Monthly Archives: February 2017

What the Mainstream Media Won’t Tell You(and Why) Part 4: The Corporate Media in Conflict with Government

It’s been a long time since I have made a segment on this, and there have been a lot of news in the political universe. The major one was the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. The mainstream media has been at fault for its coverage. What isn’t the mainstream media telling you, though?

The Mainstream Media as we all know are corporate owned conglomerates, and there are only six major media companies in the U.S. These are Viacom, Time Warner, CBS, Newscorp, Comcast, and Disney. The Telecommunications Act of 1996, which deregulated the industry and allowed for mass mergers to occur easier, creating the current media system.

In an ideal world, the media would be the watchdog of the government and those in power. However, we know that the media is corporate-owned, and thus represent corporate interests.

During the Primary, then-DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was unhappy with the coverage Hillary Clinton, the choice for the DNC and the Democratic Establishment on several channels, Particularly Morning Joe on MSNBC. She contacted MSNBC President Phil Griffin as Emails shown from the DNC leaks this summer.

A similar story between power and the media has been brewing. Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and top adviser held a meeting with executive VP of Time Warner  Gary Ginsberg where he critiqued CNN’s coverage of Trump.

Disclaimer: Time Warner owns CNN, so Kushner was doing what Wasserman Schultz was doing when she contacted Phil Griffin about alleged negative coverage.

These are just two prime examples of media and government interfering with each other.  In these examples, power is telling the media what to do so they are placed in a favorable light. This is a direct conflict with freedom of the press. Freedom of the press is in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, the United States runs as an oligarchy as a Princeton study found out. The study collected over 20 years of data and found virtually no correlation between public opinion and policy. However, the top 10% saw some significant correlation. The Mainstream Media is, as we have said, six companies and represents the corporate interests. The “Big 3” of Cable News, CNN(owned by Time Warner), Fox News(owned by Newscorp) and MSNBC(owned by GE) are all owned by a major media company, and thus the talking points of the establishment are conveyed. The other large networks such as ABC, CBS, and NBC are all part of the “Big 6” of the Media.

Here are some examples of topics covered to stray away from the main issues.

  • Propaganda based on little or no evidence:  An example is Russia. Russia is accused of interfering with the election to help Donald Trump win. The CIA came out and said it was true, and as a result, the media and many figures in government are running with the story. The issue is that there hasn’t been sufficient evidence to prove the claim of the CIA. In conjunction with the CIA, the FBI are in agreement that Russia rigged the election to favor Trump. The Washington Post first reported about the Secret CIA Assessment back in December. While reading through the articles, there was no substantial evidence given. U.S. intelligence has repeatedly stated that Russia had a role in undermining the election, but they need evidence to back it up. To be fair, some of the Russia talks is justified such as calling for an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia. That is better that saying something is true without backing it up. That is similar to McCarthyism, which is making accusations or assertions without evidence to back it up. The term coincidentally rose during the Second Red Scare of the Soviet Union.
  • Tweets by Trump: Some tweets by Trump or other figures can be newsworthy, but they are a constant focus, and it seems like a daily affair, if not a few times per week across almost all of the Mainstream Networks.
  •  Debates over wedge topics and/or settled topics: Topics such as abortion, same-sex marriage, or climate science: These topics are non-issues or settled.
  • Identity politics: The two-party system has led to two different sides: Democrat and Republican. The topic of political polarization is one of the most common themes heard from mass media networks, particularly on cable news networks. Votes in Congress such as those on cabinet selections which are largely along party lines are overmagnified.

Independent media is more important than ever. Polls consistently show distrust in mass media, and we can see why. Viewership of television news is down, largely due to the mistrust by the people. Please tune out the mainstream networks and support independent media that is publicly financed, unlike corporate networks. By nature, whoever is funding a project, a politician, or an organization will represent who donates to them.

Transition to the Trump Administration

Hello, again, Insights.

I have had many things on my mind concerning this blog, especially after Trump won the Presidency. One of them was focusing on the Transition of power, including Trump’s advisers and cabinet selections, but it became too time-consuming. The thing is that Trump is the new President and there are a lot of real issues that need to be dealt with. Many have expressed concerns due to his blunt, divisive rhetoric. His competentness has also been questioned.

The Trump Administration has gotten off to a rocky start. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign over contacts with the Russia Ambassador concerning U.S. sanctions on Russia. Flynn had lied about the situation, prompting his resignation. However, this situation is far from over. There have been bipartisan efforts to call for an investigation into the situation with Flynn and whether or not Trump or anyone else knew something about it.

A campaign promise Trump made was to “drain the swamp.” That means getting rid of corruption in the political system, particularly in Washington. Unfortunately, Trump has failed to meet that. This is shown through his cabinet selections among other things.

Betsy DeVos is now the Education Secretary after a 51-50 vote. Vice President and Senate President Mike Pence voted for DeVos in a tiebreaker vote that was along party lines. She has been a vocal advocate for charter schools and school choice and has been an outspoken opponent of Public Education and effectively bought her way to the position. 23 senators who voted for her received campaign contributions of at least $1,000 and as many as $98,300 from the DeVos family. Noted that they are not just from Betsy DeVos, but the DeVos family wants something in return for their donations to campaigns and SuperPACs(which we have found out that they are not really ‘independent’ of the campaign.)

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, as well as Goldman Sachs President Steve Mnuchin, were confirmed to the position of Attorney General and Treasury Secretary, respectively. This is what I mean by the concept of principle and objectiveness. Mnuchin was the President of Goldman Sachs, one of the largest banks in America, and in fact the world. In fact, Goldman Sachs had to pay out $5.1 billion as a result of fraud. Things need to be called out when necessary, as well as credit should be given when due.

Sessions has concerns of concerns on civil rights enforcement, among other thingsHe was denied a federal judgeship partly because of this. As the U.S. Attorney General, he could change progress at the state level, such as marijuana legalization. He would also be responsible or prosecuting federal hate crimes, which could be a concern. Additionally, his hard-line stance on immigration boasts another issue, as this could affect many immigrants.

Labor Nominee Andrew Puzder, who had as of this week, withdrew from the nomination process due to concerns that he could be confirmed, which partly goes back to him owing millions to Swiss bank UBS.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was confirmed today by the Senate to head the Environmental Protection Agency, but there are many concerns regarding him. As Oklahoma AG, he sued the agency 13 times and has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Fossil Fuel interests. As you can see from the profile of Oklahoma Strong Leadership PAC, a SuperPAC affiliated with Pruitt, many fossil fuel companies, as well as wealthy individuals from many similar special interests donated to the PAC.

The United States, although considered a democracy, doesn’t operate as one. A Princeton study proved this; America is effectively an oligarchy. A common theme that I have expressed is the issue of money in the political system. Campaign finance Supreme Court cases ranging from Buckley v. Valeo to Citizens United v. FEC have had disastrous effects on our so-called democracy.

The economy is another broad issue always on the minds of the citizens. When Barack Obama took office, we were in the middle of the Great Recession. The big banks had failed. They were too big to fail, causing a worldwide financial crisis. The banks just got bigger. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 deregulated the financial industry, and a key provision in the bill dismantled Glass-Steagall, a banking Act passed in the wake of the Great Depression. Basically, Glass-Steagall was a bill that placed a firewall on speculation. Commercial and Investment banking were separated.

 

The surface is just scratched here. More will follow.