Posts Tagged “cnn”

stop signI’ll have to ask you, Dear Reader, for another indulgence. I find I must address, for a second time, something that’s off-topic. But it’s something that urgently needs to be said.

A couple months ago, I said it was time for the mass media to enact a moratorium on reporting our Groper-in-Chief’s tweets. At that point, he’d already tweeted something that had triggered something of a crisis in the federal government, and sent people running to deal with it — even though what he’d tweeted was not based on any evidence, and turns out to have been untrue. It’s one thing for the insane and infantile GiC to tweet stuff; it’s another for the media to treat his drivel as though it’s worthy of being reported. Most of his tweets are not, and it was clear to me, then, that the media needed to act that way.

Well, they didn’t take my advice. Instead, they continue indulging the Apricot Wonder, treating his every utterance as worthy of being repeated, relayed, analyzed, and otherwise worthy of being read by Americans. The GiC, naturally — having been given so much deference by the media — managed to outdo himself in imbecility and immaturity. On Thursday he fired off a crude, childish tweet about a pair of cable-news hosts (WebCite cached article), and earlier today he tweeted a childish, manipulated video of him attacking “CNN,” the cable-news channel personified (cached).

The Groper’s deputy spokeswoman defended his nasty Thursday tweet as a natural, expected, “tit-for-tat” thing (cached):

“The president has been attacked mercilessly on personal accounts by members on that program, and I think he’s been very clear that when he gets attacked, he’s going to hit back,” [she] told reporters during the afternoon briefing.

The deputy spokeswoman lied. No one — and I do mean absolutely no one — “attacked” the Apricot Wonder. Have people criticized him? Sure they have. Of course! Why would they not? And why should they not? No one in the US, not even the president, is above critique! But even with that said, no one has “attacked” him … “mercilessly” or not. An “attack” would be if someone had punched him in the face, or held him up at gunpoint. Nothing of the sort has ever happened to the Groper. And it won’t — because the Secret Service would never stand for it. (And they shouldn’t.)

The “attacks” the GiC and his minion are complaining about, are simply the natural, expected consequences of his own immature words and actions. The Groper is not entitled to flattering press coverage. He is not entitled to never have his insanity or folly commented on. He is not entitled to never have to see or hear news reports, or commentary, he dislikes. No such entitlement exists — not even for the president of the US. It simply doesn’t.

Quite the opposite: As a public servant, the Groper’s job is to take criticism in stride, and react to it like a grown adult. That’s just how life is. He doesn’t have to like it, or be happy about it … nevertheless, he has to just take it, and walk away. That’s his fucking job!

The Groper himself laughably contends the media are actually trying to silence him (cached). Nothing, however, could be further from the truth! In reality the mass media actively comply with his wishes, by reporting on his every tweet instantly. They couldn’t do a better job of relaying and propagating his ridiculous, juvenile bullshit if he were paying them to do so.

The problem with the media relaying the GiC’s numerous tantrums, is that his fanbois in Flyover Country feed on them. They like that he tweeted a vile comment about two cable-news hosts (whom most of them have never seen or heard, but who somehow know — because they’ve been told so by their talk-radio and alt-right overlords — are dastardly commie Leftists deserving only of condemnation). They also thrive on the reactions they engender; they love seeing Democrats and “the Lame Stream Media” aka the “Bicoastal Media Elite” condemn the Groper’s childish bilge. They love seeing their ideological foes are outraged. They’re fueled by such things, which is why the GiC keeps spewing them. It makes them happy, which for him is the most important thing in the world.

The media could, if they wanted to, break this feeding cycle. By not reporting the Apricot Wonder’s juvenile tweets, his fanbois may not hear about them, but even if they do, there won’t be any reaction to them, so they’ll be deprived of the joy of watching that. A moratorium would starve the Groper for the attention he pathologically craves, and would starve his fanbois of the sanctimonious outrage they love to sense.

The time for a moratorium on the GiC’s tweets has come. It’s time for the mass media to grow some cojones, stop indulging the Groper-in-Chief, and get off his fucking payroll already.

Photo credit: Clover Autrey, via Flickr.

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Paris Tuileries Garden Facepalm statueNote: There’s been an update to this post, see below.

The mass media have been falling all over themselves for nearly two weeks covering the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Every bit of information that’s trickled out has been dissected and stretched and speculated on at length by dozens of pundits all over the place. It doesn’t seem to matter that some of it has turned out to be untrue or just isn’t clear (WebCite cached article).

They’re in the business of conveying information, after all, and they’re going to do just that — even if the “information” they convey is just airy speculation based on questionable premises and, ultimately, useless.

So it’s little wonder that CNN, the news outlet which has raised the standard of MH370 higher than any other, wandered far afield in its effort to appear to want to get to the bottom of it. As Mediaite reports, this Sunday host Don Lemon openly wondered if something “supernatural” happened to the plane (cached):

“Especially today, on a day when we deal with the supernatural,” Lemon said. “We go to church, the supernatural power of God…people are saying to me, why aren’t you talking about the possibility — and I’m just putting it out there — that something odd happened to this plane, something beyond our understanding?”

“People roll their eyes at conspiracy theories, but what conspiracy theories do is they ask the hardest, most outrageous questions sometimes, but every once in a while they’re right,” [guest Brad] Meltzer said.

Now, Meltzer (of Decoded fame) implies a “supernatural” cause for the plane’s disappearance is a kind of “conspiracy theory.” But it’s not always the case. While some conspiracy theories have supernatural elements, not all do; in fact, few of them do. And yes, conspiracy theories and appeals to the supernatural are the product of irrationality and the product of ignorance, but in reality, he’s confusing the issue.

As for his claim that some conspiracy theories end up being true … yeah, some are. But those are very, very few. Contrary to what Meltzer suggests, the fact that a couple of conspiracies here or there have turned out to be true, in no way supports the veracity of any given conspiracy theory … because even a broken clock is right, twice a day … and it remains broken, even if you happen to check it on one of the rare moments when it happens to show the correct time.

As for Lemon’s appeal to the supernatural, that’s a fucking laugh. I get that he’s trying to show he’s looking into “all” avenues of inquiry, and by his own admission is offering up a potential explanation that some in his audience are agitating for, but fercryingoutloud, it’s ridiculous. We don’t yet know what happened to MH370, but that doesn’t mean a supernatural fate must have befallen it. To think so is an appeal to ignorance, and it’s beneath America’s network of record.

It would help if CNN personnel worked harder at delving into this case and finding more verifiable and useful information, rather than speculating endlessly based on the little tidbits that dribble out from official outlets. They need to get to fucking work instead of jabbering about the supernatural.

Update: Lemon offered yet another laughable speculation last night, wondering if a black hole swallowed the plane (cached). Perhaps even more laughably, former Transportation official Mary Schiavo said that couldn’t have been it, since (she says) a black hole would have swallowed the entire universe, “so we know it’s not that.” Where does CNN get these screaming idiots?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Iraqi Christians bury victims Tuesday of a church attack on October 31, for which the Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility.… and the sky is blue. The banality and inanity of the mass media is sometimes staggering. One would think that people intelligent enough to have gotten through journalism school, would realize that stories such as this one — dutifully reported by the astoundingly brilliant minds at CNN — are not really news (WebCite cached article):

All Christians ‘targets,’ Iraqi militant group says

All Christians in the Middle East are now “legitimate targets,” al Qaeda in Iraq announced Wednesday, as the group’s deadline for Egypt’s Coptic church to release alleged Muslim female prisoners expired.

Wow. Whodathunkit!? I’d never have guessed in a million years that Christians living in the Middle East might possibly have ever become “targets” for al-Qaeda in Iraq. Would you, Dear Reader, have ever figured that out?

Why, of course Christians in the Middle East are al-Qaeda’s targets! They have been, ever since al-Qaeda came into existence! Who in the occidental world could possibly not already be aware of this? Al-Qaeda’s other targets — that everyone also knows about by now — are Shi’ite Muslims, and Jews, and pretty much any other kind of person of any religion who chooses not to hew the fanatical, insane hyperreligionist line of the murderous Islamofascist thugs known as al-Qaeda.

Allow me to assist the mass media in breaking still more major stories: A fight broke out at a hockey game, some college students got drunk this weekend, and it’s cold in the Arctic.

Photo credit: CNN.

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CNN Insipid Beyond Belief blog!CNN has a relatively new religion blog. Maybe you’ve heard of it … but more likely, you haven’t. If not, don’t worry — you aren’t missing much. The kind of pablum this blog conveys is hardly worth your notice, and I mean that regardless of what your own religious viewpoint (if any) is. It’s just not that great.

An example of how deficient this blog is, is in its coverage of the once-disgraced but now proud-to-have-had-a-scandalous-past-because-it-makes-me-great evangelical preacher, Ted Haggard (a used-car-salesman-type creepy character I most recently blogged about here). In the space of just four days, this month, the CNN Belief blog has posted two stories on Ted Haggard: Haggard back in the pulpit (cached) and Status report: Ted Haggard’s new church (cached). This is after having posted some blathering tripe about him a month ago (Ted Haggard, Resurrected; cached) courtesy of Stephen Prothero, a religion professor.

What’s really amazing, if you pay close attention to these “reports” about the “resurrected Ted’s” incredible success, is that it’s all self-reported. That’s right. We only have Pastor Ted’s word on how great he’s doing and how great he is. There is no “investigation” here, none of the cutting-edge, incisive, insightful and analytical journalism one (presumably) expects of CNN.

Clearly CNN’s new “Belief Blog” is little more than a P.R. engine for Pastor Ted “I’m-not-gay-even-if-I-hired-gay-prostitutes-to-service-me” Haggard. Then again, CNN hooked up with Stephen Prothero, who’s on the record as demanding mandatory Bible classes in public schools.

Yeah. These are the kinds of people CNN is now carrying water for. An unrepentant cretin, and a militant Christian.

I guess we can chalk this one up as yet another journalism fail. Sigh.

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Comments Comments Off on CNN, The Ted Haggard P.R. Machine

As a brief follow-up on my earlier blog entry concerning the Rightists’ “birther” delusion, it turns out that Obama’s original, long-form birth certificate cannot be produced, not merely because the state of Hawai’i provides no means to request it … but it has been destroyed. The Los Angeles Times Show Tracker reports on what CNN has found out (WebCite cached article):

The website TVNewser reported today that Klein sent an e-mail to staffers of “Lou Dobbs Tonight” just as the program went to air, informing them that CNN researchers had determined that Hawaiian officials discarded all paper documents in 2001. A long-form birth certificate with details about the doctor who delivered Obama no longer exists, they reported.

I’m sure all those dutiful Rightists out there will say, “Sure, CNN claims that. They’re CNN, after all, the flagship media outlet of the Liberal Media Elite®!” While CNN does lean toward the Left, though, the claim that the state of Hawai’i destroyed the long-form certificate in 2001 is something that could easily be verified … meaning one need not take CNN’s word for it.

Of course, despite having been told this by his own network, Lou Dobbs continues to pander to the birther-delusionists, as the LA Times goes on to say:

In his show Thursday, Dobbs did note the explanation from Hawaiian officials, though he went on to devote another segment to the topic, interviewing CNN contributor Roland Martin and Rep. Ted Poe, a co-sponsor of a bill that would require future presidential candidates to produce their birth certificates. …

In the segment, Dobbs stressed that he has said repeatedly that he believes Obama is a citizen, something that he said his critics in the “left-wing media” ignore.

Note how deftly Dobbs plays both sides … on the one hand he concedes Obama is a citizen, but on the other, he courts those who think otherwise. In other words, he’s being disingenuous. His duplicity is especially obvious, since he also said:

But he continued to press the question of why Obama has not shown a long-form birth certificate. “When this could be dispelled so quickly, and — and simply by producing it, why not do it?” Dobbs asked.

Earth to Lou — and all the other birther-delusionists out there: Now you know why Obama can’t produce the long-form cerificate … IT DOESN’T EXIST! The time has finally come for you to grow the fuck up and stop demanding what can never be provided.

P.S. To everyone who goes along with the old canard about CNN being part of the Liberal Media Elite® … if this is true, please explain how such an outlet could possibly keep guys like Dobbs on its payroll? Just wondering.

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I’ve blogged before about Bart Ehrman, a New Testament scholar, whose original education had been in a fundamentalist Bible college, followed by post-graduate work under the famous Bruce Metzger at Princeton Theological Seminary. His religious and theological credentials, therefore, are considerable.

Nevertheless, he is today an agnostic. Merely by being an agnostic, Ehrman arouses the ire of fundamentalist Christians. Despite this he’s published a number of books elucidating how and why Biblical literalism is flawed, and continues to do so.

At any rate, CNN recently profiled him on its Web site. In a time when religiosity has permeated the media — to an often-disturbing degree — this profile is a refreshing sight:

Former fundamentalist ‘debunks’ Bible

Just so you know, Bart Ehrman says he’s not the anti-Christ.

He says he’s not trying to destroy your faith. He’s not trying to bash the Bible. And, though his mother no longer talks to him about religion, Ehrman says some of his best friends are Christian. …

In Ehrman’s latest book, “Jesus, Interrupted,” he concludes:

Doctrines such as the divinity of Jesus and heaven and hell are not based on anything Jesus or his earlier followers said.

At least 19 of the 27 books in the New Testament are forgeries.

Believing the Bible is infallible is not a condition for being a Christian.

“Christianity has never been about the Bible being the inerrant word of God,” Ehrman says. “Christianity is about the belief in Christ.”

As I blogged before, this is the crux of Ehrman’s message. If I may quibble with the title of CNN’s article, it is not true that Ehrman “debunks the Bible.” Rather, he debunks “Biblical literalism” or the idea that the Bible is Christianity and vice-versa.

I find Christian fundamentalists’ objections to his work amusing:

Some scholarly critics say Ehrman is saying nothing new.

Bishop William H. Willimon, an author and United Methodist Church bishop based in Alabama, says he doesn’t like the “breathless tone” of Ehrman’s work.

“He keeps presenting this stuff as if this is wonderful new knowledge that has been kept from you backward lay people and this is the stuff your preachers don’t have the guts to tell, and I have,” Willimon says. “There’s a touch of arrogance in it.”

It is true that much of what Ehrman has to say is not really all that new. The problems inherent in Bible texts and in their transmission and translation have been known for at least a couple of centuries — at least, to scholars and textual critics, if not to rank-&-file Christians.

But that hardly invalidates anything he says, as his critics seem to think. Ehrman has a knack for explaining things well, even to this amateur textual critic. Moreover, if the worst they can say of him is that he’s “arrogant” and that they dislike his “tone,” those also do not make him wrong. (And if I might point it out … fundamentalists themselves are extremely arrogant and have a condescending tone … they claim to know “the Truth” and are more than willing to pound it into people, as if they’re entitled to do so. If that’s not “arrogance,” I don’t know what is!)

CNN is to be congratulated for this profile, which is sure to offend Christians of the Biblical-literalist sort, which is just fine by me … they deserve to be offended!

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