deal....).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 6:18:00 AM  
Blogger Bspot said...

Actually, sorry, Krugman's column isn't mainly focused on the shortcomings of American journalism in general, but on this instance of them with respect to Abramoff.....bspot.


Op-Ed Columnist
TimesSelect A False Balance

By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: January 30, 2006

"How does one report the facts," asked Rob Corddry on "The Daily Show," "when the facts themselves are biased?" He explained to Jon Stewart, who played straight man, that "facts in Iraq have an anti-Bush agenda," and therefore can't be reported.

Mr. Corddry's parody of journalists who believe they must be "balanced" even when the truth isn't balanced continues, alas, to ring true. The most recent example is the peculiar determination of some news organizations to cast the scandal surrounding Jack Abramoff as "bipartisan."

Let's review who Mr. Abramoff is and what he did.

Here's how a 2004 Washington Post article described Mr. Abramoff's background: "Abramoff's conservative-movement credentials date back more than two decades to his days as a national leader of the College Republicans." In the 1990's, reports the article, he found his "niche" as a lobbyist "with entree to the conservatives who were taking control of Congress. He enjoys a close bond with [Tom] DeLay."

Mr. Abramoff hit the jackpot after Republicans took control of the White House as well as Congress. He persuaded several Indian tribes with gambling interests that they needed to pay vast sums for his services and those of Michael Scanlon, a former DeLay aide. From the same Washington Post article: "Under Abramoff's guidance, the four tribes ... have also become major political donors. They have loosened their traditional ties to the Democratic Party, giving Republicans two-thirds of the $2.9 million they have donated to federal candidates since 2001, records show."

So Mr. Abramoff is a movement conservative whose lobbying career was based on his connections with other movement conservatives. His big coup was persuading gullible Indian tribes to hire him as an adviser; his advice was to give less money to Democrats and more to Republicans. There's nothing bipartisan about this tale, which is all about the use and abuse of Republican connections.

Yet over the past few weeks a number of journalists, ranging from The Washington Post's ombudsman to the "Today" show's Katie Couric, have declared that Mr. Abramoff gave money to both parties. In each case the journalists or their news organization, when challenged, grudgingly conceded that Mr. Abramoff himself hasn't given a penny to Democrats. But in each case they claimed that this is only a technical point, because Mr. Abramoff's clients — those Indian tribes — gave money to Democrats as well as Republicans, money the news organizations say he "directed" to Democrats.

But the tribes were already giving money to Democrats before Mr. Abramoff entered the picture; he persuaded them to reduce those Democratic donations, while giving much more money to Republicans. A study commissioned by The American Prospect shows that the tribes' donations to Democrats fell by 9 percent after they hired Mr. Abramoff, while their contributions to Republicans more than doubled. So in any normal sense of the word "directed," Mr. Abramoff directed funds away from Democrats, not toward them.

True, some Democrats who received tribal donations before Mr. Abramoff's entrance continued to receive donations after his arrival. How, exactly, does this implicate them in Mr. Abramoff's machinations? Bear in mind that no Democrat has been indicted or is rumored to be facing indictment in the Abramoff scandal, nor has any Democrat been credibly accused of doing Mr. Abramoff questionable favors.

There have been both bipartisan and purely Democratic scandals in the past. Based on everything we know so far, however, the Abramoff affair is a purely Republican scandal.

Why does the insistence of some journalists on calling this one-party scandal bipartisan matter? For one thing, the public is led to believe that the Abramoff affair is just Washington business as usual, which it isn't. The scale of the scandals now coming to light, of which the Abramoff affair is just a part, dwarfs anything in living memory.

More important, this kind of misreporting makes the public feel helpless. Voters who are told, falsely, that both parties were drawn into Mr. Abramoff's web are likely to become passive and shrug their shoulders instead of demanding reform.

So the reluctance of some journalists to report facts that, in this case, happen to have an anti-Republican agenda is a serious matter. It's not a stretch to say that these journalists are acting as enablers for the rampant corruption that has emerged in Washington over the last decade.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 6:21:00 AM  
Blogger Bspot said...

Here below is the link to Moyers' speech. It's very long but well worth reading as far into it as you're able and willing. Again, like Krugman's column, he castigates reporters for the lazy political balancing act they do, rather than reporting the facts, but his castigation is inspired in part by a particular event. Krugman's focusing event is the Abramoff scandal, and he doesn't go into the larger issue at much length. Moyers' focusing event is his own, unjust ouster from PBS, by the new conservative head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Tomlinson, a Republican right-wing wacko. But Moyers goes much more in depth into the problem in general plaguing American journalism as a whole.

Moyers was kicked out of PBS because his show, Democracy Now!, was exactly the kind of thing you guys have been saying you wish HBO could do: real, solid, good news.

Democracy Now! is still on air, but with a new anchor, rather than Moyers. The new anchor worked closely with Moyers and may be doing a good job keeping the show's quality up.

Meanwhile, Tomlinson was eventually fired, sucked under by some scandal about him, but replaced by yet another conservative who has tried to censor PBS as well. Actually, I think the scandal surrounding Tomlinson may have been exactly his commissioning of a consultant to count how many of Bill Moyers' stories were pro-Bush and how many were anti-Bush ..... an action that's scandalous for the head of the CPB to be doing. Wash Post article on that scandal is here: "http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/03/AR2005110302235.html

Here's the Moyers speech, entitled "Take Public Broadcasting Back":

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0516-34.htm

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 6:39:00 AM  
Blogger Bspot said...

That Wash Post article's URL again:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/
content/article/2005/11/03/
AR2005110302235.html

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 6:40:00 AM  

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