The Lamestream Media?
Why are Trump and others trying to discredit the mainstream media or “lamestream” media as Rush Limbaugh calls it?
The far right has had success in control of a significant part of the media. Talk Radio is owned by the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Levine and so forth. There is no real left wing threat on Talk Radio. In internet news they have a prominent presence such as Breitbart and the Grudge Report among others. Which leaves the broadcast news and print media. Here the right is not far behind. Fox News is the number one television network news outlet. Now this is not to say that the three other network news are liberal. They just do not act as megaphones for the far right. The press, such as New York Times, Washington Post, and the Huffington Post on the internet, are the mainstays of liberalism but they can promote the conservative line if it makes its case.
Now think with me for a moment about the far right. This is the truth of the far right when they challenge abortion rights hear instead that they want do away with sex education and birth control. When they say they want to get rid of illegal immigrants hear instead that they want to get rid of all immigration at least for the next decade. When they say they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they really want to get rid of all government health care assistance Medicare included. So when they attack the liberal press you can assume they want to get rid of all oppositional news media outlets. In other words promote their views or end your press. Now of course Republicans being the historical party of tokenism they would allow some smaller alternative medias but only in numbers they can control.
As they attack the mainstream press, the likes of LImbaugh are practically drooling to capture the audiences of the left. Recently, he said on his show, I am finally being listened to by the White House, about damn time. The far right are readying their media to take over in the gap left behind by what they hope will be a decimated mainstream media. Curiously Trump has shown interest in having his own media empire. So when he describes the media as the enemy of the people, he is opening the door to his or some other right wing media to walk through it. The far right has swallowed up all of the viewership to be found on the right. For the current organizations to grow they would need to squeeze out other conservative media outlets unless room is created by the demise of mainstream media. This is why slowly Fox News recently has been attacking Trump and his cohorts a little harder. If the mainstream media is diminished, the right wing media can find a much larger media audience share and thus more money. So it is not only a lack of the appreciation of the First Amendment that drives the current onslaught but also old fashioned greed.
Fox News has become under siege recently. They have shown, especially with the ouster of Roger Ailes, a penchant to not hold the party line all the time. So some on the far right are wooing and others are poo-pooing the besieged consumers of the non-alternative right media. Fox will find their way and may or may not find their favor with the right wing. If they stray too far they will be proclaimed as the lamestream media full of bias by the right wing. This will in turn leave a door wide open for an alternative right wing media to come to the forefront.
Of course with the resurgent of the left’s population taking to the streets and their increasing involvement in leftist activist causes, the more moderate media may have to lean left. This of course would be my preference. Mark my word if the left becomes more engaged and numerous the far right media, which is motivated by money, will also make a more leftist pitch to this audience. Nothing like a Megan Kelley joining the MSNBC crowd. Maybe it’s time for Limbaugh and Beck to lighten up a little and join the lamestream media. If they did they wouldn’t have to intersperse their shows with Paul Harvey-like infomercials.
Shame On You!
Facts are under siege! We have alternative facts offered to either dilute or divert from the truth. We live in a post fact world some are saying. Verbal virtuosity is more important than the accuracy of what you are saying. If you speak with the most confidence, with bigger voices, the more firebrand your language the more you must be speaking truth. The truth is pushed aside because it’s not flamboyant enough or it is too inconvenient for what you want to believe. Truth can be so boring and gets in the way of alternative facts.
At the same time that facts are under attack shame is disappearing. So that when you are caught in a factual error or horrendous act it does not make you feel shame but instead a need to push your way with alternative facts made on the fly. Winning becomes more important than the truth. Not feeling shame more important than relationships.
Shame is thought as a weakness. Shame has gone out of style and been replaced by power, arrogance, and greed. It is a common refrain at political rallies where politicians who have taken shameful actions and positions are shouted down by shouts of Shame! Shame on you! Usually the politician or person has made up his\her mind and will not be moved.
So what is replacing shame? Alternative facts. Alternative facts create a reality where there is no shame to be had. Instead whatever you are doing is not harmful but the act of a hero and should be recognized as such. In times past this was called rationalization; today it is called being rational.
So if fact and shame are being eliminated from public life, what are we to do? My fallback position is only listen to people whose lives reflect integrity, love, and peace. I would not vote against type as evangelicals did when they voted for Trump. Trump is thrice married, has confessed to promiscuous sex and affairs. He has shown he has not a clue about the Bible on several occasions and I could go on with other contradictory lifestyle choices he makes that conflict with evangelicals beliefs. They vote for him because he promises to deliver policies they favor. This is a strategy of ‘By any means necessary’. The same was true of white women who voted for him in a majority.
So if you want me to listen to you show a little love for others, live your values, confess your wrongs, correct your wrongs, be humble, care for others as much as you care for yourself, and above all else do not justify the obviously wrong you do.
It has finally happened: the Senate has silenced the Democrat’s loudest and proudest voice Senator Elizabeth Warren. In defense of Senator Sessions who is being vetted for US Attorney General and who opponents have claimed is racist, they have refused to allow Senator Warren to read a letter from Coretta Scott King saying he is not fit for judicial position. Why? Because of his actions as United States District Attorney to hamper the voting rights of minorities.
There is enough irony here to give a week’s supply of iron to our entire black population. So where to begin? How about the beginning. Back in the days when avowed segregationists and racists still openly roamed the halls of the Senate the judicial committee was run by Senator Strom Thurmond. A young Jeff Sessions, then Alabama Attorney General, was nominated for a federal judgeship. Senator Thurmond was pushing hard for the nomination to get out of the committee. But the Resistance was strong then and the voices of the black community and others rose up in unison against the man who used his position to hamper voting rights and other rights for the black community in Alabama. One of those voices was Coretta Scott King. She wrote he was unfit to be a federal judge because of his actions as Attorney General of Alabama. Her voice and others were heard and he was denied the nomination. It was not a good day for the white segregationist power structure. Senator Thurmond, anxious to do damage control to a fellow traveler, did not submit King’s letter in the official records. Her black woman voice was to be silenced from the annals of the Senate Judicial Committee Record.
The voice of the conservatives once again silenced her voice, pulled from the dustbins of history, by silencing Senator Warren reading of it from the floor of the Senate, declaring it too inflammatory to be read. The letter is concerning Senator Sessions time as a US attorney in Alabama; I guess they thought this was not appropriate for consideration in the debate of whether he should be confirmed as US Attorney General. Senator McConnell once again roared his voice by invoking a seldom used rule of the Senate to silence the reading. You could hear the echo of segregationists’ voices of the past: Segregation Today, Forever Segregation as Senator Thurmond stormed from the grave in triumph.
The voice of civil rights icon Coretta Scott King to defend the charges of racism against Senator Sessions was found inappropriate. Senator McConnell and his fellow white predominantly male comrades voted along party lines to silence King’s voice and the voice of another woman. Not only in this matter but for all of the rest of the debate Sessions was Senator Warren censored. Senator McConnell used his wily parliamentary procedures to silence the voice of opposition. Senator Thurmond, who was also a master of parliamentary procedure, must have been heard laughing from his grave. They say the dinosaurs of our past are extinct but it looks as though they have merely taken on new names. Now is it pterodactyl or pteradon.
Suddenly it occurs to me that the irony McConnell and his fellow Senators have given the black community and the rest of the United States is linked to the chains in which blacks used to be held. Welcome my friends to your new irony; it looks much like the old irony.
Have you ever been around people who are negative? They are never satisfied. Some people define their coolness by downgrading whatever city, organization, or group they currently find themselves. It is their shtick to proudly pronounce all things bad about their cities. It is assumed that by downgrading the city you live in you pronounce yourself as above and beyond the plebian place you now find yourself in. Of course the problem with this is if anyone stops and thinks for a moment they would have to say you are describing yourself as failures if you are trapped in such a horrible place.
None of this is to say that offering a critique or assessment of the places you find yourself is wrong. It is needed. But if you find yourself describing yourself as greater than and not as part of the thing you are critiquing, you are not helpful. I live in Savannah, one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. Alongside that it has a very active art community with one of our better art schools: Savannah College of Art and Design. It is an international city with a large port, several ethnic festivals (Irish, Greek, Jewish, German, Scottish, Asian, Hispanic, and others) and an internationally lauded Music Festival. People travel the world over to experience the ambience and culture of Savannah. Yet some people talk as though Savannah is the most hick town in the United States. They dream of bigger metropolises such as New York as the preferred place to be, the Nirvana where all the businessmen are Trumps and the mayors are Gulianis: those bastions of progressive thinking. I like New York. It is a city with Broadway, Wall Street, Central Park, world-class museums and the United Nations but it is not a mecca or the only potential mecca. Boston, DC, and Chicago are proud cities too.
The naysayers become unintentionally humorous and sad when they sit on various important private and civic boards. ‘The leaders of this city do not know what they are doing’, they talk among themselves. ‘I agree. I wish I could serve on important boards so I could change things but wait I am on those boards. I am that which I hate.’
The truth is yes, there may be better fits for you but most of the time the problem is, you are not happy with yourselves. Therefore if you move you will be dissatisfied in a different way. The real task you have before you is to learn how to bloom wherever you may find yourself. This is the true genius of life.