Monday, March 31, 2008

A Media Constructed Reality

A media constructed reality is an actual term taught in colleges across the nation to those seeking credits in a particular field of study. So, those journalists who actively participate in the practice of a constructed mediated reality know exactly what they are doing. But to the average hardworking American, who rely on journalists to be just as diligent in their jobs, may not be aware of this practice.

To explain how this occurs I go back to 360 BC to Plato's Allegory of the cave:
Imagine prisoners, who have been chained since their childhood deep inside a cave: not only are their limbs immobilized by the chains; their heads are chained in one direction as well so that their gaze is fixed on a wall.Behind the prisoners is an enormous fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway, along which puppets of various animals, plants, and other things are moved along. The puppets cast shadows on the wall, and the prisoners watch these shadows. When one of the puppet-carriers speaks, an echo against the wall causes the prisoners to believe that the words come from the shadows. The prisoners engage in what appears to us to be a game: naming the shapes as they come by. This, however, is the only reality that they know, even though they are seeing merely shadows of objects. They are thus conditioned to judge the quality of one another by their skill in quickly naming the shapes and dislike those who play poorly.
This drawing is highly simplified and should only be used as an aid for grasping the picture the allegory creates; it does not represent the entire allegory.
This drawing is highly simplified and should only be used as an aid for grasping the picture the allegory creates; it does not represent the entire allegory.

For my point, the "cave" is our own livingroom, and the media constructed reality are the shadows cast on the television set, by order of the media. The sounds coming from those shadows are carefully selected, in order to create the desired reality.

Case in point is John McCain. Two things have been tattooed into our national psyche about the Senator; he is a "Maverick" and a "Straight Talker."

Who decided this? It is one thing for a Howard Stern, an entertainer and radio bigmouth, to declare himself "The King Of All Media" long enough and frequent enough for the media to simply shrug their shoulders and declare it a part of his motto, but it is entirely different for a public servant to get such deferential treatment.

Sometimes, one who is outside the cave, sneaks in to ask a question with hilarious results:

John McCain's history is rife with flip-flops and outright pandering. Without a doubt, no Democratic contender could get away with changing positions as many times as John McCain. His primary credentials seem to be his "war record" during our time of war. He crashed up five planes and logged less than eleven hours over Vietnam before inevitably getting shot down, breaking his arms and leg while ejecting. This somehow gives him the moral authority to persuade Americans to fight in Iraq for another hundred years.

He said it would be easy. Then gently suggested to Americans it was not and chided the naysayers in congress who didn't understand what they were voting for by authorizing the war. Certainly people can change their minds, given time and information, but John McCain can do it in eleven minutes.

This is not "straight talk" but double talk, so much so John McCain needs five sets of teeth. No matter what you believe in, Senator McCain agrees with you, or has at some time in the last couple of years.

But, as dangerous as a politician is, who will say and do absolutely anything to win, it pales in comparison to a meek and compliant cheerleading press corps. who are unwilling to point this out. Not only that, they are the ones who are constructing this false reality of St. John McCain.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Jane Sends Dear John Letter

updated below
Jane Hamsher files FEC complaint against John McCain, and explains it all in the video, well most of it anyway. See, the Federal Election Commission cannot function to give permission to McCain and his alleged illegal campaign financing, spending $4 million over the limit after accepting public financing, due to vacancies.

An easy fix, right? Just appoint some folks and get to it. Well, not so fast. The Bush administration tried to "bundle" seriously chronic and flagrant vote suppressor, Hans Von Spakovsky, with a group of lesser-known lapdog lickspittle corporate reactionaries onto the FEC. Van Spakovsky was so heinous (read a little about his fevered schemes for a "permanent Republican majority" here) the administration installed the little "vote fixer" as a recess appointment. When it came time to formally clear congress, the Democrats amazingly found a spine and rejected him, causing Miss McConnell, R-Kentucky, the minority leader for the Senate, to throw a hissy fit and leave the posts unfilled.

So here is John McCain, hoist by his own petard, accepting public financing when he was sucking hind tit on the campaign trail, thinking he can just say he was teasing now that he is the presumptive nominee.

Since Campaign finance reform is a centerpiece of his identity, his apparent circumvention of the law in the area of campaign finance should call into question his integrity as a "straight talker."

We doubt his base will even notice, so take a minute and sign the petition that asks McCain to obey the law he helped write.


CNN just picked up on the story:

Credit where credit is due: Good on CNN for at least bringing up the subject. Hopefully they will do a follow-up and force the other media outlets to look at McCains apparently illegal campaign financing.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Four Thousand

Mosaic by Nico Pitney at Huffington Post:
In remembrance of the 4,000 brave men and women who sacrificed everything for us -- and the two men who would continue this great tragedy, despite the cost to our soldiers, our military, and our nation.
Click here to enlarge image.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why We Are Red

Another example of how our media ejaculates a story all over the grateful faces of folks here in the heartland. OPUBCO, stands for the Oklahoma Publishing Company, part of the Gaylord family entertainment and self-delusional enterprise, owns the Daily Oklahoman, our only state-wide newspaper. They are nothing but a huge fucking vacuum cleaner of money, sucking advertising dollars from local businesses (rates among the highest in the nation, circulation among the lowest) bank in Dallas and spend their money in Tennessee. They are not the friends of Oklahomans.

But that is not the point of this post. The sins they have perpetrated against Oklahoma are both wide and varied, the latest of which is labeling that which is bad and evil and rooted in and founded upon religious doctrine by zealots and fanatics, in short, the base of the religious right, and turned that to represent mainstream Americans who oppose the war.

The story is about Westboro Baptist Church, which is famous for its lunacy, and a Marine that took exception to one of the WBC members sticking an American flag down her britches. He charged the hill and was arrested. Protesters and counter-protesters and police were there. The marine was cuffed and stuffed and jailed for his troubles.

The whole problem with the story was Westboro Baptist Church being identified as a war protester, thereby staining all war-protesters as flag-hating anti-American.

The "reporter" on this story is named Ann Kelley, and I do not know if the editing process lopped off all the heinous background of this religious right hate-group, or if she intentionally conspired to mislead readers into believing they were left-leaning anti-war protesters. The result is the same, a skewed and downright dishonest portrayal of who the crackpots are and are not.

Okie Funk has more.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Five Long Years

The center for the Global War In Error, Iraq, is now five years old. I have read many of the war cheerleaders posts across the blogosphere's lame-assed "How I Got It Wrong" posts, and see the thread of similarity. Nearly all of them point to error-riddled applications to our Iraqi-quagmire.

Nearly all pro-war pundits still believe, even today, the war was a good idea, but just badly managed. It is in effect, the competence defense. Which begs the question of what would a perfectly executed war plan look like if the war was doomed from the outset?

They all miss the point, and the point is, they do not understand the idea of America, or what it takes to be an American.

A group of neocons, along with multiple accomplices in the media hijacked American horror and anger over 9/11 and used it for their own benefit. A lot of people are now dead, many more are wounded, and a few are very rich.

Part of the American way is freedom, and we hold this so precious, we have enshrined it into law. An American can defend his life if the threat is "imminent", and can in some cases use deadly force. I cannot take a flamethrower to my office building because I think a co-worker will perhaps, someday in the future, punch me in the nose.

Iraq did not threaten us.

Iraq did not attack us.

Iraq had no weapons of WMD's.

Iraq had no connection to 9/11.

Now all these "serious people" who were wrong about everything want all of us to forget how completely wrong they were and the horrible consequences that resulted from their insane rantings, only to listen to them now about "The Way Forward."

And our Corporate Media meekly comply by giving the Kagans and the Kliens and the Kristols a place on our teevee to smear their street cred with the effectiveness of butt-scoot stank.

We rarely get to see war-critics on the panel talk shows, you know, the ones that were right about Iraq.

The same pundits who were Wrong About Everything warn of disasters Worse Than Ten Hitlers! if we pull out of Iraq.

Sorry, but you have lost your credibility card with me. Pull out our troops. If a bunch of bad stuff happens, maybe you can have some street cred back by saying "I told you so", until then, just STFU. Mmmmmkay?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

MAPs For Gaylord

On March 4, Mayor Mick Cornett is asking the citizens of Oklahoma City to approve a one-cent sales tax to expand the Ford Center, a new indoor arena built as part of the MAPs project I wrote about here.

I am very proud to have been a supporter of and active campaigner for the very successful MAPs project, however, I can not be more agnostic about this current proposal. To begin with, the good citizens of Oklahoma urged our leaders to build facilities able to house professional franchises, only to be mildly rebuked. Oklahoma City, we were told, did not have the population to sustain a professional team.

I suppose our guest-hosting of the New Orleans Hornets have proved otherwise. Clay Bennett, a local businessman and spouse to the Gaylord Media and Entertainment Empire (publishers of The Oklahoman) headed up an organization that purchased the Seattle SuperSonics on July 18, 2006 for $350 million.

Seattle, it seems, is unwilling to upgrade its facilities. The previous ownership group claims over $60 million in losses for the previous five years, and Mr. Bennett is working feverishly to bust the contract that ties the SuperSonics to Seattle through 2010. A minor partner of Bennett's new ownership group, Aubrey McClendon of Chesapeake Energy, was quoted in an interview that the SuperSonics were not purchased to keep in Seattle, and that they hoped to bring the team out to Oklahoma City. The NBA fined McClendon a quarter of a million dollars for the comment.

In short, it is no secret the vote on March 4 is to create snazzy new digs for the Sonics. However, nowhere is this disclosed in any of the campaign materials. Very limited information is available about what our tax dollars will buy. Since I see no disclosures of super swanky and private skyboxes that will benefit no one other than the Gaylord swells, would it be safe to assume none will be built using public funds?

It would be fair to disclose The Oklahoman's editorial endorsement of using public funds to subsidize BassPro shop installing a store in Bricktown, while the Gaylord Entertainment was a large shareholder of Bass Pro private stock.

Truthfully, most professional team owners need private skysuites to make a profit, and the system is rigged for taxpayers to build them. Under our current system, corporate welfare is needed so they can entertain us.

I do not know how I'll vote on Tuesday. If I vote no, I am voting against getting a professional franchise in Oklahoma City and if I vote yes I am voting to give public funds to a hard right-wing family and publishers of the "Worst Newspaper In America."

Tough choice.