On October 10th, 2014,

the @washingtonpost produced this extraordinary project about the "N-Word." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dre/features/the-n-word

This prompted an op-ed piece by the often incendiary @piersmorgan,

which, as he's known for, generated a typical firestorm on social media:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2829080/PIERS-MORGAN-black-Americans-want-N-word-die-kill-themselves.html

I felt this latest public vetting of this very old controversy is a good time to call attention to a documentary by Todd Larkin Williams that got of notice in 2004, but not a lot since. Sadly, it's not complete on Youtube, but what is here, is pretty interesting and surfaces just a few of the many ways this issue is and has been discussed by people of all colors and from all walks of life.  Here;s some back story on it.
 

The N-Word Documentary

List of interviews

Part 1  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN1JengGaZg
Part 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLTazJIkrGc
Part 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLaII-v-jMo
Part 4- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rq5jQ_4iTw
Part 5-  Missing
Part 6 – Missing
Part 7 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ8e9RI5DH0

Tim Wise on the use of the word "nigger/nigga." 

"No, white people should never use it. History has been a double standard, so get over it."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmLXZ6_PW9A

Wynton Marsalis, the renowned black musician disagrees with Wise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ5dOOoBydM

My opinion on this issue is irrelevant, and has nothing to do with why I produced this post.

I feel it's the media's job, as well as our educational system's role to help discuss these kinds of issues in thoughtful and informative ways without always maligning or impugning people merely for having an opinion about a controversial topic.  These issues must transcend race because we are a multi-racial planet. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone should be able to voice theirs. Yeah, even Piers Morgan.

Related

Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word by Randall Kennedy

It’s “the nuclear bomb of racial epithets,” a word that whites have employed to wound and degrade African Americans for three centuries. Paradoxically, among many black people it has become a term of affection and even empowerment. The word, of course, is nigger, and in this candid, lucidly argued book the distinguished legal scholar Randall Kennedy traces its origins, maps its multifarious connotations, and explores the controversies that rage around it.

 

Below are my two cents, posted as a comment on Spandan (@thePeoplesView)'s excellent post about the Emotarian left's contribution to the great government shutdown of 2013.

Since I originally coined Emotarian as a replacement for the more imprecise and awkward-sounding "Emoprogressive (often shortened to the ghastlier sounding "Emoprog")," which I once co-defined with Joy-Ann Reid (before trying to repace it with Puritopian, which never really took off), I felt it appropiate to contribute to the comment stream. So I did.

Thank you, Spandan, for this eloquent summation of what really ails us. Conservatives are doing what they have always done; rationalizing and institutionalizing greed. But they've taken 40 years to learn how to message in a way that resonates with low-information voters well enough to seize state houses, and through their issues and redistricting, control Congress as well.

And rather than focusing on ways to counter that messaging, progressives have acquiesced to a climate of cynicism and mistrust, fueled by a massive industry of these poutragers who are given a louder and louder voice by what I call the Liberal Industrial Complex; an economy of fundraising establishments role-playing as progressive activists.

Together with its counterpart of the right, the Conservative Entertainment Complex, they've combined to thoroughly obfuscate the real problem: finding enough critical mass and focus to overpower the right's dominance of local politics, elections, and thus, our Congress and national policy.

Until we stop squandering emotion and resources on the issues at the margins such as the NSA, Gitmo, and drones, which only serve to feed the liberal industrial fundraising beast, we will never build coalitions powerful and motivated enough to change the elected legislators who could fix those problems in a matter of weeks.

But our national priorities are not the same as those careerist bloggers, pundits and slacktivists who would have no audience at all, if not for their ginning-up easy outrage about exaggerated crimes they can routinely pin on sincere presidents and other public servants who are doing their level best to tread water in a conservative cesspool until Progressivism grows up and learns how to fucking swim.

@Shoq

Read the original post

 

Related

Criticism from the left by @root_e via Krebscycle

 

 

Once again, as he did with the Bradley Manning saga, Glenn Greenwald has sensationalized and distorted a complicated story, doing the best he can to glue the very worst possible interpretations onto important facts in order to further is now-routine Libertarian attacks on Obama—and most institutions of legitimate government. I assume his new monetization scheme he introduced the day before he broke the story has benefited from all the noise he's created. But now the rest of the media, and all of us, have to sort out the relevant facts, something Glenn is rarely very interested in because they clutter up his angry stick-it-to-the-man (or at least Obama) libertarian narratives.

To be sure, violations of our privacy can be a threat to our democratic principles and ideals. But as recent events have demonstrated, so too can terrorism. The balancing act we must do will be discussed for generations to come (if we last that long). I think it's essential that we discuss them fairly, and demand that our journalists do too.

Because most of my friends and readers don't have the time to parse all this stuff, I am going to present here some simple descriptions of what PRISM, and related NSA snooping projects actually do, without all the agenda-hawking hyperbole being baked into so many accounts. None of these programs are some wholesale sweep of private data and communications that Greenwald and others have tried to suggest. I will update this page as more or better pieces become available. My personal thoughts on Greenwald and this drama appear at the end.

Overviews if PRISM

U.S., company officials: Internet surveillance does not indiscriminately mine data

According to a more precise description contained in a classified NSA inspector general’s report, also obtained by The Post, PRISM allows “collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,” rather than directly to company servers. The companies cannot see the queries that are sent from the NSA to the systems installed on their premises, according to sources familiar with the PRISM process.

Crucial aspects about the mechanisms of data transfer remain publicly unknown. Several industry officials told The Post that the system pushes requested data from company servers to classified computers at FBI facilities at Quantico. The information is then shared with the NSA or other authorized intelligence agencies.

According to slides describing the mechanics of the system, PRISM works as follows: NSA employees engage the system by typing queries from their desks. For queries involving stored communications, the queries pass first through the FBI’s electronic communications surveillance unit, which reviews the search terms to ensure there are no U.S. citizens named as targets.

That unit then sends the query to the FBI’s data intercept technology unit, which connects to equipment at the Internet company and passes the results to the NSA.

The system is most often used for e-mails, but it handles chat, video, images, documents and other files as well.

“The server is controlled by the FBI,” an official with one of the companies said. “We do not offer a download feature from our server.”

Another industry official said, “No one wants the bureau logging into the company server.”

What is Prism (by Kevin Drum (Motherjones)

Obviously this is still a little fuzzy, but the picture that's developing is substantially different from the initial reporting. If tech companies have agreed only to build more secure ways of passing along data in response to individual FISA warrants, that explains why they've never heard of PRISM and why they deny being part of any program that allowed the government direct access to their data.

Technically speaking, this also makes a lot more sense. The process described by the Times sounds quite plausible, in contrast to the "direct access" story. Further reporting might clear this up even more, for example by explaining just how automated this system is and when human intervention is necessary.

Through a PRISM darkly: Tracking the ongoing NSA surveillance story
I'm a huge fan of tech journalist, Mathew Ingram. But while I very much disagree with some of his takes on this story and feel he's far too trusting of Greenwald (something others have learned not to do),  he's very good at presenting the more ominous side of the story without some of Greenwald's dishonest and distorting reporting.  So in the interests of presenting some balance, I include his summation of some of the technical reporting he's seen. Keep in mind, this was early on, and many new facts are coming to light daily which sap some of the "big brother" hyperbole and drama from this story as he's written about it here.

This story is moving so quickly that it is hard to keep a handle on all of the developments, not to mention trying to follow the denials and non-denials from those who are allegedly involved, and the threads that tie this particular story to the long and sordid history of the U.S. government’s surveillance of its own citizens. So we thought it would be useful to try and collect what we know so far in a single post, which will be updated as often as possible with new information.

Note: Ingram is a Canadian, so as a targeted "foreigner" in the NSA's crosshair, I feel he can and should be rightfully concerned about just how far these NSA programs can go. I personally feel most of these fears are grossly exaggerated, but I respect anyone's right to have and report on them as they see fit.

Critical Overviews of Recent NSA Revelations

NSA Bombshell Story Falling Apart Under Scrutiny; Key Facts Turning Out to Be Inaccurate (by Bob Cesca)

It turns out, the NSA PRISM story isn’t quite the bombshell that everyone said it was. Yes, there continues to be a serious cause for concern when it comes to government spying and overreach with its counter-terrorism efforts. But the reporting from Glenn Greenwald and the Washington Post has been shoddy and misleading.

FISA 702 or PATRIOT Act 215? Questions on the Guardian/Wapo surveillance scoops (by @MSNBC contributor, Joy Ann Reid)

In other words, is this about domestic surveillance or foreign surveillance? You could argue that either way, the government colluding with phone or Internet companies to sweep up “metadata” is hellafied creepy either way. But in the interests of accuracy, the reports should get the law right.

Views and Commentary

We Are Shocked, Shocked!  (by "Wired" creator David Simon)

Is it just me or does the entire news media – as well as all the agitators and self-righteous bloviators on both sides of the aisle – not understand even the rudiments of electronic intercepts and the manner in which law enforcement actually uses such intercepts? It would seem so.

http://muckrack.com/link/vBZ0/we-are-shocked-shocked

 

Personal Thoughts About Greenwald And This Story

The day before he started blogging about "leaked" information from the NSA, he announced that his Guardian-based blog would now allow "reader support."  I'll reserve further comment on that amusing coincidence for another post.

Suffice it to say that Glenn is the PT Barnum of libertarian bloggers, and credit must be given to his flair for exciting people enough to throw money at him for distorting very important stories; stories which he may have legitimately broken, for legitimate reasons, before demagoguing right out of them any and all fairness, rationality, and respect for disagreements about what the material facts might mean. As usual, rather than go do the hard work of reporting themselves, most of the mainstream media will just suck up Greenwald's reporting and use it to sell papers.

By the time anyone realizes many of the facts were completely distorted, the popular memes and misconceptions are already out there, and nearly impossible to get back. By then, Karl Rove and the conservative noise machine have been able to recast the anger they generate into weapons they can deploy against democrats and progressives.  Lee Fang's new book goes into how this works.

The result is one more huge and noisy distraction from the larger problem we all face: how to recast a global political system that is completely dysfunctional, and unable to correct the imbalances created by global capitalism run amok. None of us are comfortable knowing corporations or government have such unfettered access to our communications. But I am far more uncomfortable with the lack of focus by progressives who claim they wish to address that crisis.  They are thrilled by these hyperbolic fireworks that people like Greenwald are so good at igniting, without understand that such stories just misinform, distract, and dispirit the very voters we need to fix all these pressing  problems while we still have a habitable planet to host them.

Related

 

http://www.alternet.org/media/how-fox-news-created-new-culture-idiots

I've said for quite a few years now that Fox News was making the douchebags and assholes among us into a mainstream demographic.  And while a brilliant essay on so many levels, I will always cherish it for this brief synopsis of the social psychotic named Roger Ailes, who is single-handedly taking down America for his own amusement and enrichment..  Not for nothing does this scumbag travel in a 9-person security cocoon. 

It is not just Fox News commentators but Fox News itself that has the appropriate, in-your-face, I’m-entitled-to-do-this,especially-because-you-dislike-it vibe. Which should not be surprising from a tightly controlled outfit in which everything flows from a single source, chairman Roger Ailes. Ailes has personal flaws that do not necessarily make one an asshole but that clearly shape the coverage, including his paranoia and his extreme politics. We find more telling evidence by considering the man in a happy moment, a victory lap. In an event celebrating Fox News’s success, Ailes said of the competing networks’ talent, as though sharing in the agony of their defeat: “Shows, stars, I mean it’s sad, you know? . . . I called and asked them all to move to the second floor wherever they were working. Because when they jump, I don’t want it to hurt.” By which he meant that he wouldn’t mind at all if his competitors not only lost the contest but felt humiliated enough to kill themselves. He meant of course to gloat but also to show his contempt. He meant to broadcast his contempt and to have a laugh about his being in a position to advertise it.

The comment was at least poor sportsmanship. A longtime practitioner of blood sport media politics, Ailes has emerged as its undisputed heavyweight champion. Politics is indeed a rough sport, but there are still boundaries that while crossed are nevertheless there, or sort of there. It is possible to have a minimal sense of respect among fellow sportsmen, seen as equals off the playing field, and even to display grace in both victory and defeat. Ailes’s comment suggests that he makes little effort at this, even as he does make an effort to draw attention to the fact that he cares not. He keeps it personal, on and off the court.

Ailes is a poor sport but not in a set contest fairly won. His main victory was to redefine the whole sport itself — that is to say, to redefine news. While American TV journalism has always walked a fine line between informing the public and satisfying media capitalism’s demands for viewers, ratings, and ad dollars, the line was more or less there, and it represented respect for what some regard as the fourth branch of government and a democratic society that depends on real news. Ailes obliterates that line with his “orchestra pit theory,” which he puts as follows: “If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?” The implication of course being that TV can and should cover the sensation rather than the substance, that it should move still further away from professional journalism and toward infotainment in a pure ratings contest. Fox News has changed the game and won, with an ever-thinner pretext of service. (It has very little actual news gathering and reporting staff; it freely crosses its own purported division between reporting and editorializing; and it now boosts for and even instigates protest movements and financially backs specific political candidates.) For its loyalty and attunement to its fans, it has been richly rewarded with outsized profits and unprecedented political influence.

If we ask why Ailes fought so long and so hard for all this, however, the answer is not simply the ample rewards. His victory lap comment also suggests fundamental contempt. It suggests contempt not just for his competitors but for a society of people who have always counted on news with a lot of information shaped by a good-faith attempt at impartial presentation. Our fundamental need in a democratic society, for each of us to make up our own mind, now goes unmet by the whole media environment. It reflects not the minds of equals deliberating together about what together to do but the tenor and voice of a single asshole’s mind.

Read it all at Alternet

This morning, I tweeted this disturbing and sometimes insightful, but ultimately maddening, guilt-ridden sanctimony dressed up as constructive criticism in  op-ed by Steve Almond in the NYTimes. Wanting to think more about it, the best I could say at the time was this tweet:

RT ‏@Shoq: I've been scolded for saying we mock rather than advance ideas. Still, this a mea culpa from a liberal Fox watcher j.mp/KXyDQR
I shared it with my good friend, Joy-Ann Reid (@theReidReport), Managing Editor at TheGrio.com, and a Miami Herald columnist. As usual, within hours, she'd let loose with blistering critique that captured much of what irked me when I read Almond's piece the first time. You can read her post here. 

On any given day, I agree with almost everything Joy says, and this day was no different, for the most part. But I did have some concerns about dismissing the entirety of Almond's essay too casually, feeling that as is often the case, that all elusive truth may lie somewhere between two poles.  So I wrote this to Joy in response, and felt I'd blog it. Just because I can.

 

Thank you joy,

You have told the other side I've been wrestling with so much better than I could.  But I am still torn because while my reaction this morning was just like yours (and I tweeted about it), after reading it again, I am still plagued by the nagging sense that he (and Karoli) are also more than partly right; that we do give them too all far much attention in a meta sense. While, as you point out, there are damn good reasons do that, it's become such a reactionary passion on the left, that it empowers all the lefty demagogues (those self-flagellating masters of the liberal universe), while generally sucking all the energy from the progressive room. There's just not too much remaining for the political process (which serves the status quo nicely). I see this progressive anger-fatigue every day, and it's really worrying me. I see it worrying others, too. Obama can lose, and lose convincingly. And the Senate may go with him.  We all know this. And I think all the anger-merchandising, so well played by the corporate media (and the liberal and conservative industrial complexes, as well), are to a large degree distracting us from really focusing on shaping messages and getting out that vital progressive congressional and presidential vote, without which, we're probably just doomed.

But what the writer doesn't get right at all (besides the ridiculous title) is that he has no real end game; he never discusses where all that surplus attention that he wants to conserve would go if recovered. He hints at it, but so minimally, that he's implying that just turning the other ear and merely showing up to vote will mitigate the damage that a highly cultivated incivility is now doing to us.  It won't. All the polite rhetorical salon parties he imagines won't make the smallest dent in the Koch/Fox audience axis, and they still vote far more reliably than we do.

No, as you point out, ignoring and negotiating just doesn't work. We have to defund, deflect, or somehow denude their omnipotence; strip it from our politics and culture with a combination of strategies that ignore the more cynical of the noisy megaphones, while pushing back effectively against the most influential of them, denying them social and financial currency where possible In the absence of bigger plans, I am going to keep on with efforts like StopRush, which may yet show that market forces can greatly impact how these influencers really operate on and against all of us.

It's all I can do… for now.

 

Related

 

 

 

In an op-ed today, Rex Huppke discusses a problem any thinking person knows about and discusses, nearly as often as they shrug off any notion that there could be a solution for it. A frequent subtext of many things I write about in this blog is that finding answers to problems like these must become a national—even an international—priority, or humanity is in for a world of hurt.

“It’s very depressing,” said Mary Poovey, a professor of English at New York University and author of A History of the Modern Fact. “I think the thing Americans ought to miss most about facts is the lack of agreement that there are facts. 

Thanks to a deliberately promoted anti-intellectualism, which generously serves the interests of the plutocracy at large, America and the world are both in grave crisis on a dozen levels. We need many more articles like Huppke's before we will even begin to redress the damage done by 35+ years of radical conservatism and its many propaganda proxies like Fox News, which have both nutured and exploited this ecosystem of rabid dumbshittery. Together they have been alarmingly effective at obliterating any operational respect for science and all those pesky and often politically inconventient things called facts.

But these agents of assholery have merely been the high priests of this Church of Stupid with its anti-englightenment agenda.  They have been all too enabled and supported by the mainstream meda which has selfishly abrogated any sense of responsiblity to the common good by letting such issues roll over in the public's consciousness again and again without any effort whatever to propose a solution, or consistently voice a need for one.

Every day, another pundit like Huppke decries this mendacious mess, while cashing the checks of the increasingly conservative-owned and controlled newspaper and broadcasting industries which knowingly allow these toxins of falsehood to metastisize into a full-blown cancer on the body politik of humanity itself. It is a disease that has all but crippled our ability to respond to even the smallest of political issues, and anyone that doesn't see that is either not paying attention, or probably on the payroll of the larger pertetrators of this cultural homicide in progress. .

If we don't find a way to rebalance the scales and make thoughtful inquiry and dialog fashionable again, we are probably finished as culture, and perhaps even as a species. Greed, war, disease, social injustice, econonmic inequity, and countless other man-made issues may be solvable, despite our worst instincts. But global ecocide courtesy of preventable climate change may not be. 

 I have my own ideas about how we must reset global society by reinventing how we organize, process and share human knowledge and actionable intelligence on nearly everything known or knowable. If we can better account for what we know, and what we do—or have done—with what we know, we can establish more normative guidelines for agreeing on what is real, and what is mere polemical masturbation, propaganda, and agenda hawking.

Whatever it is that we do, we'd better do something… and fast. And that's a fact.

 

 

See important update at the end.

Forgive my link-baited title, but it was just as contrived, gamed, and inaccurate as this one from Paul Farhi in today’s Washington Post:

Limbaugh sees heat over comments turn down to a simmer

That awful bit of non-reporting spawed these (and other) derived items from so-called “journalists” sucking down free content, with no fact checking whatever:

Rush Limbaugh Is Doing Just Fine

Then of course, we have this gem from Rush’s #1 astroturfed professor at Cornell Law, @leginsurrection, who was all too happy to use the crappy reporting from the so-called “Liberal Washington Post” (owned by arch-conservative, Donald Graham).

#StopRush turns into #MediaMattersStopped

And finally, never to be outdone in the lame department, the DailyBeast jumps in:

Advertisers Stick With Limbaugh
 

Now of course, paid flacks like Cornell’s “Professor Jacobson” are expected to use any kind of drivel the MSM writes to support their astroturfed hysteria.  But the Post and the Atlantic wire? This kind of reporting is absurd, and a prime example of why our media (and nation) are such a mess. 

Since the Washington Post cannot even manage a typical permalink  to specific comments, I have posted my response to Farhi’s reckless reporting here so you don’t have to scroll through 1000 comments to find it:

 
I would like to know which of the 161 dropping or avoiding sponsors listed here http://sn.im/stoprush Mr. Farhi actually contacted. I would wager the answer is zero. If he had, he would know that the only known sponsors to “trickle back” are a single regional sponsor that Rush’s PR flack, Brian Glicklich had CLAIMED wanted to come back (TheSleepTrain) in an LA Times puff piece, and TaxResolutions, a company that never really stopped to begin with (they just said they did to milk some free attention from Twitter). 
 
That’s it. And readers will note that virtually no research of any other kind is indicated in this article. This kind of reporting is merely passing along Premiere’s propaganda. And it does so with almost nothing but conjecture and suppositions based on what the author was obviously told, and not what he himself investigated. Farhi simply absorbed a robust spin-spew of misdirection from Limbaugh and/or Premiere which we have seen coming from his bots and paid proxies all week. Yes, the author called Carusone, and probably spent all of 15 minutes with him to pretend he was actually doing journalism. Anyone who knows Carusone’s efforts knows that what is said here is barely a fragment of the facts concerning this campaign, which can be heard more fully on any of his many radio interviews. In short, this is article comes off as a thinly-veiled PR favor to ClearChannel, a major media corporation which probably has many overlapping relationships with the Washington Post and/or its advertisers. 
 
It is also important to note that while sustaining any “outrage” can be challenging, this StopRush campaign has also coincided with the Trayvon Martin case, which has sucked the oxygen out of most stories emanating from the left in the past two weeks, so naturally some cooling of engagement would be evident. But as someone who sees the engagement of volunteers very close-up, I can tell you that the women, men, and families that Rush has offended aren’t going away, nor are they forgetting his egregious and vile remarks about Sandra Fluke in particular, and women in general. They are simply sharing their passions with other important issues of conservative hatreds which Rush can take great pride in nurturing in today’s America. They are not backing off or backing down. 
 
Mr. Farhi, please do just a bit of homework and update this story with real facts that you have actually verified, and not the convenient and self-serving spin of ClearChannel or their proxies. In short, do your job. 
 
Thank you.

Posted at 11:10 on 3/29/2012

Note: A look through the comments of that post will reveal literally dozens of astroturf bots, come of them posting at least 10 times. The WaPost makes no effort to screen such astroturf, nor even limit it to one or two comments per article. Thus, the astroturfers ensure that their gamed spew will always turn up in the list of most recent comments.

Update

In my haste to respond to the Washington Post, I neglected to point out that the author DID update his story. He removed a completely erroneous misquote where he claimed that Carusone had said “only 5 sponsors had dropped the Limbaugh show.” In fact, Carusone tweeted that after correcting them, the author updated the post and simply deleted the entire misquote. This was more shoddy journalism. The entire premise of the story—now so widely repeated—revolved around that one ludicrously sloppy misquote. The Post should have posted the words “Updated,” and corrected it. They still should.

Please visit http://sn.im/stoprush for more news and information about the #stopRush effort.

Help us push back against this kind of propaganda by retweeting this post. Thanks!!

In cased you missed the news, Melissa Harris-Perry will be the latest addition to the new, post-Olbermann line-up at @MSNBC.  Her new two hour weekend show starts February 4th at 10am. 

After seeing her tweet this heap of hilarity last night…

I’ve known Melissa since she first came on Twitter. My mother still chuckles that she named a stray kitty “at-shoq.”  So I thought we could had some fun with the news and the naming thing, so I created this Twitter hashtag: 

#NameMHarrisPerrysNewShow

Now given her fan base among my stream and friends, I confess that I sorta knew I could make it take off pretty fast – and it did. 

Some of the suggestions people tweeted are serious, and very good ideas, while many others are just very good fun.

It’s just another example of how useful Twitter can be as a tool. Even if MHP and her team don’t use any of these ideas, you can be sure the ideas will help them think about how people think about her, the potential directions the new show could take, and the many possible brandings that could work for it.

I made a few dozen suggestions too. While many can work, I think the show should just be called “#melissa,” including the #hash symbol. To begin with, her success owes something to social media, and will no doubt exploit her skill with it. But it also makes sense because we’re all going to be saying “I am watching Melissa right now” anyway.  So why not realize that she IS the brand and just run with what comes naturally to the audience?

I could probably  make the #melissa tag trend even before the show starts. If I can make #FF, #MT and #OWS stick, I can do it with #melissa :) I’m just pushy like that. But hey, what do I know about branding? I’m just a silly cat on Twitter.  There are many other good ideas, too. I am sure she and her team will choose wisely. (They probably already have). She’s kinda bright like that.

Speaking for me, I can’t wait for this new show to  start. I’ve had my criticisms of @MSNBC, and still have more than few, but added to the terrific innovation that is “Up, With Chris Hayes,” they are finally using their progressive audience base to rethink the moribund and culturally ruinous TV news model.

It’s about time. If we don’t support more thoughtful programming like this, we have no right to expect more of it. As I often say, and with apology to Winston Churchill:

“We get the media we deserve.”

 

Related

 

 

See update below

Last night…

journalist and commentator, GoldieTaylor told a remarkable story to @CNN’s Don Lemon. She was inspired to tell it by the grotesque story of accused predator, former Penn State football coach, Jerry Sandusky.

She not only told of the horror of her own abuse, and that of other high school cheerleader classmates at the hands of a high school football coach, but even decided to “out” her tormentor’s identity, as well.   This added act of courage makes her story all the more special, because so few victims ever do that. And she decided to do it knowing full well it may have serious legal consequences. She sounds fully prepared for those, even welcoming of them.

I haven’t asked Goldie whether it was planned or not, but around 1:15 pm yesterday, she just started tweeting her story on Twitter, almost as a preview of what she would discuss on @CNN last night. As so often happens on Twitter, her thread gained traction almost immediately, and many thousands were transfixed as her history unfolded like a painfully grim fairy tale. I was on the phone at the time, but was seeing random remarks pointing to the thread, and only later did I fully learn about what had happened.

While Goldie is always eloquent and insightful on TV, I thought everyone should see the original tweets as they unfolded on Twitter. So I asked my ever-useful friend @dvnix to pull the tweets together into a contiguous story, minus some extraneous tweets that didn’t seem essential to her tale.  He graciously did so, and you can now see Goldie’s story unfold as so many did before she went on TV to tell it verbally, as she did again on @TheLastWord, and probably will again a few hundred more times going forward.

Goldie’s Story, as told on Twitter.

Stories like Goldie’s need telling…

and too few journalists with the skills to tell them this well ever come forward to tell them.  We need more people with such courage, and not just in matters of child abuse.  Whether in the form of domestic spousal abuse, rape, workplace discrimination, or even the cultural economic abuse that Occupy Wall Street is dramatizing, we’re all enduring different forms of abuse at the hands of many abusers.  And we all need to find an inner strength to step up, step forward, speak out, act out, and start to change whatever status quo that abuses us. Silence is a mask that evil wears defiantly. It must be ripped away so that justice can show its face.

Thank you Goldie, for tearing one off for us.

To help Goldie’s story get out, your RT of this post using the Tweet button below is much appreciated.*

Updates

As you might imagine, the accused coach has lawyered up.

References

* Note: I don’t carry any kind of advertising on this site.  I ask for retweets only in the interests of promoting the issues or injustices I cover on this site from time to time.  If you want to follow me on twitter, my handle is simply, @shoq.

 

On the heels of some enthusiastic media response to President Obama’s aggressive posture on his new jobs plan, the professional left has been very busy pushing their latest vanity meme.  Quick to seize whatever media narrative is likely to generate the most blog traffic and broadcast audiences, they lit up the Internets with self-congratulatory high-fives and backslapping. Why? Because they have convinced themselves that it was their relentless carping about every rumor, allegation or political move that Obama has made for the past 2.75 years that was responsible for “pushing” him into what the media now trumpets as his new “get tough” stance with Republicans.

There is just no way, in their minds, that this might have been President Obama’s strategy all along — that he used issues like the debt ceiling negotiations in order to demonstrate  just what giving the country to the Republicans again would be like. Fortunately, not every blogger is batshit stupid. Salon‘s Steve Kornacki sees the forest around those trees:

It seems logical to conclude that President Obama’s sudden eagerness to pick fights with Republicans means that he’s realized the folly of his “reasonable man” strategy and junked it. But a better way to understand the president’s new confrontational posture is as an extension of that strategy.
Read more

But the Professional Left, like most of the mainstream media, always seems convinced of both its rightness and its righteousness.  For a body of people who rarely have an economist among them, or any other expert for that matter, their opinions are always presented as skilled, knowing, and eminently correct. That’s why, except for the few at the top of the pyramid, most of them are often scrounging for meager ratings or page views just to stay alive. But minimal revenues doesn’t mean they have minimal impact. As I will show later, they can have a great deal of that.

On a related matter, over the past few weeks, Democratic strategist (or something or other), @DavidOAtkins (now working as wingman for the legendary Digby over at Hullabaloo), and his co-worker sibling, Democratic strategist (or something or other) @DanteAtkins, have been tag-teaming me on Twitter. They are diligently trying to convince me that Obama’s problems are all of his own making, and that “pro left” narratives have had little impact on voters, especially on those all important independents, whose votes Obama will need to win re-election and keep the plutocratic hit-squad of Republicans from making things that much worse.

@DanteAtkins: @Karoli, the problem is that @shoq has no nuance. it’s mostly telling people that everything would be fine if the emoprogs shut up.

Every few days, this dynamic duo throws at me so much of this “straw” that I could remake the Wizard of Oz a hundred times and never need to outsource the Scarecrow stuffing. In fact, I have never said anything of the sort.

What I have said, routinely, and in many forms (as anyone who follows my Twitter stream can attest) is that when faced with a GOP adversary far better-armed and better-positioned than the seemingly impotent Progressive movement is, and at a time when our entire democracy is teetering at the edge of a kleptocratic abyss, our political criticism should be measured and constructive. Irrespective of whether President Obama was ever a real tried-and-true “scratch ‘n’ sniff me to prove it” Progressive (which he neither claimed to be nor campaigned as), our criticism should not recklessly threaten the stature and electability of the guy we elected to drive the Progressive bus.

At the present time, through no small fault of our own, both progressivism and our nation-state are too fragile for us to be tossing out mindless invective, ad hominem insult, and deprecating and emasculating vitriol that is every bit as ugly and dispiriting as the worst of what the right wing noise machine puts out every day, and which, in effect, throws Obama under the public’s perception bus every time another real or ginned-up story breaks in the MSM.

Talk about lack of nuance? Do these brothers read the papers? Since Obama’s first month in office, the so-called professional left has gone off on some new bender of vicious discontent, pushing barbs and bullets to their friends, followers, or sycophants among both MSM and alternative broadcasters, producers, bloggers, journalists, as well as all those pro- and semi-pro please-sign-our-petition-and-send-us-your- money grifters and carpetbaggers like Adam Green and Jane Hamsher. And most members of the professional left are all too happy to use the free ink to bulk up their content offerings, which, naturally, carry the requisite Google ads and pre-roll videos.

The collective “#ObamaFail” narrative — which has been the professional left’s stock in trade for years now – satisfies the seemingly pathological emotional need to wax miserable, lose elections, and blame it all on any convenient scapegoat; and many readers and viewers mindlessly nod along with this narrative as the professional left’s page views and impressions pile up. Never mind the facts and analysis that might speak otherwise. Facts, in our meme-of-the-moment era are for the little people.

In my view, the arguments of the Atkins boys and their lot boil down to the following: “Don’t blame us, criticism in a democracy is healthy,” as if all good and progressive change in America came about because Wilson, FDR, Eisenhower, Truman, Kennedy, LBJ, and Clinton were called “spineless, pussies, wimps, compromisers, cavers, and Wall Street stooges” every day for the first 3 years of their terms by a 24/7 news media juggernaut that also wore a Fox News top hat. Moreover, these so-called Emo Progressives are almost entirely of the consensus that anyone critical of such criticism must be a spineless Wall Street stooge. Never mind the fact that there are plenty of educated and thoughtful progressives who forcefully push back against such destructive myth-making, often eloquently pointing out that there is much more to the history of progressive victories than a magical “bully pulpit” from which rainbows and unicorns will always flow like a river of mercury whenever a Democratic president up and “shows a little backbone.”

With a lot of encouragement from people like me, a growing chorus of pragmatic progressives have been speaking out about these and other defensive postures of the professional left. These pragmatic progressives reject the notion that criticizing the critics somehow enables compromisers, sell-outs, and spineless centrist appeasers. Moreover, these pragmatic progressives have begun to chronicle the manner in which Obama has outmaneuvered the Republicans at almost every step, and has deftly maximized whatever leverage a president could have in a democracy that chose to give its Congress to a gang of marauding lunatics. As Nicholas Wilbur (aka @MuddyPolitics) brilliantly noted in a recent post,the Emo Progressives are illustrating a simple concept: political wars are not won by investing all your emotional energy in the daily postures and predicaments of your commanding general, nor are they won by squandering all of your vital resources in each battle that you fight or get sucked into along the way:

One individual cannot rebuild a crumbling nation. Change does not come overnight. Without the Left in his corner, understanding the big-picture strategy and backing him once again as he fights for a little “equality” in this debate over income equality, President Obama will lose not only the battle of 2011, but also the war of 2012.
Read more

Meanwhile, these emotionally-charged firebrands – these Emo Progressives — continue to deaden and demoralize the electorate. The evidence is everywhere. Voters don’t just make up the words and expressions they voice. These words and expressions are assimilated from friends and family, most often from memes and messages gleaned from the popular media.

For example, a piece in today’s Miami Herald, almost gleefully extols Florida independent voters’ complaints that “Obama hasn’t gotten anything done, compromises too much, sits on the fence.”

“He’s super intelligent but he’s terrible at getting things done,” said Greg Peters, 42, a restaurant owner in downtown Orlando and independent voter who said he’s already moved off the fence and is hoping a better Republican candidate emerges.

“They want one thing — they want results, and when they don’t get results they change their minds and go the other way,” noted Democratic pollster Tom Eldon of Sarasota.

Obama’s attempts to reach the middle have often frustrated his Democratic base. He backed off on efforts to repeal the Bush-era tax cuts (he’s since renewed the call), pursued a less aggressive drawdown of the wars than promised in 2008 and has offered up changes to entitlement programs.

“I have hard-core Democrat friends who don’t think he’s forceful enough. I like that’s he made strides to work across party lines,” said Tonya Simmons, an environmental consultant and independent voter

By contrast, Amanda Stroup said Obama has tried to placate Republicans too much. The Tampa independent voter was angered by his decision earlier this month to abandon new EPA standards for smog pollution. “He buckled under the Republican Congress,” said Stoup, 31, who may vote for a third-party candidate if one emerges to her liking.

To be sure, the article also outs the economy as a major, across-the-board factor in independent voters’ discontent; but it is the specific gripes that put the wind in the sails of these voters’ disgruntlement.

Articles like the one above are appearing all across the country, mostly as a result of routine Obama-bashing which may have reached its zenith this past weekend.  The NY Times, Washington Post, Politico, and others decided it was time to pile on with stories about how how “panicked” the Democrats were over Obama’s political future, largely because of the almost completely unrelated defeat of a Democrat in a New York special election to replace the disgraced Anthony Weiner.

These outlets are always more than eager to distribute any story that demoralizes Democrats. And where do they get much of the story ledes and much of the content for these train wreck stories?  From the daily output of the Greenwalds, Hamshers, Marshes, Moores, Greens, Uygurs, Schultzes, and countless other professional critics, carpers, and perpetual malcontents who are now quite renowned for their morose commentary and butter-soft analysis on any topic that strikes their daily fancy.

These corrosive raconteurs, some of them not even living in America, seem to be in a spirited competition to seek out and expose faults in anything and everything the Obama administration does, whether it actually did it, were said to have done it, or someone suggested it might be thinking about doing it. Whatever it was, is, or might be, it’s bound to be wrong. Period. Because that’s what they’ve conditioned their readers and viewers to expect: non-stop #Obamafail. Even when he delights the base with something like his jobs speech, you can count the seconds before the negativity will ooze from the pores of every dour face on the professional left.

In our cultural three-ring political carnival of TV dancing bears and clown acts — where all that bloggers and pundits seem to care about is firing up people’s emotions with whatever contrived headline brings in link traffic — we can’t afford to keep producing the messages that keep the masses of low-information voters grousing about their many disappointments.

Most voters just care about their jobs and their families. They don’t have the time, knowledge or skills to parse all the nuances of our political maelstrom and make informed choices. Most voters rely on family, friends, co-workers and the media to tell them what to think and feel about the options before them. The right-wing has perfected how to reframe those choices to a few simple ideas, while Progressives continue to mix and muddle their messages with such frequency that most voters can’t clearly understand what Progressives and/or Democrats want to accomplish in the first place. And it is all the more confusing to voters when they see a team that appears all too eager to piss Haterade all over its coach on every play of the game.

This pattern must change, or we are simply doomed.

Yes, criticism matters. But so does winning elections. Why? Because if we lose this Senate and White House (and in so doing, probably any chance of a liberal Supreme Court in your lifetime), we simply may not get another chance to win any others.  It is convenient to argue that such claims are “fear-mongering” and to claim that such statements are the akin to Fox News’s modus operandi.  It isn’t fear-mongering, however, to point out certain inevitabilities.  For example, President Romney or Perry or Bachmann will attempt to strip the LGBT community of all rights which slowly but surely have been acquired, and saying so is not fear-mongering.  Comparatively, Fox News claims that Obama wants to “pull the plug on grandma” is fear-mongering because it has no basis in fact.  In short, when you’re about to be hit by a train, someone screaming WATCH OUT! is not your enemy.

For a few hundred years, presidents were criticized without overt hatred and contempt from their own side.  Progressives have a duty to disseminate messages that say “Yes, this is hard. Yes, we need to be firm. But we have a long way to go, and compromises are sometimes expedient, not evil. Change is about moving forward, not backwards. We’re all on this plane together. We can educate our pilot about where we want to go, and criticize his rudder and stick actions that might take us off a preferred course. But he’s an honest man, he works hard, and we elected him to lead this flight crew for 4-8 years. Shooting him in the back while the plane is in the air is just not really in the national interests of the passengers on board.”

With Republicans brazenly and recklessly redistricting Congressional representation, suppressing votes, cracking down on union membership, money, and outreach, and exploiting the Citizens United ruling so they can spew any corporatist propaganda that they can get some conservative or business interest to pay for, the issue is not just about “sit down and shut up.” It’s about “be constructive, or you may never get another chance to stand and speak at all.”

Related