Posts Tagged ‘News Media’

You Will Not Replace Us

October 15, 2017

Americans and their relationship with God (religion) is kinda like that between parents and teenagers. Americans, qua Americans only on account of their Constitution, know better than others that it was drawn up with emphasis on keeping the two separate, one out of the other. Teenagers, told no by their parents, will eventually act out. Well, ya gotta do it anyway. This past week a major event of this sort took place that literally flew under the media radar in terms of emphasis. Seems whether Ivana is the first lady or Rex Tillerson called his boss a “moron” was more significant than the fact of who spoke to the Values Voter Summit for the third time, this time as apprentice president, and what was said. In 2015 he spoke as a presidential wannabe. 2016 found him speaking as a candidate for president. 2017 found a deliverance speech. The Values Voter Summit is put on directly by the Family Research Council which in turn was spawned by James Dobson, Focus On The Family. “Co-sponsors of the event included other Christian political action groups, such as AFA Action (part of the American Family Association), the Heritage Foundation, Liberty University, Liberty Counsel and Gary Bauer’s organization American Values.” (according to Wiki). Wiki describes the Family Research Council: “FRC promotes what it considers traditional family values, by advocating and lobbying for socially conservative policies. It opposes and lobbies against equal rights for LGBT people (such as same-sex marriage, same-sex civil unions, and LGBT adoption), abortion, divorce, embryonic stem-cell research and pornography.” Controversy surrounds not only the apprentice president when it comes to the terms of the “traditional family values” of the FRC as well as the organization itself being classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-gay hate group. And yet the apprentice president has deigned to grace the Summit now three times, with little fanfare on his latest appearance. Analysis thought it would be more than pertinent to consider the text of the 2016 speech with that of 2017 (transcripts from Politico and the White House Press Secretary). In both speeches the bible is quoted once, at the start of 2017 and at the end of 2016 (a twist of the theater’s admonition to always leave ‘em laughing – in this case praying!). “Amazing, amazing group. One of the greatest privileges of my journey has been the time I’ve spent with the evangelical community.” at the start of 2016, “It’s great to be back here with so many friends at the 2017 Values Voter Summit, and we know what that means. We know what that means. America is a nation of believers, and together we are strengthened and sustained by the power of prayer.” Overall, 2016 comes across as a stump speech with the primary focus on political agenda, if you only vote for me. This agenda is the one currently being executed, though couched in an ersatz religious perspective for the consuming audience. Many of that time’s news headlines were from this conference (“What have you got to lose?”, being able to say “radical Islamic terrorism,” and the statistically flawed math in terms of job numbers and budget amounts) and some were never picked up on (“or one of our great generals that we have today – General Flynn, who’s here someplace I love General Flynn”). A hefty portion was Hillary bashing with Obama thrashing given equal time. Tribute was paid to Phyllis Schlafly’s early endorsement. “We are all equal, and we all come from the same Creator. If we remember that simple fact, then our future is truly limitless. There is nothing we as Americans can’t do.” and “Our nation today is divided. Nobody likes to say it, but we’re living in a very, very divided nation. It will be our faith in God and his teachings, in each other, that will lead us back to unity.” are the closest things to actual articles of “religious” faith put forward by the then candidate speaker. 2017 the apprentice president gives a deliverance speech, again following the political agenda promised a year earlier but this time self-congratulating what is (in his estimation) their accomplishment. Little of this captured the mainstream media coverage’s imagination (“president of the Virgin Islands,” “We’re saying “Merry Christmas” again.”). Except, this time the speech is slathered with religiosity, referencing the founding fathers (like Washington and Franklin) and being filled with articles of faith and their bearing on the upcoming political challenges. Unlike the media, Analysis finds these relevant and pertinent. “And they [hard working Americans] make sure that the future of their children has God involved in it.  So important to them.” “As long as we have pride in our country, confidence in our future, and faith in our God, then America will prevail.” “We know that it’s the family and the church, not government officials, that know best how to create strong and loving communities. And above all else, we know this: In America, we don’t worship government — we worship God. Inspired by that conviction, we are returning moral clarity to our view of the world and the many grave challenges we face.” “We will defend our faith and protect our traditions.” “We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values.” Analysis finds a Reader’s Digest condensed version would sound a lot like “You will not replace us.”

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Know Justice, Know Peace

July 13, 2017

The media news footage includes cell phone/dash cam/body cam video of a man being shot dead by a policeman. Later, the policeman is exonerated, has done no wrong. Repeat ad nauseam. Closer to home the video shows protesting people targeted by city police and taunted as they are pepper sprayed. Following orders. Repeat again ad nauseum. Both here at home and elsewhere there is video of people complying, or already subdued being punched in the stomach or kicked in the head by uniformed officers. Doing their duty. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. No video available of the nation’s top law enforcement official addressing an SPLC designated “hate group” for an “off-camera, closed-door speech” (NBC News, Jeff Sessions Criticized for Speaking to ‘Hate Group’, Mary Emily O’Hara, 7-13-17) “As announced on his public schedule, Sessions addressed a crowd at the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Summit on Religious Liberty in Orange County, California.” “Founded in 1994, the Alliance Defending Freedom was a coalition effort between conservative Christian leaders aiming to preserve traditional social norms, restrict access to abortion and fight the “homosexual agenda.”” “But with millions in its war chest, ADF does more than just litigate: The firm wrote model legislation called the Student Physical Privacy Act that built a foundation for dozens of proposals and policies around the country that are frequently referred to as “bathroom bills.” ADF’s model legislation, and the national trend that stems from it, is aimed at keeping transgender people out of restrooms and other private facilities that correspond to their gender identity and presentation.” The dominant news dwarfing all these repeated daily occurrences is “that Russia thing,” disparaged as so much “fake news” by the apprentice president. His son now flaunts the family’s otherwise undisclosed interaction with Russian representatives prior to the official GOP nomination of his dad as their presidential candidate. How is this possible? Responsible news media continuously supplies contextual background reporting for an “in depth” understanding of headline news. Today, USA Today gives “In Trump country, Russia doesn’t resonate” from Tennessee. On 7-11-17 PBS Newshour ran a segment “Deep in coal country, West Virginia residents speak out about GOP healthcare bill.” Closer to home, writing for Reuters, Tim Reid headlines “In Trump’s Ohio bastion, supporters dismiss uproar over Donald Jr.” (7-12-17) With regard to the GOP engineered demise of Medicaid PBS shows a dismayed Rebecca Hicks, a patient at Williamson Health & Wellness Center from Chattaroy, West Virginia, earnestly confessing “I chose those people. I put my faith in those people that they would make this place better, not take away the only things that were helping this area.” Tim Reid reports: “In Hillsboro, the county seat of Highland County, the editor of the Hillsboro Times Gazette, Gary Abernathy, says many people in the county believe the media is trying to destroy Trump. “It just plays into the belief here that the media is fixated on all things Russia,” said Abernathy, whose newspaper was one of only six in the United States to have endorsed Trump for president during the election campaign. “I don’t mind Donald Trump being treated critically or aggressively, but not in a way that is an effort to drag him down. Donald Trump Jr. had one 20 minute meeting with a lawyer from Russia and it’s wall-to-wall coverage.” Analysis finds it extraordinary and quite revealing that the responsible media expends such an effort on the actual news of the media being designated as “fake news” and disparaged as unreliable while the substance of this news, that without reporting events become of no concern, is missed entirely by those it is meant to inform. It seems like an odd twist on the former president’s admonition to “go and talk” with those who don’t agree with you. Reid ends his road trip report with “In the Bob Evans diner in Jackson, three workers from Walmart were sitting down for lunch. They were Trump supporters. Asked about the Russia investigation, they stared back blankly. “I have never heard anything about it,” said Chastity Banks. Neither had her two colleagues.” Repeat ad nauseam nationwide. Given this unique situation, Analysis can’t help but conclude that Junior and “that Russia thing” will go the same route as police violence, shootings, and the dictates (in word as well as deed) of America’s top law enforcement officer.

Fundraisers

June 5, 2017

Mention the name Kirkersville today around central Ohio and the response is similar to the mention of other names in other parts of the country, like Waco, Orlando, or Virginia Tech. For readers unfamiliar with Kirkersville, an individual with a history of violence related offenses (and incarceration) shot and killed two unrelated women co workers of a nursing home as well as the village police chief. The shooter was likewise shot and killed in the calamity. A search of  the perpetrator’s home in Utica turned up a veritable arsenal of firearms and ammunition. The tragedy that unfolded in Kirkersville has been reported, updated, re-reported and analyzed, all in hopes that “it will never happen again.” Laws are being “introduced” to facilitate this. This past weekend, in addition to more post-event investigative reporting, the Newark Advocate dedicated another Sunday editorial to Kirkersville. Newark News Analysis dares to call attention to a regular daily Advocate feature from June 2, 2017 (prior to the editorial but after the tragedy in Kirkersville). The Local News Briefs calls attention to local events, announcements, news items that are published in the public interest. The following appeared on the same day, sharing the same column space, separated only by two sundry announcements (a street closing and a summer reading series):

Chipotle having Kirkersville shooting fundraiser

NEWARK – A benefit day for the families of the three victims of the Kirkersville nursing home shooting will be Tuedsay, June 6, at the Chipotle Restaurants in Heath, Newark, Reynoldsburg and Blacklick.

Customers who tell the cashier they are supporting the fundraiser will have 50 percent of their purchase divided between the families of Eric DiSario, Marlina Medrano and Cindy Krantz.

Gun raffle supports Utica K-9 Unit

UTICA – A gun raffle and fundraiser to support the Utica Police Department K-9 Unit will have a drawing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Utica Fire Department.

First prize is a SAI Saint Tactical AR-15, second prize is a RFM-870 Combo, third prize is a Ruger American 9mm and fourth prize is a Glock 26 CGW. Other door prizes will also be given.

Tickets are $10 and are available at the police department and Utica Mill and Hardware Store.

 

Newark News Analysis finds the Newark Advocate’s de facto editorial stance to be no stance at all. Cosmetic tweaks are demanded while the status quo remains unchallenged. Who does the Advocate advocate for?

Unedited

April 4, 2017

Analysis goes short. The Abra Cadabra of headline juxtaposition on the front page of the 4-4-17 Newark Advocate was irresistible. The large cap “Kasich, Others Tout New Amazon Center” directly over the smaller cap “Licking Co. files foreclosure on Longaberger Basket” invites “Now you see it. Now you don’t.” Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Advocate’s new editor came out this past week. No big surprise in that it was the interim news editor, Ben Lanka. He even took the time to pen a personal column to introduce himself. Unnoticed (or should we say Un-edited) was the disappearance of the editorial/opinion section from the everyday, week day paper. Great for Gannett’s bottom line. Terrible for Newark’s readers’ need to know (you know, “Inquiring minds” and all). Gone are divergent points of view columns. Also the editorial cartoons (another reason for why “editorial cartoonist” has vanished from high school career day). And finally, absent and forever gone is the editorial itself, once a point of pride for most publications, expressive of the local news outlet’s leadership role in the community. But hey, Newark now has a new editor for its paper. As he puts it, “I’ve always believed as a journalist my most important role is to give a voice to the voiceless and to hold those in power accountable.” Analysis indicates that, without an everyday editorial/opinion page, this has the potential of being more magical than Penn and Teller!

Prometheus

January 28, 2017

Prometheus stole fire from the heavenly lord and shared it with mere mortals. For this the lord condemned him to never ending torture. The Argentine thinker Jorge Luis Borges is partial to “universal” themes, believing there are only so many different ones which are repeated through history and within different cultures. This one may once again be coming into its own. In the days following the US inauguration, some demonstrators ascended a construction crane and unfurled a large “Resist” banner. In those first days after the swearing in there were many national and DC, as well as world wide demonstrations, most notably the Women’s March. Were these acts of resistance? Were they effective? After the passage of the Patriot Act many questioned whether resistance was even possible. Indeed the scope and intensity of any demonstrations world wide (including the US) was greatly dampened. The covert desire for resistance appears to be growing, yet is it politically possible? Commenting on the White House’s Steve Bannon’s claim that the news media is the opposition, the Washington Post’s Mark Shields stated this appeared to be an accurate assessment – there are no Democrat majority state governments to be found between the few that are situated on either coast (PBS Newshour 1-27-17). Political resistance appears de facto impossible. But what if we reinterpreted the current administration as being one of a corporate merger? Indeed, not only the nation’s chief executive but most of his cabinet are former business executives or associates of that largesse. What if instead of resistance politically, we consider resistance to brand hegemony? Historically, within the US, there are many instances of brand hegemony. Coca Cola was ubiquitous over a half century ago. Even the movie Dr. Strangelove referenced its esteemed precedence to the US government. In Italy it was claimed the logo was more widespread than crucifixes. Other brands, like Levi, Sony and ultimately Microsoft, influenced not only individuals, culture and national policy but also international relations and exchange. Resistance to brand dominance may be difficult but it has shown to be quite doable. What of the blatant merger of commercial branding with political governance, something as yet not witnessed by the world? Prometheus stole the lord’s fire and shared it with mortals, in essence making it generic. A brand’s identity centers on equating it exclusively with some quality, thereby instilling the myth of greater value. To be generic is to upset that equation, for one item or service is as effective as another, with some difference but little exceptionalism. The current administration is striving mightily with its opposition, the news media, in order to establish its brand—exclusive identity with quality leadership for the intended myth of inherent value. Notice the 45th president’s language. It is filled with superlatives and hyperbole (even “factual hyperbole”) for what favors the establishment of his brand, denigration and vehement vitriol for anything inhibiting that brand identity. The news media compulsively and obsessively counters with attacks on this new “exceptionalism,” with its strange take on facts, truth and ego. Each reference to the “exceptionalism” of the new administration only bolsters the administration’s quest for brand identity, contributes towards the creation of its brand identity. No resistance to be found here with this kind of “opposition.” Resistance appears to be found, rather, with the demystification and disintegration of exceptionalism and its exclusivity. What if we used the president’s superlatives and hyperbole to describe generic occurrences, everyday events? Like Prometheus, we need to steal the fire of exceptionalism and share it with the everyday. Acts of creativity and ingenuity, done because they are possible, are much more effective resistance to corporate brand government than any hoped for political machinations within the Republican Party. What an amazing and incredible night’s sleep was had in our fantastic bed! Everyone should be so blessed. Could a $2,000 a night hotel mattress supply a better night’s rest? The generic resists the brand mystique. It steals the fire of exceptionalism and exclusivity. Then again, there’s always the vengeful lord’s never ending torture to contend with. But that’s a story for another day.

Post Inaugural Musings

January 22, 2017

What a tickle to think that the news media got their photo journalism wrong. The images of Yuuuge crowds in Washington DC dated the 21st were actually from the day before while those dated the 20th were from the following day. The news media just can’t get it right. Not to be trusted. So sad. The new administration will banish them from the White House and put the news media across the road. Like the marines, a seat at the press corps table will be accorded only to those who have shown themselves worthy – a few good men! Analysis witnessed further screw ups on the part of the press. Coverage of the made-up, non-existent demonstrations that took place in DC on the 20th was accompanied by audio describing the violence as perpetrated by people “dressed in black with their faces covered to shield their identity.” The images mistakenly showed the Washington riot police, dressed in black with face shields in place. Analysis goes off on tangents over the press’s repeated reporting of a populist president who actually didn’t win the popular vote. No problem. What’s a couple of million amongst patriots in need of coming together? Those people who appeared at the demonstration in Washington (whichever/whatever date you choose) should have voted. Why didn’t they? The XQ Institute runs a TV ad showing factory work and workers from the 1930’s as well as high schools from the 50’s. Their accompanying audio goes something like “High schools were designed to be great training for factory employment. Let’s rethink it.” With the recently inaugurated president’s emphasis on factory work, does that mean we will see a return to the public high schools of the 50’s? And what about school house rock? Analysis finds these rifts of fantasy to reveal a thread extending back through the populist president’s mentor, and assistant to Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn. Those of you still able to keep score at home without your smart phone may recall the inquisition methodology from that time. After showing proof that the suspect bought a newspaper from a street urchin, the charge became one of associating with a known communist. Who knew the news boy was a red? Ya gotta look at the shoe laces! Fast forward to today. Who ya gonna believe, the news media or our amazing successful president?