While attending the Libertopia festival in San Diego, Ben Swann was interviewed by Josh Sigurdson of World Alternative Media to discusslongstanding troubles within the mainstream media including the massive spread of misleading reports and how they manipulate the public.
Swann and Sigurdson talked at length about questionable practices of corporate media including how news stations often follow certain narratives in unison and frame critical issues as a question of winners-vs.-losers rather than right-vs.wrong, and the broader issue of sensationalizing information. Swann offered his views on the solutions to these problems and discussed how Dash Digital Cash has had a critical role in facilitating the rapid progress of decentralized media.
In early April, Ben Swann attended the Block2TheFuture blockchain and digital currency conference in San Francisco, CA. During his time there, Swann gave an informative talk that detailed the imminent transformation in how news and media will be produced and consumed, largely due to decentralization and cryptocurrencies.
Swann, the first independent journalist to be solely funded by cryptocurrency, summarized his professional career, including his transition from conventional broadcast reporting to founding his own independent media organization. He explained how the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) of Dash Digital Cash played a primary role in Swann’s mission to remain an independent journalist.
Swann highlighted how digital currencies such as Dash make it possible for independent creators to endure by freeing themselves from the longstanding corporate funding structure that has exerted power over the news for generations, noting that following his sponsorship with Dash many other independent organizations have subsequently followed suit in seeking funding through similar DAOs including the Dash treasury.
Swann also noted that real-life experiences with the blockchain, cryptocurrency and decentralization and their potential to solve a number of societal problems starkly contrast mainstream media narratives that paint these aspects as harmful to “the greater good.”
In recent days, millions of viewers across the country have been subjected not only to a statement concerning “fake news” eerily repeated verbatim by dozens of local television stations across the country, but also to reports uncovering the fact that those stations had been instructed to recite this statement.
CNN’s Brian Stelter “broke” the news in early March, warning that a “promotional campaign that sounds like pro-Trump propaganda” would be hitting local TV stations. The statement reported by CNN was crafted by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the biggest owner of television stations in the United States. A Seattle Post Intelligencer report provided the script that had been given to KOMO News, which is owned by Sinclair:
“Hi, I’m(A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…
(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Northwest communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that KOMO News produces.
(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.
(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.
(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.
(B) At KOMO it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.
(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to KOMOnews.com and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.
(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.
(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback”
It’s well-known, especially at this point in time, that Sinclair explicitly leans conservative, and the corporation has faced criticism in the past for pro-Trump sentiments woven into their broadcasting. With several reports pushed by multiple outlets (sound familiar?) tying Sinclair to Trump, Americans are being served an implication that Trump is now pulling the strings in newsrooms all over the United States.
However, this parroting of news material is not new, and is not exclusive to Trump or Sinclair. For years, smaller media outlets have pointed out the peculiarity of local news stories sounding awfully familiar across the U.S. Among the most popular illustrations of this practice is a segment called “Media Reacts” from Late Night With Conan O’Brien, in which O’Brien pokes fun at the identical media messaging from local news stations. Note that a handful of stations in this clip is owned by Sinclair, but there are plenty of stations in these clips that are not; some are owned by Nexstar Media Group, Tegna, Heartland Media, Tribune and Raycom Media.
In most of these cases where O’Brien uses anchors from different TV stations all over the country reading the exact same script word for word, the source of that script is some kind of wire service. This means those stations have subscribed to AP, Reuters, CNN, FOX, ABC, NBC, etc. wire services. In those cases, the wire story will come down and a station reporter or producer will copy and paste it word for word into a newscast.
The problem with this policy is that reporters and producers simply take that content as gospel and no one in any newsroom ever bothers to fact check or verify if the wire story is correct. Simply put, in a newsroom, if it is on the wire it has to be true.
Sinclair reigns supreme in ownership of local stations, but several other companies including Nexstar, Gray Television, Inc., and Raycom Media have also been playing this game. A report from the Pew Research Center published in 2014 noted that while Sinclair was sitting at the top back then, companies like Tribune, Nexstar and Gannett were enjoying acquisitions as well. CNN is also in the business of producing content for local news stations via CNN Newsource.
Sinclair is under intense scrutiny for its “must-run” content requirements and demanding stations under its ownership to repeat a canned statement, and rightfully so, as commanding such homogeneity is loathsome. It’s also worthy to point out that hundreds of news stations are under the authority of one powerful company and it’s likely that there’s a good number of reporters who would rather engage in more meaningful journalism. However, pointing to Sinclair and Trump as the sole villains in what plagues news media is disingenuous. While Sinclair is facing due criticism for propagandizing the news, it’s certainly not the first or last to do so; mainstream media should not be acting as if media consolidation has abruptly been foisted on the public immediately following our most recent presidential election.
Regardless of Sinclair’s political leanings, the focus of the issue should be that almost all “local” news stations are following the marching orders of a higher authority and its agenda. The public should be aware not just of Sinclair, but of the danger that arises when one company— whether it’s Sinclair, Nexstar, Tribune, Gannett, or any other entity— owns an alarmingly high volume of stations around the country and wields control over what is spoken on air.
By Blake Neff – MSNBC confirmed Sunday morning that it has cut ties with Melissa Harris-Perry after her very public attack on the network over having her airtime repeatedly preempted by election coverage.
Meanwhile, the network itself confirmed with The New York Times that Harris-Perry was getting the boot. While severance terms are still being negotiated, there is no longer any hope of a reconciliation between the two parties.
NBC News is in the middle of an aggressive reconstruction of MSNBC in an effort to boost weak ratings, and in her email, Harris-Perry complained that multiple preemptions of her show had left her feeling “worthless.” She announced that she would be going on strike against her own program unless it was treated with more respect.
“I have stayed in the same hotels where MSNBC has been broadcasting in Iowa, in New Hampshire, and in South Carolina, yet I have been shut out from coverage,” she said. “I have a PhD in political science and have taught American voting and elections at some of the nation’s top universities for nearly two decades, yet I have been deemed less worthy to weigh in than relative novices and certified liars.”
Given that past, it is perhaps unsurprising that the final break between Harris-Perry and NBC came about after executives tried to stop her from discussing the politics of Beyoncé’s new single “Formation.” While Harris-Perry won out and discussed the single on her Feb. 7 show, she hasn’t been allowed on the air since.
The 2016 presidential election, crowded with candidates in a circus-like atmosphere, is serving as a type of stress test for the U.S. news media. Can journalists, often viewed as members of the U.S. government’s fourth unofficial branch, manage the task of accurately and neutrally informing American voters of the positions of the many candidates that are running for president this time?
However, in order to achieve this simple-sounding feat, journalists must resist two major innate urges: giving in to the greedy lust for easy clicks and bending coverage to fit their own personal political biases or financial interests.
Billionaire Donald Trump’s celebrity campaign exposes media outlets who favor ratings and clicks over reporting the news, as Trump’s reality TV popularity has given the stiff and stodgy world of electoral politics an Access Hollywood-style makeover and a new audience hungry for gossip about the billionaire real estate investor’s latest controversies. Unfortunately, the U.S. media appears to be failing that aspect of the 2016 stress test, as Trump’s out-sized popularity has led to him obtaining “the overwhelming majority of [the 2016 presidential election’s] news coverage,” as University of Texas at Arlington political science professor Rebecca Deen told BBC News.
Journalists will obviously seek out content that attracts readers and viewers, as that is the nature of the news marketplace, but there is a difference between making sure to cover the hottest stories and choosing only to cover candidates that are already bringing in big ratings prior to even receiving coverage on their positions.
On the other hand, the vast array of different candidates in the 2016 race has placed a spotlight on the various biases that appear to burden different networks.
Fox News was criticized by conservatives, who likely believe that the news organization has cozy ties with the Republican National Committee, for posing what they saw as left wing attacks as questions at the network’s Aug. 6, 2015 Republican presidential debate in what was seen as an effort to disrupt outsider candidates like Carson and Trump and to put conservative candidates on the defensive. Fox has also drawn criticism for repeatedly leaving Sen. Rand Paul’s name off of on-screen graphics ranking candidates by their poll numbers, an issue that also plagued former Congressman Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign.
CNN has drawn criticism from Bernie Sanders supporters for pointlessly declaring Hillary Clinton the winner of Democratic presidential debates immediately upon their conclusion based often on arbitrary metrics, leading some observers to conclude that the network seems to unofficially favor the candidacy of Clinton over Sanders. Sen. Jim Webb accused the cable news channel of rigging the Democratic debates for Clinton and Sanders. CNN, which many perceive as left-leaning, also openly admitted to planning more divisive and combative debate questions for Republicans than it did for Democrats.
Biases exist and always will because all journalists are human and have them. However, good journalists should admit their biases and work hard not to let them poison their coverage of facts and ruin their credibility in the eyes of neutral observers.
Also, media outlets are sometimes guilty of manipulating the playing field in the presidential race for their own convenience. As an example, news networks drew criticism from Republican activists for trying to winnow down the large field of GOP candidates prior to presidential debates based on early poll numbers, thus denying some lesser-known but serious candidates a platform to ever promote their candidacy in the first place.
It is not the media’s job to choose which candidates get to outline their policies to voters. It is the media’s job to neutrally publicize the views of all of those candidates and to let voters in the fifty states winnow the field down in the voting booth.
When Fox Business cut Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina from the main stage of its Jan. 14 debate to the undercard, some accused the network of reducing the number of candidates on the main stage in an effort to prevent the undercard stage from being cut from the program due to a lack of available candidates, potentially putting advertising dollars at risk.
Ultimately, the U.S. news media as a whole should be judged on its coverage of the presidential race based on whether voters have been equipped with the information necessary to look at all of the candidates on the ballot on election day and choose the one whose positions line up best with their own personal views. It should not be a press release service for journalists’ favorite campaigns’ talking points, a public relations firm selling the viewpoints of the political establishment, or a ratings-and-clicks-obsessed tabloid detailing the latest celebrity gossip.
During the first Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night, candidate Bernie Sanders gained attention for saying that he was sick of hearing about rival Hillary Clinton’s “damn emails.”
However, what was left out of some news networks’ coverage from the night were Sanders’ comments criticizing media coverage of his campaign and issues such as poverty, inequality and trade policies, which were mixed into his comments about Clinton’s emails.
Clinton admitted to using a private email server for government business during her tenure as Secretary of State, in March, and since then questions have been raised about the security of the server, emails containing classified information and the content she claimed she deleted for personal reasons.
During Tuesday’s debate, Clinton was asked about how what she thought her admission that she “mishandled the email controversy” says about her ability to handle a crisis.
[pull_quote_center]This committee is basically an arm of the Republican National Committee. It is a partisan vehicle, as admitted by the House Republican Majority Leader Mr. McCarthy, to drive down my poll numbers—big surprise—and that’s what they have attempted to do. I am still standing, I am happy to be a part of this debate, and I intend to keep talking about the issues that matter to the American people.[/pull_quote_center]
Moderator Anderson Cooper interjected, asking why Clinton would call it a “just a partisan issue,” when there is an ongoing “FBI investigation, and President Obama himself just two days ago said this is a legitimate issue.”
“Well, I never said it wasn’t legitimate. I said that I have answered all the questions and I will certainly be doing so again before this committee,” said Clinton, who went on to further criticize the House Benghazi Committee.
Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist and Independent U.S. senator for Vermont, responded. “Let me say something that may not be great politics, but I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails,” said Sanders.
Sanders’ comment was met with applause and he continued to speak, criticizing the media’s coverage of not only Clinton’s email scandal, but also of issues facing American voters such as poverty, inequality and trade agreements:
[pull_quote_center]The middle class- Anderson, and let me say something about the media, as well. I go around the country, talk to a whole lot of people. Middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United. Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.[/pull_quote_center]
As shown in the video below, while MSNBC covered Clinton’s comments at length, Sanders’ response was edited to begin with his comments about being tired of hearing about Clinton’s “damn emails” and was immediately followed by his comment “Enough of the e-mails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.”
As seen below in Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier, Sanders’ comments about Clinton’s “damn emails” were also mentioned, while his criticism of overall media coverage was left out.
The Intercept noted that when talking about the debate on Wednesday morning, CNN host Michaela Periera played an edited clip of Sanders’ comments about Clinton’s “damn emails,” and then commented on how Sanders used his time to defend Clinton.
“What’s interesting, many thought that he might have taken advantage of the fact that this was a big opening, but instead he essentially kind of defended her,” Periera said. “This moment really, really rang true to a lot of people online.”
Dr. Ron Paul, former Congressman and host of The Ron Paul Liberty Report, told RT’s Ameera David that he believes the mainstream media orchestrates some of the election process, and that presidential candidate Donald Trump is an authoritarian and brags about it.
Ameera David: I first asked Dr. Paul what he thinks it says that the three candidates from the private sector are doing the best, does that mean the economy is the foremost issue on the minds of most Americans?
Ron Paul: Well probably yes, but if you look at the Democrat side, you have someone like Bernie Sanders, who has been in nothing else except politics. And he’s doing pretty well. And most incumbents are reelected.
So I think some of this stuff in the presidential campaigns is orchestrated by the major media. It is entertainment. They have competitions going on and on. So I don’t put a lot of stock [in the presdential process], this is still pretty early. ..
Donald Trump is an authoritarian and he brags about it. “I’m the boss and I tell people what to do.” Well, government happens to be a little different than that.
An authoritarian is the opposite of a libertarian. A libertarian wants to release the individuals, get government out of our lives, out of the economy, and out of all these places around the world…
Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook followed up with Oath Keepers president Stewart Rhodes to provide an update on the Oath Keepers’ presence in Ferguson.
Cook asked Rhodes, “what is the media getting wrong about your group?”
“One of the first things they said was that our presence was inflammatory,” answered Rhodes. “And it’s quite the opposite. There were actually no shots fired and interesting enough, no arrests made while our guys were on the streets. And we protected several black owned businesses again like we did last year.”
“The point of us being there is, (a), lead by example and show the people of Ferguson this is how you prevent arson, this is how you protect against looting, etc. And (b), protect your community so that you don’t have this false choice that’s being presented to the American people- that the only way to stop arson and looters is to trample on the First Amendment Rights of the protesters or to have a hyper-militarized police state. The American people are being given a false choice,” said Rhodes.
“The American people are being given a false choice.” – Stewart Rhodes, President of Oath Keepers
Rhodes said that there have been increased instances of business owners more actively protecting their property during the unrest. “There’s a growing number of businesses doing exactly what we did, stand up and do what the police can’t do. The police cannot or will not protect the people’s actual businesses from the looters and arsonists. The best answer is for the folks in Ferguson to do it themselves, it takes away that false choice,” said Rhodes.
Cook asked Rhodes about his thoughts on St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar’s comments about his group’s presence being “unnecessary” and “inflammatory.” Rhodes responded that their presence has actually had a “calming” effect and many of the protesters realized who the Oath Keepers were and that their presence was meant for protection.
“I think Chief Belmar, like all too many police officers, have this idea that only the police should have firearms. It’s a threat to their turf. It’s a turf battle. He’s kind of a small minded man and looks at it like that,” said Rhodes.
“What we are doing is leading by example. And we want to see the people of Ferguson to stand up for themselves and take care of their own security so they won’t need a heavy police presence.” said Rhodes.
“Frankly they need a new police of chief there,” said Rhodes. “I think a lot of the problems go away with better leadership.”
Cook asked about the criticism Oath Keepers have received for offering to protect independent journalists while major media outlets have provided themselves with security teams. “If you’re a mainstream media journalist with a professional security team, that’s okay. But if you’re alternative media like Alex Jones or some other small group who has us along to help protect them, then it’s somehow extreme. So it’s a double standard, it is,” said Rhodes.
Rhodes advised that “the people themselves need to step up and take care of their own neighborhoods and suppress the thugs. The few thugs who are causing the problems, it’s up to the experienced veterans in Ferguson to step up.”
As previously reported by Truth In Media’s Rachel Blevins, “peaceful protests commemorating Michael Brown, the 18-year-old unarmed man who was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson one year ago on Sunday, turned violent after gunfire erupted leaving one man in critical condition.”
Following Sunday night’s gunfire, members of the Oath Keepers, an American non-profit made up of current and former police and military members aimed at restoring the Constitution, came to Ferguson to protect small business owners. The group also came to Ferguson last fall to carry out similar activities.
“When they’re here, there’s definitely a weight lifted off of our shoulders,” Davis Vo, whose family owns a local restaurant, told the New York Times, when discussing the Oath Keepers in November. “I’d be lying if I said otherwise.”
Apparently members of the group also offered to protect InfoWars reporters in the event of any unrest. Rather than discussing the Oath Keepers’ work to protect local business owners, the media chose to focus on InfoWars, stating that the website hired the Oath Keepers.
Mother Jones wrote, “According to reports, the Oath Keepers said they were on the scene to provide voluntary protection to a journalist working for the site InfoWars, the conspiracy mill run by noted lunatic Alex Jones.”
Mother Jones went on to describe the Oath Keepers as a “mysterious group, who called themselves voluntary ‘patriots,’ (which) primarily consists of heavily armed white men dressed in military uniforms. Many of them are former soldiers and police officials.”
However, shortly after similar reports began to circulate InfoWars began debunking the claims. InfoWars wrote:
“CBS News published a false story claiming that Infowars reporter Joe Biggs, a highly-experienced combat veteran, “hired” a militia group to protect both him and reporter Jakari Jackson in Ferguson, Mo.
“CBS News reports that several members of a militia-style group called the Oath Keepers showed up carrying assault weapons; they were hired by Infowars.com — a website run by Alex Jones — to protect its reporters,” the Aug. 11 article falsely states.”
The news website stated that they “did not hire Oath Keepers for private security”. Shortly after denying hiring the Oath Keepers, InfoWars reported that News Director Rob Dew called John Butler, the news director of CBS St. Louis/KMOX, about the story. In the video below Dew explains to Butler that the story is false and Butler agrees to retract the claim.
NBC reported that Oath Keepers “added an extra dose of unease to protests in Ferguson,” and that St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar described their presence as “both unnecessary and inflammatory.”
Protesters on the scene expressed skepticism of the Oath Keepers. Some of the crowd stated that the Oath Keepers were allowed to open-carry and march around because they were “white”. Missouri currently allows for legal open-carry of firearms.
In a post to the Oath Keepers facebook page, admin Robert Hase writes, “I am sorry, the Oath Keepers kept parts of Ferguson from burning to the ground last year and we will do it again. Many small business owners thanked us personally for our presence. NBC “news” can get the hell out of here with their nonsense.”
So why did the media focus on the InfoWars connection and only report that residents were unhappy with the Oath Keepers? Why not report on the groups attempt to protect small business owners? Perhaps it has to do with the list of 10 orders that Oath Keepers agree they will not obey. These orders include attempts to the disarm the American people, conduct warrantless searches or turning Americans into internment camps. The group also promises to disobey orders that “impose martial law or a ‘state of emergency’ on a state.”
On their website, the Oath Keepers wrote“Is it any surprise that a Main Stream Media (MSM) outlet would attempt to demonize Oath Keepers by portraying us as hired guns? It is just another attempt by the MSM to smear Oath Keepers. One of their tactics is to make an accusation against us, then step back from it when the truth is pointed out. The damage has been done, however, as the initial accusation is stuck in the minds of the public.”
If the Black Lives Matter protesters and other activists in Ferguson chose to work with the Oath Keepers and focus on police violence, this movement for accountability might actually have some legs. If not, and the people continue to allow themselves to be divided, then tyrannical governments and violent police will remain in power.
Perhaps the groups in Ferguson can take a lesson from activists in Ohio. Truth In Media recently reported that members of Anonymous, Open Carry Ohio, and Greene County Black Lives Matter teamed up for an action commemorating the death of 22-year old John Crawford, who was shot by a Beavercreek Police officer at a local Wal-Mart.
What are your thoughts? Is there any hope for unity from these groups with a wide-range of often differing opinions? Or is it a lost cause? Leave your thoughts below.
Even though the site isn’t launching until fall, Jason Stapleton’s LibertyONE.tv is piquing the interests of the liberty-minded.
The network’s mission is to promote and advance the idea of individual liberty and free market economics.
Stapleton, in an exclusive interview with Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook, said that he wants the network to be the go-to for video and education. He said he’d like the network to be, “The video arm of the liberty movement, and eventually a news outlet.”
“It’s going to start out small at first, but my plan is for it to grow into something very, very large,” he explained. “My long term goal is to have something that rivals RT America and eventually Fox News. One of the downsides of RT America is, while they do some good work, they’re Russian-subsidized media, and they’re never going to have the credibility of an independent news organization would have that’s promoting a lot of the same things.”
Stapleton said the site would have site-generated content, as well as curated items from other organizations.
“We’re going to produce some of our own content. We’re going to produce some of our own investigative stuff, hopefully in cooperation with guys like Truth In Media. Then we’re also going to be assembling really great content from around the Internet and around the world,” he said.
Stapleton also said that there would be a place for the opposition, as well.
“I don’t mind having discussions and debates with socialists, as long as we can meet on an even playing field,” he said. “What I hate is when it degrades into this shouting match online where a bunch of people who have nameless, faceless voices end up yelling and screaming and cursing at each other.”
Once the site is launched, the content won’t be subscription based. The revenue from the site will come from advertising and distribution.
Stapleton said he didn’t want to force people to pay to see content, or pay to learn about something.
Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook asked Dr. Ahmed in an exclusive interview why the media was ignoring the issue of the DIA report and its implications of aiding ISIS.
“I spoke to a major national newspaper here in the U.K. and what was interesting was they were quite sympathetic to the line of inquiry, but just felt like they couldn’t cover it. And it wasn’t that they were told they couldn’t cover it. The journalist that I spoke to who is a senior journalist that I have a lot of respect for was very sympathetic to what I was saying. He literally said to me look — I actually could sense that there was this fear that I shouldn’t be talking about this, this is going to far — is the document really strong enough? He didn’t feel confident,” said Ahmed.
“There is almost like an unspoken recognition I think in the mainstream media that there are certain things we are not allowed to say. The idea that something as despicable as ISIS could actually been foreseen or facilitated deliberately, which is really what is implied by this report quite clearly,” he said.
“It’s almost too much,” he said. “It goes against the grain of so much we take for granted. So many assumptions about not just American, but Western kind of supremacy and the benevolence of our government that we would never do anything like this … it’s a big kind of leap.”
“On the one hand I think that journalists are scared and worried about pushing boundaries to that extent. It does raise a concern that there is an absolute silence on this issue, especially in the English speaking media. It raises real questions about what is behind that silence?”
Read Ahmed’s update on the DIA report regarding ISIS here. Find his original article on the DIA report here.
Nafeez Ahmed PhD is an investigative journalist, international security scholar and bestselling author who tracks what he calls the ‘crisis of civilization.’ He is a winner of the Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian reporting on the intersection of global ecological, energy and economic crises with regional geopolitics and conflicts. He has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist. His work on the root causes and covert operations linked to international terrorism officially contributed to the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest.
I don’t agree with former Florida governor and likely president candidate Jeb Bush’s political philosophy, but c’mon, the guy lost over 30 pounds while following the Paleo Diet. That deserves some praise, not the influx of attacks he’s been receiving from the mainstream media.
Apparently “Big Food” may not like Bush advocating Americans to cut out the processed foods and sugary drinks from their diets, which is all part of living a Paleo lifestyle.
Forbes told him to “stop starving himself.” The New York Times also judged him pretty harshly for his positive lifestyle changes and accused him of having “regular bouts of dietary crankiness.” (If the Paleo Diet was Michelle Obama-sanctioned, I wonder if the Times would be singing a different tune.)
But give him a break if it’s working for him. It’s working for me as well. I’ve lost over 50 pounds on the diet myself.
There are countless other people who have been helped by switching to the Paleo Diet. In the New York Times piece, Bush quipped that he’s always hungry. They’re claiming that his bypassing his former favorite, enchiladas, for roast fish is somehow newsworthy, worth criticizing.
The Paleo Diet focuses on eating natural whole foods like fish, fruits and vegetables. Bush may want to introduce more sweet potato fries and spaghetti squash to his current diet so he’s not so cranky. That works for me.
Washington D.C.- In the aftermath of the tragic killings of three Muslim students at the Chapel Hill, the media noticeably stepped back from calling the killing ‘terrorism’, while being eager to consider similar events as acts of terror.
In the above video, Ben Swann speaks with Cyrus McGoldrick, an activist with Islamic Movement for Justice, about the hypocrisies within the media on the subject and the concerns of Muslims across the nation.
On Wednesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted that his story about being on board a helicopter that was hit by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was false.
NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams brought up the original story on Friday, in a video it posted on Facebook. In this video, Williams claimed that in 2003, during the invasion of Iraq, a helicopter he was traveling in was shot down by an RPG.
Williams said that he and his NBC team were “rescued, surrounded and kept alive” by an armored, mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry. One of the men who Williams attributed with protecting his safety, retired Command Sgt. Major Tim Terpak, was reunited with Williams during a New York Rangers hockey game. Their reunion was featured in the video.
The post received nearly 75,000 likes, over 45,000 shares, and over 2,500 comments. While many of the comments said things such as “made me cry,” and “class act Brian Williams,” there was one particular comment that received a response from Williams.
On Saturday, the flight engineer, Lance Reynolds, left a comment on the video, saying that while he didn’t remember Williams being on the aircraft, he did remember the NBC team leaving the scene and flying to Kuwait to report their “war story” for the Nightly News, all while the crew from the grounded flight was “stuck in Iraq trying to repair the aircraft” and pulling their own Security:
Williams replied to Reynolds’ comment on Wednesday, admitting that he was actually “on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp,” and calling the false report a mistake:
Reynolds told Stars and Stripes that he spoke up in the comments section, in order to preserve his account of the event.
“It was something personal for us that was kind of life-changing for me. I know how lucky I was to survive it,” said Reynolds. “It felt like a personal experience that someone else wanted to participate in and didn’t deserve to participate in.”
After originally reporting the story in 2003, Williams mentioned it again in 2008, when he wrote a blog post for NBC News:
“We came under fire by what appeared to be Iraqi farmers with RPG’s and AK-47’s,” wrote Williams. “The Chinook helicopter flying in front of ours (from the 101st Airborne) took an RPG to the rear rotor, as all four of our low-flying Chinooks took fire.”
Williams then referenced the story in 2013, during an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. This time, while he changed his story by stating that only two of the four helicopters were hit by ground fire, he reiterated that he was aboard one of the helicopters that was hit:
Ever since Rand Paul became a US senator, rumors have suggested that he might mount a campaign for the presidency in 2016. Initially, corporate mainstream media pundits widely dismissed his views as unpopular and his potential candidacy as doomed for failure. However, in the wake of new polling that places him at the head of the GOP pack and in the best position to take on Hillary Clinton in the general election, a wide range of mainstream media outlets, including Meet the Press, Huffington Post, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, National Journal, Newsmax, and US News and World Report, have declared that Rand Paul is currently the frontrunner in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.
On the July 20 episode of NBC‘s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd succinctly summed up Rand Paul’s claim to frontrunner status, “What gives Paul that label? He has the highest favorable ratings of any potential candidate in the two [early primary] states. He leads the polls in the early horserace, not including the undecided vote, and he runs best against Hillary Clinton.” Todd also pointed to some of Senator Paul’s recent political stances as a rationale for his claim at the top of the Republican pile, “But it’s not just good poll numbers, he’s been very strategic in the past six months. Paul hired Rick Santorum’s former campaign manager. He’s teamed with Democrat Cory Booker on some legislation. And he backs a less active foreign policy that happens to be more popular with the public. This also could mean that Paul will be an early target of uneasy establishment Republicans all of next year.”
In Slate, David Weigel dissented, claiming that Rand Paul’s frontrunner status falls apart when Mitt Romney is included in polls. However, the University of New Hampshire poll that Weigel cited as his sole example is hardly representative of Republican voters nationwide, as former Massachusetts Governor Romney has a second home in New Hampshire, a state that neighbors Massachusetts where he was elected governor, and polls like a local candidate. Eric Levenson at Boston.com also cautioned that one of the poll’s authors, Andrew Smith from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, said, “[It’s in] no way indicative of what’s going to happen… A lot of this is name recognition.”
Eric Levenson also pointed out the fact that the University of New Hampshire poll’s question may have caused a bias among participants, “The particular phrasing of the question posed to responders also likely had an impact on Romney’s big advantage. The pollers first asked a bevy of questions and opinions about the expected Republican contestants, including Christie, Ryan, Paul, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and others. The poller then asked a follow-up question: ‘If Mitt Romney were to run for the Republican nomination…’ followed by a list of all those same potential candidates. Specifically calling out Romney before mentioning the other names may have had the effect of highlighting him above others and influencing the response.”
If Rand Paul remains the GOP frontrunner as 2016 approaches, expect establishment Republicans to continue the already-underway barrage of attacks against him. Politico notes that, in recent weeks, several potential 2016 candidates have taken shots at Rand Paul’s foreign policy in what appears to have so far been a failed effort to soften Paul’s lead.
On his late night TV comedy, Conan O’brien decided to highlight local news stories over the holidays. What he shows his audience probably doesn’t shock many, but certainly it seems to provide warrant for the growing movement challenging the mainstream media. The video of O’brien recently began to go viral during the holiday season. Here it is.
In fact, O’brien has caught the mainstream media in the act more than once.
However redundant these stories may seem, is it truly a problem? Many media stations are owned by the same company for ease of production, which takes hours of work. Obrien’s videos touch on a controversial subject, but should it really surprise us that many stories are “scripted”? Especially the more generic ones.
As Ben Swann points out “In most of these cases where O’Brien uses anchors from different TV stations all over the country reading the exact same script word for word, the source of that script is some kind of wire service. This means those stations have subscribed to AP, Reuters, CNN, FOX, ABC, NBC, etc wire services. In those cases, the wire story will come down and a station reporter or producer will copy and paste it word for word into a newscast. The problem with this policy is that reporters and producers simply take that content as gospel and no one in any newsroom ever bothers to fact check or verify if the wire story is correct. Simply put, in a newsroom, if it is on the wire it has to be true.”
Thousands of protesters across America and much of the English speaking world gathered on Saturday to protest the lack of credibility in the mainstream media. They held signs outside the doors of more than 200 mainstream outlets like ABC, FOX, NBC and the BBC, challenging them to actually cover the protests and urging viewers to get information from alternative news sources. There was virtually no MSM reporting on the protests.
The media has been at near record low popularity for years. Since at least 2011, it has been at a mere 44%, and during the election year – when more people were actually paying attention – it dropped to a record low of 40%. More conservatives and Republicans are disillusioned than liberals and Democrats, but Saturday’s protest crossed political boundaries, with libertarians, anarchists, conservatives and progressives alike participating.
With the Twitter hashtag #MAMSM, a Facebook page and a simple website, the protest spread via many of the same outlets as non-traditional, or new, media stories do. Soon, what started as a USA movement had quickly crossed continents and protests were organized in Canada, the UK and Australia. Big protests were organized in larger cities, while smaller ones were organized in over 200 towns. Corporate owned newspapers and major tv stations were the major targets.
“March Against Mainstream Media is more than just a protest,” the organization’s website reads, “It is an attack against the credibility of the mainstream media in an attempt to steer its viewers away from its lies and towards alternative media sources.” Its goal was not only to draw attention to the omissions of the mainstream media; it was to confront them directly. With thousands protesting the media right outside its doors, would it report the event? Or would it willing leave the majority of the population completely unaware?
“The news source that is not showing the protests is the news source you have to stop getting your news from. And the news source that IS showing the protests is where you should look for news from now on,” says the site. All but one traditional outlet chose to ignore the protest. The Seattle Times did report the event, though it simply said that a small group of protesters had gathered with flags, signs and megaphones and shouted slogans. Unsurprisingly, new media has covered the story extensively.
Recently Ben Swann was interviewed by Abby Martin from RT.com about the Truth in Media project. Interview starts at 2:30.
Many parents, fed up with the government “Common Core” standards for public schools, are now turning to homeschooling.
Ron Paul has been a longtime supporter of homeschooling. In fact, he created a his own curriculum to help parents effectively homeschool.
Dr. Paul recently wrote a book called The School Revolution, which gives parents tip on how to best teach their children about American liberty. Paul recently went on MSNBC to discuss the new book, when he was attacked by a BBC reporter.
This reporter accused Paul of wanting all women to quit their jobs to homeschool their children.
Paul acknowledged that the burden of homeschooling often falls on women, and argued that the current economy deprives women of the choice to either stay at home with kids or work.
In the past week, the mainstream media has had a field day bashing Paul for his views on homeschooling.
The San Francisco Chronicleran the headline “Ron Paul: more women should sacrifice career to homeschool kids.”
Part of the article reads, “America needs more home-schoolers, ladies. Yeah, you probably have a day job and can’t afford to take the time off to properly educate your offspring at home. But that’s just an excuse, you wimp. Even a woman working two jobs and living at a homeless shelter could find time to teach her child. Well, according to a twist of reality espoused by former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) anyway.”
It seems that Paul’s point has been taken out of context by the “mainstream” media.
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