Sunday, January 25, 2009

TV: Baby, I Know

I would have given you all of my heart
But there's someone who's torn it apart
And he's taken nearly all that I've got
But if you want, I'll try to love again

The first cut is the deepest and no one cut harder in 2008 than alleged 'independent' media in the US. The media beggars who preach on the equivalent of street corners (public television and radio as well as public access cable) demonstrated their dangers went far beyond the scent of stale urine. The biggest danger they presented was that the public would believe they were independent voices with an ethical code which they would live by. Expecting honest assessment from them was the equivalent of expecting true love to follow a night with a rent boy.


But if you want, I'll try to love again
Babeeee, I'll try to love again but I knooooooowwww
The first cut is the deepest
Babeeee, I knooooowwww
When it comes to being lucky, I'm cursed

We weren't the first women to find out that no one disappoints like Bill Moyers and we won't be the last. Friday, on The Journal, he was serving up one money-shot after another as he hit multiple orgasms over how well his part in The Pimping Of Barack paid off. As a journalist, he trashed his own legacy. He might have a future as a porn star . . . provided there's a market for audio porn since he really should avoid the cameras. In the meantime, he'll stick to PBS which he helped underscore all last year stands for Prepubescent Bull S**t.

Moyers dished with quack-pot Thomas Frank and all-over-the-map David Sirota. How bad was it? We had to blast our Linda Ronstadt live concert recording and dance around to the room to "The First Cut Is The Deepest" just to make it through.

Babeeeeeee, I knoooooooooowwwwwwwww.

It wasn't the fact that Sirota's head strongly indicates forceps were used and squeezed tightly during his birthing, it wasn't the fact that Frank's reductionist hypothesis were being yet again presented as historical facts, it was seeing Bill in all of his corpulence, laughing it up, convinced he'd gotten away with his inexcusable breach of journalism ethics throughout 2008. "Thomas Gullible Frank!" he minced when Frank whined that maybe someone should call him gullible. Bill found it so damn funny. And PBS viewers were forgiven for wondering why the local evening news banter s**t was clogging up the airwaves. It was so bad, you expected Bill to next go to a reel of 'football funnies'.

Instead, he moved on to the next segment, the one that had PBS friends telling us we'd want to tackle, that we had to tackle.

Lie Face Melissa Harris Lacewell teamed up with Professor Patti Williams for a fact-free, non-stop attack, passed off as an informed discussion. As one PBS friend (CPB) wondered, what happened to PBS' mandate? It was difficult to find in an hour of 'analysis' from Barack supporters.

Take Lie Face Melissa, the Barack campaigner who bragged of being that in 2007 on PBS but somehow thought she could later erase the public record. Lie Face went on Democracy Now! in January 2008 and and, oops, that wasn't disclosed (her first January visit). She went on Charlie Rose in March 2008 and forgot to disclose again (even though she'd by now let it slip on Democracy Now!). With Rose, she did find time to attack Tavis Smiley and say how offended other people allegedly were with Tavis while forgetting to inform PBS viewers she'd launched an attack on Tavis the month prior ("Who Died And Made Tavis King?"). She's just a cheap trash who violates every ethical standard in writing and now spends her time trying to think of new ways.

Cheap trash really describes The Journal Friday and it was so bad it was as if PBS was staging a remake of Myra Breckenridge. (For those who didn't get their playbills, Moyers is Mae West, Patti is Raquel Welch and Melissa is Rex Reed.)

Melissa, looking more masculine than the actual men who appeared on the program, got off one lie after another. Probably her best line reading came with, "I suppose the greatest thought I was having as I was watching the inauguration of Barack Obama was my sense that I didn't even know I wanted a black president. I wasn't particularly attached to the idea of an African American in the White House. "

Oh, that cheap piece of trash. She attacked Tavis, she lied repeatedly, she took part in several astro-turf campaigns and did it all to get Barack in the White House. Now she wanted to show up and claim she "didn't even know" what she wanted. For that to be true, she'd have to be Drew's character in Poison Ivy. Just stumbling into one sexual mishap after another, eh, Melissa?

Lie Face Melissa really doesn't grasp the concept of a public record or how it follows you around but then, if she did, she wouldn't be such an outrageous liar, now would she?

Professor Patti's a liar as well. Her lying is a little bit better known in journalistic circles. For example, her invented young French boy in the summer of 2004 still produces howls of laughter in the political commentary set. No one believed for one damn minute in Patti's invented creation, that young boy, who knew all about US politics, knew every detail of John Kerry's life, knew everything. As a real professor frequently invited on the chat & chews pointed out, "You could say that dreamed up boy must have floated in on a cloud but where would that leave Patricia?"

Exactly. Patricia likes to play classy with her fake voice that probably sounds 'cultured' to dock workers. While Melissa is the crunk of beggar media, Professor Patti likes to pull a Peggy Noonan and try to appear upper class. Like Noons, her attempts only result in raucous laughter. Appearing on KPFA to pimp Barack in early 2007, Professor Patti disgraced herself and demonstrated how hateful she truly is. She couldn't stop pimping Barack and began implying -- when possible she prefers falsely implying to outright lying, like the Bully Boy making false connections between 9-11 and Iraq -- that Barack Obama had voted against the 2002 authorization for war. Barack didn't vote for it, he wasn't in the Senate. When that point was raised by a MidEastern woman who called in, Patrica went bats**t crazy and started snarling, screeching and revealing how far down in the gutter she can get when she hops off that floating cloud.

It was embarrassing and has become a highly popular interview to share with friends. It's commonly referred to as "Andrea Lewis interviews the Fish-Wife."

Professor Patti has two missions currently. The first is to turn back time. Progress came to American in the nineties when the population finally became aware of bi-and multi-racial groups of people. It was a hard won moment for people of color and there were so very many hopes for the future. Barack killed that and did so because bi-racial wasn't seen as electable. (Barack claimed bi-racial up through this decade. He did so regularly in interviews.) Barack is bi-racial. He is not Black. His father was Black, his mother was White. Bi- and multi-racial people were the first tossed under the bus by Barack's presidential designs. [For more on Patti's remarks on race, see the beginning of this week's roundtable.]

Professor Patti wanted to dismiss them (in her pseudo-high-minded way) by purring, "I think one of the freighted problems within the black community with hearing words like 'bi-racial' is that, you know, African Americans have always been multi-racial. We are, I mean, you know, since slavery, at least bi-racial." Congratulations, Professor Patti, you've outdone Tom Hayden in the disgusting sweepstakes. (Tom-Tom wrote of his adopted child -- his latest adopted child, he appears to forget his earlier adoption -- and did so using bi-racial in quotes. The sort of behavior that should have the child immediately removed from the Hayden household by social services because that little stunt demonstrates he is not up to raising a bi-racial child.)

No, Patti, you don't get to piss on a movement just because you feel like it. Save your garbage and your bulls**t for your mythical French boys. For those too young to know, the racist attack Patti's launched? It was very popular in the nineties . . . from the right wing. The right wing launched these attacks on diversity. Now it comes from Professor Patti who might try reading her university's own diversity statement before next opening her big yap.

Bill lapped it up -- as he did throughout 2008. It was the superficial 'race' discussion he served up over and over, non-stop. Bill wanted Barack in the White House and he got it. He probably won't live to see Barack leave the White House but consider that Bill's own little gift to America.
75 this June and, if he really supports change, how about exchanging the hour with someone who doesn't need to nap between segment tapings and for whom "spry" wouldn't be seen as the ultimate compliment?

We noted Professor Patti has two missions. Before we get to her second mission, let's quote Paul Street (ZNet):

At the same time, many of his elite sponsors have certainly long understood that Obama's technical blackness helps make him uniquely qualified to simultaneously surf, de-fang, and "manage" the U.S. citizenry's rising hopes for democratic transformation in the wake of the long national Bush-Cheney nightmare. As John Pilger argued last May: "What is Obama's attraction to big business? Precisely the same as Robert Kennedy's [in 1968]. By offering a 'new,' young and apparently progressive face of Democratic Party - with the bonus of being a member of the black elite - he can blunt and divert real opposition. That was Colin Powell's role as Bush's secretary of state. An Obama victory will bring intense pressure on the US antiwar and social justice movements to accept a Democratic administration for all its faults. If that happens, domestic resistance to rapacious America will fall silent."
Obama's race is part of what makes him so well matched to the tasks of mass pacification and popular "expectation management" (former Obama advisor Samantha Power's revealing phrase). As Aurora Levins Morales noted in Z Magazine last April, "This election is about finding a CEO capable of holding domestic constituencies in check as they are further disenfranchised and....[about] mak[ing] them feel that they have a stake in the military aggressiveness that the ruling class believes is necessary. Having a black man and a white woman run helps...make oppressed people feel compelled to protect them."

Expectation management? Here's Professor Patti on Friday's Moyers:

I do think that we need to quell some of the expectations that, now that he is president, you know, bluebirds have suddenly come into, you know, that butterflies are hatching all over the country. It is, we still have difficulty with, for example, the vocabulary of race that I think is still very much confining how we see Barack Obama.

And, yes, Professor Patti is tight with Sammy Powers. By their actions, you will know them.

When it comes to being lucky, I'm cursed
When it comes to loving me, he's the worst
When it comes to being lucky, I'm cursed
That's how I knooooooww

Washington Week knew, they just knew, Caroline Kennedy was going to be the new US Senator from New York. We last checked in with Gwen and her gas bags in December. That was the December 19th broadcast of the show. Anyone remember that?

Hillary Clinton was nominated for Secretary of State and, if confirmed, her Senate seat would be open. The governor of New York, David Paterson, would have to appoint someone. Gwen opened the December 19th program with a clip of aged, minor-league socialite Caroline Kennedy declaring, "I told Governor Paterson that I'd be honored to be considered for the position of US senator."

Gwen needed her gossip fix and, as we noted then, needed it so bad that she dismissed the question of universal health care (raised by John Harwood) as "a whole nother subject" in her rush to become the next Mary Hart. During a supposedly educated discussion taking place on non-commercial TV, Gwen and her gas bags presented Caroline as such a done deal that they ignored any other potential candidates except for Andrew Cuomo -- included only because it was, as Gwen put it, "complicated." See, he "is divorced from one of Caroline Kennedy's cousins," gushed John Dickerson doing his best Hedda Hopper.

Among the many names she and her gas bags never uttered was Kirsten Gillibrand. Guess what? Friday, Paterson announced he'd selected her as the person to fill Clinton's Senate seat (Clinton was confirmed and sworn in as Secretary of State on Wednesday).

They never mentioned her. People watch PBS for what reason? Supposedly to be informed. And Washington Week presents itself as a program that is, their words, "Celebrating forty years of journalistic excellence". Oh, really?

Journalistic excellence is refusing to offer a serious discussion of a senate seat? Journalistic excellence is serving up gossip and gushing along the lines of Neil Sedaka's "Oh Carol"?

Journalistic excellence does require taking accountability so, certainly, they would rectify their glaring omission of Gillibrand and apologize for the trash gossip they'd passed off as an informed discussion, right?


There was no time to discuss their mistakes because there's never any sense of accountability on the part of Panhandle Media. Beggars don't get accountable, they just hit you up for more money.

Gwen did have time to open with this, "Those of us who live here in Washington, are so pleased you all came to visit, you crammed into our Metro system, you slept in our homes and, in general, you partied like it was 1999."

No, the nation's capitol really isn't hers to claim -- or anyone else's -- and if she doesn't like tourists, she should move somewhere else. Maybe somewhere that sees the reference to Prince's "1999" as 'hip' and 'current'? She certainly can't move to NBC because, as they explained, she screwed the pooch in 2008 and, in doing so, lost out on Meet The Press moderation for at least the next ten years. So she'll finish out her career on PBS, probably hang on way too long (like Bill Moyers) and offer little of any value (ibid).

As she did on Friday when it was time to yada-yada about the inauguration. Dan Baltz tried to be kind and say that the speech would be remembered for symbols and not "for specific words" because "the words didn't carry the day."

The bad speech. The awful speech. The speech where he didn't even know how many had been sworn in as president before him. Friday, Paul Krugman (New York Times) tried to do what an adult does (evaluate critically) and he noted this section of the speech:

Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed.

Krugman analyzed it in terms of the cribbing. See him for that. We'll go for the obvious. "Our minds" and "our capacity." And "our workers"? Does anyone else not see the problem with that?

"Our capacity" is something we can, presumably, control. Ditto "our brains." "Our workers"? The sentence should have read, "Our work is no less productive than when this crisis began." Anyone expecting Barack to be on the side of workers should try grasping the line in the sand he drew seconds after he was sworn in.

On the program, ABC News Martha Raddatz explained to Gwen ("I didn't know") Ifill how Barack claimed he would "meet with the Joint Chiefs and I think they were a little confused at the White House that that's not really who he would meet with right away, the Joint Chiefs, to talk about military advice. . . . That's not who he would meet with. He would meet with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He'd meet with his NSC advisor." Yes, it was a rather obvious mistake and what may, in fact, turn out to be a telling mistake on the part of the administration. But the moment that shined was the following:

Martha Raddatz: They laid out plans or started to lay out plans for the sixteen-month withdrawal, which President Obama says he wants, or the three-year withdrawal which is the Status Of Forces Agreement that the US has gone into with the Iraqis. And they talked about the risks with each of those. Ray Odierno, who is the general in charge of Iraqi forces, said, 'If you run out in sixteen months -- if you get out in sixteen months, there are risks. The security gains could go down the tube. If you wait three years, there are other risks because you can't get forces into Afghanistan as quickly.' So President Obama made no decisions. Again, he's going to meet with Joint Chiefs next week and probably will make a military decision. But also a key there is how many troops he leaves behind. That's something we're not talking about so much, he's not talking about so much. This residual force that could be 50, 60, 70,000 troops even if he withdraws --

Gwen Ifill: That's not exactly getting out of Iraq.

Martha Raddatz: Not exactly getting out completely.

That was the show's finest movement and, alone, made up for so much of the gas baggery Gwen usually dumbs down America with. More like that and you might have a show that actually informs. Pete Williams also deserves notice for telling the reality about Barack 'closing' of Guantanamo. It should be noted that Professor Patti objected to Barack's plan for Guantanamo as well, she and Bill Moyers just didn't feel they owed it to PBS viewers to explain what Barack was proposing.

Pete Williams sketched out the three classifications -- the three that the Center for Constitution Rights was too rah-rah or too stupid to detail, let alone call out. (See Mike's entry calling out that disappointing bulls**t of CCR.)

First group is people "who can be released or sent to another country." As Williams noted, this continues the previous White House's policy. Second group is bringing them to the US where they will be put "on some military base, many of them will go on trial". They'll be imprisoned and on military bases. Not in US prisons. CCR might want to try growing the hell up and doing so quickly because we don't want to hear the whining four years from now on this issue. The third group will be imprisoned and not tried because "some evidence is tainted" -- meaning torture was used. Meaning there is no admissible evidence. Meaning, in the US, that the defendants walk. That's how it works.

Babeeee, I'll try to love again but I knooooooooowwww
Babeee, I knoooooooooooowwwww
When it comes to being lucky, I'm curesed
When it comes to loving me, he's the worst

We're not sure whether "he" refers to Peter Hart, Janine Jackson or Norman Solomon but we knew if we were checking on the liars, we'd have to drop in on CounterSpin.

Moyers was one-sided and Gwen refused to take accountability but CounterSpin managed to out do both. They made 2008 all about demonstrating that the finger-pointing screeds they offer Big Media were nothing but rank hypocrisy. In doing so, they so destroyed their credibility so much that today they can't even offer consistency for one half-hour broadcast.

Peter and Janine made fools out of themselves in the headlines. They think they're funny and that actually is funny. They whined repeatedly in the headlines about people who felt that Barack was getting a free ride. He's not getting a free ride, he's getting a tongue bath.

As Barack supporter Mark Slouka notes in February's Harper's ("NOTEBOOK: A Quibble"):

At the same time, those of us on the winning side might want to do a cross-check before landing. How many of us -- not just in the general election but in the primaries, when there was still a choice -- voted for Obama because he was there It thing this season, because he was so likable, because he had that wonderful voice, because he was black, because he made us feel as if Atticus Finch had come home? If nothing else, the fact that so many have convinced themselves that one man, thus far almost entirely untested, will slay the culture of corruption with one hand while pulling us out of the greatest mess we've known in a century with the other suggests that a certain kind "clap your hands if you believe" naivete crosses the aisle at will.

That's reality so it's too much reality for CounterSpin to handle. Instead, Peter Hart rushed to make a fool out of himself in rejecting charges of favoritism towards Barack. Juan Willaims wants to lecture, Hart sniffed, about favoritism "in an op-ed in The Wall St. Journal, no less." What a catty little priss Petey can be. And an uninformed one. Juan Williams did not write an "op-ed." Pay attention because we're sick of suffering the fools. Juan Williams wrote a column that ran on the opinion-editorial pages. It's also cute that Petey's suddenly alarmed by Wall St. Journal columnists since it wasn't all that long ago that CounterSpin was chatting it up with quack and Wall St. Journal columnist Thomas Frank. Oh, we see, the Wall St. Journal is a bad source for columnists . . . except when it isn't.

Petey attacks Mark Halperin (Time magazine and ABC News) in a ridiculous volley of charges which really require footnotes on his part. He shades and distorts to such a degree that that we're not going through it step by step. We'll just note it went beyond crazy and, any careful listener should have been scratching their head at the notion that FAIR thinks "liberal" means 'unfair.' (To criticize the media for bias is a bad thing, Petey argues, unless it advances Democrats. Peter Hart, what you're describing isn't "liberal," it's "whoring.") Halperin got caught in the crossfire. The real target was The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz.

Petey never thinks Kurts is being fair in his representations. Big words coming from CounterSpin and when Peter Hart cares to explain how the weekly watchdog radio program made it through the long Democratic primaries only calling out sexism against Hillary Clinton once (and then in a single sentence), Kurtz may give a damn what street performer/beggar Petey Hart thinks. Click here to find the column that set Petey Hart off. Reading it will provide more value than listening to anything Petey had to say.

As usual, Janine and Peter went to the well -- in the headlines -- on the pre-Iraq War coverage by Real Media. They did it to feel superior and Panhandle Media has to repeatedly return to that not out of a concern for Iraq (concern would require coverage and they provide none) but because Panhandle Media can't point to anything since the start of the illegal war that they themselves have done. Let's stay with The Washington Post for a moment. The paper can certainly point to the amazing work done by Dana Priest and Anne Hull. (That would be the work CounterSpin attempted to undercut and minimize even though it resulted in the only improvements at Walter Reed Medical Center, even though it turned an abuse into a deserved national scandal, even though it was journalism at its finest.) But Panhandle Media? There 'record' is, in fact, so bad, CounterSpin had to drop back to 1999 and attempt to pimp The Divine Propagandist Amy Goodman as a 'journalist.'

If the point of headlines was to insist Barack wasn't receiving any special treatment (even Palestinians had to take a back seat to Barack -- a sure sign of CounterSpin's adoration for The Big O), the next segment demolished all the spin Peter and Janine had so lovingly served up as Peter -- with no apparent realization of self-contradiction -- declared "it is not entirely without merit" to assert that Barack's received excessive favoritism from the media. It truly was like the eight minutes prior had never taken place leaving us to wonder what drugs FAIR was distributing these days?

That second segment was an interview. Listing Norman Solomon's CV, Peter Hart somehow failed to note that Solomon was a pledged delegate for Barack Obama. Norman, to his credit, would disclose that in his second response, in the fourth sentence of his second response. That might have required follow up but you knew Peter wasn't going there. Let's drop into the second response for the last half of it:

Norman Solomon: I was, as an elected, actually, Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention, in the middle of some of that swirl in terms of his acceptance speech. And one of the things I was struck by is the way in which, especially for public consumption, the delegates to the Democratic convention felt it was necessary to stay within certain, pretty narrow bounds in talking about their candidate. And I think we're seeing that replicated now in the sense of so many people are very optimistic and happy about Obama being president in the country and, in a sense, the news media are mimicking them and then they in turn feel it's necessary to be concentric and mimic the media and so how do we get out of this just spiral of mutual reinforcement and 'hey, it's a brand new day'.

If you read the above and think, "Norman's actually making some sense. Maybe he can be one of the few to find redemption in 2009," you're wasting your time. Not because of Norman in this instance. But because none of his fellow beggars give a damn.

Read the above again and note all the points he's staking out. Look at all those topics being raised in that section of his response.

Immediately after he says "new day," Peter Hart will follow up with which topic? Which avenue will we drive down that Norman's pointed out? None of them.

Peter ignores everything Norman's saying to offer, "It's interesting to bring up the 2000 inuaguration of Bush, there is this sense that there's no memory in the media." Excuse us, but didn't Janine whine about false equivalencies in the program's first eight minutes? (Yes, it is whining when you call it out and yet do it yourself.)

Peter Hart wants to pretend that Barack today compares to Bully Boy in January 2001. No, he doesn't, you stupid ass.

The more apt -- and scary -- comparison is Bully Boy in the immediate aftermath of 9-11. And it should scare the hell out of you because corporate America wants that kind of conformity again. Big Business dreams of those bailouts that never get questioned. Those who manufacture consent long for the sheeple of America to yet again be so easily managed. So you should be really concerned that Barack's already receiving that sort of tongue bath.

You should grasp that the only outlets preventing a complete tipping over into fascism during that period (the period that silenced dissent and led to two illegal wars) was Panhandle Media. And you should grasp what a very dangerous time we have arrived at when we no longer have an alternative media, just an uncritical cheering section for Barack.

No, that's not a 'happy thought,' but leave those to the Lost Boys and childhood. No one ever said growing up was easy.

The first cut is the deepest

Babeeee, I knooooowwww

When it comes to being lucky, I'm cursed

When it comes to loving me, he's the worst

When it comes to being lucky, I'm cursed

That's how I knoooooowww

Babeeeee, I knooowwwww
Honeeeee, I knooooowww
Babeee, I knooooooowww


"The First Cut Is The Deepest" written by Cat Stevens.
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