Religion in China: Cracks in the atheist edifice
- "Yang Fenggang of Purdue University
, in Indiana, says the Christian church in China has grown by an average of 10% a year since 1980. He reckons that on current trends
there will be 250m Christians by around 2030, making China's Christian population the largest in the world. Mr Yang says this speed of growth is similar to that seen in fourth-century Rome just before the conversion of Constantine, which paved the way for Christianity to become the religion of his empire." [more inside]
"Believing they are losing the messaging war with progressives, a group of prominent conservatives in Washington—including the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and journalists from Breitbart News and the Washington Examiner — has been meeting privately since early this year to concoct talking points, coordinate messaging, and hatch plans for "a 30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation," according to documents obtained by [David Corn and] Mother Jones.
" Photo Gallery: Meet Groundswell's Major Players
. Also: Groundswell's Secret Crusade to Crush Karl Rove
// (Via) [more inside]
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."
Человек с киноаппаратом
("Man with a Movie Camera") is a classic experimental documentary film that was released in 1929. Directed by pioneer Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov
, this classic, silent documentary film has no story and no actors, and is actually three documentaries in one. Ostensibly it documents 24 hours of life in a single city in the Soviet Union. But it is also a documentary of the filming of that documentary and a depiction of an audience watching that documentary and their responses. "We see the cameraman and the editing of the film, but what we don't see is any of the film itself." [more inside]
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 seeing
— foreign 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,
) 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]
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
In 2009, Ctrl.Alt.Shift
, the "youth initiative
of Christian Aid," held a national competition in the UK for aspiring filmmakers aged 18 to 25. Their mission: create a short film treatment based around three key issues: "War + Peace," "Gender + Power" and "HIV + Stigma." The results were then screened to an audience at the 2009 Raindance Film Festival. The films: 1000 Voices
, HIV: The Musical
, Man Made
, No Way Through
and War School
. (All YouTube links. Vimeo links and descriptions of each film are inside this post.) These films deal with adult subject matter and may be disturbing for some viewers. Some may also be nsfw. [more inside]
Right Wing astroturfing
A non-scientific analysis of the patterns in forum board discussions on a variety of topics. The gist: discussions of issues in which there's money at stake (like climate change
, public health
and corporate tax
avoidance) are often characterised by amazing levels of abuse and disruption by rightwing libertarians who are pro-corporate, anti-tax, anti-regulation. Discussions of issues in which there's little money at stake tend to be a lot more civilised than debates about issues where companies stand to lose or gain billions.
In the US, the conservative movement’s latest rallying cry against abortion
claims pro-choice groups are conducting a systematic eugenics
campaign to turn African Americans into an "endangered species
." The idea is finding renewed traction and condemnation in Black communities.
Several bloggers at RHRealityCheck are offering counter
. [more inside]
"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
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.”
“They are brands that may not be considered cool by the often elitist and self-absorbed standards of New York media,” she said. She had taken a car from Manhattan that morning, and wore a pink wool shirt-dress, patent leather Manolo Blahnik heels, and diamond hoop earrings.
Reader's Digest jumps the shark
After one hundred days, the wait is over: Pete Souza's Gargantuan Presidential High-Definition Executive Flickrdump
. Warning: If you put it on fullscreen you won't get anything else done for a while.
Bhay ho phir bhi jai ho! Be afraid, and then be victorious! Jai Ho
, the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire song, was adopted
by the reigning Indian National Congress Party
as it's theme song
. In response, this parody was released by supporters
of the violently
Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party
. And you thought the Pussycat Dolls' version
Kiki and Bubu!
Austrian art collective monochrom
presents the adventures of two sock puppets. Part One: Kiki and Bubu and The Shift.
"Bubu wants to know why his dad is busy all the time. And Kiki explains him why... because of the neoliberal shift." Part Two: Kiki and Bubu and The Privilege.
"Bubu ran into a bunch of liberals and they gave him a book. They said if he doesn't read it, they're going to beat him up. But Bubu can't read! And so Kiki helps..." [Via BB]
- 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.
Persistence of Myths Could Alter Public Policy Approach.
"The conventional response to myths and urban legends is to counter bad information with accurate information. But the new psychological studies
(PDFs) show that denials and clarifications, for all their intuitive appeal, can paradoxically contribute to the resiliency of popular myths." [Via Firedoglake, more at MindHacks.]
My Right Wing Dad
is a new-ish and rather informal blog that aims to provide "a chance for folks to examine the unrestrained rhetoric that is quietly passed from in-box to in-box in America," by hosting a collection of the emails that form an often untraceable and unacknowledged part of public discourse in the U.S., especially on the Right. Tagged by category (for example: God
, and World War II
), the amateur archive presents a range of colorful opinion, not all of it strikingly accurate, and some of it offensive. In efforts to understand liberal and conservative habits of communication
, it may be worth considering the role of forwarded email in the electoral process, and the reasons that the forwarding of email is popular among some people
, and whether this behavior tends to correlate with particular political opinions. The emails hosted on MyRightWingDad may in any case be enlightening, unless you're already on the forward list of someone in the know.
The "same people who attacked us on 9/11"?
It may be the very latest talking point from the Administration
, but it's actually true--altho it's not Al Qaeda in Iraq, but Saudis. Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia ...
A historical note: 15 of the 19 hijackers
on 9/11 were Saudis.
Hussein's Prewar Ties To Al-Qaeda Discounted.
A newly declassified report
(PDF) by the Pentagon's inspector general claims that Iraq was not working with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion and that the intelligence was manipulated
by then-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith
. On the same day as the report came out, Dick Cheney claimed that they did have a relationship
via Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
. Zarqawi may be dead, but he's still useful
. [Via TalkLeft.]
1 DEPLOY GUNS AND BADGES. Josh Bolten's Five Point Plan
is in full effect. "It'll be more guys with guns and badges," said a proponent of the plan. "Think of the visuals. The President can go down and meet with the new recruits. He can go down to the border and meet with a bunch of guys and go ride around on an ATV
CENTCOM trolls for a blogger to help with the propaganda--but he picks Jesus' General
--I am a Public Affairs Officer writing from US Central Command. I would like to inquire about the possibility of you posting a link to our web site. I see that you are covering a lot of different types of stories in a lot of countries. I would like to get some of the stories out that are happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa. ...
Gen. JC Christian, patriot, of course responds with an even better idea, and cc:s Pat Robertson.
You'll love the chubby babies
and thrill to the Heroes and Villains
. You'll like the heroines
as well. The rest of Stefan Landsberg
's Chinese Propaganda Poster site
is fairly nifty as well. There are more here
, and here
. The Taschen volume is always on the table chez nous. (Note :
I posted the site link
the day before yesterday on the inside, and someone suggested that it should go on the front page, so here it is).
What I Heard about Iraq
--from 1992 until today. head-spinning.
Sinclair Fires DC Bureau Chief for Speaking out Against Airing "Stolen Honor"
(Baltimore Sun link, reg. req)
Sinclair Broadcasting, as has been discussed
before, wants to air "Stolen Honor" (quite the appropriate title in regards to Jon Leiberman, the DC bureau chief) during primetime in a bold faced move to sway the election to Bush's favor.
Says Mr. Leiberman, "It's biased political propaganda, with clear intentions to sway this election."
The Washington Post
and NY Times
(both reg.req.) are also running the story.
First brought to my attention via our own Oliver Willis
What Barry Says.
(mirror of the quicktime video
) Though it may stray towards the tinfoil hat in places, you can't dispute that a small group of neocons really is
actually trying to reform the world in their vision. But are they doing it merely for profit on the part of their closely related weapons companies? Even if you don't agree with its provacative message, it's a damn fine looking piece of type, design, and film all rolled into one 2 minute short [via randomfoo
The Republican propaganda mill, a brief history
It's bigger than Bush vs. Kerry. It's about billionaire funded thinktanks (AEI
) paying columnists
to sit around and make stuff up or legitimize crackpot theories (blacks are genetically stupid
, japanese internment was okay
). Furthermore its about radio
, tv news
and publishing houses
working in concert to pummel memes
onto the American public. When this stuff infects your culture
and is no longer the domain of the loons but now as mainstream as apple pie and Wal-Mart, what do you do?
"After his capture he admitted being an al Qaeda member and agreed to send e-mails to his contacts,"
a Pakistani intelligence source told Reuters. "He sent encoded e-mails and received encoded replies. He's a great hacker and even the U.S. agents said he was a computer whiz."
In its haste to get a scary headline
the weekend after the Democratic Convention, did the Bush Administration deliberately blow the cover of one of its best informants within al-Qaeda?
Michelle Malkin and the Big Hustle
Matt Stoller does a good job explaining the right-wing noise machine
backing up author Michelle Malkin
, whose new book
promotes the virtue of Japanese internment camps and racial profiling. Eric Muller, UNC law school professor also does a pretty good job ripping up her arguments
. As Stoller says: "Right-wing institutional support, with places to house people to create ideas, outlets to distribute and promote them, and the tactics and relationships to turn these ideas into the mainstream, is breathtaking".
How is it legal to present a commercial as real news, without any indication that it is a commercial? And when did it become legal to use government money (i.e. *my taxes*) to push partisan issues, as well as try to influence election politics?
Why does North Korea hate America?
Warning: Quicktime video, and NSFW to boot. Anti-American propaganda video made by North Koreans, for North Koreans. Unintentionally funny, or sheer genius? You be the judge.
Politics & Science.
A recent report
(PDF) commissioned by Rep. Henry Waxman
(D-CA) of the House Government Reform Committee
"finds numerous instances where the Administration has manipulated the scientific process and distorted or suppressed scientific findings.
" This White House, it says, has interfered with the objectivity of federal scientists – by stacking committees, ignoring or suppressing information, and interfering with research - to an "unprecedented" degree, on topics ranging from breast cancer
and food safety
to agricultural pollution
and wetlands protection
1957 atomic revolution comic book.
Quite a find for 1950s atomic memorabilia enthusiasts. Creepy and educational. Has anyone here ever heard of M.Philip Copp?
Official confirms that Syria allowing Qaida to operate in Lebanon
Ok Israeli intelligence so I assume some will dismiss this as propaganda, though clearly US knows of this and works along with Israeli intelligence. And Syria occupies Lebanon with thousands of troops and thus runs the country. Meanwhile, we will (or will not) busy ourselves with Iraq.
A very interesting page on how to recognize and avoid emotionally-charged propaganda and political rhetoric. A broader question would be, how do you go about analyzing competing truth-claims made by environmentalists and anti-environmentalists, pro- and anti-gun control activists, Moonies, socialists, libertarians and capitalists? Are there any hard and fast rules you use to choose who and what to believe in a world of name calling and information glut?
Infinite Justice is out, Enduring Freedom is in.
"The change was made after the initial name -- 'Operation Infinite Justice' -- last week ran into objections from some Islamic scholars on grounds that only God, or Allah, could mete out infinite justice in their view."
Taiwan's ruling party receives some very controversial
assistance. 'The commercial opens with a 10-second clip from a Nazi propaganda film, showing Hitler raising his arms and putting his hands on his chest.'
"Hitler was chosen as one of the four leaders because he dared to speak his own mind,'' Juan said. Among former Taiwanese president, Castro & JFK are featured in the commercial. AP notes that Taiwanese lack a deep understanding of the Holocaust and at the same time are suprised to that Mao Tse-Tung is used as a pop symbol in the West...
Is this a case that warrants cultural relativism ?
Rebels, guerrillas, opposition groups, separatists, nationalists, regionalists, propaganda. You name it, it's on the air. [Via NASWeblog