Posts Tagged ‘News’

Official Apology From The Ministry Of Information

June 14, 2020

There is a need for context with today’s blog posting. Autocratic governments around the world have historically, as well as currently, maintained official news outlets where the official government interpretation of what is considered official reality is asserted. The rest is dismissed as, officially and literally, fake news. Some of these news outlets are run through official government offices of information, etc. Others are government franchise “autonomous” enterprises whose primary existence is to be the government mouth piece. Most in the US don’t approach news in that manner. Between a mix of freedom of the press and Walter Cronkite, with a dash of radical marginalized outlets, the news is treated as a work in progress of contemporary history, a fact checkable reality. What could be official? The contemporary autocracy in America rearranges that outlook. With its emphasis on privatizing anything and everything official that it can, the current administration eschews an “official” line, preferring instead for a popular origin located and affirmed through private news sources (a Wall Street Cronkite nightly report, of sorts). Many sources have reported what was originally uncovered by the Seattle Times. June 13, 2020, Jesse Drucker headlines for the NY Times that “Fox News Removes a Digitally Altered Image of Seattle Protests Fox News acknowledged that one photo was a combination of several images, and a second was taken in a different city.” Notable in the report of what The Seattle Times had scooped: “On Friday, Fox posted on its site a photo of a man armed with a rifle standing in front of the shattered glass of a storefront. The Seattle Times noted that it was a combination of several different photos from Getty Images taken over nearly two weeks. Also on the website, Fox also posted a nighttime photo of a burning storefront and car, accompanied by the headline “Crazy Town” and a list of articles on the unrest in Seattle. But that image was taken in St. Paul, Minn.” Drucker also gave the official response: “In an editor’s note now accompanying the articles, Fox said the now-deleted image was a “collage” that “did not clearly delineate between these images, and has since been replaced. In addition, a recent slide show depicting scenes from Seattle mistakenly included a picture from St. Paul, Minnesota. Fox News regrets these errors.”” Since 2016 Fox News has been functioning as the de facto ministry of information for the Trump regime; privatized, of course. The protesters may chant “What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like.” Well, Fox News is what privatization looks like for an official ministry of information. In the 5-28-20 post entitled “Decision 2020” Analysis referenced Latour’s Iconoclash and “Why do Images Trigger so Much Furor?” The original meaning of collage is given as “a piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric onto a backing.” The origin of the word “propaganda” is given as “Italian, from modern Latin congregatio de propaganda fide ‘congregation for propagation of the faith’” Propaganda? Art? Or both? Fox news: We report, you decide.

The Wartime President

March 22, 2020

Anyone tuning in to catch the evening news Sunday, March 22, 2020, couldn’t help but view the latest episode of The Wartime President. Analysis isn’t interested in critiquing this episode, or the show itself. However, granted that The Wartime President usually airs daily around noon, it was quite curious that the Sunday edition entirely displaced the evening news so precisely, same time, all channels. In these days of self-isolation, the evening news is one of the view real time connections left on television (everything online is always available as now but rarely real time). The Wartime President show is complete political kabuki, all the way down to its “spontaneous” press conference incorporated to look genuinely informative. Analysis finds that in addition to the immense propaganda value of fabricating creation myths and rewriting history to serve the purpose of the Committee to Re-Elect the President, the show itself gives added value in uniquely powerful ways. Not only does it “make” itself the news but it gives the incumbent candidate for President free prime time air play. Sunday’s episode of The Wartime President had not a single commercial break for over an hour! The entire thing could compete with a paid for TV product infomercial. Where was Anthony Fauci? Short of mobilizing the War Powers Act, it likewise effectively took over complete control of all the nation’s Television News outlets. It determined what the nightly news would be, and how it would be presented. Analysis fears this may become a regular nightly show placing the nation’s media outlets on notice that they either displace their regular nightly news for the Dear Leader or face the consequences of being ostracized for failing to inform their viewers about what will keep them safe, officially, in this time of war. Analysis (along with multiple other critical thinkers) has cited Arendt’s admonition of an authoritarian regime’s need for a state of war to underwrite its legitimacy. Though brought to you by the same folks who gave us The Apprentice, the production of The Wartime President is a reality show that implicates an ongoing and tacitly accepted state of war.

Remember The Alamo

January 6, 2020

From the 1-5-20 Newark Advocate editorial (Our view: Local news is critical for a thriving Licking County, The Advocate Editorial board):

“As The Advocate celebrates its bicentennial in 2020, we felt it was appropriate to tout the importance of having a hometown news organization. It is especially important given the state of the news business.”

“The reasons for the decline of newspapers are many and extend far beyond the borders of Licking County. For example, classified revenue was decimated by the emergence of online sites like Craigslist, Cars.com and others.”

“While probably not a shocking stance for a newspaper editorial board to make, we believe the existence of local newspapers is vital to the health of a community. Local newspapers share what is going on at your schools, your City Councils and in your neighborhoods.

At its best, journalists hold those in power accountable and give voice to the disenfranchised. While pressing community leaders is not always popular, it does serve an important purpose. As has been said for ages, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” If politicians knew their actions would go unreported, we believe they would be far less responsive to the electorate.

“Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it,” Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Jay in 1786.

Locally, if The Advocate didn’t dedicate so many stories to the plight of area homeless, would the community have responded in such an aggressive way to address it? If the Advocate didn’t highlight the misguided effort to raise Newark salaries after an election, would the council have later trimmed those raises?”

“For without The Advocate, who are we to go to? Social media and message boards are great for gossip, but they lack the ability to confirm facts and dispel rumors. In fact social media is increasingly being used to spread misinformation.”

Analysis finds it to be of the utmost significance that the day after the paper copy of this editorial was disseminated, the “local news” in central Ohio was the closing of the Dispatch printing facility on the west side of Columbus (with the loss of close to 200 jobs). Gannett, the owner of The Advocate and new owner of The Dispatch, has moved the operation to its facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Wolf family (which also owned WBNS) sold The Dispatch to Gatehouse Media which last year sold it to Gannett. Astute readers will recall that Gannett closed its Newark printing facility (next to its now “for sale” downtown Newark office building) with a substantial loss of jobs, opting to sub contract the production of the paper newspaper to the Dispatch west Columbus printing facility. At the same time, Advocate local news acquired a “lag time” which did not permit the reporting of events within 12-16 hours of their occurrence. Because of the correlation of the paper copy with the online copy, items do not appear in a timely manner. Now “Local news is critical for a thriving Licking County” will have to accommodate an even longer “lag time” as it will be printed in another state, an additional 4+ hours drive from Newark. So much for “the importance of having a hometown news organization.” “The reasons for the decline of newspapers are many and extend far beyond the borders of Licking County.” The examples given are the dumb down cliché standards. No mention is made of the corporate greed that claims monopoly ownership of the local without any commitment to that very same local, let alone investment (no physical office, no printing, fewer employees, etc.). The body of the editorial is filled with the self aggrandizing “If politicians knew their actions would go unreported, we believe they would be far less responsive to the electorate.” But what of the corporate authorities who manage the politicians? In spite of the lofty “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it,” the “hometown news organization” feels free not to report corporate activity which is detrimental to those residing in Licking County. “Locally, if The Advocate didn’t dedicate so many stories” championing the ever growing prosperity of corporate authority then  local residents wouldn’t know they are so well off. Undercover investigative reporting? Not! (Gannett can’t afford to let its own workings be known by its customer base). “For without The Advocate, who are we to go to? Social media and message boards are great for gossip, but they lack the ability to confirm facts and dispel rumors. In fact social media is increasingly being used to spread misinformation.” And the Advocate is complicit in spreading NO Information. As of this posting, no news of Gannett’s closing of the Dispatch printing facility appears on the Advocate online news site.

Learned Helplessness Spectatorship

October 19, 2019

The News has been prominent of late. No, that’s an understatement. Akin to a Punch and Judy show, or a 1920’s burlesque, it mesmerizes while stupefying. The power plays, between power players, completely normalizes the 99% / 1% economic makeup of the US of A. Everything that is being done appears totally out of reach of the ordinary person who admits their learned helplessness through the total passivity of mere spectatorship. The “anti-globalism” GOP expand their political control through buying and selling on a global scale while the “down home” Democrats insist on economic viability to account for a leadership position on their stage. Either way, whether it be the international 1% financing “populist” agendas or the “aw shucks” home spun buying their way to exclusive representation, Analysis discerns it to be democracy of money (matters), not people (matters). Peripheral to the News of late, receiving mere sound bytes and then readily dismissed for the preferred gaslight melodrama of grandiosity, is the drips and drabs of democracy uprisings from around the world. These are not “revolutions” in the sense of overthrow or toppling but rather affirmations that people matter. Without researching dates and times for specificity (which only invites correlation), Analysis can draw attention to the over 4 month, near continuous street demonstration for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. During that time there have been short lived as well as sustained actions in Egypt, France, England, Mexico, Poland, Ecuador, Chile, Venezuela, South Korea, Russia, and most recently Lebanon and Guinea (as well as others). The closest thing to “people matter” actions in the US are the recent union labor engagements – the UAW as well as city educators in Chicago. The news treats these more as an inconvenience than reflective of human priority. The mega bucks Ohio HB6 battle is much more deserving of media attention than the intricacies of the UAW / GM livelihood determination. Or so Analysis finds the News emphasis to indicate. The nepotism of the ruling 1% is much more titillating to spectate than the livelihood issues of employee “surrogate parent” teaching in our schools. Or so Analysis finds the News emphasis to be. The learned helplessness of the American spectator came out most clearly in the recent meme of Nancy Pelosi and Dear Leader at their recent White House meeting. Most significant is what didn’t appear in the news making image (the absence of women and people of color / ethnic origins in a room full of primarily older white males). Analysis finds it significant not because it did not represent the actual “people matter” make up of the US, but because it was subsumed in the normalization of learned helplessness spectatorship – “we can’t do anything about it.” Can’t we?

Knowledge, Preoccupations, And Distractions

August 6, 2019

We all know what the news headlines have been and currently are. Indeed, the saturation point on “the news” must have been reached. The news has again become “the news” (a curious twist of vulture capitalism where the system feeds upon itself!). USA Today headlined: ‘Unbelievable’: New York Times slammed for front page headline after Donald Trump speech (Jordan Culver, 8-6-19). The furor regards the headline (“Trump urges unity vs. racism.”) deceptively portraying the president’s response to tragedy without noting his own implication in the violence (“Very fine people on both sides”). Or at least that is what outrages the critics. The headline gave a synopsis of what occurred (the President’s post massacre address). Isn’t that the stuff of newspapers and the media? The critics insist on context (What implicates Donald Trump in the killings while cloaked in official immunity). The context of this news story being “the news” is likewise not given. 8-5-19 The Wall Street Journal (amongst others) reported: GateHouse Media Parent to Buy Gannett for $1.4 Billion Deal combines largest owner of U.S. newspapers by titles and the largest newspaper group by circulation (Cara Lombardo, Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg). Who’s their competition? Who’s the competition in Ohio? Gatehouse will now control just about ALL the local news services in Ohio, including Newark and Columbus (Gatehouse already owns The Dispatch while Gannett owns the Newark Advocate and papers in surrounding towns). Monopoly will dictate where we pay attention (i.e., on the NY Times’ headline). Already there is no local “office” of Newark’s only local news service. Now all editorial decisions re: content and layout will ultimately be located outside the community ostensibly covered. Benjamin Lanka may be “the editor” of The Newark Advocate. Readers can’t help but notice how many stories have his name in the byline as the reporter. Too much time on his hands? Justifying the management paycheck? Analysis finds that when it comes to big services, big news items, readers and subscribers of Gatehouse publications will be more than adequately served. As we see with the Murdoch family’s Fox News (and News Corp which includes Wall Street Journal), the product and service will be supplied with priority given to brand over content. Analysis shows the local will become fluff, filler (Newark is a top Ohio hometown, Newark is addressing what civic leaders deem to be problems, the need for more development, etc.). Just as there are no longer any local phone calls (all require an area code designation), so there will no longer be any local news, local investigative reporting, local interest stories, unless it will tie in with the corporate brand emphasis. The reporting will no longer go where the story takes us but where the brand requires us to be. Analysis finds this to further indicate the encroachment of authoritarianism in a culture with a history of democracy. Hong Kong isn’t an island of enlightenment. In a Democracy, the local authorizes the city, state or nation. In an authoritarian nation, state or city, the authorities determine the local, what it should think, believe and focus on, what it should know. News media monopolies evidence that trend.

If You Are Not Paying For The Advertising, You Are The Advertising

March 29, 2018

Big RSVP pre-season opening ice cream social was held at Velvet Ice Cream’s Ye Olde Mill the other day (Velvet Ice Cream increasing wages for new employees, credits federal tax cut, Kent Mallet, The Advocate, 3-28-18). Smiles and ice cream all around with Ohio Senator Rob Portman celebrating the recently enacted permanent tax cut for businesses like Velvet. Who doesn’t like ice cream? Good times. Isn’t a day goes by that The Advocate doesn’t feature some area business, established or just opening, usually on the front page. Comes under many guises like “Ace of Trades” or family history, etc. The Dager family history has little to do with a water powered mill (“Velvet will fix the roof of the mill, installing natural shingles like the ones used 200 years ago, at a cost of about $60,000 to $80,000.”). But then celebrating THAT history would be politically incorrect, at least for the theme of this particular GOP social event. Elsewhere, same trade journal, same day (business news is usually the product of a business trade publication), the headline “Licking County set record low unemployment in February” (same reporter, 3-27-18). Good times. Who doesn’t like setting a record (“The county’s unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent last month, according to the ODJFS Bureau of Labor Market Information.”)? A day earlier we read “State gives $750k to help build Newark Boys and Girls Club” (same reporter, same publication, 3-26-18). “State Sen. Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, who helped secure the appropriation in the state senate, praised the Evans Foundation effort to establish the local club, which will be part of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Columbus Region. “For youth, this is one of the most exciting things in my lifetime,” Hottinger said. “It’s something that’s been on my radar screen for 30 years. I have a special place in my heart for at-risk kids. It’s an economic opportunity for the youth of Licking County and long overdue.”” Good times. Who doesn’t desire an “economic opportunity” for their kids? “The $1.2 million [state appropriated] amount ranked Licking County 24th of Ohio’s 88 counties in the community projects funding. When adding the $750,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs, the county ranked 19th.” Someday we’ll be number one! We’re always told how competitive it all is, economic opportunities for youth and all. So where’s the 21% of Licking County that is below the poverty line? Or the 51% that the United Way in the ALICE report says is one step away from being there (if not there already)? Only a couple of days earlier (3-22-18) Emily Stewart for VOX headlined “Corporate stock buybacks are booming, thanks to the Republican tax cuts. Republicans said their tax bill would go to workers. Instead, it’s going to Wall Street.” (“Right after Republicans in Congress passed their tax bill, lowering tax rates on corporations, companies delivered a very public thank-you: a series of bonus and investment announcements. It was a major PR opportunity for both corporate America and the GOP, meant to show that American businesses were sharing their billions of dollars in tax cut savings with their workers and the broader economy. But over the next few months, the real winners from the corporate tax cut became clear — not workers and consumers, but shareholders. Companies have boosted dividends and stock buybacks. A stock buyback is when a company buys back its own shares from the broader marketplace.”) Well, the GOP ice cream was good. And how about all those kids? At least the Advocate avoided using the phrase “at risk” in conjunction with the great “economic opportunity” (Jay did it for ’em!). Wages haven’t gone up, the poverty rate is still the same as well as the ALICE “almost poverty” rate, so how are these kids to get to the Boys and Girls Club? “Expected to open in 2019 at 96 Maholm St. Open 3-8 p.m. during the school year, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the summer, serving about 200 children per day. Cost $5 per year for each member. Ages, kindergarten through 12th grade.” One high school for all of Newark is possible only because of mandated (and funded) public school bus transportation. What are the kids on the north end to do? Play at the Hollander Pool whether it has water in it or not? And those at the east end? Play along the tracks? There is no reliable, affordable, accessible, sustainable public transportation in Newark, at least not during the hours the Club will be open. And the single moms at or in poverty, who are working while being at or near poverty, who would benefit most from this Club (estimated at 40+% of single moms)? What have they to look forward to? Same day as Mallett’s record setting employment news (3-27-18) Arthur Delaney headlined “GOP Food Stamp Plan Would Shift Some Funds From Benefits To Training” for the Huffington Post. “The proposal to reauthorize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would subject more enrollees to “work requirements,” and would require states to set up training programs for 3 to 5 million people who might be unable to find suitable private sector work. Such programs currently serve 700,000 SNAP recipients.” Gannett failed to cover this. Why is that? At one time there were free small print publications like The Advertiser, the Booster, and other “neighborhood news” community outlets. They were bought out by The Dispatch, Gannett, Sinclair and other “News” outlets. What those small publications served for advertising commercial products is now done by bona fide news source journalism. Puts a whole new meaning to the phrase “If you are not paying for the product, you are the product.” More like “If you are not paying for the advertising, you are the advertising.” Good times.

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!

Make America Enjoyable Again

November 9, 2016

In continuation with the previous post, Analysis would like to further consider the implications of being able to “enjoy whatever is next.” This is a more than relevant and pertinent topic given the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. That exercise in democracy has produced a rather extensive and thorough, monolithic power grid with a “non politician” brand CEO at its core. With all due respect to John Kasich, unlike past single party monopolies this one will be a voter approved and sanctioned public/private partnership sporting blatant (and unabashed) corporate business involvement throughout. One of the ways that Americans enjoy whatever is next has been through getting their news from non-news media entertainment (like the late night talk shows, The Daily Show, SNL, etc.). Will this continue to be the case? Unlike the current president, the recently elected one has shown a certain propensity for not favoring such sources for any unflattering or critical accounts. And the future prez can be a touch vindictive, eager to unleash his legal beagles at the slightest scent of libel. Where have we seen something akin to this? Back during the W presidency, a similar situation existed with the federal funding of public broadcasting. Unable to eliminate it entirely, control of programming format and content was coupled not only with cuts in funding, but also through incorporating the vice president’s wife in program development and approval. The outcome of this near monolithic mechanism was the revamping of public broadcasting programs, time slots, reporting, and even on air presentation. Political, ideological, and art content was supplanted by business, economics and history (mostly of wars). Anyone who first met Sanders on Moyers remembers the disappearance, reappearance and eventual demise of that critical PBS show. Along with programming came ubiquitous “discrete” advertising that snuck in and grew like Topsy (even Austin City Limits sports Inbev’s King of Beer, at least twice with every airing). But now, the same or similar is likely to befall the purveyors of private broadcasting given that “media” has always been about selling. It is not about information dissemination, discussion or entertainment. The entertainment is there to sell product (as well as ideology) much as the NFL is there to sell ideology (as well as product). Given the anticipated shift in dispersal and distribution of power centers, Analysis finds it doubtful that Americans will enjoy whatever is next through getting their news from sources such as Colbert, Stewart, Oliver, etc. SNL may finally retire, er, be forced into retirement (and further syndication). Media exists solely to sell. Whose brand sells will ultimately determine media access. And we all know what brand that is. After all, what else is there but to make America enjoyable again!