"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up."

Arthur Koestler 

Entries in Media (17)


Most News Is Fake

Most videos you see on the news is to some extent faked. That is just the nature of the news. There is a narrative, and that narrative determines what is broadcast. You are being played. 

This particular video was immediately removed after it was posted by the "White Helmets." But a copy had already been made: 

The White Helmets are funded by the West:

1: The White Helmets receive funding from UK ($65m via UK Foreign Office), US (US State Dept via USAID $ 23m), Holland ($ 4.5m), Germany ($ 7.87m) and Japan (undisclosed sum from the Intl Cooperation Agency), Denmark (undisclosed sum) – via the Mayday Rescue “foundation” that was set up by the British ex-military trainer of the White Helmets in order to transfer funding to the White Helmets. The White Helmets also receive equipment and supplies from various EU member states. This funding is concealed behind the generic heading of “Emergency Health and Relief Support to the Population Affected by the Crisis in Syria”, through the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG-ECHO), formerly known as the European Community Humanitarian Aid Office.

You can read the link for an alternative narrative on the White Helmets. 

But remember, you are being played. 


What If Jesus Was Appointed to Trump's Cabinet? 

Jesus as Secretary of Defense Obviously, this is absurd. But my purpose here is to outline what would be said about Jesus if he was nominated for a cabinet position. 

  • Jesus' parents were forced to get married.
  • Jesus was a troubled youth that ran away from home. 
  • Even though Jesus was a professional man, he relied on women for his livelihood. He did not work. 
  • One of men closest to Jesus was a known terrorist. Another associate committed suicide. Another associate betrayed him at the end. 
  • Jesus compared people of a different ethic background than himself to dogs.
  • Jesus never married. You know what that means. 
  • His supporters burnt Rome.
  • His supporters refused to show allegiance to our nation (by burning incense to the emperor). 
  • Jesus is a Jew. 
  • Jesus is a phony faith healer. 
  • Jesus supported a law that condemned homosexuality. 
  • Jesus told stories rather than use plain language in order to deceive his listeners. 

Jesus would never be confirmed to Trump's cabinet. 

My point is not to say that Trump's picks are great. My point is that the quality, or lack of it, to Trump's picks don't matter. He is Trump. The same kind of thing took place with Obama, Bush and Clinton. It just depends on the political orientation of a particular media outlet. 

Don't be deceived. 


Media Deception: Caught in a Loop

If you think that the news media is saying the same thing over and over again, it is because it is. Even Saturday Night Live notices it, that is now obvious it is. 

There are a number of tricks that media uses to deceive the viewer. Repetition like this is one of them. This is a well known public speakers technique. Another is the man in the street interview. The editor selects the worst possible subject from the many interviews they have done. Or from their point of view the best possible suspect based on the narrative they are trying to sell. Thus an interview I saw about a Trump voter took place in a smoky pool hall. This supposedly represented the "working man."

Notice also the use of accents in the ones chosen to participate in interviews or in presenters they hire. A person from the South will imply that the person is slow and rather stupid. This is absurd, but that is how a southern accent sounds to many viewers. This is why a potential actor or presenter with an accent will lose their accent as quickly as possible. I remember hearing the actor that played Adama in Battlestar Galactica in an interview. He had a rather lower class British accent that he lost for the role. Note also the occasional hiring of a presenter with posh British accent. This sounds intelligent and suave to the average viewer. John Oliver was hired for his accent more than anything else. It is especially effective when someone with such an accent curses. This is done for the effect it gives the viewer. 

Everything you watch on TV is designed for the effect it gives the viewer, do not be deceived. Being aware of these techniques is the first step. Discussing these manipulatively shows, especially with your children, is extremely important. 


Panic in the Year Zero

I blogged about this movie in December. Click here to review my post. I remember watching the movie from an early Saturday morning or a late night creature feature in the 70's. With movies like this available free on YouTube, do you need cable? (My tongue is firmly placed in my check on that question.) But seriously I do watch a lot of YouTube, and for me it is a good and free alternative to modern TV fare. YouTube plus Netflix ($16 for 1 DVD and streaming), plus Hulu ($8) added to Russian Internet TV ($18) for my wife is all we need. I may even drop the Hulu. Right now I am going through Midsommer Murders on Netflix streaming. Maybe next week I will share that Sci-Fi classic, Day of the Triffids! Cut the Cable! 


Media Bias

Most media bias is too subtle to easily see. It is often the story you don't see. Or the story you do see that the news outlet was paid to air, such as the recent example of CNN receiving money for their coverage of Bahrain. 

There have been two stories recently, not well-covered of course, that illustrate my point. Both stories involve CBS. 

A few years ago CBS bought the tech website CNET. I used to listen to a few of their podcasts—I am not sure why I stopped. CNET reviews various tech and entertainment hardware. Every year at the electronic show CES they give awards. 

Here is how a website that competes with CNET put it. 

I’m not going to pretend that the Dish/CNET debacle is a major news story. I can assure you that it isn’t and next week we’ll still be reading a CNET camera review from 2011 to decide which ultra zoom to buy (or, arguably, you’ll just end up on Amazon and read those reviews, which, I’d argue, are supplanting traditional gadget reviews). The whole thing stinks, but it doesn’t take a super sleuth to figure out what happened. It probably shook down like this: a CBS lawyer got wind of the award, saw the damage it would do to the case against Dish, and told the board. The board made a few calls, the editors cried, and the Hopper was pulled. News got out because someone who is close to a number of CNET and Dish folks tweeted about it. This would have been a quiet kill if hadn’t been for those pesky kids.

First, I agree that this is not a major news story, but I disagree in that it should have been. The Hopper is a product that automatically records TV shows, and when you watch the show later, it automatically removes the commercials—my kind of product. The Hopper was going to win best of show, but CBS, as they own CNET, stopped this. 

I have no idea of the merits of CBS' suit against Dish. I certainly understand that CBS' business plan is more and more in the toilet because of the DVR. I would not be surprised if they won. The Hopper certainly violates the spirit of Dish Network's agreement to air CBS on the satellite network. 

Another incident happened this last weekend. Forbes describes it

CBS banned Soda Stream’s Super Bowl spot because, apparently, it was too much of a direct hit to two of its biggest sponsors, Coke and Pepsi.

Please pause and read that sentence again.

I am shocked that CBS would ban a spot for being too competitive. But I’m even more shocked that the advertising world isn’t up in arms about it. 

SodaStream is a product to make your own soda. I have it. It is OK if you want cola, but its carbonated water product is awful. Unfortunately this is why I bought it. 

What these two stories tell us is that the Media conglomerates will be keeping what they perceive as their own best interests. This should come as no surprise. The advertisers are the boss. Will Faux News ever point out that the gold sellers who advertise on Faux are paying a fortune for these ads, and they must pay for it with higher commissions or larger spreads/markup?  Will Faux News ever do investigative reporting on the Pharmaceutical industry as they are big buyer of ads? 

Are you that naïve? 

I know you are not. 

The first step is to be aware of the problem.  The second step is that you will be able to concentrate on those outlets where you can ignore the ads, either by a printed or internet Media, or by a DVR.  The third step is to reduce advertiser-supported media. I wish there was a fourth step of being able to buy your news media without ads. I personally am looking for that fourth step.

The irony is that in both these instances CBS actually managed to make the situation worse for them. In particular SodaStream is getting more buzz from the rejection of their Superbowl ad than they would have gotten from the ad itself. I want to do my part in this, so here is the ad.