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Posts Tagged ‘News Media’

"Ask Me Anything (In 140 characters or less)!"

Gov. Rick Scott claims that he wants to be open and transparent, in spite of criticism that he’s given very limited access to reporters, and in spite of the fact that he refused to talk to newspaper editorial boards during his campaign. Yesterday, when asked about that, he had this to say:

Scott shrugged off criticism from the media that his administration had ejected the press from public meetings, cherry-picked reporters from news organizations whose coverage he considers favorable and lagged in responses to public records requests.

On the campaign trail, Scott promised voters that his administration would be open and transparent, Orlando Sentinel editor Mark Russell reminded the new governor.

“What specifically is your plan to address this failure of a campaign promise?” Russell, speaking on behalf of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, asked.

“I do press conferences. I do gaggles. Anybody can come to those so everybody has access,” Scott responded, adding that his office is processing 30 public records requests. “I feel very comfortable that we’re very open.”

As for his being “open” with voters concerns? Apparently Scott’s idea of being “open to the public” is by them asking him questions through Twitter. He plans to hold a “Twitter Town-Hall” tonight at 7:00 P.M, claiming he’ll answer as many questions as possible. So, providing that lots of questions don’t overload and crash Twitter (which often happens) this may be your only chance for an answer over your concerns.

Hey, it could be worse! This way you avoid those pesky velvet rope lines the reporters are subject to in those press conferences!

So by all means, ask away!

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This is refreshing to read in a newspaper:

But as Republicans smelled serious opportunity in the midterm elections, they didn’t let facts get in the way of a great punchline. And few in the press challenged their frequent assertion that under Obama, the government was going to take over the health care industry.

That paragraph is from today’s St. Petersburg Times, and appears in their article PolitiFact’s Lie Of The Year. I think they deserve a great deal of credit for calling out their own.

The article is the kind of reporting the news media should do a lot more of. Facts are good things, and as the saying goes, knowledge is power. Had these facts come out a long time ago the health care reform law may have turned out quite differently.

The article illustrates how the Republican Party set out to sway the public against health care reform and attack President Obama. To do so they used self-proclaimed “Word Doctor” Frank Luntz, the consultant whose slogan is “It’s Not What You Say That Matters, It’s What They Hear,” which seems fitting as a motto for the Republican Party as well. The Republicans turned to Luntz for a similar “snow job” in an attempt to kill financial reform, and he also played a roll in Newt Gingrich’s “Contract For America.”

To construct the big lie for the GOP Luntz came up with the term “government takeover.”

“Takeovers are like coups,” Luntz wrote in a 28-page memo. “They both lead to dictators and a loss of freedom.”

The line stuck. By the time the health care bill was headed toward passage in early 2010, Obama and congressional Democrats had sanded down their program, dropping the “public option” concept that was derided as too much government intrusion. The law passed in March, with new regulations, but no government-run plan.

We’re still hearing the words “government takeover” and the Republicans like the term so much that it’s become interchangeable with just about every issue out there.

The lie worked, in that it got the health care bill watered down considerably.

But that’s not enough for the GOP. They’re working to kill it altogether. 20 states, with Florida in the lead, have filed a lawsuit claiming the law is unconstitutional. Earlier this week, a judge in Virginia actually did rule part of it unconstitutional, but that judge also owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in a GOP political consulting firm. No conflict THERE of course, right? Did someone say “Government takeover?”

No, the Party that’s willing to hold the poor and unemployed hostage, along with DADT, The DREAM Act and national security with the START Treaty in order to get more tax cuts for their rich friends and contributors (not to mention themselves) have no qualms about robbing you and those very same people of a chance at getting health care. So expect more of the same in the future.

In fact, they’ve already begun:

An influential Tea Party group is urging Congress to hold votes in January to repeal healthcare reform in its entirety, according to a confidential memo to congressional Republicans.

The FreedomWorks memo, obtained by The Hill, outlines a strategy that starts with holding a vote in January to repeal the entire law. The group, headed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), said Congress should then hold repeal votes on certain provisions of the law, such as the individual mandate.

“Repeal is achievable, possibly sooner than many expect, because the American people clearly want and expect repeal, and because the law is vulnerable to effective repeal,” the memo said.

“Because the American people clearly want and expect repeal.” Do you want and expect repeal of the health care law? Because Dick Armey SAYS you do.

“It’s not what you say that matters, it’s what they hear.”

There’s also more to Congress than meets the eye. You see, you may think you know who you elected to go to Washington to fight for you, but you really elected “wordsmiths” and “blowhards” like Frank Luntz and Dick Armey. Those new Republican “leaders” come January who you see crying like babies who claim they’ve harnessed the American Dream are really just puppets who have sold out. They’ve sold you and the country out as well.

We need more exposure to the GOP’s “big lies” from the media. We can’t afford to let the truth get drowned out, or we’ll only “hear” from these guys.

The puppet-masters.

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Just a couple of questions:

1. Are you one of the struggling 98% in the country who aren’t millionaires or (insert pinky “Austin Powers” style here) billionaires and find yourself low on holiday gift funds, and

2. Are you wondering what to get for the person who has everything, but is a woefully misinformed FOX viewer?

If so, I have a suggestion, and it won’t cost you a dime:

WEAN THEM OFF FOX

I know, I know. You’re probably saying to yourself “easier said than done.” Sure, maybe. But hey, it’s worth a try, and if it works they’ll be forever grateful.

This item below isn’t news to many of us, but FOX watchers desperately in need of a “misinformation intervention” are only hurting themselves, and things are probably only going to get worse. A recent poll warns that greater exposure to FOX “News” leads to increased misinformation. Go figure.

From Think Progress:

Those who watched Fox News almost daily were significantly more likely than those who never watched it to believe that:

– Most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely) (91 percent of those who watch Fox News “almost every day”)

– Most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points) (72 percent)

– The economy is getting worse (26 points) (72 percent)

– Most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points) (60 percent)

– The stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points) (63 percent)

– Their own income taxes have gone up (14 points) (49 percent)

– The auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points) (56 percent)

– When TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it(12 points) (38 percent)

– And that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points)(63 percent)

Why not give the gift of “sunshine” to a FOX viewer in your life? Unplug their television and try to reason with them. Show them the poll results. Tell them FOX viewing “leads to the stupid” and hurts all of us in the long run. Better yet lead them to a computer and point the browser to Media Matters For America for a real eye opener.

Do it for them, AND the rest of us.

Truly a gift that will keep on giving.

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Rachel Maddow debunks the Republican’s election narratives one by one. Every argument they’re making is covered and Ms. Maddow does an excellent job of steering you through all the smoke and shattering every last mirror.

If you haven’t seen it by now, do yourself a favor and watch it.

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For three solid hours this morning, Morning Joe was an anti-Obama, anti-Democrat propaganda machine. I know, that’s what it always is, but this morning it was turned up several notches. I know because I reluctantly endured most of it.

It was also like free advertising for FOXGOP-TV, and goodness knows THEY don’t get enough air time. Thanks to Joe, Mika and the gang of parrots at the regular round-table, they hit all the bases.

So pardon me if I don’t find this little bit of really bad play acting on Joe’s part believable. He calls Mitch McConnell “pathetic” for saying this:

The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

Yes, I agree. It’s pathetic. But so were the other 179 minutes of Morning Joe (minus the ads) this morning. It always is. It’s about as close as you can get to FOXGOP-TV without actually being on FOX. I guess Joe is so bad they don’t even want him. Why MSNBC still does is beyond my comprehension. He’s an insult to those on the network who actually do the “real” news.

Of course, while Joe was busy playing Miss Scarlett without the fan, his “team” made up for it. Seriously, just look at the delight on Mika’s face along with the rest of the group.

Yes, it’s a pathetic statement. Almost as pathetic as Joe himself.

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“One of the most important things in races is that people really know as much as they can about how somebody thinks.”

That’s a quote from Republican candidate for governor, Rick Scott. It’s also a pretty hypocritical one, coming from the candidate who:

Just to name a few.

The quote above was actually the answer RIck Scott gave when he was asked how important debates would be against his opponent in the race, Alex Sink:

Scott was asked how important the upcoming TV debates will be with Democratic opponent Alex Sink. “I don’t know. I’ve never done this before,” Scott said. “I take them seriously, and I think it’s a way for people to learn more about the candidates. One of the most important things in races is that people really know as much as they can about how somebody thinks.”

Seriously. He “doesn’t know.” But that’s not all.

One thing missing from my list of other things Rick Scott avoids is appearing before editorial boards as is customary for candidates before elections. Scott wouldn’t sit down with them during the primaries. The St. Petersburg Times asked Scott if he would meet with editorial boards this time around.

His answer:

“I don’t think we’ve made a decision on that. I’ve got to talk to Susie,” Scott said, referring to campaign manager Susie Wiles.

He hasn’t made that decision yet. But why?

Isn’t “one of the most important things in races is that people really know as much as they can about how somebody thinks” to quote Scott’s own words?

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Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Church in Gainesville, Florida plans to go ahead with plans to host his “International Burn A Quran Day” on September 11, and has encouraged a worldwide Quran burning as well.

Yesterday Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Afghanistan stated that the Quran burning could put the lives of American troops in danger and damage the war effort. Confirming those fears, a rally in the capital yesterday had hundreds of Afghans denouncing the book burning and called for Barack Obama’s death, in spite of a statement put out by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, saying it was “deeply concerned about deliberate attempts to offend members of religious or ethnic groups.”

While it is appalling enough that the church would do this, I think there is plenty of blame to be directed elsewhere as well. Let’s don’t forget how all this started in the first place. It began with the pseudo controversy over the “not a Mosque” which is “not at Ground Zero”, but rather nearby. It was merely another distraction manufactured by the GOP,  and encouraged by its 24-7 propaganda machine that has invested so heavily in the Republican party: FOX. The GOP has done almost nothing since the 2008 election of Obama beyond obstructing everything he and Democrats in Congress have tried to do to pull the country out of the eight year disaster of the Bush Administration. They also saw the “not a Mosque” as a great opportunity to score votes in the next election, since they have no plans of their own beyond tax cuts for the rich, repealing health care for Americans and shutting down the government. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time.

This is the party that jumped at the chance to take full advantage of the 9-11 attacks in the first place. This is the party that rolled out their little “color me terrified” threat level color chart every time an election was near, claiming there was “chatter” of upcoming terrorist attacks. Unconfirmed of course.

Politicizing terror has become a GOP policy. By the 2008 elections they even admitted it. In June of that year, in an article about John McCain, his strategist Charlie Black talked about the fact that a “good scare” probably helped save McCain in New Hampshire. From the Fortune article:

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December was an “unfortunate event,” says Black. “But his knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who’s ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us.” As would, Black concedes with startling candor after we raise the issue, another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him,” says Black.

Nice. So here we are again on the verge of an election. Since the GOP have absolutely nothing to offer voters except robbing them of health care and, yes, “transferring the wealth” into the pockets and bank accounts of the top 2% of Americans, while the rest fend for themselves when they shut down the Government. What to do? Why, play the terror card of course!

This from the party that perpetuates the myth that they, and ONLY they can keep the country safe. This from the party who adorn themselves with flag lapel pins, repeat the phrase “support the troops” and then do exactly the opposite. Pretending to find the “not a Mosque” so outrageous, while at the same time voting against health benefits for the very soldiers who fought their war of choice. They wring their hands while saying how dare anyone build such a thing “at Ground Zero?” (Except it isn’t “at Ground Zero” and again, it’s “not a Mosque.”) They’re absolutely indignant over a building nearby, but they also voted against health benefits for first responders to the terrorist attack itself. People who probably didn’t stop to think what religion the victims practiced before risking their lives to save them. No, health benefits for those first responders is a “socialist handout.” Outrageous! Who do they think they are?

No, we won’t hear anything about the GOP’s role in this controversy, but they will gladly line up to condemn the church and those who would burn the Quran, and the media will enable the charade as always.

In Florida candidates were asked early on what they thought of the “not a Mosque” controversy, and Republicans were more than happy to whip out their trusty, worn out script.

Marco Rubio, the GOP candidate for a U.S. Senate seat said:

“It is divisive and disrespectful to build a mosque next to the site where 3,000 innocent people were murdered at the hands of Islamic extremism.”

And he wasn’t finished there. He went on to say this, according to TPM:

Marco Rubio says that Muslims in other nations should look fondly on the United States as a bastion of religious tolerance following the Cordoba House flap.

That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? After all, the GOP also thinks that the people of Iraq should be thanking us for storming their country, killing their citizens and leaving behind a country in shambles. No, they didn’t attack us on 9-11, but no matter. The war was a gift, and to that end, the GOP says “you’re welcome.”

But back to Marco Rubio:

“I would point out to Muslims all over the world that America is one of the few countries on earth where every faith is represented,” Rubio said. “We have a long and cherished tradition of religious liberties and freedom, and none of that is being questioned in my mind.”

“The question” about the Cordoba House, Rubio added, “is whether it’s the right thing to do, not the legal thing to do. Building a mosque there has opened wounds, and it’s been hurtful. And that’s why I think it’s not the right place at the right time.”

That’s right Marco, nothing says “religious tolerance” like a good Quran burning. No one is questioning their right to build the “not a Mosque.”  It’s just a good old fashioned book burning, right?

What about that other “Independent” (wink, wink) candidate, Charlie Crist? Well, a month ago he said he supported the “not a Mosque” along with President Obama. Of course, at the time the GOP were also mocking him for it. But they were probably wearing flag pins while they mocked him, so….

Then we have the Republican candidate for Governor, Rick Scott. What are his views on the “not a Mosque not at Ground Zero?” Why, it’s “Obama’s Mosque!” “It’s being built just yards away from Ground Zero!” And that’s not all. The leader building the “not a Mosque” “refuses to admit that Muslim fanatics used terror tactics!” Scott says “the issue here is truth!” Well, he’s half right. It is an issue of truth. He’s merely distorting the truth for political purposes. In fact he’s so enjoying himself that he seems to think he’s running against Obama in his campaign ad about “Obama’s Mosque” rather than Governor of Florida. Some “outsider.” He fits right into the GOP mold like a suit of armor. Armor, incidentally, that Republicans were too cheap to spend money on to protect American soldiers in Iraq.

The GOP supports the troops, if by “support” you mean sending them off to a war based on a lie, while chanting the mantra “fight the terrorists over there, so we don’t have to fight them over here.” That, in itself is a whopper of a distortion of truth. They’re fighting them over there so the GOP can pillage here at home, and should you question them they will drape themselves in the flag and yell “fanatic Muslim!” until you surrender your civil rights, your wallet, your sons and daughters, and your vote. Whatever it takes. And the media will play right along. Dropping bombs aren’t the only way terrorists operate. They also take advantage of fear and propaganda. Sound familiar?

So while Gen. Petraeus states that this Quran burning in Gainesville endangers the lives of American troops as well as people all over the world, and perhaps here at home, Republicans can’t now hold themselves out on the sidelines and claim shock at the actions of a pastor who writes a book called “Islam Is Of The Devil.” They wanted fear and controversy, and they got it. And then some.

Let’s place blame everywhere that blame is due.

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