Archive for category Media / Press
Read this: We hear often that 97% of scientists agree that Climate Change is real and that it is largely caused by human activity. I quote this “fact” quite often, but I must admit I am counting on the authority of people or articles I have read or heard and don’t check them out further. At the same time I see conservatives who totally disagree (and I think, obviously they don’t know what they’re talking about). With all of this, it appears that in spite of overwhelming scientific agreement, “only about 50% the general public think that scientists have reached a consensus on human-caused climate change”. What’s the answer? Is it true and what does it actually mean when we quote this very one sided Scientific Consensus (97%) on Climate Change?
For authority on this area of science the article linked below from http://www.wunderground.com looks to three scientific organizations as authority: The American Geophysical Union (GSU), The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Read the rest of this entry »
Read this: The need of any viable democracy to have a strong, functioning, independent media has been stressed since Thomas Jefferson and yet, today, we find ourselves with a media, that although strong and functioning, is anything but independent. The number of key players continues to shrink as they gobble up more and more of the smaller players, consolidating the messages and limiting alternative opinions. Of course, this is seldom discussed, much less described, as the virus it has truly become on the very existence of any meaningful democracy.
In the link below, to a Moyers & Company article (originally appearing at Truthout), Michael Corcoran looks at the problem as “the media has become controlled by a handful of corporations thanks to the Telecommunications Act of 1996.” Read the rest of this entry »
Read this: Blindly relying on our media (owned largely by a few giant corporations) for most of our information and correspondingly what and how we think and act is dumb, but then again we are only human. Even when not directly watching or listening to the main media we are subtly, if not overtly affected. As the progressive movement has gained attention (because of the Sanders campaign) it increasingly finds itself in the focus of media manipulation, if not outright lies.
What actually happens is very slick but definitely has an agenda and often confuses our perceptions of who and what to believe. “Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) sent out a recent email blast that raises concerns. Read the rest of this entry »
Read this: As an avid basketball player and fan, I just had to include this. In the two articles below from The Nation Magazine, author Dave Zirin interviews Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on a whole range of subjects. Kareem has always been one of my favorites and I am glad to see him in an article in The Nation Magazine. He always seems to be overly serious, seeming to have trouble with the shallow focus of many, particularly in the world of professional sports. Zirin says that “sitting down with a basketball legend with a genius-level IQ demands eclectic questions and invites delicious answers.” Somehow they never get to basketball and that is appropriate today. After the interview Zirin say he “somewhat understood what makes Kareem that ‘different kind of cat’.” He goes on to suggest that a less athletically gifted Kareem would “have been perhaps a New York City librarian, content amidst the stacks of books and fulfilled by showing that one troubled kid how to find joy in the written word. Librarian Kareem would also have written crime thrillers with a social justice bent after work, just as a hobby.”
Well Kareem is writing and creating some notice in the process. He even recently got under the skin of “The Donald”. The first link describes the lead up to the interview with Kareem and the second link deals with some of his main points of emphasis.
Read and watch: We have all heard how important and independent media is to a functioning democracy and we silently nod our heads. Sadly that where it ends for most of us. We don’t demand an independent media, nor do we refrain from supporting what qualifies as news today: News / Entertainment. The linked article below from The Nation Magazine, by Leslie Savan looks at part of the problem in this demise. As her subtitle says: “Truth and Spotlight put media at the heart of American democracy and make you wonder about its decline.”
The article focuses on two examples that have recently been made into ” two new films—Truth, about the fumbled 60 Minutes II report that ended Dan Rather’s career at CBS, and, opening Friday, Spotlight, about The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize–winning pursuit of the Catholic clergy child-abuse scandal”. These two examples give a positive portrayal of reporters and the often complexity of delivering some stories. She “portray(s) reporters once more as vital to American democracy, more like Woodstein in 1976’s All the President’s Men.” Often that difficulty can render a story and / or career doomed, regardless of the innate truth and validity of its’ content. A family crisis or the inability to explain something as trivial as discrepancies in font size can derail the story and possibly condemn a career.
Read the entire story below and when you watch the two films continue to be concerned about the diminishing role of real journalism (not entertainment) we are subjected to. Increasingly we must seek out alternative sources for any truth and support them in ways besides merely watching or reading.
Watch this: Getting any political message across to American voters is an extreme challenge at best. There are many reasons for this and they are often very good ones. The dominant one often seems to be the amount of time they are willing to pay attention to any different idea. One of my favorite progressive political pundits, has found a way to deal with just that – short videos that attack popular myths. In the video link below, Robert B. Reich (Former United States Secretary of Labor, American political economist, professor, author, and political commentator) worked with MoveOn.org to produce this short video “featuring four plain facts that debunk dangerous lies about immigration”. This is particularly relevant with all of the hot air emitting from the mouth of one Donald Trump. Remember, there are millions who want to believe everything he says on this topic, resisting each of these myths. Watch the video and try to arm yourself with facts for your next encounter with ignorance and prejudice.
Read this: The ability to continually expand inequality in the U.S., or anywhere, is really a form of theft, “redistribution theft”. Like a ponzi scheme, in order for it to work, the party giving up something (usually money) must lack the knowledge or intelligence to make a different decision. CEO pay, worldwide, is a glaring example of the inequality problem and most Americans are far more ignorant than other citizens around the world. The Daily KOS article in the link below, by Laura Clawson sites “A new study from Harvard Business School finds that:
- Americans believe that CEOs make 30 times as much as unskilled workers.
- By contrast, Americans believe that CEOs should only make seven times as much as unskilled workers.
- In reality, CEOs make far, far more: 354 times as much in 2012, by some measures.
The American public is not even close. That same study finds the “gap between Americans’ perception and reality is the most among any of the 16 countries for which the researchers measured both the perceived and actual pay inequality.” It is hard to fix a problem if you don’t know it even exists. Americans need to wake up and our media needs to tell the story, over and over. Instead, the media has become an accomplice to this “redistribution theft” by their lack of coverage.
Watch or read: One of my favorite old shows, The West Wing, abounded with great writing, on very real issues, that we sometimes still face today. The Daily KOS article below, by Jen Hayden, beautifully demonstrates an answer, more like a counter, to religious arguments focusing on the Bible and calling homosexuality an abomination. By demonstrating the selective use of the Bible to support some historical issues / practices and not others, it becomes crystal clear that things are just not that simple. After fictitious President Bartlett delivers his counter, everyone is left speechless and the room is silent. You can’t help but feel well done Mr. President. Too bad it is not always this easy, but if we arm ourselves with a little more knowledge maybe we can help to silence more of these feeble arguments.
Read this: In this article in The Nation Magazine Tara Lohan tells us that “Americans are switching to Renewable Energy … because it’s actually cheaper”. This goes completely against the rhetoric on most media and particularly the discussions we have with folks on the conservative (non science) side. One significant indicator is the abundance of “idled drilling rigs usually at work plumbing for oil” across the nation. “By the end of July, the nationwide rig count had slipped 54 percent since the same time a year ago, indicating distress in the oil and gas industry. The most obvious culprit is the precipitous drop in crude prices. But the trouble goes deeper.” As fossil fuel prices continue to drop “well below the $100 mark. Tens of thousands of jobs have already been cut, and some debt-laden companies may go belly up.” This is the part of the story covered by most of the media but there is another part harder to find. Not mentioned is the fact that “solar and wind have been surging. Renewables have been relegated to the sidelines of our energy priorities, a small blip in our electric generating capacity each year, but that is changing.” As the organization 350.org professes, we can’t continue to follow this path to destruction and they are supported in voicing the alarm. “Scientists have repeatedly warned that if we continue to burn fossil fuels with our current abandon, we risk catastrophic climate impacts, some of which we are already beginning to see. Instead, they caution, much of our oil, gas, and coal reserves should stay in the ground.” The fossil fuel industry faces many problems: sustainability, production costs, image and the environment. A recent “crunch of the numbers on more than 20 US shale operators … found that the companies had been cash-flow-negative since 2009.” While this has been happening the “companies (are) taking on high levels of debt, including $120 billion in high-risk, high-yield bonds. JP Morgan’s estimate of the default rate for these junk bonds is nearly 4 percent this year and will be a whopping 20 percent next year, if crude prices remain around $65 a barrel. “While this is all going on there are places such as “the Texas city of Georgetown announced plans to ditch gas and coal for electricity generation in favor wind and solar.” Although “renewables still account for a small percentage of overall US electricity generation—13 … some states are showing that much greater exploitation of renewables is indeed possible.” Look at California, which has “become the first state to get more than 5 percent of its electricity from utility-scale solar.” Looks like things are changing. Read the entire article below for more details.
Read this: This article from The Washington Post / Opinion by Katrina Vanden Heuvel (of The Nation Magazine) takes us through John Stewart’s evolution and Ms. Vanden Heuvel’s analysis of his true effect on us all. She opens in 2002 as a guest on “The Daily Show” where “Stewart still thought of himself as an impartial observer … saying … Join us in the center … That’s my movement.” Effectively summarizing her own article she says “it wouldn’t be long before Stewart, whose 16-year run on ‘The Daily Show’ comes to an end next week, became one of the most important and influential voices on the progressive left — an improbable icon who cut through right-wing talking points with satire while making progressive ideas sound like common sense.” Using the tools of comedy beautifully Stewart “mocked the media’s coverage”, often made us “rethink a strategy that is less military-based”, “questioned the logic” unanimously fed to us by the corporate media (both domestic and foreign policies) being discussed. After interviews with Elizabeth Warren discussing the causes of our financial fiascoes he says “that was like financial chicken soup for me … that actually put things in perspective and made a little sense.” He emphasized that it is OK to learn new things and maybe change ones’ mind. He was a devoted critic of the media in general who “pleaded for a better discourse, famously castigating the hosts of CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ for, in his words, ‘hurting America.’ And perhaps nobody on television did more than Stewart to define Fox News as the reliably partisan outlet that most people know it as today.” He helped provide a training platform for many other up and coming talents that we will continue to see. That influence will continue to help us filter out the crap and I’ll wager, we will find ourselves thinking; “that sounds like the old “Daily Show with John Stewart”. Remember that?