Vermont becomes the fourth state (following MA, CT and IA) to currently recognize marriage equality, after they'd formerly adopted "first-in-the-nation civil unions law" nine years ago. We're delighted to see two-thirds of each Statehouse chamber override the Governor's veto of a law which will correct the injustice of segregation via "civil unions".
According to Media Matters, 'liberal', 'Obama-loving' MSNBC has now shown the following misleading graphic at least twice to support stories suggesting that Barack Obama is somehow responsible for the alarming drop in the Dow-Jones industrial average...
And here is the graphic they are not showing, making it quite clear that the plummet has little to do with Obama's Presidency...
The "Liberal Media" strikes again!
(For the record, Media Matters also notes that it's not just "liberal" MSNBC, of course. The wingnut propagandists at Bloomberg and WSJ, along with Fox "News'" Chris Wallace, are also banging the same misinformative drum. So, naturally, MSNBC finds it necessary to not miss a beat.)
Apparently the propaganda myth that Clinton's people vandalized the White House before leaving it to Bush & Co. (I remember hearing it from Bob Novak on CNN) has become "the truth," at least according to both NBC and ABC News.
From Stephen Schneider:
Yesterday, I personally heard both NBC and ABC propagate the long-since debunked story that the outgoing Clintonistas in 2001 removed the "W"s from the White House computers. Whoever said it on ABC (I was in a pizza place at the time, and the sound was kinda low, so I didn't get an ID) appeared to present it as an accepted fact.
NBC's Brian Williams was a bit cagier, saying, "We all remember the story about ... " and then doing nothing to discredit its veracity.
In each case, the context was to laud President Bush's alleged grace and gentility in ceding the office to Obama, as opposed to the rudeness he himself had purportedly weathered.
I didn't hear any such commentary on CBS, but it's entirely possible it got in there somewhere.
Bush: booed by 2 million, buoyed by 2 networks. And they wonder where blogging came from.
Of all the shameful behavior by the Republicans during this last election cycle, the National Republican Senatorial Conspiratorial Committee's continuing baseless charges that Al Franken and the Democrats are trying to "steal" the U.S. Senate election in Minnesota has to be near the top of a difficult list to top! If only because that rejected sort of politics continues despite the thorough spanking their party took in an election which would seem to have been a rejection of such tactics.
Even Minnesota's own governor, Tim Pawlenty, has now reversed his previous conspiratorial tone to declare on yesterday's Fox "News" Sunday that there is "no actual evidence of wrongdoing or fraud in the process." He was referring to the currently reported election results --- where Franken trails the incumbent Sen. Norm Colman by just over 200 voters --- and in the upcoming manual recount plans.
None of that has kept the RNSC from keeping up their shameful "Minnesota Recount" conspiracy theory website with postings that declare Franken "lost the election, so he is pulling an Al Gore, with his supporters manufacturing postelection votes by the hundreds" and shoveling, without correction, the now wholly debunked theory that "his supporters discover mislaid ballots in places like the trunks of their cars. By a mysterious coincidence, none of these includes votes for Franken’s rival Norm Coleman."
Though the last post on their conspiracy website was made on Friday --- so perhaps that signals they're getting the message --- all of it still remains there, as unretracted garbage, even after Pawlenty himself has now acknowledged it as such. But the RNSC isn't the only bad actor here. So are the networks, cable channels and even the New York Times...
Brad - I'm watching elderly voters, with canes, who can barely stand, waiting for up up 7 hours to early vote in Florida. It's breaking my heart. PLEASE WRITE ABOUT IT AND DEMAND AARP TO MONITOR THIS. I really hope people are not getting hurt in their attempt to exercise their voting rights. This is either voter disenfranchisement or elder abuse - neither is acceptable.
And we continue to hear from other sources that the bottleneck in Florida is at check-in with the state's new, computerized voter registration system, not with the new paper ballot op-scan system which is used after a voter votes. (Though there have been reported problems with the state's new Diebold print-on-demand system for printing ballots for voters to fill out as well.)
Rachel Maddow correctly noted (see video below) that these waits in FL, GA, and elsewhere, amount to a "poll tax." She's right.
As I noted last week, we have just one early voting location in all of Los Angeles --- the largest voting jurisdiction in the country, larger than 41 states combined --- and at this point, I have no idea if I'll be able to vote myself if the lines are too long tomorrow, since I have to go on air LIVE, hell or highwater at 3pm PT to anchor the NovaM Radio Network's "Special Election Night Coverage."
Here's what the lines looked like this weekend at L.A.'s only early voting location, a 40-minute drive from where I live (photo: Margery Epstein)...
And here's Rachel making her case, and pointing to 10 hour lines in Atlanta and elsewhere...
Considering many of the staggering results of Thursday's New York Times/CBS News poll, overall media coverage and examination of the findings have been less than thorough. With the seeming sea change that has occurred, when comparing public opinion before both conventions to public opinion now (the period measured in the poll), you might think it would garner at least as much attention as, say, lipstick-on-a-pig palooza.
Taken as a whole, findings of this poll --- some noted in Thursday's national media discourse, some not --- paint the bleakest picture yet for the McCain/Palin ticket.
While cable news dutifully devotes nonstop coverage to the latest random criminal cases --- kidnappings, shootouts, murderous love triangles, car chases --- it's telling when a supposed break in one of the biggest manhunts in FBI history, for a terrorist who murdered and poisoned multiple American citizens with anthrax, takes a back seat to nearly every other story. That is, if it's mentioned at all.
Even as details, leaks, and a burgeoning list of questions bubbled to the surface last week, demanding serious scrutiny, the big three broadcast networks were equally blasé. Some nights skipping mention of the unfolding story altogether, as did last Tuesday's editions of CBS Evening News and ABC World News (though both that evening reported the eminently newsworthy story of a thrill-seeking English couple who married while being strapped outside separate airplanes). On the same night, Brian Williams afforded 39 precious seconds to the anthrax investigation on NBC Nightly News.
In covering one of the most historic criminal investigations in our nation's history, the worst bioterrorism attack on U.S. soil, the overall tenor and quality of network reporting (as well as much of the work in mainstream print media) has been nothing short of disgraceful. What America saw, instead, was a dearth of circumspection and a paucity of competent investigative work that mirrors the most feckless moments of the last eight years...
Had this been a study showing liberal bias in the media, it would have been all over the place by now. But as the study offers evidence that it's McCain, not Obama, who has been given an edge by network media reporting since the start of the general election campaign, it seems we better help "catapult the propaganda" a bit.
Below is the beginning of David Knowles' coverage of the LA Times coverage of a new study from George Mason University's Center for Media and Public Affairs. The new study offers empirical evidence underscoring what most folks who honestly study the corporate media already know: Democrats get a far tougher time than do Republicans in the corporate mainstream media.
For those self-proclaimed "conservatives" who continue to buy into the nonsense of the "liberal media" canard (no matter the dearth of actual, hard, real-world evidence to substantiate it) please note this study does not come from one of those 'liberal elitist think-tanks.' Rather, it was led by a man hailed by "conservative" propagandists, such as Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck, for his previous studies on media bias. We have a feeling those same "conservatives" may accidentally not notice his latest study.
Does anything that George W. Bush and John McCain say matter? Based on this colloquy between Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow on "Countdown" last night, apparently not:
OLBERMANN: ...The Iraqi government is saying, “Get out,” and President Bush swore, you know, “Some day if they say ‘get out,‘ we‘ll get out.”
MADDOW: That‘s right. May 2007 in the Rose Garden, Bush said—and I went back and checked the quote directly so I could be sure to directly quote him — “If they were to say leave, we would leave.” Also, for what it‘s worth, in April of 2004, John McCain at the Council on Foreign Relations said, “It is obvious we would have to leave if they asked to us leave.”
I mean, they told us that the point of invading Iraq was to topple Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein was toppled; they told us that the point of staying there after, was to set up a sovereign Iraqi government. Well now, the sovereign Iraqi government is standing up on its hind legs enough to tell us to leave, and we‘re left with this situation where they need another explanation of why we can‘t leave. That‘s the real headline here.
Charlie Black, John McCain's senior adviser, made news earlier this week when Fortune Magazine editor David Whitford reported that Black told him "with startling candor" when asked how a terrorist attack inside the United States would affect the campaign, "Certainly it would be a big advantage to [McCain]."
Keith Olbermann has been reporting on this story all week on his MSNBC news hour, in part to make that point that if a Democrat had made a similar gaffe, the Beltway punditocracy would have been in high dudgeon, demanding the adviser's head on a pike and lambasting the candidate for associating himself with such scum.
Longtime political junkies know that Charlie Black was among a handful of angry young rightwingers who remade the Republican Party after the debacle of Richard Nixon's resignation. Along with Roger Stone, Terry Dolan, Lee Atwater, Karl Rove and George Bush Jr., he is one of the inventors of today's GOP attack machine, a style of media-driven slash and burn politics that can be traced to the establishment by Black, Stone and Dolan in 1975 of a political action committee that raised millions from conservatives using deceptive direct-mail advertising and spent the money on TV ads that slimed Democrats.
Black, one of the most successful lobbyists and political strategists of the Reagan and Bush eras, has backed his share of losers over the years, too. But even when he has bet on the wrong horse, he has always landed on his feet --- which may explain why John McCain needs Charlie Black this year much more than Black needs McCain.
During a segment on his radio show this morning, Bill O'Reilly reported from the alternate universe he lives in that the non-conservative radio network, Air America Radio, had "folded." (The audio clip is at the end of this article.)
The news, undoubtedly, came as a bit of a surprise to Thom Hartmann, whose successful live weekday radio program is syndicated by Air America Radio and runs in the same time slot as O'Reilly in many markets.
Contrary to O'Reilly's misinformation, The Thom Hartman Program likely even outpaces the Fox entertainer in listenership, as he told us this afternoon.
In response to our query, Hartmann told The BRAD BLOG that, while he didn't currently have access to O'Reilly's ratings for comparison, in a number of markets his show regularly beats Rush Limbaugh, who also broadcasts during the same hours. Limbaugh, in turn, regularly beats O'Reilly in listener numbers, Hartmann explained via email.
"I beat Limbaugh in Portland in the last [ratings] book," wrote Hartmann, who broadcasts out of Portland's KPOJ, "and in Seattle in the Fall '06 book...Limbaugh almost always beats O'Reilly, and I've beaten Limbaugh in multiple markets (2) over multiple years (3)."
Yesterday, as we reported, O'Reilly featured a segment on his Fox "News" television show declaring that Progressive activists calling for reform of the corporate stranglehold on mainstream media and the public airwaves were "fascists," "loons," "unstable people" and a "threat to the country." One of his guests, rightwing Republicanist Mary Katherine Hamm, charged that proponents of media reform, and those who oppose her and O'Reilly's minority fringe viewpoints, are "a group of people living in an alternative universe."
This morning, while arguing on The Radio Factor that it's a "bad strategy" for the GOP to attack Barack Obama's wife Michelle because it would "turn off independent voters" as needed by John McCain to win the Presidency, O'Reilly responded to a caller who disagreed with him by pointing to Air America as "the best example I can give you." He then proceeded to use wholly inaccurate information, describing Air America in the past tense, as if it no longer existed, in his "best example"...
"The recount never really happened," notes Kevin Spacey, correctly, about the 2000 Florida election debacle in his interview Wednesday night on Countdown, in advance of Recount, HBO's theatrical retelling of the nightmare. The film premieres this Sunday.
Some weeks ago, we ran an item which included the theatrical trailer for the film and noted that we've neither seen it, nor been contacted by anybody from the production (they didn't purchase an ad here either, boo hoo) but that they did manage to use our "Stuck in the Middle With You" theme song for the film, curiously enough, as you'll see in the trailer. We'll take it as a compliment, as if we have a choice.
We also noted, with evidence, that Al Gore received more votes than George W. Bush in the state of Florida in 2000, and that seven whistleblowers from the company, Sequoia Voting Systems, who produced the paper ballots for Florida, have come forward to reveal that they were forced by someone to use bad paper on those ballots (only in Florida) against their objections, and to misalign the chads on them (only in Palm Beach County). To this day, other than Dan Rather at HDNet, who originally ran the report, nobody in the corporate media has found that story worthy of following up, or even merely reporting.
But for the third in our countdown of productions with the word "count" in its title, we turn to our friend Mary Mancini, who smartly blogs at the website of the documentary film Uncounted (We're in it, so see FULL DISCLOSURE at end of this article). Mancini notes that Olbermann, during his interview with Spacey (at left, including clip from film), joined so many other journalists who have taken the opportunity of the premiere of HBO's film to miss more than a few good journalistic opportunities...
With all the publicity surrounding this movie, now would be the perfect time for journalists to take the national conversation to the next level and ask the most logical follow up questions:
1) Why wasn’t our electoral process equipped, as Kevin Spacey says in the interview, “to handle margins of victory so small and margins of error so big” in 2000?
2) Are we equipped to do so now?
Another great opportunity was lost last night when during the interview Spacey explains the punch-card recount process:
That when you have a margin of victory so small, you have to go to what is called an automatic machine recount and yet, 18 counties, over 1,500,00 votes, didn’t bother to put their ballots back through the machine. They just re-tabulated the memory card, and you always get a different count when you do a machine recount. So, when you kind of realize that, well, that’s ’cause people just couldn’t bother to do it, um, it’s pretty stunning that…that…so..when Baker and Bush kept coming out and saying, “The votes have been counted, and they’ve been counted again, and Gore wants to count them a third time,” they were actually never counted.
No, they weren't. And the Supreme Court demanded that they remain uncounted, so Bush could be named "President."
Only the media and academic consortium who actually did bother to count all of those ballots [PDF] afterwards in Florida would know that Gore received more votes than Bush. Period. Even if they've done a superb job of keeping that little fact to themselves ever since. Whether HBO's Recount tells that truth, we'll have to wait until Sunday to find out.
Following below, for your convenience, are both the HBO trailer for Recount and, once again, the breathtaking Dan Rather report on the gaming of the paper ballots in Florida's 2000 election...
Media Bloodhound nails the latest corporate mainstream media disgrace. This time, courtesy of NBC's Brian Williams, and Dick Cheney's longtime former protégé turned NBC News "reporter" Pete Williams...
Last night, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams allotted eighty seconds to yesterday's momentous Supreme Court ruling that there's nothing unconstitutional with Indiana's law requiring a photo ID to vote. Meanwhile, during the same broadcast, it spent over two minutes on the concern caused by photos of teen star Miley Cyrus in Vanity Fair.
That would be embarrassing enough for a news organization purporting to be credible.
But earlier in the day on the Nightly News blog The Daily Nightly, anchor and managing editor Brian Williams (in a post titled "What Times Is It?") actually took The New York Times to task for publishing puff pieces.
Well, at least Williams covered the outrageously anti-Constitutional Supreme Court decision, sure to disenfranchise thousands, if not millions, of voters, right? Even if only for 80 seconds. But, as it turns out, no coverage would have been preferable to Williams' unfair, unbalanced (and inaccurate) coverage...