ABC/FOX Bias and Hypocrisy

ABC is gaining exclusive media access to the White House for the President’s presentation on Health Care. It’s a bad move, to have that amount of media exclusivity.

FOX News agrees vehemently. But that’s the problem. FOX News held the same amount of exclusivity with President Bush several years ago, with many Iraq War sales pitches and White House interviews given exclusively to FOX.

Now I am fairly certain that ABC will, in turn, complain about FOX when the next Republican President again grants FOX exclusive access. And so it will deteriorate into a continuous, hypocritical media circus.

This is the problem with near-monopolistic control of a market sector. The global media system is almost exclusively dominated by Timewarner (owner of CNN) , Disney (owner of ABC), News Corporation (owner of FOX),  Viacom (owner of CBS), and GE (owner of NBC and everything else). No matter WHAT you flip the channel to, you will always be turning to a source of information input that is owned by someone driven by profit. All that information you receive will be tuned to get you to help maximize that channel owner’s earnings. This manipulation goes all the way up to the executive and legislative level with lobbyists to both the FCC and Congress, allowing them to significantly influence elections and policy through YOU.  And as demonstrated by this rivalry between ABC and FOX, each one will act without shame to gain the position of top dog.

This is what happens when you cross modern communication technology with relaxed anti-trust laws.

If you want a side-by-side video of the ABC-FOX corporate duel, go here.

Socialism

Want to see what Socialism ACTUALLY looks like, represented economically in graph form? Go here.

The same news site/blog also compares the respective socialism levels of Obama’s federal policies and Palin’s Alaskan policies. The results are interesting, to say the least.

UPDATE: As was correctly pointed out in the comments below, the graph of “Palin’s Alaska” ends before she even takes office. So that appears to be deliberately deceptive. I’ve also looked at the original graph I linked to, and it doesn’t include some of the recent acquisitions of the government. However, considering the current devalued state of the housing and automobile markets, it doesn’t change the picture much at all. But as a commenter on that site pointed out, it doesn’t take majority ownership of the market to control it. The main influence of the government lies through its control of Fannie May and Freddie Mac. But ultimately, the loans to control the housing market are from China, so our government doesn’t even completely control things anyway. If we were to regraph that data by global national influence, we would see China occupying most of the graph due to its sheer industrial output.

An interesting commenter on The Atlantic going by the name of “Nelson Alexander” has this say about the graphs:

This may be a useful corrective to the silly ravings of the right, but in reality it only confirms our greater national delusions concerning the public/private or government/market dichotomies.

By many conventional estimates the “government” accounts for over 40 percent of the “economy,” but it is hardly clear what this means. Economies do not stop at national borders and governments maintain all fiat currencies and property laws through which “economies” operate, to point out only the obvious. In our recent troubles, the legal status of the Federal Reserve as a private institution and the revolving door between government jobs and, say, Goldman Sachs have made these specious distinctions even more absurd.

I have never yet heard anyone who touts the superior efficiency of “free markets” provide an example of this metaphysical entity that is not supported, stabilized, institutionalized, defined, and operated through a complex system of supposedly “inefficient” government structures. The only thing approaching an international market system, as far as I know, is the illegal drug trade. The unmentionable dichotomy between an investor class and those who rely on wages is far more realistic than the government/market paradigm used to fog the issues.

“Protect the Children” Totalitarianism

authority

If you have paid attention to both domestic and international news, you will have probably noticed a global trend towards increased government power to control the flow of public information.

There are several rationalizations for this proto-Orwellian behavior that the world’s governments endorse. Among them are

A) Protect the Children. This excuse can be used in almost any situation in order to rationalize expanded police power. However, I am of the opinion that this is really only an attempt by governments to do parents’ job for them, caused by the mistaken belief that you can legislate away fundamental human social problems.

B) We cannot reason with our ideological enemies, so we have to kill them or be killed. This particular rationalization can’t even be considered a mistaken belief, because in 80% of cases where I’ve seen it used, it’s intentional manipulation. It’s a falsely dichotomous mentality left over from the Cold War era. Us or them, kill or be killed. But the problem is, it’s not true in a majority of cases. Most of the time, there’s a middle ground that negates the need for expanded government power.

C) God wants us to be strong, all the others are infidels. Self-explanatory. Common in modern extremist Islamic countries, particularly Iran, as a justification for expanding government power.

So. I guess the questions here are three, but all related. Would you rather be a good parent or have the government do it for you? Would you rather die for your freedom, or live perfectly safe but without liberty? Would you rather worship a God that demands that you kill or control all that oppose him, or a God that encourages diversity and toleration?

France, Australia, USA, Germany, and the UK have all implemented hefty information surveillance and control legislation. And just today, reports were posted that indicate Germany is taking even further steps to legislate new government powers. Read more about that here.

Pet Peeve

This annoys the crap out of me.

Today, News Corporation (also the owner of Fox News)-sponsored news website Drudge Report had its usual display of insinuating and misleading headlines. Among them was this:

“Obama’s Air Force One flight to Chicago and back Monday to cost $236,000…”

Occasionally I agree with commentary about Obama’s spending. But not when it displays this level of sleaze.

What’s the sleaze? Well, for starters, Air Force One is a VC-25, the military version of a 747. These were first commissioned under Reagan. The amount of Fuel consumption by these aircraft has not changed (the price has, but that is more linked to Middle-East oil costs) significantly since the aircraft was first commissioned. Bush incurred similar costs. As did Clinton. As did Bush Sr. As did Reagan, who payed the most for them since he commissioned their development as part of the defense budget.

The second problem concerns the Drudge Report headlines in general. A vast majority of the time, the headline is made to look incriminating and scandalous, as shown above. However, if you actually CLICK the headline link, the linked story itself often insinuates exactly the opposite of the Drudge Report headline. In this case, the Air Force One article indicates that the Air Force One travel cost is “largely unavoidable because of the security and communication needs of the modern president” and that the only recreational trip Obama as taken on it is still only roughly “half the distance President George W. Bush routinely flew to visit his ranch near Crawford, Texas.”

So basically, what I’m getting at is that Drudge Report headlines routinely lie and mislead readers about the contents of the linked articles. Given the number of hostile “This just proves that Obama’s a socialist super-spender!” comments on the article, it appears as if a great many readers don’t even read the articles themselves. And I bet that’s the kind of stupidity that Drudge is banking on to manipulate public opinion. I find that pretty scary.

Terrorists being given Miranda Rights?

There is a rumor going around on several prominent GOP-affiliated news outlets that President Obama is now giving high-profile detainees Miranda Rights (shown above). If true, this would contradict a statement given by Obama in March 2009 that detainees do not deserve to be granted Miranda Rights.

However, I find myself still suspicious of this claim, since it only seems to be appearing on the same sorts of news outlets that still go on about Obama’s Birth Certificate (the still-conservative Supreme Court already ruled that his Hawaiian BC was valid early this year, in case you hadn’t heard). So I will only consider this story to be substantiated when nonaligned or centrist news sources being to report on it independently. Until then, I will consider it to be another conspiracy theory along the lines of “Bush caused 9/11” or “Obama is secretly a Muslim with a socialist agenda”. God save America.

UPDATE(as of June 10 9:00 Eastern):  The Drudge Report has removed the news link and I can no longer find it in their archives. The only other sites that reported this are right-wing blogs that only posted the information AFTER Drudge did. This kind of quick but thorough retraction suggests to me that the information is from a unverified or fraudulent source. It almost reminds me of when Dan Rather reported then hastily retracted an accusation that Bush was AWOL during conscripted military training. It’s all careless journalism with a severe case of Confirmation Bias.