Sun TV is a rabidly right-wing cable network in Canada that has been compared to Fox News. However, Canadians do not seem to be as gullible as America’s Teabaggers and are not tuning in. From the Hollywood Reporter:
“To get Sun News back on its feet, the Quebec media giant is asking for a mandatory distribution order from the CRTC. That would force the all-news channel on Canadians by ensuring carriage on all domestic analog and digital basic services.”
Mandatory distribution? Sounds like socialism! The level of hypocrisy required for a conservative network to beg the government to force private companies into doing business with them is off the scale. What ever happened to the free market? It appears that Canadian viewers have made their choice, but Sun isn’t satisfied and wants to shove their programming down the throats of viewers who don’t want it. In the process they would compel cable operators to pay them fees against their will.
Just imagine how conservatives would react if MSNBC tried to do the same thing. They are presently carried on fewer cable services than Fox, and where they are carried they are often relegated to higher tier packages while Fox is on the basic tier.
This is a brilliant example of the right-wing hypocrisy that condemns welfare when it is provided to low-income Americans who are struggling to get by, but supports welfare for wealthy corporations in the form of subsidies and tax relief. They reject government if it serves the people. They embrace it when it serves the rich.
The World Wide Web is a cornucopia of Olympian ignoramusi. The field ranges from hollowed out heads in suits like Jonah Goldberg, to asylum escapees like Ted Nugent, to pitiful has-been bimbos like Victoria Jackson, to messianic delusionaries like Glenn Beck. With such an abundance of talentless charlatans like these posting staggeringly asinine missives online, the competition for Most Epically Idiotic Article On The Internet is stiffer than Mitt Romney at a gay bar four hours after overdosing on a bad batch of Viagra.
Leave it to Breitbart’s John Nolte to sink to the occasion and compose a work of astonishing stupidity. The title of Nolte’s opus, “Why the Media Hates and Fears Super PACs,” pretty much gives away the fundamental foolishness of his premise. The media is perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Super PACS (more on that later). But foolishness is the hallmark of Nolte’s career. Take for example this article wherein Nolte advocated murdering the mother of a young actress:
Breitbrat Nolte begins his incoherent rant with a typical bashing of the press as liberal, despite all the evidence to the contrary. With no substantiation whatsoever, he called the media “a gaggle of left-wing operatives disguised as journalists.” Nolte goes on to assert that the media fears the Citizens United decision handed down by the Supreme Court because the media is in the business of the “furthering of leftist causes.” Notice how he refers to the media as a single-minded entity shuddering frightfully at the thought of Citizens United. He makes no effort to document that assertion. But finally, Nolte gets around to what he regards as the core of the problem:
“[T]he media is objecting to free and unlimited political speech – the very thing protected by the very first Amendment. The media’s outrage that there are now no longer restrictions on how much money a company or individual can spend to further a political cause, is the same as expressing outrage that that most sacred of American rights – unlimited political speech – is no longer limited by a tyrannical government.”
Of course. The media is “outraged” that individuals and corporations can now spend unlimited amounts of money on ….. MEDIA! Where does Nolte think that the hundreds of millions of dollars that he concedes will be raised and spent is going to go? By far, the biggest share of that bounty will be spent on advertising in the media. The very same media that Nolte refers to as an amorphous singularity that is united in opposition to Super PACs. So obviously the media is beside themselves with rage. Their secret plot to advance socialism is way more important to them than the windfall in unprecedented profits. Anyone can see that.
Well, anyone that suffers from the same moronic myopia of Breitbrat Nolte, whose grasp of the particulars of the Citizens United decision is utterly confused. Nolte does not seem to understand that the decision opened the funding floodgates to allow unprecedented levels of unaccountable contributions that are tantamount to giving wealthy individuals and corporations permission to buy election outcomes. He describes it as a “First Amendment victory,” but it is a victory for dollars, not for voters. It changes the dimensions of democracy from “one man, one vote,” to “one dollar, one vote,” because now free speech comes with a price tag that only the wealthy can afford. How can the average citizen’s voice be heard when it is competing with Exxon or Karl Rove’s American Crossroads?
Nolte’s whining that the media has been enforcing a liberal tyranny over the nation and is enraged by new competition from the Super PACs created by Citizens United ignores the fact that the media themselves are participants in the rush to exploit the Super PAC phenomenon. Every major media corporation (Time Warner, General Electric, Comcast, Viacom, Disney, News Corp) already has their own. And they are spending heavily to advance their interests over those of the people. But Nolte has trouble with the concept of facts to begin with, as is apparent in this example from his article:
“Fact : In 2008, you heard almost no media outcry against all of that ‘outside money affecting elections.’ Today, that’s all you hear, especially after a Republican victory like the one last week in Wisconsin.
First of all, Nolte needs a remedial course in identifying facts. He cannot assert as fact that “you” heard nothing in 2008 about outside money. How could he know what you heard? Secondly, his main point as to the “media outcry” on campaign finance completely ignores that actual fact that fundraising by independent groups has long been a huge topic of discussion. It resulted in the passage of the McCain–Feingold Act in 2002 that put restrictions on certain types of contributions and spending. That act was still in effect in 2008, but was largely overturned in 2010 by Citizens United. If Nolte didn’t hear people talking about outside money in 2008, it’s because his ears were stuffed with right-wing bias and the smears and tangential trivialities that he helped to promulgate (i.e. Rev. Wright, Anthony Weiner).
Nolte makes an extraordinary leap in logic to assert that media companies are de facto Super PACs and that they have always been “allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money to push a political agenda.” But Nolte is not talking about any actual PAC activity. He is asserting the premise that any money spent collecting or reporting news is identical to spending for political advocacy. That’s because Nolte believes that all news is the work of the left-wing gaggle mentioned above. He writes that everyone from the Today Show to Saturday Night Live are “shill[s] for leftist causes.” Therefore, he sees the advent of Citizens United as a leveling mechanism.
“Thanks to ‘Citizens United,’ though, what you now have are mainstream media corporations forced to compete on a level playing field with other individuals and corporations, who can now spend as much money as MSNBC and Politico and The Washington Post, etc. to affect the outcomes of our nation’s politics.
“And this is why the media so loathes ‘Citizens United’ and those beautiful super PACs that have blossomed as a result.”
And therein lies the heart of Nolte’s Epic Idiocy. He actually sees Super PACs as “beautiful,” a blossoming bouquet of wholesome, corporate goodness. In fact, he veritably tingles at the thought of corporations being able to affect the outcomes of elections. Who wouldn’t want corporations – soulless entities whose only purpose is to increase shareholder wealth – to decide everything from how are children are taught, to the state of our environment, to Wall Street regulatory policy, to when, and with whom, we go to war? Nolte’s lust for allowing unaccountable corporations to assume control over the most profoundly personal aspects of our lives is downright perverse. It is also a nearly textbook definition of fascism.
And it’s a perversion rooted in ignorance because the backbone of his thesis is utterly false. It should come as no surprise that a web site called “News Corpse” is not suffering from a naive affinity for the press. But the stated mission of this site recognizes that the problem with the media is that it has evolved into an incestuous family of a few giant corporations whose interests lean more toward their own welfare than the welfare of the public they serve or the nation that protects their independence. The problem with the media is that it IS composed of giant, multinational corporations that exploit their market power and their influence over government.
It is difficult to comprehend how Nolte can harbor such a schizophrenic viewpoint wherein he worships corporations, but despises the media which are, in fact, corporations. He makes no sense in castigating the whole of the media for bitterly opposing Super PACs (for which he provides no evidence), even while they have formed their own and are projected to earn billions of dollars from the advertising headed their way. His opinion can only be described as twisted by a paranoid neurosis that prevents him from observing reality as it is.
It is that blindness that has created a monumental obstacle to rationality and earns Breitbart’s John Nolte the award for the Most Epically Idiotic Article On The Internet. And due to his puerile dimwittedness and cognitive ineptitude, this will surely not be the last time he will be so (dis)honored.
The state of contemporary journalism is widely regarded as defective by consumers and critics representing a broad diversity of opinion. It seems that the media has no constituency defending its professional lethargy and its reliance on sensationalism and melodrama.
The past few weeks have provided comprehensive instructions on how to be an utterly frivolous and ineffective news industry. When Americans are desperate for information about pressing issues concerning jobs, the economy, health and Medicare, and national security, they are left wanting as the major news enterprises dump loads of salacious gossip, celebrity gaffes, and lurid tales of criminal miscreants. Just trying to be heard over the caterwaul of crapola that passes for news is an Olympian feat. If it isn’t a lewd lawmaker (Anthony Weiner) flooding the airwaves, it’s a murderous mom (Casey Anthony), one of thousands of murderers, but the only one that seems to garner any attention.
Recent surveys have shown that the media is not covering the issues that the people are most interested in. The audience has made its preference clear: they want substance, not sleaze. But the media tone-deafness was demonstrated exquisitely when all three cable news networks cut away from Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, after she informed them that she would only be addressing questions regarding jobs and the economy, and not Rep. Weiner. As is becoming routine, a non-news personality summed it up best by playing a video clip of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer expressing his reluctance to cover the titillating trivialities of the day:
Wolf Blitzer: We’ve covered these kinds of stories, It’s not a pleasure for us. It’s not something we look forward to. I’d much rather be discussing economic issues, jobs, the future of Medicare, national security issues, than talking about this.
Jon Stewart:[Incredulously] What’s stopping you?!
In an effort to enhance the public’s access to the stories that actually impact their lives, I am offering this tutorial on how to get appropriate coverage of the critical matters that face our nation. It is not enough to be brilliantly articulate about a position or to make a coherent case for a policy. You must grab the attention away from the media whores and their enablers in the press corps. Here is how to do just that in a handy shareable infographic guide:
The Federal Communications Commission has granted the Tribune Company the waiver it sought to continue operating the newspapers and television stations it owns in the same market. The waiver is required due to a regulation that forbids such cross-ownership. But the decision that produced the waiver was Machiavellian in the extreme.
Rather than grant the waiver outright, FCC chair Kevin Martin and his Republican colleagues actually denied Tribune’s request for an indefinite waiver, while granting a permanent waiver for Tribune’s properties in Chicago. This scheme allows Tribune to move forward with its acquisition by Chicago real estate mogul Sam Zell without jeopardizing its present newspaper and TV operations. It also allows Tribune to challenge the indefinite waiver denial in court, which itself triggers a two year waiver for all of Tribune’s properties in five markets nationwide. Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps dissented from this opinion saying:
“If this order were a newspaper, the banner headline would read ‘FCC majority uses legal subterfuge to push for total elimination of cross-ownership ban.’ I have to admit, part of me admires the clever legal maneuvering [...] Tribune gets at least a two-year waiver, plus the ability to go to court immediately and see if they can get the entire rule thrown out.”
Tribune filed court papers objecting to the FCC decision within days of its issuance, almost as if they were prepared in advance of the decision. What a surprise. And all of this is occurring as Martin is being scrutinized by Congress for alleged abuse of power. Energy and Commerce Committee chairman John Dingell expressed concern that the FCC had not made drafts of proposed rules available to the public before they were voted on, and that Martin routinely withheld details of proposals from other commissioners until it was too late for them to be fully analyzed. In addition, Martin has favored data from outside firms that support his biases even when that data was contradicted by the agency’s own statistics.
Martin is as corrupt in his role as his predecessor, Michael Powell. In case after case he has advocated for the interests of Big Media over the public interest. And he now shows that he is unconcerned with maintaining even the perception of propriety.
A little over a year ago I wrote this article wrapping up the 2006 campaign season and showing how, no matter who wins electoral campaigns, the media is the ultimate winner:
“When all is said and done, The Media will have banked over $2 Billion [...] If a campaign can be analogized to a war, then the media are the war profiteers. Fox is the Halliburton of the press corps – GE (owner of NBC/Universal) is the…well, the GE. They benefit no matter who wins or loses. In fact, it is in their interest to incite division and to escalate the conflict.”
At the time, the money raked in by media was a new record, but one that was destined to be short-lived. A new study by PQ Media is predicting that spending for 2008 will dwarf the record set in 2006:
“Political campaign spending on advertising media and marketing services is expected to rocket to an all-time high of $4.50 billion in the 2008 election cycle, as an acrimonious political environment, record fundraising and the high number of presidential candidates are driving an unprecedented media spending splurge…”
There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the profligate spending on political ads and events. These expenditures are sponsored, for the most part, by mega-corporations with interests in the outcome of the elections. The Center for Responsive Politics just completed a detailed study of lobbyist contributions in the current campaign cycle. It’s an eye opening expose of the incestuous relationships between candidates and contributors. For instance, Hillary Clinton claimed in a recent debate that she accepts lobbyist funds because they represent “real Americans” like nurses and social workers. But her financial disclosures reveal a different story:
“Lobbyists who represent health professionals, including the nurses Clinton singled out, account for $82,805 in contributions to her, while those representing the pharmaceutical industry paid out $562,900.”
Barack Obama looks a little better having received only $34,500 from 29 registered lobbyists. And John Edwards does even better than that with just $4,500 from seven lobbyists that he has promised to return.
The irony is that many of the large corporate givers are the media companies themselves. Unlike other donors, they will get much of that money back from candidates buying air time. In effect, the candidates are subsidizing the media companies’ budget for campaign contributions. Then, after the election, the media lobbyists still get to call on the officeholders to collect their reward in the form of favorable legislation and regulations.
As I said last year, the media is the only guaranteed winner and the people (and democracy) suffer for it:
“So long as we have corporate media monopolies married to political powerbrokers in government and on K Street, we will never have truly free elections. They just feed off of each other and enrich each other at the expense of democracy. The media needs to be corralled into a role wherein it educates and informs citizens. And public financing of campaigns is imperative if we want to remove the influence of corporations from politics.”