Archive for the ‘News Media’ Category

“Goodbye, America” Updated

April 15, 2012

In 2010, I posted Goodbye, America where I asked whether America was at a turning point, beyond which recovery from the critical mass of leftist momentum which has infested it would be impossible.  Since then, millions of Americans, led by Tea Party adherents, have realized this danger, if only in the widely apparent looming menace of the ever-increasing national debt.  And subsequently in 2010, Americans voted for Republicans in large numbers to begin to turn the tide in the right direction and stem the oncoming disaster.

But now it appears we are indeed beyond the turning point:

First, the positive results at the federal level from the big-talking, newly elected Republicans have been minimal, at best, even granting that they took over only the House of Representatives.   Indeed, the bureaucratic juggernaut continues apace, working to weaken the United States, in so many areas.  Just a few are the restrictions on energy production and usage [shuttering coal-fired power plants (and sending the unused coal to China) and the Keystone XL pipeline being but two examples], promoting hate and class warfare, and a hardly discussed disastrous foreign policy based on funding and aiding our avowed enemies [such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its kin in Turkey, in addition to China].  Not to mention the further explosive growth of the national debt.

Second, many polls, rather unbelievably to many of us, indicate that enough voters are blind enough and indoctrinated enough to predict that Obama will be reelected.  On one hand, I have not met anybody who could have voted for him the last time but did not, and will do so this year.  And I have heard some of his 2008 voters say they won’t vote for him this year.  That would suggest that he is likely to lose.  But on the other hand, in recent years, polls have been more accurate with their advance bad news than I would prefer to admit.

And now the alternate choice is the “moderate” Romney, not in any way conceivably an “extremist”, a label that some might use as an excuse to avoid voting for him.  But it also doesn’t give great hope that he will do much more than slow the tide, rather than stemming and reversing it.  Which makes the likelihood of a second term for the incumbent an even more alarming indicator of the state of mind of the populace.

Most unfortunately, many voters now are only too happy to do their part to destroy traditional America, with its values of individualism and freedom, as they believe the the socialist/European statist model and its attendant stagnation is superior and preferable.  This sad state of affairs has resulted because that is what the leftists and socialists who predominate in the country’s media, entertainment, academic, and bureaucratic establishments have told us to think for several decades now.  And also contributing is, of course, with relatively few exceptions, the rather weak presentation of those on our side.

Americans have until early November to wake up and vote accordingly.  Is anyone optimistic?

The Top Ten Reasons Jews Voted for Obama

August 31, 2010

With the November U.S. Congressional elections approaching, it may be instructive to examine why the approximately 80% of Jewish Americans who voted for Obama in 2008 did so.  Thus, below are ten major reasons.  They are not in any particular order, but the reader is invited to assign rankings based on his experience with these voters.

Some of the reasons are obviously related to each other, and most of these voters chose him for a combination of these arguments:

  1. “Obama will support Israel and be good for Israel.”
  2. “He will screw Israel, but that will be good for Israel.”
  3. “I don’t care about Israel.”
  4. “If McCain wins, he will pack the courts with right wing extremists like himself (the Democrat Senate, whose approval would be required for confirmation notwithstanding).  And that would be a grave blow to “Jewish values” such as homosexual marriage and abortion on demand.”
  5. “Obama is so cool; everybody I know is voting for him.”  (He can read a teleprompter.)
  6. “He is the Democrat.  I have always voted Democrat.  What, change now?”
  7. “He is black!”
  8. “Not voting for him would be racist!”
  9. “It’s a vote towards tikkun olam.  That stems from my inherited yet possibly subconscious socialistic proclivities, so obviously shared by Obama (e.g. more ‘spread the wealth around’).”
  10. “The media I follow (major newspapers and radio and TV networks) blessed him.  (See The New American Jewish Bible.) They said he’s kosher.  In fact, even better than kosher – he’s great! They revealed no skeletons in his closet of any kind.”

Voters throughout the world often make choices for fatuous and superficial reasons. (Isn’t it interesting how often the candidate with the best hair wins?)  The 2008 U.S. elections were a good example of superficial decision-making by voters.  Perhaps enough of them have seen the tragic results for American liberty and prosperity (not to mention Israel’s security — e.g. think “Iran”) to help stem that negative tide with their next votes come November.

Establishment Media Wastes No Time Validating My Case

November 23, 2009

 

Last week I posted Bloggers Are a Better Source of News Than “Journalists” – And Better Writers.  I never thought I would be compelled to follow up so soon.

Perhaps my most extreme statement was “Even the most “esteemed” among them [the establishment media] are bad, or worse.”  Within days, the print media’s most “esteemed” New York Times and Washington Post both provided examples of how terrible they are, for anyone seeking a grasp on reason and reality.

First, on November 20, a NY Times blog commented on Global Warminggate, the case of purloined documentation revealing that key global warming alarmists sought, among other things, to prevent the publication of data inconsistent with their global warming-mongering, and to attack those who disrupted their “consensus” on “global warming”.

So what did the Times reporter have to say?

“The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.”

Wow!  So the Times has a new standard – or just a very odd one – for what they publish.  Heretofore, any national security secret they could get their claws on, or any rumor about a Republican candidate’s love life (e.g. John McCain) — that gets published, no problem.  That this information was “never intended for the public eye”?  Their presumed response:  “Hey, what do you think, we have integrity or anything?”

My column last week noted the “establishment media’s rank hypocrisy and partisanship”.  This is another example of them bringing it out further into the open for all who are willing to see it.

Then came the Washington Post with its malevolence and lunacy.  Quite possibly, this most esteemed newspaper’s  most eminent foreign policy columnist is Jim Hoagland.  In fact, he has occasionally been quite reasonable in recent years.  But on November 22 he topped off a column loaded with idiocy and the Abbas-loving and Netanyahu- and Israel-hating bias so typical of the establishment media and the Washington Post in particular.  He said,

“Only an Israeli decision to end that occupation in fast order can lead to the security Israelis need and deserve”…

It never ceases to amaze me that anyone can actually be that obtuse and continue to collect a paycheck for writing.  Disregarding all the stupidity in and behind that statement, the one fact that that formula was tried in Gaza with disastrous results that continue to this day should be enough to embarrass anyone from even broaching it in public.  But for the Jim Hoagland, the “finest” foreign policy columnist (aside from two excellent outlier conservative columnists) at the country’s runner-up top newspaper, it’s just par for the course.

Bloggers Are a Better Source of News Than “Journalists” – And Better Writers

November 12, 2009

I recently heard another establishment-media journalist bemoan the loss of influence of his club of establishment-media journalists.  He condescendingly scorned the rise and increasing influence of non-members of his club – primarily bloggers and conservative talk radio.  I decided that self-centered, narcissistic whining needed to be answered.

I, of course, scorn the remaining continued  influence of his club of “professional” journalists due to the great damage they inflict on the country.  But even putting that aside, those “professional” journalists are a disgrace to the ideals of their profession.   Their organizations range from bad to terrible.  Even the most “esteemed” among them are bad, or worse.  I and others have documented that.  Indeed, whole groups exist to address their shortcomings.

While naturally there is a range in quality among us non-establishmenters, we actually do a better job at the professionals’ job than they do.  To wit:

We don’t load up our copy with meaningless words like “aging”, “sprawling”, and “popular” to fill out supposedly scarce newsprint or airtime.  Additional common media establishment examples are “quietly…” [name action by a disfavored entity], and the universal use of “militant,” in worship at the altar of political correctness, as a substitute for “terrorist”.

We non-establishmenters have some judgment, and thus, as a group can and do actually report news on a broad spectrum of issues and developments, rather than just aping each others’ reporting on the inanities of the week.  (Perhaps that correlates with not finishing in the bottom quartile of our graduating classes.)  It never ceases to amaze me how flipping the dial virtually always results in getting different networks reporting the same take on the same stories, no matter how trivial or inane they are, and no matter how many other vital stories are begging to be reported.  (It is remarkable even knowing that Editor and Publisher reported that “Every Night the ‘NY Times’ and ‘Wash Post’ Exchange Front Pages for the Following Day”.)

Here are a few examples of the stories of no consequence that the establishment media lavishly devotes their “precious” airtime to, to the exclusion of what an informed citizenry needs to know about:

  • Category 1 hurricane may make landfall 3000 miles away (or is swirling in the ocean)
  • Someone who you never heard of is missing
  • Someone who you never heard of was shot
  • Someone who you have heard of, but was of no consequence, has been dead for a week

You might think that some part of the establishment media would seriously report on the constitutional issues involved in the continuing expansion of the reach of the federal government, or the long-term economic implications of current government policy – but you would be wrong.  Issues such as those, and others of true import are  regularly addressed by the non-club members that the establishment media so disdains.

Is it an ideology or ignorance throughout the establishment media that is responsible for its neglect of the real issues?  Probably both, but obviously there is also a herd mentality at work.  Their perception that their lowest-common-denominator product maximizes profit is also a factor (or maximizes  audience, in the case of government-sponsored, taxpayer-funded “public broadcasting”).

And we non-establishmenters don’t share the rank hypocrisy of our “esteemed” establishment media colleagues — a hypocrisy so blind that it routinely claimed with a straight face that Governor Sarah Palin did not have the executive experience to be qualified to be Vice-President, while never questioning that the Democrat candidate, who had no executive experience, was qualified to be President.

The establishment media’s rank hypocrisy and partisanship even extends to what books they will review (not to mention how they review them).  They won’t even review a bestseller Liberty and Tyranny by conservative Mark Levin (on this date  #77 on Amazon, more than seven months after its publication), but they lavish reviews on a book entitled The Death of Conservatism (now  #18,000 on Amazon, 2 months after its publication).

It might be nice if members of the establishment media would occasionally level with their customers about their ideologies and partisanship – and perhaps even to seriously study how that affects their reporting and their product.  But don’t hold your breath.

Even if you don’t agree with the alternative community of  bloggers and talk radio, you need us to tell you what the establishment media isn’t telling you.  If others had paid attention to what we were saying last year, they might have helped avert the political disaster that befell us one year ago, and will continue to haunt us for years to come.

Who Is More Pro-Israel, Your Rabbi Or Rush Limbaugh?

October 4, 2009

Most American Jews think they already know the answer to this question.  Whether it is the correct answer is another story.  For non-American readers who don’t know Rush Limbaugh, he is the leading U.S. talk radio show host, the avatar of the only predominantly conservative genre of American media.

The title of this column may be considered shorthand in two ways.  First, the pro-Israel bona fides are a question generally only  for non-Orthodox rabbis, who tend to have a left/liberal orientation in all things political.  And the question posed by the title may be applied to American conservative talk radio hosts in general, and not just Rush Limbaugh.

Here are a few criteria to judge who is the greater supporter of Israel:

  • Who supports forceful action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons?  (The talk show hosts do.)  Who opposes it in the interests of “peace”?  Your rabbi?  (If you don’t believe Iran’s leaders in possession of nuclear weapons represent a fundamental threat to Israel, skip the rest of this article, and move on to the children’s section.)
  • Who supported and who opposed intervention in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power?  (The talk show hosts supported it.)  Apparently the lives of Israeli Jews did not weigh too heavily in the deliberations of the opponents of the intervention.  As some of us still recall, he was paying suicide bomber families $25,000 each for the killing of Jews.
  • Who favors acting against Islamofascist threats to the western world?  (The talk show hosts do.)  Who appeases them in the name of “peace” and “goodwill”?  (Your rabbi?)  Who meets with radical Muslims who support terrorism against Israelis,  and/or their apologists in the name of “interfaith dialogue”? (Your rabbi?)
  • From whom do you hear more criticism of Israel?  (Not often heard from these talk show hosts.)

We may expand the scope of the title’s question further, to consider who is more supportive of traditional Jewish values.  Values such as heterosexual marriage, the sanctity of life (remember the Talmudic “whoever saves a single life is as if he saved an entire world”?), and liberty and freedom.

In each of these instances, the views of the talk show hosts are fully consonant with traditional Judaic values.  That is not true of many non-Orthodox rabbis, whose values are more synchronized with those of left-wing political tenets and America’s Democrat/Obama party.

One area where some talk show hosts and rabbis may tie is that of tzedakah.   While we don’t know the competitors’ personal contributions, many hosts and rabbis both use their “pulpits” to promote contributions to good causes.  Limbaugh raises funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (and makes sizable personal contributions), and fellow host Sean Hannity raises funds for the Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides support to families of injured and fallen American servicemen and women.  (In stark contrast, public broadcasters such as National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting Service stations tend to use their airwaves to raise money only for themselves — on top of the taxpayer dollars they involuntarily expropriate from the public.)

I invite readers to participate in an informal poll by providing their answers to the question posed by the title by commenting below.  One caveat:  For your vote to qualify, your opinion must be based on a substantive first-hand acquaintance with the views of both parties.  I.e., you must have a rabbi that you have heard speak, and you must have personally heard at some length Limbaugh or another host; your opinion cannot be based on what others, especially figures in the media, have told you, said, or reported about the talk show host.  (Aside from the media’s political agenda that differs from the talk show hosts’, the talk shows are their competition.  Thus the media has a double vested interest –  ideological and commercial —  in denigrating them.)

The point here is to reflect on who are are Judaism’s real friends and who are not; who are real supporters of Israel, and who are not.  As time passes and the world changes, tradition and conventional wisdom often do not provide the right answers.

Mainstream Media’s War on the Truth

September 6, 2009

Note to Readers:   This article is a slightly updated version of one originally posted in late 2006. Unfortunately, its message remains as valid today as ever.

You might think that with all the words written about the shortcomings of the mainstream media in recent years, that the subject has been adequately covered.  But, no, unfortunately, the criticism has been no match for the problem.  The media’s biases cause it to both reflexively and consciously alter its product to substantial degrees from what would be acceptable and what the public deserves.

Don’t doubt that the media’s war on the truth encompasses omission, distortion, and outright lying. The tactics of omission, distortion, and lying distort the picture provided to the public.

The media’s use of each of these sometimes overlapping techniques is explored below.

Part of the problem is that the mainstream media proclaims it is unbiased and gives us an accurate picture of our world.  Or, it may admit that it has biases, but it still gives us an accurate picture because it doesn’t let its biases affect its product.  Well, at least that is amusing, as by now most Americans and Israelis know better.

In contrast, much of the non-mainstream media is above-board about it biases, and is happy to tell you where it stands.  That knowledge of the perspective of the source makes it much easier to judge the value of the information offered.

As well, the alternative media seems less affected than its mainstream counterpart by the herd mentality and the peer pressure the rest of us felt as children.  The mainstream media exhibits a remarkable degree of uniformity among its various components in using remarkably similar language and opinions to describe the remarkably similar events they each deem newsworthy.  Their similarities are often in the guise of presumed “standards” that lead to many of the inanities listed below.  Even outlets thought to be on the edge or outside of the mainstream, such as Fox News or the Washington Times, increasingly conform to these mainstream practices in their news reporting.

Since it is difficult for those of us interested in world events to avoid exposure to the mainstream media, we are exposed to their biases and versions of events.  Supplementing that with other voices from talk radio, the internet, and niche publications often adds much valuable information and perspective.

Omission and Distortion

Omission is the mainstream media’s favorite tactic for handling information they don’t want you to know.  Often the less stringent tactic of simply burying the story and providing it less emphasis than the preferred story lines is adequately effective.

These tactics are nothing new; the media has a long and sordid record of burying crucial information. These tactics go back at least to the New York Times’ virtual burial of information on the incredibly mounting death toll of Jews in the Holocaust.

Following is a small sample of the many pieces of information that mainstream media outlets don’t want us to know and therefore don’t mention much in their reports (media omission tactic) or do note but in a distorted way (distortion tactic):

  • Hizbullah and Hamas are terrorist organizations. Distortion tactic:  Sanitize them by describing them as “militant” organizations, or with any other term but “terrorist”.
  • Hizbullah has committed numerous terrorist acts killing Americans, including 241 Marines at their barracks in Lebanon.
  • Most casualties in the 2006 and 2008 wars with Lebanon and Gaza were terrorists and those who aid and abet them.
  • United Nations peacekeepers were stationed along the Israel Lebanon border for years, but were ineffectual at best.  More realistically, they served as cover for Hizbullah and its terror attacks.  Distortion tactic:  Imply that (another) UN peacekeeping force would be an unadulterated good thing. Of course, Israel was in fact subsequently saddled with the “new, improved” UN peacekeeping force.
  • The “good guy” Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is an unrepentant Holocaust denier.  (That was his PhD thesis.)  Distortion tactic:  Without any evidence, label Abbas as a “moderate”.  On the other hand, label Ariel Sharon, Binyamin Netanyahu, and other Israelis as “hard-line”, and Israeli actions as “excessive” or “disproportionate”.
  • Distortion tactic:  Delegitimize Israel by referring to its capital and government as “Tel Aviv” even though they and you well know its government is in its capital of Jerusalem.  Would the media sound any more stupid or be any more dishonest to imply the U.S. Congress meets in Los Angeles?

These media tactics are not employed only against Israel, but against the broader war on terrorism, and other U.S. interests as well.  To wit, further omissions/distortions:

  • American soldiers and Marines in Iraq perform heroically.  Distortion tactic:  Find an allegation against the American (or Israeli) military and trumpet it in the extreme (e.g. the absurd on its face charge of flushing a Koran down a toilet; Muhammad al-Dura hoax).
  • Al Qaeda was linked to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.  For example, Abu Musab al Zarqawi and two dozen al Qaeda associates were in Iraq — in Baghdad — nearly a year before the war.  Distortion tactic:  Claim no links between Iraq and al Qaeda, or debunk the straw man allegation of an Iraq-9/11  link.

A side note is that Saddam Hussein also did have a link to first World Trade Center bombing of 1993. He harbored terrorist 1993 World Trade Center bomb plotter Abdul Rahman Yasin in Iraq and paid him a monthly stipend.

  • Some WMD were found in Iraq – including 500 sarin/mustard gas-filled shells. Distortion tactic:  Claim no WMD in Iraq.

Outright Lying

While a less charitable media analyst might also include the media’s denial of Iraq-al Qaeda links and WMD having been found in Iraq in this category, here are two other examples:

  • To delegitimize Israel’s claim to the disputed West Bank territories, refer to the 1967 armistice lines as an international border.  Could National Public Radio’s long time Israel correspondent be so ignorant as to make this mistake innocently?
  • For reasons perhaps a reader can explain, an Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, falsely claimed a road is “Jewish only”. Its defense is that the claim  is true “for all practical purposes” (shades of Dan Rather, or perhaps the old “good enough for government work”?).

Bottom Line

My bottom line measure for the integrity of a news outlet rests on its willingness to call terrorists “terrorists”.  If it can’t even honestly describe our enemy, how can we trust anything else it tells us?

Regarding media bias specific to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Stephanie Gutmann has penned an outstanding first-hand account that is highly informative, even for those of us who think we are on to the media’s tricks.  Entitled The Other War: Israelis, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy, I heartily recommend it for further reading.

The New American Jewish Bible

August 23, 2009

The New American Jewish Bible

I regret to report on the ascendence of an American Jewish version of “Replacement Theology” and a corresponding new American Jewish Bible. These have been adopted primarily in the Reform and secular sectors, as well as in the overlapping wider societal groups of Democrat Party faithful, academia, and the media establishment.

The new American Jewish Bible is the newspaper, and to a lesser degree, broadcast media outlets such as National Public Radio, the Public Broadcasting System, and commercial television networks. But this new American Jewish Bible is actually a false prophet.

As there are different translations of both the Torah and the Christian Bible, the newspaper comes in different geographic versions (New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, etc.). And the broadcast networks each proselytize different versions of the same message.

This new American Jewish Bible pervasively influences, if not regulates, the life of those who have succumbed to its dominion. How often are you approached with the question, “did you see in The Paper…”, or “The Paper said…”? Undoubtedly much more often than “The Torah says…”.

How often do these people take their cues from The Paper, versus the Torah, or any other authoritative Judaic source? How much time do they spend reading The Paper versus any genuine Judaic source?

It has been claimed that Islam has been “hijacked” by extremists. While that may be true, it is clear that Judaism has been hijacked — by leftist interests, including the media. How else can you explain, for example, the widespread support in the Jewish community for same sex marriage, when the Torah dictates quite the opposite?

Readers of The Paper are influenced by it in all-encompassing areas of life, from public and political affairs to pop culture (e.g. this is a good play; that is a bad movie), science (“global warming” is real and bad), and even what to eat (recipes).

Indeed, some years ago, The Paper in all its geographic variants deliberately determined that it could best hook the most readers by diversifying from a focus on news to expound on a wide variety of lifestyle areas.

After faithfully subscribing to and reading the same newspaper every day of every week for decade after decade, it is only natural that most people would come to think what The Paper tells them to think, what to think about, and how to think, day after day, decade after decade.

Of course, some may religiously follow The Paper or their broadcaster because they found it to provide the views they thought to be valid, or because it provided what they wanted to hear. But these faithful probably do not represent a majority of readers and viewers – if only because historically there has been very real little choice in the range of views available in the media.

An irony that would be amusing if not for the severity of its implications relates to the view of society’s elites that religious fundamentalists tend to be uneducated and uninformed. The unfortunate fact is that it is the followers of the American media, The Paper and the broadcasters, who are remarkably ignorant and uninformed.

Just one example:  Polls reported that the majority of Obama voters did not even know that the Democrat Party had the majority control of Congress for the last two years. This misinformation did not stem from these voters studying the Torah; they were being “informed” by The Paper and the broadcasters. An obvious conclusion is that in informing the voting public of the fundamental issues in the election, The Paper (in all its geographic variants) and the broadcasters were miserable failures.

And these media to which so many American Jews look with reverence are the comfortable home for every variety of Israel-hater and anti-semite. For a taste of the prevalence of the Israel-haters and anti-semites getting their “information” from The Paper, take a look at the comments posted on the website of the Washington Post, for example, about any article relating to the Middle East, Israel or Jews.

While The Paper and the broadcasters have huge (although somewhat declining) followings, they are indeed false prophets. We must do all we can to counter them. That must include accepting what they or their followers say only with the greatest degree of skepticism, searching for and utilizing alternative sources of information, and working to “de-program” them and their followers at every opportunity.