Monday, December 28, 2009

Just for Fun

 Marc Cooper, director of Annenberg Digital News and lecturer at the USC Annenberg School, is an expert on political journalism and new media.  He picks his Top 10 Political Stories of the Decade.
1. The unconventional election process of 2000. The drawn-out match between George W. Bush and Al Gore revealed an antiquated and unreliable electoral system.
2. The attack on the Twin Towers, September 11, 2001. It didn’t change the world as we knew it, but it reshaped global politics.
3. The invasion of Afghanistan, 2001. We are still dealing with its consequences almost nine years later.
4. The invasion of Iraq, 2003. The first purely “preemptive war” in recent American history, based on deliberately exaggerated — if not nonexistent — evidence.
5. The introduction of torture techniques as official American policy. Perhaps no single policy has so besmirched the global image of the United States.
6. The unprecedented expansion of executive power. The Bush-Cheney administration offered little regard for constitutional norms in granting itself extra-judicial powers.
7. Hurricane Katrina. It not only devastated New Orleans, but also washed away a two-decade-old governing conservative consensus, by revealing the gross ineptitude of the heirs of Reaganism.
8. The election of Barack Obama. The election of an African American as president was, in itself, historic. The election also heralded a profound demographic shift in the electorate, with implications of a long-lasting political realignment.
9. The global financial crisis of 2008-2009. If the election of Obama signaled the end of the Reagan Era in politics, the crash of 2008 equally represented the crisis of the free market economic consensus. The conventional wisdom of the previous 30 years evaporated along with Lehman Bros.
10. The media revolution. The death rattle of legacy media and the emergence of new social media opened the doors for a mass democratization of information production.

All great political stories, but I disagree with his placement of the media revolution at #10.  I think the pure propaganda spreading policies of the Fox Channels calling themselves a news organization has done much damage to the psyche of our culture in a way we have not seen.  I wonder what Germany might have been like during the rise of Hitler and his manipulation of the media.  The masses have been indoctrinated to believe anything and verify nothing.  Reporting standards have been lowered to such an extent that I wonder if it ever possible to regain the integrity of say, Walter Cronkite.  All under the guise of "fair and balanced."  Right under our noses where standards were eroded day after day.  Other media and opinionists on both sides have had an effect on our society but none has come close to the money and the power of the 24/7 behemoth that is Fox News.

At times I see an America that I don't recognize and long for the media of my youth.

What stories do you think should be added that were not covered here, or a story covered here that should not be?


  1. Obviously I don't agree with your assessment of Fox unless you include msnbc's propaganda as well. Fox on the right, msnbc on the left: this country has seen journalism move away from objectivity. Walter Cronkite is revered not only for his professionalism, but because no one knew what his personal political preferences were until after he retired. I get tired of a blanket condemnation of Fox as a channel which spreads lies. I followed Beck closely until recently, and his facts were correct. One might not agree with Beck's reactions to the stories he presented (and, by the way, he does not refer to himself as a reporter but a commentator) but the stories themselves were absolutely accurate. Contrast msnbc, which showed a video clip of a gun on the waist of a man at a tea party rally. Fox got the same video, but also included the portion when the camera panned back--the man with the gun was a black man--oh, and he was a cop. msnbc tried to use that short clip of evidence that racist gun toters were the heart & soul of the tea party movement. As to what the biggest stories were of the past decade, I'd have to say the continuing fight over just what is Constitutional. From the 2000 election to the present, the left & the right have see-sawed back & forth depending on which major party had power. If you ask me, both the GOP & the Democrats care more about their parties' agendas than they do about the American people or the Constitution they are supposed to uphold. I find myself so disgusted by both parties as we end this decade that I have a very pessimistic view of where our nation is headed. Our leaders do not fear the people anymore because each party has its own base which can bring in so much money that corruption is now the norm. Sickening.

  2. Hi Sheila, no I don't agree to include MSNBC's propaganda in the same category as Fox. Not by a long shot. MSNBC as a media outlet, leans left. On that, I agree. Fox, on the other hand, promotes the right. Not just with their opinionists like Beck, who actively promote revolt against our country, but by the daily news cycle. Media Matters which monitors Fox on a minute by minute analysis daily, I think for some news now, has this to say about FoxNews, not the opinion shows.

    Fox describes itself as the "voice of the opposition." Fair and balanced? Please read the link.

    I'm looking for the link that describes in detail, the daily slant on each Fox News Cast. In the meantime, I was hoping you might provide me the link regarding the gun toter outside Obama rally. I have seen the piece and seen the man clearly identified as black, but don't remember the police officer part. And no, I don't agree that MSNBC portrayed that racist gun toters were the heart and soul of the tea party movement. But they were a part of it, don't deny it. Remember all the Obama black-face and Hitler signs? That wasn't the only time the news media reported people with firearms exercising their 2nd amendement rights. There were several stories.

    I read your post at the DJ today and agree with much of what you said, nice post. I think one should be disgusted with both political parties as they have not served the country well. But I don't agree that they have been equal in their disregard for people. After the Democrats took over Congress in 2006, the use of the filibuster went up 50%. That's not a coincidence. NO, both parties did not do it. The Republicans refuse to play nicely, in fact, they refuse to play at all. If you want to blame someone, blame them for the debt and unbridaled spending.

  3. First paragraph, last line, should read "I think for some YEARS now."

  4. Sorry, a bit off-topic but I thought very well written:

    Excellent post
    The New Republic essay articulates 99% of what I've been thinking. Being so tightly ideologically driven means the Republicans can't come up with practical, common-sense solutions.

    We have excellent healthcare here in Minnesota because private insurance is not allowed (by law) to be the plan administrator. All insurance is through non-profits (United Healthcare is based here, but they can't sell their product here), and that means that 91% of money we spend on HC insurance actually goes to delivery of care. Compare that to 70-75% in other states, and you see why we are doing better at cost control.

    Senator Al Franken added an amendment to address this overhead cost issue. Republicans won't like it, as they think the anti-trust-free monopoly "free market" HC insurance industry should have the right to gouge sick people and pay billions of dollars to CEOs. The problem with being ideologically "pure" is that you have to keep spouting the "one size fits all" line, even when it clearly isn't working.

    For the middle class the existing system is toxic; we live with the constant threat of one illness leading to bankruptcy. It's not right, and the free market has failed us time and again when it comes to healthcare.

    Point is, in Minnesota, HC cannot be administered by private companies. It is a success and has been by law for years. In NJ we used to have something like that, if I remember my childhood. Think BC/BS not for profit. What is wrong with 90% of premiums paid out rather than 70%?

  5. msnbc promotes the left. We will agree to disagree on that one. Beck is not promoting revolt against the country. Find me one instance when he did so. He is accused of this all the time, but he has consistently advocated that people take adavantage of their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. For years we have been subjected to images of left wing protestors destroying public property via broken windows, overturned cars, setting fires, etc. No tea party assembly has turned violent. I'll try to find the link to the much discussed video, but I don't bookmark or save these things. People who hate Beck get their opinions from watching msnbc & other outlets who post Beck's comments out of context. Beck is on record decrying any violence or illegal method of getting one's message out. He has rallied a large number of people who believe that their individual voices are not being heard. People have not only the right, but the duty, to question what their leaders are doing. Beck is asking questions. I invite people to actually watch his show on a regular basis before deciding he is a liar or a revolutionist. Is he ultra conservative? Yes. That is not a bad thing. The reality is that our nation is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, our leaders in both parties are only interested in their own positions of power, and the American people are increasingly shut out of the political process. It is the lobbyists and insiders who are crafting legislation which will alter the landscape of the nation, and the American people are fed up with being left out. When the health care bill passes, against the will of the majority of Americans, and we see continued rationing which is costing us all more money, it will be too late to do a thing about it. Why oh why would we want the same issues at higher costs? The smoke & mirrors in accouting costs has already begun. Taxes, fees, fines right away, and no benefits until several years out.

  6. Kind of sounds like revolt:
    BECK: I have said to you before, and we laid the case out last night. These are revolutionaries. You must decide, America, and your friends must decide. There's no sidelines here. You're either on the side of the revolutionaries for Marxism and a new Venezuela here in America, or the revolutionaries of 1776.

    Beck is a rabble-rouser (sp?) agent provacateur, who is immensely popular because of his anti-government, nazi rantings. He is a washed up morning-drive shock jock who has made what, 100 million, as is his right, by hurting this country night after night. He is smart, I'll give you that. But he's an over the top asshole who burns political leaders in effigy on his show, threatens, "Just give me a gun so I can shoot myself" and fully well knows that Beck heads out there will take that to mean other violent things. He is an entertainer like Limbag.

    Take the government down sound like revolt?

    Beck's stated goal: Get administration officials fired, "take the administration down"
    October 19, 2009 6:02 pm ET — 109 Comments
    In recent days, Glenn Beck has said that something he is "working on" will "take the administration down" and that White House interim communications director Anita Dunn "will have to go away" after "what we show you tonight." Beck and his fellow Fox News personalities have repeatedly called for Obama administration officials to be fired, asked people to dig up information on administration officials, and fearmongered about President Obama, his advisers, and his policies.

  7. By the way, contrast MSNBC with Fox who showed video of huge crowds at a Tea Party, when it was pointed out that the video was not even of the area! Also, I really don't watch MSNBC all that much. Almost never, the night opinionist shows. But I do admit to watching the new Dylan Rattigan show a few times and liking this former CNBC money reporter coming out with populist anger against the banking industry whores.

  8. Get Breaking News Alerts

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    Share Print CommentsMother Jones:

    Would a true Tea Party patriot drop nearly $1,600 in donor money for a small meal at a fancy steakhouse? Robin Stublen says no, and he's mad as hell about the profligate expenditures of a GOP political organization that has glommed on to his grassroots movement. Stublen is the organizer of the Punta Gorda, Florida, Tea Party and a member of Tea Party Patriots, a national grassroots organization that has no offices, no president, raises virtually no money, operates largely on volunteer efforts, and, most importantly, doesn't endorse candidates. But unbeknownst to many, there's another outfit claiming ownership of this conservative movement. It's called the Tea Party Express, and it has dominated Fox News coverage over the past year with its multi-state bus tours and political rallies.


    Behind it is a well-established Republican political action committee that has raked in tons of money fundraising under the "Tea Party" banner--and it has also spent a lot of that money in a fashion unbecoming a supposedly grassroots insurrection. For instance, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, the PAC that created Tea Party Express dropped $1,597.29 over the summer for a meal for six at a tony Sacramento Chops restaurant, an expenditure that has Stublen seeing red.

    Read the whole story: Mother Jones

    Tax Day Tea Parties
    Would a true Tea Party patriot drop nearly $1,600 in donor money for a small meal at a fancy steakhouse? Robin Stublen says no, and he's mad as hell about the profligate expenditures of a GOP politica...
    Would a true Tea Party patriot drop nearly $1,600 in donor money for a small meal at a fancy steakhouse? Robin Stublen says no, and he's mad as hell about the profligate expenditures of a GOP politica...


  10. One more:

  11. Okay, your quotes of Beck were not obtained by watching the show, but by reading snippets of what he said taken out of context by the blogs and other organizations you follow. Many of the advisors to the President are open admirers of revolutionaries such as Marx, Mao, Chavez, etc. Beck started a "Refouding of America" series in which he highlighted the differences between the American Revolutionaries--George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, etc--with the stated philosophies of folks like Anitia Dunn. His so-called "call to revolution" was showing video clips of speeches made by the current crop of White House advisors, audio tapes of interviews given, writings published side by side with quotes from the Founding Fathers, and asking Americans to remember that the American Revolution of 1776 resulted in a very different America than that which is emerging today. Beck is encouraging Americans to call their Congressmen and demand that they keep their promises to protect and defend the Constitution. "Revolution" to Beck means that the weasals in Washington, D.C. will be voted out of office. As to the Tea Party movement, it was born out of the 9/12 project, which was merely a forum established by Beck so that likeminded Americans could get together on a grass roots level and bring their discontent about the out of control spending to the government. Did he want Van Jones and Anita Dunn to go away? Of course! Just as those on the left wanted GW and all of his cronies to go away. You really need to watch Beck and not form your opinions of him and what he is doing from second and third hand sources. I was a fan of his on CNN and I continue to stand by him now. He is asking questions about what is going on in Washington, he hates the GOP as much as he hates the Democrats, and he wants our leaders to be held accountable for what they do. He consistently reminds his listeners to stay inside the law, to be polite, to refrain from violence, but to stand up and speak out about what Congress is doing. I think Beck is a patriot. The fact that Fox is the only place around which gives a voice to the average American who wants our leaders to stop government expansion makes it the target of the media machine which worships all things Obama. I am no stooge, I am not stupid, and so far Beck has not been proven to have made any major errors in his assessments of what the government is up to--including what GW Bush wrought on this country. I am sick and tired of Beck bashers who don't watch the show.

  12. sorry for all the typos--it comes from a 65 hour work week followed by a 56 hour work week. I am dead dog tired.

  13. Don't know if you're also a fan of Rush Limbaugh but you probably know he was admitted in the hospital recently with chest pains. Since, has said he's OK. I'm glad. Don't want anyone to be ill and die. But if you are a fan which I suspect you might, you might wonder about all the nasty remarks he made of Ted Kennedy's death and his wishes about said death. Just because I don't wish Rush any illness, he's still a scumbag like Beck.

    PLEASE, never apologize for typo's, as you make a few, I make many many!! -:) And I ain't apologizing!

  14. Check out the dozen or more Beck links here:
    Oh wait, I didn't sit through an hour of his twaddle, ALL ALL ALL ALL ALL the links are taken out of context, blah blah. How about you check out the links and sit through the whole shows again.

  15. I don't need to sort through the links, nor do I need to re-watch what I already watched. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I watched Beck's show nearly every day. I know the context of his statements, I know what he presented, and yes, I realize that his style is completely looney. His lunacy is his schtick. It drives some people so nutty that they can't stand to watch him for more than 30 seconds. That does not detract from the information he presents, nor does it mean that his point of view is not valid. The great battle in this country right now is the serious discussion about just how much we redistribute the wealth in America. Yes, there are uber rich corporations who pay little to no taxes. To think that this is the only problem with the economy is short sighted. The groups who are now influencing the direction of the country have money & power, too, such as Andy Stern & his SEIU. Obama made no secret of who he sought out while he was in college & while he was involved in his own community organizing, and then in his political career. Look at his advisors & you will see people who agree with socialist, Marxist theories, and who see the progressive movement as beneficial for the country. I do not believe that the government is there to take care of all of us. The government's role is to provide national defense, assure protection of our civil liberties, and enforce the law. Bush & his cronies destroyed our civil liberties, and now Obama is expanding government intrusion into our lives on a monstrous scale. "We're the government and we're here to help you". It's BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE. Beck says that all the time, he bashes the GOP as much as the Dems, but the media portrays him as a GOP schill. Those who do so DO NOT WATCH BECK. Beck is a Libertarian. That the majority of Beck's current fans are conservative GOP members drives this notion that his show is a GOP chapter. NOT TRUE. I get so angry at those who were so quick to point out the explosion of the deficit under Ronald Reagan & GW Bush, but then remain silent while Obama makes their deficits look like pocket change. Until and unless our leaders tackle our deficit spending and our national debt, it matters not what agenda Obama manages to ram through--we will go bankrupt & be just another powerful nation who thought we would always be #1. The next super power will be either China or India, & we might end up envying their standard of living. There is no money left, period. Obama pulled off the biggest bait & switch ever--change? Cut me a break. The only change is that now the agenda is from the left instead of the right. Both are costing us a fortune, and both are leaving the American people in the dust. I am about the money, pure & simple.

  16. and another

  17. Sheila, with respect, half of what you say above is wrong. Your characterizations wrong, your assertion that Obama pulled a "bait & switch" wrong. (Honest to God, tell me what he has done that he did not say he was going to do except maybe lead from the center and not from the left.)
    You said you used to watch Beck, now, not so much. WHY? You've amptly stood up for him here in every comment.
    You believe that Fox canard again that labor unions and corporations are the same thing. Well they're not Sheila. You're not being intellectually honest. If there were no unions going back how many years, what would this country look like? China? Well, yes I guess that would suit your corporate welfare whores good enough because that is where your Wal-Marts sends Nike and all the rest of the American corporations to hire slave, ehr, I mean cheap labor to manufacture our goods, then ship then back over here so that we buy them cheap. Does a lot for the working family to not have a job but certainly can buy a pair of nikes for $100. Well, I guess that's not so cheap, is it.

    So basically, I answered your revolt things about Beck, then you did not come back except to say they were taken out of context. I pointed out dozens of more links, and once again you start talking about the defecit. From my convuluted comment here, you can see I'm confused. It's hard to know to know what to say.

    In your comment you say "look at his advisors, you will some of them as progressives who think that sort of thing is good the government" Good God Sheila, you really do watch way too much Fox and don't even know it. Did you think Obama was a conservative who would hire George Bush economists? For goodness sake he hired Larry Summers and Tim Geithner. Do you not realize that progressives HATE HATE HATE these guys? Talk about protecting wall street and your standard republican. That of course does not include the religious wing nut republicans who have single handedly taken over the party.

    It sounds like you voted for Obama. On that I would just say Why? just so we never have to debate this again for at least until next years budget and defecit at this time:


    The unfunded tax cuts of 01 and 03, the unfunded medicare drug benefit of what, 05?, and the never funded wars created the monstrocity of defecit. Get your financial facts straight.

    No one said Beck's show is a GOP chapter. I SAID that Fox is a propaganda wing of the GOP and I stand by it. Beck is just an idiot hack who has become very popular in scaring people in today's society. He leads the charge in name calling, well, I've already proven that point.

    Getting back to Obama. You say people are silent about his defecit. You probably do not believe that we were in the financial difficulties that we were in the first quarter of last year. Somebody had to be a grown-up and bite the bullet and bail out those blood sucking banks. I lead the charge in vomiting about this and also lead the charge in hoping never again. But we had to do something. The economy was tanking. Many economists believe we should have doubled the stimulus to get things going. Obama has indicated that this year he will put things in plan to lower the defecit in the coming years. I will give him more than 11.5 months to compare him to any previous president in the economic practices, I would hope any sane other fair minded person would too.

  18. I worked nearly 130 hours during the two weeks just before Christmas through New Year's Day, so my comments have been on the fly and typed while still half asleep.

    You touched a nerve with me with Beck. He is recapping all of his salient points this week but I suppose Huffington Post & all the other leftist bloggers will not bother to watch. What Beck is pointing out is the political viewpoint of Obama's advisors/czars. Except for the White House sending an email reminding Beck that Van Jones was not a czar, no one has disputed what Beck has presented. Beck has aired hours of video & audio of the various top level advisors to Obama, as well as quoting from their writings. You once admitted to me you don't know much about Obama's advisors. Obama has chosen people within his inner circle who espouse socialist policies. Beck is presenting information which has proven to be valid. If telling the truth is considered fear mongering, then so be it. That's the first point.

    The second point is about Obama and his bait & switch. He promised not to sign any health care bill which will add one penny to the deficit, yet he is poised to do just that. He proposed having the health care discussions take place out in public, and we've already witnessed closed door negotiations. He promised no new taxes on anyone making more than $250K a year and that promise will be broken if health care passes. Hmmm, and if cap & trade passes, too. Unless, of course, you don't consider fees to be the same as taxes. I do. More money out of my pocket to the government. Obama promised no earmarks in his bills--plenty of earmarks in the stimulus package. As to bailing out the banks, TARP was step one, then Obama not only threw good money after bad upon taking office, but he went even further and bailed out insurance & auto companies. When the banks began the process of paying back the money, Obama wanted to use those funds for his jobs initiatives. This is information I obtained not from Fox, but from the networks. That money needs to go back toward paying off the debt. I will bet you that the healthcare bill will use my tax dollars to fund abortion and also that illegal aliens will continue to get free healthcare. In the meantime "immigration reform" is stagnant. I haven't heard Obama address this issue at all. Finally, I was an early Obama supporter, even donated to his campaign, but did not vote for him on Election Day. The President himself invited people to look at who he surrounds himself with if they wanted to understand what his policies would look like if elected. I looked at his advisors and didn't like the direction they wish to take our country. You are a liberal, so redistribution of wealth is okay with you. It's not okay with me. In the end there will be no wealth to distribute anywhere, and our nation will be bankrupt. Good intentions will, at best, leave us looking like just another European socialist country. If I want to live like the French, I'll move to France.

  19. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, I will try and keep mine the same. You touch on about 20 different topics which leads me to touch on 20 more. In the spirit of simplicitness I will choose 3 topics which you stated and address them. I will try and keep this comment just on those 3.

    1."He promised not to sign any hc bill which will add one penny to the defecit, yet he is poised to do just that."

    My answer: Each of us has to believe somebody. I am quite sure You and I are not capable of "scoring" the different hc plans with any degree of accuracy. I'm not sure who you choose to form your belief that the plan will add to the defecit. I would like to know. For me, the choice is difficult. There are reporters and opinionists ON THE LEFT that I think present the facts as reasonable and certainly back up my assertion. But I must err on the side of caution and that is where the difficulty arises. On this issue I turn to two sources, one more credible than the other but both worthy of discussion. I look at economists from the other side, the conservative side, who would normally challenge my beliefs and who I think present fair assertions concerning this subject. Bruce Bartlett would be an example of this first type of source. But a more bi-partisan source might be the CBO which is staffed by people from the left and the right, and who appear to try and figure out all the angles and possible future ramifications. I don't think anybody can speak with 100% certainty but you have to start somewhere.

    2."I bet the hc bill will use my tax dollars to fund abortion"

    My answer: You do know that funding of abortions with tax dollars has been prohibited for several years now. New language to fund abortions was not inserted in the new bills. As a consideration to change my mind, I ask for documentation to say that they have. I do know that several democratic legislators have introduced language in the bills that make funding for abortions illegal even with the health insurance companies. You do know that the RCCC's own private insurance company has offered this for years until changing a few months back. The canard as I see it, is that if you require all citizens to purchase insurance from private insurance companies which have always been allowed to provide whatever coverage that they bargained for, that somehow now this is using tax payer dollars to fund abortions. But again please note that medicaide has not had funding for abortion services for years. If you carry out your argument out to the 10th degree and say that everyone needs to have insurance from a private company, not a public one, and that the bill calls for helping poor people pay to enroll in such plans because they cannot afford insurance on their own, then theoretically it is possible that they could be buying from a private insurance company that does offer abortion coverage. Finally though, the reason that I say canard is that pro-life democrats have been pretty adament in strenghtening the law so that private insurance would not be able to offer that coverage. So, the line is just factually incorrect.

  20. 3."I haven't heard Obama address immigration reform."

    My answer: He has recently, but has put debate with getting that reform started into later in the year because of more pressing matters. I do agree that it's important. If by free health care for illegals you mean getting care in the ER then I believe that is the case. If you mean that they show up at the doctor's door or the hospital's door stating that they are illegal and needing non-emergency care and those doctors and hospitals providing that care just because of the fact that they are illegal, again I would like the proof. I will state that I want the ER's to treat anyone coming in with an emergency without having to check the status of residency. As an example how about if a US citizen were to present himself at the ER but did not have the documentation to prove his citizenship, were turned away at the door, and later had a heart attack at home, would be just plain wrong. My moral and religious teachings with my God could not imagine him not wanting to treat somebody in this way.

    If you want to address these 3 points of yours, thanks, if not, thanks also.

  21. You'll have the last word on all of this.