Thursday, January 28, 2016

How Much Of The Corporate Media Is In The Tank For Hillary?


It was admirable for Kathy Kiely, a Bloomberg Politics editor to quit when her notoriously think-skinned boss announced he wants to run for president. She didn't even feel shw could cover his trial balloon, let alone a campaign which may or may not happen. "You can’t cover the circus," she wrote, "unless you can write about one of the biggest elephants in the room."

Posing as "concerned citizens,", the front group Bloomberg used to help finagle a change in New York term limits legislation so he could buy for a third term as mayor, has a petition out trying to simulate a grassroots draft movement of the kind popular candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Alan Grayson have had.
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

We are concerned citizens who are tired of the partisian bickering and deadlock that has plagued the progress of our great nation.

We are Americans concerned about our future, our children's future and our grandchildren's future.

We are looking for a Presidential candidate that has demonstrated leadership in both business and government, to help our country navigate the shoals we are faced with in the coming century.

We are looking for someone who has demonstrated management of the political process for the good of the people and our country, with an eye on our future, not on their political gains.

Our nation needs a chief executive who is more concerned with what is right and just instead of what is most popular.

Our nation needs a chief executive who will govern toward real results and true progress instead of party rhetoric and political agendas.

Our nation needs a chief executive who has the vision, experience and passion of a true and demonstrated leader.

Mayor Bloomberg, I ask you to accept our call to seek the Presidency of the United States.
So how would Bloomberg Politics cover this farce? Wednesday the sickening and penultimate Beltway media establishment, the laughable editorial board of the Washington Post, which favors cutting Social Security and backed all the disastrous trade deals and the Iraq War, came to the defense of their candidate by attacking Bernie and calling him a fraud. They are petrified because he "is leading in New Hampshire and within striking distance in Iowa" so they sing the praises of the Wall Street criminals and snipe at Bernie's progressive agenda. And today, the NY Times editorial board subtly took a swing at Bernie by declaring his "hefty tax on a broader range of transactions to raise revenue from Wall Street, [is] also a worthy goal, but his proposal would be likely to squeeze investors too hard." Too hard? Too hard for whom?

Meanwhile, Norman Solomon took a look at how media has gone from patronizing Bernie Sanders to ignoring his campaign to putting on Hillary uniforms for full-on frontal attacks against him. It used to be that he couldn't win; now they're freaking out because he actually may. SO the corporate media is working hard to undercut him and make him sound as angry and unhinged as Herr Trumpf.
Elite media often blur distinctions between right-wing populism and progressive populism-- as though there's not all that much difference between appealing to xenophobia and racism on the one hand and appealing for social justice and humanistic solidarity on the other.

Many journalists can't resist lumping Trump and Sanders together as rabble-rousing outliers. But in the real world, the differences are vast.

Donald Trump is to Bernie Sanders as Archie Bunker is to Jon Stewart.

Among regular New York Times columnists, aversion to Bernie Sanders has become more pronounced in recent days at both ends of the newspaper's ideological spectrum, such as it is. Republican Party aficionado David Brooks (whose idea of a good political time is Marco Rubio) has been freaking out in print, most recently with a Tuesday column headlined "Stay Sane America, Please!"

Brooks warned that his current nightmare for the nation is in triplicate-- President Trump, President Cruz or President Sanders. For Brooks, all three contenders appear to be about equally awful; Trump is "one of the most loathed men in American public life," while "America has never elected a candidate maximally extreme from the political center, the way Sanders and Cruz are."

That "political center" of power sustains huge income inequality, perpetual war, scant action on climate change and reflexive support for the latest unhinged escalation of the nuclear arms race. In other words, what C. Wright Mills called "crackpot realism."

Meanwhile, liberal Times columnist Paul Krugman (whose idea of a good political time is Hillary Clinton) keeps propounding a stand-on-head formula for social change-- a kind of trickle-down theory of political power, in which "happy dreams" must yield to "hard thinking," a euphemism for crackpot realism.

An excellent rejoinder has come from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. "Krugman doesn't get it," Reich wrote. "I've been in and around Washington for almost fifty years, including a stint in the cabinet, and I've learned that real change happens only when a substantial share of the American public is mobilized, organized, energized, and determined to make it happen."

And Reich added: "Political 'pragmatism' may require accepting 'half loaves'-- but the full loaf has to be large and bold enough in the first place to make the half loaf meaningful. That's why the movement must aim high-- toward a single-payer universal health, free public higher education, and busting up the biggest banks, for example."

But for mainline media, exploring such substance is low priority, much lower than facile labeling and horseracing... and riffing on how Bernie Sanders sounds "angry."

On Morning Edition, this week began with NPR political reporter Mara Liasson telling listeners that "Bernie Sanders' angry tirades against Wall Street have found a receptive audience." (Meanwhile, without anger or tirades, "Hillary Clinton often talks about the fears and insecurities of ordinary voters.")

The momentum of the Sanders campaign will soon provoke a lot more corporate media attacks along the lines of a Chicago Tribune editorial that appeared in print on Monday. The newspaper editorialized that nomination of Trump, Cruz or Sanders "could be politically disastrous," and it declared: "Wise heads in both parties are verging on panic."

Such panic has just begun, among party elites and media elites. Eager to undermine Sanders, the Tribune editorial warned that as a "self-declared democratic socialist," Sanders "brandishes a label that, a Gallup poll found, would automatically make him unacceptable to nearly half the public."

A strong critique of such commentaries has come from the media watch group FAIR, where Jim Naureckas pointed out that "voters would not be asked to vote for 'a socialist'-- they'd be asked to vote for Bernie Sanders. And while pollsters don't include Sanders in general election matchups as often as they do Hillary Clinton, they have asked how the Vermont senator would do against various Republicans-- and he generally does pretty well. In particular, against the candidate the Tribune says is 'best positioned' to 'capture the broad, sensible center'-- Jeb Bush-- Sanders leads in polls by an average of 3.0 percentage points, based on polling analysis by the website Real Clear Politics."

In mass media, the conventional sensibilities of pundits like Brooks and Krugman, reporters like Liasson, and outlets like the Chicago Tribune routinely get the first and last words. Here, the last ones are from Naureckas:
"When pollsters match Sanders against the four top-polling Republican hopefuls, on average he does better than Clinton does against each of them-- even though she, like Bush, is supposed to be 'best positioned' to 'capture the broad, sensible center,' according to the Tribune.

"Actually, the elements of Sanders' platform that elite media are most likely to associate with 'socialism'-- things like universal, publicly funded healthcare and eliminating tuition at public colleges-- are quite popular with the public, and go a long way to explain his favorable poll numbers. But they are also the sort of proposals that make Sanders unacceptable to the nation's wealthy elite-- and to establishment media outlets."
And then there's CNN's silly and clownish Dan Merica, the most biased reporter covering the presidential race, who might as well be a paid Hillary Clinton staffer. DWT is in the tank for Bernie, but we don't pretend, the way CNN does, to be objective. Our goal is clear: electing the only person running for president that would move the country forward. You can contribute to his campaign here or by tapping on the thermometer below.

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At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even the liberal blogosphere has largely passed on taking a stand during the primaries. (This site not included!) In 2008, when you couldn't fit a sheet of paper between the policy differences of Obama and Clinton, the main blogs did quite a bit of cheerleading for their favorite, but this year many sites act like Clinton and Sanders are cut from identical cloth and leave the politicking up to their commentariat.

I used to frequently lurk at Lawyers, Guns, and Money, but they have gone off the deep end of 'party over purity.' They breathlessly mine the internet for no-name bloggers who say they won't vote for Clinton if she wins the nomination and then parse the article word-for-word looking to make them out as sexists or purity trolls. But when Bloomberg publicly talks about running if Sanders wins, they put up a brief post and ignore the actual Clinton staffers and surrogates who have said they would vote for him over Sanders, instead choosing to attack Ralph Nader for saying he would support Bloomberg over either a Republican or Democrat. Otherwise, they have had little to say about the primary or what the two candidates are offering.


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