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When it comes to China stories, people will believe almost anything.

Westerners are so convinced China is a dystopian hellscape they’ll share anything that confirms it. [more inside]
posted by gemutlichkeit on Jul 9, 2014 - 44 comments

“Where do left and right meet? At the truth.”

Politically Incorrect was an American late-night, half-hour political talk show hosted by Bill Maher that ran from 1993 to 2002, first on Comedy Central and then on ABC. Four guests (usually including at least one comedian) would debate topics across the political spectrum in what Maher once described as “The McLaughlin Group on acid.” Of the 1300+ episodes produced, 190 can be viewed on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 23, 2014 - 66 comments

so unless you're a rich Indon army guy in the mines, you're screwed.

Australia's 2014-2015 budget was just released. Amongst the casualties: television, young people (and the organisations that help them) and old people, tech startups, postgraduate students, people with disabilities and anyone seeking medical care, foreign aid, Indigenous people, the arts, renewable energy, and the environment. However, if you are in defence, mining, or Indonesian immigration, you should be fine.
posted by divabat on May 13, 2014 - 118 comments

How politics has made us stupid

Ezra Klein's Vox.com launched yesterday, featuring such articles as What happens to low-income students on the way to college? and Amtrak’s insane train boarding rules, explained [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Apr 7, 2014 - 80 comments

Citizen Ailes

A few years back, Fox News head Roger Ailes moved to Garrison, NY, built a house, bought the local newspaper, and got involved in local politics. New York Magazine has the story of Ailes' efforts to remake the small town in his own image, and the rage, paranoia, and narcissism those who've interacted with him have come to expect.
posted by Pope Guilty on Feb 18, 2014 - 135 comments

Shakedown on the Hudson

MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki has been collaborating with NJ journalist Brian Murphy on some investigative journalism about the Chris Christie administration's alleged withholding of Sandy Relief funds until the Mayor of Hoboken agrees to fast-track a real-estate development. Hoboken was one of the hardest-hit communities and has so far received $6 per resident. Christie became governor after leading a US Attorney investigation which convicted NJ politicians of crooked real-estate deals.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Jan 18, 2014 - 118 comments

We draw a thick line on what has happened in the past.

Tadeusz Mazowiecki has died. The first prime minister after the fall of communist regime in Poland was later an UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Bosnia and resigned this post in protest over the failure of international community to prevent the Srebrenica massacre. [more inside]
posted by hat_eater on Oct 28, 2013 - 6 comments

Internet Ecosystem

How the Internet Ecosystem Works. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 11, 2013 - 11 comments

The Cartography of Bullshit

On the 15 May, Max Fisher of the Washington Post penned an article titled A fascinating map of the world’s most and least racially tolerant countries. Fisher surmised that Anglo and Latin American countries are the most tolerant, linking racism to economic freedom based off of a study by two Swedish economists. Siddhartha Mitter responds, who, in The Cartography of Bullshit writes, "Although the results don’t pass the sniff test in the first place, I took a look at the data as well, in an effort to identify the exact problems at play..." [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on May 18, 2013 - 32 comments

Gun control amendments defeated

Despite widespread popular support, on April 17th, 2013, the US Senate voted to defeat four legislative amendments that would strengthen background checks for gun purchases and place a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Victims and survivors of victims of recent shootings who were in the Senate audience were heard to yell "Shame on you" at legislators as the final votes were tallied.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 17, 2013 - 288 comments

"I want to encourage mainstream journalists to speak up when they discover their companies are misleading the people, doing PR for corporations and governments and disguising it as journalism."

Former CNN journalist Amber Lyon is speaking out against the network after it decided for "editorial reasons" not to air its documentary iRevolution on CNN International. Lyon worked on a 13-minute segment interviewing democratic activists in Bahrain, who risked their own safety to be heard. Glenn Greenwald reveals that at the same time, CNN was being paid by the Bahrain Economic Development Board to produce pro-state coverage as part of its "Eye On" series. A senior producer complained to Lyon about the nature of her coverage: "We are dealing with blowback from Bahrain govt on how we violated our mission, etc."
posted by mek on Sep 5, 2012 - 21 comments

Tie game. Bottom of the 9th. Bases loaded. Two outs. Three balls. Two strikes. And the pitch...

In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law. The product of a strict party line vote following a year century of debate, disinformation, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act would (among other popular reforms) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions. The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives (including presidential contender Mitt Romney) is the central question facing the justices today. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state. But despite the pessimism of bettors, some believe the Court will demur, wary of damaging its already-fragile reputation with another partisan 5-4 decision. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 28, 2012 - 1173 comments

Radio Canada International no longer on radio

Due to budget cuts, CBC's Radio Canada International has ceased broadcasting on shortwave; it is now Internet-only and therefore blocked by authoritarian regimes around the world. Mark Montgomery is somewhat emotional about being the last voice on the air
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Jun 25, 2012 - 35 comments

Pasty Gate

Following an amendment in the recent Conservative Party budget, VAT on 'Baked Goods' will be re-instated. In response, the question of whether or not David Cameron once ate a Greggs pasty infects the British press. The Telegraph have a live blog covering what has been termed by some Pasty Gate
posted by 0bvious on Mar 28, 2012 - 61 comments

Occupy, eh?

While Occupy Wall Street has captured the attention of major American politicians, its counterpart in Canada has been mainly a municipal headache. Despite inequality north of the border rising at a comparable rate, and similar political sentiments, most Canadians also believe the movement is ineffective, though their hearts are in the right place. As the movement slows as winter weather sets in, cities are taking various measures to discourage the protests, hoping a combination of inconvenience and weather will disperse the encampments. [more inside]
posted by mek on Nov 3, 2011 - 83 comments

March of Time

From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeingforeign affairs, social trends, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.) By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues, including (eventually) America’s entry to WWII. Video samples are available at Time.com, the March of Time Facebook page and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required) at HBO Archives. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 22, 2011 - 8 comments

"With television you just sit, watch, listen. The thinking is done for you."

Gawker's John Cook yesterday published an exclusive report on a trove of documents from the Nixon Presidential Library tracing the development of Fox News to a 1970 internal memo annotated by then-consultant Roger Ailes. Part of a 318-page cache of similar documents, the memo -- "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News" -- called for the creation of a strongly pro-Nixon news outlet operated from the White House which would disseminate partisan news packages free of charge to local affiliates across the country. By coordinating release of these targeted reports with allied politicians and duping opponents into hostile interviews, Ailes hoped to bypass the "prejudices of network news" -- a desire which led him to advocate for some unexpected political policies at the time, from campaign finance reform to anti-poverty efforts. The report comes as Fox is waging an aggressive two-front PR war with perceived ideological enemies -- calling on viewers to file IRS complaints against Media Matters' tax-exempt status for their dogged fact-checking of the network, while on-air hosts launched a campaign to label Jon Stewart "racist" after he called out their record of falsehoods following a critical interview with Chris Wallace (previously).
posted by Rhaomi on Jul 1, 2011 - 92 comments

Hates gays, taxes, and light bulbs.

"Bachmann's entire political career has followed this exact same pattern of God-speaks-directly-to-me fundamentalism mixed with pathological, relentless, conscienceless lying. She's not a liar in the traditional way of politicians, who tend to lie dully, usefully and (they hope) believably, often with the aim of courting competing demographics at the same time. That's not what Bachmann's thing is."- Michele Bachmann's Holy War - Matt Tabbi - Rolling Stone
posted by The Whelk on Jun 23, 2011 - 283 comments

"Kill the economy. Blame the Democrats. It's the perfect crime."

"When a Nobel Prize Isn't Enough." With a sharply-worded rebuke of the congressional GOP, Nobel Prize-winning economist Peter Diamond has announced he is withdrawing as a candidate for the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors due to GOP obstructionism. Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, a leading critic of Diamond's appointment, welcomes the announcement and raises a predictable call for a candidate "capable of garnering bipartisan support in the Senate."
posted by saulgoodman on Jun 6, 2011 - 86 comments

Support for democracy is the province of ideologists and propagandists.

Is the World Too Big to Fail? [more inside]
posted by Shit Parade on Apr 26, 2011 - 62 comments

Fine British political snark

10 O'Clock Live is a show currently airing on Channel 4 in the UK. It could be considered a British take on the Daily Show, but longer, weekly, with more discussion, and performed live. MeFi favorite Charlie Brooker is one of their presenters, along with David Mitchel, Lauren Laverne and Jimmy Carr. While focused on British issues, the show sometimes covers international topics, and is wildly funny. Here are some highlights:
Charlie Brooker: On Gaddafi - On Berlusconi - On the 'Big Society' - On Sarah Palin - On the iPad 2 - On the English Defense League & the Daily Star - On Ed Miliband (Leader of the Labour Party, beating out his brother David) - On Prince Andrew
David Mitchell: On political hyperbole - On language in the media - On encouraging rich people to immigrate - On what to do with the Olympic Stadium
Jimmy Carr: As Berlusconi - On Product Placement
Lauren Laverne: Guide for new democracies - Inside the brain of Ed Miliband - British PR companies helping tyrants
Everyone on David Cameron on The One Show (this one's awesome)
[more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 24, 2011 - 84 comments

"Wake up, Mr. Freeman. Wake up, and smell the ashes."

Miami Police Set to Become First State in the US to Use Drones. As also discussed here on TPM, the new drones offer "unique hover and stare capability... advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) with real time video documentation." If things proceed to plan, this will represent the first use of such devices both in the US and outside of combat environments. The resemblance between these Honeywell-manufactured devices and the ubiquitous, menacing City Scanners that populate the dystopian landscape of the popular video game series Half-Life is striking.
posted by saulgoodman on Jan 7, 2011 - 135 comments

US Voters Grossly Misinformed

Misinformation and the 2010 Election - A Study of the US Electorate. The key findings of the study are:

1. Perceptions of Misleading and False Information An overwhelming majority of voters said that they encountered misleading or false information in the last election, with a majority saying that this occurred frequently and occurred more frequently than usual.

2. Evidence of Misinformation Among Voters The poll found strong evidence that voters were substantially misinformed on many of the issues prominent in the election campaign, including the stimulus legislation, the healthcare reform law, TARP, the state of the economy, climate change, campaign contributions by the US Chamber of Commerce and President Obama’s birthplace. In particular, voters had perceptions about the expert opinion of economists and other scientists that were quite different from actual expert opinion.
[more inside]
posted by caddis on Dec 19, 2010 - 53 comments

Goodbye Gordo

The Honourable Gordon Campbell has resigned as Premier of British Columbia. Citing his spectacular unpopularity, his resignation comes after almost a decade in power. His tenure has been dogged by scandal, and most recently, a barrage of protest over the newly implemented HST. His most lasting legacy may prove to be the implementation of North America's first carbon tax.
posted by [expletive deleted] on Nov 3, 2010 - 89 comments

Daley says he will not run for re-election as mayor of Chicago

Richard M. Daley announces he will not run for re-election as mayor of Chicago in 2011. In the past half-century, Chicago has had only 13 years when a Daley was not mayor. Is this fallout from RMD's botched, and, many say, ill advised, Olympic bid? Or just the fact that the city is more strapped for cash than ever? Should be interesting.
posted by zadermatermorts on Sep 7, 2010 - 87 comments

Matt Taibbi on Fox News and the Tea Party (2010)

I’d like to see at least one firm get blown out of business as a consequence of financially supporting the network that is telling America that its black president wants to kill white babies. Matt Taibbi takes on the Fox Network's systematic racial demonization and the Tea Party phenomenon.
posted by fantodstic on Sep 2, 2010 - 72 comments

"If not now, when? If not us, who?"

Kabuki Democracy: Why a Progressive Presidency Is Impossible, for Now. And what we should do about it. (one-page link)
posted by mek on Jul 12, 2010 - 96 comments

James O'Keefe's ACORN hoax in California

With newly released video, Rachel Maddow shows that the Fox News/Breitbart/James O'Keefe takedown of ACORN in California was fraudulent. For example, coverage depicted ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera as eager to participate in a pedophile prostitution ring suggested by O'Keefe's character. In fact Vera had reported O'Keefe to police. Nevertheless, Vera was fired, and months later ACORN was dissolved. (Previously: 1, 2, 3)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Apr 8, 2010 - 56 comments

South Korean navy ship sinking near border with North Korea

Reports coming through that a South Korean Navy Ship with 104 crew is currently sinking off Baengnyeong island in the Yellow Sea near the North Korean Border. No reports of casualties and causation yet to be determined. No word from the North Korean Korean Central News Agency.
posted by numberstation on Mar 26, 2010 - 41 comments

Political Insiders Are the New Political Outsiders

Florida's Republican US Senate hopeful and self-identified "Conservative Outsider" Mark Rubio delivered a populist speech in defense of American exceptionalism and full of hope and change at today's CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) event, while also taking the occasion to share a good chuckle over the subject of waterboarding terrorists with fellow conference attendees. Political rival, current Florida Governor Charlie Crist, offers a response in the form of a slightly different speech Rubio might have given. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on Feb 18, 2010 - 24 comments

WE R IN UR MEDIA, STEALING UR DEMOCRASSY

The Lobbying-Media Complex. The Nation explores the pervasive influence of paid lobbyists on the media landscape. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on Feb 15, 2010 - 21 comments

If it feeds, it leads

"..when a victorious chief minister openly admits that he himself approached the leading newspaper of his state with money for “positive stories” after learning that the newspaper had signed a “package deal” with his rivals to print negative stories, you had better sit up and take urgent notice"
posted by Gyan on Feb 12, 2010 - 4 comments

The Interview

The Interview is a programme from the BBC World Service. Each episode is a 30 minute in-depth question and answer session between the journalist – usually Carrie Gracie or Owen Bennett-Jones – and the subject. Over the past few years it has covered everything from literature – for example, Martin Amis and Seamus Heaney – to the nexus between neurology and music, with Oliver Sacks, and what it's like to be a sprinter with no feet. [more inside]
posted by Len on Feb 7, 2010 - 7 comments

Objectivity Killed the News Star

"The symbiotic relationship between the press and the power elite worked for nearly a century. It worked as long as our power elite, no matter how ruthless or insensitive, was competent. But once our power elite became incompetent and morally bankrupt, the press, along with the power elite, lost its final vestige of credibility." "The Creed of Objectivity Killed the News" by Chris Hedges.
posted by AugieAugustus on Feb 2, 2010 - 51 comments

Trusting the FOX

Fox News is the most trusted news network in the United States, according to a new poll [.pdf] of 1,151 Americans conducted by Public Policy Polling (a polling firm with a mostly Democratic and progressive list of clients), the most trusted news network among Americans is FOX News, which was trusted by 49% of respondents (beating out CNN, MS-NBC, CBS, NBC, and ABC (though PBS was not included in the survey)). The pollsters conclude: “A generation ago you would have expected Americans to place their trust in the most neutral and unbiased conveyors of news,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But the media landscape has really changed and now they’re turning more toward the outlets that tell them what they want to hear.”
posted by washburn on Jan 26, 2010 - 126 comments

Eric Schmidt on journalism and the future of newspapers

Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave a talk at the Newspaper Association of America convention on April 9, 2009 in San Diego. He speaks about how Google and newspapers might co-exist in the future. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Oct 4, 2009 - 78 comments

Sometimes When You Give, You Get Back

TARP investments yield 15% returns. Almost trom the start, critics characterized the TARP program that first began under the Bush administration and that continued through early this year under President Obama as a taxpayer funded giveaway, while government officials insisted it was a long-term investment program whose initial costs would eventually turn a profit as economic recovery began. Now the NY Times reports that the program has already yielded $4 billion in profits, and a separate report reveals that related Federal Reserve loan programs aimed at economic stabilization have returned $14 billion in profits.
posted by saulgoodman on Aug 31, 2009 - 119 comments

Threat Level Elevated

US News reports that in a new tell-all book, Tom Ridge admits manipulating terror threat levels for political motives. In the forthcoming book, Ridge reportedly acknowledges for the first time that he was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush's re-election, something he "saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over." But as The Atlantic points out, Ridge apparently gave in to the White House demands anyway, resigning only after the election. Huffington Post also provides additional discussion on this developing story.
posted by saulgoodman on Aug 20, 2009 - 139 comments

"So Say We All"

Fantasy Meets Reality. The very best works of science fiction illuminate controversial current events and the intricacies of human nature. So, it's no surprise that the United Nations Public Information Department and the Sci Fi (SyFy?) Channel co-hosted a panel yesterday evening on "humanitarian concerns" at the UN, with the creators and actors of Battlestar Galactica -- a show which regularly explores those themes. A 2-hour video webcast is archived here. (RealPlayer video). Entertainment Weekly has an additional write-up. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 18, 2009 - 57 comments

The First 100 Days

Oh those vaunted "first 100 days," they are finally upon us. Roosevelt's legendary time period has long been applied to new administrations, but never so emphatically or with such hope as to the Obama administration. And now you can follow them! For commentary, there's The First 100 Days, for mainstream media there's Obama's First 100 Days, for a comparison between old and new there 100 Days: Starting the Job, From FDR to Obama, for new media there's Obama's First 100 Days, and finally, for a government perspective there's First 100 Days. I smell an idea for an ironic t-shirt...
posted by Cochise on Jan 22, 2009 - 13 comments

Frozen Scandal

"Scandal is our growth industry. Revelation of wrongdoing leads not to definitive investigation, punishment, and expiation but to more scandal. Permanent scandal. Frozen scandal." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Nov 24, 2008 - 14 comments

Talking Points Memo: How it began

…if you are the single newspaper in San Francisco or Kansas City or St. Louis, you are just highly constrained about how rigorous you can be in the accuracy of your reporting. Because the whole model is: You are appealing to everybody. Because the whole model is: You are appealing to everybody. … That's why the existence of an independent media sector is so important.
Talking Points Memo is one of the more notable successes in independent journalism and using blogs as a format for journalism. It has broken at least a couple of stories that got picked up by the mainstream press: The Duke Cunningham bribery scandal, and the U.S. Attorneys firing scandal. It's grown from being a one-man shop in 2000 to a staff of ten today. Josh Marshall talks about how it came to be.
posted by adamrice on Oct 7, 2008 - 51 comments

Terrorist fist bump!

Mock the Vote: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert interviewed.
posted by Artw on Sep 25, 2008 - 41 comments

"If it isn't doom it'll do until a proper doom comes along."

The Tories first by-election win in over twenty-five years... the end of New Labour?
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 23, 2008 - 50 comments

The Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008

Thirty-six years after the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse recommended that "simple possession" of pot be decriminalised, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has introduced a bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), to remove federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams (about three-and-a-half ounces) of marijuana and the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce (28.3 grams). Drug reform advocates lit up hailed the legislation as "an important step toward bringing federal law into line with scientific fact, practical reality and public opinion." Is America, at long last, having a collective moment of sanity?
posted by kliuless on Apr 20, 2008 - 76 comments

The Saddam Sessions

Saddam's Confessions - Given Saddam Hussein's central place in the American Consciousness over the last couple decades and particularly in recent years, I found 60 minutes' interview with FBI interrogator George Piro pretty fascinating.
posted by kliuless on Jan 27, 2008 - 24 comments

A Genetic Basis for 'Race'

'Race' graphically illustrated - "most Europeans" vs. Ashkenazim (previously; see also IQ & Gladwell, viz. ;) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 23, 2008 - 101 comments

...GE had long done business with the bin Ladens. In a misguided attempt at corporate synergy, I called GE headquarters...

"You Don't Understand Our Audience" --what John Hockenberry (formerly of NBC, now at MIT Media Lab) learned about network news--good guys and bad guys, the "emotional center", synergy, facts, and why fewer and fewer watch nowadays.
posted by amberglow on Dec 31, 2007 - 65 comments

Big man with a big heart does his part

Mark Wallinger has won the Turner Prize for 'State Britain' his recreation of Brian Haw's Parliament Square peace protest. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 5, 2007 - 12 comments

Northern Ireland: Operation Banner Ends

Operation Banner [Wikipedia], the British Armed Forces' campaign in Northern Ireland that began in 1969, ended midnight on July 31, 2007. The period included Bloody Sunday in which 13 civilians were killed by the British Army. The Guardian have published a summary of significant events (and one going further back). In pictures: Guardian, BBC.
posted by nthdegx on Aug 1, 2007 - 10 comments

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