Corporate Media and Bias by Omission

First posted July 26, 2016.

I wrote this post after I noticed a discrepancy between the Democratic Convention I was watching and one reported in the media. This was the first time I noticed disinformation in the mainstream press. The post is even more relevant now that we know our media was under the influence of Kremlin propaganda.  Please note, I’m not calling our legitimate press fake news.  Plenty of reasonable people believed the lies peddled by Putin’s web brigades.

I don’t normally watch political conventions but this year I’ve  watched both.

As with most Bernie supporters I’m sick of watching the erosion of my wealth by people who spread hatred and fear in an elitist game of divide and conquer.

These are the kinds of people who thought it was OK to euthanize people
with mental illness.

These are the kinds of people who thought it was OK to use poor kids as cheap labor.

These are the kinds of people who think it’s OK to force 40 million children to go hungry in a nation of people who throw away almost as much as we eat.

Speeches by Democrats are usually a tepid echo of the more fiery
rhetoric
delivered by the true believers on the Right.

These were passionate democrats.

The First Lady was brilliant:

“That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves — (applause) — and I watch my daughters –- two beautiful, intelligent, black young women –- playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. (Applause.) And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters –- and all our sons and daughters -– now take for granted that a woman can be President of the United States.” Michelle Obama 2016

Michelle Obama made me proud as a Citizen of the United States of America.

When we unite around a principled stand for the Rule of Law and human rights we set people free.

Elizabeth Warren delivered a speech from the Occupy Movement:

“And here’s the thing. America isn’t going broke. The stock market is breaking records. Corporate profits are at all time highs… There is lots of wealth in America but it isn’t trickling down to hard-working families like yours. Does anyone here have a problem with that? Well I do, too. People get it. The system is rigged. It’s true. Now, so-called experts claim America’s in trouble because both political parties in Washington refuse to compromise — gridlock. That is just flat wrong. Washington works great for those at the top. When giant companies wanted more tax loopholes, Washington got it done. When huge energy companies wanted to tear up the environment, Washington got it done… Try to do something, anything, for working people and you’ll have a fight on your hand.” Elizabeth Warren 2016

 

Cory Booker gave an impassioned account of our Nation’s struggle with its imperfections:

“Our founding documents were genius. But not because they were perfect. They were saddled with the imperfections and even the bigotry of the past. Native Americans were referred to as savages, black Americans were referred to as fractions of human beings, and women were not mentioned at all.

But those facts and other ugly parts of our history don’t detract from our nation’s greatness. In fact, I believe we are an even greater nation, not because we started perfect, but because every generation has successfully labored to make us a more perfect union. Generations of heroic Americans have made America more inclusive, more expansive, and more just.

Our nation was not founded because we all looked alike, or prayed alike, or descended from the same family tree. But our founders, in their genius, in this, the oldest constitutional democracy, put forth on this earth the idea that all are created equal; that we all have inalienable rights.

And upon this faithful foundation we built a great nation, and today, no matter who you are – rich or poor, Asian or white, man or woman, gay or straight, any religion or none at all – you are entitled to the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship. “Cory Booker 2016

 

Sanders placed principles above personality and described how he leveraged the power of his movement:

It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues. That’s what this campaign has been about. That’s what democracy is about. But I am happy to tell you that at the Democratic Platform Committee there was a significant coming together between the two campaigns and we produced, by far, the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party. Among many other strong provisions, the Democratic Party now calls for breaking up the major financial institutions on Wall Street and the passage of a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act.

It also calls for strong opposition to job-killing free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House and a Hillary Clinton presidency – and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen. Bernie Sanders 2016

Moreover Sanders asserted that he and Clinton were collaborating on a piece of legislation:

“…During the primary campaign, Secretary Clinton and I both focused on this issue but with different approaches. Recently, however, we have come together on a proposal that will revolutionize higher education in America. It will guarantee that the children of any family this country with an annual income of $125,000 a year or less – 83 percent of our population – will be able to go to a public college or university tuition free. That proposal also substantially reduces student debt.” Bernie Sanders 2016

 

I heard a few boos from the crowd.

I heard chants of black lives matter.

I saw fierce loyalty on the faces of Bernie’s supporters but I also
heard Sanders say very clearly that much of what they want is
in the platform.

I don’t agree that this is the most progressive platform in the history
of the Democratic Party but it’s the most progressive I’ve seen in
decades.

But I saw no concessions to the right on first night of this Convention.

I’m hyper vigilant even when watching T.V.

I notice everything.

I saw none of the chaos and rage that I saw at the GOP Convention in Cleveland.

Imagine my surprise when I went to my favorite corner store this morning and read this headline on the San Francisco Chronicle:

Art by Rob Goldstein
Pleas for Unity Fall on deaf ears?

I took a closer look at the story:

Art by Rob Goldstein
The dominant word was Booooooo?

The headline and story are bias by omission

It perpetuates the lie that the Democratic Party is the same
as Republican Party.

That somehow the two political parties are morally
equal with the bar set low.

I heard Democrats calling for national unity.

I did not hear a single Democrat refer to Republicans as the enemy
as I did at the Republican convention
:

“…our enemy is not other Republicans, but is Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.”

“We are the conservative party under God,” Mark Burns 2016

Republicans are not part of one nation under God.

They are the Conservative Party under God.

I think that makes a big difference but maybe I missed something.

Please describe what you saw if you watched the speeches on the first night of the Democratic Convention.

The only way to correct the corporate bias of our media is for us to report what we saw.

The San Francisco Chronicle is owned by the Hearst Corporation.

Below is a little info about the Hearst Corporation

Hearst Corporation (www.hearst.com) is one of the nation’s largest diversified media and information companies. Its major interests include ownership of 15 daily and 36 weekly newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union; hundreds of magazines around the world, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, ELLE and O, The Oprah Magazine; 29 television stations, which reach a combined 18 percent of U.S. viewers; ownership in leading cable networks, including Lifetime, A&E, HISTORY and ESPN; significant holdings in automotive, electronic and medical/pharmaceutical business information companies; a 50 percent stake in global ratings agency Fitch Group; Internet and marketing services businesses; television production; newspaper features distribution; and real estate.

(C) Rob Goldstein 2016 all Rights Reserved

 

 

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The Week John Kennedy Fubared

Shortly before his inauguration the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) briefed John Kennedy on a plan developed during the Eisenhower administration to train Cuban exiles to invade Cuba.

On April 17, 1961, against the advice of his military advisors, John Kennedy approved an assault on Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.

Cuban armed forces defeated the U.S. backed invasion within two days.

On April 21, 1961, Kennedy held a tenth press conference attended by 402 reporters.

The questions are tough and Kennedy looks tired, but he is never insulting, he doesn’t blame the previous President, he doesn’t tell anyone to sit down or shut-up, he is the President and he knows his responsibilities to his office, the Constitution, the press and the American people.

This is how a normal President interacts with the press in a democracy.

Kennedy starts the press conference by saying  he doesn’t want to talk about Cuba beyond statements he’d made the day before, announces U.S. support for a UN attack on World hunger, increased insurance dividends for Veterans and the Peace Corps first project.  Then he takes questions.



Noteworthy moments:

QUESTION: Mr. President, quite respecting your feeling of not going beyond your statement of yesterday on Cuba, there still is in print this morning, quite widely distributed, a published report that you took the decision to continue training Cuban refugees with arms provided by this government, and for releasing ships and fuel for launching the current operations in Cuba. Furthermore, this report says, that you reached this decision against the advice of Secretary Rusk and Mr. Bowles. Now is this true?

THE PRESIDENT: I think that the facts of the matter involving Cuba will come out in due time. I am sure that an effort will be made to determine the facts accurately. As for me, I am confining myself to my statement, for good reason.

QUESTION: Sir, since last Saturday, a certain foreign policy situation has given rise to many conflicting stories. But during that time, reporters in Washington have noticed that there has been a clamming up of information from formerly useful sources. To my knowledge the State Department and the White House has not attempted to take a representative group of reporters and say “these are the facts as we know them.” And this morning we are not permitted to ask any further questions abut this foreign policy situation. In view of the fact we are taking a propaganda lambasting around the world, why is it not useful, sir, for us to explore with you the real facts behind this, or our motivations?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think in answer to your question that we have to make a judgment as to how much we can usefully say that would aid the interest of the United States. One of the problems of a free society, a problem not met by a dictatorship, is this problem of information. A good deal has been printed in the paper. I wouldn’t be surprised if those of you who are members of the press would be receiving a lot of background briefings in the next day or two by interested people or interested agencies.

There’s an old saying that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan, and I wouldn’t be surprised if information is poured into you in regard to all the recent activities.

Now, I think we see some of the problems, to move from this particular case, in the problem of Space, where the Soviet Union — no reports were made in regard to any experiments that they carried out. “Our man in space” — I saw in a national magazine about some student said the Americans talk a good deal about their man in space. The Soviet Union says nothing and yet it wins. Well, that is one of the problems of a democracy competing and carrying on a struggle for survival against a dictatorship.

But I will say to you, Mr. Vanocur, that I have said as much as I feel can be usefully said, by me, in regard to the events of the past few days. Further statements, detailed discussions, are not to conceal responsibility because I am the responsible officer of the government, and that is quite obvious, but merely because I do not believe that such a discussion would benefit us during the present difficult situation. I think you will be informed and some of the information, based on what I have seen, will not be accurate.

QUESTION: You have practiced what has been described as the quiet diplomacy approach (to Russia). Your speech yesterday seemed to suggest that you have perhaps decided upon another approach?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I wouldn’t attempt to make a judgment or response to that. I think that — I am concerned about these kinds of problems which I just described. I don’t feel satisfied that we have an effective answer to it yet, and I think it’s a matter of the greatest possible concern to all of us, because I think events have been moving with some speed.

The use which Communists (Soviet Union) make of democracy, and then when they seize power, the effectiveness with which they manage the police apparatus so that dissent cannot arise, and so that the people can no longer express their will, liquidation by gunfire of the opposition, or by forcing them out of the country to be refugees -this suggests the kind of problem which we are going to have in this decade.

In my judgment, it is an extremely difficult matter for the free nations to deal with. But I must say that it is a matter to which we must address all of our energy and all of our attention.

This isn’t the Arthurian Kennedy of Camelot.

This is clearly a humiliating moment for President Kennedy but he is in command of the facts, understands the issues, gives detailed and respectful answers, and takes responsibility for his decisions.

We’re fortunate to have videos like this one.

We can see and hear the important events of the last 100 years.

President Kennedy’s News Conference 04/21/1961
U.S. Information Agency. (1982 – 10/01/1999)
The Internet Archives

Full transcript of President Kennedy’s News Conference 04/21/1961

To learn more about the Bay of Pigs visit the JFK Presidential Library.

And now a word from Adam Smith

Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.
Adam Smith